Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dick Tracy, the Green Hornet, and a Masked Hero

Dick Tracy's creative team, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, continue to add characters to the what I call the ever-expanding Tracyverse. In a storyline started in April 2018, they not only added a current hero, but also a famous one from the past.

In the sequence below, publisher of the Daily Sentinal, Britt Reid, comes to Tracy's city in pursuit of two criminals -- the Topper, and the Green Hornet.

In reality, Britt Reid is the Green Hornet. The Hornet fights criminals while posing as an outlaw. Reid is assisted by his Asian manservant, Kato. The Green Hornet uses a gas gun to disable, rather than kill his foes.

Reid's secretary Lenore (Casey) Case shares the secret of the Hornet's identity. In the Dick Tracy sequence, Case is filling in for Kato, who's working undercover for Topper.

The character debuted on radio in 1936 and ran through 1952. The Green Hornet spawned a comic book series and four movie serials in the 1940s. In 1966 "The Green Hornet" TV show appeared as a spin-off of "Batman." It lasted one season.

If you're only familiar with the Green Hornet because Bruce Lee played Kato on TV, read on.

George W. Trendle helped create the Green Hornet for his radio station WXYZ. It was his second successful character. The first was the Lone Ranger -- whose older brother was Dan Reid.

Over the course of the Lone Ranger radio show, the Lone Ranger adopted his nephew Dan Reid, Jr. And eventually the Green Hornet radio show revealed that Dan Reid, Jr. was Britt's father.

Britt Reid is the grandnephew of the Lone Ranger. Which means a famous part of the fictional Wild West is now part of the Tracyverse.

Eventually, the Lone Ranger and Green Hornet properties were sold to different companies. Because of copyright issues, the familial connection between the two heroes was never explored further.

But true fans know.

And in the world of Dick Tracy, back in the 1880s, the Lone Ranger and Tonto rode the trails of the Old West.

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