The era known as the Golden Age of
Comics came to a close in 1950 when public interest in superheroes had
steadily waned. They were largely phased out of publishing; replaced by the Western
and romance genres with a new focus on the humor stories that originally began
the medium. Only DC Comics continued
publishing any kind of superhero books throughout the 50s, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Detective Comics, Superboy and World’s Finest Comics.
|The Flash #123, featuring the Silver Age and Golden Age Flashes.
In 1956, DC editor Julius Schwartz decided to
revive one of the company’s Golden Age characters: the Flash. However,
rather than bring back Jay
Garrick, who inherited his great speed after inhaling hard water vapors,
Schwartz decided to have the Flash reimagined for the modern age. Writers Robert Kanigher and John Broome with
artist Carmine Infantino
introduced the new Flash in Showcase #4 (1956), making him
forensic scientist Barry Allen who gained his speed when lightning struck a
shelf of chemicals that splashed him as a result. The new Flash was a success,
gaining his own title shortly afterwards, and ushering in the era known as the Silver Age of
|The origin of Alan Scott.
Schwartz sought to duplicate that success
with the reinvention of further Golden Age characters. His next target was the
Green Lantern. Created by Martin
Nodell (under the name Mart Dellon) in All-American Comics #16 (1940), Alan Scott was a railroad
engineer who discovered a magic lantern after a railway crash. He crafted a
ring from the lantern that could perform a variety of feats--except against
wooden objects--but needed to be recharged by touching the lantern every 24
hours. Popular throughout the 40s, his book was ultimately
cancelled with issue
#38 in 1949, with his final appearance (at the time) being in 1951’s All-Star Comics #57.
|Hal Jordan gets the Power Ring.
Schwartz tasked Broom and Gil Kane with
bringing the Lantern back while infusing him with the science fiction elements
that Schwartz was such a fan of. This Lantern became test pilot Hal Jordan who
had discovered a downed spaceship with a dying Abin Sur inside. Sur
granted Hal his power ring, turning him into his replacement in the Green Lantern Corps: a
cosmic police force that patrolled various sectors of known space (Hal’s was
2814). The Corps was overseen by the Guardians of the
Universe; emotionless blue immortal beings that initially resembled Israeli
Prime Minister David
Ben-Gurion from a concept developed by Schwartz and Broome in Strange Adventures #22 (1952). Hal
debuted in Showcase #22 (1959) along with his
love-interest and boss at Ferris Aircraft, Carol Ferris. Unlike his
predecessor, the Green Power
Ring had a weakness against objects made of yellow instead of wood. Like
his predecessor, the ring had to be recharged periodically by holding it up to
his assigned lantern and reciting the Green Lantern’s oath:
The Lantern proved another hit, and
after two more appearances he became a founding member of the Justice League and
was given his own book.
There, readers were introduced to Hal’s family: his two older brothers Jack and Jim. It was rare for a superhero
to have any sort of family, which helped distinguish it from other books at the
time. With issue #17,
Gardner Fox joined the
creative team as a co-writer and would remain in place until a creative and
direction change in the 1970s.
|Guy Gardner's current look.
Three other Earth-based Lanterns
were introduced during the title’s run as alternates and replacements for Hal. Guy Gardner was created by
Broome and Kane in Green Lantern vol. 2 #59 (1968), named after fan Guy H. Lillian III
and Fox. He was Abin Sur’s alternate choice of successor; losing out to Hal
only by proximity and becoming his backup. By the 1980s, Steve Englehart and Joe Staton gave Guy the brash macho
personality that had become his defining characteristic.
|John Stewart's current look.
When Guy fell into a coma during his
Lantern duties, he was replaced with another backup: John Stewart. Debuting in Green Lantern vol. 2 #87 (1971), he was created by the new
creative team of Denny
O’Neil and Neal Adams. Before the Corps,
he was a U.S. Marine and an architect from Detroit; two attributes he applied
frequently in tenure as a Lantern. Adams suggested to Schwartz that John should
be Black because it made sense given the makeup of the world’s population.
Schwartz agreed, and John became DC’s first Black superhero. He also became the
primary Lantern when Hal stepped down for a time.
|Kyle Rayner's original costume.
