I just finished reading Zorro by Isabel Allende on my lunch break tonight. It is fantastic! Even better than I'd hoped! Full of swashbuckling adventure, gallantry, swordplay, a little doomed romance, pirates...what's not to love? It tells the backstory for Zorro, about how his parents met, why Bernardo is mute, and how Zorro learned to do all that cool stuff he does. I mean, you don't just naturally know how to extinguish candles with a whip, fend off fiends with your sword, do horseback tricks, scale walls, disappear...you've gotta learn that, right? This is all about how Diego de la Vega got so very very cool, and why he put on Zorro's mask in the first place. And it uses stuff from the original movies, the Disney tv show, and even alludes to stuff that'll happen in the movie The Mask of Zorro.
I've loved Zorro since I was a small girl, when I caught a couple eps of The New Zorro on the Fam Channel in the early 1990's. Those 2 or 3 eps were enough to fire my imagination, plus the guy playing Diego/Zorro there (Duncan Regehr) was definitely enough to hold pretty much any girl's attention.
Around that time, I acquired a well-loved (read: tattered) copy of a big (but thin) paperback book based on Disney's 50's tv show. I read it over and over and over (adding to its well-loved-ness), and even dressed as Zorro for Halloween when I was probably 11. To my utter shame, I had to wear brown boots, because I didn't own any black cowboy boots, but other than that I loved my costume :-)
Although I did manage to see 1940's The Mark of Zorro (with Tyrone Power as Zorro and Basil Rathbone as his archenemy) in 1992 or '93, Zorro faded from prominence in my imagination for a few years, supplanted by Indiana Jones and Captain Kirk, I suppose. Then, sometime in the mid-90's, Disney put its Zorro tv show out on video, and my darling Daddy bought all the eps! Zorro grinned his way back into my heart, this time played by the ever-dashing Guy Williams, who will really always be the quintessential Zorro to me.
Of course, then The Mask of Zorro was released in 1998, just before I went to college. And while I adore Antonio Banderas, and he does make a lovely Zorro, and the soundtrack rocks, I'll still always like Guy Williams best in the role, I think.
Anyway, this book is one-hundred-percent shiny, and everyone in the 'verse should read it. I wish I'd written it myself, it's that good.
(I yoinked these pics off the site The Legend of Zorro, which is a fun site with cool soundbytes that will play every time you load a page.)