The Green Lantern Reinvented: Interview with Liam Sharp

You get the impression in The Green Lantern #2 that this is all commonplace to Hal, as a space cop. The fact that he's beside a walking volcano isn't worth noting for him. But then you get a scene that feels more like an episode of Law & Order or NYPD Blue. Does that come from the same place for you, creatively, or is that really shifting gears?

I mean, everyone is aware of those interrogation rooms. And that is a huge long shot. Over those three pages you've got the shot of the city, and he's tiny in it. Then the next bit you see them more mid-distance and you're in closer in to the machinery of these buildings. Then the interior corridors and then it's a full, big close-up of his face. That pulls you in and then suddenly he's in this interrogation room. There was a thought process to that. I really enjoy going from that big scale to this very intimate little area, and he hasn't missed a beat. There's no sense of wonder to him when he's walking, he's seen it all before, you know? Which makes him really fascinating.

He is an unreconstructed character, in many ways. He's out of time, and out of place, and out of step with the way things are now. I've said before, he's the kind of character that I aspired to be as a kid growing up in the seventies. You know, a manly man, and wasn't overly sensitive... I was a real shy kid, and was very emotional, and sensitive, and all of those things. And I was like, 'I wish I could be more like a manly man!' Neither me or Grant were anything like him, but we both grew up in a period where that was the kind of person you aspired to be. Things have changed thankfully, and they're much better than that. Which means that a character like that hasn't really got a place anymore. But he's grown past that in the sense that he's seen everything. So he might have started out as an unreconstructed guy, but now he's trying to figure out who he is.

He's seen the death of the universe, he's died himself. He's been on the other side of good and bad. He's been everywhere, done everything. And he's literally fearless and unfazed now. And he's so far beyond PTSD that there isn't even a word for what's going on in his head. So what do you with a character like that? How does he relate with the people that he loves, and his old friend on Earth? And hasn't he also got people on many different planet and in many different ports that he also loves, that he also has deep relationships with. So there's a lot of questions and interesting angles to this story that Grant is exploring, or we're exploring together.

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In this story, Hal being called back into action is not him going to save the universe, it's him going back on his beat. This issue we get a sense of that, is that a sense of what we can expect from the rest of the series? It has a mix of big and intimate moments.

Yeah, I think it's always going to have that big and intimate, and is definitely going to be crime solving. Like a lot of these TV shows, the idea is to have a sense of a story issue-to-issue, but of course then there's a bigger overarching story which you can draw the dots to over time. But hopefully each issue will stand as a riveting, and interesting, and fun read, even while we're turning a cliffhanger, you know? You'll get some answers and you'll get more questions, but you will have that sense of a TV episodic series. Grant's referring to it as a 'season one.'

And already has some idea for season two I understand?

Yeah, absolutely. We're having a ball, I think we're planning on staying around for a while.

I also wanted to ask you, you Tweeted about the criticism some people make of comic art, or artists who don't feel confined to recreating an accurate human anatomy on the page. The Marvel movies now look like Bryan Hitch drew them, and Jim Lee's take on DC characters is a golden standard. How do you process comments about that, when you're focused on art, not being judged against an anatomy textbook?

I don't really take them to heart, I guess it's frustrating because times have changed. It used to be that we were not about reality... a lot of the people who most inspired me over my career don't necessarily draw realistically at all, it's the way they explored anatomy that was fascinating to me. Whether that's Richard Corben, or Simon Bisley, or Bill Sienkiewicz. The point is it's art, it's illustration, it isn't reality. It's as much about mood, and texture, and ambience as it is about... imagine taking a snapshot of something that's happening right in front of you and putting it on the page. If that was all it was about we might as well just dress in costume and shoot it on stages, and create a blue screen background for everything.

That's not what it's about. It's as much about growing as a creator and pushing yourself, and trying things that are expressive ways of telling a story, as it is about anatomy. A lot of people can draw perfectly good anatomy and you only need to think of the classic example everyone uses: Picasso could draw perfectly well when he was a kid. When he was young he did it, and it was all about going beyond that. You can say the same of Kirby, look back at early Kirby and his drawing was extremely rooted in reality. But it became less and less so, and more about the dynamics, and more about the emotional impact these pages had than anything else, as it went on. He broke every rule! He broke the rules of perspective, rules about anatomy, all of that. It didn't matter, he took you on an incredible journey, and he took you to worlds you had never seen before.

The thing I occasionally get frustrated at--and I shouldn't, and I'm doing my best to not--I think the thing is to try and educate. Sometimes I think I come across as more sensitive than I am, when actually all I'm trying to point out is, 'hang on a second, you're missing the bigger picture here.' Unless you've got a rich knowledge of the evolution of art over many decades... maybe it's not to your taste, and that's fine. But to pick apart the anatomy, particularly when I've seen people picking apart the anatomy of Bryan Hitch, whose anatomy is is exemplary, that kind of is confusing. I know I'm getting it wrong sometimes, but you know, it's not always for want of trying. But the sheer volume of page by page workload in itself, people don't even bear that kind of stuff in mind.

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