With The Green Lantern #1 out this week from writer Grant Morrison and artist Liam Sharp, that gave me the perfect excuse to get back in contact with ‘Sharpie’ and quiz him about the book and his artistic approach and influences on this series.
Olly MacNamee: Liam, I’ve just read The Green Lantern #1 and, my God, you must be very proud with how the first issue’s turned out.
Liam Sharp: It’s hard to take in, honestly! I can stand back and enjoy the great work of my colleagues on the title, but it’s impossible to look at my own work objectively – but then it always is! That said – I’m the artist on The Green Lantern, and that book is real, and in the shops, and people seem to like it, so certainly I’m delighted, and a little dazed!
OM: It’s a very different book, artistically and aesthetically, to your work on The Brave and The Bold, isn’t it? What with this being the antithesis of the more ancient and mythical world you portrayed in that title.
LM: It needed to be I think. The Brave and The Bold is very earthy, and textured. This is a space opera, and while it’s still organic and epic, it needed to breathe in a very different way…
OM: While you’re influences on The Brave and The Bold were more from the realm of fantasy art – Arthur Rackham, Jim Fitzpatrick – do I sense the influences of Frazzetta and Williamson on this title? Maybe a little of that 2000AD sensibility too?
LM: It definitely has those influences. I wanted to explore the pulp origins of this kind of title, so there’s references to those guys, and Virgil Findlay, but also Moebius, and Giger…Grant sees it as a hybrid of Bande Dessinee, 2000AD and mainstream US comics, and I think that’s a good way of putting it! When you have a universe to play in, you want to incorporate as many distinct and disparate vibes as you can to give it a sense of many many different cultures, vast passages of time, and a multitude of wildly alien textures…that was what I was shooting for anyway!
OM: It’s well known that Morrison is something of an artist himself, but how much of a free hand did you have in the creation of the myriad worlds and aliens on display in just this first issue? And, for that matter, in the developing story itself now that you’re a bonafide writer!
LM: It’s a collaborative process, but Grant is very much the writer on this book and I’m trying to do his elaborate and entertaining scripts justice by going all-out to cram in every detail while still – hopefully – giving it room to breathe… Visually, though, he’s putting his trust in me! There’s a character in #4 that is pretty much my own invention, but I can’t talk about him until we get to it…It’s my favorite issue in the run so far…
OM: Finally, then, could this be yours and Morrison’s All-Star Green Lantern in all but name? A stand alone saga that could well be picked up by any generation? I think it certainly has the potential to be such a story.
LM: I would love to think so, and that is certainly the aim – to make our story accessible to new readers, but also a lot of fun for long-time established fans. And while it will tie-in to the wider DC universe, it should also stand alone.
The Green Lantern #1 is out now from DC Comics.