Green Lantern

Green Lantern on Ebay
Green Lantern After achieving great success in 1956 in reviving the original Golden Age character The Flash, DC editor Julius Schwartz looked toward recreating the original hero, Green Lantern from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Like The Flash, Schwartz wanted this new character to have a different secret identity, origin, and personality than his 1940s counterpart. A long time science-fiction fan and literary agent, Schwartz wanted a more sci-fi based Green Lantern, as opposed to the mystical powers of Alan Scott, the 40's Green Lantern. He enlisted writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane, who in 1959 would reintroduce Green Lantern to the world in Showcase #22 (September-October 1959).

Like E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensmen, the new Green Lantern was a member of an intergalactic constabulary made up of many different alien species who were given a device that provided them with great mental and physical abilities; however, both Broome and Schwartz had denied a connection between those stories from science fiction pulps and the Green Lantern comic book stories. Gil Kane drew from actor Paul Newman in creating Hal Jordan's likeness and redesigned the Green Lantern uniform into a very sleek form-fitting outfit of green, black, and white - quite the opposite of Alan Scott's red, yellow, green, purple, and black costume with a puffy shirt and cape.

The character was a success and it was quickly decided to follow-up his three issue run on Showcase with a self-titled series. Green Lantern #1 began in July-August of 1960 and would continue until #89 in April-May 1972.

When compared to comics of the thirties, forties, and early fifties, Green Lantern broke new storytelling ground and can be seen as a precursor to the "Marvel Revolution" that would take place several years later. Whereas older comics treated each issue as a stand-alone with no real sense of temporal direction between issues, Green Lantern's issues followed the order of publication, with references within the stories to previous stories and adventures. Not only were references made, but subplots (such as Hal and Carol's romance, the marriage of Tom Kalmaku, etc.) were advanced showing actual growth in the character's lives. While these subplots rarely were given much notice in comparison to Marvel's storylines in the sixties and especially to today's modern stories, they were the first step toward this sort of serial storytelling instead of the episodic nature of older comics.

Starting with issue #76, Dennis O'Neil took over scripting duties and Neal Adams took over as artist. Their collaboration produced the most famous and celebrated runs on Green Lantern. Julius Schwartz remained editor and hand-selected the two to revitalize the title, whose sales had been slipping. O'Neil and Adams had already begun preparation for the classic run in the form of their re-workings of another DC character, Green Arrow. The writer/artist team proved sucessful. They tackled a number of social issues including corruption, sexism, cults, consumerism, the environment, racism, poverty, and even (subtly) child molestation. However, none were more shocking and controversial than the issue explored in issues #85 and #86. Neal Adams drew the cover, which showed Green Arrow's youthful side-kick, Speedy, shooting heroin.

Despite unprecedented mainstream media coverage, critical attention, awards, and apparent increased sales, Green Lantern/Green Arrow was canceled, one of many titles that ended publication perhaps prematurely under the reign of Carmine Infantino. Julius Schwartz had a reprint of an older story published for issue #88 and saw the comic he began back in 1959 come to an end in 1972 with issue #89. However, he had Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams do one last story together, stretched out over Flash #217-219 as a backup story.