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27th November 2013

Green Lantern Corps Writer Van Jensen Interviewed by Comicosity

Van Jensen

Green Lantern Corps writer, Van Jensen, has appeared on the Comicosity show The Hangout. He answers a number of questions and offers some interesting insights on Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart, and… the relationship between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl! The interview can be found here:
THE HANGOUT featuring Van Jensen

I asked one of the hosts to ask Jensen a question regarding the relationship of Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, and it got through. It’s actually the very first thing he’s asked. The question I posed is in direct relation to a couple articles on this website, so it’s nice to see it addressed by the writer.

According to Jensen, there are no plans in the immediate future for the Green Lantern and Hawkgirl romance to carry over into the comic books. That’s not an ultimate bummer to me, as I expected as much, and have been greatly enjoying Green Lantern Corps comics as they are since Van Jensen took over writing duties. It is really cool to see a writer address the scenario, though. He also says it’s not entirely ruled out from happening, so that’s nice to know.

Another point of interest is that Van Jensen is fully aware that John Stewart, in comics continuity, has not advanced for the past twenty years (barring the GLC issues to Jensen’s credit). The character’s life has been one big stagnant ball of tragedy, which is especially silly, since Gerard Jones wrote a big, sweeping epic all about John Stewart moving on, in the glorious Green Lantern: Mosaic series. For some mysterious reason, that story, and the huge developments within, were utterly ignored by future writers.

I appreciate that Van Jensen is advancing the character, and recognizes that his fans don’t want to read about a constantly sad and moping guy with barely any personality, which is what Peter Tomasi and Geoff Johns gave us for years and years.

The interview also goes over Green Lantern Corps #25, which is an issue I appreciate even more since re-reading it. Interestingly, it was Robert Vendittit’s idea to tie in John’s mom with the Detroit Riots. Score one for Venditti!

Well, HG/GL shippers, it looks like fanfiction, fanart, amv’s, and precious episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited are the best we’ll get for the time being. However, take heart that the idea of bringing that romance into comics is not completely out of the realm of possibility. Van Jensen has a story of his own to tell, and who knows where it might lead.

Van Jensen

I think there is something that should be recognized that I’d like to throw out there, though, that is related to this subject, though not a direct response to anything. It’s more of a general musing.

The cartoon fans and comic readers are not totally different people, especially the fans of characters like Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkgirl Shayera Hol, who are, perhaps, more known for their exploits in cartoons than in comics. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited were -and continue to be- watched by millions and millions. Some of those people are comic book fans, or people who got into comic books because of cartoons like those. I would venture to say that John Stewart on JL/JLU is the definitive version of the character, not only because that interpretation is excellent and well accepted, but also because it’s the one with the strongest and broadest impact, which basically brought John Stewart out from being an incredibly niche character, to putting him on the map to the general audience.

I get that comic book writers have to tell their own stories, and should not be entirely beholden to something from a completely different medium and continuity. Where I think DC has gone wrong on a number of occasions, though, is acting like, “These are the comics. Those are the cartoons. This is us, and that is them, and we are different.

I think it would do DC good to pay attention to successful concepts introduced in the cartoons, which usually have much larger audiences, especially concepts concerning characters whose fanbases may be primarily due to those cartoons. In all fairness, DC does pay attention sometimes, hence why John Stewart was brought off the bench in 2003 or so in the comics, and given his Justice League visual design.

But that’s why I’ve always been a champion of HG/GL being brought over in comics, at least to some degree. It’s such a large aspect of the most recognized and successful interpretations of those characters, that it seems like a waste and missed opportunity to completely ignore it, especially when there is a fanbase eagerly waiting to see it acknowledged.

All that said, I have a lot of faith in Van Jensen’s handling of John Stewart. He definitely has done his research and knows the character inside out, and it’s been a blast seeing someone who understands the character so well taking him on such great adventures.

Above Green Lantern/Hawkgirl fanart by Kittie47.


Oa, by the way

The four Green Lantern line writers playfully refer to themselves as “The Four Corpsmen.” This is quite charming for me, as I am a big fan of classic NWA and WCW professional wrestling, and The Four Horsemen are a very important part of that. In tribute to them, I thought I’d post this video! Just try imagining that the individuals seen in this video are Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule, and Justin Jordan.



23rd November 2013

Idris Elba Wants to Play Green Lantern John Stewart in Future Movies

Idris

If you’ve kept up with any buzz concerning future prospects for Green Lantern on the big screen, then there are a couple things you may be aware of. One, John Stewart is the popular choice for which Green Lantern fans want to see in new films, as was brought out near the bottom of this article. And two, the pick the majority of fans want to see for John Stewart is Idris Elba.

