When you're the Chief Creative Officer for DC Entertainment, every day is a big day.
But with the release of not one, but two new titles, yesterday was even bigger for Geoff Johns.
The bi-weekly series "Brightest Day," which he is co-writing with Peter Tomasi [Green Lantern] kicked off on Wednesday with the release of #0, and his latest return to "The Flash" - this time with Barry Allen and featuring the art of rising star Francis Manapul - launched yesterday as well.
So while it's always a good time to chat with Geoff, CBR figured we'd celebrate this brightest day with the latest instalment of GEOFF JOHNS PRIME.
Each time we present CBR's bi-monthly visit with the superstar writer, Johns answers 20 or so reader-generated questions in between writing major storylines for DC Comics, including the aforementioned titles and his long-running opus with Hal Jordan in "Green Lantern."
Johns is also working on a number of movie projects for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment (big screen adaptations of "Green Lantern," "The Flash" and "Shazam), a new series of "Batman: Earth One" original graphic novels with Gary Frank and he is also the co-owner of Earth-2 Comics in Northridge, California.
Readers evidently could care less that Geoff is so busy, because they responded in droves to our call for questions. We gathered the 20 best and spoke with Geoff earlier this week.
Tired of me yet? OK. I'm done. Here's GEOFF JOHNS PRIME.
We start with Jaded Devil, who asks:
In the artwork in "Blackest Night" #8, it looks like Black Hand is vomiting up more than just twelve rings - it looks like anywhere from 13 to 15. Are there more rings out there?
No. And actually there is only one ring left. And Deadman's wearing it. Why? He'll find out soon.
Sinestro has played a significant role ever since "Green Lantern: Rebirth." Now that "Blackest Night" has ended and a new era has begun I'm left wondering: What was the overall story arc for Sinestro through until the end of "Blackest Night?"
He's a main character in the Green Lantern mythos and will continue to be in the DC Universe. Obviously, there are a lot plans for Sinestro.
What can we look forward to with him now that he has played his part in Abin Sur's mission to end the threat of Nekron? And what can we expect in the future from Sinestro, since it's pretty obvious that he is not a clear-cut evil character but much more complicated?
Ah, yeah, but he has a really big evil streak [Laughs]. I would not get too comfortable with Sinestro.
Lanternfan2814 wants to know:
Are the heroes that came back in "Blackest Night" #8 the only heroes coming back? The White Lantern was dropped in the middle of nowhere, and that power source could bring more people back.
What the White Lantern is there for is part of the story of "Brightest Day" and "Green Lantern" Actually, it is the story.
Someone asked awhile ago, I think it was Dan Didio, what other projects you have coming up. I believe his words were something about you working on a title with one name in it and it's not Aquaman. So is it Hawkman, Firestorm, or the Atom??? Because I think that anyone of these three would be great under your guidance.
All three of them - Hawkman, Firestorm and The Atom - are in "Brightest Day." As for post-"Brightest Day," I obviously can't divulge any plans just yet for what's in store for these characters or the DC Universe.
Slewo had just read "Blackest Night" #8 when he sent in his questions and he admitted he was rather surprised.
Are the characters shown in "Blackest Night" #8 revived by Hal Jordan the only ones revived or do we have more people in Earth and throughout the universe brought back to life? Because I for one would definitely love to see Aztek come back to life.
The 12 heroes are the only ones that are alive. Why these twelve? Each one was chosen for a very specific reason, both in and out of comics.
And regarding "Green Lantern"#50, was that really Black Lantern Arthur Jr. or some type of construct? It was not clear and no "connection severed" was in the graphics.
Oh, that was definitely Black Lantern Arthur Jr. [laughs]. You can assume he's gone.
Joe in Bethlehem, a favourite here at GEOFF JOHNS PRIME, asked this question, but he was one of many.
What is AQUAWARR?
I can not divulge anything of which the Indigo Tribe speaks. I can't talk about it. They would come take me away and brainwash me as they are doing to Black Hand.
