The Newsarama 9: Philip Tan

Tan & Three More Orange Lanterns

Final Crisis: Revelations #5 cover
Final Crisis: Revelations #5 cover
Tan's work on Final Crisis: Revelations

Artist Philip Tan has turned quite a few heads with his recent work. He started his stint at DC Comics with a high-profile gig drawing Final Crisis: Revelations that shows a matured and vibrant style. Previous to that he's done stints on Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man and Spawn but his upcoming stint on Green Lantern looks to make him a superstar.

Tan was one of the nine creators named in our recent 9 Creators To Watch in '09 series, and we've been following Tan's work developing new characters for the upcoming Orange Lantern storyarc beginning in Green Lantern #39, and now we go further and talk about his recent work and his enthusiasm of where he's going next.

Newsarama: Thanks for talking to us, Philip. Let's start off with an easy one – what are you working on today?

Philip Tan: Book called Green Lantern, starting on issue # 39, with this crazy guy called Geoff Johns... lots of fun!

NRAMA: The last issue of Final Crisis: Revelations came out in January, the end of your first big project for DC. What's it been like working at DC so far?

PT: It's been a crazy ride through the five issues of 30 pagers... so many things happened in my personal life that, without my creative team's great support, would have been a nightmare... but now that it's all done, I am super excited working on the new project! I'm real grateful with how my experiences with the DC people have been, everyone's super supportive! Being paired off the bat with one of my favorite writers in the industry, Greg Rucka, fulfilled one of my goals in DC. And right after, working with another hero of mine... absolutely made me one very happy artist! I really don't know about others experience... but for me, Dan Didio is a very unique kind of leader, he really listens to a lot of what the creators' needs and goals with their career and in DC, and I absolutely appreciate that! As you almost have the opportunity to talk and plan, with Dan and the awesome group of editors on the possibilities of projects ahead.

Tan's Hal Jordan

And speaking of editors, I just cannot thank Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman enough.... their patience and all-around creative support has been bottomless.... and without them, I don't think I will ever get to work with one of the most amazing inker in the field, Jonathan Glapion! So about what's it like in DC... it's beyond awesome and exciting!

NRAMA:Since we recently named you one of our 9 Creators To Watch in '09. Can you tell us what you have planned in 2009?

PT: First of all, that accolade was quite surprising... I’m very, very flattered... but also a bit shocked... I mean, I am pretty proud of my works in comic art.... but, I would never have imagined myself to be in that list, I thought there are quite a lot of rising superstars that I look up to, also. [laughs] Artist friends and peers that are consistently delivering mind-boggling great art out there... that I still need to learn from... but, thank you, Newsarama!

I have quite a few things ahead. Although aside from Green Lantern I don't think I am even allowed to talk about any of the others. One being quite possibly one of my dream projects, because of the writer involved and the book itself. It was supposed to be something after Final Crisis: Revelations, but it needed to be pushed back a bit.

But the new schedule is just another big blessing! The blessing? 2 words, Geoff Johns! I have been dreaming of working with him since waaay back! And drawing his Green Lantern book is just beyond cool! 2009 will be one of my creatively most-challenging year to date... I have shared quite a lot of my Green Lantern designs for the Orange Lantern story here, and I have tons more that needs to be approved - hopefully that I can also share. I love creating worlds and characters, especially designing its visuals. And I plan to do these on most of the projects that I will be doing. Assuming that my writer would allow. [laughs]

But Geoff Johns has been super supportive from the very first phone call we had. There are so much more stuff that we would like to show people and hopefully most of them will happen. [laughs]

NRAMA: As you’ve said, 2009 looks to be your biggest year yet in your young comics career. What do you think made all the stars align to be so good this year?

An Orange Lantern by Tan

PT: I'm not really a very superstitious person…. but if stars aligning means I get to work with creators that are my heroes, then I'm not complaining! And it really is not just the projects and the writers that are great. Like I said, I was paired with Jonathan Glapion on Final Crisis: Revelations and we immediately realized that both of us share a lot of interest in many kinds of art and illustrations! And hopefully our year-long preparation on setting our art-goals and getting used to each other's work can produce some crazy stuff for the audience with our Green Lantern run! And I think as long as I will finally go watch the first three Star Wars film, my editor Eddie Berganza will continue to be nice to me...

NRAMA: Wh-wh-what? You haven't seen all the Star Wars movies?

PT: Yes I have not watched those.. and yes, Eddie is close to making me part of DC office's pavement if I don't go do that...

NRAMA: We'll start up a fund to buy them for you if you don't watch them soon.

You've done a variety of work for Marvel, DC and Image. But what is your dream project?

PT: I still would love to create my own book in the future. But for now, I am enjoying this wild and fun ride in DC.

NRAMA: Well, ride on then.

Besides conventions, doing comics is a primarily solitary job unless you work in a studio. Who would you say are your closest friends in comics?

PT: I actually used to work in a coffee shop. The life around always makes me work better compared to being alone in a room.... but I just moved not too long ago, so now I have to start getting used to being alone.... And it's real hard to say who is your closest or not, in the field. There are people who I still maintain contacts, just because they are around and there are those that I have not spoken to for years... but it doesn't really make them any lesser as a friend.

NRAMA: You mentioned moving – you came here from the Philippines, moving to California. Was that recent?

PT: I actually moved to Cali five years ago. [laughs] Just to be closer to my friends and colleague at work. It makes a huge difference when you can talk to them often, especially in the creative field. At least in my opinion.

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