Monday, 3 August 2015

Good Times in the Silver-Age - 75 YEARS OF GREEN LANTERN

July is over and the Green Lantern 75th anniversary celebrations with your favourite GL blogs and podcasts have officially come to a close.
 
Bur DC Comics aren't celebrating the event until September with their variant covers and their 75 Years hardcover collection.
 
And that's all the excuse I need to throw one more party favour at you before we wrap up warm for the long walk home!  And speaking of party spirit, read what you will into this one...
 


Exhibit A:
Hal Jordan taking on the bad guys in his first ever outing as Green Lantern in Showcase #22, published 1959.


This new  clean cut action-adventure hero was brought courtesy of the creative team of writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane.

Then the sixties happened.  That's right.  Those sixties...

Now, I'm not saying that Broome or Kane ever indulged in the many psychedelic delights that were reputed to be widely popular in 1960s America.  I have no way of knowing that.  All I'm saying is the sixties happened.  And in 1970 Broome and Kane were still writing and drawing Green Lantern comics.


Which takes us to Exhibit B:
Hal Jordan taking on the bad guys in (appropriately enough) Green Lantern #75, published 1970.


I know what you're thinking!  I'm thinking it too.

All jokes aside, it is fair to say that Green Lantern has always moved with the times.  Nodell and Finger gave their audience a hero who shone his light over evil during a very dark period in history.  Next, when the world wanted a champion for the space-age generation, Broome and Kane's GL was there to give it to them.  When they called for gritty liberalism Hal Jordan popped up with his old friend Green Arrow to take on the Man under the pen of O'Neil and Adams.  And years later still, when the world craved zombie after zombie after zombie, Geoff Johns filled the whole universe with the living dead in the epic crossover event, Blackest Night.

Where the world goes, Green Lantern goes with it... even if that place gets a little trippy from time to time.






 
 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Celebrating Green Lantern's 75th Birthday With Cake



The party continues for Green Lantern's 75th anniversary but let's face it, what is a party without cake?  And what is a geek party without geek cake?  So, in an exciting first for Flodo's Page, I would like to welcome a very special guest writer to the blog.  She is the undisputed queen of geek cakes and my long-time Super-Blog Team-Up comrade, Karen Williams from Between The Pages Blog, the most delicious nerd culture fansite on the web.  In honour of GL's 75th Karen has a real treat in store for us - five of the finest Green Lantern themed cakes ever baked. So without further ado...



KW:       Back in 1940, Martin Nodell, a young comic book creator who had only been working for All-American Publications for a short period of time, went to the opera and saw Richard Wagner's classic The Ring of the Nibelung. He left with the idea for a superhero whose powers came from a magic ring. From that idea, Martin went on to create a new superhero called Green Lantern. That was 75 years ago this summer! So today, we are celebrating Green Lantern's 75th birthday with cake!



Alan Scott was the original Green Lantern. Here is Alan with his famous Golden Age counter parts: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash. Talk about a winning hand. The awesome Justice Society of America / Poker Hand Cake was made by Annette.




By the 1950s, interest in superheroes was waning. So In 1951, DC Comics published the last appearance of the Justice Society of America. This was Alan Scott’s last Golden Age appearance. This probably would have been Green Lantern’s last appearance ever if not for Julius Schwartz. Julie was an agent for famous science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft. But, he was also a comic book editor. Since science fiction was popular, he decide to try to revive golden age characters like Green Lantern, The Flash, The Atom, and Hawkman by creating new versions of these classic characters and giving them a science fiction spin. In 1959, a new Green Lantern – Hal Jordan appeared. Hal was given his ring by a dying alien, had adventures in space, worked for a little blue men, and was part of The Green Lantern Corp. This great cake, made by Jo Takes The Cake, is based on the Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern’s costume.



 
This stunning cake, made by Matty Cakes, recreated Green Lantern's power battery.

 
 
In 2011, Green Lantern stared in his own feature film. This cool cake, made by Erivana Cakes, features the lantern, glove, and power ring from the movie.



