Constructing Green Lantern Reviewed By Greg Baldino

Posted by May 24, 2011 Comment

Greg Baldino writes for Bleeding Cool.

As the Green Lantern movie approaches this summer, Hal Jordan isn’t the only one building incredible things out of light. Constructing Green Lantern: From Page To Screen, by Ozzy Inguanzo, is a 208 page behind-the-scenes look at the development of the emerald policeman’s first foray to the big screen.

Just as the GL movie will have two different audiences- those who know the character from the comics and those drawn in by big budget summer CGI and a shirtless Ryan Reynolds- so also are there two readers who will want to crack open this book: movie buffs and new-born fans. Special effects fans and budding filmmakers will want to check out the backstories on everything from Abin Sur’s skin to Carol Ferris’ desk, and of course the decision on how to explore the comic through film.

“We set up this notion of DNA being the basis of everyone’s costume. This process occurs as part of every Green lantern’s induction. The Guardians inspect the DNA of every creature, wherever they come from, and then they go for perfecting the body,” explains [costume designer Ngila] Dickson.

Newcomers to the franchise who are captivated by Green Lantern’s light will want to learn more, and with several dozen volumes in print, getting into the comics may be daunting without a helpful and learned staffer in their local book store or comic shop. Alongside the technical details and location blueprints, Constructing offers a look at the mythic cosmology of the GL saga. (The movie does have a fairly high concept backbone holding up the story: An interplanetary police force, mandated by an ancient race of aliens, who’s officers patrol whole galaxies with the aid of what are essentially magic wish-granting rings.)

Not that longtime GL fans won’t find anything of interest here. The book is rife with concept art, story boards, and examples of development designs for rings and lanterns. Not to mention lots of pictures of weird aliens; for a concept based on xenodiversity, nothing less would suffice. Inguanzo goes into a great amount of detail on the development process, spending as much time on development as it does on the finished results. For Green Lantern fans, and those interested in film design on a licensed property, Constructing offers a lot of insight into the aesthetic choices that get made on a collaborative adaptation such as this.

Books like these can run the risk of becoming boring technical retellings, but Constructing avoids that problem by structuring the book to follow the plot of the film. Rather than break the subject matter down into specified chapters (Concept art, costume design, prosthetics, CGI, et cetera,) each section covers all the processes that went into developing each step of the film, from set dressing Jordan’s apartment to making Oa both a believable world and still alien. It’s Inguanzo’s emphasis on story that makes Constructing a book you can actually sit down and read instead of just flipping through it looking for interesting bits.

Constructing Green Lantern: From Page to Screen by Ozzy Inguanzo, is a 209-page hardcover from Universe Publishing, available in early June for $35

In brightest day, in blackest night, no comics in Chicago escape Greg Baldino‘s sight. Let those who want to contact him, email his address: greg.baldino@gmail.com

(Last Updated May 24, 2011 8:13 am )