Four Letter Nerd

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night: An Interview with Robert Venditti

In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!

For me, that is one of the most important expressions in all of comic books. Growing up as a kid, Batman and Aquaman were my two of my favorite superheroes and I was always able to relate to them. As long as I have been a fan of comic books, I have related to DC characters, and as I have grown older and “wiser” I have related more and more with the Green Lanterns. When I was a snot nosed punk kid, I could relate to the Red Lanterns who are a bit more angry. But now, being a 20something American, I can relate to the Green Lanterns the best.

I have had never ending discussions and arguments with Stephen about which Lanterns are better then other Lanterns, and for me Kyle Rayner is the superior Green Lantern. I think a majority of that is due to me being biased and young. Now, I say young because I have always been the youngest guy in my group of friends. I have an older brother that I am fairly close to, so growing up I was always tagging along with him and his friends. In high school I was always hanging out with my older class friends and eventually college friends, and now at 4LN, I’m the youngest writer. Kyle is also the youngest lantern and that’s something to draw me to the character. I mean come one, in the first comic we meet him in, he’s in a Nine Inch Nails shirt.

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I enjoy trolling with Stephen

 

Enough about Kyle though. The most famous and popular Green Lantern is Hal Jordan. He’s the face of the intergalactic police force and there have been some great stories written about him. Last year Geoff Johns finished his 9 year run on the character, and it made me really like Hal again. If you haven’t been reading Green Lantern lately you are really missing out. Geoff Johns’ long, and critically acclaimed run finished with Wrath of The First Lantern and an amazing story came to an end in a truly amazing way, but I’m not going to spoil anything because I think this is a story every comic book fan should read. A quick summary of the final Geoff Johns arc was found in the back of issue #20, which I’ll share with you…

  • The Origin of the first Lantern.
  • Can Simon Baz bring Hal Jordan and Sinestro back from the dead?
  • Sinestro’s Greatest Tragedy!
  • The Final Battle With the First Lantern!
  • The end of an era, but the light shines forever!

 

On Green Lantern issue 21, a new creative team took hold of the book, Hal Jordan and the entire Green Lantern Corps. That creative team is writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan. Under the direction of Robert Venditti, Hal Jordan is now the leader of the most loved AND hated police force in the galaxy, The Green Lanterns. Robert Venditti is one of few writers that I believe is fully capable of keeping Hal and the rest of the lanterns in high regards. It’s only been a year since Venditti took on creative duties of The Emerald Knight; and, he has some major situations, obstacles, and challenges approaching the Green Lantern’s and possibly the entire DC Universe. I was recently lucky enough to get the chance to Interview Robert Venditti about his career, his work on Green Lantern and what’s coming up for Hal and the Core…

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4LN– How did you get into comic book writing, and what was the pivotal moment in defining your career?

Robert Venditti– “[Laughs] That’s a bit of a long question, I didn’t get into comic books until I was 27 years old. I didn’t grow up reading them. I was working on a Master in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida… I worked at Borders for 10 years and a co-worker introduced me to the medium. I like the idea of being able to write a story and work along side someone that will turn my vision of words into art.”

4LN– Geoff Johns had previously been on the Green Lantern title for close to a decade, what was your reaction to finding out that you would be the next writer for one of the most popular DC titles?

Robert Venditti– “Yeah, I mean its obviously huge shoes to fill. It’s one of those things where, you know, what do you say? I feel very fortunate and blessed to be in the position that I am in. To write the books that I am writing at this stage of my career. It is a huge challenge and I knew it would be going in, and it was very intimidating. But, I try to look at everything from the aspect of taking risks as a writer and getting outside of my comfort zone… It was a long pitch process and I was very happy to get the gig, but I still I try not to think about how big of a run Johns had, I just try to tell stories in the way that I know how and I hope that people like the results.”

4LN– Are there any hints, which you can share, about what might be in store for Hal and the rest of the Lanterns following the events of “Uprising”?

Robert Venditti– “We begin to see a version of Hal where he uses more strategic military plans and also how to grow into the role of a leader of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Now the question becomes, like we all have to deal with in our daily lives, how much do we grow as people without losing core aspects that make us who we are? I think that’s a conflict that Hal will be faced with in this next story line we have coming up, and this is going in involve something entirely new to the Green Lantern Corps in terms of adversaries… this will be like something they have never seen and the aftermath of this will  have a legacy in just not Green Lantern, but the entire DC Universe.”

4LN- How long is your current run planned for with the Lanterns?

Robert Venditti “We’ll it doesn’t really work like that, for me with Green Lantern, The Flash and XO Man of War, I just want to take the job and be on the book until I run out of ideas or someone doesn’t like what I’m doing. [Laughs] It’s kind of an open ended gig. I do have ideas for storylines that go pretty far into the future from where we are now. I’ll continue to build on what we are doing now, but you know things come up and other opportunities arise. I try to never predict where things are going to be.”

4LN– What advice would you give to the many aspiring comic book writers out there?

Robert Venditti– “It’s one of those things, don’t limit your possibilities. Everybody tunnels their way into the mountain their own way. I mean, my way was packing boxes in the warehouse of Top Shelf Productions and I wrote the script for The Surrogates while working there. I gave it to the editor and he read it and ended up liking it and that’s how I got my first publication credit. I didn’t know working in a warehouse would end up getting me a publication credit out of it. But that job was a way to get involved in the industry and learn the business side and to be around like minded people in the industry I wanted to be in. So, don’t close any doors on yourself. Try to look for the opportunities, and take advantage of them when the arrive.”

4LN How did it feel to have something you’ve written be turned into a movie?

Robert Venditti– “Yeah, I mean it was crazy. It was far beyond anything I ever thought would happen. The most I hoped to get out of it [Surrogates] was for somebody to publish it. I felt pretty certain nobody would ever read it, but at least I would have a book in my hand, and with a publication credit I could get to editors and say ‘Here is how I write’ and maybe I could get more work. I mean that’s ALL I thought I would get out of it…. I wasn’t overly involved in the film making process, because I didn’t want to be, I wanted to enjoy it and I certainly did that.”

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Everyone should be reading Green Lantern. Not only is this a great story, but Robert Venditti has some major things planned for Hal that it appears will also impact the extended DC Universe, so now is the perfect time to jump on board. Go pick up the first trade, Dark Days, and get caught up on this book before issue 34 hits shelves next month (August). I assure you, you will not be disappointed in the new Green Lantern!

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Bill Clark

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