At the beginning of the 21st century, Green Lantern’s popularity was dropping again. In 2004, up and coming comic book writer Geoff Johns became the writer of Green Lantern. He began a 10 year run on Green Lantern that would add tons of new characters to the Green Lantern universe and restore Green Lantern’s popularity. For years, the Green Lantern Corps had green power rings and Sinestro, the renegade Green Lantern, had a yellow power ring. Geoff Johns created a whole series of power rings. In addition to Green there is Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Black, and White. Each ring color is powered by a particular emotion. Green = Willpower, Red = Rage, Orange = Avarice, Blue = Hope, Indigo = Compassion, Violet = Love, Black = Death, and White = Life. This wedding cake, made by the legendary Carlo’s Bake Shop (home of Buddy, the Cake Boss), is based on the cover to Green Lantern 18. It features Green Lantern, Star Sapphire, and Larfleeze.


It has been 75 years, since Martin Nodell, sat in the audience of an opera and dreamed of a superhero with a magic ring. Like that ring, Green Lantern’s first 75 years have been magical. Happy Birthday Alan Scott and Thank You Martin for creating magic!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And thank you Karen for treating us to such wonderful collection of cakes.  You can find more from Karen on her fabulous Between The Pages blog, and if you pop over there right now you might even come across a Green Lantern anniversary guest post from yours truly!

And don't forget to check out all the other fansites and podcasts that are joining Karen and me in celebrating 75 illustrious years of Green Lantern.



Saturday, 11 July 2015

Duty To The Corps - 75 YEARS OF GREEN LANTERN



As the Green Lantern 75th anniversary celebrations continue I felt it was high time to pay our respects to the rank and file of the Green Lantern Corps.  These are the men and woman (and sentient beings of all descriptions) who you spot in the background of panels.  They put their lives on the line in the defence of universal peace day after day and year after year without aplomb or accolade.  There was never a more true example of this than the second Green Lantern of Earth.  A man who struggled to find his way in a universe that seemed very different to the world he grew up in.  A man who did his duty and served his Corps faithfully at all times.
 
 
Let me guess.  You’re thinking, “That doesn’t sound much like the Guy Gardner I know!”  And you’d be right.  The hero I’m writing about, the second Green Lantern of Earth, was a man called Charlie Vicker.  Charlie first appeared in Green Lantern, vol. 2 #55 (1967) and faced down evil for almost 30 years until his death at the hands of Darksied’s son in Green Lantern, vol. 3 #75 (1996).  If I were to liken him to a character in Star Trek, Charlie would be a ‘red shirt’ who served under Kirk in the 60’s TV series and in all of the 80s movies, and then continued to man the Enterprise throughout Captain Picard’s tenure in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
 
 
Charlie’s story is touched with tragedy throughout.  When we first came across him he was an actor who had landed a role playing Green Lantern in a TV programme.  He was a bit of a playboy who preferred the party life to old fashioned hard work.  Although he looked every inch the hero physically, he was the last person you’d expect to step up and be counted in a crunch.  In fact, on an occasion that he couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to record the GL TV show, he sent his brother to take his place for the day.  No-one could ever have guessed that would be the fateful day when enemies of the Green Lantern Corps would mistake Charlie’s brother for the true Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, and strike him down with a deadly energy beam fired from a spaceship floating hundreds of miles above the Earth.


It was to be the turning point in the guilt laden actor’s life.  He joined Hal on a mission to avenge his brother and when the real Green Lantern gave him a copy of his own power ring to protect him in the fight, it didn’t take Charlie long to realise he had found his new calling.


Not that it was an easy ride being a member of the GLC.  Fans have often wondered why there can be 3, 4 or even 5 Green Lanterns all born on Earth and simultaneously serving the Corps, and seemingly assigned to protect their local sector 2814.  No such luck for our Charlie.  In their infinite wisdom (in the days when there was only one Green Lantern assigned to each space sector) the Guardians of the Universe decided to assign Charlie to sector 3319.  For much of the time he served there he never came into contact with a single humanoid, much less an actual human being.  He found life tough and in his numerous dark moments he wanted to jack it all in and hand back his power ring.  But he never did.  The duty came first.  Eventually Vicker learnt to look beyond the surface and realised that some of the giant bugs and odd looking furballs he worked so hard to protect shared the same moral values he did, even if they didn’t have recognisable facial features to show it.
 
