Green Lantern designer overwhelmed by creatures, turned to Joe Staton

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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.


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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.

Comments

  1. Sphinx Magoo says:

    Nice to see Joe Staton get a nod for all the work he’s done on GL. He was there for a healthy chunk of time, creating new Lanterns and keeping the older ones visible.

  2. And yet there was no mention of Kane, Stanton or even Gardner Fox. I sat through the credits and unless I missed it there was no “Thanks to… ”

    Say what you will about Marvel, but at least the comic creators who had a lot to do with the characters got a nod at the end of their films.

  3. I was kind of amused that the Kilowog prequel one-shot lists Englehart and Staton as creators of the character, I guess since he was introduced in that window when DC’s new character contract required a credit (based on a casual look at the Brave&Bold cartoon, that window seems to be from about 1976 to the early 1990s, with some earlier examples like some of Jack Kirby’s early 1970s characters). I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a credit for Englehart and Staton on Kilowog buried somewhere in the credits, between hairstylist and key grip. Which would be odd if Martin Nodell, Bill Finger, John Broome and Gil Kane aren’t mentioned at all…

    And based on some things that have been said about the Batman movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the creators of the various Lanterns who appear get some kind of payment, even if they don’t get a credit.

  4. Mikael says:

    As BobH says above, credit doesn’t have to be given if their contracts spelled out during their term of service while at DC doesn’t necessitate it. Sure, it would be the nice thing to do – and more often than not, contrary to Richard’s post, DC is better than Marvel at this. Look at what gets created in their animation episodes for instance. Here’s the big difference: Both Denny O’Neil and Christopher Priest have said in interviews that they were compensated for elements of their work that popped up in Batman Begins. And this was a big thing Paul Levitz brought to the table. So while Marvel might throw a credit here or there, it’s been established that DC actually PAYS their creators. Why else would Stan Lee sue for Spider-Man money?

  5. Richard Ask the Kirby Famliy how great Marvel is with credit also to go along with Mikael Any use of elements outside of comic use is where creators make extra money from DC where the only creator who made tons of money from Marvel is Stan. after fighting to make sure he gets his cut on every Marvel film even stuff he has nothing to do with.

  6. @Ben
    Yes, yes I KNOW that Marvel has screwed the Kirbys out of tons of cash (jesus I wasn’t born yesterday!) but I just stated that I thought it unusual that with ALL of the names listed at the end of the GL film, they couldn’t have mentioned Kane or Fox or Stanton, etc..

    I brought that up because a friend (Ron Frenz) told Sal Buscema that he was listed in the end credits of “Thor”. Sal didn’t understand why he was on there (I’m guessing because Sal was part of the huge Simonson “rebirth” back in the 80′s.

    So if a artist who worked on the character, but had no hand in the creation can get a credit in the Marvel film, why the hell not the same in the DC film?

  7. thefreakytiki says:

    @Richard J. Marcej…

    If it makes you feel any better, DC has been well known for saying thank you to creators with $$$ if their creations show up in the movies.

    the Tiki

  8. Does everything in comics have to devolve into “DC vs. Marvel”? Neither company has clean hands when it comes to credit or money, whether contractually obligated or not. And in general they don’t talk about it publicly, so outsiders like us just see a few clues that come from the credits and an occasional remark in an interview or lawsuit about how someone did or did not get paid.

    I will say that I do like that DC is more likely to use the “Created by…” phrasing, as opposed to Marvels “Based on the Comic Book by…” or “Special Thanks to…”.

  9. Chris Duffy says:

    Joe Staton will always be my favorite Green Lantern artist! That miniseries from the early 80s with crowds and crowds of GLs? Such great designs…

  10. And here’s proof that the creators of at least one Green Lantern Corps member were compensated for the use of the character in the movie (possibly) and related merchandizing.

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