COMICS: Doug Mahnke Discusses The Introduction Of The First Arab-American GREEN LANTERN

Green Lantern artist Doug Mahnke talks in detail about some of the more sensitive topics covered in last week's #0 issue, the reason why Simon Baz wears a mask, his role in "The Third Army" and much more. Check it out!

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By Josh Wilding - 9/9/2012
In a lengthy interview with Newsarama, Green Lantern artist Doug Mahnke talked in detail about Simon Baz's introduction in last week's #0 issue and also teased the character's future in the title and exactly why his costume design is so different to that of the other Green Lantern's from Earth. In the issue, Arab-American Simon Baz is a car thief who has spent most of his life being persecuted against after the events of September 11th. Arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist after stealing a van with a bomb in the back, he is detained and about to be tortured before being saved by the fused rings of Hal Jordan and Sinestro. It's a fantastic issue and I highly recommend checking it out. Below are just a few select excerpts from that chat, although you can read the full version by clicking on the link below.


On Tackling The Shocking Events Of 9/11 On The First Page Of Green Lantern #0:

I had been prepared by Geoff for what the story was about. In fact, I was highly anticipating the script. I was very curious as to how it was going to read and what I was going to end up with. Just reading that first page of the script, you know... we're talking about a hugely emotionally charged moment in our history. But also, I like that the first thing we get to portray is just how emotional and shocking and jarring it is for Simon Baz and his family. You know, we only get one page to do it. It would have been nice if we could have come up with more. But the truth is, I think the way we move from that page to the next page, it gives a very clear look into that perspective. Even as simply as we did it, even in the fact that you don't even hear anything from his parents but the shock of what has happened, the horror of this. But there's this underlying sense that these characters are going, "things will never be the same for us." That's what we get to see through Baz over page 2, and how that builds his character.


On The Difficulties Of Portraying The Scenes In Which Baz Is About To Be Tortured:

Actually, I was very careful. I wanted to be sensitive, you know? As far as it is understood, misunderstood, or heated as an issue, this is a moment within a story. And I wanted to do it well for the story and yet be sensitive to that. The story ends up being the driver of that, especially once the dialogue is in and everything is finished. I really turned it over in my mind a lot: "How can I do this best?" Even down to the point where, picking up references for this scene, there aren't any that exist exactly. You know? So I had a concept, and I had to think, you know what? You have to just eventually not worry about whether this is wholly accurate. The point is, we're telling a story and conveying what is going to happen as Baz is being set up for torture. And at the same time, I'm hoping that everybody sees the story for what it is, and not misjudging what is happening there. Do you understand what I mean? People can take offense anywhere in this book if they're thinking about it in a wrong-headed way. We have a character who is under a horrible condition, wrongfully accused, and yeah, that has happened. Thankfully, in our little world, Baz gets to escape.


On How He Went About Designing The Costume For The Character:

Yeah, the costume is by me, and I designed the character before ever reading the script, although I knew who the character was planned to be. For the costume, they asked for something different, and I immediately went to the drawing board. But originally, there was very little input beyond just, "Make him look different from any other Green Lantern." So I got to work. And I still have the sketch I was working on when I was sitting down initially to do it, and then when I got a bunch of it worked up, I got an email with more direction. Geoff threw some parameters out there. So it was back to the drawing board, and I took what I'd done and threw it on the floor. And I got to work. The costume we ended up with is nice and tight. It's a more streamlined costume. The last thing an artist enjoys doing is creating something that they discover, "Aw, this is a lot of work to draw issue to issue." But we ended up with a costume I'm happy with. And Geoff liked it and everyone else was happy with it.