The fourth Earth Lantern was Kyle Rayner. Created by Ron Marz and Darryl
Banks in Green Lantern vol. 3 #48 (1994),
Kyle was a struggling freelance artist who was approached by the Guardian Ganthet to don the last
ring; the other Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps having been decimated by
Hal when he turned on them after the destruction of his hometown, Coast City. Kyle was able to
harness the power of the entire Corps at one point, adopting the codename Ion,
and revitalized the Central Power
Battery on their base planet Oa along
with the other Guardians. These actions and others earned him the title of “The
Warner Bros. had been developing a feature film based on the franchise since the late 90s. It would
finally come to be released in 2011 starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role. In what Phil
Kent, chairman and CEO of Time Warner’s
Turner Networks unit, called “corporate synergy,” they
decided to produce an animated series around the character to play off of the
movie’s anticipated success and the inevitable toy marketing. However, despite
the film’s script being made available to the producers, the two didn’t share a
continuity beyond the characters involved.
|Promo for the series.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series
would be produced by Bruce Timm,
known for his work on the original DC Animated Universe
from 1992-2006, along with showrunner Giancarlo
Volpe and Jim Krieg. The
decision was made to animate it using CGI, the first DC-based show to do so,
and was initially pitched as “Bruce Timm does CGI.” Timm was reluctant to work
outside of the familiar hand drawn style but eventually came around to enjoy
and appreciate it. The move also showed an incredible commitment on Warner’s
part as using CGI was extremely more expensive than traditional animation. Each
set piece had to be created from scratch and in full to allow for a full range
of motion and lighting effects, which meant producers had to be prudent with
how much they could do in each episode and how many characters they could incorporate
at a time.
|Guy and Hal finally have more than a passing association.
This would also the first series based entirely around the Lantern
franchise. Hal first appeared outside of comics in the rotating “guest”
features of Filmation’s Aquaman show in 1967 before joining his fellow Justice Leaguers in some
incarnations of Hanna-Barbera’s
Friends franchise. He had a later cameo in Justice League Unlimited and
guest appearances on The
Batman and Duck
Dodgers, along with other Lanterns. Timm’s previous shows introduced
two of the other Earth Lanterns to audiences: Kyle Rayner appeared in an
episode of Superman:
The Animated Series and a later cameo in Justice League Unlimited, and John Stewart was a main character in Justice League/Justice
League Unlimited and guest-starred in Static Shock (which starred Stewart’s voice actor Phil
LaMarr). Guy Gardner (with some
elements of the other Earth Lanterns mixed together) would be used in a failed
1997 pilot for a live-action Justice League of America television
series before becoming a recurring guest on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. A future Green Lantern, Kai-ro (Lauren Tom), appeared in Timm’s Batman Beyond.
|Hal, Kilowog and Ganthet.
Since the movie would feature Hal’s origin, the producers decided to skip
that part of the mythos and go right into the meat of Hal’s adventures. Taking
advantage of the police-like nature of the Corps, they focused on making it
like a buddy cop show by pairing Hal (Josh Keaton) with the gruff Corps trainer
Kilowog (Kevin Michael Richardson) as they went to Frontier Space, the
outermost edge of the Guardians’ territory a good 18 months away by Power Ring,
where Frontier Lanterns were mysteriously being killed. Guardian Ganthet (Ian Abercrombie in his final
role before his death) subtlety guided them into “borrowing” The Interceptor; the fastest starship
ever created and powered by a Green Lantern Power Battery to allow Corps
members to travel great distances without exhausting their own power.
|Aya takes human form.
The Guardian Scar
(Sarah Douglas) gave the ship an
artificial intelligence, which Hal named Aya (Grey DeLisle) after the
abbreviation “A.I.”, that was originally intended to be an empathic alternative
to the Manhunters (all Keaton); robots that were the precursor to the Corps
until a glitch sent them on a murderous frenzy to eliminate all organic life.
Scar implanted her onto the ship after wiping her memory when she became too
free-willed from being infused with a fragment of the Ion entity that resided
within the Central Power Battery on Oa. Initially, she was nothing more than a
voice on the ship until she created a body for herself so that she could
participate on adventures. Her original programming also began to resurface,
making her more human-like as time progressed.
|Atrocitus will have his revenge.
A decision was made to keep the show somewhat in line with the current Green Lantern comics,
so for the first half of the season the primary foes were the Red Lantern Corps.