I think you said last time we spoke that there was a decoder ring for the Indigo Tribe's language but no one would ever get their hands on it.
And I've also said a few times that some words mean in Indigo Tribe's language actually mean more than one word or one phrase. And sometimes multiple words can mean less.
Nick from San Francisco is a huge fan of your work and asks:
After reading Aquaman and Mera in "Blackest Night," and the recent "Brave and the Bold" issue by JMS, which was a huge hit with fans, it seems like the time is right for Aquaman to make a return. Any chance you'll be working on an Aquaman ongoing? And is "Brightest Day" an Aquaman "audition," to see if he can sustain his own book?
We're starting to see a pattern here...
Aquaman has been one of my favorite characters since I started reading comics, so when the story developed and some of the Black Lanterns were returning to life, he was top of my list for characters that I wanted to work with. Which is why I spent so much time on Mera in "Blackest Night," because when we started fleshing her out, and we got to the story of Aquaman, Mera had already had the spotlight on her and I could really focus on Aquaman and Mera - together.
Maybe before we jump into some "Brightest Day" questions, and for those who have been living under a rock the past year or so, what is it all about, and what do readers need to know coming into this new bi-weekly series?
The overall story is why these 12 heroes came back. Each one of these characters has their own specific story, much like "52," but there is also a bigger story involving all of them, which explains why it's these 12 characters in particular and what they're here to do. And what the results of that will be is seen in "Brightest Day."
And will the story be told as a team book like "Justice League of America" or "Justice Society of America." Or will these be different storylines told in vignettes along separate lines?
It's more that each character has his or her own journey. You don't need to read every book to know anyone's story. You can follow it by character, like Maxwell Lord in "Justice League: Generation Lost," or by the overall story, like "Brightest Day."
One more before we get back to the readers' questions - there are a number of books that are under the "Brightest Day" banner, including "The Flash," "Adventure Comics" and "Birds of Prey." How tightly are these books tied into the "Brightest Day" storyline, and will these titles be existing in their own universe within the DCU that you will be specifically overseeing?
As I said before, a lot of the characters we touched on in "Blackest Night" will have their own stories in "Brightest Day." And yes, they're all connected in some way. Jeff Lemire has a story he's telling with The Atom in "Adventure Comics." We talked a lot about where he is now and where he is going, and Jeff has some great ideas to add the Atom mythos. But the thing I love about Jeff is that I think we have a lot of same sensibilities when it comes to tone of the DC Universe and we'll be working together, like everyone will, to give The Atom his own story in "Adventure Comics," but he'll be in "Brightest Day," too. Let's say, they will be reflective of one another.
We don't want anyone to have to buy a lot of DC books, we want you to. Our job is to tell great stories that can stand alone and also be part of a bigger whole. That's what the DC Universe is. The Flash is probably one of the most accessible books I have written, but it fits into the bigger tapestry of the DCU. And working in a shared universe is one of my favorite things to do, collaborating with other writers - like Grant [Morrison], Gail [Simone], Peter [Tomasi], JT [Krul] and James [Robinson] - and now JMS, Jeff Lemire and Paul Cornell among so many others. The DCU has got a great, growing Justice League of writers, and I'm proud to stand among them.
Should we be looking for clues in what we already know about these characters, in how they died, in their backstories, in their personalities, in various and sundry links between them or would that be a wild goose chase? Are the clues going to only start coming in "Brightest Day," or are they already to be found through the specific characters chosen?
I think our whole job is to start right now where you don't need to know anything about them - you can read "Brightest Day" #0 and get everything you need to know, and then "Brightest Day" #1, you're good to go. We're here to introduce these characters for the first time, and a lot of new characters are introduced alongside them at the same time.
Vernon wants to know:
What will happen with Jason Rusch in regards to Firestorm?
He's in "Brightest Day," right alongside Ronnie and their story is perhaps the most connected to "Blackest Night."
