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15th November 2014

Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Godhead Interviews

Star Sapphire John Stewart

There’s been quite a bit of publicity due to the latest developments in Green Lantern Corps, which have John Stewart becoming the first male ever to join the ranks of the Star Sapphires. Writer Van Jensen and artist Bernard Chang have had a number of interviews about the subject. Here are some excerpts from them with my own thoughts following:

From IGN.Com:

“Jensen: So for our Corps, as we’ve been following John in this journey of discovering himself and figuring out what his viewpoints are in relation to all these different Corps and the different power sets — which has in a lot of ways been an emotional journey — it was kind of a natural culmination of that, of John forging a strange and awkward alliance with the Star Sapphires. I don’t know. [Laughs] It seemed like the right, sort of crazy thing to do, to put him in a Star Sapphire costume.”

It seems like Jensen has been taking John on a long soul searching journey. I’m curious as to what John will find out about himself, and how this will change him.

“Chang: There was actually a handful of different designs that I had submitted, some that were more based on his Green Lantern outfit but had some pink accents to it — even a hybrid of both — because he still had the Green Lantern ring on at the same time. There was even one where he was almost shirtless, because the Star Sapphires don’t have a lot of clothing on them. So I thought maybe John would be pseudo-shirtless and half-naked. But at the end we ended up going with this. It’s a little more. A lot of the lines are pretty jagged. I think that has something to do with the recent turmoil that he’d experienced. But the green energy is still very fluid on his exterior. So I think there’s a nice counterbalance, ultimately, with the final design that is uniform but exudes energy.”

This is pretty interesting, because I’ve seen some people complaining about the fact that John’s Star Sapphire costume has him fully covered. They claim it’s a double standard to have the female Star Sapphires going around in skimpy costumes while John does not. This would actually be true if it weren’t for the fact that since the New 52 reboot, DC Comics has actually been presenting the Star Sapphires in much less revealing costumes. Carol Ferris and Fatality’s most recent costumes are much less sexualized than the ones they had before the New 52.

“Jensen: It’s almost like these raw nerves that have been exposed, that he’s been struggling to deal with. So in a lot of way he has for a long time been cover up or hide his emotional side. This in many ways is him coming to grips with the fact that he can’t just be this taciturn dude. He has to embrace the emotional aspects of his character that are really present, going back to the origin of when he became a Green Lantern.”

It seems to me that Van Jensen is going towards the route of making John more than just “that serious Green Lantern.” Fans of John already know there is a lot more to him than just being stern, and we like him the way that he is when he’s portrayed well. I’m willing to see where Van Jensen goes with this, though. He’s never let me down with the character.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: VAN JENSEN AND BERNARD CHANG TALK JOHN STEWART BECOMING A STAR SAPPHIRE

Van Jensen and Bernard Chang also had a word with Comicvine.Com

“Jensen: Part of this is John doing what needed to be done in order to get his troops to safety and that’s sort of the immediate aspect of it. For the longer term, for John, this is a really important moment for really discovering something about himself and the strength within himself that’s gonna bond him in a way.”

One thing I think Jensen is in the process of doing is moving John away from the mopey sadness that has plagued him ever since Cosmic Odyssey. Actually, it began before that. It all started in Action Comics Weekly when Katma Tui was murdered. If that’s where Jensen is headed, then I’m very excited about that.

“Chang: As a lifelong comic book reader, Jack Kirby’s legacy, in comics, has been influential to any fan. Obviously, the New Gods are on the top of that list. Pete Woods came in and redesigned the characters and technology and environments and did a wonderful job at that, so visually, all the books, especially this crossover, looks amazing, purely on just a design basis, playing off what Kirby had originally done. The designs are so great looking at them, but by the end of drawing every issue and having put in all the details, I’m cursing at Woods. Also, a lot of shout-outs have to go to Marcelo Maiolo, who does colors on the book and really brings the visuals to life. Van will write the words, I’ll put in the lines, but Marcelo really comes in and closes the deal on all the issues. It’s a fun experience for me.”