Idris Elba has finally come out and addressed the issue, by saying he’s interested in playing Green Lantern, which has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. More found on that here.

I think that’s great! Dissenters of having John Stewart appear in film have brought out that unless a big name Black actor is waiting to play the role, they don’t think a John Stewart film is viable… I guess because John is Black and White people wouldn’t want to see a movie with him, or something like that, which is complete hogwash and something I’ll address in more detail in a bit.

But, there you have it! Idris Elba, a very well acclaimed and respected Black actor, who fans all over the internet are dying to see as John Stewart, has specifically said he likes the idea of playing the Emerald Crusader.

I’ve been a fan of Idris Elba ever since I saw him in Obsessed, which features Ali Larter playing a fanatical woman who continually throws herself at him. I later saw him in Pacific Rim, a completely different type of movie, in which he plays Marshal Stacker Pentacost, a military commander. Idris Elba is a brilliant and very well rounded actor, who’s been acclaimed for every role he’s played, and I’m positive he’d do the character John Stewart justice.

However, Grace Randolph, host of the popular internet show, Beyond the Trailer, has put out the idea of using Chadwick Boseman to play John Stewart.

Idris

What I like about this option is it would present John Stewart as a younger character. In Pacific Rim, Elba’s character is a mentor type. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “Magical Negro,” but he fits the role of an “Obi-Wan,” right down to his noble death.

That’s not what I want to see from John Stewart in a Green Lantern or Justice League movie. I would like to see John in an attractive leading man role. I’m positive Elba, who has also expressed interest in playing James Bond, can pull that off successfully, but I wouldn’t want him appearing as some kind of mentor beyond his prime, as he is in Pacific Rim.

As for other things I’d like to see, I’d like the movies to establish John Stewart as the Green Lantern, like Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe did, which means no buddy cop films featuring Hal Jordan or some other character as a co-star. I’d prefer if the cinematic universe did not make things convoluted by having an overabundance of characters called “Green Lantern” flying around. I’d love to see the aliens, but over-saturating the cinematic universe with Earthling Green Lanterns is a bad idea.

Idris

John Stewart deserves the attention. Have faith in the character and give him a shot, WB! Let him grow and develop on his own. Not in the shadow of some other character. Hal Jordan got a movie all to himself, why should John have to share the spotlight or title of Green Lantern with the lead character from a movie audiences rejected?

I’ve seen some Hal Jordan fans say they’re fine with John appearing, but that Hal Jordan should be introduced first with his own film. I don’t really care what the comic books say (and neither does the audience or the Justice League cartoons), I think that is a terrible idea. WB already sunk a fortune into Hal Jordan and lost all of it. Frankly, the character hasn’t earned the right to another movie, and I don’t think audiences need to be reminded of the last Green Lantern film. Besides, with that set up, it sounds like a sure way for John to be relegated to ‘Black sidekick,’ kind of like War Machine. At the very best, he’d be a ‘buddy.’ It would near completely eliminate any shot at John having a strong, attractive leading role, which is what fans want to see, as they’ve made clear.

I would like to see WB (and DC) give as much attention and care to John as they would one of their most precious leading White characters. Which means I don’t want to see him as a teammate, a sidekick, a buddy, or a supporting character. People want to see this character as THE DUDE! One reason I appreciate the Justice League cartoon so much is because John Stewart is presented on more or less equal footing with characters like Batman and Superman. That’s what we want to see!

What WB needs to realize if they haven’t already, is that, despite the best efforts of the Geoff Johns spearheaded campaign to secure Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, a lot of people see John Stewart as the Green Lantern. There is absolutely no reason why John Stewart should be lingering in Hal Jordan’s shadow, especially after large audiences rejected Hal Jordan and embraced John Stewart.

As of now, it’s going on 2014, and the President of the United States, put there by a country that’s primarily made up of White people, is Black. So, that can happen, but a strong Black lead in a super hero film is a preposterous notion? I’m not naive enough to think racism is dead and gone, but I have more faith in the audience than that, and I’m confident it would do much better than the Hal Jordan movie, with its White lead character.

WB and DC have a chance to capitalize on something that hasn’t been done by any of the recent string of Marvel movies, and that is present a strong Black character who stands on his own with a powerful and storied title – The Green Lantern.

Droves of people have expressed interest in wanting to see it, and an acclaimed, respected actor has expressed interest in playing the role, and who adamantly wants his own super hero film. The ball is in WB’s court. Will common sense prevail? Only time will tell, but we can take assurance in the fact that John Stewart’s role in comics has greatly improved within the past five months, so it seems DC and WB might be finally coming around. It’s a shame that it takes them having to lose 100 million dollars and suffer intense back lash when they try to kill their most popular Black superhero for that to happen… but better late than never, I suppose.

