Exclusive Interview: New Green Lantern Scribe Robert Venditti Discusses New Direction For Hal Jordan & Co.
After years of adding to and re-establishing the Green Lantern mythos, writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is leaving the series. Stepping into those big shoes is Robert Venditti who, with artist Billy Tan, will be bringing the new adventures of Hal Jordan and friends to life.
Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer talked exclusively with Venditti about Green Lantern the character, Green Lantern the book, and in what direction Hal Jordan will be headed after the end of the ongoing "Wrath of the First Lantern" event, if indeed he survives it.
Cosmic Book News: Congratulations on the new assignment, Robert. Tell us how it came about.
Robert Venditti: When Geoff Johns made the decision to bring his run to a close, group editor Matt Idelson asked me if I’d be interested in pitching for it. I was of course very interested, but also a bit intimidated. Geoff is one of the most significant comics writers of the last decade, and when you read Green Lantern, it’s easy to see why. The level of character and imagination he brought to the series is staggering.
I put together a pitch with ideas I thought might be good directions for the series to go in, and within that pitch were several plots and subplots we’ll be using in our first few arcs. The entire process was pretty intense, with me ultimately flying to New York and making my final pitch at the DC offices. And here we are.
CBN: Geoff Johns is leaving Green Lantern after a long period. How do you step into such big shoes?
Robert Venditti: I try not to dwell on that. If I did, I’d probably psych myself out. I’m just going to tell the best stories I can, the way I know how to tell them. That’s all any writer can do, really.
CBN: As you previously said, Geoff added many things to the GL mythos. Any ideas in mind that you would love to see become canon?
Robert Venditti: Yeah, our first arc will add something that I hope will be fairly significant to the Green Lantern mythology. We aren’t going off on some wild tangent, though. We’re very much building on what Geoff has done during his run. There are so many great toys there, how could we not want to play with them?
CBN: We have been dealing with ring bearers and color spectrums for awhile. Any plans to venture into DCU space and involve alien races in a Green Lantern adventure where the only ring is his own?
Robert Venditti: Sure, but not right away. As I said, we’re coming out of the gate with a new addition to the mythology, and if we execute the story the way we want to, for all intents and purposes it’ll connect every Lantern of every color that has ever appeared in any comic book. So, you know, baby steps.
CBN: With both Sinestro and Baz usurping the book, from what I have read Hal Jordan will be your main focus. Why?
Robert Venditti: Hal is one of the most unique and enjoyable characters in all of comics, and from the moment DC reached out to me about pitching for the series, he was always my focus. It also helps that he’s the most logical choice, given the events that will transpire by the end of Geoff’s run.
CBN: Any particular cosmic entity or entities you would like to pit Hal against?
Robert Venditti: To start, we’ll be introducing a couple of completely new villains, one of the cosmic variety, and the other less so. There are going to be a ton of new characters in the early arcs, actually.
CBN: Will the Green Lantern books stay unto themselves for awhile or will there be some linewide "event" threaded through them again soon?
Robert Venditti: The goal is to have Green Lantern fulfill both roles—the book will stand on its own as an individual story, but it’ll also tie in with the rest of the titles in the family. Since the first arc will be dealing with the mythology and history of the characters, there are threads that run through everything. And Josh Fialkov and Justin Jordan will be bringing great things to their respective series, so you can’t go wrong by reading everything.
Robert Venditti: I am a fan. Billy is almost finished with our first issue, and it looks astounding. There’s a double-page spread he sent in the other day, and I couldn’t believe the level of detail. The drama and ferocity of the scene just leaps off the page. I’m no artist, but I can imagine drawing a book like Green Lantern—all the alien races and cosmic settings—is no easy task. Billy stepped into the batter’s box and started hitting it out of the park from page one.
CBN: Any other projects coming up you'd care to discuss?
Robert Venditti: I’m still writing Demon Knights, as well as X-O Manowar for Valiant. And I’m working with artist Nate Powell on an adaptation of Rick Riordan’s novel The Lost Hero, the first installment in his Heroes of Olympus series. My next two adaptations in Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, both with artist Attila Futaki, will be out in July and October of this year. On the creator-owned front, I’m just about finished with what will hopefully be the longest project I’ve ever undertaken, at least in terms of sheer writing. So there are quite a few things I’m excited to get on the shelves.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank the very busy Robert Venditti for taking the time to talk with us. CBN would also like to thank Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski of DC PR for helping make this issue possible.
"Green Lantern" #21 by Robert Venditti and Billy Tan hits shelves in June!