ComiConverse Interviews Phil LaMarr
on September 7, 2015
The legendary Phil LaMarr, who voiced Green Lantern on the hit shows Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, did an interview with ComiConverse.Com that was recently posted. He shared some very interesting thoughts about John Stewart.
LKR: John Stewart’s Green Lantern was one of DC’s first black animated heroes. Did you feel any type of responsibility as you took on that role?
PL: Well, what’s funny is, he was not DC’s first black superhero. He wasn’t even DC’s first animated black superhero. I’m pretty sure that Static Shock gets the credit for that one. Although, it’s such a hard thing to parse because they had Super Volt on the “Super Friends” back in the 70’s and 80’s, which I guess sort of counts – but not really, because he wasn’t really a comic book hero, but he was, in fact, black!
I think the significance of John Stewart (starts with) Bruce Timm and the writers of “The Justice League” animated series creating their version of Justice League. This is the animated canon. These are the Big Seven. The Justice League is the Supreme Court of Super Heroes. They are The Best of the Best. If Superman needs help, these are the six people he calls. It really was the first time that an African-American face was up on a super hero Mt. Rushmore. And it wasn’t made an issue of! He wasn’t the ‘Black Lantern.’ He wasn’t there as a token. He was there because he was the Green Lantern of Earth. They had to go against the comic book continuity to do that, and yet they did it, effortlessly! They didn’t make any apologies for it; they didn’t say, “Well, Hal Jordan is in a secret dimension somewhere-.” Nope. It was, “This is just how it is.”
That to me was just way ahead of its time in the sense that he was just who it was, and that, I think, had an effect. I remember when the Ryan Reynolds movie (2011’s “Green Lantern”) came out, there were a lot of people who had grown up watching the animated series who were like, “Who is this white guy playing Green Lantern?!”
Most of the credit goes to the writing. They created a really well-rounded, real character that people invested in. I’m very proud to have been a part of it.
LKR: Did you have a favourite episode that you did as the Green Lantern?
PL: One of my favorite episodes was definitely one called, “Starcrossed” which was the culmination of the whole season and also the culmination of the Green Lantern-Hawkgirl relationship. In that storyline we find out that she’s actually a spy from Thanagar, and she was actually married to this guy who’s now trying to invade Earth. It’s great because it’s this massive alien invasion of Earth episode, but it’s also this huge dramatic breakup episode. (in John Stewart’s voice) “You lied to me!” It’s literally about betrayal and broken hearts and dealing with her crummy ex, but the fact is her crummy ex is actually trying to take over the planet, and you’ve got to fight him!
I love that one because it really played on this big, global, operatic stage, but it was real down and dirty romantic emotion at the core of it. I’ve never gotten to play anything that meaty on camera, so that’s definitely one of my favourites.
Click on the link below to read more from the interview:
We ComiConverse With Phil LaMarr
If you would like to read more about Phil LaMarr, head over to GreenLantern.Co’s Notable Creators article dedicated to the voice actor. Also, don’t forget to hit that “Follow” button below. See you soon!