I have to hand it to Pete Woods, too. I really like the designs of the New Gods now. Shadowfall looks stunning in the latest issue of Green Lantern Corps. I am now a fan of her’s.

“Jensen: GREEN LANTERN CORPS is going to be very much a singular story, coming out of Godhead. It’s going to be an exploration of this idea that we’ve been seeding a little bit over the past year that the Corps has been wrapped up with these huge, monumental battles for years, really, from the First Lantern to Relic onto the Durlans and then the New Gods and one of the things that we’re exploring is that with the corps wrapped up with these singular threats is that’s diverted their attention from their stated purpose which is patrol the universe and keep the universe protected. If you imagine a city where all the cops in the city have been focused so long on particular place, what happens to all the other neighborhoods where there are no police officers? That’s going to be the central idea of this next arc. The universe has largely been without Green Lanterns for sometime now and a pretty significant group of threats have taken hold in that time.”

It’s nice to hear that Green Lantern Corps will branch off and do its own thing. The inter-connectivity with Green Lantern has definitely been interesting and handled well, but I’m ready for Green Lantern Corps to go off and forge more of its own identity with more independent stories. I’d like to see more enemies developed primarily for John Stewart. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Shadow Empire has to offer, and I’m hoping the Sciencell convicts are involved somehow. I’d hate to see that thread Jensen left go unused. Speaking of threads, I’m really interested to see what’s in store for Von Daggle and R’amey Holl, too.

Interview: Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Discuss the Present and Future of GREEN LANTERN CORPS

Van Jensen also spoke with Comicosity.Com, where he had interesting things to say.

“When I first started on the book (with issue #21), I started looking at the history of Fatality and the way she’d been almost brainwashed as a Star Sapphire. That’s a really interesting dynamic, and we continued to explore that as Fatality was replaced by a Durlan shapeshifter, and then she claimed not to really love John. It’s been an important area to explore for John, as he’s been going through the process of rediscovering his emotional side.

One of the things I’m interested in is gender dynamics in comics, and this ongoing story arc is largely an exploration of that. The Star Sapphires are fascinating in that regard, as a group that excludes males. So this issue is really the culmination of that.”

In my recent review for Green Lantern Corps #36, I wrote about Van Jensen’s far sighted plotting. Meaning that he plans things well in advance, which makes his big deliveries all the more powerful.

“As the Lanterns have been drawn into the fight against the New Gods, the Shadow Empire has expanded its reach throughout the universe. The Corps is soon to discover just how far the shadows have spread.

Oh, and John is going to make a discovery that changes him forever. No biggie!”

A discovery that changes John Stewart forever? Well, that certainly has me intrigued.

Interview: Van Jensen Lights Up the NEW GODS

The events of Green Lantern Corps #36 have certainly gotten people talking. It seems everyone has an opinion on John Stewart becoming a Star Sapphire. I’m happy that all this attention is being drawn to the book, and I’m really excited about things to come for John.



14th November 2014

Green Lantern Corps #36 Review

“Godhead” moves forward. Check out what Green Lantern is doing in the latest installment of the epic crossover, Green Lantern Corps #36.

“I guess I can understand Van Jensen’s run not speaking to someone if they dislike John Stewart, or don’t like Green Lantern, but I would never be able to understand someone who says these comics are bad, or even just okay. The amount of heart, care, skill, and foresight that goes into them is undeniable. I’ve never had so much fun with Green Lantern comics before!”

Read more

Be back for more content about our favorite Green Lantern!


Oa, by the way

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was released recently. Here is some footage of gameplay featuring John Stewart.

