Green Lantern Corps Writer Van Jensen Interviewed by Comicosity

on November 27, 2013

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.