Geoff Johns: Man out of Time

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Geoff Johns is, by many accounts, one of the more prolific writers in comics today. Following a fan-favorite run on Marvel's AVENGERS, he currently writes TEEN TITANS, JSA, FLASH and, recently, HAWKMAN. He also has another hot project up his sleeve planned for later this year. One assumes Mr. Johns must have perfected a time machine--or at least a method of making it stand still long enough for him to keep apace with his current rate of output.

We were able to coax Geoff away from his scripting for a precious few minutes to get some of his insights into the characters he's currently working with.

Tim Drake is--for the time being--abandoning his Robin identity. Is this something you were made aware of before starting TEEN TITANS, or did you have to rewrite some story arcs around it? How much coordination goes into conferring with the writers of the Superman titles, the Batman titles, Wonder Woman, Flash (oh, wait, that's you) before you can get a "green light" for a TEEN TITANS arc?

The "Bat-Office" has been great with the Robin developments. I've been in the know since they began and we've had talks to deal with the ramifications in Teen Titans. How they'll be dealt with, you'll have to see in #13. Robin and Superboy are the core of Teen Titans for me.

Kid Flash was always one of my favorite characters; the name had such a "Legion" sense about it to me. Did you anticipate so many fans' disappointment when you brought the name back into play, along with Bart's "new power" of photographic memory?

It's a change and change is always dangerous territory. I'm sure when Robin became Nightwing it was a shock to the system too. We're trying to move Bart forward in his role as a super-hero and at the same time holding on to what makes Bart a fun character. For all of the younger characters that have joined Teen Titans, the main priority is to get them out of Junior High School and into High School.

I do hope the Die-Hard Impulse fans know we love Bart and we're trying to do right by him. Hopefully, they'll enjoy how he's portrayed in the next several issues.

JSA. TEEN TITANS. They all have a connection to FLASH (with Jay in one group, Bart in the other.) Is there a reason why there's so much Speed Force connecting your books together?

I love the Flash, but it's just coincidence that I'm working with a speedster in every group. For some reason I always loved the power of speed and the power of ice. Like Iceman is one of my favorite characters in comics. I have no idea why.

So much of your writing springboards off old--sometimes forgotten--characters and plotlines of the past. Just how much of the Golden and Silver age have you commited to memory? Further, how difficult is it to navigate DC continuity when bringing out an old character, like Per Degaton, to prevent character anachronisms?

Well, JSA is a book that is rooted in history. That's the niche it fills, and it allows for strange and sometimes forgotten characters to weave in and out of the book. I don't have every character from the Golden Age and Silver Age memorized -- I do have to do research, like for Degaton.

By the way, what does "Per" mean? Is it his first name? I did a ton of research on that and that was all I could come up with. If anyone out there knows otherwise, let me know. Degaton, in my mind, sounds cool -- like a bomb. Per...not sure about that.

You've fixed up so many characters' continuity in the DC Universe--Hawkman chief among them. Is there anybody else out there that you feel would be good to "fix" and do you think you'll get a chance?

I think everyone's in good hands right now. Particularly Aquaman if you haven't read it.

Are you exclusive with DC at the moment, or are you planning other projects?

DC Exclusive for 2 more years thankfully.

Do you get to cherry-pick your projects these days at DC? Are you at the stage where pretty much anything you pitch flies?

I still have to pitch for projects, sure. I've been fortunate to land REBIRTH. Very fortunate.

Now that the cat's out of the bag (okay, not quite "out," but there's definitely a bag and we can hear this yowling, hissing sound so we're fairly certain there is a cat in it), what can you tell us about the upcoming REBIRTH series? Is this where the Spectre's current problems in JSA are leading?

I can't say anything save that the Spectre will continue to develop in the current JSA storyline. REBIRTH will be officially announced soon.

(Editor's note: Shortly after this interview was performed, Geoff announced at his website, www.GeoffJohns.com, that REBIRTH will indeed involve Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. Although the powers that be still remained mostly tightlipped, Green Lantern fans would be well-served to go check out Geoff's comments.)