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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

On our radar: Grant Morrison on Green Lantern

I can't remember the last time I *really* cared about Green Lantern. I think it was during 1994's Emerald Twilight saga -- Superman had died, Batman's back had been broken -- and now it looked like there were some drastic changes planned for Hal Jordan. It was a pretty exciting time for DC comics; everything was 'up in the air' now and anything could happen. [Of course, in hindsight, we're realizing that DC was pulling out all the stops to compete with Marvel, Image and Valiant comics for the comic reading market. Still... comic buyers had options for days.]

Hal snaps and takes out the GLC, stealing their power rings. By today's standard, this is a pretty 'ho hum' scene, but let me tell you -- back in 1994 -- this was a direction you never expected the story to go. Panel from Green Lantern #49 (1994). Art by Fred Haynes, Romeo Tanghal and Dennis Cramer.

Since 1994, a lot has happened with Green Lantern: the introduction of Kyle Rayner, Hal Jordan becoming the Spectre, Brightest Day and Blackest Night, War of Light, Green Lantern: Rebirth, a 2011 live-action Green Lantern film, a Green Lantern animated series, the introduction of new Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz,... yet none of this was enticing enough to make me want to pick up a Green Lantern comic. To wit: It always felt like I was jumping into the middle of an epic storyline, and I didn't feel like reading up on years of GL history to play 'catch up'. [This isn't to say that Green Lantern fans haven't been happy with all of this -- because I really can't speak for that -- this is just a bit of insight into my own personal comic book buying rationale.]

The Green Lantern I always envision.
Panel from Green Lantern #174 (1984).
Art by Dave Gibbons.

I've always had a familiarity with Green Lantern -- he was a character I grew up with (thank you, Saturday morning Super Friends cartoon and Super Powers Collection action figures), and his potential for bizarre high-concept sci-fi stories is unlimited (aka: he's an intergalactic cop who patrols the stars with a magic ring) -- which is exactly what I'm hoping Morrison brings to the table.

Needless to say, Grant Morrison relaunches are things I follow with great interest. His track record has shown a knack for revitalizing a title and improving its readership (see: Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Kid Eternity, All-Star Superman, Batman, JLA, New X-Men,...etc).

Panels from Animal Man #2 (1988). Art by Chag Truog and Doug Hazlewood.

It's noteworthy that DC is shaking up its Green Lantern creative teams -- bringing in Dan Jurgens to write the Green Lanterns title starting with issue #50 (which I imagine run concurrent to the new Morrison-written Green Lantern series being released in Nov 2018). I'm really expecting some great things from these new creative lineups and will be watching this series with interest.


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