The Green Lantern #1 was the start of a new era in the world of the ring-slingers, with Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp taking the reins as they lead Hal Jordan into a new chapter, and we had the chance to talk to Sharp all about it.
Sharp has already worked on some of DC's biggest characters, including Wonder Woman (with Greg Rucka) and Batman (Brave and the Bold). Now he's ready to tackle Earth's number one space cop, and he couldn't be more excited about what's to come as well as finally getting to work with Morrison.
"Well, it's a couple of things that I... One was that Grant and I had already been sort of talking about doing something together, and we didn't know what," Sharp told ComicBook.com. "But it had been a discussion that had been going on for a couple of years. So, this kind of
"And, I think the thing is, from the moment that Dan suggested it, I could see that there was gonna be huge potential, just in terms of what Grant was likely to do, but also in terms of the scope, and the kind of art that would be likely to be required of me," Sharp said. "Also, I think the other thing was, I'd done two-and-a-half years of pretty much fantasy based stuff, and the idea of doing something science fiction so that I wasn't just sort of cast as the fantasy guy, was really exciting. I just jumped at it, really."
Hit the next slide to find out more about the transition from fantasy to science fiction.
As Sharp mentioned, both Wonder Woman and Brave and the Bold dealt with the worlds of mythology and fantasy, and he's enjoying getting to stretch his legs a bit and embrace the more science fiction elements of Green Lantern, and there are some adjustments he's making from one style to the other.
"Yeah, I think that there are adjustments," Sharp said. "Often, that's informed by the script you get. So, going from Wonder Woman on to Brave and the Bold, Brave and the Bold was asking for something really earthy, and lots of natural environments and stony textures and that kind of thing. I wanted it to feel ancient and lived in, so that had a slightly different vibe from Wonder Woman but it kind of led on from there."
"Jumping from that into this, it was, I guess you can call it kind of organic in terms of the structures," Sharp said. "I didn't want it to be all straight lines and super clean. I wanted it to be very alien and lived in. I wanted it to feel like each of the buildings, and the structures, and the ships or various things that are featured in the background, are clearly the result of different civilizations, and different ways of thinking, and different ways of living."
While this world is decidedly more science fiction based, it doesn't mean everything is going to be lifeless and exceedingly modern.
"There was quite a bit of thought went into that," Sharp said. "It's less textured, I mean, I threw the sponge at Brave and the Bold. I was using all sorts of things to achieve those, kind of, wild textures. This is different, 'cause there's a lot more sleek texture. And, you know, it was fun. I guess I've always loved science fiction anyway. I did it kind of back in the day, I did the Gears of War stuff and that kind of was somewhere in between, I guess."
"Lots of hardware but also very rugged environments," Sharp continued. "So, it was a pretty easy transition and it's the kind of material I think I've always wanted to do. I dreamed of doing this kind of stuff for a long time. I used to ... I've noticed there's quite a lot of work comparisons to 2000 AD and Heavy Metal. Both of those magazines ... well, I used to work for 2000 AD, and Heavy Metal was a huge influence on me when I was starting out, so it was a chance to do some world building."
Speaking of Gears of War, we brought up how cool it would be to have Hal using a Green Lantern construct of a Lancer, and Sharp got a chuckle out of it. While that probably won't happen, we will be keeping our eyes peeled. Hey, a fan can dream.
Sharp credits 2000 AD and Heavy Metal as a big influence, but he also credits several iconic Green Lantern creators for inspiration, resulting in a Hal that with an old-school flavor.
"The Hal I've always had in mind was, well it's three guys really. It's Gil Kane, who's obviously the archetypal artist on the character, followed by Neal Adams, and Dave Gibbons. They are the three that really stick out for me because that was my...the era when I was picking that stuff up. Oh, Gil was a little bit ahead of that, but you know, you can't really delve into the universe of Green Lantern without coming across Gil Kane's work. So, those three really sort of stood out, and I think my Hal is largely based on those three with, obviously, my own twist on the top of it. It's a pretty old school version really."
You'll also notice as you read the series that Jordan's constructs aren't typically these big elaborate objects, and that practicality is a fundamental part of their approach to Jordan's characters overall.
"The fun thing is that we actually like the Hal using the very basic blunt instruments that he does," Sharp said. "We were joking earlier,we were talking about it, that there would be mega intelligent aliens standing 'round the situation, trying to figure out how to deal with a situation and Hal would just turn up, kind of give it a quick once over and conjure a huge green hand and punch it, and it would just fix itself, and they'd all be sort of confused. And they might try it, and it just won't work."
For example, instead of using a fighter jet Hal will use an anvil or a simple big green hand, and while the approach may be simple, it is effective. "Well, and I love the 16 ton Monty Python weight that he just drops on them, you know? We haven't seen that for a while. It's such an arbitrary number, 16 tons, but it's just, it had to be," Sharp said.
"It's so much like that whole thing about, you know, this story of the mechanic who's called in to do a job and he literally turns up, kind of looks at this object that won't work, just hits it with a wrench and it works," Sharp said. "Like, "How is that worth 500 dollars,"? Well, it might be only $500 hundred dollars to you in seconds, but actually, that's a lifetime of training to me and I know what I'm doing kinda thing. In that sense, he's like a savant. He uses blunt instruments but they work like on some sort of genius level."
