Green Lantern is my all-time favorite DC comic book. So any comic fan can imagine how thrilled I was when I got the opportunity to interview the current writer of the series Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Robert Venditti at New York Comic Con this past weekend. Venditti has been wowing critics and fans alike with his bi-monthly run of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
AiPT!: The Fear Engine is the perfect big idea bad guy mechanism. If the Green Lanterns had their own version of that, what would it be and how would it be used?
Robert Venditti: [laughs] The Will Engine. I guess if they had a similar machine, it would draw on the ambient willpower energy of the universe, collect it and allow them to repurpose it through their rings. But I don’t know that they could have one, because it would be powered by loading beings into it, which isn’t something that Green Lanterns would want to do. Unless Green Lanterns themselves volunteered to be in the engine to power it, which I could see some of them doing.
AiPT!: Kind of like the sacrifice the Alpha Lanterns made?
Venditti: I could see Guy strapping himself in and using himself as a battery to charge other people. But essentially I don’t think the machine would be very heroic.
AiPT!: The series has so far been very big with scale that it’s on. Lots of great big in-your-face panels, lots of humor, we’re getting great stories with Guy, Hal and John and a lot of people have been asking for a reboot of the Green Lantern film. If you were to have someone come in and direct your run on Green Lantern as a film, is there anyone specific that would want?
Venditti: First of all I never saw the original Green Lantern movie. So I don’t know much about it. One of the very first books I wrote was called The Surrogates for Top Shelf and that was actually adapted into a feature film. Being a part of the process and seeing what the director and the producer does and screenwriter and you know, the hundreds if not thousands of people involved and putting something like that together–I just wish–I wouldn’t even know how to make those decisions. I just tell the stories that I tell and if somebody wanted to do something else with them, you know, have at it, enjoy it. To me whether I like a film or not, I respect the immense amount of work, I know the immense amount of work required and how it’s all consuming. I’m respectful of that effort, no one wants to make a bad movie. While there were certainly things about The Surrogates that I would have done differently, ultimately I told my story the way I wanted to tell it. If somebody else wants to bring their own creativity to it and do something different, I don’t want to be on their shoulder managing their creativity.
AiPT!: In issue #8 Ethan drew some really epic full page spreads–the detail was incredible. I’m curious when working with an artist of his caliber, can you write anything and have full confidence that it’s going to be represented in the way that you want it to? Or do you need to talk shop beforehand to make sure there’s a mutual understanding between the two of you?
Venditti: With both Ethan and Rafa I have complete confidence in them. Ethan, because you asked about him in the question, he literally created lots of this stuff. He knows all this stuff cold, but he also has incredible enthusiasm and an affinity for the DC universe as a whole. So it kinda makes it easier on me that I can just say “Double page spread, Starro attacking Xudar” and I just know it’s going to be awesome when I see it. And then sure enough when you get it, it’s awesome! It’s great to be able to work those kind of artists at that skill level; it takes a lot of the load off as a writer. Really most of what you’re trying to do is get out of their way honestly and let them do what they do.
AiPT!: It’s recently been discovered in Green Lantern that willpower can empower Hal almost limitlessly as a living construct. With limitless willpower, what would you do with it and why?
Venditti: Oh boy. Can I make constructs and stuff?
AiPT!: Of course!
Venditti: So you’re asking, if I was a Green Lantern, what would I do?
AiPT!: Essentially yes.
Venditti: First thing I would do is stick around Atlanta and patrol that area. Everything is always in New York, Chicago and LA. Nothing ever happens in the south. We need some help in the south. So I’d stick around on the homefront and be a Green Lantern down there. As far as what kind of constructs would I make, I don’t know. I mean Hal makes a lot of pilot constructs because he’s a pilot. John makes a lot of building and military constructs because of his background. Kyle is much more expressive and artistic. Guy is all about boxing gloves, simple direct, baseball bat, whatever. I mean I’m a comic book writer, I don’t know, a laptop maybe [laughs], a chair. Probably wouldn’t be anything very exciting.
AiPT!: One of the most entertaining elements of Green Lantern for me has always been the constructs. When Parallax was revealed as the embodiment of fear and the cause of Hal Jordan’s actions during Green Lantern: Rebirth, there’s this amazing panel in the last issue of the series where Kyle, John, Hal, Guy and their constructs are highlighted. Are there any constructs for any of those four characters or Lanterns that don’t get as much attention like Kilowog, that you’d like to see come into play?
Venditti: Yeah man I don’t know if I should tell you [laughs]. That’s one of the things that I’m going to be doing with Guy. To me his constructs are very simple. He’s not flashy, he’s just trying to do the most damage and get the job done in the moment that he’s in. But for me, I think that Guy would be a huge fan of action movies. So going forward in the moments that are right, I would like for him to create a car to slam a dude’s head into. Or create a bar top so he can smack a dude’s face off it.
AiPT!: [laughs] Those are very Guy Gardner constructs.
Venditti: Right. Create these types of constructs where he’s creating this whole action set just to put someones head through a car door. Like I really want to slam this dude’s head in a car door and now he can actually have that door there and do it. So that would be one example.
AiPT!: Out of all the Green Lanterns in the DC Universe, mythos, whatever – which Lantern are you looking forward to writing about the most and why?
Venditti: All of them, not just the Earth guys?
AiPT!: All of them!
Venditti: We got a Rot Lop Fan scene coming up in one of the issues that I’m really happy with. Obviously we’re focusing on the four main classic Earth Green Lanterns. But it’s a very diverse corps, all kinds of different aliens in it, with all kinds of unique power sets, so I want to bring in characters and use their backgrounds where I can. So when we have Starro attacking Xudar, Tomar-Tu is a character who will be at the forefront of that because it’s his world being attacked.
AiPT!: I love that. Lots of history with Tomar-Tu and his father to explore.
Venditti: Exactly. It’s his world being attacked. So instead of putting the story on a world that I made up that doesn’t apply to anybody, I’m trying to see where I can find opportunities to bring in Lanterns that aren’t as obviously well known as the core Earth guys. They may still be in the background but I want to get them some plots where I can, be more at the front of the background.
AiPT!: Have you made any time for yourself as a fan this weekend? If you have, what’ve you enjoyed the most? Or what are you looking forward to getting some time to look at?
Venditti: Not at this show just because due to obligations. I showed up late Thursday and I’m leaving early Sunday. So Friday and Saturday from the time I walk in to the time I leave I’m doing interviews, signings, panels, whatever. But at shows in general my favorite part is always Artist Alley. The people that you haven’t heard of yet, especially the mini-comics people, who hand make their own stuff who do die cut covers and silk screen covers. I love being able to see all the creativity that they can bring to this tiny art piece. Some of my favorite shows to go to are SPX or MoCCA where it’s just wall to wall mini-comics people. That’s what I look forward to the most.
You can find Robert Venditti online:
Website – robertvenditti.com
Twitter – @robertvenditti
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!