 
Charlie Vicker lived through many of the major touchstones in the Corps’ modern history.  When the Central Power Battery on Oa was destroyed after the trial of Sinestro, Charlie lost his powers along with the rest of Corps.  Unlike the majority of his brethren, however, he never even knew what had occurred.  He had been entrenched in a battle protecting the inhabitants of 3319 and was unable to heed a summons to Oa for the trial.  To all intents and purposes he was abandoned in space without explanation.  Even then, Charlie Vicker rose above his predicament and drew on his previous skills as an actor to inspire the local population to victory against their oppressors with tales from the works of Shakespere and other noble plays.
 

Much of Charlie’s life happened off panel, of course.  Comic Vine puts him as appearing in eleven original comics (and several reprinted collections) throughout his entire tenure.  Of those eleven issues he is the featured character in only five.  Truth be told, I have read the issues and I’m not even certain I can find him in them all.  He’s the superhero equivalent of Where’s Wally? (or Where’s Waldo to my transatlantic pals!).  But continuity tells you Charlie Vicker was right there, representing all the Green clad warriors whose time served didn’t involve tossing in their ring every five minutes or socking a Guardian in the jaw before breakfast.


Even after the Corps tragically fell to a crazed Hal Jordan who internalised their power source and took the supervillain name of Parallax, Charlie refused to throw in the towel.  Together with a handful of former Lanterns led by John Stewart, he joined the Darkstars, a sort of cousin of the GL Corps whose abilities came from an advanced exoskeleton suit instead of a power ring.
 
 
This was to prove to be his final undoing.  The Darkstars themselves suffered one setback after another until their numbers were whittled down to just eighteen recruits. They were to unable to mount a credible defence when they were attacked by Darksied’s son, Grayven, and his murderous horde.  Ironically even the death of Charlie Vicker, violently and bloody though it was, merely played as background art to the dialogue captions of two more prominent characters from the story.  Regardless, he died a hero’s death doing the job he signed up to do – saving a world that was not his own from certain destruction.
 
 
So charge your tankard with sector 3319’s famous Hwagaagaaian scrumble and join me in a toast.  To a man who came from simpler times.  A man who turned his back on fame and fortune to do what he knew was right.  A man who journeyed far from home, upholding this self-same mission on planets far away from his native Earth.  Protecting people that were inconceivably different in appearance and culture to the friends and family he left behind.  A man who found new family in the Corpsmen of every species who shared his righteous mission. And a man who ultimately gave his life for that mission.  This man was Charlie Vicker.  This man was Green Lantern.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Back Where It All Began - 75 YEARS OF GREEN LANTERN



In 1940, while much of the world was headed on a devastating course towards World War, a new hero burst into life in the pages of All-Americans Comics to “shed light upon dark evil.”  And 75 years later the legacy of this self-same hero continues to do just that.  In that time we have been introduced to literally hundreds of character baring the moniker of Green Lantern but I thought it would be a fitting 75th anniversary tribute to take a look back at where it all began.


All-American Comics #16 has a cover date of July 1940 but according to that wonderful reference source Mike’s Amazing World of Comics the issue actually hit newspaper stands on May 21, 1940.  The book was a collection of humour and adventure romps that included original stories alongside reprints of older strip comics.  The cover art of most previous issues promised readers a rollicking good adventure but nothing compared to the thrilling noir of a masked, cloaked Alan Scott leaping perilously across an exposed girder straight into the muzzle of a loaded tommy gun.  The character’s origin tale is a whistle-stop tour of everything that ever went into a ‘boys’ own adventure’.