The Red Lanterns were introduced during Geoff
Johns’ acclaimed run on the title and were as fueled by rage as the Green
Lanterns were by will. They were led by Atrocitus (Jonathan Adams), whose planet
was destroyed by the Manhunters in Sector 666 and began a crusade for revenge
against the Guardians. Amongst his Corpsmen was his spherical lackey Zillus Zox (Tom Kenny); the winged female
warrior Bleez (DeLisle); the one-eyed Veon (Jason Spisak); the hulking Skallox
(Will Friedle), who killed
his planet’s Green Lantern in the hopes to be his replacement (while appearing in the comics,
he only became a Red Lantern on the show), but was filled with rage when the
ring chose his sister Iolande
(Tara Strong) instead; and
Cleric Loran (Corey Burton),
a slug-like creature who wasn’t a ring bearer but maintained a chapel dedicated
|Razer has anger issues.
Razer (Spisak) was exclusive to the show and began as a loyal Red Lantern
who had lost his family. However, when the Red Lanterns forced him to destroy a
colony planet to prove his loyalty, he became guilt-ridden and sought death
from the Green Lanterns. Instead, Hal took him prisoner and eventually Razer
became their ally; using his newfound rage for Atrocitus. As the series
progressed, he began to develop feelings for Aya, whose physical form was modeled
after that of his deceased wife, Ilana, although he attempted to stave off
|Carol Ferris is drafted.
Classic Green Lantern frenemies the Star Sapphires
made a few appearances. They were a mostly female group that utilized the
violet light of love and were based on the planet Zamaron. Carol Ferris (Jennifer Hale) was drafted by the
Sapphires, much as she was in the comics, several times in the battle against
the Red Lanterns. She would be called on to fight Atrocitus one-on-one to prove
that love was stronger than hate.
|The Anti-Monitor and the Aya-Monitor.
The Red Lantern threat was
neutralized at the conclusion of the season’s first 13 episodes and the show
went on summer break. The next 13 episodes would deal with the threat of the Anti-Monitor (Kenny): a
massive all-powerful being created by renegade Guardian Krona, which Krona was then forced to
banish to another universe when it turned against him. The Anti-Monitor ripped
through the fabric of space to return and reactivated the discarded Manhunters
to do its bidding. However, things went further sideways when Aya, whose
affections were spurned by Razer, defeated the Anti-Monitor by ripping off its
head and using her ability to interface with machinery to take over its body. She
sought to eliminate all emotion by traveling back to the creation of the
universe and preventing it from happening. Her normal body also took on a
darker color reminiscent of the Black Lantern
Corps from the comics; a Corps comprised of zombies with power rings who
sought to eliminate all life.
|The Corps unite against the threat of the Anti/Aya-Monitor.
For his victory over the Red
Lanterns, Hal was promoted to the high-ranking Honor Guard. The second half of
the season showcased more Green Lanterns, some who appeared briefly in the
prior episodes: the living planet Mogo (Richardson); the multi-armed Salaak (Kenny); the squirrel-like
Ch’p; the fin-headed Tomar-Re (Jeff Bennet); the crystalline Chaselon (Kenny); and
Ha’s sector replacement, Guy Gardner (Diedrich Bader), whom himself
was replaced by a mentioned John Stewart when he, too, was promoted to the
Honor Guard. Other colors from the emotional spectrum made appearances as well.
The blue light of hope, which was wielded by the Blue Lantern
Corps comprised of Stain Walker (Phil Morris) and the
Warth (Brian George), and
the orange light of avarice of the Orange Lantern
Corps, which was really the greedy thief Larfleeze (Dee Bradley Baker) and his
construct Corpsman Glomulus.
|Sinestro: still the greatest Green Lantern. For now.
Absent was the yellow light of fear typically wielded by Hal’s
arch-nemesis and former partner Thaal Sinestro (Ron Perlman). Sinestro was still
a Green Lantern in his sole appearance in the series. The producers were asked
not to use him due to his future direction in the comics being in question (he
would briefly become a Green Lantern again). His inevitable abandonment of the
Corps was hinted at with the appearance of the yellow material that would have
been used to make his ring, which also served as a device against the
Lantern: The Animated Series was announced at the 2010 New York Comic Con and previewed at
the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. It was
shown as a sneak preview on Friday, November 11th on Cartoon Network in North America by
airing the one-hour first episode, which was broken up into two episodes once
the regular series began. It made its official debut on March 3rd,
2012 in the United States (March 23rd in Canada) as part of Cartoon
Network’s Saturday morning DC
Nation programming block. The series was written by Krieg, Ernie Altbacker, Eugene Son, Matt Wayne, Jennifer Keene, Michael F. Ryan, Mark Hoffmeier, Andrew Robinson, Josh Hamilton, Tom Sheppard, Jeremy Adams, Charlotte Fullerton and Kevin Rubio. Although it had a
fully-realized intro sequence, only the title and a brief snippet of series
composer Frederik Wiedmann’s
theme was heard to allow for more commercials and the DC Nation content. The
Green Power Rings used the same sound effects from Justice League.
