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Gage Speaks for the Silent “Man with No Name”

by  in Comic News Comment
Gage Speaks for the Silent “Man with No Name”
“The Man With No Name” #1 on sale in May

As long as Christos Gage is penning Dynamite’s latest licensed character, MGM’s “The Man with No Name,” one thing is for sure, the anti-hero will remain nameless. Gage (“World War Hulk: X-Men”) told CBR News that while other characters in the upcoming comic, which is expected to kickoff in May, may try to christen the enigmatic outlaw, he has no plans to spill the cast iron pot of beans on cinema’s most infamous, unidentified cowboy.

“No way! He’s the Man with No Name! I may have other characters give him nicknames, like Blondie, but I don’t plan to reveal his true name,” said Gage.

The Man with No Name was first introduced to audiences around the world in the 1964 Sergio Leone film, “A Fist Full of Dollars,” which starred Clint Eastwood. Two sequels followed, again with Eastwood in the lead, “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” in 1966.

Dynamite Comics has revealed to CBR News that Brazilian artist Wellington Dias will provide art for the series and Richard Isanove and Arthur Suydam have created covers for “The Man with No Name” #1.

Gage confirmed the new Dynamite comic book picks up following the events in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” “The Man is traveling through New Mexico with $100,000 in Confederate gold in his saddlebags,” explained Gage. “The Union is after him for blowing up a strategic bridge they needed. The Confederacy wants their money back. If he’s not careful, he may not live to spend any of his cash.”

Additionally, said Gage, “The Man is going to get drawn into a battle between an army of bandits, deserters from both the Union and the Confederacy, and the Catholic Mission seen in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.’ You’ll see the return of a character from that film. Not Tuco, but maybe someone with the same last name.”

“Tuco” is Tuco Ramirez, a fast-talking bandit played by legendary character actor Eli Wallach in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” and the one who called The Man with No Name “Blondie.” Tuco’s brother, Father Pablo Ramirez, is a Catholic friar and is likely the character Gage is hinting at, as no other Ramirez is named in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

Gage hasn’t decided yet if he needs to tell The Man with No Name’s origin story, as he feels it has already been done. But the writer doesn’t rule it out entirely. “Maybe. I don’t think The Man has an origin story like Batman’s,” Gage said. “There wasn’t a moment where he said, ‘I shall become The Man with No Name!’ And many people look at ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ as a kind of origin story. However, in ‘A Fistful of Dollars,’ The Man answers the question of why he is helping a family with a small boy by saying, in essence, ‘When I was his age, there was no one there to help.’ There’s a story there. You may see other bits and pieces from his past that fill in gaps about him, like how he first met Tuco or Angel Eyes. But at the same time, I think a certain air of mystery is a good thing. You don’t want the guy’s entire history laid out.”

Angel Eyes, played by Lee Van Cleef in the film, was the Bad to the Man with No Name’s Good and Tuco’s Ugly.

Gage admits he has always been enamored by the Man with No Name both in character and concept. “He’s the embodiment of the anti-hero. He’s one of those characters that’s so iconic, when you see him for the first time you feel like he’s always existed,” explained Gage. “My work on ‘Deadshot’ was informed by The Man With No Name. I don’t see how you could write an anti-hero and not be influenced by him, whether you realize it or not. He’s just the most pure form of that type of character.”

And while Gage himself is a huge fan of the character and hopes everyone will go out and see the films if they haven’t already, he says readers need no previous knowledge of the Man with No Name to enjoy the comic sequel.

“You can enjoy it as a straight ahead Western,” said Gage. “There will be references to the film ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,’ but you won’t need to have seen it to follow the story. But honestly, if you are at all interested in this book and you haven’t seen the movies, you should do yourself a favor and check them out.”

Gage says it is difficult to write the character without channeling Clint Eastwood. “I don’t see how you couldn’t,” said Gage. “That brings up a very key point, which is that The Man doesn’t talk much at all. Watch the movies, he barely speaks. In writing these scripts, I’ve really had to go back to the old writer’s maxim of ‘show, don’t tell.’ He talks with his actions.”

“The Man With No Name” #1 on sale in May

Gage, who says he has gone back and watched all three films to cull ideas for future stories, said he first landed the gig while chatting with Dynamite President Nick Barucci at New York Comic Con. “I had written a ‘Red Sonja’ story for Dynamite and Nick Barrucci and I were talking about what else we could do together,” recalled Gage. “When he mentioned they were close to landing the Man with No Name license, I jumped on that. I wouldn’t hear of anything else. Fortunately, both Nick and MGM approved me, and we were ready to go.”

Because it had to be asked, CBR News queried Gage on the likelihood of a crossover with Dynamite’s other Civil War era book, the Eisner nominated “Lone Ranger.”

Gage said he’d be into it.

“That would be up to Nick and the licensors,” said Gage. “Before reading the ‘Lone Ranger’ comic, I’d have said it wouldn’t work, but now I’ve changed my mind. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see John Cassaday draw The Man?”

On his website, Gage says the first comic he read was Marvel’s “Godzilla,” a title he’d love to sink his teeth into today. “I badger both Nick and Steve Wacker at Marvel constantly to get that license back so I can write it,” cheered Gage. “And ‘Shogun Warriors,’ and ‘Rom.’ I can dream, can’t I?”

As for more future projects, Gage said he and his wife Ruth have written a movie screenplay for Double Nickel Entertainment, a production company run by former DC Comics Publisher Jenette Kahn.

Check CBR News next week for more information on “The Man with No Name” with artist Wellington Dias.

Now discuss this story in CBR’s Indie Comics forum.

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