The Green Lantern opens with an explosive train crash orchestrated by a crooked businessman seeking revenge after losing out on a new construction contract.  The only survivor of the crash is his rival who is protected by the supernatural light emanating from a mysterious green railway lantern. The lantern speaks to the survivor, Alan Scott, in “an ageless, toneless voice”, recounting the details of its own magical history.  It first came to earth as a flaming meteor with prophetic abilities and was duly carved into a lantern shape by Chinese lamp maker with a reputation for sorcery.  Fearing the lamp was cursed, the lamp maker’s associates killed him and burned his possessions own to meet their only dreadful end to the mystic green flame.  The lamp next turns up many years later to grant sanity to a patient in a mental asylum.  The patient remoulds the lamp into a modern railway lantern which finally passes into the hands of Scott during that fateful train journey.  The lantern imbues him with extraordinary powers and recruits him to fight evil.  All this this in 3 pages of a comic book!  They don’t write ‘em like that anymore…

Despite the many developments and new directions introduced with Green Lantern over the course of the last 75 years it is pleasing to note some of today’s core character traits were established in this very first story.  The Lantern explains the nature of its gift to Alan, “Power shall be yours if you have faith in yourself.  Lose that faith and you shall lose the energetic power of the Green Lantern, for will power is the flame of Green Lantern”.  Without these words, penned by legendary writer Bill Finger, Geoff Johns might never have created the emotional spectrum and the landscape of the modern day Green Lantern universe might look very different indeed.  How could artist Martin Nodell have know, when he devised this character at the age of 25 under the pseudonym Mart Dellon, that it would go on to become his most famous creation. Nodell didn’t want his works in comics to stigmatise his chances of an advertising career.  And while we are discussing credits, much respect should be paid to Sheldon Moldoff for bringing us the gripping noir cover mentioned earlier. 



Under the green flame’s instruction Alan Scott fashions a ring from its metal that manifests his powers for 24 hours before being recharged at the green flame’s lantern source.  His first act as a newly appointed superhero is to swear vengeance on the saboteur responsible for the tragic deaths of his fellow train passengers.  The ring immediately flies him through the air to the villain’s hideaway.  It spirits him straight through the wall where he confronts the crook and his startled henchmen.  The flames protective green aura renders Alan impervious to bullets and a steel blade but he unwittingly discovers the green energy’s ‘Achilles heel’ when he is struck over the head by a simple wooden billy club.  This flaw in Green Lantern’s power set was published a full 3 years before Kryptonite was officially introduced to the Superman mythos and would be the forerunner to the Silver and Bronze Age Green Lantern Corps’ weakness to exert the powers over anything coloured yellow.


Of course, the hero was not down for long and Scott immediately bounced back with a flying kick that Bruce Lee would be proud of and a round of good old fashioned fisticuffs that soundly took care of his would be attackers.  Powered by his ring, he whisked the criminal’s leader high into the sky and threatened do drop him.  Not surprisingly the bad guy spilled everything and signed a confession before promptly dying of shock.  Poetic justice is served and Alan feels destiny pulling him towards a life fighting evil wherever he finds it.  The saga ends with our protagonist declaring he will become a dreaded figure sporting a costume so bizarre that he will never be forgotten.  With that he dons the famous Dracula cloak and the red and green swashbuckling garb that has been the original Green Lantern’s signature style ever since.


But what would Green Lantern be without his oath?  The traditional GL oath has seen some changes and variations over the years but the solemn vow to shine brightly over evil has its roots right here in All-American Comics #16, “…And I will shed my light over dark evil… for the dark things cannot stand the light… the light of The Green Lantern".

I’m sure Martin Nodell and Bill Finger could never have imagined how far Green Lantern would go.  All of his earliest appearances pitted him against hoodlums and petty criminals.  He stared down the barrels of revolvers and machines guns and slugged his way to victory with a tasty right hook.  It seems another world from the cosmic level dramas of Zero Hour or Blackest Night, from Kingdom Come or Lights Out.  But all of these stories owe a huge debt of gratitude to an 8 page pulp adventure from 1940 that intrigued and delighted its young readers and kept them coming back for more.  Then again, maybe the journey from street level vigilante to galactic peacekeeper is not so unpredictable after all.  For even in this very first story the mighty power of Green Lantern came from a meteor that crashed to Earth from space.  Perhaps it’s only fitting that one day it would return to the stars once again.

