It’s out! Available in stores, online and of course at Reggiesworld.com! Check out the first installment of DJANGO/ZORRO, the comic book sequel to DJANGO UNCHAINED.
I am executive editor of the book, and could not be more proud of the series. Here’s the opening pages with commentary from writer Matt Wagner:
Writer’s Commentary – Django / Zorro #1 By Matt Wagner
I first met Quentin Tarantino when we got together to discuss the possibility of co-writing the first official sequel to any of his films, a comic-book adventure that would match the title character of DJANGO UNCHAINED with a classic character that I had helped redefine in recent years—the original masked-and-caped crusader, ZORRO! Our connection was immediate and genuine and I knew that would translate into the adventures of our respective characters. Since the time frames of these two narratives were off by many years, I figured we’d need to invent a legacy version of Zorro—an all new character who takes up the masked identity for whatever reason in the years just preceding the American Civil War. But Quentin was adamant that we use the original Don Diego de la Vega in our tale. “No, no, no,” he insisted, “It’s gotta be the original Zorro! It’s gotta be your Zorro!” I immediately saw how well such a scenario could work; in the film, Django Freeman enjoys a close relationship with another older man who serves as something of a mentor during his budding days as a bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz. This motif provided us with an easy basis for our heroes’ interaction and, just like that, our story was up and running!
PG. 1—One of the things that intrigued us was the longterm effect of Diego’s masquerade on his personality. We immediately get from the narration that, despite his age, Diego has never really stopped his crusade as Zorro. To a great extent, Zorro is his truer persona—dashing, adventurous, always fighting for the cause of justice. But how would several decades of acting the part of the foppish aristocrat version of Don Diego affect him? To some degree…he must actually become that person as well. It’s an interesting concept…when does the man become the masquerade and the masquerade become the man? Thus, we hear Diego’s fussy and somewhat cantankerous commentary to his driver and milk-brother, Bernardo…who obviously enjoys pushing his friend’s buttons to some degree. Bernardo is also our initial narrator; as I had established in my first arc on writing Zorro, he has taken it upon to himself to act as chronicler for his hermano’s many astounding adventures.
PG. 2—Here we see some of the secretive language that Diego and Bernardo (who is mute) have used since they were children. In this case, a coded knock that lets Diego know that they have encountered someone…unexpected. And, just like that, our two heroes’ paths converge.
PG. 3—As he offers this dusty stranger a ride, the shadow from the carriage’s curtain mimics the shape of Zorro’s traditional mask on Diego’s face. Django, so used to racial segregation (at best) naturally assumes he’s supposed to ride up front with the driver.
PG. 4—But, much to his surprise, this white man is seemingly devoid of racial prejudice and invites him to share his carriage compartment as an honored guest. I just love that final panel where we see the rough-and-tumble Django somewhat awkwardly holding a fine china tea-cup in one hand and a cucumber canapé in the other!
PG. 5—One of the things we decided early on was to not waste any time presenting these characters as if to new readers. If you’re buying and reading this comic at all, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve seen Django Unchained and, let’s face it, who doesn’t know who Zorro is? So…on this page we realize that Django isn’t being entirely upfront with his host by claiming to be a prospector. But Diego isn’t so easily fooled.
PG. 6—Django finds himself intrigued by this unassuming gentleman whom, he admits, reminds him of King. Then suddenly, this getting-to-know-you session is interrupted by another knock from Bernardo. But this is a different knock. A different code. Trouble brewing. And Django seems to have actually been ready and waiting for just such an intrusion.
For more on Django / Zorro #1, click here.