Interview: Doug Mahnke Talks Baz, Masks, Guns and GREEN LANTERN #0

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Posted by G-Man (34060 posts) - - Show Bio

By now you should have heard that there's a new Green Lantern in town. This week's GREEN LANTERN #0 not only introduces the newest Green Lantern but also marks the first Arab-American Green Lantern, Simon Baz.

Doug Mahnke has been working on GREEN LANTERN with Geoff Johns for years now. With this new character debuting, we took the opportunity to ask about his design along with everything else Green Lantern-related.

There will be some possible minor spoilers for GREEN LANTERN #0, so you've been warned.

Comic Vine: What was the process in designing Baz? How much input did Geoff give in the character design?

Doug Mahnke: The only suggestion was that he be different from any other look that we've had for a GL character, regarding the costuming. I had been working on a drawing, something highly different, and then Geoff came back with some actual parameters that definitely took what I had been working on and threw it off the drawing table. Then I started fresh. I still have the old one lying around so maybe we'll have the chance to use it at a later date.

You just see what's already been done and think differently. You sit down and say, "Well, how can we approach this?" Eventually you work up something that everyone likes. One thing that was included was the mask, which is something we only see on the cover. We don't see him in costume yet [in GREEN LANTERN #0] until his second issue. Are there any other Green Lanterns that have had a full face mask? No. That alone makes it different.

== TEASER ==

CV: I was going to ask, whose idea was the full mask?

DM: Geoff. As far as I know, it was Geoff's. It wasn't mine. Who knows what I would have come up with but it wouldn't have been that.

CV: The cover to issue #0, Baz has a gun. Why does he have a gun? Is he going to keep it?

DM: I think that's the plan. At least it is within the design. The idea is that Baz is a car thief. As a human being, I imagine he carried a firearm. When doing the dirty work, he'd have to protect himself. It's a possibility that, hey, this ring may eventually not work in my favor. In other words, he has a back up plan, which is kind of different for a Green Lantern. At least an Earth-based one.

CV: So it's a regular gun and not a construct or anything?

DM: Yeah, it's just a regular gun. He wears it on his hip. At least that's the plan for the moment.

CV: He'll use real bullets and not construct ones?

DM: I guess that's up to Geoff. We haven't really gotten that far into it. At least me personally. I don't really know what Geoff has planned. I'm not sure if it's something we're really going to see. I guess that's something that Geoff will be presenting to the readers. It'd be odd to have it just as an ornament and not actually have it in use. Because the ring is so different than the other rings.

CV: Do you know if Baz is going to be appearing right away in Justice League or is that stuff that's down the line?

DM: That I don't know. That's something that the powers that be would know. Me, I'm just a humble wrist at the end of a pencil. Whether or not they'd trust me with that information, who knows? The funny thing is, that didn't even occur to me. I realize that it has to happen if Green Lantern is going to be part of the Justice League.

CV: And they're going to want to know what's up and where did Hal go?

DM: He's somewhere…

CV: You've been working on GREEN LANTERN for a long time. When you have to draw different alien Lanterns, do you come up with the look for the different species or does Geoff say, "Make it look like this…"?

DM: For each one, I'd have to go back and look at scripts. I love drawing monsters and aliens and coming up with my version of anything. When it comes to that, I think they trust quite a bit. I don't have any difficulty conceiving something grotesque or alien. That's a fun aspect of the job. Definitely. That's something Geoff puts pretty firmly in my hands. He might suggest something. But some of the monsters we've pulled out like when Hal and Sinestro encountered their first creepy thing that fell out of the sky, that was just me. I don't know how anyone would ever describe that.

CV: Can you tell us if Baz will be sticking closer to Earth or if he's going out into space?

DM: Right now…well, I hope he goes out into space. Clearly the story has all this Earthbound stuff. The stuff that brings the character to Baz is his problem that he's associated with in his life. I can't imagine we'll shunt him off into space right away. However, I love going out into outer space with the characters. Since we have an ever-growing story on the horizon, it definitely includes something other than Earth.

I don't know, as a fan, is that something you'd want to see sooner or later?

CV: It's hard to say, it'd be a good mix to see what he's going to do on Earth. But then, how is he going to react to being able to go out into space and be around a bunch of aliens?

