PETER TOMASI on Making a BRIGHTER DC DAY
WONDERCON 2010: DC UNIVERSE Panel
Ever since Johns first wrote Green Lantern: Rebirth five years ago to his last page of Blackest Night last month, Tomasi has developed a collaborative relationship with Johns as he revived the Green Lantern universe.
"We've been working together for years now," Johns told Newsarama recently. "We love working together so much."
Back in 2005, it was then-editor Tomasi who worked with Johns on Green Lantern: Rebirth and the launch of a new Hal-centered Green Lantern. Then when Tomasi left editing to be a writer, he stuck with the franchise by taking over Green Lantern Corps.
Now the writer is co-writing with Johns on Brightest Day, the 26-issue, bi-weekly series that kicks off today with its first issue.
The release of Brightest Day #0 gave DC fans an outline of what this event will entail, and this week's issue hints at what's to come. It all revolves around a White Lantern, a few resurrections, new relationships, and a whole lot of emotion-related mystery.
Newsarama talked to Tomasi to find out more about how his collaboration with Johns is going, what Boston Brand's "vision" means, and what else he can tell us about Brightest Day.
Nrama: Peter, how has it been adjusting to the bi-weekly schedule? Are there a lot of differences for you, or does your shared responsibilities with Geoff make it easier?
Peter Tomasi: It's been a bit of a bear due to the time constraints, Vaneta, but also incredibly fun due to the time constraints. It's a rollercoaster that you know you can't get off of and it's crazy and joyful all at once. It's really like adding 2 monthlies to my writing schedule. But no matter how tough it sometimes gets, the way I look at it when anybody complains about writing comics for a living is it beats cleaning toilets in the World Trade Center during the graveyard shift for four years, which I did to pay for college. And in regards to shared responsibilities with Geoff, it doesn't make it easier but it does make it a hell of a lot of fun!
Nrama: Geoff told us at C2E2 that you two share writing responsibilities, but how does that break down? Can you tell us anything about how tasks are divided?
Tomasi: It's a really basic approach. No rocket science involved, thank God, because I always sucked at math. Geoff and I both were in New York City for several story meetings with [editors] Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman, we beat out the story, threw tons of ideas around and had a blast doing it. Then we both went off and started writing and riffing and mixing it all up until an issue hits the stands. We continue to have weekly conference calls and daily calls and emails fired back and forth due to the bi-weekly schedule, and to make sure we're all on the same page when it comes to art, copy and color corrections.
Nrama: That sounds a little different from former weeklies, but then the format is different too. DC has experimented with different formats over the last few years for their weekly events, from keeping the weekly completely separate from the DCU in 52 and Trinity, to overlapping several DCU events with Countdown. What do you think is the advantage to how you're approaching Brightest Day?
Nrama: Has this story evolved over time? And how were the starring characters chosen? Were the characters chosen first and a story built around them, or did the story come first?
Tomasi: As I mentioned earlier, the story did indeed come first, building from the last several years in the Green Lantern corner of the DCU, but some of the main characters we were bringing back were tagged early on for being integral to the entire concept of Brightest Day, so there was an aspect of it being hand-in-hand and feeding off each other. And yeah, this story has definitely evolved over the course of the last year, especially. Hell, all stories are organic and evolve if you have the luxury of time to let them, and we've been lucky to have this thing simmering for quite awhile. And I'd be lying if I said there aren't days even as early as yesterday, when one of us will come up with something that is so cool we find a way to fit it in that works.
Nrama: Let's talk about the characters who returned from the dead. There are 12 characters, but several are being explored in other comics, such as Hawk in Birds of Prey, Osiris in Titans, Jade in Justice League of America, and Max Lord in the Generation Lost bi-weekly – and presumably Reverse Flash and Boomerang in The Flash. Will those characters still be focuses of Brightest Day, or will the bi-weekly focus more on the other six – Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and Firestorm?
Tomasi: Brightest Day will most definitely focus on Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Deadman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Firestorm, but that doesn't mean the characters you mentioned appearing in the other books won't be appearing in Brightest Day. As a matter of fact, several important characters in the DCU will be popping into the book for reasons I can't get into at this time.
