Tagged: Sinestro

Ed Catto and The New York Comic Con Newbie


Indian Summer, autumn’s first batch of orange-hued fallen leaves and New York Comic Con have all tumbled away, relegated to that odd intersection of fond memories and the comfortable knowledge of their inevitable return. The New York Comic Con, now the nation’s largest geek culture convention, seems to change each year. And after more than a decade of growth, it’s changing in many weird and wonderful ways.

I’ve been there from the beginning and, during the early years worked, on the show. We had a vision for the convention and it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. And in many ways … it hasn’t.

space-ghostThe Big Picture

Each year on Thursday afternoon as the New York Comic Con bursts to life, ICV2’s Milton Greipp gathers industry leaders together to review the state of geek culture.

Comic Convention expert Rob Salkowitz was one speaker who addressed this business gathering. He spoke about the phenomenal growth of all conventions and attached revenue estimates to it all. “NYCC has grown to become one of the largest pop culture conventions in North America and a key part of an industry that has an economic impact of more than $4 billion,” reported Salkowitz.

That’s a lot of geek culture.

luke-cage-dr-strangeA Matter of Perspective

There are long-time fans who regularly attend conventions and new fans that bravely dive in each year. I routinely hear what long-time fans are thinking, and I felt I needed a fresh perspective. I wanted to hear what a new fan thinks. So this year, I invited my adventurous Aunt Elissa to NYCC. It would be her first time to the show.

Her gateway to comics was through the Archie universe. She ingested a steady diet of Stan Goldberg and Dan DeCarlo Archie comics during the 70s, and has now graduated to geek mainstays like Doctor Who and Tonner Dolls.

Elissa said she had a great time, but I wanted to dive a little deeper and understand what made this show work from a first-timer’s point-of-view.

harley-girlCrowd Control or Controlled Crowds

From Elissa’s vantage point, the huddled masses of NYCC were surprisingly polite. It’s been reported that NYCC broke another attendance record and sold 180,000 tickets. But these supersized crowds didn’t faze her. In fact, she was pleasantly surprised “because everybody was very polite, very pleasant – there were a lot of people, but <they were> not intimidating to me, nor would it stop me <from attending> in the future.”

Unlike a football game, or even a trip to her local supermarket, Elissa found the crowds were a community of like-minded fans. “You’re going to bump into people, not intentionally,” said Elissa. “They’d say, ‘excuse me.’ You don’t even hear that in a store these days!”


At one point I introduced Elissa to my old friend Ivan Cohen. He’s a longtime comics professional and one of his many accomplishments is writing the Green Lantern Animated Show Comic Series. As we talked, and with perfect timing, a cosplayer dressed as Sinestro, Green Lantern’s evil archenemy, came up and charmed us all.

Sinestro took an immediate liking to Elissa. I was afraid it would be overwhelming, but she loved it.

She raved about how impressed she was with all the cosplay. Elissa attended the Let’s Get Serious Cosplay Panel – with panelists from Cosplay by McCall’s and the Overstreet Guide to Cosplay. “They have a pride and professionalism in their cosplay” she said with newfound respect.

Thumbs Up to Archie from a Long Time Fan

Elissa visited the Archie booth and she rendered a ‘thumbs up’ verdict on all the recent changes. She said she understood that the company needed “to keep up to encourage people to continue reading Archie,” and “to change with the times.”

“It’s not the Archie I remember, but also I’m not 10 years old.” She bought the new Betty & Veronica comic from super-retailer Marc Hammond right there at NYCC.

She also bought the new Josie and Pussycats comic. This was a big step as she explained she never liked those characters when she was younger. “They seemed so ditzy”, she said. But she quickly amended her recollections “But maybe that was just Melody.”

gun-guyWas this Best Part of NYCC?

As it turned out, Artist Alley was one of Elissa’s favorite parts of New York Comic Con. We gave her a guided tour, introducing some of our favorite artists: Franco, Art Baltazar, Kevin McGuire, Gabriel Hardman, Corrine Bechko, Joe Staton, Brett Blevins and Tom Gianni were just a few. Before you knew it, Elissa would find an artist who’s style she liked and just walk up and strike up a conversation with them.