DM: Yeah. For Baz, we're getting to see a guy cut his teeth immediately on this ring. I highly doubt he has a clue yet what to do with it. In the superhero world, yeah, they know what a Green Lantern is and what the ring does but even as I'm working on his second issue, there's a lot of discovery that he's yet to make about what does this thing do? It'll be interesting to see what Geoff has in mind for Baz. Every Green Lantern brings their own version to it other than just shooting things out of it. I'm not sure what Baz is going to do.

CV: Can you tell us anything about 'Rise of the Third Army'?

DM: Other than I don't know too much about it? You know, I wish I was the artist that got to sit back and chuckle when you ask that question like I know so much about it. I get a synopsis and outline and you would expect I'd know what's coming in the future but some of this stuff is so malleable. Things change. As far ahead as they plan on these things, if you give me enough time as I'm sitting in the trenches working on pages, I forget what it is exactly they're doing. I just know that it's another massive event that should shake things up quite a bit. We can keep going through events that have tweaks here and there and we have resolution but I do know with this one there's some things that literally change the Green Lantern Universe. Big things. Obviously, what they are, I can't say.

CV: You're probably can't or aren't allowed to tell us anything about Guy, John or Kyle or their reaction to Baz?

DM: No. I'm so isolated in my own little Green Lantern world with what these characters are doing. I generally don't see in the plans what's happening in those books with the other characters. I'm just so focused on Sinestro and Hal and now Baz. It actually allows me, when I see stuff or what happens, at least I get to have a bit of a surprise now and then and not just be always in the know. As a fan of the series, that's kind of nice to have.

CV: How does it feel to have a hand in creating Baz and him being your baby?

DM: I really like the character. It's a breath of fresh air. I get to have had a hand directly in his look and the feel of the character. Strictly as an artist, that is my contribution. I'm the first to conceive him and create the image and the costume. Hopefully I'll get to make minor tweaks over time to iron out anything that's troubling in terms of the visuals. I like the character. We have a new character with a new motivation. Plus he got the ring under different circumstances than anybody else.

Clearly he's not a Hal Jordan. Has he done some questionable things? Yeah, that's part of the character but none the less, this ring has chosen him and we have to truly see why.

As far as my having a hand in the creation of it, it came from Geoff's brain. I got to put legs on it.

CV: You've been on GREEN LANTERN since 2009. Do you plan on sticking around for a while, hopefully?

DM: BLACKEST NIGHT was a roller coaster ride to get done. There were so many things that were going on throughout DC. The scripts came in hard and heavy. I was working with Pat Gleason in the studio and he was working on GREEN LANTERN CORPS and it had a totally different feel and I was new to it. To me, back then, the idea was just to get things done. And now that I've settled in, it took me a while to accept, yeah, I was doing GREEN LANTERN and doing more than just this story line. I tried to step up my game and really try to bring as much as I can under the schedule I work under to truly make each issue a good issue.

At this point, I want to leave with good artwork and imaginative stuff when I get the chance. So when I do finally walk away from it I'll feel like I've done a solid body of work. I had some big shoes to fill when I stepped into it. Specifically Ivan Reis, he's a fantastic artist. You want to make sure when you're done, you are recognized as someone that really did contribute some good stuff to GL.

Is it anytime soon? I don't know. I kind of look at is as, well, here it is, I'm working into another year and I can't believe it's gone by this fast. Most people don't stick around on books quite that long. I don't see myself leaving now. I'm definitely intrigued by the story we're doing. The only thing that's complex is the scheduling on these books and making sure things come out. I've lived under a very hectic and difficult schedule. If I could ever let that go while working on GL, I'd stick around a long time. Right now it's, "Wow, we got another issue done, oh it's time to do another one."

We just operate a little close to deadline and it's stressful at times. But do I feel like leaving now? Not at all.

GREEN LANTERN #18

CV: It's good to hear. I really dug the zero issue. It's a great introduction. Just right away, you really feel for the character. Like you said, he's done some questionable things but what he goes through and how it's depicted, it was some powerful stuff.

DM: Aw, thanks. You know what, I was pretty proud of it. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I got my comps a few days ago. I'm generally interested in seeing how things turn out because I see the colors ahead of time. We're trying to catch problems and little details and get the book out. I was highly anticipating just cracking the book open and just so I could look at it. I wanted to read it as a solid story and enjoy it. I'm proud of it. It's a very human story. I think that Baz is a young guy. He's tough and different. He has a tremendous back story to walk into. And hey, we just added someone new to the Green Lantern Universe.

