IGN Comics: Right off the bat we get to see some great stuff between Hal and Kyle. Can you talk a little bit about how you see their relationship with one another?
Justin Jordan: They are friendly with friction. They don’t dislike each other but they’re not the best of friends, either. They’re co-workers who are kind of friendly and kind of not. Kyle thinks Hal’s kind of a dick. And Hal doesn’t necessarily disagree and he’s not real keen on the fact that Kyle is his own entity – and I don’t mean that in a literal entity sense like Parallax or anything, that’s the tricky part about talking about Green Lantern! [laughs] – but Kyle is basically his own Corps.
Hal has, notably, been having a lot of trouble with other Corps. So there’s a certain degree of wariness there. At the same time, there’s no doubt that Kyle is a good guy and that he’s trying to do his best, it’s just that Hal and Kyle won’t necessarily agree on what the best is.
Brad Walker: This isn’t something that we’ve touched on yet or even something that Justin and I have talked about, but it seems to me that Kyle should almost be resentful of the rest of the Corps. He was the one guy that held down the fort of however many sectors for years while everybody else disbanded and Hal went crazy. Kyle’s had a lot on his shoulders and taken on a lot of responsibility. It kind of seems like a thankless job that he stepped into and then everybody just waltzes back in and Kyle’s just one of the gang all of a sudden.
I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff that you can look at with Kyle, where, like Justin just said, he’s sort of a one man Corps. But when he started out he was a one man Corps. He’s the only one who’s experienced that level of solo responsibility with a Green Lantern ring. I think that is something that makes him really interesting and unique.
Jordan: Sure, and Kyle is definitely aware of and not especially happy with the idea that the Green Lantern Corps has spent so much time fighting itself, the Guardians, and the other Corps, that, you know, there’s a whole universe of billions of galaxies out there that have, as a result of that, gotten some degree of short shrift. That is something that Kyle is aware of. While all of that stuff has gone down, somebody needs to start repairing the damage that that’s done, and it’s probably left to Kyle. I think there’s a degree of resentment there that’s a completely human reaction.
IGN: As great as Kyle is in this issue, I have to point out: space sharks! Which are amazing. Brad, can you talk about your design for something like that? Is this something that was in the script or was it something you came up with?
Walker: Justin definitely had a moment of epiphany as far as, “We should have space sharks!” [laughs] Just through the e-mail when he told me about it, it was a “Why hasn’t somebody done this for years?” I think there were tweaks to the script done after that had been come up with, and even when Chris [Conway] our editor e-mailed me about it, he was like, “We need to do a couple of more things to the script before I give you the green light, but don’t worry, we’re not going to lose the sharks.” I always have a blast drawing animals anyway, for whatever reason. Other artists talk about how that’s sort of a curse being given animals to draw, but I always love it. I got a real kick out of drawing sharks with airplane wings and big Gatling guns and lasers underneath their chins. It just seemed, at the same time, threatening enough looking and also funny, but with enough of an element of danger that it isn’t just a joke.
Jordan: I had a moment where indeed, I decided that space sharks were a thing that needed to be a thing. Especially with laser beams! I mean, come on.
IGN: Well, speaking for everyone, thank you for that.
Walker: [laughs] I feel like it was a great way to intro the first issue. Justin and I both talked about how we wanted the book to have a level of scale and show a depth to outer space and this journey that the new Guardians and Kyle are going to go on; to have a literally giant antagonist at the very beginning of the issue. I feel like that outlines our intent to make this larger than life and bizarre and threatening and give an immediate visual underlying to what we wanted to do with the book in terms of scope. I like it for that reason.
Jordan: I’d done a draft of the script in the early stages that did not have space sharks in it. And I wasn’t happy with it – not just because it lacked space sharks, although that will make any script better. You know, we’re coming off of Geoff’s [Johns] run on Green Lantern, all the creative teams are leaving; I wanted to give people a real good sense of what the book would be like, which is just what Brad said. And I think we kind of got that there. That was one of the reasons I wanted to add the space sharks, something that we hadn’t seen the DC Universe before. Something that was big, something that was weird. I like to encapsulate what the book’s about so that people know within the first five pages what kind of a book they’re going to be reading.
IGN: Brad, you go from drawing space sharks to drawing pretty subdued character interaction the next when Kyle’s packing up his apartment. Do you prefer one kind of scene to the other? Is one more challenging than the other?
