‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ Producer Giancarlo Volpe Explains Focus Groups In New Comic
In his time working in animation, Giancarlo Volpe has worked on some of my all-time favorite cartoons. As a writer, director and animator, he worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender (including directing the pretty phenomenal series finale), King of the Hill, and most recently as the director of the JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time movie. As a result, you’d think he’d know a little something about how to make an exciting and enjoyable animated series, right? But it seems that even he can learn a lot from a focus group!
At least, that was the opinion of the studio during Volpe’s time as the showrunner for Green Lantern: The Animated Series, when he attended his first focus group run by the studio. On his tumblr, Volpe recounted the experience in the form of a comic featuring an appearance by Bruce Timm, and to say the least, it does not sound like a fun time. Read a few pages below!
Green Lantern: The Animated Series kicked off in 2011 with a very strong premiere — one that I really liked, in fact — but was canceled after only 26 episodes in March of 2013. That’s a long time for a single season to be spread out, and blame for the show being canceled is generally thought to be less because of the show itself and more because of a long gap between episodes, a shifting time slot and lackluster toy sales from the Green Lantern movie (remember how there was a Green Lanternmovie for a minute?).
The story related in the comic is from the early days of production, when Volpe (Timm) were advised by the focus groups to change the show to make it more marketable. He presents it as a “behind-the-scenes” look at how there are different forces at play when it comes to producing a television series — the studio that wants something marketable and the creators who want something that’s true to their vision — and how those don’t always match up.
To read the whole thing, which is equal parts depressing and genuinely heartening, check out Volpe’s post on Tumblr!