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AICN COMICS Q&@: Ambush Bug checks in with DC’s Peter Tomasi, Writer of BATMAN & ROBIN and GREEN LANTERN CORPS!!!

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Q’s by Ambush Bug!

@’s by DC Writer Peter Tomasi!!!

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here with an interview from this year’s New York Comic Con. This time around I had a chance to catch up once again with one of my favorite writers at DC Comics, Peter Tomasi. You’ve probably read his monthly books, BATMAN & ROBIN and GREEN LANTERN CORPS and if you haven’t, shame on you. Here’s what transpired from the DC booth on the floor of the con…

AMBUSH BUG (AB): Here we go. So, I am here at the DC booth here with Peter Tomasi. You made the switch from editor to writer, and now you’re writing GREEN LANTERN CORPS and BATMAN & ROBIN. Tell me, what was the switch like for you? That seems like ages ago.

PETER TOMASI (PT): Back in the day? (laughs)

BUG: Yeah, back in the day, it’s been a while now.

PT: Yeah, it’s true...

BUG: it’s like everyone knows you as a writer.

PT: It’s funny, it’s almost seven years since I’ve gone freelance or exclusive with DC, but fifteen years of DC as an editor; ended up editing Batman by the end of it. Yeah, it was one of those things where I’d been writing. The company has always been great to me about doing work for them, writing work, and suddenly one day I was just trying to figure out what my next project would be within the company, and Dan Didio was like, “you know what, why don’t you just switch places? Why don’t you just be on the other side of the desk?” And, I was just like, “no really, what are we going to do next,” and he was, “I’m serious, I think you should write for us now full time,” and I was like, “wow, alright!” Then, he goes, “here’s what you’d make, oh, even more!” I said, “yes, I like it. I get to stay home and write stories,” I’m all on it, so that was really it. I mean, Dan prompted that and it’s been seven years almost now. It’s been great fun, really.

BUG: Yeah, that’s great, and you’ve worked pretty closely with Geoff Johns on GREEN LANTERN CORPS through the years. Tell me a little bit about how that relationship works because you used to be his editor and now you guys are basically co-writing the Green Lantern Universe?

PT: Oh yeah, I mean, GREEN LANTERN started off where Bob Schreck was editing it at that time, and it was, the sales were pretty abysmal. And I wanted, being a Hal Jordan fan and a Green Lantern fan, I thought it was time to like, just kind of shake it up and try to return to roots kind of thing, and restart it, rejig it up. And, I went to Dan, well, first I went to Schreck to make sure, and I said, “hey man, do you mind if I take GL off your table,” and he was like, “please! Take it!” So, that was great of Bob to do, and then I went to Dan, and I said, “look, Hal Jordan, restart the Corps, make it big time,” and, you know, next thing you know, me and Geoff just talking all the time, and Geoff building this great mythology, and there we were.

BUG: Well, you wrote probably one of my favourite Zero issues...

PT: Oh, that just came out?

BUG: ...the Guy Gardner one—GREEN LANTERN CORPS #0.

PT: Thank you.

BUG: And there’s just not enough, in my opinion, of just solo Guy Gardner, in my book.

PT: You can never get enough. Oh yeah, Guy Gardner is my favourite Lantern, and it was funny looking back when you start to flip through everything that’s come before, his origin was so convoluted, and especially with CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, and there’s all of this different, fractured stuff that just wasn’t playing anymore. So, I figured it was the perfect time with the Zero issues to just give him a nice clean, and as much as I hate to say it, almost a clean, nice movie origin that gave him a real sense of purpose, and you know, playing off of him being part of a long line of policemen over the years. It kind of, it really made sense for Guy, in my head, to be part of that. So, it worked out good, I mean, the response has been great for the Guy Zero issues. I’m kind of happy to know that a lot of people seemed to never like Guy, they always thought he was a dick, and they felt that he was just one note, and everybody that I’ve talked to really feels now Guy is, has a lot of meat on the bones, and they really, they appreciate him more as a character instead of just a one punch, one note kind of guy.

BUG: Yeah, well it seems like out of all the Green Lanterns, even without the ring, he’s an interesting character to just follow in the story.

PT: Yeah, in issue 14 and 15 coming up, and 16, there’s some really great stuff with him. He’s, ‘cause right now we’re seeing him at the top of his game, and then all of the sudden with respect of the Guardians and everything else, it’s all gonna, things are going to get bad for Guy. We’re going to see how he reacts to it and see what, the core of his character come to light.

