Interview: Star Trek/Green Lantern writer Mike Johnson
This month’s Comic Block includes quite the exclusive: A variant cover of a crossover of epic proportions: Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War, issue #1.
Written by Mike Johnson, the series takes us on a journey through the cosmos as we witness the meeting of two of the biggest space science fiction franchises ever when the crew of Captain James T. Kirk’s U.S.S. Enterprise crosses paths with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
We’re huge comic book fans here at Nerdy Stuff, so we jumped at the chance to interview Mike Johnson about his work on the book.
Nerdy Stuff: You’ve worked with both Green Lantern and Star Trek as franchises individually. Now those two universes are crossing over in a big way. Given your previous work on these franchises, how does it feel now getting to combine them?
Mike Johnson: It’s the ultimate fanboy dream. I’ve been a fan of both of these universes since I was little kid, and now that little kid gets to play in the best toy box in the universe. My biggest hope is that the fun I’m having working on this story comes across on the page and entertains anyone who reads it, whether they’re Trek or Lantern fans or both.
Nerdy Stuff: What is it like striking a balance with two huge franchises that each have so many characters to choose from, and how challenging is it to make sure that their supporting characters get their moments to shine?
Mike Johnson: It’s very tricky. I’ve had experience with juggling characters in the ongoing Star Trek comic series, but this story doubles that cast and then some. The trick is to make sure that every character’s moment really matters to the story, so it doesn’t just feel like I’m checking off names on a list. Luckily both of these franchises have such distinct, vibrant characters that it makes writing for them easier than it might seem at first.
Nerdy Stuff: Both Hal Jordan and James Kirk are larger-than-life characters. How much fun was it to write not only for them individually, but to have them in the same scenes?
Mike Johnson: I’m literally writing scenes with them today, and the fun is in playing up the fact that when these two look at each other it’s like looking in an trans-dimensional mirror. They’re both alpha male space jockeys. Tradition has that they would first fight each other and then team up, but I think it’s more fun to see them recognize that they have the same mutual goal, but have different ideas about how to reach it.
Nerdy Stuff: When you write, you naturally have a vision of how everything will look. What were your thoughts when you saw the final panel layouts and artwork?
Mike Johnson: Every writer always says they have the best possible artist for their book, but in this case we ALL-CAPS HAVE THE BEST POSSIBLE ARTIST FOR THIS BOOK. Angel Hernandez has taken on a monumental task in combining these two universes, each with their distinctive iconic visuals, and he has blown us all away with his work. I think fans are going to be amazed and thrilled by what he’s creating. Whether it’s character likenesses, spaceships, power ring battles, whatever we’ve thrown at him, he has aced it.
Nerdy Stuff: This mini-series has the potential to introduce audiences who are familiar with one franchise to the other. There’s obviously a balancing act between assumed knowledge of characters/universes versus explaining them. When writing, how do you make sure you’re giving both casts the introduction they deserve, both to new readers and to their new in-comic counterparts, while also being cognizant of the fact that readers will be familiar with either one, both, or neither franchise?
Mike Johnson: The sneaky writing gift of a new crossover is that the characters themselves need to be introduced to each other. We’ll see Hal discover Starfleet and the Federation, and we’ll see the Enterprise crew discover the nature of the various Lantern Corps. It allows the unfamiliarity to actually play a part in the story, and provides opportunity for characterization and emotion without just getting bogged down in exposition. Readers unfamiliar with one or both franchises don’t have to worry about knowing mountains of mythology. Everything you need to know is in this story.
Nerdy Stuff: Who would you say Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War is for?
Mike Johnson: Anyone who likes staring up at a perfectly clear night sky and soaking in the wonder of the endless starfield. And big summer blockbuster movies that cost a billion dollars to make. If you like either of those things, this crossover is for you.
This month’s Comic Block ships on July 25. Given that every previous Comic Block has sold-out, be sure to subscribe for yours today to get Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War issue #1 along with two other exciting books, a sweet comic collectible, and a T-shirt. Head over to ComicBlock.com and tell ’em Nerdy Stuff sent you.