Johns at the August 31, 2011 midnight signing of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 at Midtown Comics Times Square.
January 25, 1973 |
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg are fantastic producers and showrunners, and they lead a very, very positive, fun, creative environment to work in and to work with.
Aquaman is one of the greatest characters at DC Comics and one of my favorites.
Evil is relative – and what I mean by that is that our villains are as complex, as deep and as compelling as any of our heroes. Every antagonist in the DC Universe has a unique darkness, desire and drive. And the reason for being of 'Forever Evil' is to explore that darkness.
There's a famous tension between Green Lantern and Green Arrow in the comic books. Those guys have always been friends. They started off as not on the same page, and then they quickly became best friends.
I tend to like writing long stories in comics. I worked on 'Flash,' 'Teen Titans' and 'JSA' for years. I always like diving into characters.
I've been writing 'Green Lantern' for a long time, and one of the reasons I've enjoyed it is because the depth of stories you can tell is pretty endless with space and everything.
Every villain in the DC Universe wants something different, and not all of them want to rule the world. Or at least, not all of them want to rule the world in the way the Crime Syndicate do.
The DC Universe has the best villains in fiction, right? I don't think there's any group of villains collectively or anywhere else that come close to DC's. Joker, Cat Woman, Lex Luthor, are all staples. A lot of the comic book icons are fiction icons.
The Green Lanterns are very forward and very courageous, very forceful. The Red Lanterns are out of control, and they're not in their right mind because when we're angry or in rage, we say things and we do things we wouldn't normally do.
The problem is there are so many stories out there where I can pull that superhero out, put any other superhero in, and the story works the same. For me, that's broken. I have to write a story that no one else but Aquaman or Shazam can be in, and as soon as you pull that character out and out someone else in, it doesn't work.
'Forever Evil' is my love letter to DC super villains. It's my chance to take all of the villains I've worked with and all the ones I've never worked with and put them into one gigantic, epic story that will bring together the bads of the DC Universe.
I absolutely love Aquaman, and the character has been a passion since 'Blackest Night.'
The ocean is 90% unexplored. It's a great canvas to paint Aquaman stories across, just like Green Lantern has space. It's more organic, which makes it different and interesting. It's alien, but it's terrestrial.
I like collecting comics, I like buying comics, I like looking at comics, but I also read comics on digital readers, so any way people read comics is fine with me. Digital is just helping people who might not necessarily have access to comics help them; that's great.
I think Aquaman feels – and deservedly so – like an A-list, premier DC hero. I hope that carries on; it certainly will carry over to Justice League.
I love Captain Cold. I have him on my door at the office. He's grounded; he doesn't want to rule the world. He's not necessarily driven by ego, which a lot of villains are.
I love every character in the DC universe, except for Rampage. Rampage is a She-Hulk rip-off, and I like She-Hulk.
Clearly, Simon Baz brings such a different viewpoint to 'Green Lantern.' The very nature of the corps concept of overcoming fear, I felt Simon was a great character to explore, while getting a different viewpoint on things.
One of the things that I thought really worked was that you have 'Smallville' on television and 'Superman Returns' come out in the theater, and it was fine. Nobody freaked out; nobody thought they were competing.
'Forever Evil' is, ultimately, a Lex Luthor story. And everything in there is reflecting who Lex is and what he's going through. And we continue to learn more and more things about him that we might not know, and he's going to continue to experience things and do things that are surprising, I think, to even him – especially us.
I don't know who made the first Aquaman joke. I'm sure it was comics readers; maybe we all did. But it's the idea that the perpetuated story of Aquaman is that he only has powers in water, and he talks to fish. I think it's the idea of him in the middle of a city just doesn't make a lot of sense to people. It's just the character itself.
I put my comics that are really valuable into regular mylar because I like to look at them. Once they're in those clam shell boxes, they're impossible to open up.
I love finding balance. My favorite thing to do is action-driven, emotionally-charged scenes.
'Justice League' takes place in the past, and Aquaman has a lot more to prove. He's just starting out. The perception is already beginning, and all these super humans are just showing up, and here's Aquaman. The perception is, 'What's next? Now we've got a guy talking to fish. What can be next?'
Everyone knows Aquaman, probably from all the animation he's been in over the years from the '70s and the '80s, entering him into the pop culture.
Any character can find an audience and work if you have passion for that character. You might have to just scrape off the dirt and the barnacles and pull it out and highlight it.
I'm really proud of all the stuff we've built with Green Lantern – from Larfleeze to the different corps. The universe has expanded and will live well past my run. It was more than just telling another story, but really giving back to the character by expanding and adding to their mythology.
The characters that have greys are the more interesting characters. The hero who sometimes crosses the line and the villain who sometimes doesn't are just much more interesting.
Batman and the Flash have a whole lot in common behind the mask. They've both experienced loss, know forensic science, and are both a bit introverted. In 'Flashpoint,' Thomas Wayne thinks Barry is crazy, but Barry thinks Thomas is crazy. It'll be really fun seeing those two trying to figure things out.
The truth is, we're all cyborgs with cell phones and online identities.
I am always a sucker for the underdogs. I love Batman and Superman, but when it comes to the guys who don't stand in the front of the line, Aquaman is one of the key guys for me. He's so much fun to work on.
'The New 52,' I was really excited that new people got to jump in on books. In particular, on 'Aqua Man.'
The thing about Green Lantern rings is they pick whoever has potential to overcome great fear.
Deathstorm sees Power Ring as a fascinating experiment. Deathstorm is a scientist who's been merged with the dead body of his lab assistant. It's given him a cold demeanor and a clammy touch.
'Flashpoint' is a showcase to demonstrate why the Flash is a major character, just like how we've done with Green Lantern. It's important that the Flash can hold his own.
We are finding new areas in the ocean every day. It's as alien as going to outer space.
My sister was the inspiration for the character, the good qualities instilled in the character. The initial inspiration was there, but Stargirl has taken on a life of her own. She's her own character now.
I think every writer doubts themselves, every day. You procrastinate because you're afraid. You're always afraid it's not going to be as good as you want it to be. But, the key is overcoming fear.
As long as Green Lantern is still dealing with fear, it's going to be relevant. 'Rebirth' really grew out of 9/11. 9/11 happened, and then two years later, I was writing about fear. It was obviously connected.
The idea of introducing the Seven Seas is absolutely to challenge Aquaman on an emotional and personal level. His responsibility is unification of the world, and that just became a lot more complex when he learns about the fall of Atlantis and the splintering of the kingdoms.
I really explored self-awareness and emotions through 'Green Lantern.' It might sound goofy, but I do believe that emotions have power. We're all driven by something, and most of that is emotional reaction. For me, it was about recognizing my self-awareness.
I didn't want to take the DC universe, put it in a box, shake the box and pour it out. I wanted to take the major characters and show what they could be like if they were put on a different path.
I think supporting casts in comics are missing. I think a lot of the time in comics, all we have are people in costumes talking to other people in costumes, superheroes talking to superheroes and supervillains, and that's it.
Aquaman has the ability to be a huge character, and I think we really brought him to a new level in comic books, and I'm hoping that new level continues to everything that is DC Entertainment. Certainly, that's the goal. He's one of our most recognizable and most important characters, and it's going to continue to stay that way.