Creator / Geoff Johns
"Good. Good. Everything is going as I have foreseen."
Formerly the assistant of film director Richard Donner
, Geoff Johns broke into comic books in 1999. He worked freelance for about four years before signing an exclusive contract with DC Comics
, where he's been ever since. He writes an average of four comics a month, so he's responsible for a large percentage of DC's total monthly output.
Johns is also good friends with fellow DC exclusive writer Grant Morrison
, and the two of them co-wrote the DC Universe #0
one-shot as well as the best-selling weekly DC series 52
Johns is largely considered to be the Mr. Fixit of comics, largely on the back of his restoration of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. His specialty is revamping characters, especially villains, who have lost their way
(or were always lame
) into something more compelling. He's also the go-to guy for untangling a Continuity Snarl
, though he sometimes has to take a sword
to the Gordian Knot.
In February 2010 he was named DC's Chief Creative Officer which basically makes him the No. 3 guy at the company after co-publishers Dan DiDio
and Jim Lee. In August 2016, following the success of DC Rebirth, he was promoted to President of DC Comics in addition to his role as Chief Creative Officer.
He has also served as a producer, consultant and occasional writer for DC television and film adaptations. In May 2016, he was named co-head of the newly created DC Films division of Warner Bros.
together with studio executive Jon Berg.
DC properties Johns has worked on include:Marvel Comics
properties Johns has worked on include:
Properties that Johns co-created and co-own include:
Television shows that Johns has written episodes for include:
Television shows that Johns has co-produced include:
Movies that Johns has been involved in include:
Tropes associated with Geoff Johns:
- Alternate Company Equivalent:
- Author Appeal: Johns is a self-confessed Silver Age Fanboy. Naturally this played a role in his writing of Superman and the revivals of Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and Arthur Curry.
- Another thing that's become the target of both criticism and jokes over the years is his love of graphic dismemberment and/or arm trauma.
- Arc Welding
- Armed with Canon: The fact remains he has the largest listing on this page for a single creator.
- Bat Family Crossover: He's done Black Reign for the JSA family, Sinestro Corps for the Green Lantern Family, and New Krypton for the Super family.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Another common lament about Johns' work. Hey, kids, who's getting which body part ripped clean off in this issue?
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rumors abound of him being a very... unusual... person in real life. A hint of this is the Cereal Adventure.◊
- Continuity: He's a master of this, which makes him a Fanboy favorite. Generally, if you think you've caught a continuity error in one of his stories it will turn out to be a plot point.
- Example, long time fans were scratching their heads when Barry started talking about his father being framed for the murder of his mother as his motivation for becoming a police scientist (as he'd had a good relationship with both of his parents up to the point of his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths). This could have been Hand Waved as being the byproduct of any of three major Cosmic Retcons that had taken place since his death but it turned out it was Professor Zoom using Time Travel to screw up his past.
- Crisis Crossover: Day of Judgement, Infinite Crisis, and Blackest Night.
- Darker and Edgier: A lot of his writing, especially post-Infinite Crisis.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Subverted, as the usual superhero-comic "Why does everyone stay in a supervillain-plagued city?" question has been dealt with a few times:
- The twin cities of The Flash (Keystone and Central) are home to important industries—heavy industry and electronics, respectively—that probably wouldn't be available in many other places. In addition, the Flash rogues are not as deadly as, say, Batman's.
- Coast City was almost completely abandoned until recently, simply because the Green Lantern Rogues Gallery often showed up there and the fact that the robot Superman had blown it up awhile back was hanging over their heads. In fact, the situation in Coast is a recurring motif of Johns' run.
- And it even got a reversal in the Sinestro Corps War. The Sinestros intended to wreck Coast City yet again to trigger a Despair Event Horizon, but the inhabitants' refusal to evacuate gave the city a reputation so badass that people started moving in in droves. They even decided to follow Green Lantern's example by nicknaming their home "The City Without Fear".
- Legacy Character: Likes working with these, but...
- Legacy Implosion: He has gradually become synonymous with this trope as Chief Creative Officer at DC, particularly because of the unfortunate (and entirely coincidental) fact that his love of the DCU circa the 70s often means women or characters of colour passing their legacy titles back up to the white guys from the mid-20th century. Usually by dying, messily.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: He is on record as stating that the more characters, the better.
- Old Shame: He's not so proud of his Avengers run, because, according to his own words, he skimped on studying existing continuity. Some fans have developed an appreciation for it, if only because it was the last run before Bendis.
- Also, it wouldn't be a good idea to bring up Muhammad X, a black superhero in Suicide Slums who is extremely suspicious of white authority figures and calls out Superman on not caring about the black community (since saving the entire city and/or planet several times apparently doesn't count).
- Passing the Torch: A theme in many of his books like JSA and Teen Titans.
- Promoted Fanboy: You'll be able to find some letters from Geoffrey Johns from Detroit in the letter columns of a few back issues of his favorite characters' books.
- According to Tom Brevoort, while working for Marvel Johns' love for DC was so apparent everybody knew it's just a matter of time before he jumps ships.
- Retcon: When the Post-Crisis Superboy was revealed to be a modified clone of the director of the Cadmus Project, a young Geoff wrote in to the comic complaining that it would have been better if he'd been a combined clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. Years later, Geoff established this as Superboy's origin.
- Rogues Gallery Showcase: His major arcs on any series tend to build towards stories featuring multiple factions of established villains duking it out or forced into an Enemy Mine situation with the heroes.
- Running the Asylum: Played mostly in good examples of this.
- With the revival of Barry Allen being a bad example. His death was a big moment, and most readers got over it. They had 20 years to do so, and Wally had become the Flash for two generations of readers. He really didn't need to be brought back, unlike Hal Jordan (Hal's death was a much-hated Character Derailment, whereas Barry's was one of the best examples of Heroic Sacrifice ever), and his revival also led to Flashpoint, which led to the erasing of Wally West from existence...
- Though whether or not erasing Wally West from existence was something he actually wanted or forced on him by way of Dan DiDio's Executive Meddling we will probably never know...
- His treatment of Swamp Thing prior to New 52 (which pretty much scrapped everything about the character from the start of Alan Moore's run onwards) wasn't exactly well-received either.
- He's got a pretty well-documented axe to grind with the Kyle Rayner incarnation of Green Lantern, and tends to go out of his way to undermine the character (up to and including having a villain in a Booster Gold story set in an alternate future bring up how much harder it was to kill Hal than Kyle apropos of nothing). To a lesser extent, Johns tends to treat any character/concept from the 1990s as disposable, though of course that's not always a bad thing.
- Shown Their Work: He brings back characters that haven't been used in over 30 years and gives them a good reason for being there.
- World of Symbolism: One of Johns's favourite techniques is to rebuild the world's around his characters so that everything and everyone, no matter how insignificant they seem, ties into a larger overarching theme. David Uzumeri at Comics Alliance has named this trope Johnsian Literalism in his honor.
- Writer on Board: His DC work is the pinnacle example that this can be a good thing.
- Writer Revolt: He absolutely refused to write the death of Dick Grayson (the original Robin and one of the longest continually published characters in comic book history). He even sacrificed Superboy, one of his favorite characters, to keep Dick alive.
- Writing for the Trade: Refused to do it early in his career at Marvel, but now tends to follow the six-part storyline himself, albeit whilst developing and carrying on larger plots.