Geoff Thorne On Professionally Writing Hal Jordan

The other day, Bleeding Cool collected a series of tweets over the years from comic book creator, screenwriter, novelist and actor Geoff Thorne that also showed what a fan he was of comics. And, as every fan knows, that's defined as much as by what you hate as what you like. In Geoff Thorne's case, that meant his hatred of the Green Lantern character Hal Jordan. And with him picked by DC Comics to write the ongoing Green Lantern comic book series from March, albeit it one featuring John Stewart as the lead character, it naturally became an issue.

The New Green Lantern Writer, Geoffrey Thorne, Hates Hal Jordan
Geoff Thorne, screencap, YouTube.

I thought it was a) quite funny but b) set Thorne apart from some multi-media writers who come to comic books, as it demonstrated that he really cares. But it was an issue he chose to address on the CBR forums – namely the Hal Jordan Green Lantern Appreciation board, where he wrote;

There is a MASSIVE difference between speaking as a fan to other fans and working as a professional writer in a professional context.

I do not take jobs to "shit on fans."

I do not have vendettas against fictional characters.

I'm not allowed to say what the focus of the book will be for legal and ethical reasons but I can assure you, unequivocally, when and if Hal appears, he will be the Hal Jordan that has been established and will behave the way DC Comics would like him to be portrayed. I do not diminish one character in order to elevate another and, in fact, if we're going through my tweets, you'd find several saying how much I hate when that is done. It's an example of poor writing.

When I'm a fan, I speak as a fan. When I sit down to write, that stops.

I do not subscribe to the tribalism and angry fist-shaking that seems to be the rule with many current fans. EVERY Lantern has fans who think they should be THE Lantern. Neither I nor DC comics have any intention of shitting on them.

I have between 30 and 50 thousands comics, dating back to the 1940s. I love comics. LOVE.

I'm here to tell great stories, as is the rest of this team. We are excited as HELL about what's coming.

For a lot of you I'm an unknown commodity but, being unknown, you shouldn't automatically expect trouble any more than you should automatically expect greatness.

We have an epic yarn to tell with a LOT of great things coming that haven't even been hinted at, much less announced.

Creators sign NDAs, meaning we are actually not allowed to refute rumors and fear-mongering with specific facts. Meaning, until the books actually drop, people who don't know what they're talking about get to dominate the field.

Here is a fact: Only about five people on this planet know what's coming and none of them are in the fan press. None.

What won't happen:

I will not debate story points here or anywhere else.
I will not debate any aspect of past, current or future GL stories, here or anywhere else.
I will never give spoilers, here or anywhere else.
I will never shit on the work of the other creators who've driven the story of the Lanterns. EVERY one of them has done something amazing that is loved by some segment of the Lantern fandom.

I will not in any way tarnish the legacy of the Green Lantern Corps because that is neither my job nor my intent.

What will happen:

I will tell the story I came to tell.

Epic stories. Amazing art. Life and death. New faces. Old faces. New species. Old species and I hope, a lot of scifi fun.

Anyone who thinks I have any intention of shitting on Hal Jordan can sit down and be still. Because that is a straight-up lie.

And following up to the relatively warm response this got on the board,

i'm not an outsider either as a fan or as a creator. unlike a lot of folks who've come to comics after only one other form of writing, I have always flitted back and forth between ALL the forms. I've been writing comics for years. And TV. And stage plays and books and audio drama and animation.

when I say "I'm a pro and i don't succumb to the kind of BS a lot of you are worried about," it's not a promise or an opinion; it's a fact.

So, you don't need to worry. While, in my personal life I stand by all the opinions that seem to bug some of you out there, this is NOT my personal life. You have to understand that. Doctors treat patients they'd never break bread with. Firefighters rescue anyone in danger.

My job is to write great stories and that's what I do. It is not to tear down characters because of some personal agenda.

So there you go. Don't expect to find Hal Jordan being portrayed as Biff In Back To The Future any time soon…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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