BUG: And lately on GREEN LANTERN CORPS, John Stewart’s been going through a lot of hard times.

PT: Poor John. He’s always got it, right? The trials and tribulations of John Stewart. Yeah, that was, even though it was dealing with some wide ranging issues, and of course the planet. You know, Mogo, when he took out Mogo and stuff. I like John to a degree where he’s, to me, he’s about redemption, and so John is always trying to redeem himself, and after taking out the other Lantern that he had to, there was sort of a, you know he had to, so it was the kind of situation where that was just kind of showing other people the other perspective of the other Corps. It kind of gave me a nice moment to sort of split them down the sides as to who was for that kind of stuff and who wasn’t, and what it meant to be a Green Lantern. And, the situations that weren’t just black and white.

BUG: So, did you have to get kind of permission to have John kill someone again?

PT: No, actually, the great thing about being a part of GL stuff for so long now, I guess it’s ten years now, probably. So it’s, it’s kind of like, I talk with Geoff, and we’re, everything’s like, “hey, I’m going to do this,” and Geoff’s like, “cool! I’m going to do this!” “Cool!” So, next thing you know, the book’s out.

BUG: Nice. So, do you, and Geoff, and Tony Bedard, do you guys meet regularly to kind of just make sure that everybody’s on the same page?

PT: We would probably like to. I mean, Geoff is a thousand miles away, Tony’s now, was in Florida, now I think he’s in the midwest somewhere, so we did have a summit before the Rise of the Green Lantern, Rise of the Third Army. So that, summits are great because you spend a couple of days looking at each other, and you know, really just going through things. It makes it easier, definitely, face to face. But, with email and a lot of conference calls…we’ve all been on the same page in regard to that stuff.

BUG: So what’s coming up, how does the GREEN LANTERN CORPS factor into the whole Third Army stuff that’s happening right now?

PT: Big time. Right now, I mean, the Guardians, they don’t want a Green Lantern Corps, and a lot of bad things are coming up for the Green Lantern Corps, and how our guys get out of this is going to be pretty spectacular.

BUG: And so do you consider that, just John and Guy the stars of that book or do you ever plan on rotating them around with other corps members?

PT: Yeah, I mean I’ve sort of in a way have done that where, like, with John on trial it was really his, the light shined on John for about 3-4 months there, and Guy was the supporting character. So now, I’m flipping it where Guy is the A story, and John is sort of the B story, so it’s tough when you’re dealing with the Green Lantern Corps and you have thousands of characters you try to get, I feel to me like I’d rather spend time with some specific guys because then you’re invested in them, so as you go along where, I mean I like Isamot, and Vath, and or, and Natu. They’re all great characters, so it’s nice to touch base with them once in a while. I mean, I keep reminding people that they’re around, that just gives them little tidbits and some touchstones. Yeah, right now Guy and John are the stars of the book.

BUG: And so, let’s move over to BATMAN & ROBIN, another one of my favourite books.

PT: Thank you.

BUG: One of the things that we’ve talked about quite a bit on our podcast is the fact of how well you write all of the Robins. That Robin issue where Damian kind of takes them all on is fantastic.

PT: Thanks.

BUG: We’ve been calling for a ROBIN book with all of the Robins in there.

PT: Well, the funny thing is that you said that is, and I don’t think I’ve talked about it much, that issue, that arc, there was a lot more to it. I had another two issues of that with a lot of the cool stuff with the Robins, but it got truncated. Decisions were made where the Joker stuff got pushed up. So, it ended up cutting into the story, so I had to sort of shorten up, I wanted to get to know more about Terminus, and I had a lot more with the Robins in there and their interaction together, but unfortunately it went all to the wayside on that one.

BUG: Do you think you’re going to go back to that at some point?

PT: I don’t know, I’m not sure if I have the time right now to do it and where the stories are going. It’s a possibility.

BUG: And so how does BATMAN & ROBIN factor into the Joker “Death of the Family”?

