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WAITING FOR TOMMY: GEOFF JOHNS
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Writing other people's characters, in a corporate environment, on a regular basis, is there ever the temptation to hack?

GEOFF: Hack? I don't know what you mean. You mean purposely write a bad story or ruin a character? There's no reason to do this. Has anyone ever actually done this? You mean hack to get "revenge"?

In the "corporate" environment at DC, I've never had a problem. Yes, they own the characters, but they also give me a lot of freedom. I'm sure some of that is due to me working on guys like Superboy, Power Girl and Mirror Master. They don't have a lot invested in them right now outside of comics. But I've also worked on Superman and Batman and never had a problem. If I had a major problem, I wouldn't stick around because I wouldn't be telling stories I wanted to tell. But with the current regime in the place, I don't ever see that happening.

 

FLASH: ROGUES TRADE PAPER BACK

RICHARD: That's interesting to know - there are many who wouldn't do that, but no, I meant 'hack' as in bash it out, keep your eye on the paycheck, burn through 22 pages so the publisher will be happy, without doing what you know is your best. Letting 'good enough' be enough.

GEOFF: We love these characters, we want to do right by them. Deadlines are always looming on monthly books, but I keep a rigid schedule, I keep on schedule, I try my best to turn it in on time. If it takes an extra day or two to make it better, if deadlines are really that tight -- which they usually aren't, you ask for the extra couple of days. Editors understand that. The minute you think paycheck is the minute you're no longer enjoying it.

RICHARD: And back to Hawkman - one of those titles that had continuity, um, hawks, all over it, you seemed to do rather well - to the extent that it's no longer an issue. Why leave now?

GEOFF: Cute.

No one's more unhappy to see Rags, Michael and I leave Hawkman with #25 than the creative team itself. Rags and I were having a great time on the book, and I really think we made leaps and bounds during the last year in terms of the quality of the book. We had some continuity we had to get through, and we did. We tried our best to make it clean, and make this character viable. For the most part, I think we succeeded very well. Kurt Busiek thinks we've helped straighten it out and that's good enough for me. I'm very proud of the stories we've done, especially the last arc. And the fact that the new team can come on and not have to deal with continuity is an achievement for us.

Hawkman's a reincarnated flying warrior who hits people with a mace.

I want to keep reading Hawkman and I want the new team to take the character to the next level. I'm anxious to watch that happen. Rags and I did have more stories to tell, and we'll hopefully do that again someday, but with the end of Black Reign and the arrival of a very special project for Rags and Michael and some stuff going on in my court, it just felt right to bow out with issue 25. I do look forward to working with Rags and Michael again. They're going to break out next year. Just watch.

For the majority of 2004 I'll be working on my three monthly titles -- Teen Titans, JSA and The Flash. I also have a Tom Strong issue, in February I believe, which I've already written. Working over at Wildstorm is always a blast. It's amazing to see how many writers are doing work over there. Brubaker, Azarello, Vaughn, Casey, Wright, Busiek. A lot of good talent and great production values and personable and smart editors, like Scott Dunbier and Ben Abernathy. Easily, the most underrated imprint today.

As of now, I'll have a major project late next year which is incredibly exciting, and two others following in 2005 that top that one. I do hope to work with Will Dennis at some point as well. Otherwise, Dan DiDio and I pretty much have the rest of my current contract mapped out, and I like it that way. That let's me sit down, focus, and write.

RICHARD: Geoff, I'm going to get out of your way. just one last thing. What happened to the Stormwatch/JSA crossover I hear never happened?

GEOFF: This was an idea Micah and I threw around at a con. You hear everything (laughs). How do you DO that, Rich? Honestly.

Rich Johnston writes Lying In The Gutters. Geoff Johns writes. well, Avengers, JSA, Flash, Hawkman and plenty more to come. You can catch up with him here.    

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The Waiting For Tommy Archive

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