Monday, 29 June 2009

The Genius of Geoff Johns and Team

Making comic books relevant in an era of the multi million dollar movie

I was thinking about the Superman TPBs and how they fit in the big picture of New Krypton. I concluded that it was comparable to the the upcoming Blackest Night. Geoff Johns is very methodical, he blocks things off. If you look at the run up to Blackest Night starting with rebirth its like he has a checklist. He set up parallax and sinestro as a gateway into the corps of various colours and since he's been introducing us to them storyarc by storyarc. (which is so very like how Levitz wrote the Darkseid arc in Legion back in the day) No one like him has this gradual and planned progression over years, possibly because there is no security that they will be on a title to see it through to conclusion.

Putting this in to the Super-books. Last Son started Zod/Chis/Ursa which now comes to fruiton in Action Comics and World of New Krypton, Bizarro was featured on the cover of Adventure so there is something there even if it was a fill in while Last Son was delayed, Brainiac of course kicked it all off and is now is storage, Atlas started the government side of things and he's now reappeared. All little seeds going into the conclusion of this epic. Then there is Legion, sure there is Mon-El but that was set up in an annual and not Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes. We also have Tellus who has disappeared and the lead cure. Superman says 'something is wrong with tomorrow'. I don't think that is the Legion of Three Worlds considering he was a part of it and it should have been concluded before the issue came out. It stands to reason the Legion have to find their way back into the big event. It raises some questions no one asked. What is wrong with tomorrow? How do the Legion fit in to an Earth/New Krypton War in the 21st century?Where did tellus come from?

I think DC have stumbled on a great formula of rolling epics. Morisson is doing something similar that started with Batman 666 but that is far more organic in its flow than Johns' approach. It could revolutionise comics, to build up to a summer event over 3 years rather than pulling one out of one's behind as has become the norm. Not only that but another part of Johns' genius is that I could do one of those spider webs with string and show where his catalogue of work intersects. He doesn't just move on, he's telling a continuous story thoughout the DCU. Also the benefit of this is the Omens he can place in his work, whether its been Rip Hunter's board or the end of Action #850 omens have proven a great marketing tool so much so the year started with Origins and Omens back ups. The issue with them though is that most of those titles don't have the steady creative team that the titles that have made the omens successfull do.

Geoff Johns can make an individual title seem epic and important through a carefully applied build up of pressure to a grand conclusion. He makes movies on the page over the months and yet it would take multiple feature films to do his tales justice. I also think its the idea of the writer's room that makes his titles such successes. When you are in weekly conference with your co-writers continuity errors are less and less. So much credit goes to his collaborators but we only have to look at how the arcs are structured to see its Johns' at the heart of these events. We only have to look at the seeming chaos in the batbooks for comparison. It seems everyone is writing around Grant Morrison rather than having any type of communal writers room. It shows on the page.Morrison knows what he is doing and the other writers seem to pray that anything they do doesn't get in the way. It creates a sense of timidity in the batbooks that does not hamper the super-books. All 4 books have big storylines going on right now which can only happen with great communication which is perhaps the reason why the super-books and green lantern are the envy of the comic industry right now


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