As Tim Seeley finishes his run on Green Lanterns this week, the writer is bringing the story of Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz back to the flash-forward teases that readers saw way back in the Geof Johns's foundational Green Lantern, who created both characters.
This week's Green Lanterns #47 by Seeley and artist V Ken Marion will finish the "Ghosts of the Past" storyline that also finally deals with the story behind Jessica's anxiety disorder. It's an early end to Seeley's run, which was originally planned to go through June's #48 and #49.
But Seeley doesn't appear to be leaving the characters in a particularly positive place, as the writer confirmed what readers have seen in upcoming solicitations — that the two Green Lanterns appear to be splitting up their unusual two-person team. That will happen when Aaron Gillespie takes over writing the book for two issues, preparing the way for the new series writer, Dan Jurgens.
Newsarama talked to Seeley to find out more about the end of his run, why his own anxiety disorder informed his pitch for the book, and what readers can expect from the writer next.
Newsarama: Tim, you've been teasing what's going on with Jessica for a while in this book. Why did you want to explore this about her? And how does this theme specifically address who her character is?
Tim Seeley: Well, when I first saw the character, I was instantly interested in this idea that she had some kind of event that caused her to have anxiety disorder, which as far as I knew is not how it worked, having an anxiety disorder of my own.
And so, as I had ideas for that, it just so happened that I was asked to do the book. And I thought, oh, perfect! I can work on that and explain what made her who she is. I can explore who she was before that and also deal with what previous Green Lanterns writer Sam Humphries had kind of set up in his run on the book, which is that Jess' ring is different, and it talks to her in a different way.
I tied all those things together and used this goalpost of picking up something from one of Geoff Johns' book, which was a flash-forward scene where we see Simon and this new bearer of the ring which happened to be Jessica having a confrontation.
So I decided to put all those things together and swirl it in a big ol' stew, and then have it end with those panels from Geoff's flash-forward.
That's how I think comics get made = throw crazy stuff in, make them connect on an emotional level, and then get to a point you want to get to.
Nrama: So this is your own making, bringing it back to that scene Geoff came up with? Not anything that Geoff said, "here's what that mean"?
Seeley: Yeah. I mean, the first story I pitched to them when they asked me to do Green Lanterns was actually this one. I kind of pitched it as a Green Lantern / Evil Dead story, kind of an allusion to the Bruce Campbell/Sam Raimi horror movie, because I wanted to do this flashback where Jess is reliving this event she couldn't remember in the other book.
And then we just ended up pushing it back as other storylines started popping up that I wanted to do.
But this was always the idea that I came in with.
Nrama: This week's issue #47 finishes up the "Ghosts of the Past" storyline. And then this is it for you, right? But it sets up that Jessica's ring gets taken away, as we've seen in solicitations for June?
Seeley: Yeah, this is my last issue. So after this, Aaron Gillespie picks up some issues, and then you get Dan Jurgens, who will probably do a whole lot of cool cosmic stuff, because that's what Dan does.
But the idea, from the get-go with this, was to sort of wrap up that first season, in a way, of what Sam had started, where we were asking the question of why are Simon and Jessica together? And why did Hal choose this? And then, if he's the one that put them together, this ends with him being the guy that has to take them apart.
Nrama: As you're coming to the end of your run, and looking back at what you've accomplished, do you feel like you were able to do all with them what you wanted? Were there certain things you wanted to explore about both these characters?
Seeley: Yeah, for me, the real interest was the idea that people are chosen for this job, and it's this really important, dangerous job, and you've got all this responsibility, but you're just a normal person from Earth who didn't study to do this. Your qualifications are that you have, possibly, a strong will, and you might not even know why you have a strong will.
So that's what interested me the most. I think I was never particularly curious about, like, the lore and the history and the other colored corps and stuff that I think have been explored before. Those things really worked well for Geoff and other writers, but I just knew I couldn't find something in that for myself.
So I wanted it to be about these people and that idea, this sort of "you're chosen, but are you really qualified?" You can be chosen to be this space god cop but still not be able to get a job on Earth worth anything. You know? You still have problems. It doesn't come with respect, and no one can know that you get to spend weekends chasing down cosmic criminals.
That stuff really interested me, the sort of human superhero trope stuff.
Nrama: And as you said, with Jessica, you can even have these personal problems and still be a superhero.
Seeley: Yeah, definitely. The thing that instantly appealed to me about Jessica was that she was someone with an anxiety disorder, which I have and have had my whole stupid life. And I know what goes into that and how it's so frustrating, because it seems like something you could control and that you spend so much of your life trying to tell yourself that everything is not going terrible and it's not all spinning out of control.
I think having that be the basis of her qualifications, that clearly she must have so much willpower to get over the screaming inside her own head, is something I instantly related to, and I feel like a lot of people would, especially, I just read an article that America's collective anxiety has gone up in the last two years.
So I think a lot of people are starting to understand this character even more.
Nrama: With Green Lanterns, there are certain expectations of what the art will be, with constructs and space and everything. But you've done some really different innovative things during your run, particularly in this storyline as Jessica's ring was pulled into this sort of nightmare world. What's it been like, working the artists on this storyline?
Seeley: Doing a bi-monthly book, you end up not being able to have just one artist doing the book because it's just impossible to draw two a month. So my run has been with a collective of different artists.
But toward the end of this, I think everyone from the editorial staff and me were really impressed with Ronan Cliquet. We were like, this is the guy I work best with and who seems to really just gel with those two characters.
And then they brought in V Ken Marion as well, and he's, stylistically, really different from Ronan, but he's also in the vein that Ronan's such a great storyteller and so is Ken. He's got a totally different style and he's more flowery and line-y, whereas Ronan is really slick. But they're both great storytellers.
I think this arc is weird because there's two guys doing two different styles, and I think it really still holds together somehow.
Nrama: So with your run here ending this week but you remain a DC exclusive, what DC book are you on this summer? You're doing a new one, right?
Seeley: Yeah! I'm doing Injustice vs. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. And I'm doing some other stuff that I'm working on, like the Bat-family wedding - the five-week event. So I have lots.
And there are lots of things behind the scenes, because at DC, there are always all kinds of things going on.
But the wedding stuff is June, and Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe starts in July. I finally finished all the wedding craziness, which sounds something like real life, doesn't it? That you would be spending long hours and finally being done with your wedding stuff. And I'm on issue #3 of the He-Man title, and it's going to be big and crazy and awesome.