I love how in the menu, he’s not listed as “Green Lantern,” but rather as “John Stewart,” because clearly only Hal Jordan is the real Green Lantern [/sarcasm]. I only nitpick like this because I care. I do it because I want DC and WB to do better. If they want to be more inclusive to an entire certain demographic of people, then they need to stop presenting their most beloved Black character as not the real version, less than, the substitute, the secondary guy, a supporting character, and so on.

Believe me, I congratulate them when they do good! It’s great that John is there at all. And I love Michael, Supergirl’s new love interest. However, I feel that when they make advancements, oftentimes they don’t go as far with them as they can, which gives me a feeling that they’re doing them begrudgingly. As if they’re doing them only because they have to. I never got that feeling from Bruce Timm and company’s famous Justice League cartoons.

Let the Black guy shine. Is that too much to ask? I think this Darwyn Cooke variant cover is so great because that’s exactly what Cooke let John Stewart do in the image. Cooke didn’t hold John back to put a White character in front of him, or something of the sort.

I hope you’re listening, DC and WB. People actually want you to do better, because they love your characters. However, it seems you still have some difficulty moving into the 21st century. I point out these “little” things because you may or may not notice what you’re doing, but it does make a big difference to some people, and I don’t want you to believe we’re all satisfied with such displays. It’s not that all of us are impossible to satisfy. We’re not. You just need to handle the characters as if you’re totally proud of them, like you are your best White heroes. That’s really all it would take.



11th November 2014

Justice League vs Bizarro League DTV Movie Announced… Sans Hal Jordan

Justice League vs. Bizarro League

This news isn’t about John Stewart per se, but it relates to him in a roundabout way, and I have some thoughts about it. There is an upcoming direct to video film titled LEGO Justice League vs Bizarro League. You can view the trailer below.

Honestly, I have little interest in this movie itself. What does interest me, however, is Hal Jordan is not present, but rather, Guy Gardner appears as the Green Lantern in this film. What does this mean?

Ultimately, I believe it is a sign of WB playing coy again about exactly what they’re going to do in regards to Green Lantern in the cinematic universe. Let’s address the big questions.

Do I think this means the cinematic Green Lantern will be Guy Gardner?
No. DC and WB have been pushing their multiverse concept lately. Instead of rigidly making all media conform to a certain norm, as they did a few years ago, I think they’re loosening up and letting creators do what they want, and explaining differences in interpretations away with the concept of parallel universes. Thus, all of these various events are ‘valid,’ but they take place in different realities. I believe this is a reason why Guy Gardner is there.

What do I think Guy Gardner’s presence in this film means for John Stewart?
I think it drastically increases the chances of John Stewart being the Green Lantern in Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett’s upcoming animated film, Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Gardner’s presence in this Lego DTV movie is significant because it shows that the Green Lantern does not always have to be Hal Jordan in related media anymore. DC and WB are not 100% behind that incarnation of Green Lantern and are now open to the idea of exploring other options for cartoons, video games, and films. As such, even though the Green Lantern here is not John Stewart, this event is still a MASSIVE victory for John Stewart fans.

There are other events that are very important concerning this recent development.
Remember that Target exclusive DTV movie that came out last year, JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time? If so, you may have noticed that Hal Jordan is mysteriously absent.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time

There was likely a very good reason for not using Jordan. Leaving him out probably wasn’t just something to do. I believe that was one of the first signs that WB is changing gears and reconsidering how they present Green Lantern to audiences.

But you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, Desh. Hal Jordan will still be appearing in the upcoming Throne of Atlantis DTV and also the Lego Batman 3 video game.”

I have some thoughts about both of those, too. First, I’ll address Throne of Atlantis. It is my speculation that Hal Jordan will leave the Justice League in that movie, which would align with his departure in the New 52 Justice League comics. I don’t think the “Graves” arc from the comics will be adapted into a DTV, so instead of Jordan leaving during that story, he may leave during Throne of Atlantis, thus making way for a new Green Lantern. Above, I claimed that the Target exclusive DTV was one of the earliest signs of WB reconsidering their approach to Green Lantern, but I believe the first was Hal Jordan’s departure from the Justice League comics. Again, I doubt that was just something the creators did just because.

