You can't have a Green Lantern discussion without including Phill LaMarr's iconic John Stewart, who many fans came to love thanks to LaMarr's delightful portrayal in the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series. Now LaMarr is actually suiting up for real, as he will reprise his role as a Lantern for the Digital Sky and Scott Zakarin created Superhero Diaries, a new superhero comedy web series that features a mix of superhero action, satire, and of course comedy. LaMarr joins a cast that includes Patrick Bristow, Don Jeanes, Hannah Kat Jones, and more, and the series debuts on YouTube July 21st. ComicBook.com had a chance to talk to LaMarr ahead of his Green Lantern return, and we've got your first look at him in costume right here!
LaMarr has always loved superheroes, and now he's getting the chance to have some fun with the genre that he couldn't ever get through the pitching process back on Mad TV. "It's like back when I was doing Mad TV... I'm a nerd. So we were pitching superhero sketches and parodies and stuff, but they could almost never get through because they weren't considered," LaMarr said. "It's like, 'Nobody's going to get it. All you nerd boys with your comic strips, comic books, whatever. Nobody's going to laugh at a joke they don't understand.'"
He did manage to get one pitch through though. "I do remember one we actually did get through and it's funny because I had flashbacks to it when we did this, because it was the first time I had to put on superhero spandex," LaMarr said. "And we did a sketch called Power Friend, because that was the only name we could use that didn't violate any copyright laws. And he was a guy who had Superman-like powers, but he could only use them three times. So, whenever anybody would come to him for help, he would go, 'Okay. Wait. How many people in danger? Yeah. No, that's okay.'"
LaMarr is no stranger to Green Lantern, though he didn't ever have to put on the spandex before. "No, that's the thing, when you're voicing a superhero, you don't have to go to the gym, but when they start slipping you in skin-tight underwear, like, 'Oh crap. I guess I shouldn't have had that bagel," LaMarr said.
Superheroes are more popular than ever, and now all of us who were having discussions of who could beat who are seeing all of that play out on the big screen and everywhere else. That gives Superhero Diaries all sorts of things and topics to play with, and they are taking advantage of it.
"Yeah, we're breaking fourth wall, fifth wall, dimensions all over the place," LaMarr said. "There were very few boundaries in this show, and it's funny because it's sort of the way that fans think now. Nobody separates them the way they used to. I mean, because before, if you were a Spider-Man fan, you didn't know anything about Wonder Woman. But now it's all the same family. So this is actually the funny, sexy version of nerds sitting in the back of the comic book stores, like, 'Could Superman beat The Hulk?' 'No way, because Hulk can't fly, he just jumps.' But now, instead of just fighting about their powers, now we're dealing with who they are, their character inside and taking it to really wild places."
LaMarr loves being a part of the DC Universe and tapping into some of that cool factor. "Well, I mean, that's the cool thing about playing a part like this, either seriously or in parody, is you get to tap into some of the cool that is part of it," LaMarr said. "I mean, it's kind of like, doing a production of Hamlet. You're playing the same role that Laurence Olivier did. And when I play John Stewart, I get to touch the hem of the cape of Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil, the people who created it and all the other Green Lanterns. The thousands of Green Lanterns that are part of the mythos and you get to hopefully add a little bit to that and now I'm adding a little more to it, in a completely different way."
We had to ask if he got to keep the costume, which he did not, but he also had something else no one else had. When we asked him if he got to keep the Power Ring, LaMarr said "Well, I wore my own ring."
Few people have a superhero flex that cool, and you've got to admit. You can see LaMarr and the Superhero Diaries series premiere on July 21st, and you can find the official description for Superhero Diaries below.
"Inspired by the phenomenal popularity of the superhero genre, Digital Sky and veteran creator Scott Zakarin announce SUPERHERO DIARIES, a hilarious new comedy web series parody, will officially debut July 21, on https://www.youtube.com/superherodiaries. Uniquely celebrating the superhero boom, this action-packed new bi-weekly series presents a fantastic mash-up of comedy, fights and campy satirical situations, turning the multiverses upside down as never before. It features a fantastic cast, including Phil LaMarr, veteran actor and improv favorite Patrick Bristow, Don Jeanes (Budweiser Super Bowl commercials), Disney Channel's Hannah Kat Jones (Austin & Ally) and many more from across the world of improv and comedy. Putting the camp back into the multiverse, viewers will get a total of 30 episodes over 10 weeks."
Are you excited for Superhero Diaries? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things superheroes with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!