Exclusive Interview: Robert Venditti and Billy Tan on ‘Green Lantern’

As we reported earlier today, “Green Lantern” has a brand-new creative team: Robert Venditti and Billy Tan. MTV Geek chatted with the two about filling in the mighty big shoes of previous GL team Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke — and what fans can look forward to in the future!

Robert Venditti Interview:

GEEK: Have you always been a big Green Lantern fan?

ROBERT VENDITTI: I came to comics later in life—I didn’t start reading them until 2000—so I didn’t really grow up a fan of any characters or universes. I used to worry that would be a detriment to me, but I’ve come to discover that it allows me to bring a different perspective to a character.

Of course, after DC reached out to me about pitching for Green Lantern, I went back and read all of Geoff’s run—and I can’t count how many other issues of comics—and I was struck by the wonder and imagination he brought to the series. The tremendous depth of his characters and the scope of his stories. Larfleeze writing a Christmas list for Santa has to be one of the best comic book moments—Green Lantern or otherwise—I’ve ever read. So I’m definitely a fan now.

GEEK: How much of the previous Geoff Johns continuity will you be carrying through in the new book?

VENDITTI: Geoff introduced so many great high concepts, and we’ll definitely be building on that continuity. We’ll also be taking things in our own direction, though, examining those concepts and exploring what they mean for the universe as a whole. Talking with the editors and the rest of the Green Lantern team, we’ve laid out a stretch of story arcs I really can’t wait to get on the shelves.

GEEK: What is your unique “take” on Green Lantern?

VENDITTI: Green Lantern will continue to be Hal Jordan’s book, but he’s going to be facing challenges he hasn’t really faced before. Hal is a character unlike any other in all of comics, so it’s really just about tapping into the aspects that make him unique, then putting him up against conflicts that will highlight them—either through his success or his failure. There are a ton of status quo changes coming down the line, and new characters, too.

GEEK: What is it like working with Billy Tan?

VENDITTI: Billy is a brilliant artist. There’s no other way to say it. When I saw the first promo piece he worked up, I couldn’t help but smile. The singular vision he brings to his pages and character designs is a tremendous asset to the book. He’s the kind of artist whose stories surprise you even when you’re the one who wrote them.

GEEK: Can you tease any intriguing bits we can look forward to in your run?

VENDITTI: The opening scene of our first issue will set the stage for a new threat on the horizon, and everything will build toward that. We’ll be establishing several plotlines—some of them immediately apparent, others not—and they’re all set to converge in the near future. If we execute the story the way we hope to, it’ll tie together every Lantern of every Corps who has ever appeared in any comic book. Ever. We’re going all in.

Billy Tan Interview:

GEEK: “Green Lantern” is a pretty high-profile book. What are your feelings about getting the gig?

BILLY TAN: When Jim Lee emailed me and said he has a project for me if I’m interested, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was thinking since he contacted me personally, it should be a good project but I didn’t expect my first DC work would be one of the flagship tittle. More than anything else, I was very excited to be chosen as the penciler for the book. The only problem is that I have not read any GL book before. So I instantly went online to learn about Green Lantern and watched the movie the same night. Needless to say, this is a huge shoe to fill. I’ll need to step it up and do the best work I could.

GEEK: Do you enjoy drawing “cosmic” comic book stories: alien worlds and space scenes?

TAN: Yes I do enjoy drawing alien worlds and space scenes. This subject is easier to draw than the scenes taking place on earth due to its fantasy nature. This means you could draw a strange looking building and it still would be all right. I think things become less static and you can pretty much make up anything here. The sky or should I say the Universe is the limit here.

GEEK: Who is your favorite Green Lantern to draw?

TAN: This may be a bit too early to tell as there will be hundreds of characters for me to explore. Perhaps I’ll decide this in couple of years.

GEEK: Can you speak to the collaborative process with Robert Venditti?

TAN: Right now, the first script is done and handed to me ready for the visual process. I designed a couple of new GL characters and were approved rather quickly but we are still working on the design for the main villain. Everything is looking good and smooth sailing. Oh did I mention the first script is pretty bad ass?

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