I look forward to seeing more. I love getting the scripts. I've enjoyed the Hal and Sinestro, the buddy book we've been doing but it's not over yet. There's more to come. Geoff, he lays things out and it's like this web of stuff that he continuously pulls closer and closer to him as the stories progress. You then go, "Oh that's why he was doing that."

That's what's cool about working with the guy. There's a long range to everything he does and it all comes back eventually. There's no lack of future surprises.

CV: That's really good to hear.

Everyone should make sure to check out GREEN LANTERN #0 this week to find out more about the newest Green Lantern, Simon Baz.

Staff Online
#1 Posted by GrandSymbiote94 (11659 posts) - - Show Bio

Look's interesting. I might have to pick this up when I get cash my check.

#2 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

#3 Posted by stormtrance1618 (146 posts) - - Show Bio

Is that really the cover to Green Lantern #18? If so, WOW!!!

#4 Posted by The Stegman (24378 posts) - - Show Bio

It's just...even if the ring does fail him...what good will a gun do against a horde of alien invaders? or some giant monster? or a Red Lantern? or..well, anything with moderate durability?

#5 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

So he is a car thief and is meant to look like one. At least now people will stop arguing that some of us were just being paranoid.

So...yes, kind of racist...

#6 Posted by Big_Nasty (343 posts) - - Show Bio

@Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

There was Jade from earth-2 for a while.

#7 Posted by TheMadMonkey (148 posts) - - Show Bio

@Rumble Man: @Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

That's a good question, actually. The "future" Green Lantern in "The Last Days Of Animal Man" was a male whale (sorry for the rhyme...there wasn't really a way to get around that) and the "future" GL from Batman Beyond is male. Surely, there must be strong-willed females out there who aren't part of the Bat-family or Wonder Woman.

#8 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio

@Big_Nasty: the 'for a while' is the problematic issue, or are there just something weird with women in the DC earth? tough ones are on gotham

@TheMadMonkey: waller baby

#9 Posted by longbowhunter (7083 posts) - - Show Bio

@stormtrance1618 said:

Is that really the cover to Green Lantern #18? If so, WOW!!!

My thoughts exactly.

#10 Posted by TheMadMonkey (148 posts) - - Show Bio

@Big_Nasty said:

@Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

There was Jade from earth-2 for a while.

That's right. I forgot about her.

#11 Posted by LordXorn (34 posts) - - Show Bio

@Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

What about a non-North American Green Lantern?

#12 Posted by Twentyfive (2845 posts) - - Show Bio

Baz is going to be awesome!

#13 Posted by Grim (2079 posts) - - Show Bio

When i first saw the mask and gloves and gun, i thought Thief. So cool.

Idk where they are headed with this, but GL, Batman, Aquaman, And Wonder Woman are the titles that have kept my attention, so im eager to find out.

#14 Posted by Inverno (13221 posts) - - Show Bio

OMG... This guy is a lot worse than I expected. Car thief, really?!

#15 Posted by badaboop (137 posts) - - Show Bio

@LordXorn said:

@Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

What about a non-North American Green Lantern?

I know, right? I'm supposed to believe that every most righteous, courageous, appropriate candidate for a Green Lantern ring on a planet full of 7 billion other people all happen to come from the some continent? Come on. This is supposed to be an intergalactic police force - pick another region, pick another country.

#16 Posted by neiliusprime (255 posts) - - Show Bio

that cover for GL #18 looks so boss

#17 Posted by G-Man (34060 posts) - - Show Bio
@stormtrance1618
Is that really the cover to Green Lantern #18? If so, WOW!!!
I wondered the same thing and double checked after DC gave me the images. So that must be March's cover? It's a great piece whether they use it as the cover or not, showcasing all the Earth Lanterns.
Staff Online
#18 Posted by GothamRed (2563 posts) - - Show Bio

@Rumble Man: isn't jade human?

#19 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

So he dresses like a criminal because he is one. Yeah, not sure how much I'm digging that.

#20 Posted by sethysquare (3843 posts) - - Show Bio

omg at the cover/.

#21 Posted by sethysquare (3843 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarthShap said:

So he is a car thief and is meant to look like one. At least now people will stop arguing that some of us were just being paranoid.

So...yes, kind of racist...

How can it be racist if the writer himself is part Lebanese from Detroit. Baz is also part Lebanese from Detroit.

#22 Posted by Fudgie29 (70 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't like the whole mask and gun look. I know he's supposed to be 'different' but if he's going to be a hero then he shouldn't look like a thug. Plus, they should have used a woman but i'll definitely check it out .