Why wasn't Blue Beetle/Ted Kord brought back to life?
The story in "Brightest Day" is why some of these superheroes are back and some aren't. Why these 12? If you like Blue Beetle, there are major plans for Jaime in "Justice League: Generation Lost" and beyond.
Will there be a "Blackest Night" storyline for the DC Universe MMO game?
That's a question for the MMO guys, but it's built for expansion, so, eventually, you could see just about any storyline in there.
James asks wants to know about some upcoming DCE movie projects:
While I am beyond excited about "Green Lantern," how quickly will we see you putting together a true slate of comic movies so we can finally have DCE take the limelight away from the 666 crew? How many projects per year can we hope to expect?
I can't get into the exact DC slate right now, but we're all working heavily on what that is with Warner Bros. and there will be news forthcoming. But, you can bet there is going to be a lot more than there is right now.
I'm going to jump in here with another question. You've been down to New Orleans a few times to visit the "Green Lantern" set. Can you speak about how production is going and specifically what your early impressions are of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan?
The movie looks fantastic. I'm heading back down to New Orleans in a few weeks, but I just watched the Abin Sur/Hal Jordan dailies, and it's amazing seeing that ring passed to Hal in live action. Abin Sur looks kick-ass.
They did such a great job. They've got Grant [Major] as a production designer. He's from "Lord of the Rings," and the visuals on this film are nothing like you could imagine. It's definitely a Green Lantern fan's dream. For me, it's kind of insane to see this stuff come to life.
And Ryan Reynolds is a perfect Hal Jordan. He brings a lot of humor to it, but he also has the humanity that Hal has. And a little bit of the arrogance, so it's a great match.
Not lost on fans is the fact a new Flash series kicked off this week, too. Adam Johnson asks:
I read that during your first run on "The Flash" with Wally, you left the book even though you weren't ready to leave and still had a lot stories left to tell. Now that you are once again writing the Flash, will this be the opportunity to tell those stories, or are many of them inconsequential seeing as how it is now Barry who you are writing?
No, those stories have been put away for now, and the stories I'm telling are new and designed for Barry. They are all about Barry.
Will Barry face any new villains in his series?
You will see new characters in "The Flash" #1.
But he asked about new villains?
I will not say anything other than you will see new characters in "The Flash" #1. But they're kinda villains. Kinda.
OK. David asks about an established character playing a role:
Any chance of a "Flash"/"Green Lantern" crossover since you're writing both books?
Absolutely. Yes, you will.
Cesar wants to know about a project that's still a ways a way but one definitely on the minds of fans of Geoff Johns and Bruce Wayne.
Is there any chance we can expect to see Catwoman/Selina Kyle at some point in the future of the "Batman: Earth One" graphic novels?
Not right away, but yes, Gary and I have big plans for her.
Trevor has a question about your past collaborations with Gary on "Secret Origin" and "Action Comics."
I was just curious about something on your "Action Comics" run. Why did you decide to kill off Pa Kent? Was it to make Brainiac all the more menacing and give Superman an emotional investment?
It was a difficult scene, obviously, but I thought it was a beautiful scene. I think Gary did a wonderful job on it. But sure, it's heartbreaking. If you look at the scene, it actually mirrors the image in that splash page in "Secret Origin" #1 when we show the first time that Pa hugs Clark.
Finally, Richard, a long-time fan of Green Lantern - and you really must google the cover art for this issue to truly appreciate - has just six words: Giant Gila Monsters. With Ray Guns.
One of my favorite parts of the early Green Lantern mythology was the third secret identity of Green Lantern: Pol Manning, Solar Director, introduced in "Green Lantern" #8, in the story ‘Challenge from 5700 AD.' Inarguably inspiring one of Gil Kane's greatest covers, it introduced a whole new plotline and set of characters, including redhead Iona Vane, into Green Lantern's life. Any chance that you will be taking us all ‘back to the future' in upcoming issues?
Never, say never. This is the DC Universe.