"So, I don't think he's gonna be constructing anything too crazy," Sharp said. "I mean, we have some fun stuff coming up. There are definitely things that he's not done before, and there's definitely things on a scale and a different way of thinking about what that might be. I love issue four, it's my favorite so far. There's a lot of fun to be had ... I don't mind the unconstrained freedom of making whatever you can imagine. I think it's a lot of fun."
Fans will meet several new Lanterns throughout the course of the series, including Maxim Tox and Floozle Flem, and there are definitely more to come.
"Oh, I'm sure! I mean, it's interesting, 'cause some of it is very heavily plotted and Grant already has right until the end of season one, and then he's halfway through figuring out what to do in season two, so he's well ahead," Sharp said. "There's a structure to it all. But then
That includes Floozle Flem, a Lantern who is an actual virus that makes you sneeze them out, capturing you in the process. Yeah, it's really weird, but frankly also really awesome.
"Certainly, Floozle Flem has been referenced a lot in the last 24 hours," Sharp said. "He seems to strike a chord, in a funny way. We're really fond of Trilla-Tru. We just find her really sort of charming. There's just something in her face that, kind of, she looks like she's absolutely delighted to be a Green Lantern and enjoying every second of it. That was almost accidental but we kind of really fell for her. She's good fun."
Sharp has taken on some crazy concepts in comics before, but in Green Lantern he is often quite surprised at what and how much Morrison fits into the script.
"Probably more on this than ever previously," Sharp said. "My panel two for page two is something like four pages long. I was like, "How on Earth am I gonna get four of that into this page?". I got most of it in. I missed a couple of things, but you've seen those pages, you can see how much work is in the background, but so much of what I put in there is actually in the script. The notion of these big, water-bound containers. So it's an alien planet, so what happens in a casino that is meant for all the different races? There's gonna be areas that are entirely water that still have games and entertainment, but you're gonna have to create networks throughout the planet that are water-based. You're gonna have to create networks throughout the planet that might be plasma-based, or any other kind, or hologram based, you know?"
"This thing exists on lots of different levels so just trying to figure out how to even portray that, like the hovering light on page three, there's this kind of a direction sign ... it's like a lamp post that you have over here but instead of just a stop and go sign, there are multiple sorts of arrows, and different lamps, and different lights. It's pointing all over the place to give different aliens different directions to different places. So all of that kind of stuff was fun to try and figure out how to do. It's not always straightforward, it takes quite a bit of figuring out. But, honestly, that's the fun of it. If you can't kind of enjoy that it's probably not the right industry for you, you know?"
As you can see in issue #1, Sharp has rendered some gorgeous layouts towards the end of the book. While Morrison keeps things pretty steady in his panel count, Sharp has the ability to play with things when the art calls for something bigger.
"As far as the layouts go, Grant tends to put five panels in every page in the script," Sharp said. "Sometimes it's four, but usually it's five. Very occasionally it's two if he wants a big panel, but largely it's five. From what I remember, The Book of OA page was a five-panel page and I broke it down to that kind of more splash page image because it seemed that I would be able to make a bigger deal of the book. And, also, they were just walking and talking so it wasn't going to ruin any key storytelling elements if I made it more of a splash image."
"There's a scene in issue two where I moved the panels around because there was a shot that I really wanted to have a full page for and so I moved some of the panels that were on that page onto the next page, just so that I could do that. And Grant is great with that kind of thing, you know? He's always like, "This is what you do for a living. This is what you've done for a long time," and he understands my approach to things and it's a collaborative experience in that sense. We really sort of ... well I think we totally found our way with each other. We put a lot of trust in each other and we are fully involved in what we're doing. My process is that when I finish a page I send it immediately the day that I finish, and he's been saying that he really loves that because he gets excited when a new one comes in and it sort of just keeps him involved in the series. It makes him want to write even further ahead and he's so far ahead it's crazy."
Sharp and Morrison just kicked off their run, and thankfully they aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and Sharp is on for the long haul.
"Yeah, definitely," Sharp said. "I mean, I was originally on for 12. We're talking beyond that now. There may be a small break just so I can catch a breath, but I'm definitely doing the first 12 and I'm 99% percent gonna be doing stuff beyond that, as well. It's such a pleasure, and we are enjoying it so much, and Grant was just saying, now when he writes his script, he's just got my art in his head. I wouldn't want to let him down, and I think it's good when one team sticks on a book for a good amount of time. Something that people can settle into for a while."
While Sharp has already worked on Wonder Woman, Batman, and now Green Lantern, there are a few other characters he would like to take a shot at later on.
"Oh, there's always characters you'd love to have a go at," Sharp said. "The one I hear about all the time is ... people just keep saying, "You've got to do Swamp-Thing one day," you know? I guess I've done Man-Thing in the past so I kind of feel like I have done a version of that but clearly, there's him. I think quite a lot of people would love to see me do a Hawkman one day, but there's ... the great thing about doing these big epic stories, especially when they're in the DC Universe is quite often other characters show up in these books so who knows who I'm going to get to draw over the next couple of years."
The Green Lantern #1 is in stores now.