Saturday, September 8, 2012
Geoff Johns returns home to promote new Arab-American comic book character
It's even more evident when you look at his career, Johns is the most prolific comic book writer in the modern age of comics. He also writes screenplays, video games and for several TV shows.
Johns told a lot of stories during a visit the Arab American National Museum Saturday.
He held a seminar on creating comic books for kids in the early afternoon and then hosted a question and answer session for the community at large in the late afternoon.
Johns, who grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Michigan State University, returned to his home state to promote the launch of his newest character in the DC Universe.
The character – Simon Baz, is the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps and the first Arab-American superhero from any of the major comic publishers.
Johns shares many similar traits to Baz, both have a strong Lebanese heritage. When asked how much of himself he put into the character, Johns said that he and the character are very different.
Johns said the creative team behind DC Comics wanted diversify the universe, so it was the perfect time to introduce the first Arab-American character.
To their credit, DC Comics publishers, Dan Didio and Jim Lee never questioned the move.
Diversification isn't a new concept in the comic book world, in the 1970's several characters were created during the blaxploitation era that reach most of the decade's pop culture.
Most of comic characters of that era are looked upon poorly by modern audiences. Johns said that he doesn't think Baz will have that type of legacy.
“I'm working with the Arab American Musuem to make sure the scripts are as real and as made up as possible,” he said. “I I just don't think that is going to happen. I hope it doesn't happen.
Johns also wrote the recent Justice League #12 which sees Superman and Wonder Woman start a fledgling relationship for the first official time in the DCU.
A relationship between two of the tent pole characters of the DCU is made possible due to some of the resets with the DC New 52. The New 52 was a universe wide reboot that happened just over a year ago that allowed the creators of the comics to reset pieces of continuity that as they saw fit.
Johns first broke into the entertainment field as an intern and later a personal assistant to film director Richard Donner.
The first character Johns sold to DC was Stargirl, whom he said was based largely on his sister.
All of Johns works from DC Comics were donated to the museum library to be included in permanent collection. The “Geoff Johns Collection” contains more than 600 pieces.
“Green Lantern #0” is available at comic books stores everywhere.
Contact Staff Writer Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.