To celebrate Dynamite’s tenth anniversary, publisher Nick Barrucci and Senior Editor Joseph Rybrandt brought Quentin Tarantino to Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss the upcoming “Django/Zorro” crossover, along with co-writers Reginald Hudlin and Matt Wagner. Alan Kistler was on hand to moderate, though with these panelists the dialogue sailed on its own.
With the panelists taking the stage one by one, Tarantino took to the stage with tremendous applause.
“We’re very fortunate that we’re able to do the first sequel of a Tarantino film as a comic first,” Barrucci said.
“We’ve put out a lot of great comics from a lot of great creators,” Barrucci said of Dynamite’s ten years, “and we couldn’t do it without you readers.”
Kistler began by asking who approached who about the project. “The person to thank is Nick Barrrucci,” Hudlin said. “As Django was about to come out, Nick called me and said, ‘Reggie! I’ve got an idea: “Django meets Zorro.”‘ That’s all you need to say. So I called Quentin.”
“I loved the idea,” Tarantino said. “The thing that I thought was just such a great idea is taking one of the most famous Mexican Western heroes and having him meet one of the new famous Black Western heroes.”
“One of the great things about Quentin is, I don’t have to hide my political agenda because he’s excited by the same things,” Hudlin said. He added that Tarantino “plunged in” to the Dynamite library.
“If you were to take Matt Wagner’s ‘Zorro’ as it is right now, and made it into a TV series, it would be the best Zorro TV series ever made,” Tarantino said, which led him to bring Wagner onto the project as a writer.
Wagner said he was uncertain about collaborating because “I’m kind of a single-vision creator, and he’s kind of a single-vision creator, and Quentin could be an asshole, or I could be an asshole.” But after meeting, “It was like we’d known each other for years.”
Tarantino said he and Wagner watched “Zorro” movies together in preparation for their collaboration.
Tarantino said that he “loved the idea of ‘Django’ paperbacks,” but couldn’t bear handing off the character to other writers to expand the mythology. “So I felt like this [comic] was the perfect way to continue the story.”
Hudlin said that, after “spending every day together for two years,” he expected that he and Tarantino would “get back to our lives” after “Django.” But then Tarantino called him, telling him that a friend had just given him his comic collection, and they spent and afternoon reading those issues, which got them both thinking about comics again.
Wagner said that blending the tones was “not a problem because they both fight oppression.” “Django’s approach is a bit more personal, a bit more deadly,” he added.
Because of the difference in timeline, though, Wagner had suggested a legacy Zorro, “but Quentin shot that right down. He said, ‘No, no, no, I want Zorro to be old.'” This provides “an opportunity for comedy in the midst of drama,” Wagner said, with Tarantino adding, “Don’t get me wrong, he still puts on the costume and kicks ass.”
Slides showed covers by Francesco Francavilla and Jae Lee. “We’re pretty happy with both of these,” Wagner said.
“When I saw these, I was like ‘Oh my God that’s exactly what we’re looking for!” Tarantino said.
The floor was then opened to fan questions.
Tarantino said he mentioned the crossover to Jamie Foxx. “He loved the idea,” Tarantino said. “He said, ‘Can we make a movie of this? Let’s get Antonio [Banderas] and make a movie!'”
A fan asked whether Tarantino would have any hand in the artwork. “The only thing I can draw is a caricature of myself,” he said, which he sometimes does on autographs. Though for the “Reservoir Dogs” tour, he said he used to draw these caricatures all the time, “like if we were in England I’d draw myself as a bobby, or in Scotland it would be a drawing of myself riding Nessie.”
In response to a fan question, Tarantino said that Dr. Schultz would show up in a flashback, making use of an unused scene he’d written for the movie.
Tarantino said both Zorro and Django “are older,” with Wagner adding that “it’s just before the Civil War.” He revealed that “he’s not with Broomhilda.” She may show up as an abolitionist spokesperson, though, Hudlin said.
Hudlin joked that, after having Tarantino read and act out his notebooks for “Inglorious Basterds” including an unused Samuel L. Jackson speech, he thought to himself that “Quentin Tarantino is the best black writer in Hollywood.”
Given the significance of music in Tarantino’s movies, Wagner suggested a soundtrack to each issue. The director liked the idea, and Barrucci said the track list would be posted on dynamite.com.