Exclusive: GREEN LANTERN’s Billy Tan on LIGHTS OUT, Pt. 1
By Dan Casey on October 2, 2013
Despite the frequent banter flying from Hal Jordan’s mouth, being a Green Lantern is a mostly thankless job, and one that comes with considerable occupational hazards. Even coal miners don’t have it this bad. After surviving the wrath of the First Lantern and making it through both Darkest Night and Brightest Day, you’d think that writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan would cut the Lanterns some slack. After all, they’ve been put through the wringer of the emotional spectrum and looked the apocalypse in the face. Alas and alack, there is no such luck as Green Lantern #24 ushers in part one of “Lights Out”, a new 5-part story that will shake the DCU to its very core as the Corps is faced with Galactus-sized visitor known only as Relic and kicks off the new era of Green Lantern with a bang, both literally and figuratively.
As we’ve shown before, we love ourselves some Robert Venditti, but what makes Green Lantern stand out from the crowd are its epic space battles and stunning artwork, which usually involves all manner of colorful constructs, alien lifeforms and intergalactic interlopers. To celebrate “Lights Out”, we’re kicking off an exclusive interview series with the artists of the Green Lantern titles to give you a behind the scenes look into how a large-scale event like this goes from concept to completion. Today, we’re catching up with Green Lantern artist Billy Tan, who gives us the goods on what’s up next for Hal and the gang.
NERDIST: How has the experience of taking over artistic duties on Green Lantern been so far?
BILLY TAN: I’m loving it. It’s a great fun when there is a great story to work on. All the cool people I got to work with is a cherry on top.
N: You’re coming hot on the heels one of the most iconic comic runs in quite some time. Is there any sense of pressure there or are you enjoying the chance to make the book your own?
BT: There is always a big pressure picking up a series right after a successful run from an amazing creative team. But we can’t let that get to us. We just have to pick up the ball and run with it. We are definitely trying to put our own touch to the book while still stay true to what this book has been all along. Robert is such an amazing writer. He is moving the story forward fearlessly. He really is making things happen where there will be major impact to the Corps. He is putting the GL in a position that they have never faced before. Personally, I am really enjoying it. I find myself eagerly anticipating what will happen to the Corps next.
N: As an artist, what is the biggest challenge when working on a bigger, multi-book event like this?
BT: I think one of challenge is to stay consistent throughout for the books that are involved. You couldn’t have a character dead in one issue and still showing up fighting in the next. The editors have been doing a great job on this.
N: What was a favorite moment or panel or your most unexpectedly enjoyable character to bring to life in this issue?
BT: That’s got to be Relic the man himself. To me he is not entirely evil. He is a man who believes in his cause. He is trying to ensure the survival of the universe. In a way, it’s like an environmental scientist trying to convince everyone that global warming is happening and we all should do something to prevent it from occurring. Relic is a scientist that walks the talk. He is going to enforce his belief with force if asking nicely doesn’t work.
N: Last, but not least, what would be inside your ideal burrito?
BT: I’m a vegetarian. So a veggie burrito loaded with guacamole would make my day.
And now, here’s some exclusive artwork, courtesy of Billy Tan himself!
Pretty nifty, huh? Green Lantern #24 is in stores everywhere today. Let us know what you think of “Lights Out” in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter.