College Shines in Homecoming Parade

Posted on: October 15, 2013

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CAS was well represented in MSU's Homecoming parade last Friday night with alumnus Geoff Johns serving as Grand Marshal, four CAS students on Homecoming Court, more than any other college, and WKAR personalities greeting enthusiastic fans of our public radio and television stations.

Johns, 1995 Telecommunication grad and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment, is one of the most influential leaders in the comic industry. This year's Homecoming theme, "Creating Spartan Superheroes," was selected in honor of him.

"The greatest thing about being a student at MSU was the opportunities I had," Johns said. "I had the opportunity to take these great classes, to join all these on-campus clubs. There's an opportunity to network and meet people here that share your same interest. It's really where you start to figure out what you love in life, and for me, I love comic books; I love film; I love TV; and I started to meet other people that love the same thing and we would work on all these projects together in and out of class."

Besides his appearance in the Oct. 11 parade, Johns was the featured speaker at a Media Sandbox event on Oct. 10 and spoke to Media Sandbox Director Bob Alber's Story, Sound and Motion class and was interviewed on WKAR's "Current State."

If you didn't get a chance to see Johns, he will appear in the PBS special, "Superheroes - The Never-Ending Story," on WKAR Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. The three-hour special explores the world of comic books and their powerful legacy, from the days of the Great Depression to the impact of characters on today's media and a look at the future with video games and web-based comics.

"Superheroes are American Gods. They're the American mythology, just like the Greeks had theirs and the Roman's had theirs. Superheroes are our modern-day mythology," Johns said.

Johns, who has quickly become one of the most popular and prolific contemporary comic book writers today, has written highly acclaimed stories starring Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Teen Titans and Justice Society of America. He is the author of five New York Times best-selling graphic novels, including "Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns," "Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War," "Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come," "Superman: Brainiac" and "Blackest Night."

Most recently, Johns has written comic books for Justice League, Aquaman and Justice League of America; the DC Comics TV special "Robot Chicken;" and consulted and wrote for the top-rated CW show, "Arrow," based on DC Comics character Green Arrow. Johns and his team also are working closely with Warner Bros. Interactive to create video games based on DC Comics characters including Batman: Arkham City.

"I've loved comics all my life. I've always wanted to work in them as far back as I could remember," Johns said. "The journey from huge fan of comic books to being able to write them and work on all this stuff I work on now at DC, it's like a dream come true. I always wanted to write The Flash. I remember when I was a kid thinking I'd love to write The Flash some day. I love this comic book.

"Early in my career, almost the second book I got was The Flash. I was probably 26, and was writing The Flash. I wrote it for five years, and when I ended my run, I called my dad and said, 'I did what I always wanted to do. I wanted to write The Flash. I accomplished it.' That was the first moment I really sat back and realized I kind of made it."

Johns was born in Detroit and grew up in Clarkston, Mich. He studied media arts, screenwriting, film production and film theory at MSU.

"There's a lot of reasons I chose Michigan State," Johns said. "This isn't the only reason, but it's a good one. They have the biggest comic book collection in the world curated here. They have a great media arts program, a beautiful campus. When I visited MSU, I fell in love with the area immediately and their reputation was great.

"The thing that surprised me the most, and the comic book collection actually is an example of it, is that they really appreciate all forms of art and all forms of storytelling and I was going to be able to come here and learn about all that...For me, it was just a great place to come."

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