Welcome to GEOFF JOHNS PRIME.
As promised, just in time for Free Comic Book Day and the release of “Blackest Night” #0, CBR News is pleased to present the first installment of this new bi-monthly feature.
We asked CBR readers to send us your questions, and you responded with more than 100 questions over the course of a weekend and a day.
So first off, thanks to you for making this happen.
Secondly, we’d like to thank superstar writer Geoff Johns for taking time from his massively busy schedule to respond to your questions and like he does in all of his comics, he poured his heart into the effort.
We’ve taken the 10 questions that seemed to best embody the queries the collective was looking to have answered. And we managed to morph some into multi-parters so we’re actually closer to 20 responses from GJ.
So without further ado, here’s Geoff and Jeff.
First off, Zachary, who called you Mr. Awesome, asks:
When writing a comic/story, do you have a certain theme in mind for the arc of the character you’re writing? For example, since you’ve started writing Hal Jordan, what theme or idea does he represent, if any?
Hey, Zach. There are always themes that play into the craft of a story, but they’re often dressed in super-hero uniforms and masks, covered in bright constructs or electrical trails. And it’s really what people take from it. They can just enjoy “Green Lantern” for being a sci-fi adventure book, or they can go deeper. The Sinestro Corps obviously has metaphors and overtones, as does the story of Coast City from “Rebirth” #1 to “Green Lantern” #25. But you always want to know what you’re really writing about. It’s not just Barry Allen returning, it’s exploring someone who feels the seconds ticking away, no matter how fast they are.
Mike from Toronto asks:
You are kicking ass with “Green Lantern!” What are your plans after “Blackest Night”? Will you continue to write “Green Lantern”? Please say, “YES!!!”
Thanks, Mike! My plans after “Blackest Night” are to continue on “Green Lantern.” Peter Tomasi and I have a lot of plans for “Green Lantern,” “Green Lantern Corps” and beyond following out of “Blackest Night.”
This one might make your head explode. Jamie asks:
How much were you influenced by the idea of “The Seven Rays” that appears in various religions when you thought of the “Blackest Night” story and the other lanterns? From what little I know of this, the rays look similar (certainly not identical) to how you’ve constructed the new lanterns and what fuels them. Just curious.
(Here’s a link for reference. The first chart at the bottom is closest to what Jamie is referring to.)
Hey, Jamie! There is a lot of exploration of light and emotional journey linked with the physical throughout religion, including “The Seven Rays” and they are all an influence. We’re all familiar with “Let there be light.” And that’s where this idea all started from for me. The light existed and then splintered, but from there, I’m a believer in sentient energy, we added to it. Every being in the universe can affect the overall state of its wellbeing. If we embrace fear, we add that to the emotional state of the universe and it changes it, if we embrace willpower – and that is the will to live, the courage to carry on – we change the state of the universe. We are all individuals, but we’re all connected. It’s like being in a room with ten people and someone is panicking, it’ll cause more panic and conflict unless it’s quelled by something else.
I’m exploring a different aspect of spiritual journey and how it can be manifested physically in “The Flash: Rebirth.”
Along the same lines, Brandon asks:
Aside from the colors, is there any significance to the design of each of the different Corps’ symbols?
Brandon, the genius that is Ethan Van Sciver can go into the symbols more about specifics, but I do know that there are motivations behind the details, such as the Red Lantern, that have those sharp almost ‘evil’ devil horn-like line rising from the center circle. And the Orange Lantern, I’m not sure if Ethan was doing this purposely, but it looks to me as if it were reaching out, trying to find something else, as Agent Orange is always doing.
Thomas jammed a few questions into one. He asks:
Is the Batman we’ve seen in previews for “Blackest Night” the Batman of Earth-2? Any plans for Gnort in “Blackest Night” or as a Red Lantern? I’d love to see a Red Lantern version.
