A few new guns are riding into town starting with November's The Man With No Name #7. And just like a pair of sidewindin' road agents bring loaded six shooters to any gunfight, new series writers Luke Lieberman and Matt Wolpert are bringing an encyclopedic knowledge of the original Sergio Leone films to the Dynamite monthly.
It's one of my favorite movies, ever. Anything I can do to add to the mythos I consider a privilege, Lieberman told CBR about his reasons for picking up the story on the heels of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The VP of Red Sonja LLC and writer of past Red Sonja series such as Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom was more than happy enough to point to pop cultural connections between the she-devil his company owns and the classic Dollars Trilogy featuring Clint Eastwood's gruff gunman. [Composer] Ennio Morricone actually did the soundtrack to the original Red Sonja movie, he noted.
Lieberman's excitement for his partner and Entourage staff writer Wolpert's first comics gig proved equally strong. We’ve been friends for a decade, said Lieberman. He was my college roomie, in film school. We’ve seen all three [Man With No Name] movies together a dozen times each.
For his part, Wolpert kept his fan hat on both for his new medium and his new gig. From a very young age I was into comic books. It was also through them that I began to think of storytelling as a visual medium, so they had a lot to do with how I ended up working in television and film,” Wolpert told CBR. “So when Luke brought up the opportunity to work in the comic world, I jumped at it.
[The Leone films] had a huge impact. How could they not? They are definitive visions of a world, completely unique, and it is both liberating and difficult to work in that realm. And the details of the films (when they are consistent) really informed how we constructed out story.
That story carries the somewhat ironic title Holiday In the Sun and sees the titular lead's (oftentimes called Blondie) untrustworthy compatriot Tuco step into the spotlight for a tale that bounces back and forth between the days before and just after Ugly, which for uninformed readers is the prequel in Leone's trilogy.
Since the first arc dealt with what happened to Blondie’s share of the treasure from 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,' we wanted to start with what Tuco was doing with his share, explained Wolpert. And while he is living the high life, he pops back up on the radar of some old enemies, which it turns out he shares with Blondie. Our flashbacks deal with how they first met each other and who the mysterious man is that wants them both dead.
Seeing as the original films helped birth the modern concept of the anti-hero, Lieberman promised readers the inclusion of sneaky sidekick Tuco will make for some morally ambiguous back stabbing as the action-heavy arc develops. Tuco is eternal; he is always Tuco,” Lieberman remarked. “The circumstances might change, but Tuco is always the ultimate rascal. We get to see him in a whole range of situations in the story.
As for whether their writing partnership stands on shaky ground as they work together for the first time in print, Wolpert said his relationship with Lieberman is much more egalitarian than Blondie and Tuco's. The writing is actually divided up pretty evenly, after we break the stories together,” he said. “One of us will start out writing a few pages and we’ll pass it back and forth, writing and re-writing, until we get a solid issue.
[This book] gives the readers and us a chance to play in world of the ultimate western. Leone took westerns to another level, added Lieberman. But we’re actually still writing this series — I’ve got to throw on my Morricone downloads and write another couple pages.