'Green Arrow' team makes a 'Bold' move

[Kevin Smith]Holy Hollywood, Batman! Fanboy-turned-filmmaker-turned-comics writer Kevin Smith will revive the much-missed Batman vehicle "The Brave and the Bold" as his next project for DC Comics.

Smith will be joined on the classic title by penciler Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks, Smith's creative partners on the current "Green Arrow" series. As is the "Brave and the Bold" tradition, the series will team Batman with other heroes from the DC Universe. First up will be - surprise! - everyone's favorite Emerald Archer.

"Logically it's going to start with Batman and Green Arrow," Smith told an excited audience Sunday during a special "Green Arrow" panel on the last day of the Wizard World in Chicago. "A lot of it is going to be Batman and Green Arrow. But the other DC heroes (will appear)."

"Brave and the Bold" ran from 1955 to July 1983, amassing an impressive 200-issue run. It eventually was replaced by the short-lived "Batman and the Outsiders." Initially, the series featured tales of Robin Hood, the Viking Prince and other non-superheroes. But after 1960, the series was all about capes and cowls. The Justice League of America got its start in "Brave and the Bold," as did the Silver Age Hawkman and other heroes.

Batman became the series' permanent resident in the mid-1960s. Through the years, the Dark Knight teamed with heroes including Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, the Phantom Stranger, the Teen Titans, Plastic Man and, yes, Green Arrow. The final issue even had stories about the pre-Crisis Batmen from Earth One and Earth Two.

Unfortunately, the move to "Brave and the Bold" means Smith, Hester and Parks will leave "Green Arrow" - something many fans of the series surely were hoping wouldn't have to happen. "All of us have decided that we're going to jump off the book at issue #14 or #16, and leave it in more capable hands," Smith said.

DC editor Bob Schreck - who oversees "Green Arrow," said he doesn't yet know who will replace the trio on the title. "Thank God I still have a few months before I have to worry about it," he said Sunday.

Smith first worked with Hester and Parks on 1999's "Clerks: The Lost Scene," a one-shot for Oni Press based on the characters and events in his debut film, "Clerks."

Hester said he's happy to follow Smith to the new series, so much so that he doesn't have much else work planned for the foreseeable future. "It's the greatest gig," he said. "What else do I need to do?"

Decked out in his traditional hooded sweatshirt and baggy shorts, Smith answered questions from fans for an hour during Sunday's panel. Hester, Parks, Schreck and "Green Arrow" cover artist Matt Wagner fielded questions, too. They were even joined onstage for a time by "Green Arrow" historian and writer Scott McCullar, a man who Smith has relied on for continuity assistance and other minutia during his tenure on the title. "This book is so arcane," Smith said. "It's steeped in DC continuity."

Other than Green Arrow, Smith didn't mention which DC heroes he'd like to use in "Brave and the Bold." He joked about teaming the Dark Knight with the Haunted Tank, which got a laugh from the audience. Readers should expect to see "probably all of your favorites and the obscure s---," Smith said.

Smith has several other comic-book projects on his table, including a "Black Cat" series for Marvel Comics and a few more books starring the characters from his films, such as the long-awaited "Mallrats II: Die Hard in a Mall." Smith also said he still is planning to write a "Bartleby and Loki" comic, featuring the fallen angels from his last flick, 1999's "Dogma."

"There's an outline for the 'Bartleby and Loki' book, but I haven't had time to sit down and write it," Smith said.

With the release of his newest film, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," set for release this Friday, Smith said he has no interest in penning a "Green Arrow" screenplay. "There is talk of making a movie, but I won't be involved," he said.

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