Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Godhead Interviews
on November 15, 2014
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:
“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.
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.
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.
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.