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Tiki Time All The Time: “Hawaiian Dick” Rips into Ongoing

by  in Comic News Comment
Tiki Time All The Time: “Hawaiian Dick” Rips into Ongoing
“Hawaiian Dick” #1 on sale November 21

After two critically acclaimed miniseries, it’s Tiki time all the time for B. Clay Moore’s “Hawaiian Dick” as Image Comics launches the title as an ongoing series next week, November 21.

The titular Hawaiian dick is Byrd, a former stateside cop who for reasons not completely clear has either left the force or was thrown off it. In 1953, he washes up in Hawaii where he hangs out with his wartime buddy, Honolulu detective Mo Kalama, and barmaid-turned-assistant Kahami, solving some cases along the way like those featured in “Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise” and “Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort.”

By this series, Byrd has set up his own private investigation venture. “Occasionally –well usually– the supernatural, or at least what appears to be the supernatural, gets in the way,” B. Clay Moore told CBR News.

Despite “Hawaiian Dick” being set 50 years in the past, Moore says Byrd’s retro coolness permeates time and allows the character to keep his “cool” in 2007 and beyond. “The book echoes some pretty cool pop culture of the ’50s, a lot of which continues to shape pop culture today,” explained Moore. “Noir never goes out of style, and we try to add a dollop in each series. I think Byrd is likeable and interesting as a character. I also think the supporting cast adds something to the book. If you’ve stuck with us, you should be getting comfortable in Byrd’s world.”

Page from “Hawaiian Dick” #1

That’s not to say new readers need any previous knowledge of the two miniseries to enjoy the new “Hawaiian Dick.” “Nope. For one thing, we open with a recap of the key players, but the ‘guest stars’ in the first arc are a World War II flying squadron called Black Thunder, and this is their introduction,” Moore said. “We also begin to set up some subplots for the long hall.”

Moore says despite the loyal following Byrd’s Hawaii has enjoyed since the release of “Byrd of Paradise” and “The Last Resort,” moving from the miniseries format to an ongoing will give the him even more freedom to expand the world he has created. “It means we’ll see some subplots develop over time, and we’ll be free to drop hints about future storylines,” Moore explained. “The main stories will still be told in arcs, but the background details will lead us from one arc to the next. The first story arc is five issues, followed by a standalone story. That’s probably the pattern we’ll repeat, or close to it. Each issue will feature a back-up story highlighting some corner of Byrd’s world. The first continuing backup is by none other than co-creator Steven Griffin.”

Page from “Hawaiian Dick” #1

Griffin, the artist and colorist of the two miniseries, was nominated for the 2003 Russ Manning Award for his work on “Hawaiian Dick.” He also received three separate Eisner Award nominations for Best Colorist in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Moore says Griffin won’t be the book’s main artist because “it’s just too much of a burden on Steven for a number of reasons. But he is designing the book, providing color, covers and letters, and contributing a four-part back-up story, which probably makes it sound like he’s doing more than he was before, come to think of it,” quipped Moore.

Filling Griffin’s shoes as the artist on “Hawaiian Dick” is Scott Chantler (“Northwest Passage” and “Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen”). “Scott’s an excellent illustrator and a fantastic cartoonist with a real affinity for the era, and for genre storytelling,” said Moore. “He’s a complete professional and has thrown himself into the book full force. The combination of Chantler and Griffin is unlike anything you’ll see in comics. And that’s a good thing.”

Page from “Hawaiian Dick” #1

Moore teased with some plot points and character developments from the first story arc of “Hawaiian Dick”: “The shadow of Bishop Masaki, the villain in the first series, looms large over the Hawaiian underworld. He may be gone, but he left a hole in his wake, and someone needs to fill it.

“In the second series, an Italian-American mobster named Anthony Antonio (A.K.A the Thinker) escaped carnage by hooking a ride home with Byrd and crew. He’s now set up shop selling knickknacks to tourists, but it seems unlikely that’s all he’s up to.

“And the government is curious about some of Byrd’s activities back in the States.”

Moore also provided an update on the proposed movie adaptation of “Hawaiian Dick.””The option expired at New Line, and Jim Strader, my manager, is digging into some tasty new options,” said Moore. “Hopefully, we’ll have more news soon.”

Page from “Hawaiian Dick” #1

B. Clay Moore is glad his creation found a home at Image Comics because, he said, it’s likely the only publisher in comics where “Hawaiian Dick” would fit. “It’s a purely personal vision, without any obvious antecedents in comics,” explained Moore. “Almost all of the influences fall outside of comics, and Image is the perfect place to publish something unique to the medium. [Executive Director] Eric Stephenson and crew have always been hugely supportive of the book, and we like to think we’re one of the quiet gems in the Image catalog.”

“Hawaiian Dick” #1 goes on sale Wednesday, November 21.

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

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