Philip Tan: Three More Orange Lanterns

Tan: Three More Orange Lanterns

Green Lantern #39

Artist Philip Tan is opening his sketchbook for Newsarama again to share some of the Orange Lanterns he designed for "Agent Orange," the storyline kicking off in February in Green Lantern #39.

And this time, there may be someone we know. Or, as Tan puts it, "maybe not."

In a story by writer Geoff Johns, Tan will debut the Orange Lanterns of avarice while further exploring the secret of the mysterious Agent Orange. Described in solicitations as "the most disgusting, filthiest, vilest being in the universe" (although Newsarama readers have applied that label to many others over the years), Agent Orange, the leader of the Orange Lanterns, has been hidden away in the Vega System – until now.

It's all part of the build-up toward the War of Light, which spins out of the concept that Green Lanterns wield a green energy of willpower at the center of a spectrum of many colored energies powered by emotion.

"It started with Rebirth, when the yellow impurity was revealed as a living power, as Parallax, the embodiment of fear. And green was the embodiment of willpower," Johns told Newsarama when the concept was first introduced in Green Lantern #25. "I believe that emotions are more than just the result of a complex brain. There is power in emotions. And this is all about exploring that idea. I love the idea that, the moment the first sentient being willed their finger to move, they created that spark of green energy out there that could be harnessed and wielded. That was the first power to ever exist. And beyond that are the other emotions and colors and their power."

In a prophesy revealed in Green Lantern #25, readers found out that various Lantern-type beings will harness these powers and become embroiled in a conflict labeled the War of Light. So far, readers of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps have met those who harness the energies of fear, love, hope and hate. Completing the spectrum will be the yet-unseen beings who wield the indigo-colored energy of compassion and the Orange Lanterns who utilize the power of greed.

Although artists Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis have established the basic visual context of this concept in the Green Lantern universe, various artists have helped to define the colored lanterns showing up in the title, including the Red Lanterns designed by Shane Davis and the Orange Lanterns seen here by Tan.

As if those concepts weren't epic enough, all this action is leading toward the Blackest Night storyline that Johns is planning for later this year, which promises to see deceased DC characters rise from the earth wearing black rings somehow connected to Black Hand and the energy of the Anti-Monitor.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, it's time to talk to Phil Tan about some more of the Orange Lanterns he designed for next month's story. After his DC debut in Final Crisis: Revelations, Tan's focusing on drawing the "grotesque" Orange Lanterns who he says "look like predators" and are "very hunting based" for a reason yet to be revealed in the story.

The "fire" Orange Lantern

Newsarama: Is this first Orange Lantern on fire? Can you tell us about her?

Philip Tan: The first one is on fire. Her flesh and image was consumed by the flames when she tried to take in more power than she could. The orange ring found her before she died from over-charging and kept her alive, but she has to continue to consume more energy to stay alive. She is the most human-like (minus the flame and scarred looks) of all the Orange Lanterns we have shown so far. She may be someone we know, or maybe not.

Not a flower you want to sniff

NRAMA: The second Orange Lantern looks like he's got a tail that lures his prey?

PT: The second one is an intelligent plant. It does lure it's prey with the "flower" on its head. This sentient plant is one of the species in the Vega system which consumes slowly, in time, whole continents of living things around it, and then moves on to new places, eventually consuming all life in the planet.

Not fingers, claws

NRAMA: What's the story on this third one? Are those claws? And do they all have rings?

PT: The third one does have claws for fingers. The creature lives like a trapdoor spider, but in total dark. It consumes anything that moves literally. It can probably swallow things bigger than itself. One of the few Orange Lanterns that did not have a cultural identity or society to speak off, from its world. It consumes its own kind also.

NRAMA: And finally, Phil, do you have any idea how many Orange Lanterns you've made as you've worked on this Green Lantern story?

PT: I am still churning out more designs as I go with my regular pages. Sometimes two, sometimes three finished designs every week. Depends. I do have a lot of sketches and studies around, waiting for Geoff and my editors to approve.


First Look: Orange Lanterns by Philip Tan

Painting it Orange: More Orange Lanterns from Philip Tan  

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