Ethan Van Sciver is no stranger to drawing Green Lanterns. As the artist who helped redefine the Green Lantern universe with 2005's Green Lantern: Rebirth, which he followed with a long run on the main Green Lantern title, Van Sciver is probably best known for crafting colored Lanterns, space-based villains and alien planets.
But with this week's Green Lantern #43, as Van Sciver fills in for regular penciller Billy Tan, the artist is returning to a different type of Green Lantern universe — one where the Green Lantern Corps has all but disappeared from the DCU and Hal Jordan is living as a renegade with no ring.
However, Jordan does have a gauntlet that utilizes the glowing green power of will — and familiar Green Lantern villain Black Hand is at the center of the current storyline — so although there are some new faces in Green Lantern, Van Sciver's getting plenty of opportunities to use his experience as well.
Newsarama talked with Van Sciver to find out more about his work on Green Lantern #43, what techniques he's using, and what's different about the way he's drawing Hal and company these days.
Newsarama: Ethan, you've spent a lot of time working within the Green Lantern universe. What's different about the universe now?
Ethan Van Sciver: Quite a bit. I'm just catching up on what's become the new status quo. I take it that Willpower is now a non-renewable resource, and that the Green energy is limited and must be conserved. That's my understanding. It's very interesting. Not at all a notion that we had 10 years ago.
Nrama: What about your style? How has your art evolved since you first started on Green Lantern?
Van Sciver: Hopefully, I've loosened up a little. I still enjoy detail work, but it's more important that my characters emote than it is that I render useless information into backgrounds these days.
I hope I've improved with age. But Green Lantern, first and foremost, retains all of it's visual themes and cues. And that mustn't ever change.
Nrama: How would you describe your techniques? Are you drawing with digital nowadays?
Van Sciver: I still produce comic books the same way I always have. I use SP Copic Multiliners to ink instead of Kohinoor Rapidographs and Pigma Microns, both of which I've retired into my "random art tool junk drawer."
I see a lot of my peers working digitally now. I am not interested. I'm not involving myself in Sketch Up or any of these other digital methods right now. It's still tactile for me, getting a white sheet of paper dirty with ink. I love it.
And there's nothing different about my technique for Green Lantern, except that I try to stay focused on my own pet theories about the book, and close out ideas that I don't think work as well. It's important to reinforce the notion of these characters as "lanterns," literally lighting up dark corners. And that's what I try to do!
Nrama: How would you describe what you're drawing for this upcoming issue? How are you approaching Hal as a renegade and the story you're telling in #43?
Van Sciver: I'm drawing more Relic and more Source Wall, which seems to be a recurring thing for me this year.
I'm thinking of Hal as a Space Pirate, in hiding. On the run! That's how the current storyline reads to me. I wasn't in any creative meeting at the start of this concept, obviously. I'm here as Billy Tan's fill-in and Robert Venditti's guest. So my role is only to service their storyline to the best of my ability, which is a lot of fun to do. It's a lot easier to follow up on all of the design work that Billy's already done, let me tell ya!
Nrama: How do you approach Relic as a character? What are your thoughts about the way he looks in this issue?
Van Sciver: I think of him as a very thoughtful, studious galactic scientist. He's enormous. I took liberties with his size in this issue. He doesn't seem to be good or evil. He's not unlike the Guardians, in a way. He's got his ideas, and he's protective of them. Cross him at your peril. Hal understands this.
Nrama: What's it been like working with Rob Venditti? Have you gotten to talk with him at all?
Van Sciver: Well, I have yet to collaborate with him in any real sense. I've drawn his script, which was very good. One day, we should hop on the phone and see what happens! He's an excellent writer.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about working on Green Lantern?
Van Sciver: I'm sure it's no secret that I love this franchise. I'm happy to be revisiting it, and we're talking about doing much more! Thanks for making me feel back at home!