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Geoff Johns: The New 52

By Robert Bao

  • Published: 02/20/2012
The Green Lantern

The world of comic books has just been dramatically transformed.  On Aug. 1, DC Comics launched Justice League #1, the first of a new line of 52 number one issues.  Newer and more contemporary looks have been created for such iconic superheroes as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash.  Behind this change is Geoff Johns, ’95, creative chief officer of DC Entertainment, Burbank, CA, and a superstar in the comics book industry.  He wrote Justice League #1, working with legendary artist Jim Lee.  He has been writing for characters such as Green Lantern, The Flash and Superman. He has also written episodes of TV’s Smallville.  Last year, he co-produced the movie Green Lantern.  “I’ve always enjoyed movies and been passionate about comics,” says Johns, whose company is also filming new movies about Superman and the Dark Knight.  “When you can find work where you can do both, it’s exciting.”  So far, the early indications of the transformative changes in the new comic book series have been positive.  “Sales of comic books are the strongest they have been in at least a decade,” Geoff notes.  “The digital stuff has risen by leaps and bounds.  We have our core audience but we are now capturing a new audience.”  Born in Detroit, raised in Clarkston, Geoff chose MSU over the University of Michigan.  “MSU was a perfect fit for me,” he explains.  “It was a well known school, the campus is beautiful, and there was a comics shop on Grand River.  The library has the largest comics collection in the country.  I had a great experience.”  Geoff was president of the MSU Film Club—“I think (Spiderman director) Sam Raimi founded the club,” he recalls. He cites Carrie Heeter and Brian Winn, MSU professors of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, as friends and mentors.  “Bill Vincent (former professor of film studies) was a massive influence,” adds Geoff.  “He opened the door to story-telling in a way I had never thought about.  I took his course on the movies of Hitchcock to Fellini, on screenwriting, and after that I took every course I could take from him.”  

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