Green Lantern may have been the star of DC’s most maligned big-screen movie, but these days the character’s comic future looks bright. This fall, DC Comics will launch The Green Lantern by writer Grant Morrison and artist Liam Sharp, a new series set to explore Hal Jordan’s day-to-day life as a superhero space cop.
Ever since The Green Lantern was first announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, those bylines have had fans buzzing. On comics like Wonder Woman and The Brave and the Bold, Sharp established his talent for epic fantasy world-building; what would it look like for him to apply his skills to alien planets and science-fiction cityscapes? Morrison, meanwhile, is one of the most acclaimed comic writers of his generation, having brought whole new dimensions to the superhero concept in modern classics like All-Star Superman and Seven Soldiers of Victory. It’s actually been a few years since Morrison wrote a monthly superhero comic; lately he’s joined the writer’s room of the SyFy series Happy (which is based on a graphic novel he originally did with artist Darick Robertson). Because of this commitment, Morrison tells EW that he was initially reluctant to take on writing duties for The Green Lantern. But he says that once he was inspired to brainstorm some new superhero ideas, he couldn’t stop, and now has a game plan for several arcs of the comic.
First things first, Morrison tells EW that he and Sharp wanted to distinguish their take on Green Lantern from that of previous creators. Their most notable recent predecessor is DC superstar Geoff Johns, who brought Hal Jordan back from an extended hiatus in 2004 and proceeded to write Green Lantern comics for the next six years, crafting an epic space opera that included other colored Lanterns, an army of the dead, and more epic space battles than you could shake a power ring at. Morrison and Sharp want to go in a different direction.
“Geoff was always raising the stakes, the universe was kind of ending every week, the dead were rising and falling and dying. One of the things we thought was, we can never compete with that,” Morrison tells EW. “So we wanted to dial it back a little and look at, what’s day-to-day life like for a space cop when he’s not dealing with the end of the universe, when he’s not dealing with the First Army or these other universe-altering threats? What’s it like when he’s called into a domestic dispute, but the domestic dispute is between two intelligent clouds? What’s a police interrogation like when the person you’re interrogating is a giant intellectual spider? It was taking a lot of things that in normal cop shows would be seen as kind of mundane, and then elevating it to these cosmic proportions and gigantic scale. Things naturally become funny and surreal and weird when you take them up to that level. So yeah, the basic thing was let’s get back to the cosmic cop aspect rather than the army aspect, where the Green Lanterns are constantly on the defensive, constantly fighting to preserve their values. Let’s go down to the day-to-day business of policing the universe.”
The first issue of The Green Lantern establishes this dynamic. Hal’s enemy isn’t an interstellar army of galactic proportions, but rather just some small-time space criminals who have managed to escape the grasp of his fellow Lanterns. In the exclusive preview below, we see Hal find his groove reciting the classic Green Lantern oath (“In brightest day, in blackest night…”) and saving innocent civilians from aliens.
When we first meet Hal in this comic, though, he seems a little detached from earthly life. He’s laying on his back in the desert, waiting for an unnamed girlfriend to show up with groceries. Morrison describes his take on Hal as behaving like a free-wheeling bum from a Jack Kerouac novel. And who wouldn’t, if they’d seen the majesty of space?
“He has no possessions. He carries a rucksack with his lantern, his old beat-up old airman’s jacket, and that’s it. He just wanders around sleeping on couches,” Morrison says. “He has a lot of women, Hal’s had a lot of girlfriends and female characters he’s connected with over the years, and we’re bringing them all back. Carol Ferris is his one true love with sparks and fire, but we wanted to bring back all these different women from his past. They all have different relationships with him, and they’re not all sexual relationships. Some have a problem with him, some really like him and their husbands hate him; we’re playing a lot more with this guy who appears in your life suddenly and now Green Lantern’s sleeping on your couch for the next week. What are you going to do with him?”
Morrison continues, “This is a guy who’s gone into space and seen perfect societies, he’s seen planets in ruins. When he goes back to Earth it’s like coming back to the old village. It’s all small-scale and there’s nothing really for him here. Why does he even need a job? We’re playing with that sense of him feeling alienated on his own planet, and we’re also playing with him having other lives. Like, wouldn’t you? Spend six months down there, and then six months up there in space being Hal the Emerald Knight on a Game of Thrones planet?”
In addition to Morrison’s typically high-concept takes on superhero material, Sharp’s art will also help ‘The Green Lantern’ stand out from other comics on shelves. Morrison says he and Sharp consciously focused on bringing a more European style of cartooning into the art to accomplish a unique aura.
“Obviously Liam is a fantastic artist, he can draw pretty much anything. Some of the upcoming issues he just gets more and more into it. The alien worlds and creatures he’s creating are amazing. It is a level above the usual monthly comic,” Morrison says. “To make it feel very different than what had come before, we had this idea of bringing in a French graphic novel feel to it. A little bit of Luc Besson and 2000 AD as well. If you look at Liam’s stuff, you can very much see that European influence. There’s a bit of Moebius in there, the classic sci-fi comics of the French graphic novels. That was one of the things we wanted to bring in, and he’s an artist who can really do that stuff and give it that different feel, not quite the look of the usual American comic but has a different vibe that feels slightly unusual and alien.”
There will be plenty of aliens to marvel at it in the pages of The Green Lantern. Issue #1 hits stores on Nov. 7. Check out those exclusive preview pages above.