Art & Franco's GREEN TEAM - In Its Own World, Firmly in DCU
Though fans continue to argue whether Superman should have red trunks on the outside of his costume, or which Wonder Woman origin is better, or who should be hooking up with who, or whether or not Stephanie Brown was a Robin (she was), there's one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to DC's New 52 relaunch - it has made the company try new things.
From revivals of old concepts, playing with multiple genres outside the standard superhero fare, to brand new ideas and characters getting a spotlight, the New 52 has been DC Comics' attempt to remind people that it's the DC Universe, not just the Batman Universe. Their next effort in that regard takes a little-known concept that came and went in a single issue in 1975 ( though we didn't forget it when thinking of possible DC revamps), and makes it into something entirely new and different.
As Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, more commonly known as simply "Art and Franco" team up with Ig Guara, they're doing something very new and different indeed. Known for their all-ages adventures, The Green Team, launching in May from DC Comics, is written both about and for a teenage audience (though they assure us long time comic reading adults will dig it too). While we got the basic concept and characters from them a couple of months ago, today we delve deeper into what the story is, where it falls within the DC Universe, and debut some interior art by Ig Guara that Art and Franco say is just "so good."
cover for #1Newsarama: Okay, gentlemen, one thing that's fairly unclear so far is whether these kids are, or should be considered "heroes." Do they fall on one side or the other of that black/white line?
Franco Aureliani: Do you mean the line between hero and villain, or the line between hero and a normal person?
Nrama: Well, a little of both, I suppose!
Franco: They're definitely good people, and they're definitely trying to do good things, but they fall in the realm of a "normal person…" so far.
Art Baltazar: Yeah, they're kind of in their own world. They're not really aware of normal people as much. They're so far away from the 1% that they're not aware of the 1%.
They're definitely not evil kids, they're good kids, but they're kind of just "me me me." Just all about me kind of kids.
Nrama: How early on will you be directly integrating The Green Team with the larger DC Universe? How important is it for them to exist in that playspace rather than just as their own thing?
It's going to become apparent within the first few issues. In issue #2, you'll get a slap in the face that "yeah, they're here. It's definitely the New 52."
Art: Yeah, we have some plans too that will kind of work in issues 4 and 5, we haven't gotten it fully approved yet. After those issues, you'll definitely know that they're in the same world as Superman and Batman. You'll know it. There'll be no doubt about it.
Nrama: Well I imagine that the Justice League or maybe especially the Justice League of America and Amanda Waller wouldn't be too thrilled with people going around buying super powers.
Franco: And you won't know that they're going after super powers right away - well we will, the audience will, but everyone else doesn't know that's happening. It's a gradual thing for them, so all of a sudden they'll learn about it but not right away. Eventually.
Art: It's kind of hard to be a trillionaire kid and not show off that money power you know? So it'll definitely catch attention.
Nrama: This book was originally announced directly alongside (even sharing an image with) The Movement. How connected are they, be it thematically, story, character?
Franco: They're not directly related, but we have had conversations with Gail [Simone, writer of The Movement] about stuff we're going to explore in the books. Then eventually, at some point, something is inevitable to happen.
Each of our books have to launch fully first in order for that to happen, but seeds will be planted that something is going on.
Gail said that she's getting the same kind of question in her interviews! (laughs) We have a list of her characters, she has our characters, and it's going to happen. Just be patient with it, we want to get going really well, get our stride first before we veer off into another book.
Yeah, it's going to happen. We're both aware of each other's characters, universes, and story ideas.
Nrama: In a sales climate where it can be difficult to launch a new book, especially outside of the Justice League or Bat family, does that stance enter your mind at all in your approach?
So it is difficult in the way comics are these days. Back in the 80s and 90s, you'd just buy everything on the shelf and just read them. There were people who'd automatically buy books for 20-30 years, but there were also new kids buying them for the first time.
So we're aware. We approach everything with story. You know, when we first started Superman Family, we approached every issue as if it was our last issue. That's kind of what our mentality is, put everything into every issue. Come up to the plate and get an RBI every time.
(laughs) Baseball reference.
Nrama: Well, you mention Superman Family - with both of your critically acclaimed all-ages titles gone, it seems there's a hole to fill for that very concept at DC - frankly, is this something kids can read?
Franco: It's definitely not for - Superman Family and Tiny Titans were definitely all-ages books. When I say all-ages, I mean anybody of any age could pick them up and start reading.
This book is unfortunately not for little kids. It is teenagers, and we do have that demographic that we're writing at and for, but I'd say this is younger teen and up, definitely not for the little kids.
It's kind of like, you won't take your kids to a PG-13 movie if they're not interested. You're not taking a young kid to a Clint Eastwood directed movie or something when they want to see someone else geared toward them.
They're good though! If you're watching CW, that's sort of what we're going for. It's more CW - Smallville style, a little bit like that.
Nrama: Now that you've been working on this for a few months, how has it been working with Ig Guara? Is it difficult for the two of you, both being artists, to give the art duties to someone else?
Franco: I'll tell you, I've seen his other stuff, and I'm not tooting our own horn because of our book, this is the bestgood. It's like Christmas every time I get an email from Ig. I call up Art and just yell "oh my gosh this is exactly what we wanted it's so fantastic!" (laughs) It's just so cool to see them come in every day.
Art: Yeah, he's really good with faces, too. His first page of issue one, Mohammed, Prince Mo is in his limo, and he just looks so good! It's like we're watching a movie, the way he draws.
Being an artist too, I know I can't draw that way. I draw cartoony. So when I see Ig's drawings, I don't even compare. I don't even look at it and think "oh this guy…" It's so different, and he draws so good. I'm overwhelmed every time he turns in pages, it's amazing.
Art: (laugh) Yeah, our guys look like they do in Tiny Titans and Superman Family. Like here, here's the design, go nuts with them! And he did, he makes them look like real people!
Nrama: Sounds great guys. Wrapping up, we'll see you at C2E2 this weekend in Chicago - where can people find you?
Art: We're in Artist Alley in the K aisle. Right across from us is our Aw Yeah, Comics! booth. We're debuting our new comic, Aw Yeah, Comics! #1 and #2 at the show, with Action-Packed Adventure Bug. We'll be there, our whole aisle is all contributors from the comic book!
It's going to be awesome. You gotta come see us. Hopefully you'll see us, because we have busy schedules this year! But we'll have schedules at our table to see when we'll be where.