Sadly, Thomas, no plans for G’nort right now. At least that means he’s not dead! I cannot say much about Batman other than you kind of see him in “Blackest Night”#0.
Sticking with Batman, Awkward Azian Boy asks:
Because we’re getting a “Blackest Night” Batman, does that mean Batman is actually dead and not stuck in the past as suggested at the end of “Final Crisis”?
The mystery of Batman will be unfolding throughout the DC Universe, Awkward Azian, but if I can suggest – like you’re not going to pick it up already – buy Grant and Frank’s “Batman & Robin” #1 in June. It’s unbelievable. And what Grant’s told me about the book, what I’ve read and seen, it’s going to be my favorite title on the stand just as “All-Star Superman” was.
AAB also asked:
Green Lanterns need willpower to make constructs, and all the other lanterns need their respective emotion to do stuff with the ring. Will the Black Lanterns be able to make Constructs as well because their, you know, dead and all?
You’ll see how the Black Lanterns ‘work’ in “Blackest Night” #1!
In regards to the “Green Lantern” movie, Andy asks:
I know from your website that you’re excited about the upcoming live action “Green Lantern” movie. And I’m dying to know if the writers of the film have talked to you at all about their approach to the Green Lantern mythology? And if so, can you share any details? Since you have contributed so much to the reinvention of Green Lantern since “Rebirth” and on towards “Blackest Night,” it would be great to see them take some cues from you. It would also provide a sense of synergy between the film and current Green Lantern comics that could only help when bringing in new fans.
Andy, thanks for the kind words. I can’t say much at the moment about the “Green Lantern” film other than Martin Campbell is an absolutely unbelievable director and I’m thrilled he’s tackling it. And Warner Brothers should get all the credit in the world for getting him and embracing the true essence of the Green Lantern mythology. My hopes are high.
Another Andy asks this about “Flash: Rebirth”:
You have managed to survive the Hal vs. Kyle storm debate by making both characters relevant, strong and interesting. Are you ready to weather the next storm in “Flash: Rebirth” that is Barry vs. Wally? And what is your plan to make both interesting in their own right?
I’m ready, Andy! I think “The Flash: Rebirth” should answer some of your questions – wouldn’t want to spoil it here – but there will be something new coming up in all of this…
Brent, Joshua and Shawn all want to talk “Justice Society of America” and All Star Squadron.
I loved this recent run of “Justice Society of America” and the new characters that were added. One of my favorite existing characters of that cast is Obsidian, and it seemed like there was a lot hinted and set up for the character that never saw fruition. Could you hint at what you had planned for the character? Were there a lot of character developments in general that you didn’t get the chance to do? Are you done with JSA or can you see yourself coming back to the characters after a while?
Would you do an All Star Squadron comic?
Thanks, Brent. I had plans for Obsidian, Sandman, Cyclone and Tommy (Wildcat’s kid), but all of my notes on them and story ideas will have to stay in the drawer awhile. Obviously, there were two-dozen characters on the team by the time I wrapped up my last issue. I could’ve written this book for another 100 issues. The same thing happens with most of the books I work on. Rags and I had more Hawkman stories. I have more Teen Titans stories (especially now that Superboy and Kid Flash are back). Hopefully someday I’ll get a chance to tell them.
Don’t know if I’d ever tackle All-Star Squadron. That’s the Justice Society to me. And if you’re talking period pieces, I think the best All-Star Squadron story has already been written by James Robinson – “The Golden Age.”
Stargirl is one of the most interesting characters from your run on “Justice Society of America.” She has become almost the prime example of how the JSA affects and changes the heroes that have come after them. A few other writers have touched upon the character (such as James Robinson in “Starman”), but overall she has been written almost exclusively under your hand. Was your plan originally to show her growth within “JSA” and “Justice Society of America”? And how do you see her continuing on as a hero under new writers?