PT: Pretty big. Yeah, it’s funny BATMAN & ROBIN, I think is a book that, I’m not saying that people are ignoring by any stretch of the imagination, but you know what Pat Gleason is doing, who is one of the most underrated artists out there, he’s phenomenal as is Fernando Pasarin, by the way just to make sure on GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Another freakin’ unbelievable artist, I’m so lucky to have those guys. But, it’s, BATMAN & ROBIN is a book right now, and as the next few months go by people are going to realize just how integral and how focused and keyed in it is to what’s going to be coming up, and it’s, I want people to even discover more. Oo many people like “Born to Kill”, it was nice that the response was there because I think some people who may not have gotten the chance to read it on the initial run on the New 52, they picked up the hardcover, and they realized what a solid book it is, and how Pat’s just kicking the hell out of it. So, people are finding it even more, which is great. I’m watching the numbers go up, it’s dynamite.

BUG: Yeah. So, when you first took on the character of Damian, and you write him so well, were you, did you talk with Grant Morrison about what, did you guys have a meeting about how you guys wanted to deal with Damian?

PT: Unfortunately, no we never really did get a chance to talk. Grant’s obviously a busy guy. So, I kind of, you know, took the Damian football and ran with it. I mean, you know, Grant obviously created the character, and there are some great things, so... My job was to really, you know, because he, his stories are so massive and intricate that there was…looking at his stuff, he had little, short bursts of being able to deal with Damian and things. I’m more character driven, I think, and Grant has these big, amazing stories always in mind. So, I was able to kind of look at Damian and say, you know, “how do I just make him a bit more relatable?” And, at the same time, you know, some people love to hate him, other people are actually starting to like him a lot more now. So, it was one of those things and then Grant said really he enjoyed what I was doing with it, so it’s been great.

BUG: So, not that you’re not busy enough, but what are you going to be doing more stuff for DC any other runs?

PT: Actually, the last week we were talking about some other things. So, we’ve got some, there’s some cool stuff in the pipeline. Whether they happen or not is anybody’s guess, but there’s talk about some other stuff.

BUG: Is writing two books keeping you busy or do can you handle writing another?

PT: Actually I could probably handle more and I probably want to get maybe to three, and if I can get to four, even better. But, it’s been sort of a tough, personally it’s been a tough year with some family stuff; parents getting older and all that jazz, so it’s, there’s been a lot of stuff like that that’s kind of held me back from getting as many books out that I would want to, but two books a month right now has been great with everything that’s been happening, so it’s been good.

BUG: Very cool. Well, so what else? What can you sort of tell us about what’s, any teasers you can give us about either BATMAN & ROBIN or GREEN LANTERN CORPS? Anything that you haven’t told a million people already here at the con?

PT: I mean, it kind of really boils down to, the books are going to change soon. There’s a lot of big stuff that’s coming up, I mean, with the New 52 in place, it was really key for us to make sure that there was some big stuff coming, and it is. This is not the usual, “Eh! I’m trying to be the huckster,” there is, there’s some big things and big changes coming up, and I think people are going to be surprised and knocked out by it...

BUG: Cool. Well, this isn’t me blowing smoke, you are one of my favourite writers here at DC, and it’s fantastic to read your books every month, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

PT: Thanks.

BUG: I did want to check in, a while back, we covered THE LIGHT BRIGADE for you quite a while back.

PT: One of my babies.

BUG: Yeah, so has there been any other development on that, or sequel talk, or anything like that?

PT: No, we haven’t done any sequel talk. Actually, I have all the rights, the rights have all, DC was great, I mean, I had all the rights reverted back to me now, actually. So, the question is now whether I can get it made into a feature or what. But, there’s always talk about it, people always dig it, but sometimes it’s that right moment in time trying...

BUG: Was that your first book that you did at DC, or?

PT: Actually, no I had a couple of things under the belt before. That was my first creative run, though, at DC. And, Joey Cavalieri was the editor, Peter Snejbjerg, and Bjarne Hanson. You know, I mean the art and the colour in that book is just...I mean, people talk about it. I love it when people bring it up for signings all these years later because it’s great, and there’s a lot of respect for the book out there, so I’m hoping one day, you know, I mean, you guys are grea-, I think one of the things you said was that it was like, “this has to be made into a movie, what are you going t-, it has to, has to!” And so when you guys reviewed it and gave it that great review was, trust me, I actually, I keep that, I have a thousand copies printed up, and every time it’s going out to a producer or studio, that thing is sitting right at the top of it.

BUG: Well, thank you, that’s awesome.

PT: I much appreciate it.

BUG: Well, best of luck with that, and best of luck with the rest of the comics.

PT: Thanks for your support, and thanks for your interest.

BUG: Be sure to check out Peter Tomasi’s excellent monthly books BATMAN & ROBIN and GREEN LANTERN CORPS from DC Comics!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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