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 Green Lantern Comic history

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wolfzin
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PostSubject: Green Lantern Comic history   Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:59 am

Green Lantern is the name of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first (Alan Scott) was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940).[2]

Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring that gives the user great control over the physical world as long as the wielder has sufficient willpower and strength to wield it. The ring is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, and can be very dangerous. While the ring of the Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott) was magically powered, the rings worn by all subsequent Lanterns were technological creations of the Guardians of the Universe, who granted such rings to worthy candidates. These individuals made up the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps.[2]

After World War II, when sales of superhero comic books generally declined, DC ceased publishing new adventures of Alan Scott as the Green Lantern. At the beginning of the Silver Age of Comic Books in the late 1950s, DC editor Julius Schwartz assigned writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane to revive the Green Lantern character, this time as test pilot Hal Jordan, who became a founding member of the Justice League of America. In the early 1970s, writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams teamed Green Lantern with archer Green Arrow in groundbreaking, socially conscious, and award-winning stories that pitted the sensibilities of the law-and-order-oriented Lantern with the populist Green Arrow. Several cosmically themed series followed, as did occasional different individuals in the role of Earth's Green Lantern. Most prominent of these are John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner.

Each of the Earth's Green Lanterns has been a member of either the Justice Society of America or the Justice League of America, and John Stewart was featured as one of the main characters in both the Justice League and the Justice League Unlimited animated series. The Green Lanterns are often depicted as being close friends of the various men who have been the Flash, the most notable friendships having been between Alan Scott and Jay Garrick (the Golden Age Green Lantern and Flash), Hal Jordan and Barry Allen (the Silver Age Green Lantern and Flash), and Kyle Rayner and Wally West (the modern age Green Lantern and Flash), as well as Jordan being friends with West.

Golden Age

Green Lantern was created by Martin Nodell (using the name Mart Dellon) and Bill Finger. He first appeared in the Golden Age of comic books in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940), published by All-American Publications, one of three companies that would eventually merge to form DC Comics. The collector market for original copies of this issue is strong, with a sale in October 2007 selling on an online vintage comic trading site, ComicConnect.com, for $29,250.[3]

This Green Lantern was Alan Scott, an engineer who had come into possession of a magic lantern. From this, he crafted a magic ring which gave him a wide variety of powers. The limitations of the ring were that it had to be "charged" every 24 hours by touching it to the lantern for a time, and that it did not work on wood.

Nodell had originally planned to give Green Lantern the alter ego "Alan Ladd," this being a linguistic twist on Aladdin, who had a magic lamp and magic ring of his own. DC considered the wordplay distracting and foolish, and the character's name was changed before publication to "Alan Scott." In May 1942, the film This Gun for Hire suddenly made the journeyman actor Alan Ladd a movie star. Nodell would always joke that they'd missed a great opportunity.[4]

Green Lantern was a popular character in the 1940s, featured in both All-American Comics and in his own title and co-starring in Comic Cavalcade along with Flash and Wonder Woman. He was a charter member of the Justice Society of America, whose adventures ran in All Star Comics. After World War II, the popularity of superheroes declined. The Green Lantern comic book was cancelled with issue #38 (May-June 1949). All Star Comics #57 (1951) was the character's last Golden Age appearance.

Silver Age revival

In the late 1950s, DC Comics successfully revived superheroes, ushering in what became known as the Silver Age of comic books. Rather than bringing back the same Golden Age heroes — as Atlas Comics, the 1950s precursor of Marvel Comics, unsuccessfully attempted — DC reimagined them as new characters for the modern age. Following the successful revival of the Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), a new Green Lantern was introduced in Showcase #22 (September-October 1959).

This Green Lantern was Hal Jordan, a test pilot who was given a power ring by a dying alien, Abin Sur, and who became a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar organization of police overseen by the Guardians of the Universe. The Corps' rings were powerless against anything colored yellow, due to a necessary impurity in the ring. Jordan's creation was motivated by a desire to make him more of a science fiction hero, editor Julius Schwartz having been a longtime fan of that genre and literary agent who saw pop-culture tastes turning in that direction.

The Silver Age Green Lantern was unique in several ways. He was the first DC superhero with a family.[5] Written by John Broome and drawn by Gil Kane, these stories have been reprinted in deluxe hardback editions.

This Green Lantern was a founding member of the Justice League of America and starred in his own title as well; in issue #40 (Oct. 1965), he met his Golden Age predecessor, who was established to live on the parallel world of Earth-Two, separate from Jordan's Earth-One. The two Lanterns struck up a close friendship and have periodically come to each other's aid. Hal Jordan's Green Lantern also became close friends with Barry Allen, and the two heroes appeared frequently in each other's comics to team up.

Later developments

With issue #76 (April 1970), the series made a radical stylistic departure. Editor Schwartz, in one of the company's earliest efforts to provide more than light fantasy, worked with the writer-artist team of Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams to spark new interest in the comic and address a perceived need for social relevance. They added the character Green Arrow (with the cover though not the official name retitled Green Lantern Co-Starring Green Arrow) and had the pair travel through America encountering "real world" issues, to which they reacted in different ways — Green Lantern as fundamentally a lawman, Green Arrow as a liberal iconoclast. Additionally during this run, the groundbreaking "Snowbirds Don't Fly" story was published (issues #85 and #86) in which Green Arrow's teen sidekick Speedy (the later grownup hero Red Arrow) developed a heroin addiction that he was forcibly made to quit. The stories were critically acclaimed, with publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek citing it as an example of how comic books were "growing up".[6] However, the O'Neil/Adams run was not a commercial success, and after only 14 issues, the two left the title, which was cancelled.

The title would know a number of revivals and cancellations. Its title would change to Green Lantern Corps at one point as the popularity rose and waned. During a time there were two regular titles, each with a Green Lantern, and a third member in the Justice League. A new character, Kyle Rayner, was created to become the feature while Hal Jordan first became the villain Parallax, then died and came back as the Spectre.

In the wake of The New Frontier, writer Geoff Johns returned Hal Jordan as Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Rebirth (2004-05). Johns began to lay groundwork for a 2009 story to be entitled "Blackest Night," viewing it as the third part of the trilogy started by Rebirth. Expanding on the Green Lantern mythology in the second part, "Sinestro Corps War" (2007), Johns, with artist Ethan van Sciver, found wide critical acclaim and commercial success with the series, which promised the introduction of a spectrum of colored "lanterns". Currently, all four "current" Green Lanterns have stories being told in simultaneously published series, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps respectively.
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