“I wasn’t’ quite sure what it was going to be like, “ said Elissa, but once we got there it was very clear.” She explained that she soon realized that each artist has his or her own style. “It’s all fascinating. They are all extremely talented. They’re good!”

Elissa observed that the majority of people outside of geek culture don’t have any appreciation for the artists. Meeting and speaking with artists in Artist’s Alley reinforced the idea that comics “are drawn … not just done by a machine.”

Her biggest take away from the whole show was an increased respect for the artists and creators. “It made me want to read more comics.“ She’s not ready to start collecting per se, but she is eager to read more.

Ready for More

Elissa is looking forward to next year’s NYCC. She realized that as a first time attendee, she wanted to see ‘everything’. On subsequent visits, she talked about how she’d plan better to attend specific panels.

“By the end of the night- my feet hurt. There was so much going on – I wasn’t bored. It held my attention. I wanted to see it all. “

And she’s become a big Artist’s Alley fan. “If I went again – <she’d prepare ahead of time> to know the artists and their work.”

More Respect for Geek Culture

After the show, as Elissa told her friends at home about her New York Comic Con adventure, they looked at her as if she had five heads. “They think these people are weird or strange.” But she explained it to her friends this way, “No, they are very passionate, very talented.”

Seems to me that the crossroads of passion and talent is a pretty good foundation for an industry, and a good place to spend a weekend.

Marc Alan Fishman: The Top 5 Comics I’d Like To See

In an effort anger the Internet – and save me the time of writing too much – I figured this week I’d take a trip into Fantasy Land. Here is a list, simple and to-the-point, of five books I’d love to see hit the stands. This probably won’t happen unless we’re on Earth 29.

The Avengers: Written by Geoff Johns, Art by Peter Krause.

With his ability to handle a multitude of characters (see his run on Justice Society, or to a lesser degree, Justice League) and draw from countless years of continuity to craft original tales, John’s would deftly deliver a truly epic arc for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Peter Krause (of Irredeemable fame) has an amazing ability to show emotion, and a wide range of your more traditional superheroes. Put together? I think the fans would assemble in droves for a chance to see the premier Marvel team run through the proverbial wringer. And with John’s latent ability to hone lesser villains (see Captain Cold, or his subtle shifting and deepening of Sinestro), no doubt this impossible title would be one for the ages.

Green Lantern: Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Mike Norton.

Brian Michael Bendis could do perhaps what no other writer has done for Hal Jordan in the last 10 years of his comic booking career: he could make me give a damn about Hal. Bendis, master of the talking head page, could instill the much-needed pathos to what has basically been a cardboard cutout of a hero since his “rebirth.” Given his pedigree and ability to craft subtle, nuanced characters, I’ve little doubt his emerald knight would finally be a human being, akin to the Ultimate Peter Parker, with far more years under his power-ringed belt. And with Mike Norton’s clean, concise, and emotive style? Well, I think the book would look as sharp as it read. Norton’s often forgotten runs on Blue Beetle and Green Arrow proved to me long ago, he’s the go-to guy when you need stalwart presentation.

DC Kids Cavalcade: Written by Art Baltazar, Franco, and Keith Giffen, Art by Katie Cook, Art and Franco, Jill Thompson, and a Troop of Others.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. “Anthologies don’t sell.” Well, maybe they would if the stories and art in them wasn’t always a crap shoot, maybe it’d have a chance. I’d kill to see a monthly rag where the funniest minds in comics met with an endless parade of the most kid-friendly artists. Give us a chance to see Katie Cook’s Batman saga or “Tails From The Litter Box: The Midadventures of Dex-Starr.” Pair Giffen’s sharp wit with Art’s never-not-cute style. What could be more perfect for young readers, than a never-ending series where each issue packs in a brand new kid-friendly (but with plenty of Easter eggs for adults) tale? Nothing that I can think of, darn-it.

