When Green Lantern: The Animated Series was taken off the air, people shed tears. When it was suspected that the show was cancelled due to poor toy sales, inconsistent show times and long gaps between episodes, people were furious.
Today, Green Lantern: The Animated Series producer, Giancarlo Volpe, speaks out and shares his side of the story. He recounts his experience focus testing the show before it was officially broadcast with an emotional and heartfelt show-and-tell in comic book form.
Check out Giancarlo Volpe’s tumblr page for the full comic; it’s a fun and entertaining read. It also features an amusing appearance by animation superstar, Bruce Timm.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series was a very popular show lasting from 2011 to March 2013, with 26 episodes in total. Of course, this was primarily due to the fact that there were long hiatuses between episodes.
The season mainly dealt with a storyline relating to the conflict between Red Lanterns and Green Lanterns, while also introducing Lanterns from the variety of different emotional light spectrum colors.
In Volpe’s comic, he gives us a “behind-the-scenes” look at the production of the television show and how the competing forces of what the studio wants and what the creators want can play out.
The studio wanted the show to be more marketable, hence why the focus group moderator warned them that “If you [they] don’t resolve these issues, there’s a good chance you’ll [they’ll] get cancelled.”
However from Volpe’s perspective, he believed that the children who watched the show seemed to enjoy it and that the focus group moderators were biased.
The comic is just very good, in general. It’s very polished altogether, but it also has a few rough edges that make it look more raw and natural.
Characters are enjoyable and you get a real sense of their personalities and perspectives despite the comic’s short length. Their facial expressions are especially good, as there are many instances that portray the characters with a lot of heart. Even the moderators who are drawn a little bit more stoic, cold and slightly scary are given their due.
Most importantly, this comic highlights some of the problems in the animation industry and the comics industry, in general. Because of the perception by corporate entities that certain properties are not profitable and do not present immediate and quick financial benefits, these properties do not get the support they need to succeed. Hence you have a situation where the corporation doesn’t care whether the episodes are broadcast in a timely manner, the property does not get the advertising it needs nor does it get marketed to the appropriate audiences.
The rest, as they say, is history.
So what do you think? Should creators listen to focus groups and corporates? Should they stick to their creative vision? More importantly, how much should they listen to other people?