— “Green Lantern,” DC Comics’ sole entry in this summer’s onslaught of comic book movies, shows why, despite Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Batman films, the comics giant and parent company Warner Bros. are so far behind Marvel when it comes to feature films.
BACKGROUND: In July 1940, Martin Nodell and Bill Finger created Green Lantern in “All-American Comics No. 16.” His name was Alan Scott, and his power came from a magic lantern he used to craft a magic ring. Scott was a founding member of the Justice Society of America, making him a central figure of the Golden Age. But, following the decline of superheroes after World War II, Green Lantern’s namesake title was cancelled in 1949 and he made his last appearance in “All-Star Comics” in 1951.
During the Silver Age, DC Comics successfully revived superheroes, but, instead of bringing back the Golden Age heroes of the companies that merged to form DC, the comics giant gave the characters a makeover. The new Green Lantern, test pilot Hal Jordan, debuted in 1959. Jordan received his power ring from Abin Sur, a dying alien who crashed on Earth. He became the first human member of the Green Lantern Corps, a universal police organization led by the Guardians. Jordan also became a founding member of the Justice League of America.
Two more Lanterns were added during the Bronze Age. In the 1960s, Guy Gardner emerged as the second choice to receive Abin Sur’s ring and became Jordan’s backup. And in the 1970s, John Stewart was selected to replace Gardner after an accident left Gardner comatose.
Kyle Rayner became the next Green Lantern during the Modern Age. Rayner played a key role in teaching the Lanterns to overcome fear and defeating the villain Parallax.
The Green Lantern Corps history is one of the deepest and richest in comics.
And while the character’s film history doesn’t extend nearly as far back as its comics history, talk of a Green Lantern movie did begin more than a decade ago.
After a tide of director departures and one ill-fated attempt to make the film a comedy with Jack Black, Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) was tapped to finally bring Green Lantern to film.
Warner Bros. then selected Ryan Reynolds as their Hal Jordan, despite a wide held belief among fans that Reynolds was more suited to play the Flash.