Two weeks after the summer break,
the entire DC Nation block was replaced on Cartoon Network’s schedule by an
hour of DreamWorks Dragons on Saturdays and Johnny Test on
Sundays. It was announced later via Facebook
and Twitter that the block had been put on hiatus
and would return that January. An online petition
was begun by fans to bring it back before the end of the year and quickly
reached 10,000 signatures. Also, the episodes that were scheduled to air were
released on iTunes the day after
their intended airdate (those shows became the top two programs of the day) and
Amazon on October 16th, as well
as seen on air in India in December.
|A kiss before cancellation.
Lantern did return in January and aired its remaining episodes until
concluding on March 16th, 2013. Ultimately, it was decided not to
renew the series for a second season despite its respectable ratings, favorable
reviews and being nominated for 3 Annie Awards.
The primary reason for its demise was because of the Green Lantern movie, which ended up being a critical and commercial
flop. Since the
toys from the movie weren’t moving, retailers couldn’t distinguish between
them and the planned animated toy line and therefore were not interested in
investing in similar merchandise. As a result, Mattel
abandoned any plans to produce toys based
on the series, and without that additional revenue there was no reason to
continue producing the prohibitively expensive show. Also, Cartoon Network
wanted to put a greater focus on shows like the then-upcoming Teen Titans Go!, which
dealt heavily in comedy geared towards younger
boys and less in storytelling.
|The Green Lantern animated comic.
The same month as the sneak preview,
DC Comics released the first issue to the comic version of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. The #0
issue by Art Baltazar and Dario Brizuela garnered
decent reviews and sold approximately 13,500 issues. One of the stories
featured was included in the DC
Nation 2012 Free Comic Book Day comic. Officially beginning in June of
2012, the comic ran for 14 issues featuring additional characters not seen on
the series. It was cancelled in September 2013 following the show’s own. DC Direct released three
limited edition maquettes from the series in 2012: Hal, Atrocitus, and
Saint Walker. La-La Land Records
released two volumes of the series’ music by Wiedmann, the first on
July 31, 2012 and the second
on July 2, 2013. Two volumes of episodes were released to DVD; the
first in 2012 and the
second in 2013. In 2014, the complete
series was released to Blu-ray (and sold out several times) and was made
available for streaming on Netflix. It eventually
found a new streaming home on the DC
Universe service in 2018 before transitioning to HBO Max in January of 2021 when the former
became a digital comic subscription service.
|Saint Walker and Brother Warth try to help Razer find inner peace.
Had the show continued into a second
season, there were plans to have Razer
become a Blue Lantern, as hinted at in the final episode of the series and
confirmed via storyboard artist Jake
Castorena’s Twitter, as well as reuniting with Aya. With the movie come and
gone, Volpe mentioned in
an interview that he felt confident that they’d be allowed to use Sinestro
more and lead him down the dark path to donning a yellow ring and forming his Sinestro Corps. Volpe
also recognized that many fans wanted to see Rayner and Stewart on the series
and planned to do so when they were able.
|The Interceptor from Green Lantern and Aya in Smallville Season 11.
Aya was created for the show, but
she actually appeared in the comics before the preview episode. Geoff Johns
incorporated her into Green Lantern vol. 4 #65 (cover date
June, 2011) as an A.I. created by Hal and fellow Lantern Stel. The Interceptor also appeared as a ship Hal
salvaged and repaired from an Oan junkyard and kept stored in Sector 2000.
While Aya didn’t make it past that singular issue in the main continuity, she
did make an appearance as a member of the Corps in the second issue of
the mini-series Smallville Season 11: Lantern by Bryan
Q. Miller and Marcio Takara. In
2014, Volpe posted
a comic on his Tumblr about the first focus group testing for Green Lantern.