And Tarantino said: ‘Black and brown come together.’ Reggie Hudlin on a comic book’s birth
By David Betancourt February 5 at 10:00 PM
Django/Zorro. (courtesy of Dynamite Comics)
Overseeing historic moments involving heroes of color is nothing new for Reggie Hudlin. From his five-year run writing Black Panther for Marvel Comics to his recent announcement of the return of Milestone Media, Hudlin has consistently been a force and a voice for increasing the diversity in comics.
So when Hudlin received a call from Dynamite Comics’ Nick Barrucci shortly before the theatrical release of 2012′s “Django Unchained” — seems the publisher wanted Hudlin’s thoughts on the possibility of a Django crossover with the Dynamite Comic property “Zorro” — Hudlin was intrigued. Hudlin liked the idea enough, in fact, that he took it to “Django Unchained” director Quentin Tarantino.
“Quentin is a huge comic-book fan,” Hudlin, the L.A.-based “Django Unchained” producer, told The Post’s Comic Riffs. “I told him I’d just been pitched this idea for a comic book, Django/Zorro … and his eyebrows popped up. And he said, ‘Black and brown come together.’ And I said, ‘Exactly.’ ”
“It’s just one of those things where it was just a no-brainer for all of us,” continued Hudlin, an executive editor on Dynamite/Vertigo’s Django/Zorro comics. “It just seemed like a super-exciting concept.”
Hudlin gave Tarantino a stack of Dynamite’s Zorro comics. Tarantino came away impressed with the writing of Matt Wagner, telling Hudlin that if the series was going to be made, Wagner should be a part of it.
Hudlin had never seen Tarantino work with another writer, but he said the two scribes soon meshed easily when creating the Dynamite/Vertigo miniseries, which launched last November.
Tarantino and Wagner teamed to write a miniseries intended to be six issues, but that has grown to seven, according to Hudlin. “The story just couldn’t be contained,” Hudlin said with a laugh.
Hudlin, the executive editor of Django/Zorro, said the miniseries is rare because of the visual of seeing two protagonists of color partnering up in Old West.
“That’s the excitement of it — on so many different levels. The idea that Quentin, who [rarely] does sequels to his works, would for the first time allow the extension of a character beyond a movie: It’s a big deal,” Hudlin told Comic Riffs. “To combine sort of a modern legend, Django — which it’s already kind of taken it’s place in the pantheon of pop culture — then to pair him with a classic character such as Zorro.
Two characters of color teaming up in a period where you rarely see either black or Latin characters be heroic, and now you have them teaming up and being heroic. It’s a real event.”
And the series has created high interest among people involved with both franchises. “I think this is all kind of a real fun experiment,” Hudlin said. “So far, the story is turning out great. At the same time, there’s been a lot of excitement from the ‘Django’ cast and the studio…like, wow: Django/Zorro.”
So might they team up on the big screen?
“All of that,” Hudlin said, “is very much up to Quentin.”