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.
On February 18th, 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.
DC properties Johns has worked on include:
- Justice Society of America
- The Flash
- Superman and Action Comics
- Teen Titans
- Green Lantern including the epic Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night storylines.
- Justice League of America
- Infinite Crisis
- Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge and Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
- Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
- Booster Gold
Marvel Comics properties Johns has worked on include:
Properties that Johns co-created and co-own include:
- The Possessed
Television Shows that Johns has written episodes for include:
- Alternate Company Equivalent (Brian Bendis)
- 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.
- 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?
- Continuity: He's a master of this, which makes him a Fan Boy 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.) This could have been handwaved 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 villain 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.
- Legacy Character- Likes working with these.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: He is on record as stating that the more characters, the better.
- Not So Harmless
- Old Shame: He's not so proud of his Avengers run, because, according to his own words, he Did Not Do Research.
- Also, it wouldn't be a good idea to bring up Muhammad X.
- 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 .)
- 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.)
- 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 honour.
- 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.