Thunderbolts: Plotted by John Ostrander, Scripted by Gail Simone, Art by Ethan Van Sciver

No, I’m not just pandering for my close and personal friend John Ostrander. OK, maybe I am a little. But hear me out. Ostrander’s original run on the Suicide Squad is just an amazing piece of sequential fiction. His ability to mine realism in the face of the absurdity of comics is unparalleled. Match this with the wit and charm of Gail Simone? You get yourself one fancy-assed book about ne’er-do-wells. It stands to note I found Simone’s Secret Six to be the sleeper hit of DC in the mid-aughts. Certainly her pitch-perfect evil side would pair well with John’s, and together they could craft a story about Marvel villains trying to change the world. Since Marvel doesn’t really have an “evil only” book per say, I’d think this’d be an interesting one to see. Pair them with Gail’s buddy Ethan Van Details? And you have a gory and beautiful mess on your hands. Van Sciver’s meticulous style would be great to see, when there’s no forced lighting, constructs, or fire being forced into every panel. When its time for poop to hit the fan though? There’s no one better for the art duties.

Metal Men: Written by Matt Fraction, Art by Chris Burnham.

Last but not least, a title so impossible to exist, 14 editors just burst out laughing over how unsellable it’d be. This iteration of the Metal Men would be a mash-up of sorts. Fraction has proved he’s got the uncanny (natch) ability to build slow, methodical tales without boring his audience to tears. And based on his most current work on the Defenders, he’s proven he can be witty to boot. Pair him with the “in-the-prime-of-his-career” Burnham, whose carefully crafted dynamic figure work is second to none, and you have a book that’d look as sharp as the titular metallic men in question. Fraction could world-build around the odd duck Doc Magnus, but not lose the fun always associated with the franchise. Toss in some climactic battles with new versions of Chemo, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, or Monsieur Mallah and the Brain… and you have a perfectly unsellable train wreck – that I’d buy 10,000 copies of.

BONUS! GrimJack: Written and drawn by Unshaven Comics.

What? Boys are allowed to dream!

OK, Internet. Time to tell me how wrong I am! Or better yet? Pitch your impossible book below. We’ll take a vote, make a petition, and incite riots for the best idea. Now, go do that voodoo that you do so well.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Why I Don’t Like The New 52

For those following along with all of the columnists here at ComicMix, no doubt you checked out Michael Davis’ article “Why I Like The New 52”and Michael made some great points. DC’s reboot of their entire line of superhero comic books was, as he so eloquently put it, ballsy. Oh, but the self-proclaimed Master of the Universe sadly is mistaken. To have completely rebooted 60+ years of continuity would take serious juevos. The fact is, DC hasn’t done anything close to that. It’s a point I’ve been jumping up and down on now for months… and who am I to disregard my own nerd rage over the issue. Let me get my soapbox, megaphone, and crazy pants. It’s rant-time, kiddos.

DC didn’t reboot much. In fact, they merely slapped #1’s on all their issues, and placed a gigantic asterisk besides nearly every single one. To call this the “New 52” is akin to calling Gus Van Sant’s Psycho completely original. You see, DC may have changed the numbering, but they haven’t reset their backstories. That is to say, they did – to a point.

Nearly every book they’ve put out has carefully chosen to pick events, mannerisms, and relationships established over the last half a century… and take us into their continuity mid-stream. You know David Copperfield didn’t actually make the Statue of Liberty disappear, he used a sly game of bait and switch. DC did the same thing. Whenever the fans asked the powers-that-be if a major event from continuity occurred in this new DCU or not… they waved their hands, misdirected us, and said “just keep reading.”

As Michael said, that takes serious balls.

Break it down. The New 52 reset a handful of the major players. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were all spit-shined and given a thorough makeover. And their books are better for it. Superman’s series had been crushed under event after event. From his “death” to the his “electric blue and red” days, to the rise of New Krypton to its eventual fall, casual fans could hardly hit the shelf and feel like they could relate. Wonder Woman’s title was bounced from several amazing writers, who all tried in their own ways to add depth, class, and angst to Diana’s stories. But aside from murdering Maxwell Lord, what kid on the street could tell you what she did since?

