Friday, December 22, 2006

It's a Brand New Blog, So it Must Be a Post About The Green Lantern

The creator of the original Green Lantern, Martin Nodell, died last week in Wisconsin (Wisconsin! Where Creativity Goes to Die) at age 91. When I was a kid, it was mandated by law that we run around pretending we were superheroes. Not like today, where children sacrifice their imaginations to the whizzing bits of pixelated bliss found in video games. Plus, the meth, and Paris Hilton. Kids are idiots.

But back then we were all geniuses, and we played super heroes. You played Flash when you had too many Snickers bars and had to burn off some energy. You played Spider Man when there was a rope hanging nearby, Batman when you had been wronged by your parents ("Damn you for grounding me... I am the
night!") and Aquaman if you were in a swimming pool or had a learning disability.

My favorite super hero was The Green Lantern. For the benefit of those who happen to read this blog but who aren't geeks (
hahahaha... ahem), I pretended I was the "Silver-Age" Green Lantern, Hal Jordan (at left). He is the literary descendant of Alan Scott, the "Golden-Age" Green Lantern (at right). These characters were absolutly nothing alike, as one had brown hair and the other was blond.

There were a few other differences:
  • Hal was right handed, while Alan was possessed by The Lord of Darkness, Satan Himself (lefty).
  • The Silver-Age Green Lantern's ring was powerless against the color yellow, which we can see from this chart is the opposite of Green:
Er, actually, Green and Yellow are right next to each other. Perhaps familiarity bred contempt? Or maybe they were poisoned against each other by the Zionist Conspiracy that seems to have infiltrated and taken control of the Color Wheel.

Meanwhile, the Golden-Age Green Lantern's ring was neutered by wood.* This made perfect sense, as his ring was carved from a meteor. No? Doesn't make sense? Bah, you just don't understand symbolism. Don't you dare point an accusing finger at Martin Nodell. Don't you dare! In great literature as well as the natural world, trees have ever been the nemesis of flying space rocks.

The last difference between the two GL's is that Alan Scott's power ring was magical in origin, while Hal Jordan's was based on super-science, the ring having been constructed by a race of bald, blue men calling themselves the "Guardians of the Universe". This advanced alien race had the power to endow jewelry with astonishing power (was Sauron actually a renegade Guardian?? This is a blog, so I'm sure that question will be delved into here at some point). They also gave themselves a name that would make certain everyone was made perfectly aware that they (the "Guardians of the Universe") were a bunch of pompous chumps.

Regardless of the differences, as far as I'm concerned,
Martin Nodell gets the credit for creating both Green Lanterns. Therefore, his passing is marked with a blog post. Lucky him.

I loved the Green Lantern when I was a child for two reasons: First, when you pretended you were a GL, you didn't have to do anything. When you were other heroes, you really had to work. When you were Captain America, you had to find the top of a garbage can and throw it across the back yard. With Quicksilver, you had to run fast. And with Superman you had to run fast
and make a "whoooosh"-ing flying noise, plus you needed a towel for a cape. When you played Green Lantern, you just held out your fist and furrowed your brow. That's it. You could even eat while you played Green Lantern. Trust me, the intergalactic punks I took down were all the more impressed that I bitch-slapped them while absently gnawing on a fudgesicle.

The second reason I adored the Green Lantern was that the most important ability the character needs is an imagination. If the Green Lantern dreams of something and wants it to happen badly enough, it
will happen.** For a young child, this means more than being able to knock down a wall or communicate with trout (Aquaman, lameness incarnate) ever could. Imagining you were Green Lantern was like opening a door within a door, in that once you imagined you were him, you then imagined what you created with him, and that exercise in creativity has helped shape how I look at the world even today. Without the Green Lantern, I would be a far more literal and boring human being. For opening my mind to the infinite possiblilities of the imagination, I thank you, Martin Nodell. Rest in peace.

“And I shall shed my light over dark evil,
for the dark things cannot stand the light.
The light of … THE GREEN LANTERN!”

"In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power, Gre
en Lantern's light!"


Footnotes:

* Here we see the Green Lantern getting pwned by wood, his ring's natural weakness. Wait... that's the
Silver-Age Green Lantern. He has no problem with wood. Maybe it's just that the end of that tree has that yellow starburst thing? Alright, fine, he's just a moron. Damn you, Jordan, that Power Ring is rightfully mine!

**While the Green Lantern technically
could create anything, he only ever made green-glowing hands, spheres and giant electric fans. The next incarnation of Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, constantly whined about this and went to great lengths to never make spheres and generally be more creative. What Kyle doesn't get is that spheres worked for Hal. None of the crooks he beat half to death with a giant, green-glowing hand ever had time to critique the method of their smackdown. "Style Points" means sweet fuck-all to Hal Jordan, and that's the way we love him, Kyle.

1 comment:

Juan G Rodriguez said...

OMG! That has got to be one of the best posts I've read. I gotta admit, Green Lantern is one of the top superheroes out there. You are right, the imagination of all the stuff that could be done is truely what makes that hero so cool.