Typically I’ll try to handbrake most jabber and blab about my comic habits. But with just three posts in three years - hope you can indulge me with one more.
I've been a Bat-fan since the age of three, with some of my earliest reads still in the collection - although, it's a much lower-league legend, mostly unknown to non-comic fans, that I've constantly collected for over thirty years - Green Lantern. I won't bore you with his biog - there's a danger it may reduce down to nerdism - but it's all here should you fancy some backstory.
Almost all superheroes are icons directly or indirectly reflecting the climate of their time: from Superman in the 30s (farm raised immigrant becomes new world power) to Marvel's sixties super-types: Spider-man (the swinging sixties), The Hulk (nuclear mutation) Silver Surfer (space travel). Green Lantern is no exception. A superhero shaped by fifties sci-fi, jet age boom-busting, America's earliest space-racers and a young Paul Newman informing the looks of Lantern's alter ego Hal 'Highball'Jordan. Stylistically Lantern is Dr Who meets David Bowie : a focused, solo player but slight outsider and space cadet blasting through space epics and earthy adventures, kitted out in Gil Kane's glitzy, almost Ziggyish, white gloved jumpsuit.
From it's 1960 debut, The Green Lantern title middled along for almost a decade, until, in an attempt to resuscitate stalling sales and add some contemporary edge, Denny O'Neill (script) and Neal Adams (art) were drafted in from Batman/Detective Comics - having previously repositioned The Dark Knight away from TV's campy trappings, returning him to shadowy artwork, gothic plots and increased credibility and circulation.
O'Neill and Adams literally brought Green Lantern down to earth with a cultural bump. Adams documentary-ish artwork and O'Neill's protest tales teamed GL with the liberal, left-leaning Green Arrow for an Easy Rider style road trip through the America's underclass and dropped-out, drugged-up, counter culture. Alien invaders and space states were scrapped for teen drug addiction, ghetto poverty, political corruption and cult religious leaders - kick-starting the 'relevance era' in comics. Ultimately, these protest tales proved too worthy and weighty for DC's readership and the title was cancelled in 1972. Ironically, it's the O'Neill/Adams 'Hard Travelling Heroes' issues that have become high priced collectibles in the Lantern's back catalogue.
Green Lantern 76: expect to pay anywhere between £1000 - £2000 for a near mint quality copy
It’s a common plot and publicity device for super-types to be killed off only to be reanimated at some later date (in case you didn't know Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne died a year ago). Following three decades of hot runs, restarts, cancellations and the eventual death of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern was brought back from the dead, revived and ready for action in 2004. A reboot that has brought the title it's greatest levels of success and saturation in a fifty year history. Green Lantern The Movie is being filmed as I blog (scheduled for a June 2011 release). More significantly DC publishing clearly have grand plans and great expectations for Green Lantern - for the first time in seventy years, DC are deliberately positioning and putting some promotional focus on a character ahead of their traditional Holy Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Green Lantern has never really crossed over into the same cool, cultural or rock and roll referencing as Spiderman, Batman and Superman. As far as I'm aware the he's only been name-checked in one song. Historically you've probably heard his name countless times without realising. In Donovan's Sunshine Superman...
Superman or Green Lantern ain't got a-nothin' on me
Donovan - Sunshine Superman (full version)
Big Jim Sullivan - Sunshine Superman
Mel Torme - Sunshine Superman
From the sixties to the noughties - one from every decade