Thanks, Josh, and, yes, Stargirl’s journey was a steady one throughout my run on JSA. You can bet that Stargirl won’t be far from me for long. With introduction of co-features to the monthly books at DC, I hope to eventually do a “Stargirl” co-feature somewhere if people are interested if not a monthly series which is what I really want to do with her and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Sometimes I get the feeling that continuity seems like a four letter word to most writers, yet you seem to embrace continuity and make it work in ways that really make sense for the characters (i.e. Hawkman). How important is continuity to you and how do you make it look so easy?
During your “JSA” run there were quite a few references to the All-Star Squadron. That's the book that really hooked me into comics and the Golden Age characters as a kid and I was curious whether you had plans on revisiting that team at one point or another?
I deal in continuity because it’s simply history. And I’ve said before, we all have history, or continuity. My goal is always to use what I can and get to the core of the character in a way I think will make the character relatable, understandable and, most importantly, about something other than their powers. Something that you can build stories off of, like Hawkman. His mace and wings are fantastic, but what’s he about?
On the topic of “Secret Origin,” Marcus asks:
How is "Superman: Secret Origin” differ from all of the other retellings of the Man of Steel origins?
Gary Frank and I are going for a timeless look at the beginnings of Clark Kent -- from his time in Smallville to his first day at the Daily Planet to his first battles with some of his most infamous villains. It’s very heavy on character and very much in the same vein as our other work on Superman. You will also not see Krypton explode or the rocket land. We’re trying to do as much as we can from Clark’s point-of-view.
While Martin asks:
Are you going back to “Action Comics” or a “Superman” book after “Secret Origin”?
Gary and I have another project lined up after “Superman: Secret Origin” so, unfortunately, our “Action Comics” run is done for the moment. If Gary wants to return to Superman at some point, I’m happy to do it with him, but once you work with Gary Frank on Superman, it’s really hard to work with anyone else.
And Thomas asks:
I was just wondering why was there a need for a new retelling of the Superman’s origin? Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much looking forward to the miniseries and your writing and Gary Frank’s art. But it seems you would be better served telling new stories, with all sixty-plus years of history at your disposal, rather than having to write a new origin just so that you can explain that Superman was once Superboy and that he had adventures with the Legion of Superheroes. I’m thinking of what Grant Morrison similarly did with Batman, stating that all sixty years of Batman’s existence happened, but only in a short amount of time. Can’t you just re-interpret your idea of what Superman is without having to revisit his past?
Sure we could, Thomas, but Gary and I are out to tell a story about where these characters started from. It’s not about explaining Superboy or Superman’s arrival in the Daily Planet, it’s about the experiences and emotional journey of Clark Kent to Superman. It’s a story that Gary and I are very passionate about telling. You’ll see characters in Superman’s world like you’ve never seen them before. Especially those in Metropolis.
After “Secret Origin,” will you be returning to “Action Comics,” preferably with Gary Frank? If not, is there another Superman project in your sights with or without Gary Frank?
Hey, Richard. As I said above, Gary and I are heading somewhere else for the moment. We have more Superman stories to tell and, if Gary’s up for it, we’ll be coming back some day. For now, you’ve got 188 pages of “Superman: Secret Origin” coming up!
As a bonus question, maybe you could give some rapid fire word association to some names that came up often in the questions:
Superboy Prime – (laughs)
Aquaman – Mera
Hawkman – Mace
Kyle Rayner – Green Lantern
Bart Allen – Teen Titans
And here’s one more bonus question, if you’re game.
I know you likely don’t have any say in casting or any other big decisions for the film, but how would he feel about “House” star Hugh Laurie playing Sinestro in the film adaptation of the book?
Jeff: And I’d love to hear who you think would play a great Hal Jordan.
Hugh Laurie is an amazing actor, Patrick. Not sure if he’d be the best Sinestro though. And who should play Hal Jordan? Let’s talk more about that next time, Jeff!
Thanks Geoff. Until June, up, up and away…