The prolific DC writer gives us the scoop on his upcoming projects.
This summer is going to be huge for DC Comics. Between their expansive Flashpoint event series and the Green Lantern movie, fans of the DCU have plenty to be excited about.
Both Green Lantern and Flashpoint are going to be a key part of this year's Free Comic Book Day, which lands on Saturday, May 7th. For those that may not know, Free Comic Book Day is held the first Saturday in May every year nationwide, in an effort to bring new readers of all ages to our wonderful industry. This year, DC is reprinting a piece of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis' acclaimed Green Lantern: Secret Origin, as well as giving hardcore fans their first glimpse at Flashpoint #1.
We got the change to speak with Geoff about all of this and more!
IGN Comics: Why don't we start with you just telling us what the Free Comic Book Day issue for DC Comics is this year?
Geoff Johns: Sure! This free Comic Book Day is designed for people who have maybe heard about Green Lantern but don't know who he is. It's got a chapter from Secret Origin in there that really shows off his origin. And then for all the fans and readers who come in every week, like me, there's a preview of Flashpoint in there.
IGN: Now, you guys have been doing a pretty great job of shrouding Flashpoint in mystery. Is the Free Comic Book Day issue going to shed any light on what exactly the series is about?
Johns: Just a little bit of it. It's a pretty short preview, but it's really to kind of set the stage for who Barry Allen is, or who the Flash is for people that might not know all the details. And then it just jumps into the story as the preview ends. It's really a Flash/Batman story!
IGN: Why is now the right time for a Flash-centric event like this?
Johns: I think he's overdue. I think the Flash is obviously one of DC's best characters and one of the pillars of the DC Universe. If you're naming the top five characters, he's there. I think the Flash has a great canvas to work narrative and stories across, it can involve the whole DC Universe, and it's well past time. But you know what? If we have to wait for Andy Kubert's beautiful art, then I'm fine with that. It is awesome.
IGN: You know, I put out a call for questions yesterday on Twitter, and a lot of fans have been asking about where Wally West is. Are we going to be seeing Wally in Flashpoint at all?
Johns: It's more focused on Barry and the DC Universe.
IGN: Alright, fair enough. Now, the other half of the FCBD issue is a reprinting of a chapter of Green Lantern: Secret Origin.
Johns: Yeah, it's the second chapter. It's really where Hal gets the ring from Abin Sur.
IGN: That's fitting, especially since you were at WonderCon for the debut of the new Green Lantern footage – how has the reaction been?
Johns: Crazy! You saw it right?
IGN: I did, I loved it.
Johns: It's your reaction. It's hard not to like seeing Mark Strong as Sinestro.
IGN: Yeah, he's very commanding.
Johns: He is, and you know, I think he embodies the best of what Sinestro has been for the last few years. But yeah, the reaction was great. Free Comic Book Day is designed to get those people who have maybe seen that footage or have heard about there being a Green Lantern movie and just introducing them to the story behind the movie.
IGN: Free Comic Book Day falls at a perfect time for this movie; was it always the plan to use that platform to cross-promote?
Johns: It was discussed really early on that we'd focus on Green Lantern because there's a movie coming out.
IGN: Now, we know you've got the Aquaman ongoing series with Ivan Reis coming later this year…
Johns: Ivan Reis just started the book, which is awesome because we're way ahead for once! He's just killing on it. To have Ivan commit to Aquaman is just a dream come true. Because again, like Flash, Aquaman deserves A-list talent and A-list presentation. So hopefully everybody will be excited for it, because I'm pretty psyched.
IGN: In Flashpoint, we're seeing a very different Aquaman. What can you tell us about the "Emperor" Aquaman character we're seeing in the teasers for that series?
Johns: I mean, Aquaman's a very different character in Flashpoint. You kind of see how he got pushed to that. He's not considered a good guy by people; he's at war with the surface world. I guess that's all I'm allowed to say!
IGN: A lot of the characters in Flashpoint seem like pretty big departures from their regular DCU counterparts. Are all the characters slightly skewed, or are there any that remain similar to how we know them?
Johns: All of them are slightly skewed because of what the world is. One of things I really wanted to do was make this something that we'd see a lot of the main characters and some of the other characters differently, but also a lot of new characters. I think that sometimes in these crossover events, it gets unwieldy because there are so many characters. I really wanted to take this opportunity to really focus on a handful of key characters and then also introduce some new ones too.
IGN: Jumping off to War of the Green Lanterns real quick; the Green Lantern book has been huge story after huge story. Are we going to see any sort of "downtime" after this story concludes?
Johns: No. [laughs]
Johns: One thing about War of the Green Lanterns is that I wanted to get back to the four core guys, and really get personal with them again. But I want the backdrop to be big because quite honestly, it's really exciting to work on a book like this. Any downtime issues… I don't quite know, you know, when does a cop have downtime? So it's storyline after storyline, but the Green Lantern stories are big. And they're very character driven.
War of the Green Lanterns is very focused on character, and there are some pretty major things that come out of it. The next Green Lantern story; I don't want to say it's smaller, because it's just different. But it's still going to be really a great story and focused on character. When people ask when there's going to be downtime, I don't know if they're asking when I'm going to take a month off, or…
IGN: [laughs] When are you going to take a month off?
Johns: I'm not! Do you want a story with Hal chilling on Earth? I certainly have some of that stuff coming up, but I lace it in with the bigger story and bigger things going on, because that's what I really enjoy writing. I enjoy the periodical format, but doing a downtime issue where everything's okay… I don't know how interesting that is for me to write.
IGN: Well said. A while back, it was announced that there's a Red Lantern book coming.
Johns: There is! By Peter Milligan, who I love.
IGN: Yeah, it's really exciting! Why do you think the Red Lanterns deserve their own book instead of one of the other Corps?
Johns: I think there is something really primal about rage that is interesting, and quite honestly, we have the good guys covered, right? There's Green Lantern,Green Lantern Corps, and Emerald Warriors. So there is something really interesting about exploring the other side of Atrocitus. I don't know if you read the Atrocitus issue of Green Lantern, but he's not evil. I think people mistake that. He's not evil; he's really really wounded, and he's really really angry. I think all of us have a lot of anger in us. I think all of us have anger issues. So I think that's something you can explore with these characters. You ever have road rage? You probably do here [in LA].
IGN: Oh absolutely, you have no idea! [laughs]
Johns: Yeah! And half the time, it's not really because they cut you off; you're probably already pissed off about something else. You lash out; we project a lot onto people. When we yell, we're usually upset about something else beyond just what we're yelling about. And those are issues that we either deal with or they fester inside us. I think that in a Red Lantern book, rage will be something really interesting to explore and write about, especially in Atrocitus – and Dex-Starr and Bleez and Zilius Zox, the big mad bald guy. They're all going to be delved into a lot deeper, just like the Green Lantern Corps is. I'm excited about it.
IGN: Me too! Is there anything else you wanted to add before you take off?
Johns: I hope that people who have been reading Green Lantern check out Flashpoint, and I hope that people who have maybe never read a Flash comic book, or given Flash a chance, check out Flashpoint. I think it'll really surprise them in a good way. And if not, read it because Batman's in it. [laughs]
IGN: [laughs] Well thanks for your time, Geoff. We know you're busy so we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us!
Johns: Anytime, Joey. We've got a crazy year coming up.