If you haven’t heard the news by now, Dynamite Entertainment and DC Comics will be releasing a new  comic series in which Django, the revenge-seeking slave from the movie/comic Django Unchained, will meet Zorro, the Spaniard who marks his enemies with a “Z”. Better yet, the series will be written by legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, and acclaimed writer Matt Wagner!

Django/Zorro will be released later this year, but in the meantime, Midtown Comics was able to get an exclusive interview with Matt Wagner to hear some more details about this wacky crossover!

MIDTOWN: How did this unlikely crossover of Django Unchained and Zorro come to be?

MATT:  All credit for the genesis of this project has to go to the crazed creative ramblings of Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci and film producer Reggie Hudlin.   I think the whole thing stemmed from the fact that Quentin was a big fan of my work on ZORRO and ZORRO RIDES AGAIN for Dynamite, and that set Nick and Reggie talking about the possibilities.  Perhaps, needless to say, I’d been a huge fan of Quentin’s film work from the very beginning of his career.  It seemed sort of natural to have my western work collide with his western work.  Luckily, when we finally got together for our first meeting, it felt like Quentin and I had known each other for years.  We’re about the same age and have many of the same points-of-reference in regards to our love of pop culture.  I immediately knew this was gonna work out great!

MIDTOWN: What do you think are the biggest similarities between these two characters?

MATT:  Well, they both fight oppression albeit in somewhat different fashions.   They’re also both flamboyant characters (again, each in their own fashion), neither of whom hesitate to leap into action as the situation demands.  And of course, there’s the racial element in each of their narratives.  In our version of Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega’s mother was a Native American, so he holds a particular disdain for prejudice and claims of racial superiority.  And of course, Django is an ex-slave so he knows that kind of injustice firsthand.

MIDTOWN: Knowing what we do about Django Unchained and Zorro, I’m guessing we can expect a good amount of action from this series. Can we also expect that classic Tarantino dialogue that we’ve come to love?

MATT: Anyone who knows both my work and Quentin’s work will realize that another thing we share is a commitment to story and character.  Sure, there’s bound to be some excitement and mayhem, but never at the expense of genuine emotion from believable characters.  Both of us have covered some pretty dark subject matter, but there’s a moral core that runs through all our stories as well.  This story is actually based around a true story of the old west…one that seems almost unbelievable to modern sensibilities but it provides us with a bold and cunning villain for our heroes to face off against.  And, yeah…we have two distinct scenes blocked out in which Quentin is going to write that distinctive dialogue that we all know and love.

MIDTOWN: What are some of your favorite comic book series/characters?

MATT:   I mentioned that Quentin and I share a lot of the same pop culture reference points and memories.  The first time I was at his place, he’d just gone on a buying spree, snatching stacks and stacks of the over-sized black-and-white magazines that Marvel published during the 70s.  Titles like MONSTERS UNLEASHED, TALES OF THE ZOMBIE, SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN and DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU.  I looooved those books when they were first coming out!  Since they were published in the magazine format, they weren’t beholden to the restrictive Comics Code and so weren’t racked in spinner racks like the “regular” comics.  They were shelved high up on the magazine racks, next to the men’s magazine, and they seemed so dangerous and cool.  As a teen at the time, you really felt like you were getting away with something buying any of these titles.   So far, as all-time favorite series…we haven’t really spoken about this but I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page here as well…I’m a huge fan of Koike and Kojima’s epic manga series, LONE WOLF AND CUB.  It’s an amazing tale of honor and revenge that manages to be both episodic and linear over the space of something like 8,000 plus pages of story and art.  It’s an incredible achievement under any circumstances, but when you consider that it’s all the work of the same two creators, it’s even more impressive!

MIDTOWN: What’s been your favorite part about working on this new series?

MATT: I’d have to say the creative synergy.  Like I said, Quentin and I hit off right from the start and we really bounce off each other quite well.  There’s an awful lot of “YES! I love that!” flying back and forth across the table during our story sessions.  After our first get-together, I was all jazzed up about how great this was all going.  I went back to my hotel and banged out the first ten pages of script for Quentin to read the next day.  It’s all just been high energy smooth sailing…we’re both having a blast!

Stay tuned for more info on Django/Zorro to come in the next few months!

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