Secret Origin Saturday: Green Lantern!

Secret Origins #1: “Green Lantern!”

Introducing a new feature here on… Secret Origin Saturday!! Every Saturday I’m planning on posting the origin of a favorite super hero drawn in pencil on a single page. Keeping it to a single page is what keeps this little vanity project doable!

We begin this new segment with a personal favorite… My favorite Green Lantern… the great Hal Jordan. As I plan on doing with all of the entries in this series, I’m focusing on the clean, classic origin of my favorite characters free of any clutter and nonsense tacked on by later writers. The one page format will help greatly in streamlining these stories and keeping them devoid of any writing “dust!”

My first exposure to Green Lantern was on The Superfriends Saturday morning cartoon. His costume with its striking off-beat color scheme was eye-catching and an immediate favorite. There were lots of super heroes running around in blue and red, but how many were making green, black and white work? The classic Challenge Of The Super Friends episode where the Legion of Doom goes back in time to foil the origins of the Superfriends’ most powerful members was most likely the first time I ever learned the very classic, iconic and often imitated origin of the Emerald Gladiator. I eventually discovered Green Lantern’s comic book but I did so just in time for Hal Jordan to quit the role and for substitute Green Lantern, John Stewart to step into his green boots! The book would never be the same again. My love for the character would grow and become cemented through back issues and reprints. He became a favorite DC character and an indispensable member of the Justice League.

A few director’s cut commentary notes on this page… In Panel Two, we see my interpretation of Hal Jordan. I’ve read where the original Hal Jordan artist, the legendary Gil Kane modeled Hal’s face on actor Paul Newman, but I composed my own face for Hal making him look classically handsome, heroic and still somewhat boyish. Hal should look like a handsome guy who was the high school jock but friendly enough to get along with everybody. For a long time, my Hollywood casting choice for Hal would have been actor David James Elliot of one of my favorite TV shows, JAG.

David James Elliot as Harmon Rabb, Jr. on JAG.

Ferris Aircraft is seen in Panel 3. I did a Google images search for Ferris Aircraft and got a few shots from the 2011 Green Lantern film and a bunch from several animated series. A few generic shots of hangars and other air fields also turned up. This is a composite of all of those.

I designed Hal’s flight trainer by mixing the original red craft …which according to the text in the original story, Hal designed himself… with actual small airplanes. I wanted something looking more contemporary and believable.

Sharp-eyed fellow sci-fi geeks might recognize the forward section of Abin Sur’s ship, seen as a crashed wreck in Panel 4. I borrowed most of the design from Colonel Taylor’s Icarus from The Planet Of The Apes series.

I kept Abin Our simple in his appearance in Panel 5. The current tendency is to add skull ridges, markings and other doodads to make him more alien, but I prefer him as the simple wide-eyed red guy he was in GL’s first appearance. I never saw the need to get fancy with him.

I do make a concession to contemporary design with Green Lantern’s uniform in his appearance in Panel 7. I end the green field of his uniform at the waist and give him the raised emblem. I prefer the original design but I’ll go with what DC Comics seems to be doing these days. I did resist any seems, grooves and other unnecessary lines running all over the costume.

One deviation from my preferred Green Lantern origin is the inclusion of the Guardians in Panel 6. A favorite aspect of the early Green Lantern stories… and most likely something we’ll never see again in any future interpretations… is that for his first few appearances, Green Lantern had not met the Guardians. Hal receives his ring from the dying Abin Sur who tells him of “selected space patrol men” but otherwise does not mention the Guardians or the Green Lantern Corps. It’s not until GL receives his own title that he meets his blue-skinny bosses in the first issue and even then, they only beam a holographic version of Hal to Oa. He doesn’t meet them in person until Green Lantern #7 when he is summoned to their citadel to be told in person of the menace of Sinestro, who also appears for the first time in that issue. On a side note, Hal wouldn’t meet another Green Lantern until Green Lantern #6 when he meets Tomar Re, his neighbor, the Green Lantern of Sector 2813. I liked the mystery of those early stories when Hal wasn’t entirely aware of the Guardians, the Corps or the full capabilities of his ring. The Guardians were only an unknown alien voice issuing orders through his battery. It gave the character and his adventures more mystery… and very importantly, it made for a more Earth-bound super hero. While Green Lantern is notorious as a cosmic adventurer, he’s still a super hero defending Coast City from Doctor Polaris, Goldface and the Shark. Every story shouldn’t be a cosmic epic on another planet. Hal has to come back to Earth every now and then otherwise, he’s just Flash Gordon with a ring. All that aside, I included the Guardians in this depiction of the origin just to be complete.

I hope you guys dig this new feature. Please check in every Saturday… although honestly, I’ll probably be posting these pages late Friday night! Who are your favorite super heroes? Who would you like to see covered in Secret Origin Saturday? Please let me know in the comments below!


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