Last week, the unthinkable happened on the Green Lantern homeworld of Oa: a mysterious cosmic being known as Relic appeared and decimated the Corps, destroying the Central Power Battery in the process. I know what you’re thinking – being a Green Lantern is a rough gig and stuff like this must happen all the time. Not quite; All the colors of the emotional spectrum may plunge themselves into all out war and Hal Jordan may become death itself from time to time, but rarely is it as bad as it is now for the Lanterns. With the Central Power Battery destroyed, they are running on emergency reserves and the situation is getting dire. This week, the plot thickens in Green Lantern Corps #24, and we’re continuing with part two of our “Lights Out” artist interview series with the inimitable Bernard Chang.
NERDIST: “Lights Out” kicked off with a bang last week and the scope of Green Lantern Corps has always been a bit grander than the main Green Lantern book, so what can we expect from part II of this mega-event?
BERNARD CHANG: Green Lantern Corps #24 will be one non-stop roller coaster of an issue! Starting from the first page, the GLC will be fighting for their lives and the survival of their home planet, Oa. The chaos in the story is reflected in how I constructed the pages, drafting panels as broken shards of glass, with the idea that the reader is feeling the destruction of the GL home world, and completely immersed in the constant battle happening all around us as Relic looks to destroy the Corps. Reading this issue is like turning your speakers to full blast on each page until the end.
N: Well, you sold me. You’d worked on a Green Lantern book prior – Emerald Warriors. What has it been like returning to the wild world of Green Lantern?
BC: The Green Lantern universe is complex and challenging. As an artist, you’re not only suited with the task of telling the story, but there is also a large design component involved. And that design can play a large role in telling the story as well as engaging the readers. The Emerald Warriors issue was a single stand-alone story, which is not very common these days, so it was refreshing to be able to come in as a relief pitcher without worrying about matching an existing storyline. But with Green Lantern Corps, the workload is much heavier, compiled with the time spent on researching and referencing all the Corps members and their uniforms, etc. It can be quite exhaustive, but I think the final work reflects the love and dedication the whole creative team puts in each and every month.
N: What are some of the biggest challenges, artistically and logistically, in working on a multi-book event like this?
BC: I’ve had experiences before working on multi-book events and while they are very exciting from a creative standpoint, it also comes with the price tag of extra time spent making sure the visuals (and stories) all connect from one book to the other. And this is not just about making sure characters look similar moving from one book to another, it’s also environments and technology. And, all of this is moving at a fluid pace, so while I may be drawing something that occurs earlier in the storyline, Brad Walker may have already drawn it in his third installment (New Guardians) or Sean Chen already drew in the Green Lantern Annual, which comes out at the end of the arc. Which, needless to say, requires a good level of clear communication and sharing.
N: What has been one of your favorite moments or characters to bring to life in “Lights Out”?
BC: As far as specific moments, there is a scene in the end of Green Lantern Corps #24 with one of the new recruits, and, not to give anything away spoiler-wise, it is one of great strength and emotion. Overall, I enjoy the storytelling challenges each issue and project requires. For this epic battle with Relic, I wanted to showcase all the chaos and mayhem happened all around Oa at the same time as the central story is playing out, so I did what any artist would do, add more work to the palette, and included all the extra shots of some of your favorite Lanterns in battle. [laughs]
N: What sort of artistic or design influences are you bringing to the world of Green Lantern?
BC: I’d like to hope I can carve out my own little corner in the Green Lantern Universe. It has always been a series with a long list of legendary artists attached. I remember as a kid, flipping through the Green Lantern books and just imagining what I would do if I had a ring that could build constructs from my imagination. So part of my task now is to be as creative and thoughtful in my designs as possible. I like to ask [Green Lantern Corps writer] Van Jensen questions about character motivations and such, so I can bring out the best in each scene. And any conversation about artwork needs to include Marcelo Maiolo, the colorist on Green Lantern Corps, who has to be one of the best colorists in the industry today.
N: Last, but not least, what would be inside your ideal burrito?
BC: I like me a breakfast burrito. Preferably with some potatoes and sausage and spicy salsa. But the funny part is I’m usually either going to sleep right around breakfast time or don’t get up until noon, so I’m always missing out on it…
DC Comics’ Green Lantern Corps #24 is the second part to “Lights Out” and is available at your local comic book shop today. Be sure to read part one of our interview series with Green Lantern artist Billy Tan, then let us know what you think in the comments below!