A GREEN LANTERN Q&A (+ Giveaway) with Minh Lê
Drawn Together author Minh Lê is trying something new: a graphic novel. Green Lantern: Legacy (illustrated by Andie Tong) publishes today – seems like a good time to talk with Minh about writing in this new-to-him format and give away three copies (click here to enter the giveaway).
Travis Jonker: This book is a new format for you. What’s the best part of writing a graphic novel? What was the most challenging part for you?
Minh Lê: Actually the best part is the same as with picture books: seeing the story come to life in the illustrator’s hands. I’ve been so lucky to get to collaborate with absolutely fantastic illustrators and Andie Tong is no exception. He is SO dynamic and has such mastery over every page and panel.
Of course, another best part was getting to read stacks of comics as “research.” In internet-speak, I’m “living my best life.”
The most challenging part was definitely the length. I’m used to writing 2-3 page manuscripts, so I’d be lying if I said I the prospect of writing 120+ pages didn’t freak me out just a little. But it’s so much fun to be able to tell a long form story while still keeping the visual element of storytelling that I love so much.
TJ: It’s interesting to think about the similarities there.
I know this story has a very personal family connection for you – did that come to you right away, or was it a longer process to make those connections?
ML: The whole idea started with the personal connection. When I was considering which character to take a swing at, there was something very familiar about Green Lantern, a character who has a powerful green ring that is drawn to the individual’s strength of will. Then I realized it was because I knew someone who fit that description perfectly: my grandmother:
She always wore a jade ring and was one of the heroes of our family story (very much willing my family out of Vietnam during the height of the war). So once that image came to me, the rest of the story started to fall into place. The opportunity to write a grandmother superhero really appealed to me.
A special moment was going to Vietnam this past summer for the first time in 30 years and getting to share the book with my other grandmother (who is 97 years old and also a force of nature). Aren’t grandmas the best?
TJ: This is so cool, Minh. I smile every time I look at that picture of you and your grandmother.
You’ve been known to make good sneaker choices. If Green Lantern: Legacy was a pair of sneakers, what sneakers would it be?
ML: Well, since the story is about looking to the future while also honoring tradition, I’d have to go with this 2018 take on a classic: Air Jordan 1 Retro High Pine Green.
TJ: Ah, nice choice. I think you need a pair of these now.
One last important question: What snack puts you in peak creativity mode? Or what snack powered the writing of Green Lantern: Legacy?
ML: I wish I had some green themed snack like wasabi peas, green apple jolly ranchers, or kale chips (all of which are delicious), but in reality my snacks of choice during the writing process was xi muoi (dried salty plums) and dried mangoes.
Next time though I’ll mix in the occasional avocado smoothie to stay thematically on point.
TJ: Thanks for taking my questions, Minh!
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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