On The Specifics Of Designing Baz's Look In "The New 52" And Why He Wears A Mask:

To really make Baz stand out, I liked the idea of having as much black as possible on his costume, like through the legs, because it has practicality to it from Baz's point of view. I thought about how he would perceive himself, because I think that's part of what goes into making a Green Lantern costume. So thinking about this character, I think it makes sense for him, for example, that he has tread on his boots. But the black fits him because he can be more invisible when he wants to be. And I think that fits his personality. He's a Green Lantern, so we also have the green through the shoulders. And then I played around a lot with the symbol in the middle, because I thought do we always have to do it the same way? Yeah, the Lantern symbol's in there, but I actually spent some time — more than I would have thought — trying to figure out the center and the black. It doesn't necessarily have a meaning. It's just design work as I sit there and noodle around and try to come up with something different that I can actually draw again and again. There are also things that Geoff had picked out. He wanted the sleeves short, exposing some of his arms. Clearly, he wanted to be able to see his tattoo. I played around with one long sleeve, but I thought that was a lot like Black Hand. So I thought, well, maybe that's not the best idea. So I went with symmetrical short sleeves. And then the fact that he pulls a mask down over his face to hide himself. He doesn't want the world to know that he's there. I think it has less to do with being a Green Lantern than he's just trying not to be seen. Of course, we haven't seen that part yet.


On Baz's Role In "The Third Army" And Whether He Will Replace Hal Jordan:

Yeah, and the funny thing is, here was go from this #0 issue with all of this human story to the Third Army story. Although, believe me, there's more human story in [issue #13]; we don't just get to catapult Baz into outer space to go fight it out, or elsewhere on earth yet. We have to warm this guy up a little bit, but things do open up soon. We got Baz for a purpose. I don't know everything [Geoff is] doing yet. But Baz what I do know is that Baz gets to juggle these two things: this emotional issue and then what comes after it. Baz will eventually work his way into the Third Army conflict, and he'll have to put these other things aside. But it will always be a part of Baz. Is he ever going to be Hal Jordan? I don't think Geoff has him set up to be. So he's got to have some special qualities, things that Geoff needs to move the stories forward.


On Whether He Intends To Stay On Green Lantern For The Foreseeable Future:

I have no reason to leave. And frankly, I'm so busy, I can't even conceive of it. And I love what I'm doing with Geoff. I would never walk away from that. I'd be a fool. It's going great. I live under an intense schedule that keeps me right there, in the world of Green Lantern. In the best scenario, I could sit down and draw Green Lantern the rest of my life. But you never know what the future is. I've been at DC for a long time, and I've worked on quite a few books, a variety of projects. And I know I'm not going to spend the next 15 years working on Green Lantern. But it's great for now. And I'm really proud of the stuff I've done with Geoff.




Source: Newsarama
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37 Comments
marvel72 - 9/9/2012, 6:12 AM
green lantern kick ass.
shiverman20 - 9/9/2012, 6:19 AM
dropped this at issue 4, picked up 10+11 yesterday.. is it worth filling the gap with the rest?
DCjohnny - 9/9/2012, 6:30 AM
i hope hal jordan and sinestro are still green lantern....
nikgrid - 9/9/2012, 6:31 AM
Fvck I hope they make another film...the production design was awesome!
GetsugaTensho22 - 9/9/2012, 6:41 AM
I like how there's a bit of a progression in their costumes, with the torso green climbing further up the body and revealing more black as they go along.
KingG - 9/9/2012, 6:48 AM
I like a little bit of a darker look, but i really want another GREEN LANTERN film, their designs are just amazing.
Ace0477 - 9/9/2012, 7:04 AM
I don't know, looks to me like Baz or Biz has something to hide under that mask... No other Green Lantern has ever had a complete face mask, what's going on here?
EarOne - 9/9/2012, 7:28 AM
Doug sure knows how to BEST draw a green lantern. during his jla gig, john stewart's one of the characters he does best. not sure bout the female characters..they seem to be a lil INconsistent, but doug's one of my favorite jla artists of all time. he's just got that very distinct style.

the rest include: Perez, chuck patton, bryan hitch and alan davis.
kackbratze - 9/9/2012, 7:37 AM
@shiverman20: Definitely fill the gap, Green Lantern has consistently been great! "The Secret of the Indigo Tribe" sheds some light on the past of the purple ring wearers. It's good!
Gromblidor - 9/9/2012, 7:49 AM
Wait, I thought Arabs didn't believe in Aliens, I thought they only believed in Alah? Would he be a shovanistic woman beating Green Lantern? I am confused.
JohnTom88 - 9/9/2012, 7:53 AM
Is Baz Lebanese, like Geoff Johns?

