As New York Comic Con nears its close, DC Comics gathered its top Green Lantern talent for the "Green Lantern - 'Lights Out'!" panel Sunday afternoon, focusing on the currently ongoing "Lights Out" storyline and beyond.
"Green Lantern" writer and "Green Lantern Corps" co-writer Robert Venditti, "Green Lantern Corps" co-writer Van Jensen, "Red Lanterns" writer Charles Soule, "Green Lantern: New Guardians" writer Justin Jordan and "Green Lantern Corps" artist Bernard Chang all were presented, with DC marketing VP John Cunningham serving as moderator.
First up, Cunningham asked Venditti for the basics of "Lights Out." "Coming after Geoff Johns, one of the most successful writers of the past decade both commercially and creatively, taking on a job like this, it was never about trying to undo anything he did, but really built on this great foundation he put together," the writer said. "'Lights Out,' as I was reading through all that was potentially the next logical step in that mythology. Where does all this energy that the color corps are using come from?"
Jensen called the recently released "Green Lantern Corps" #24, part of "Lights Out," a "very fun issue to write." Chang said drawing that issue "almost killed [him]," and praises colorist Marcelo Maiolo.
Jordan talked "Green Lantern: New Guardians," and explained the GL-specific concept of entities to the crowd: "The entities are basically the living representations of each of the emotional spectrum." Jordan called "New Guardians "#24, out Oct. 16, "a fairly exciting issue" that ends with a "nice revelation" that he hopes surprises people.
Soule explained the concept of "Red Lanterns" to folks in the audience who may be unfamiliar -- they're rage-based rather than will-based -- and detailed Guy Gardner's recent involvement in the book. "Guy has been off the radar for a while," Soule said. Issue #24, out Oct. 23, will be the first time Guy and Hal Jordan encounter each other since Guy's Red Lantern undercover mission, and "it goes pretty badly for Hal."
Atrocitus will also resurface in "Red Lanterns" #24, and Jordan said that issue contains one of the funniest lines he's seen in a GL book.
"Green Lantern Annual" #2, out Oct. 30, is the final chapter of "Lights Out," and will include a trip to the Source Wall. When Venditti heard "'the Source Wall," the writer said, many ideas for the story arc followed. "It's a huge challenge," Venditti said. "These are large pieces of DC mythology. You don't want to come in and screw that up, and hopefully you'll find that not to be the case."
Moving to audience Q&A, the first person up asked the panel what their favorite Green Lantern moments, as readers, were. Venditti said he has two: Larfleeze writing a letter to Santa Claus, and Scarecrow as a Yellow Lantern and Lex Luthor as an Orange Lantern in "Blackest Night." Jensen cited John Stewart's introduction. Soule's pick: Batman sucker-punching Guy Gardner, even though it wasn't specifically in a Green Lantern comic. Chang said "Superfriends" had a huge impact on him as a child. Jordan: "Hal Jordan killing all the other Lanterns and taking their rings is the wrong answer, right?"
The next fan at the mic asked who comes up with various constructs -- the writer or the artist. Soule said it depends -- sometimes you leave it open, sometimes you have something very specific in mind. Jordan said "New Guardians" artist Brad Walker often comes up with something cooler than he had in the mind. Chang said writers and artists are a team: "There's a real nice balance between both, but the more creative the writer is, and the more creative the artist, the better the project is going to be at the end of the day."
Will the GL books going forward be more focused on new villains like Relic, or established mythology? "We definitely have very big plans with a lot of the more traditional villains, as well as playing off the other books," Venditti said. Jordan said the next couple arcs of "New Guardians" will feature new villains.
Next person up asked about the freedom granted in writing "Red Lanterns" since it's a relatively new concept. "It's an interesting balance," Soule said of using rage as a heroic motivator. "There are a lot of different kinds of rage. There's rage like, 'rawr,' but also a cool, silent rage, and a simmering rage."
A fan holding a plush Anarky doll asked about the character's role in November's "Green Lantern Corps" tie-in to "Zero Year." Jensen explained that's essentially a zero issue for John Stewart as a marine, and Anarky has a "very big hand in it." "You can understand what he's doing even if you don't agree with what he's doing," the writer said.
Next question came from a Blue Lantern enthusiast concerned about their fate at the hands of Relic -- who was told by Jordan, jokingly, "They died because I hate elephants. Those bastards can't go extinct fast enough." Speaking more frankly, Jordan said they were a major threat to Relic, which is why they were taken out the way they did.
Will Larfleeze have a presence in "Lights Out"? "He was key to the deep background of the story," Venditti answered. "The reason I chose Larfleeze is because he is the biggest waster of light."
Venditti told a fan that the ending of "Green Lantern" #20, Johns' last issue of the series, was not an "unassailable version of the future."