Designing the Green Lantern Corps for the screen left veteran designer Neville Page spent with exertion — it dwarfed his previous projects AVATAR, SUPER 8 and STAR TREK. To solve the problem, Page turned to the work of the comics giants who paved the way:
“We had almost twice as many creatures in this than we did in ‘Avatar’ and probably one-tenth the time,” says Page, “so it really forced us to change our approach to how we were designing. You just have to rethink how you would present them. You wouldn’t do a drawing – I didn’t draw one single thing. I immediately started doing digital sculpture, because it was the most important thing to show Martin Campbell right away, in the round, three dimensionally some suggestions.”
Fortunately, Page and his team occasionally had a head start thanks the many established, exotic Green Lanterns created by DC Comics artists like Gil Kane and Joe Staton over 50 years of comic book continuity. “We couldn’t have done it without them, obviously,” says Page. “If we had to start from scratch like we did on ‘Avatar’ – Impossible! But we had these incredible starts. But also, because the starts were crazy, so Zen and so creative, that, in a way, slowed it down a bit – because how are we going to take this thing with all these tentacles and strange hair and a Mohawk and it’s crystal, how do you make that work? So sometimes it was very enabling and other times it was disabling. But either way it was a head start.
Sadly, the previous creators on the comic weren’t credited on screen. Without reading too much into this, Warner’s ongoing legal battles with many entities who are claiming creative rights to superhero characters may just have had something to do with this.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.