Nrama: Then let me take a guess. There were some other characters resurrected in Blackest Night whose stories seem to be lingering as that story concluded: Anti-Monitor and Black Hand. Is there a chance they'll show up in Brightest Day?
Tomasi: There's always a chance, Vaneta. We've got a lot of surprises up our sleeves for this series. So like I said in the earlier question, the DCU will definitely be seen within Brightest Day, as will the repercussions in certain DCU books as the story rolls out.
Nrama: Since Deadman and his white ring seem to be able to give life (at least to birds and trees) is there a chance we'll see more resurrected DC characters?
Tomasi: What was that, Vaneta? Wait – I'm having some phone problems – lots...a static – I lost ya there for a sec – ah, screw it. Why don't you just go right to the next question?
Nrama: Well, at least it isn't a resounding no. OK, another question about Deadman: Now that Boston's back, is there anyone left from his family or friends that he might be able to meet in the flesh?
Tomasi: I've always been partial to Tiny myself, so who knows what the next few issues will bring.
Nrama: We're seeing some reference to the various colored rings in Brightest Day, and the energy of love seems to be already playing a part, at least on the Claw of Horus that Hawkman is wearing. How important a role do the seven colors of emotions play in Brightest Day?
Tomasi: Emotions are always key and push stories in specific ways, and that's all I've got to say about that (in my poorest Gump voice).
Nrama: Then let's talk about how Martian Manhunter declared he was the last Martian. There's some confusion among fans, since there's a character on Earth called Ms. Martian who was revealed to be a White Martian. Is he not aware of her, or can you clarify that statement?
Tomasi: One person's clarification is another person's supplication.
Tomasi: Well, as of issue #0 and #1, J'onn's got some serious questions he wants answered, and I'd say he is in quite a determined state of mind at this juncture. J'onn's connection to Mars will loom quite large in the coming months.
Nrama: Is the rock Martian Manhunter's wearing on his chest just a rock?
Tomasi: Yep. It's a piece of Mars that he will keep close to his heart.
Nrama: Then let's switch our attention to this new Firestorm. Ronnie Raymond is obviously still irresponsible, and Jason already despises him. Are you hoping to explore the contrast between the two characters by throwing them together as Firestorm?
Tomasi: Ronnie and Jason's characters are polar opposites in the truest sense of the word, and that makes them incredibly interesting to read about. All you need to do is put them in a room together and the tempers run high – put them in each other's head and you've got a battle royale. Ronnie and Jason have a pretty epic storyline in place that will test them both and bring them right to the emotional edge of who they are and what they believe in.
Nrama: From what we've seen with Jade and Aquaman, there's obviously some type of "Black Lantern residue" at work here. When will we see what happens with that? And is residue even the right word?
Tomasi: Well, Vaneta, let's just say that everything you're seeing is for a specific reason and will be paid off in spades in a later issue. And yes, I'd say "residue" fits for the moment.
Tomasi: Vaneta, Vaneta, Vaneta, what am I gonna do with you, huh? If I answer that the entire Internet will crack in half and Bendis' old prediction will finally come to pass.
Nrama: [laughs] Good point. We don't want that to happen. Then let's talk about Sinestro and the white power battery. In an upcoming cover for Brightest Day, Hal is shown being zapped by the White Lantern. Is there a limit on who can utilize the White Lantern? And can you tell us anything about what role it plays in your story?
Tomasi: Yeah, absolutely, there is definitely a limit as to who can utilize the White Lantern as you'll see in Issue #1. Hal powers up a construct that explains the basic premise, which is that only someone incredibly special will be able to lift/wield the White Lantern. And I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but the White Lantern will play a major role in Brightest Day.
Nrama: Brightest Day #0 ended with Deadman having a vision that gave some interesting teases to what we might see. Are these just possible futures? And are they just for Brightest Day? Or throughout DC's regular titles as well?
Tomasi: They're not possible futures. They are most definitely going to be happening in Brightest Day and other books as well.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about Brightest Day?
Tomasi: Only that the artists, [Ivan] Reis, [Pat] Gleason, [Ardian] Syaf, [Scott] Clark, [Joe] Prado and [Peter] Steigerwald are kicking serious ass inside, and [David] Finch is taking no prisoners with his wicked covers outside!