“In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s Light!”
- Oath of the Green Lanterns
The initial concept of the Green Lantern was created by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman). His name was Alan Scott, the first Lantern, although at the time of his creation, he was considered the only Green Lantern. The character debuted in All-American Comics #16 in July of 1940, becoming one of the first Golden Age superheroes after Superman and Batman. Much like the Flash (another Golden Age creation) Alan Scott’s first superhero costume choice was a few details short of being “super”. While the Flash wore a long-sleeved shirt with a helmet resembling the god Hermes’ and wings on his boots, Alan Scott wore a green mask, with a green cape and a baggy, red shirt, yes, red. Needless to say the costume was poorly designed, but is still instantly recognizable as Scott’s suit nonetheless. The ring itself went through some alterations throughout the Lantern’s history. The ring we know today is powerless against the color yellow, the color of fear, while the ring of the Alan Scott was only useless against wood (for some reason).
Alan Scott, a railroad engineer, comes across a green lantern after a train crash. Strange energy from the lantern tells him of his new powers and how he must use those powers to protect the planet. After becoming wildly successful in All-American Comics, Scott was awarded his very own comics-title. Not too long after that, Scott joined his fellow Golden Age heroes in the pages of All-Star Comics, home to the Justice Society of America, the very first superhero team of DC. Now starring in three, on-going titles, Green Lantern’s success boosted his popularity and became almost as recognizable as Superman and Batman, in America at least.
Notable villains of the DC Universe who began their careers in the pages of the Golden Age Green Lantern include: The Icicle, Solomon Grundy, Sports-master and the eternal Vandal Savage.
Issue #38 of GL Comics saw the cancellation of the character in June of 1949. After the resolution of the Second World War, superheroes had all but died out. Characters like the Flash Green Lantern and many others faded away, with only DC’s trinity of popular heroes survived (Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman). It wasn’t much longer before All-Star Comics was too cancelled ending the run of the Justice Society. Alan Scott had made his final appearance in the Golden Age, but certainly not his final appearance in comics. Fans of the hero believed him to be gone forever by the time the early 1950’s rolled around. No one would have predicted that in October of 1959, the character would return: reborn in the Silver Age, the Green Lantern of space sector 2814, Hal Jordan.
Be sure to check out “Green Lantern’s Light: Part Two” in a couple days.