Green Lantern at 80!

Happy Anniversary to the original ring slinger, Alan Scott, the Green Lantern! May 17th marks the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Green Lantern. Though if you look at […]

Happy Anniversary to the original ring slinger, Alan Scott, the Green Lantern!

May 17th marks the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Green Lantern. Though if you look at DC Comics, they make it seem like it’s Hal Jordan. But Jordan has only been around since 1959, so that would put Green Lantern at 61 years. By all admissions, Jordan is more popular with appearing in several cartoons, marketing, and even a movie, but that still doesn’t make him the first. No, the first Green Lantern is actually Alan Scott.

Alan first appeared in All-American Comics #16 and was created by Martin Nodell. In the origin, thousands of years ago, a green meteor fell to Earth and produced a large green flame.  A voice in the flame predicted that it would act three times: once to bring death, once to bring life, and once to bring power. For the first prophecy, a lamp-maker crafted the green metal of the meteor into a lamp. In fear the local villagers killed him, only to be destroyed by a sudden burst of the green flame. For the second, in modern times, the lamp came into the hands of a patient of a mental institution who fashioned the lamp into a modern train lantern. The green flame restored his sanity and gave him a new life.

For the third, by 1940, after having already fulfilled the first two-thirds of this prophecy, the lantern fashioned from the meteoric metal fell into the hands of Alan Scott, a young railroad engineer. Following a railroad bridge collapse, the flame instructs Scott in how to fashion a ring from its metal, to give him fantastic powers as the superhero Green Lantern.

As Green Lantern, he has to charge his ring with the lantern and recite an oath:

I shall shed my light over dark evil.
For the dark things cannot stand the light,
The light of the Green Lantern!

And thus Green Lantern was born.

With his power ring, Green Lantern could perform all sorts of magnificent feats like flying, create force fields, walk through walks, and many other objects. The only weakness would be wood. The ring’s magic couldn’t affect anything made of wood. Later Green Latern’s origin was retconned to the meteor being an object called Starheart. When the Guardians of the Universe were establishing the Green Lantern Corps, they gathered up all the wild magic and released it into the universe to fly free. The Guardian named this magical object as Starheart, and that’s only real link between the first Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps.

Green Lantern would go on to help form the first-ever super-team: The Justice Society of America. Green Lantern would serve as a member in good standing for years. He had his own rogues gallery with characters like the Icicle, the Sportmaster, and Solomon Grundy. And he had his own sidekick. The street smart cab driver Doiby Dickles. Green Lantern’s adventures would continue until the cancelation of his comic.

12 years later, Green Lantern would return to DC Comics, but it wasn’t Alan Scott. Green Lantern was revamped as a space adventure with a new lead: Hal Jordan. But Alan Scott would re-appear in DC Comics in The Flash #137. It was established that Alan and the rest of the Justice Society lived on Earth-Two, while the Justice League and the modern heroes lived on Earth One. Alan would appear in several DC Comics as either a back-up feature or a guest star. 

n 1981, DC Comics launched All-Star Squadron, which featured Alan Scott and the Justice Society in a World War II setting. Then in Infinity, Inc., it was established that Green Lantern had 2 kids he never knew about: Jade and Obsidian. Both would become superheroes in their own rights.

After the events of the Crisis of Infinite Earths, it was established that the heroes of the Justice Society lived on the same Earth as the Justice League. The JSA would serve during World War II and inspire the next generation of heroes. Right after the Crisis, the JSA would disappear for years. When they came back, an outside force made Green Lantern young and he would internalize his power as Sentinel. 

Scott would be restored to his original age and use his powers through his ring again. But after the events of the New 52, Green Lantern and the JSA were wiped from DC Comics. 

Wanting to stick with a young demographic, Alan Scott was reimagined as a younger man and put him in the new Earth 2 comics book. One of the major changes was now Alan was gay. Many people took issue with this and the comics didn’t last that long. 

The fate of the Justice Society and Green Lantern is still in limbo at DC Comics. They appeared in both the Justice League and in the Doomsday Clock mini-series but still have yet to return to the DC Universe proper. But there is still hope. As we saw in Wonder Woman #750, Green Lantern is coming.

But until Green Lantern returns, you can always read the back issues.

Until then: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GREEN LANTERN!

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.