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You can enjoy the early adventures of Green Lantern for yourself in DC Archive Editions: The Golden Age Green Lantern, Volume 1, available from Amazon and all good comic book stores everywhere.

If you enjoyed this post please do keep coming back to Flodo’s Page through June and July 2015 when we will have some other great surprises to celebrate 75 years of Green Lantern.



If that isn't enough for you (and let's face it - why would it be?) be sure to check out these other amazing Green Lantern fansites and podcasts who will be celebrating GL’s 75th birthday right along with us:

For more anniversary awesomeness with everybody’s favourite Emerald Gladiator make sure search the hashtag #GL75TH across social media platforms.

Until next time, “Beware Our Power!”






Saturday, 23 May 2015

Construct of the Week #34


Construct: Travel Pants


Generated by: John Stewart

Appeared in: Green Lantern #14 (vol.3), 1991



Friday, 15 May 2015

Status: Dissipated


There have been many poignant moments in Green Lantern comics. Death and Lanterns are never far apart, as this long list of fallen heroes posted at the GL Wiki goes to prove.

But for my money, the saddest moment of them all comes in Green Lantern #224 when a brave little gas bubble sacrificed himself to protect his fellow Corpsmen and to save the universe from certain destruction (for the second time!).  In this, the final issue of GL volume 2, the Corps inadvertantly cause the destruction of the central power battery on Oa.  Mere minutes before they had taken the impactful decision to execute the renegade Lantern Sinestro for crimes of genocide.  What they did not realise is that the Guardians of the Universe had built a failsafe into the battery that prevented wielders of the green light from harming anyone from the Sinestro's home world of Korugar.  The reasons were noble in their intention but the disgraced former GL had somehow corrupted the Guardian's programme in the final moments before his death causing the power source to become a ticking time bomb of universal destruction.


To make matters worse, the only people who could explain what was going on and how it could be stopped where the Guardians themselves. Unfortunatley they had recently retreated to another dimension to meditate and reflect on the purpose of their immortal lives.  It was for this reason that Flodo Span had volunteered to give up his corporeal being in order to transport Hal Jordan to that other dimension.

The only problem with his plan was that Flodo would need his power ring to restore himself after the jump and with the central battery in meltdown there was no way he could get the vital recharge he needed.  This was going to be a one way trip and Flodo was only too aware of the risk involved.


It's strikes me as sad that Hal, a simple passenger on the duo's transdimensional journey, is too busy admiring the wonderous sights around him to realise that his companion has given his last moments to ensuring the Earthman's mission is a successful one.

According to the mythos and every website that has ever passed opinion on the subject in the days since Joey Cavaleri and Gil Kane originally penned our dramatic saga, Flodo is gone. Dissipated means dead.  Steve Englehart was obviously so sad that he quit the book at the end of the previous issue despite a three year unbroken run. I guess he just couldn't stand to see Flodo go.

But I like to think the gaseous hero has not disappeared for good. Instead he is floating around out there.  An infinite number of sentient particles that may some day breach the dimensional border once more and find his way back to Oa to take his place among his brethren and don the power ring he so richly deserves to wear.  For Flodo Span is a being without fear.  He is Green Lantern.




Wednesday, 6 May 2015

TOP 10 GREEN LANTERN RING-SLINGS ...THAT DON’T APPEAR IN MODERN CONTINUITY!!!



Welcome back to another round of Super-Blog Team-Up where the brightest minds in blogging, vlogging and podcasting (and me!) come together to bring you their own unique take on a theme of great geekery that is close to all of our hearts.  This time out the hot topic is:
 
ULTIMATE TOP TEN LISTS!!!
 