Regarding Lego Batman 3, John Stewart is actually in that game. This shows that WB is not keeping other Lanterns out of it so they can promote Hal Jordan as THE Green Lantern. Also, take a look at the cover of Lego Batman 3.

Lego Batman 3 Cover

We see Batman and the other heroes typically associated with the League (plus Robin) and waaaaaay in the background, Hal Jordan is a tiny speck. Coincidence? I think not.

Speaking of cover art, let’s consider the covers for Justice League: War, and Throne of Atlantis.

Justice League War Cover
Green Lantern Figure

WHERE IS HAL JORDAN!?

I think there are signs that WB is consciously moving away from that character, just like how it was abundantly clear when they were totally supporting him. If you remember DC Comics in the late 2000s or so, DC often even tried promoting Hal Jordan over Wonder Woman as part of their iconic Trinity of heroes. Now, WB won’t even let him appear on the box art of cartoon films he’s in.

My thoughts about all these issues are that certain creators are not allowed to use Hal Jordan, because WB is steering things away from him, but others may not be allowed to use John Stewart yet. DC and Warner Bros. may be holding off on totally going full throttle with John Stewart until they are ready, which may be in 2015. When asked if a Green Lantern will return to the Justice League comics, Geoff Johns, the writer, had this to say.

IGN: Cool. It looks like she’s sort of taking the place of Green Lantern. Are we going to see a Green Lantern proper come back?

Johns: Eventually, yes, you will. I can’t say when and who, but yes.

DC COMICS’ GEOFF JOHNS TEASES THE DARKSEID WAR

There is obviously a lot of intentional mystery surrounding the future of the Green Lantern franchise right now. I know all of this isn’t just my imagination. It also seems like DC is holding off on doing something with John and with Green Lantern in general, especially going by Geoff Johns’ quote. I believe how WB will handle Green Lantern in the cinematic universe is the source of all this mystery.

Most of this is speculation, but with good cause. I, of course, make no claims as to know exactly what will happen, but I will say this much:

NONE OF THE MOVES WB IS MAKING ARE TO THE BENEFIT OF THE HAL JORDAN CHARACTER. This weird enigmatic element surrounding Green Lantern does not support the idea that Hal Jordan will be the Green Lantern of the cinematic universe. It doesn’t support the idea that he will be the future Green Lantern to join the Justice League in the comics. Using Hal Jordan would just be business as usual, because DC and WB have made him the status quo for the last eight years. If they’re going to keep with that course, why the mystery? Why all these strange actions? Hal Jordan is now not being included in box art, or placed way in the back, he’s absent from DTV cartoons, whereas DC/WB used to use him whenever they could, and John Stewart was recently featured as the Green Lantern in the Smallville Universe, something that probably wouldn’t have happened had that story been written in 2010 or so.

I think the future is looking brighter than ever, John Stewart fans! I suspect 2015 will be the year John Stewart totally breaks out and all of this is cleared up. I think DC Comics and Warner Bros. have been patiently and steadily building him up in the Green Lantern Corps comics in an effort to win the comic reading audience over with the character before they decide to strongly push him in other media again.

If so, that is a wise course of action to take, as it would hopefully lessen the massive conflict of interests between the general audience and hardcore comic readers that has plagued Green Lantern for over a decade. Much of the problems with the franchise are due to the general audience knowing and wanting one character, but DC Comics and many of the hardcore Green Lantern comic fans wanting another.

Am I onto something, or is this all in my head? What are your speculations?
Post your thoughts on these interesting issues in the comments section below!