elcaballerooscuro92 - 9/9/2012, 7:56 AM
why does every green lantern on earth has to be america? is america the only country with ability of overcoming fear? i mean WTH!?
Bodwulf - 9/9/2012, 8:01 AM
I think this will be the freshest Green Lantern story ever. A man deemed worthy of the ring because he is just and true and fearless. But to use the ring you must have imagination to use it. He has none. So he copies Kickass's suit and buys a gun to fight crime. Each issue he uses the ring once maybe twice as he learns to use his imagination. Just like Squidward had to do with Spongebob. AWESOMESAUCE!!!
AlanWarlock - 9/9/2012, 8:33 AM
And yet, no explanation for why an Arab American GL is shown carrying a gun. Why'd you have to go racist, DC?
RobLiefeldFan - 9/9/2012, 8:42 AM
For the First time I have to say that I actually cried by reading a comic book, I've never cried during Batman, Spider-man or any Comic-Book Stuff that involves death but how they treated him and all the suffer he went through both as a child and in the interrogation office made me develop a very soft spot for Baz.. He is my FAVOURITE Green Lantern I loved John Stewart from the cartoons but Baz has the best origin story that really puts pain into the heart of the reader.. If that is how Americans treat muslims and Innocent Arab men then Heavy Shame on them
thewolfx - 9/9/2012, 9:02 AM
he looks 2much like kickass
RSDhillon - 9/9/2012, 9:39 AM
There is an explanation, Alan. He doesn't have enough "IMAAAAAGINAAAATION!" to use the ring to the fullest extent.
jimpinto24 - 9/9/2012, 10:04 AM
Sounds good! Going to pick up Green Lantern #0.
HeadPool420 - 9/9/2012, 10:10 AM
So we have a thug gangster guy that's steals cars and uses guns and does not care for the innocent since he steals! Yeah real hero materiall! To many human GL's nowadays!
HeadPool420 - 9/9/2012, 10:14 AM
And it's funny he hides his face but not his tattoos? Kind of a given when you see a hero and someone out of costume with the same tattoos!
Bojac - 9/9/2012, 11:02 AM
Hurgggg blurrrr why are there only American Green Lanterns hnghhhhhhhhh???

And too many human GLs?
5 out of 3600 isn't exactly tipping the scale...

Boy both those complaints really can't exist together can they? You want to add a couple non-American GLs and you'll just piss of the guys who want more alien GLs.
MutantEquality - 9/9/2012, 11:03 AM
@RSDhillon

Lmao
GiftedYoungster - 9/9/2012, 11:09 AM
Hal Jordan wears a mask . . . albeit a smaller one.
CeltiC527 - 9/9/2012, 11:16 AM
@Froggy yeah I love Mahnke's art on GL....
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
inky - 9/9/2012, 2:26 PM
why on earth and all other dimentions does DC think going politicaly correct with the green lantern is a good thing, i still try to think wht the earlier green lantern before this one was gay then removed very quickly in favour of Baz to be honest its not realy needed just give guy gardener the ring and let him loose on the dc multiverse.
may be this is a ploy becouse the next green lantern movie is going to be cheaply made in iraq featuring how non political the green lantern is lol.
DC oh DC if ytour going to redefine your heroes using political correctness i fear your readership will all drop out and start reading image comics :).
baldric33 - 9/9/2012, 2:49 PM
Honestly, Mahnke shouldn't feel proud for this character design as he ends up making a Green Lantern look like he's dressed to go rob a liquor store. Johns has lost a bit on the story writing with this one two as he seemd to be trying too hard too make Baz a sympathetic victim. If he wanted to make the situation believable he should have made the character a line worker at an auto plant instead of an engineer. Young, inexpensive mechanical engineers(of which automotive engineers are a subset) have little trouble finding employment even in this economy. I know a lot of you aren't bothered by such things, but sloppy writing with no fact checking bothers me.

