Exclusive Q&A with Robert Venitti and Van Jensen
Charlie Chang: It’s been over a year now that you both have been living with the Green Lantern Corps. Now that you’ve had a chance to tell some of their stories in the New 52 and fleshed out some of these characters, who are your favorites?
Robert Venditti: Wow, I love Kilowog, I think he’s a great character and I have a lot of fun with him. I didn’t know much about the larger Green Lantern Corps until I started researching it but Kilowog is so much fun to write and Billy (Tan) does such a great job drawing him. I also really like Gorun-Sun, who is a new energy based Lantern that Billy and I created doing this series and he came up with a really great design. One of the cool things is, he was intentionally designed to be this touch of color and with this book being so green because they wear green and shoot green light, Gorun-Sun is this orange green light and when you see him on the page he just always jumps out at you. Then of course Hal, the more you get to write a character like Hal the more you get to understand him and relate to him.
Van Jensen: Green Lantern Corps mostly focuses on John Stewart so it’s really been diving deep into this character and for so long he’s been really focused on looking back at past tragedies and we’ve been moving him into the future and propelling him into this next era. One character that I really loved writing that was not a famous Green Lantern in any regard was this space snake named Oliversity and he’s a really a cool character that I just murdered.
So you know, pour one out for Oliversity.
RV: “Was” being the key word there.
VJ: He had a good death, pretty epic.
CC: One of the really cool things that I’ve always felt Green Lantern needed was that space odyssey feel which you guys have definitely done. Just this Star Wars feel with space pubs and space brawls. Where are you guys getting your inspiration when you’re coming up with Green Lantern stories?
RV: Yeah I think that’s great way of looking at it. We talked about having spaceships from the very beginning. Let’s have cantinas. Let’s have space stations. Let’s really build out and Van did this great thing, he can tell you the issue, where he did like a space bazaar.
VJ: Issue #28!
RV: Those kind of things are so much fun, that’s what’s great about the space odyssey theme. It’s just cool being able to tap into that kind of energy and creativity.
VJ: I think so much of this stuff is so big and so cosmic and it’s almost ephemeral because it’s almost like concepts that are bigger than imagination and even constructs of light are even things that are hard to connect with and they’re so fantastical. So to really ground it in these physical and real places like a space cantina. It’s like any person out there knows what a cantina is. There was one issue I did where there was an alien planet that had a whole mining colony on it. Everyone gets that and knows what that is.
CC: What do you think are the more subtle themes in what you guys have so far?
RV: For Hal’s book (Green Lantern) it’s really been about leadership and what it takes to be a leader. It takes a look at him as a character. He’s a very charismatic guy and people need him because they’re drawn to him but that’s different from being a leader in the formal sense. So in line with that, there’s something we all have to face as we grow and evolve as people. How much do we do that in the expense of who we are? How do you balance changing and growing as a person but still retain the things that make you unique? That’s something he’s been dealing with. Also in the larger sense, with the Lights Out story and the revelation that there’s a reservoir, the idea that life is based on consumption, whether it’s gas or wood to build our houses, the food we eat, so how does each of us justify that consumption? Do we justify it by being a hero and using it to do good? Or are we like the Durlans who consume energy to power mad dictators?
VJ: Yeah one of the things we talk a lot about is this concept of, how do you police a universe that doesn’t want you to police them? What does that look like? How does that affect you intellectually and emotionally? For Green Lantern Corps lately it’s been focusing a lot on identity. John Stewart and the other characters are looking at how they identify themselves and how think of themselves but also the Durlan, who are shape shifters and are never how they appear and it really makes that concept corporeal.