9th November 2014

New 52 Green Lantern John Stewart Figure Unveiled

Green Lantern Figure

DC Collectibles has images to display of an upcoming figure of the Green Lantern. This is the first New 52 figure the character has had. John’s character design remained virtually unchanged by the New 52 reboot, so he’s in his familiar uniform that he’s sported since the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated shows. The only real difference is that he almost always has the traditional Green Lantern logo on his chest (with rectangles and a circle), instead of some variant of it. It makes total sense to have it that way. The Lantern insignia should just be the Lantern insignia. Lanterns shouldn’t put their own spins to the sigil.

This is a really cool looking figure. It has a well-proportioned physique, with nothing exaggerated. I like how the black parts of the costume are flecked with green. The all green eyes are also a nice touch. It is always disappointing when comic art and figures fail to utilize one of John’s most striking attributes – his glowing green eyes.

Green Lantern Figure

From what I’m able to tell, the sculptor got the ring wrong, though. The top of it should be a Lantern logo in-cased within a circle. This figure seems to discard the circle and only have the Lantern logo, which would make it a ring design from ages past and not the current one. I also would have preferred if the green parts on the figure were more of a lime hue, like what we see Marcelo Maiolo using in current Green Lantern Corps comics, as opposed to the metallic jade that is seen in the images.

We have a pretty long wait before this figure hits stores. You can pick it up July 2015. Do try to get it if you can. It looks to be a great figure, and I can’t stress how important it is for John Stewart fans -and fans of minority characters in general- to show economic strength. Because if we don’t, we won’t get anything worthwhile with these characters. It’s really as simple as that.

Read more about it on the DC Collectibles report.



8th November 2014

Green Lantern Corps #36 Preview

Green Lantern Corps #36 Preview!

The preview for the next entry in both the “Godhead” crossover and the Green Lantern Corps series is out. It looks like in Green Lantern Corps #36, John Stewart will finally take command of not only the Green Lantern Corps, but of all the various colored Corps. I’m very happy to see this character finally get his due. Check out the preview at ComicVine.Com:
Exclusive Preview: GREEN LANTERN CORPS #36 (Godhead)

I am concerned about the future of Van Jensen’s Green Lantern Corps run, however. BleedingCool.Com has reported a rumor that the DC Comics writers are being asked to finish up their stories and that DC is asking for new pitches that employ “daring, blue sky thinking.”

“This was similar to instructions given to comic book creators before the New 52 reboot back in 2011. Will there be another reboot in May or June?

No. Instead, creators are being asked to submit pitches that are ‘daring’ and to employ ‘ blue sky thinking’. Impressed by the commercial success of Harley Quinn and Batgirl, and critical sucess of Gotham Academy, the beancounters have been persuaded that a little more individual thinking might reap benefits. Indeed, those books may have been part of an early attempt to mix things up and see what happened. And creators, used to having to present certain kinds of stories to the bosses under certain criteria, expecting to see the edges knocked off, are being asked to let loose in a similar manner.”

DC Comics Ask Creators For ‘Daring, Blue Sky Thinking’ Pitches After The Band Aid – Think Batgirl, Gotham Academy And Harley Quinn

If this is true, what does it mean for Bernard Chang, Van Jensen, and Marcelo Maiolo’s Green Lantern Corps run? Will they quickly finish up their “Shadow Empire” story and call it quits on the John Stewart character, to make way for a new creative team with a “daring” new direction? I certainly hope not. I like the idea of what DC is planning with this “blue sky” thing. The thought process is good and needed, and I am tired of how Green Lantern Corps is constantly being linked with Green Lantern and caught up in crossovers. But Van Jensen, Bernard Chang, and Marcelo Maiolo are the definitive creators for John Stewart to me, and I’d hate to see them go. I’d like to see Jensen continue to develop John Stewart while not being burdened with crossover after crossover. The character has a team that likes and understands him. The best thing for John is to let those creators have a long, defining run with him.

Anyway, that’s just me expressing concerns about a possibility, based on a rumor. There has been nothing official suggesting their run is ending. Pick up Green Lantern Corps #36 on November 12.