Attempting to present a more diverse character base is fine, but the shoddy way DC is going about it makes it seem like pandering more than anything else.
CaptainAmerica1945 - 9/9/2012, 4:56 PM
"Arab-American Simon Baz is a car thief who has spent most of his life being persecuted against after the events of September 11th. Arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist after stealing a van with a bomb in the back, he is detained and about to be tortured"


If only he had stolen a van without a bomb, his life would have been wonderful!!!!
Toasty - 9/9/2012, 5:09 PM
That's all well and good and i'm looking forward to seeing how Baz does, and i haven't read #0 yet since it isn't out in the uk atm, but i want to know if Hal's coming back!!! and i want to know what the deal is with the book of the black storyline!
RobLiefeldFan - 9/9/2012, 5:22 PM
@SuspenseSmith I'm very sure if he was white you would not complain about him just because he's arab you're having a dum fit.. If he was another White Guy he'll ger praise from you
Gromblidor - 9/9/2012, 8:06 PM
@Redhood85, I'm only speaking from real life encounters, maybe it's different in the comic book universe.
WinterSoldier24 - 9/9/2012, 8:48 PM
I don't really care for DC's new ethnic-worm-on-a-fishing-line gag to try & reel in new readers. Do it by writing great stories, not gimmicks like this.

Green Lanterns my favorite DC character. Loved Guy Gardner. Saw a lot of myself in him sans green power ring lol.

Idk, maybe I'll pick it up & give it a read. See what it's all about.

:P
HarrisonBergeron - 9/9/2012, 10:38 PM
@inky- the sheer level of ignorance in your post is awe inspiring. If you are just trolling, then my hat is off to you; if you aren't trolling, then my hat's still off to you for figuring out how to work the computer machine so well.

---

I think the racist nonsense regarding Baz is really misplaced so far. From #0 I got the impression that he was the Muslim equivalent to a fair weather Christian. They even covered the fact that he should not have a tattoo if he is a practicing Muslim.
BuckyCap - 9/10/2012, 3:19 AM
@SuspenseSmith - You are hitting the nail on the head, but people have been so indoctrinated that it is extremely difficult to sway them from the ignorant "you can't be against him or you are a racist" mindset.

What DC is doing is incredibly degrading and offensive. Saying "we have a new Arab character" is like exactly like introducing someone as "your black friend." DC can act like they are "celebrating diversity" but what they are actually doing is calling attention to a very insignificant detail as though it were a critical distinction that needs to be made.

"Clearly, he wanted to be able to see his tattoo." Is there even any doubt as to what DC is making the focal point of the character?
manofmidgard - 9/10/2012, 5:06 AM
looks a bit like the kick-ass costume meets the green lantern costume
Logan5 - 9/10/2012, 5:40 AM
Why did earth need a new Lantern? No, really. If we are forced to follow a new Lantern main stay, go alien. There is the chance to create something totally unique and awesome at the same time: grand opportunity squandered.

"I guess if he was another white guy you'd.."

I'm gonna' seal that right now. It has nothing to do with that. If a change needs to be made to shake up the way a particular comic book universe is going, you implement & get behind totally "NEW" characters with completely fresh backgrounds! Did you see that? TOTALLY NEW CHARACTERS! A totally "NEW" character can be a muslim with autism for all I care.

@manofmidgard

The costume is awful! It looks one part wet suit, one part bodybuilding workout suit, one part wrestler tights, one part Kickass rip-off, one part Tron: Legacy background extra and topped off with a splash of desperation.
TheFox - 9/10/2012, 2:55 PM
I am already loving this story and the character, and I can't wait to see where Johns is going to take this! I just wonder what's going to happen to Hal in all this, and if we're going to be left with FIVE Green Lanterns of Earth when all is said and done.

It's too early in the game to be wondering that, though. I just want to see what happens next.

Z
Orangelight - 9/10/2012, 8:22 PM
Short sleeves and masks do not [frick]ing work.

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