And Aquaman? Where do I begin? Water-hand, squid-head, Sub-Diego. I rest my case. Putting a #1 on those books and forgetting the last 10-15 years, isn’t such a bad idea when your parent company starts clamoring for more widespread appeal, is it?

And other books? Still confusingly convoluted beyond reproach. In the Batman corner of the DCnU, there’s Bruce’s bastard son-turned-Boy-Wonder, Nightwing, Tim Drake, a Black Batman, Batman Inc., a Joker with a misplaced face, Batwoman, and Babs “Miracle on 34th Street” Batgirl. You can put all the #1’s you want on those books, but find me a kid who bought them who didn’t immediately take a stroll down Wikipedia lane to make sense of the countless callbacks to continuity which is now unconstructed. In Batgirl alone, all we know for sure is there was an accident, she lost the ability to walk, she got it back. Did the Joker shoot her? Well, all DC says is “keep reading.”

In Green Lantern’s sector, we have no less than four active Earth Men wearing the emerald ring. For those who picked up their shiny #1’s of GL, GL: Corps, and GL: Emerald Knights were treated to the following backstory: At some point there was this thing called Blackest Night… maybe. Hal Jordon killed a Guardian of the Universe, who had a Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet power set… maybe. Kyle Rayner was the last GL… at some point? Sinestro now has a Green Ring. Again, these plot points were all in their respective #1’s. If you had no knowledge of these characters before starting these books, how would you approach getting your bearings on all this backstory? Ask DC, and they’ll gladly tell you “keep reading.”

Now, let me be clear and fair here. I read a ton of DC books. I love many of them. Of the New 52, Action Comics, Batman, Batgirl, Green Lantern, Animal Man, and Justice League Dark barely make it home before they’re read with near rabid fervor. As a fan of all of these characters, I have a great understanding of their mannerisms, backstories, and relationships to fill in the gaps that their respective books have yet to cover. Because modern comics are written more cinematically, their creative teams bank on the fact that their fan base isn’t coming into their books completely cold. In the case of newer characters, or transplants from Wildstorm, these books aren’t fairing so well. With 3 issues in, November’s top sellers were Justice League, Batman, Action, and Green Lantern. Blue Beetle, Omac, and Voodoo? 89. 104. 105. Without the allure of “read and see what continuity we kept, and which we threw out with the bathwater…” fans weren’t as kind.

Before the books all came out, we fans debated hotly how much of our continuity would be thrown into this potluck reset. DC cleverly keeps moving the target on the answers. The truth of the matter is this: The allure of a universal restart in comics is a pipe dream at best. At the end of the day, comic books are a business first. The DCnU was a stunt that paid off in spades.

To end 60+ years of backstory, and start all over simply will never happen. The industry thrives on the soap-opera format; keep what works, and forget the rest. If you pay close enough attention you’ll just go mad. I started this out as a rant on Michael Davis’ kudos to the DC’s testicular fortitude, but in looking at the stack of their books, and my dwindling bank account? It tells me Michael was right all along.

DC, you made me madder than hell, and took more of my money than you ever did before… all so I could make a grand sweeping point. And now, after I’m done shouting from the rafters, I realize that’s all you ever wanted me to do in the first place. Good for you. That took serious balls.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Crazy Sexy Geeks: Tim Gunn VS Green Lantern! Part 1 & 2

Crazy Sexy Geeks: Tim Gunn VS Green Lantern! Part 1 & 2

Green Lantern

On sidewalk broad and runway long,
The bias cut is bold and strong;
Let those who worship haute couture
Beware my label! It’s Di … er…

—John M. Ford

Fashion authority Tim Gunn re-unites with Crazy Sexy Geeks! This episode, he looks at the Green Lantern with hosts Jennifer Ewing and Alan Kistler, superhero historian & Agent of STYLE columnist for Newsarama.com (@SizzlerKistler)! Be sure to listen to the weekly Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast (featuring Alan and Jill Pantozzi, @TheNerdyBird) on iTunes and at CrazySexyGeeks.libsyn.com

Part 1:

Part 2:

Robot Chicken Season Five

As is the new habit in basic cable, the Cartoon Network split the current season of its hilarious Robot Chicken into two halves, airing the first part of the fifth season late last year and then, a few weeks ago kicking off the second season. Where they didn’t follow the script was releasing Robot Chicken Season 5 on DVD just days after the second half debuted October 23.

