IGN Comics: Can you each start just by talking about how you wound up working on New Guardians?
Justin Jordan: Um, they asked me if I wanted to do it. [laughs] That’s the short version of it. Matt Idelson and Chris Conway, the group editor and editor respectively, came to me and had an idea about where they wanted to take New Guardians. They knew the old creative team would be leaving and there’d be kind of a clean break with Geoff [Johns] leaving the Green Lantern title.
They e-mailed me and asked me if I thought it was something I could have fun with and do something cool with, which I thought it was. I also thought it would be interesting and difficult, which is sort of the appeal of it, just because I’ve never written anything cosmic or space related, so I wanted to give that a shot. I wanted to try and do something sci-fi, so this was the opportunity.
Brad Walker: I started working for Idelson on Action Comics because I was trying to start inking myself, so I was doing a couple of different projects at a time that were not full issues of anything. Just to try and get deadline leeway, so I could have time to play around with inking myself. And that ended up being a nightmare; I ended up with less time. Action kind of needed two people to go back and forth, and it was kind of fun but I said to Ideslon, “I would like to get back to telling complete stories, a beginning, middle, and end.” He kept saying, “I totally get it! Just hang on and we’ll find you something!”
Action went on and other projects kept coming up and falling through, but at some point he started saying that the Green Lantern books were going to change creative teams. He said, “I’d like to get you on one of those.” And I’m a huge Green Lantern fan, so that sounded really appealing. Without playing my hand too heavily, I was just sort of like, “Okay… that’d be a good assignment!” I just kind of held on and they came back [with the job] and I was thrilled about it.
IGN: You mentioned you’ve done some cosmic work before over at Marvel, which was on Guardians of the Galaxy. What’s appealing as an artist about working in outer space or in sci-fi?
Walker: There’s a lot of liberty that you don’t really get when you’re working within the confines of something that people can automatically recognize. This probably makes me sounds slightly lazy, but if you draw a car, and you draw a car even slightly wrong, somebody that can’t draw their way out of a paper bag can look at that and go, “That’s not a car!” With cosmic stuff there’s an added luxury there. You still have to fall within a general realm of physics, but really the sky is the limit as far as what you image and what Justin asks for. If I go beyond that, he’s only going to come back and go, “I love that you went beyond that!” In that sense, it’s so much fun to just let loose and go as big as possible.
Jordan: He doesn’t have one. And I don’t mean that as a negative; he’s the White Lantern now, and so the Green Lanterns don’t really have any authority over him. They don’t really have the power to make him do anything, which is fine with Hal as well. But it does set up an interesting situation where Kyle needs to figure out what he needs to do. What it means to be the White Lantern and what he’s meant to do with that power, and that won’t always necessarily be what Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps would like him to do with it.
Walker: From my perspective, it’s kind of nice that you’ve got these four Earth Green Lanterns, and he’s the one that, at a glance, has the most purpose outside of Hal. Not to talk down about John or Guy, but they’re definitely going to be secondary to Hal. Kyle has a whole different ring and a whole different set of powers. As far as a purpose, after that, you can go anywhere you want.
IGN: Up until this point, New Guardians has featured a member of every Corps. Is that dynamic changing with you guys?
Jordan: Yeah, it is. There will be a reason for it to actually be called “New Guardians” because it literally will feature new Guardians, so we’ve got that going for us. It’s going to be a much more Kyle-focused book. Which it has been to a certain extent, anyhow. The various Corps have problems of their own, but we’ll be focusing on Kyle and his chunk of the universe.
Walker: That was really appealing to me, because I worked on a lot of team books and I love them as a reader, but they can be really exhausting as an artist. The one thing I said to Matt Idelson when he mentioned this to me was that I didn’t want to draw the Red Lanterns book. [laughs] My thinking was just I imagined myself sitting in a room every day for 12-15 hours just drawing people spewing blood and I couldn’t think of anything more depressing, on top of just sitting in a room all day.
Then he talked to me a little bit about the direction of what that one was going to be and I kind of thought to myself, “Well, that sounds pretty good too!” But yeah, I liked those last couple of issues of Tony Bedard’s run where they started focusing more on Kyle and his character base, I thought that was where New Guardians really kind of took off. I liked that was the direction Justin wanted to continue, and have it be more of a direct Kyle book where we can examine the character a little bit more than you can in a team book.
Jordan: Yeah, I was kind of burned out on team books after Team 7. There were nine main characters. So when they were asking me about it I was like, “Man, I don’t think I want to do another team book!” and they said, “It’s alright! We’ve got a different idea!” Trying to juggle nine main characters in twenty pages was difficult, so I’m looking forward to not doing that.
Walker: I don’t know that you can necessarily tell when you’re reading a team book, but there’s really a lot more that goes into it when everybody’s got a favorite character and everybody has to have a purpose and you’ve got to give even time to everybody and develop storylines. I’m just thinking as an artist, so I can’t even imagine what it’s got to be like for you, Justin. Everybody’s got to get a little spotlight at least every couple of issues. For a while there on Guardians of the Galaxy, we would have about 30 main characters in an issue. I’d be drawing a whole cast of Guardians and Inhumans and everything else. I was spending so much time referencing, it really gets exhausting. Now I can already just draw Kyle straight out of my head, I don’t have to look up the costume or anything and it feels like such a blessing. [laughs]
Jordan: Team-ups in general are just kind of a huge logistical thing on both an art and writing account. So it is relaxing to not have to do that for this book.
IGN: So, you mentioned that the Templar Guardians would have a central role in this book. How does Kyle view these new characters, not only after the betrayal of the old Guardians, but also, like you said, when he’s not technically under their purview anymore?
So Hal asks Kyle to watch them, basically, while they take this tour of the universe, with the idea that there’s probably nobody better suited than Kyle to both recognize if they’re becoming a threat and then do something about it. That’s Kyle’s impetus for taking it, he doesn’t like the new Guardians. He doesn’t want to do the job, but he doesn’t really feel like there’s anybody else for it. He feels obligated to do it, so he takes it.
IGN: The other Green Lantern books seem to be dealing a lot with new characters and new recruits. Is that something you plan on doing as well, or will you just be sticking to Kyle and the Guardians?
Jordan: I mean, the Guardians in and of themselves are new characters. They’re not strictly new as in created, but we haven’t seen a lot of the personality of the Templar Guardians. There will be new characters cropping up; there’s a new character right in issue #21, for instance, that we’ll see for a couple of issues and maybe beyond. So yeah, I like creating new characters, that’s fun, but this is still very much Kyle’s book. It’s Kyle’s journey and where he’s going with things, so everybody else will be supporting that.