Never Was Comic Strips – The Green Hornet

The producers and creators of the very popular Lone Ranger franchise tried to duplicate that success with The Green Hornet. And that included trying to get the character starring in a comic strip.

Green Hornet historian Martin Gram has explained that after an aborted 1939 attempt Bell Syndicate gave it a shot in 1940. Bell’s proposal got as far as a promotional pamphlet for newspaper editors before Green Hornet owner George Trendle nixed it.

Martin Gram explores the history of the never published Green Hornet newspaper strip and posts the never-before-seen 24 episodes of the strip that were created for the Bell Syndicate.

The planned Bell Syndicate Green Hornet strip was scripted by Fran Striker who was writing The Lone Ranger comic strip. It was drawn by cartoonist Bert Whitman (and his studio?), and while his comic strip never got into newspapers, Whitman did get his version of Green Hornet printed – in comic books.

Around the same time as the comic strip was being created Whitman got the rights to produce Green Hornet comic books, which he and his studio did in 1940 and 1941. Whitman then sold his comic book rights to Harvey Publications.

Ron Goulart has related that Bert Whitman told him that when he sold the rights to the Green Hornet comic book a couple of years later “that he was certain he’d made more money selling the comic-book rights to the character than any publisher ever made from the comics.”

The Green Hornet would eventually make it onto the funny pages. Nearly 80 years later the crime-fighter would appear, not in his own strip, but as a guest star in the Dick Tracy strip in 2018.

Not much longer than the four week promo package from 1940, the six week Dick Tracy Meets The Green Hornet story can be read starting here.