How Green Lantern: Earth One Reinvents Hal Jordan

Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman are taking a Ridley Scott influenced approach to Green Lantern.

DC Comics’ Earth One series of original graphic novels have offered modern and new reader friendly takes on classic DC heroes. So far, DC has presented Earth One adventures for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Teen Titans. On March 14, 2018 writer Corinna Bechko and writer and artist Gabriel Hardman will present Green Lantern: Earth One, a new look at the origin of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. We spoke with Bechko and Hardman and discuss the genesis of this latest Earth One project, the influence of Ridley Scott’s Alien films on their take on Hal Jordan and what heroes and supporting cast fans can expect when Green Lantern gets the Earth One hardcover treatment early next year.

Den of Geek: You have been mostly doing work outside the worlds of DC and Marvel. You’ve been doing Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, and your creator owned stuff like Invisible Republic for Image, what brought you back to DC for this new Green Lantern project?

Gabriel Hardman: This was a story we wanted to tell. When we come on a project, we ask ourselves, is this a story we want to tell? I have no sense of careerism about it, I really just do stuff that interests me.

So what about Green Lantern: Earth One interested you?

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Hardman: It’s science fiction. We can go back to the core of the Silver Age Green Lantern. It’s a sci-fi story, and a story with an intrinsic arc that allows a character to go off into another world. It’s sort of like a story of becoming a hero.

Corinna Bechko: For me, I really enjoy world building. From starting with the basics of the character and the basics of the story and going into a world that works. It involves how things would work a few years in the future. It appeals to my science background.

The last few years of Green Lantern, the Geoff Johns stuff (which was awesome), has gotten away from solo Hal stories. Were you informed by that?

Hardman: That was definitely part of it. Not a judgement against the other stuff, but if you’re going to do it. Do something different.

Bechko: That already exists. It’s already doing the job really well, so we have to do something different.

Hardman: We always look at what is intrinsic for the character. Otherwise, why use the character? In a graphic novel which is a discreet thing, you have to focus on what the character is really about. We can’t introduce a million characters. We have to tell this guy’s story.

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Bechko: That doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the other stuff either.

Hardman: Oh yeah, we’re getting out into the galaxy and meeting a lot of people. We’re not telling you who they are, but they’re there.

So who is Hal Jordan to you?

Bechko: I think at core he’s a man who is smart, he is good at figuring out problems. And he’s a scientist, at least in our iteration.

Very interesting!

Hardman: He’s an astronaut, he has to be.

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Bechko: I would argue, a test pilot is a scientist. Yeah, they’re super brave, but they’re not getting into that thing if they don’t know how it works.

One of the aspects that has been a little lost from Hal Jordan over the last few years is his personal supporting cast. Is there a return of any of those characters?

Hardman: No. The circumstances we start with, we don’t meet them. We start is space so we don’t meet them. If there’s future volumes, we can come back.

Bechko: There’s a lot of suggestions about Hal’s past, but because he’s being thrown into unfamiliar circumstances, we don’t go there.

Was there ever any temptation to make this book about another Green Lantern like John Stewart?

Hardman: We just wanted to go back to the Silver Age start of it, and that was Hal Jordan. We constructed this story around Hal Jordan and in a way it’s important that it be him. But that’s not to say those characters won’t come in. We never really talked about it. Dan Didio told us this can be anything. We did not have a mandate to use Hal. The particular story we’re telling felt like it needed to be him.

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Bechko: Because we’re presenting things from a new go line, we figured something needed to be drawing from the old.

Hardman: Yeah, we could have introduced a new Green lantern entirely…

Bechko: But then everything would have to be different.

Can we assume the villain?

Hardman: Well, the Manhunters are the villains.

Well, that’s not who I assumed.

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Hardman: We’re going to see more of the familiar. There is a mystery to what exactly is going on. Hal sees it from a worm’s eye view.

Bechko: And he’s seeing it without context.

Hardman: And he’s discovering what’s really going on in the universe.

Hopefully, when you get this done, DC will look at your script and say, “Hey, that’s the movie.”

Hardman: I worked on the first film. The movie showed us that there was a way to not intrinsically make the story about the character. In our book, we hoped to not do that. (laughs)

Is DC talking a series of these Earth One Green Lantern books?

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Hardman: We’re not really talking anything, it’s a book. Presumably, if it does well, there can be more. But it’s a self-contained book.

Is there anything, any Green Lantern runs or sci-fi in general, that informed your take?

Hardman: We certainly though a lot about Alien, the first Ridley Scott Alien, because of the way they framed …

Bechko: … working in an unfamiliar environment as if it were the North Pole. They were in a place where they didn’t know there was other life in the universe so they were in for a big surprise.

Hardman: Particularly, with the Space Jockey, it suggests a much wider world and mythology. That tone was something we thought about a lot. Not that it’s a horror book, it isn’t….

Bechko: … It’s as if you’re building a world, and you close the book, the reader will believe the world is wider that it seems.

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It’s hard to write a space book without horror, space is scary.

Hardman: Space is scary. And there is some horror in the book. Hal finds a ring that is not magically gifted to him… he finds a jewel that he doesn’t know how to use, and he could die if he doesn’t use it right. There’s serious perils on this.

Green Lantern: Earth One will hit shelves on March 14.