All 20 episodes are included and I am late in bringing this to your attention because I have been savoring the installments, catching up on what has aired, and working ahead. The show, from co-creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, available on Blu-ray and standard DVD in separate packages. And as has become their wont, there are hours of bonus features, some exclusive to the Blu-ray edition, which was not sent for review.

Last year, the show won a much-deserved Emmy Award for Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program and will likely be nominated again based on how much belly-laughing I did with the antics skewering pop culture celebrities, music, television and movies. You can watch mashups like Saving Private Gigli, Schindler’s Bucket List, and Casablankman (and its sequel, airing later this month), although my favorite title was Major League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Extras include seven deleted scenes, over 50 deleted animatics with video introductions (always worth watching), selected episode commentary with the celebrity guests, an assortment of Behind the scenes featurettes and the funny On-air promotions. The Blu-ray also offers alternate audio takes from various sketches throughout the fifth season. DVD purchasers get an exclusive of their own: the ability to download an exclusive, uncensored version of the “Blue Rabbits” song.

Among the more amusing segments: Skeletor watches in horror when Snake Mountain is foreclosed on; Gargamel disguises himself as a Smurf; Major Nelson has Jeannie exactly delicious revenge when NASA fires him, NASA’s Lego people have a very bad launch day. One of my favorites was the war between the Keebler Elves and the Cookie Monster. Given my own recent roast, I can also appreciate the GI Joes’ attempt to spoil one for Cobra Commander.

You want guest stars in on the fun? How about, to name only some: Mila Kunis, Macaulay Culkin, Seth MacFarlane, Clare Grant, Michael Ian Black, Katee Sackhoff, Christian Slater, Michelle Trachtenberg, Abraham Benrubi, Alyson Hannigan, Skeet Ulrich, Olivia Munn, Alan Tudyk, the great Frank Welker, Lea Thompson, Emma Stone, Diablo Cody, Josh Groban, Mark Hamill, Sean Astin, Donald Faison, Amy Smart, the wondrous Adrianne Palicki, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Naomi Watts, Andy Serkis, and, in his final role before an untimely death, Gary Coleman.

ComicMix readers will definitely want to see Geoff Johns’ take on the DC Universe in an extended segment that has yet to air. Additionally, there’s the issue of who’s faster: Superman or Santa Claus and more recently a pretty funny bit between Green Lantern and Sinestro.

While most of the Adult Swim is not aimed at me (or I find particularly entertaining or funny), this is brilliant, knowing humor that I adore and so should you.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Just Kill Kyle Rayner

Typing that title hurt. A lot. It’s been stated here time and again: I am a Kyle Rayner fan. Here I sit, sarcasm sitting in its glass jar next to me, legitimately about to make the argument that my favorite character in comics be given a dirt nap… and I don’t mean the Steve Rogers–Bruce Wayne dirt nap kiddos. I mean the Gwen Stacy sleep of the pulpy gods. But why, you ask, would I suggest such a fate to the character that inspired this bearded bloke to make comics himself? I paraphrase Dr. Denis Leary:

“Elvis Presley should have been shot in the head back in 1957. Somebody should’ve walked up behind Elvis in ‘57 with a 44 magnum, put the barrel of the gun right up to his brainstem and just pulled the trigger, so you can remember Elvis in a nice way. Wouldn’t it be nice to remember Elvis thin, with a big head of hair? Maybe that gold lame suit. Wouldn’t that be nice? Because how do you remember Elvis? You know how you remember Elvis. He was found in the toilet with his pants around his ankles and his big fat hairy sweaty king of rock and roll ass exposed to the world and his final piece of kingly evidence floating in the toilet behind him!”

And as I look on the career of Kyle, since 2005, I see a fat Elvis, crapping on the pot.

