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Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Godhead Interviews


on November 15, 2014

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.



  • Steve Rogers

    It’s good to see John being the center of attention in a good way of course. The last time John had some attention in the past was when he was keep killing green lanterns, which was bad publicity. But what happened to John currently has more attention than his past and it’s much better publicity. It’s good to see different opinions about John being a Star Sapphire. The only thing I hate though is that there’s a few Hal fanboys out there trying to spread FUD about John’s current status. I think people who dislike/hate John Stewart don’t like seeing the character being talked about, because it takes away Hal Jordan’s attention, despite him being the main GL.

    I can’t wait to see what happens for John next year. So there’s something that would change the character forever!? I can’t wait!

    • Desh Derringer

      For some Hal Jordan fans, the more focus John Stewart gets, and the more character development he receives, the more they hate and fear him, because it breaks their notion that John Stewart is a dull, worthless, background character with nothing to offer and no stories. That was never really the case, but it’s how a lot of Hal Jordan’s fans like to see him. And that twisted vision of things gets more and more false the more Van Jensen… you know… writes good stories and gives him focus. The Jordan fans are also edgy because so many people want John Stewart to be the cinematic Green Lantern.

      From my experience, there have always been a bunch of prickly Hal Jordan fans. They’re resentful over John being used in JL/JLU, and thus becoming the highest profile Green Lantern… probably ever. Even though that was years ago, it still haunts them, because John’s perfomance in JL/JLU is largely why so many people love him today and want him to be the primary Green Lantern of the films, and not Hal Jordan. Meanwhile, Jordan’s efforts in media have been flops, so that’s just extra salt in the wound.

      About the article, I think Jensen is in the process of greatly repairing John Stewart after the decades DC screwed him over. I think he’ll finally leave his tortured past behind him, and who knows, Xanshi might even return. When you’re dealing with the Life Equation, such things are possible.

      • Steve Rogers

        It’s really sad the way some people behave about a character finally receiving something rare and being the first male to make history. I also sense fear in some of them.

        That’s probably what Van Jensen was talking about regarding a discovery he will see that changes him forever. The Life Equation itself is powerful and has the ability to alter reality, but a mere mortal may not be able to control it (seeing how Kyle Rayner is uncontrollable) properly. If Xanshi returns, that will be a huge shocker for everyone.

        Van Jensen is going to be greatly remembered as someone who fixed a broken character.

      • Hudson Faber

        Too true, Desh. These Hal fans are trying to cause a ruckus to through shade on Jensen’s amazing run because they’re afraid of John’s strong portrayal. They’re the same people who are trying to pretend Cyborg is an interesting, non-insulting character. SMH.

        John Stewart’s time has come.

  • Will Pray

    “For some Hal Jordan fans, the more focus John Stewart gets, and the more character development he receives, the more they hate and fear him, because it breaks their notion that John Stewart is a dull, worthless, background character with nothing to offer and no stories. That was never really the case, but it’s how a lot of Hal Jordan’s fans like to see him.”

    This is right I mean the fact that he made history shows that he can be a more realistic character in the right hands. you took the words right out of my mouth. and I hope that in the future this continues but i really hope it doesn’t go down the Kyle road were he begins to deny what he already knows or the Hal road were he just goes on like things never happened if you know what I mean.

    • Desh Derringer

      Yeah, it largely depends on the writers and editors and other powers that be. If they don’t like a character, or have no interest in them, then the character will suffer. Geoff Johns and company clearly did not like John Stewart and he suffered. It seemed to me that they had no interest whatsoever in writing him. Bruce Timm and company clearly loved John Stewart and he shined. They had a genuine interest in making the most out of John’s character. Gerard Jones also seemed like he had a lot of fun writing John Stewart, and Len Wein and Steve Englehart.

      I actually think that WB is behind DC using John Stewart more. I think John is a character on their radar.

      ” but i really hope it doesn’t go down the Kyle road were he begins to deny what he already knows or the Hal road were he just goes on like things never happened if you know what I mean.”

      Actually, I’m not sure what you mean by that.