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The Greatest American Hero In Print
William Katt talks about his latest comic book venture...

The suit goes well with a jacket...
A month ago, I sat down with my boss at Catastrophic Comics, William Katt, to talk about the company. Of course, we'd been working for a little while on what we believe will be a huge project -- reviving The Greatest American Hero in comic book form.

Thursday at Comic-Con, Catastrophic held a panel that both announced the project and reunited the big three of the cast -- Katt, Robert Culp and the lovely Connie Sellecca. Before the panel, I talked to Katt about the comic and his thoughts on the series...

Derek McCaw: Why would you go back to The Greatest American Hero?

William Katt: I don't know that I appreciated the character at the time. Looking back at it, realizing what Stephen (J. Cannell) was doing at the time, I appreciate it more than I ever did. It's far richer and vibrant and full of potential than ever I realized when I was first performing it.

Derek McCaw: What made the change in attitude for you?

William Katt: My age. I grew up. I think I was really immature and a lot stupider than I am now. (laughs)

Derek McCaw: When you started Catastrophic, was it with the goal of getting The Greatest American Hero? I know we'd talked about it briefly…

William Katt: Yes, we wanted to do Hero right away. That was one of the first discussions that we had, seeing if we could get the rights as a comic book.

That show was too short-lived. It was really here and gone before it really had the ability to mature and grow into a full head of steam. We were just figuring out what we were capable of doing at the time, and then it was pulled. There were a lot more stories to tell. We hadn't reached that saturation point.

We're getting the band back together...
for animated webisodes in 2009, too!
Derek McCaw: Let's talk about your approach to the character. In your mind, why did the aliens choose Ralph?

William Katt: He was a good-looking blond (laughs) and they had the genders mixed up.

Derek McCaw: Let's put it this way - what makes Ralph so rich a character for you?

William Katt: He's a person with integrity. He has character. He's old-fashioned in his value system; he's a very honorable human being. And he always wrestles with himself to do the right thing.

He's just an all-around good guy, and his humility is bottomless.

Derek McCaw: Would you characterize Ralph as an Eagle Scout, Boy Scout kind of guy?

William Katt: Ralph's the kind of guy who would have done all the work it would have took to become an Eagle Scout, but he would have never gone to take the award. It wasn't about the award; it was about doing the work.

Derek McCaw: Why is he with Bill Maxwell? If you watch the pilot, it seems a little more than coincidence that the two of them run into each other. It's almost planned.

William Katt: I used to think that Bill Maxwell was the squire to Ralph's knight, but Bob Culp calls him the Merlin to Ralph's Arthur, and I love that. See, Bob's a much smarter man than I. (laughs)

We'll have the Previews order number as soon as we know it!
Derek McCaw: What do you hope to accomplish with comic book?

William Katt: We're going to tell stories that take up where that left off, and that are a lot of fun.

Derek McCaw: You've got a six issue commitment right now. Are you hoping to continue beyond that?

William Katt: We are hoping; it really depends on Stephen. (smiles) If he thinks we're doing a good job, he'll allow us to go on. Then we'll see. You know, he's doing a new film. I read the script. It's a well-written script, it's funny and it skews a little bit younger.

We're hoping that there's room for two franchises, one for the new version of The Greatest American Hero, and one for the classic version. I think there's room for both.

Derek McCaw: One thing we're doing is updating the origin for 2008. Why do that instead of visiting Ralph at 55 and Bill in his late 70's?

William Katt: God, why would you want to? (laughs) Seriously. I mainly wanted to fix my hair. That big blond mop, that's gotta go. Bring that down!

Derek McCaw: What about that title in 2008? What meaning does that have for you?

William Katt: I think there's never been a time when we've needed heroes more, particularly American heroes. So the time - it's a good time.

I think America has largely lost its way, and needs to rediscover what it is, what made it great. Ralph Hinkley aspires to all those attributes.

So we thank William Katt, and hope that everyone reading this will be sure to order The Greatest American Hero #1, coming in November 2008 from Catastrophic Comics and Arcana Studios!

Derek McCaw

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