Walker: They both have their challenges and their merits, but I like the shift and then the shift back. I thought visually that was really interesting, and I tried to do certain things to underline it. I tried to keep the page design more frenetic and fast and cramped and close on the space shark pages, because then when you turn the page after that scene, now all of a sudden you’re in very structured, perpendicular, traditional looking pages. It expresses the tone of the book, the majority of the story that you’re going to get, when you see the contrast with Earth-bound, “normal” type of comic art.
I like that scene and I think that scene expressed what our book probably won’t be most of the time, so I wanted to draw it in a way that kept that idea going to complement where Justin put that in the story. There’s a page or two coming up after that that is kind of the same thing, where I wanted to show the difference between what a hum-drum page on Earth looks like versus what our page of deep space ass kicking action looks like.
IGN: After that scene, once we’re back in space, there’s talk about how the Templar Guardians new about the anomaly before they went away. Will we be seeing any of that time period, before they were locked up?
Jordan: Not in this arc. We may. There’s something interesting about showing the universe as it was and showing the universe as it is, and that’s one of the key points of what the Guardians are going through. They have to adapt to a universe that’s fundamentally changed an awful lot while they were basically staring at the walls of a temple. But it won’t come up for a few issues yet.
IGN: And also right at that part, we’re introduced to Exeter who is a very fun character that has a great design. Can you talk a little about the idea behind that character and also where his design stems from?
Walker: I didn’t tell Justin and Chris until after we locked in the design, but he’s actually the first character that I’ve designed at either of the Big Two companies after working in comics for ten years. I’ve never gotten to do a new character, so that was really exciting for me. Justin’s description was that he wanted somebody physically larger, not much taller than Kyle, but very thick and very broad. He’s a very classically Kirby-ish cosmic type of character, which played right into my fandom. [laughs]
So I started looking at it in terms of he’s guarding the anomaly, and I looked up the word “Exeter” which was a British settlement, I believe, and now it’s a town. So I started looking at him as a castle wall or a guard wall himself, so there are elements like the armor plates are a little European and the ones on his head I intended to almost look like a turret wall. And then give him a sci-fi energy type of armor, and Justin asked for an axe and a shield, and also energy powers. I tried to wrap all that together.
We were doing a couple of different passes on his face, and I wanted to give it a Kirby nod, with a gorilla-type of facial structure with a large upper lip and things like that, but it wasn’t really working for me. But then I was in a car and there was some bird excrement on the windshield… [laughs]
Walker: …and it jogged something in my head, so I took a picture on my phone. Later, I drew it and I could show the picture one day, and it’s exactly like his tusks. [laughs] After I put the tusks on, it was clear that was definitely the way to go.
Jordan: Yeah, Exeter is a fun character to write. It’s funny, he’s got this pompous aspect to him, very self-serious, which I felt was like what you need to be to declare yourself a policeman of this weird s***. But I just ended up liking how he talked, he’s a lot of fun to write. As for the name, there’s actually an Exeter, PA, which always sounded like a villain’s name to me, even though Exeter here is not strictly villainous. It just seemed like a cool sci-fi name, but it ended up with the whole defensive wall thing was just a matter of happy coincidence. I wrote him as a big, solid Kirby-esque character because there’s this notion that he’s metaphorically at the wall, which I don’t know if I actually told Brad, but he seems to have gotten it so it all worked out for the best.
IGN: Obviously the big reveal here is the debut of Relic. Will you be dealing with him directly in the next issue before he goes to make trouble for Hal?
IGN: [laughs] That’s all I needed to hear.
Walker: Now there’s an answer! It’s kind of exciting that right around the time when I was getting into the script is when they posted that picture of Relic online, and then to see that we’re the ones that get to use him first – and obviously he’ll come into play more in the other books – but right up front, we’re the ones that are getting to deal with him and show him coming into the universe. So that was exciting. I think bringing in that character in our book makes sense with what we’re trying to do. And it also is just a lot of fun to me because it feels like we’re bringing something of importance to the greater story. The books are weaving at the moment, so it’s nice and broad creatively.
Jordan: It’s interesting. They asked us to find a way to lead in to the whole Relic thing, but it actually worked thematically with what I said earlier, that the Green Lanterns and the Guardians have been so focused on their own internal problems that they’ve been neglecting things. This is a very concrete example of that; there’s this weird thing out in space that turns out to be a huge threat. Exeter is entirely correct in his assessment of that, and they’ve basically ignored it for billions of years, which is proving to be a bad idea.
Walker: And it makes the old Guardians look that much more negligent.