#23 Posted by htb106 (1641 posts) - - Show Bio

Love that cover!

Pretty far ahead though, about half a year?

#24 Posted by PRECOCIOUSnefarious (18 posts) - - Show Bio

I have never been an avid reader of Green Lantern by any means. I read a few trades to get a feel for the charecter and picked up the first few issues at the New 52 launch, but GL kind of fell by the waiside to Batman and others. I picked up the Green Lantern Annual from last week and really enjoyed it. Though there were some plot holes I had certainly missed by being removed for several issues but I got a great feel from the book and charecters. That along with this interview really have me interested in this title. Hard work and careful planning attribute to a great series, of which is clearly the case here.

#25 Posted by midnightmare (98 posts) - - Show Bio

1) full mask is reasonable for a human lantern operating on earth if they don't want put their families and friends, neightbors or co-workers in danger. But that mask is ugly, and if he is a car thief, does make sense that he looks like a car thief if he is a superhero?

2) A car thief qualifies to be a Green Lantern? why not a fireman, a paramedic or any job that requires people be fearless, take a real life hero and make him(her) a superhero? or a non- powered superhero?

3) Arab-american male, why not just arab, why male, why even human( it's suposed that sector one space sector contains many populated planets, isn't?

4)In the cover his skin look darker than in the interiors, did you noted that?

#26 Posted by OutlawRenegade (1251 posts) - - Show Bio

@sethysquare said:

@DarthShap said:

So he is a car thief and is meant to look like one. At least now people will stop arguing that some of us were just being paranoid.

So...yes, kind of racist...

How can it be racist if the writer himself is part Lebanese from Detroit. Baz is also part Lebanese from Detroit.

He could be an Uncle Ruckus type

But I don't think that's the case.. yet.

#27 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@sethysquare said:

@DarthShap said:

So he is a car thief and is meant to look like one. At least now people will stop arguing that some of us were just being paranoid.

So...yes, kind of racist...

How can it be racist if the writer himself is part Lebanese from Detroit. Baz is also part Lebanese from Detroit.

It does not change anything. I am not saying Johns is racist. I am saying that the fact that the one and only arab-american superhero was a criminal is.

#28 Posted by kid Apollo (714 posts) - - Show Bio

thats an awesome cover

#29 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

Baz's costume looks awesome! I do miss Hal though :(

#30 Posted by r3d_rob1n (541 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like Hal Jordan has become a kill tease. They made us think he was disintegrated a few months ago, show constant prophecies involving his death, they take away his ring and make him seem retired, and now there is this event. We all know Hal is coming back, but it does make me wonder what Baz's future in the Corps is (especially with the error ring)

#31 Posted by Zeeguy91 (1109 posts) - - Show Bio

@sethysquare said:

omg at the cover/.

I know. WANT NOW!!!...

I also just had a thought. Perhaps Baz is meant to take Sinestro's place. You know, once Sinestro goes back to leading the Sinestro Corps, which is bound to happen now that the Guardians just tried to kill him.

#32 Posted by JamDamage (1114 posts) - - Show Bio

this article told me nothing I didn' know already.

#33 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

Ex-car thief turned hero. Okay.

Arab-American. Got no problem with that.

Mask resembling the kind of ski mask used by thieves and terrorists... DC may have problems with that.

All that aside, I do think it's cool that the ring said "error" when assigning itself to Baz. Heroes getting their power by mistake and then proving themselves worthy is a good standby trope.

#34 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

Anyone think Kyle in that picture is going all "Come at me bro?"

#35 Posted by MrMiracle77 (1659 posts) - - Show Bio

Exactly how much willpower are we expecting a car thief to have?  No wonder he has to carry a gun; he doesn't have the basic willpower to put his normal talents to worthwhile use.
 
New Guardians remains the best of the GL books.

#36 Posted by ScreamingGhost (80 posts) - - Show Bio

@badaboop said:

@LordXorn said:

@Rumble Man said:

Will they ever have a female human green lantern?

What about a non-North American Green Lantern?

I know, right? I'm supposed to believe that every most righteous, courageous, appropriate candidate for a Green Lantern ring on a planet full of 7 billion other people all happen to come from the some continent? Come on. This is supposed to be an intergalactic police force - pick another region, pick another country.

Both of these are great points, also why so many lanterns from the same planet? How many other lanterns in the core are of the same planet/species? On a side note Baz looks like an interesting character I dig the almost luchador esque mask.