So strap in, throw back the hard top and get ready to enjoy the crazy ride.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
Regular visitors to Flodo's Page will be familiar with our recurring segment, 'Construct of the Week' (not delivered weekly).  The ring-wielding Green Lantern Corps are famed for being able to create hard light constructs of anything they can possibly imagine. Giant rescue workers, winged Pegasus' (Pegususes? Pegusi?), boxing gloves in multiple sizes - you think it, you got it!  Nowadays the standard power set of a ring is basically producing constructs, flight and communication.  But back in the silver-age, when comics didn't have to make sense or retain any continuity from one issue to the next, it seemed like a GL power ring really could do anything at all.  Not just construct an object or translate an alien language.  If a Lantern wished it so the ring would make it happen.

In tribute to the fabulous, freewheeling storytellers of that bygone silver-age I have compiled a Top 10 countdown of my favourite Green Lantern Ring-Slings ...That Don’t Appear In Modern Continuity!!!


10. CROOK BUSTER!


 
Who needs to be the world's greatest detective when you can booby-trap the loot and follow an energy trail all the way back to the bad guy's hide-out.  While the Dark Knight is out searching for clues, your well prepared Emerald Gladiator is sipping Pina Coladas by the pool, waiting for his ring to... well, ring.
 
 
9.  YA MISSED ME!

 
Protection from mortal harm was a standard piece of GL kit back in the day.  It might have taken some of the fun out of things for the average super-villain or all those editors who love a good cliff hanger but I can tell you now, you won't hear any Green Lanterns complaining!
 
 
8. NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T!

 
Forget David Copperfield.  You want a local landmark rendered invisible then Hal Jordan is the man you should be talking to.  Size not an issue, all landmarks considered.
 
 
7. GHOST LANTERN!


 
Nowadays the gift of intangibility is reserved for The Flash or the likes of Dead Man and all those in the Justice League Dark fraternity but time was locking yourself in an impregnable vault surrounded 10 inch thick walls of steel only meant one thing - that you had nowhere to run when our favourite GL came calling.  Doors are for dweebs!
 
 
6. ATOM WHO?!


 
All things considered GL was essentially a one man Justice League.  Super strength - check.  Travelling at light speed - check. A little too intimate with a certain young trout at the local aquarium - chec... hey, wait a minute!  One thing is for sure.  If you needed a giant superhero or one who could shrink down to the size of a sub-atomic particle you need look no further than the one size fits all Green Lantern Corps.
 
 
5. OPPOSITES ATTRACT!

 
Magnetize your enemy so that they stick to the metal walls of their space ship.  Brilliant!
 
 
4. MASTER OF DISGUISE!

 
The age old dilemma of how to protect your secret identity from the girlfriend.  Easy when you are Green Lantern.  Just transform your pal to look like you.  "Watch where you're putting those hands, Tom!"
 
 
3. DOCTOR WHO... WHO?!


 
Travelling through space and time is all in a days work for GL.  Makes you wonder why he doesn't just travel back to yesterday and put a Power Ring Burglar Alarm on the loot.  "Two more Pina Coladas please, waiter!" 
 
 
2. PYSCHIATRICOLOGY!


 
The human mind is a delicate thing.  The most qualified medical professionals tread ever so cautiously in their investigations of the sub-conscious and the mystery of mental perception.  And that takes far too long for busy hero with a day's heroing ahead of him.  So if you really want to put a quick fix on the old noodle the only thing to do is shoot an energy beam at it.  Job done, what's next?!
 
 
1. METAL MAN!!!


 
What is the one thing that is even cooler than being an intergalactic space-cop?  Being a freakin' robot intergalactic space-cop, that's what!  The thing I don't understand is why Green Lantern ever turned himself back into a human again.  Ok, there is the little problem of your hand falling off every time you put the old KAPOW! on somebody, but what's a little welding matter when you get to be a FREAKIN' ROBOT INTERGALACTIC SPACE-COP?!! Exactly.
 
 
 


Not enough Top Ten nerdtasticness for you yet?  Then get clicking on the links below for even more Super-Blog Team-Up 'Ultimate Top Ten'!!!  What are you waiting for?!  And tell 'em Flodo sent ya.