Greatest American Hero In Print
William Katt talks about his latest comic
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.
suit goes well with a jacket...
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
McCaw: Why would you go back to The Greatest American
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
McCaw: What made the change in attitude for you?
Katt: My age. I grew up. I think I was really immature
and a lot stupider than I am now. (laughs)
McCaw: When you started Catastrophic, was it with
the goal of getting The Greatest American Hero? I know we'd
talked about it briefly…
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.
McCaw: Let's talk about your approach to the character.
In your mind, why did the aliens choose Ralph?
getting the band back together...
for animated webisodes in 2009, too!
Katt: He was a good-looking blond (laughs)
and they had the genders mixed up.
McCaw: Let's put it this way - what makes Ralph
so rich a character for you?
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
He's just an all-around good guy, and his
humility is bottomless.
McCaw: Would you characterize Ralph as an Eagle
Scout, Boy Scout kind of guy?
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.
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.
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)
McCaw: What do you hope to accomplish with comic
have the Previews order number as soon as we know
Katt: We're going to tell stories that take up
where that left off, and that are a lot of fun.
McCaw: You've got a six issue commitment right
now. Are you hoping to continue beyond that?
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
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?
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!
McCaw: What about that title in 2008? What meaning
does that have for you?
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.
America has largely lost its way, and needs to rediscover
what it is, what made it great. Ralph Hinkley aspires to
all those attributes.
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