Hope and optimism. There is a lot that I cannot talk about, yet, from my meeting yesterday with Geoff Johns. Along with a small group of journalists and a DC Comics representative, we were gathered to discuss his DC Universe Rebirth one-shot, which drops next week.
But what I can share right now from the man who was just announced on Tuesday to be co-lead on the new DC Films – providing him and executive VP Jon Berg oversight on DC Entertainment films, and essentially placing him in the role of gatekeeper of DC’s movie vision – are those two words: hope and optimism.
While the words might strike some as old-fashioned or schmaltzy, Johns’ use of them (“legacy” and “heart” are other oft-repeated ones) in relation to Rebirth was downright uplifting – and encouraging. Though he could not comment on his new role with DC Films, it is not a leap to think that the creator’s philosophy will extend to future work.
Revealingly, while discussing Rebirth, Johns said, “I think it’s good to be honest about the problems in the DC Universe, and go straight at them.” He also repeats how important it is “to get characters right.”
And Johns has a track record of getting characters right.
He has had a title on the shelves since 1999, and has been acclaimed for many of them. Justice Society of America, The Flash, Beast Boy, Hawkman, Teen Titans, Green Lantern, Booster Gold; Johns has a habit of taking characters who haven’t been shown love for a while, and bringing them back into the fold, and generating mainstream attention for them. He has managed massive crossover events (Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Flashpoint) Similarly, he made a mark in other media by serving as the principal writer on the DC Comics mmorpg, contributing to Justice League Unlimited, writing for Smallville, and – as Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics since 2010 – wrote for The CW’s Arrow, and helped launch The Flash on the network. He was a creative consultant on the 2011 Green Lantern movie and executive producer on Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It was also revealed last year that he’s co-writing a standalone Batman movie with Ben Affleck.
All of this is to say Johns is a guy who has worked within this medium for a very long time, and has loved superheroes all his life. He knows his comics, and moreover, he gets what these characters are supposed to be about.
Not surprisingly, Johns’ new gig will require him to step away from comics for a bit, with Rebirth serving as a love letter to the DC Comics Universe.
Watch this space for more from Geoff Johns, and an extensive talk about DC Universe Rebirth #1, which is available Wednesday, May 25, 2016, and launches a new era – of hope, optimism, heart and legacy – for the DC Universe.