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


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.