Ande Parks The Lone Ranger #15 Writers Commentary
Dynamite Entertainment sent over the following Ande Parks The Lone Ranger #15 writers commentary.
Follow along the preview pages as Ande Parks talks about his ideas for the book as well as the script.
Lone Ranger #15 is currently in stores now and available on Dynamite.com.
I've grown fond of this device recently: tipping an issue's climax before jumping back in time to learn how we will eventually end up there. I wonder if this comes from watching too much Breaking Bad? Nah... you can't watch too much Breaking Bad. Anyway, it's an effective device, I think. I'll try not to over-use it. In this case, I knew this issue would be light on action early on. I wanted to promise some bar-brawling to the reader up front, and ask them to bear with us as we build to the fisticuffs.
I like to bring characters we've previously introduced back from time to time. Here, we have our scummy Senator, as seen way back in issue #4. The Senator conspired with Federal Agent Winston Marle (as created by Brett Matthews) to lead The Ranger and Tonto to the little town of Utopia, where trouble was waiting. The Lone Ranger is seeking vengeance for that setup... a setup that, as he explains here, almost got Tonto killed.
I set this scene on the Mississippi largely because I wanted to give Esteve and Marcelo a chance to depict a riverboat. Good choice, I think.
This scene accomplishes something I was very intent on showing. It took me a long while, though, to figure out how to pull it off. Basically, I wanted to show some of the practicalities behind what The Lone Ranger does. We showed The Ranger giving away his badge in issue #13. It was a valuable token to him, but not as valuable as the young life he was able to save by giving it away. Frankly, I wrote it that way because I've never felt it was appropriate for him to wear that badge. The Lone Ranger is not an active Texas Ranger. He doesn't take orders from anyone. I feel that him wearing the badge would be more of an insult to The Ranger's father and brother than a tribute. I feel it would be disrespectful.
So, with his badge gone and with much of his silver spent, John Reid needed to resupply. Thus, I had to decide where The Lone Ranger keeps his stash. I flirted with a number of options before deciding he would have a safe deposit box at a bank near where he grew up. I felt that would require a friendly bank manager. After that, things clicked into place. Someday, we may reveal why the manager owes John Reid his loyalty.
I also decided that John Reid would have a very personal item in the safe deposit box. It is the only surviving portrait of the intact Reid family.
This page allows us to clarify John Reid's position on wearing the badge, and it lets us know whose badge he carries with him now. And, it allows us to see how brilliant Marcelo Pinto is. That moon reflection in panel one is fantastic.
I'm very aware that dwelling on John Reid's tragic past can wear thin quickly. You don't pick up a Lone Ranger comic to see the guy moaning about his dead Mama and Papa. Still, those events do define the man, and we have stayed away from his origins, for the most LONE RANGER #15 COMMENTARY Page 1 of 3 Ande Parks - 2013 part, in our volume. Since this four-issue arc deals in part with the fact that John Reid has a college education, and since that was a rare thing for a young man from his part of the world, I thought we could use a little background. This page leads us into the flashback that will help us understand how The Lone Ranger came to be so educated and worldly.
Again, this entire sequence risks becoming overly sentimental. At its core, this flashback is about why John Reid and his father placed such value on his education. That value comes from John's mother, and it was present in his life from a very early age.
My research did not reveal an established name for John Reid's mother. I spent the good part of a day coming up with a name, just for it to appear on the grave marker on page seven. I hope Fran Striker would approve. I'm sure the creator of The Lone Ranger wouldn't approve of some of the choices I've made in portraying his character in a more grounded, realistic way, but that's a discussion for another time. Damn.
I think Margaret Reid read to her entire family. She read to her first son, Dan, as much as she did to John. It just stuck more with John. Of course, she would have read her family the bible. I decided on Ivanhoe as the main other reading material because of the values it speaks to. Values that mesh with the man John Reid would become.
I have a confession here: the idea of young John Reid not wanting to let his new teacher read to him because it's a sacred act that he only did with his mother is stolen from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. You gotta give me one thing: I steal from the best.
Our Lone Ranger book is based on the interpretation of the character that Brett Matthews, Sergio Cariello and John Cassaday established. In our continuity, John Reid's father, James ia a pretty hard man. I wanted to show a different side of the man here. He's a good man, and willing to do what it takes to keep his wife's influence alive, even if it's somewhat painful for him to do so.
This page is all about John Reid enjoying the memories of his mother, and then setting those thoughts aside to get back to work. The homestead is an important place for him to visit on occasion, but it's not where his work gets done. Time to move on. He does take the old, battered book with him, though.
We don't get to see John Reid all fancied up very often. Esteve did a great job, as always, with the period clothing and hat. Tonto marvels at the small spaces we “civilized” folks choose to live in. It's probably obvious that Tonto will not be able to stay discreet, but I love this setup, regardless.
We finally get back to the Senator, as seen on our first page. He's a jerk. You can see that, right?
LONE RANGER #15 COMMENTARY Page 2 of 3 Ande Parks - 2013 Poor Tonto. He means to stay discreet. Really he does. He's willing to take some of this dumb cowboy's abuse. “Boy”, though... that's just one step over the damn line. God, I love panel four.
Fight! I know this isn't a superhero book. Still, We haven't had a lot of real fighting in the book lately, and I like showing that our heroes can By God dish out a beatin' if they have to. Besides, people punching each other works in comics. It just works and that's that. Well, it works as long as you care about the people involved. I hope our readers care about The Lone Ranger and Tonto by now. Also, to be honest, I know these fight scenes can be fun to draw, and I wanted to give Esteve a chance to cut loose. The last panel of page nineteen is just fantastic. A great composition, and beautifully drawn.
This is a good place to praise the last unmentioned member of our creative team, the wonderful Simon Bowland. He does a great job throughout the book, and he really excels at the placement and design of effects in these fight scenes. We're damn lucky to have him.
At the end of the fight, we find that Senator Wade already knows exactly what's going on. That's a big theme of this arc: The Lone Ranger is a smart man, but he is not a politician. He's about to enter (and drag Tonto into) a world where men make conniving an art form. The Ranger cannot compete at their games. At least he can't as our story begins.
The big reveal of this arc's main setting: Chicago. When I had to decide where John Reid would have gone to college, I chose places that actually existed at the time, places that would have been accessible to he and his father by train, and institutions that were coed. The coed thing will come into play... eventually. I also wanted to give John the experience of having lived in a major city. All of those factors led me to Northwestern University and Chicago.
We've touched on this issue before... the idea that John Reid views cities very differently that Tonto does. The rest of this arc will allow us to get more into that. In the end, John Reid will have to question his choice to bring Tonto to this place. I think the events of this arc will really shape our characters as we move out of the “Back East” arc and into a series of single issue stories. Stay tuned!