#37 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe its just me but it really seems that the ring made a mistake picking Baz to be a GL if he's a car thief :/ I mean I'm curious about the character and all but this is just going against everything the rings do when they seek out a candidate and all, at least from all I've known. I don't know how I'm feeling about this whole Baz idea now to be honest...

#38 Posted by FanofUltraman (153 posts) - - Show Bio

@Rumble Man: Don't be sexist.

#39 Posted by Kallarkz (3303 posts) - - Show Bio

A Black possibly Muslim car thief who insists on having a gun on him at all times.

Who exactly said yes I approve this great idea?

#40 Posted by CrimsonAlchemist (410 posts) - - Show Bio

I find this new character very interesting.

#41 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1801 posts) - - Show Bio

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

Maybe its just me but it really seems that the ring made a mistake picking Baz to be a GL if he's a car thief :/ I mean I'm curious about the character and all but this is just going against everything the rings do when they seek out a candidate and all, at least from all I've known. I don't know how I'm feeling about this whole Baz idea now to be honest...

Well, the ring was saying "error" and there are some problems with it... so its likely that the ring choosing Baz was a mistake.

#42 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio

@FanofUltraman said:

@Rumble Man: Don't be sexist.

we don't need a sausage fest here

where the booty at? (positive feminism)

#43 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio

@GothamRed: is she a perm or a temp (sorry not much up on GL lore cept the cool villains)

#44 Posted by moldybutt70 (87 posts) - - Show Bio

cool stuff

#45 Posted by tchalla3000 (58 posts) - - Show Bio

i want to see how long he going to last. maybe baz will be the earth green lantern since the rest are in space

#46 Posted by SneakyBawls (23 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sorry but that hand gun is just ridiculous. It either shows how horrible his imagination and constructs are, or Rob Liefeld sneaked in and drew on the development pics and everyone just assumed it was legit. I mean it's like Superman flying around with a crowbar. And being a criminal...why would the ring even chose him? I don't know...this just smacks of the usual "let's shake shit up by doing something completely lame and against type." And I'm not commenting on his ethnicity, I could care less about that, it's EVERYthing else about him that's in question.

#47 Posted by pixelized (62882 posts) - - Show Bio

Love.

Moderator
#48 Posted by Savage_Hawkman (125 posts) - - Show Bio

Why couldn't the new GL be Jewish?

#49 Edited by Adnan (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

@SneakyBawls said:

I'm sorry but that hand gun is just ridiculous. It either shows how horrible his imagination and constructs are, or Rob Liefeld sneaked in and drew on the development pics and everyone just assumed it was legit. I mean it's like Superman flying around with a crowbar. And being a criminal...why would the ring even chose him? I don't know...this just smacks of the usual "let's shake shit up by doing something completely lame and against type." And I'm not commenting on his ethnicity, I could care less about that, it's EVERYthing else about him that's in question.

His ring keeps saying "error" for some reason, he hasn't been shown using it but I'm guessing it'll be glitchy. That and he might not trust the ring immediately. It wasn't covered this issue.

The issue establishes that he's been unemployed for 4 months and he steals so that he can support his sister who is a recently widowed mother. Arguably doesn't justify crime but you'll find that a lot of people turn to criminal behaviour when life is down. Not an admirable thing to do, but definitely not an uncommon concept either.

#50 Edited by The_Tree (7463 posts) - - Show Bio

@Adnan said:

@SneakyBawls said:

I'm sorry but that hand gun is just ridiculous. It either shows how horrible his imagination and constructs are, or Rob Liefeld sneaked in and drew on the development pics and everyone just assumed it was legit. I mean it's like Superman flying around with a crowbar. And being a criminal...why would the ring even chose him? I don't know...this just smacks of the usual "let's shake shit up by doing something completely lame and against type." And I'm not commenting on his ethnicity, I could care less about that, it's EVERYthing else about him that's in question.

His ring keeps saying "error" for some reason, he hasn't been shown using it but I'm guessing it'll be glitchy. That and he might not trust the ring immediately. It wasn't covered this issue.

The issue establishes that he's been unemployed for 4 months and he steals so that he can support his sister who is a recently widowed mother. Arguably doesn't justify crime but you'll find that a lot of people turn to criminal behaviour when life is down. Not an admirable thing to do, but definitely not uncommon concept either.

He also had a hand in his sister's husband's death, which weighs heavily on him. He needed to find some way of helping her after getting laid off. His heart's definitely in the right place, he just didn't take the best course of action. From what little I've read of Baz, I really like him.

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