Above Idris Elba/Green Lantern John Stewart fan art by John Catalano.



15th November 2013

Green Lantern Corps #25 Review

The Batman “Zero Year” crossover is going on, and Green Lantern Corps is swept up in it. A young Marine named John Stewart journeys to Gotham City, and winds up getting into trouble! greenlantern.co examines and reviews Green Lantern Corps #25.

“Van Jensen and Robert Venditti are making John Stewart a fully realized character with his own world, cast, past, and inspirations, and they’re doing it wonderfully. This issue takes huge strides in giving the character more substance, and in five issues, Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, Bernard Chang, and Marcelo Maiolo have done more worthwhile things with John Stewart in comic continuity than anyone has for twenty years.”

Read more.

If you haven’t, be sure to pick the issue up. It’s an especially filling story with twenty-eight pages!


Oa, by the way

Hey! Remember this article that advocates bringing the Green Lantern/Hawkgirl ship to comic continuity? In the article, I wrote about how I wasn’t sure if it would be easy to pluck Shayera Hol from the Hawk corner of the DC universe and bring her into Green Lantern Corps.

Well, if this can happen…

Then you know that this can happen…

Yup! Supergirl is -seemingly out of nowhere- being brought over to Red Lanterns by writer Charles Soule. That seems like a terrible idea to me, but at least she won’t be another Green Lantern. The important thing concerning this post, is if they can grab a Superman family character, who has nothing to do with the Red Lanterns, and who has her own ongoing title, and just put her in Red Lanterns, you know it’s within the realm of possibility to take Shayera Hol, a character who is in limbo right now, and who is famously associated with Green Lantern John Stewart, and do something with her in Green Lantern Corps.

I believe the relationship John has with Hawkgirl is a huge part of his success as a character. I feel it should, in some way, be brought over to the comics. Even if it somehow doesn’t last, I’d love to see an arc where these two great characters cross paths and feelings between them are established in the comic continuity.

It’s true that part of what made Green Lantern/Hawkgirl so great in Justice League was the suspense. We didn’t know it was going to happen. Viewers were on the edge of their seats. Many people couldn’t believe what they were seeing during the legendary unmasking scene in the Watchtower:

That particular type of magic wouldn’t be present, because the element of surprise wouldn’t be there, but playing with the HG/GL concept would benefit John Stewart by adding another layer of depth, bring in some new readers (cartoon shippers would be sure to check it out), and potentially make for great stories. It’s too big an aspect of the modern John Stewart’s character to completely ignore, just like the Marine attribute.

So, HG/GL fans, cross your fingers. If there is anyone who delivers the goods with John Stewart, it’s the current writer of Green Lantern Corps, Van Jensen!

Above Green Lantern/Hawkgirl art by LadyMalirra.



7th November 2013

Green Lantern #25 Review

“Lights Out” is over, and the Green Lantern franchise settles into its new status quo. What happens next? Read greenlantern.co’s review of Green Lantern #25 to find out.

“Green Lantern desperately needs to get away from focusing on ring wielding antagonists. The concept has been beaten to death, and it now seems like all the title is about is battling Lanterns of some other sort (often with powers boringly similar to Green Lantern’s), be they Yellow Lanterns, Red Lanterns, Black Lanterns, Orange Lanterns, Alpha Lanterns, First Lanterns, or Violet Lanterns. Sister title Green Lantern Corps has gracefully managed to break away from that and wonderfully blaze new and exciting trails, while Green Lantern is just the same old crap.”

Read More.

Be sure to pick up Green Lantern Corps #25, due next week. It will tell the story of John Stewart’s origin in the New 52, and is the first time his origin has been revisited. We’re sure to get plenty of new insight on our favorite Green Lantern!


Oa, by the way

Here are some rather interesting situations Green Lantern John Stewart has found himself in. This is somewhat inspired by the Carol Ferris scene from last update’s Oa, By the Way…

I suppose there are worse places to be.

The classic butt slap from the Justice League episode “Hearts and Minds.” This is when the unresolved sexual tension between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl was at some of its highest, and Green Lantern and Hawkgirl were at some of their best. Fun times!

In the episode “War World,” no one was expecting Green Lantern -the disciplined, stoic marine- to take an interest in some alien smut he found lying around. It was a surprise that added a fun layer to the character. I wonder if Batman or Superman would have done the same thing… Probably not.