Geoff Johns Talks Blackest Night With Publishers Weekly

Writer Geoff Johns talked to Publishers Weekly about his upcoming Green Lantern epic Blackest Night. He explained the mythology of his many corps, how monthly books and trade paperbacks fit together, and his hopes for the new Green Lantern movie.

Green Lantern, of course, is the superhero whose "power ring" can make or do anything, using a mysterious green light. GL's traditional weakness was the color yellow, and Johns' big contribution to the mythos was to decide that the colors in the Lantern universe stood for different emotions, with green representing willpower and yellow standing for fear. But what do the other colors represent?

Last month's release of Blackest Night #0 helped explain: green stands for willpower, orange for avarice, and indigo for compassion. (Hence the Indigo Girls.) In the interview, Johns finally explains why colors and emotions tie together in the first place and the larger metaphysical implications, starting with the pivotal position of the Green Lantern Corps:

They're the fulcrum. So if you look at ROY G BIV [a mnemonic for the colors of the spectrum] on a line and it's balancing on the tip of a pin, swaying a little bit-green is the center that doesn't move. When the first sentient being actually willed itself to move and had a voluntary action-the will to survive, the will to live-it created this invisible aura. It gave off an energy. I do believe there's something to being sentient and aware of your surroundings. We're not just rocks. We're moving around of our own will. So when those first sentient beings existed, they gave off an aura, and that aura was collected and coalesced into green light. When we got more sophisticated and our emotions started to change, we felt fear and survival through fear, and that gave off another invisible aura that could be condensed and collected into a yellow light. And it goes on into rage and avarice and hope and compassion and love.

Johns also discussed what sorts of stories he likes to tell and what he hopes readers will get out of Blackest Night, seemingly taking a swipe at Frank Miller's abandoned Batman-vs.-Al-Qaeda epic Holy Terror, Batman (which still might be the single dumbest idea in comics history) in the process:

The thing I always like about ideas in comics is when they're metaphors for something else. I don't want to see Batman fight Al Qaeda. I don't want to see terrorists in the books. If Green Lantern is going to fight terrorists, I want him to fight the Sinestro Corps. All these different corps represent something different to me and to the reader. If the readers like sci fi adventure with aliens and star wars and an epic tale, great. If they want stuff that's deeper, great.

When asked how he balances writing a monthly comic with the fact that many will only read the story as a trade paperback, Johns acknowledged thinking about the differences that might make, but that it doesn't affect how he writes. He noted he would have preferred DC had collected Sinestro Corps War somewhat differently than how they ultimately went about it, and he hopes Blackest Night will ultimately be collected as one giant story that properly integrates the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps titles.

Indeed, he pointed to the collaborative nature of writing in the DC as one of his favorite parts of the business. Singling out Green Lantern Corps writer Peter Tomasi as one of his favorite people to work with, and that the opportunity to build a shared universe with people he respects is one of the most satisfying parts of the creative process.

Finally, he discussed the upcoming Green Lantern movie and his belief that Green Lantern has the potential to be the next big cinematic superhero:

I think Green Lantern is poised to be one of the biggest characters in the world. No other superhero is like him. It's not even a superhero book; it's a sci fi book. It's Lord of the Rings in space. It's Star Wars and aliens and cop shows, but it's its own thing. For me, Green Lantern has always had the most potential to reach and touch a lot of people because it's such a wonderful mythology. It's grown in the comics to the point where there's interest in the movie, and now the movie is going to grow it to a place. With [Casino Royale director] Martin Campbell [signed to direct the Green Lantern movie], I really have a lot of high hopes that it's going to be great, and I think people will continue to become fans of Green Lantern.

Blackest Night #1 is due in comic book stores July 15, and I'm really not sure I can wait that long.

[Publishers Weekly]