Kyle Rayner was brought into the fold of DC Comics in January of 1994. After they wrote off Hal Jordon as a villain-turned-martyr, they introduced new blood into the comic. Kyle represented everything Hal didn’t. He was timid, indecisive, and anything but fearless. All he was, was a kid with an amazing imagination. A kid given the ultimate toy, and a universe to save. For lack of a better M.O., Kyle Rayner was DC’s Spider-Man. An everykid being shown that with great power rings comes great responsibility. It was a bold move. And over ten years he was given free reign to learn, and grow. I grew with him. Kyle joined the Justice League (during the fantastic Morrison run), and became the POV character we could get behind. While Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were the serious heroes, Kyle was the kid who could still yell “cool!” Simply put, with Kyle Rayner, DC had the bold and inventive reboot they’re so desperate to have now.

In 2005, Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns decided that the comic book world had enjoyed too much of this “modern” era and declared the silver age be reborn! Hal Jordan was resurrected, and with it took every last ounce of thunder Kyle had mustered in his 10 year tenure as the torch bearer. This is the moment folks, where, had I the will power, I would politely take Rayner’s ring and hurl it into the sun. Ever since “Rebirth” Rayner has floundered, flopped, and died a slow and pitiful character death. Ask ole’ Geoff or Dan, and I’m sure they’d feed you a brilliant line on how he’s still “relevant and as awesome as ever!”… Let’s go to the tape!

Since 2005, Kyle Rayner has… uh… got chummy with Guy Gardner… and… became Ion until they gave that to another alien we’ve since forgotten about… and … uh… got taken into Parallax for an issue… put on a blue lantern ring for a day… oh! And at some point his mom died, and he lost 17 girlfriends. Some died. Some blew up. Others turned out to have daddy issues. Ain’t it riveting?

Simply put, with Hal as the lead green meanie, Kyle fails to matter in the great scheme of things. As Barry Allen came back put Wally West out of a job, so too, does Kyle remain a waste of ink. The whole concept of legacy is so strong at DC (far more than Marvel…), but with the reboot, and continual Geoff Johning of the multiverse… legacy is fast becoming nothing more than an MMO title.

And so, this September, DC rebooted its entire universe. With Hal continuing to be the star of the flagship series (mainly because he was the star in a wonderful flop of a film this summer…), and John Stewart (affirmative action at it’s best!) and Guy Gardner (because we all love angry Irish guys, right?) over on GL Corpse (pun intended), what was Kyle given to do? Well, with GL: New Guardians… He’s the top banana in an adventure that will undoubtedly:

1. Have him shack up with a random space chick. And then she’ll die.

2. Have him wear a plethora of rings, resulting in him changing costumes 10 more times.

3. Remove any semblance of his character, and have him shout various generically heroic things as he saves the day.

4. At some point, he’ll mention all the good things he’s done as a Green Lantern, reminding us Raynernauts that he mattered there, for a while.

5. He’ll grow a bitchin’ half-beard.

I’ve been through the first two issues of the series. I’ve yet to be impressed. It’s like a cattle call for all the last two years worth of Lantern D-listers, all brought together for yet-another-unforeseen-prophetic-battle. Rayner will end up working with Bleez (the slutty Red Lantern), Arkillo (the tongue-less Kilowog of the Sinestro Corps), the Orange jelly-bean thing from Larfleeze’s lantern, Fatality (the only character in the DCU to have even less to do since Kyle Rayner’s original run on GL), an Indigo Lantern (who we still know nothing about, nor care about at this point) and Saint Walker (all will be well, and have some milk!).

Two issues in and nothing has happened. Seriously. 40 pages of content that has seemingly set up a single final splashpage of him in some kind of White-Lantern getup. As if we haven’t seen that before?

Ultimately, if DC wanted to ‘shake things up’ with their reboot, it was the perfect time to shed some dead weight. Since the love affair with all things Silver Age is still in full swing, the world simply doesn’t need a Kyle Rayner. And as one of his biggest fans, I’d much rather have seen him retire his ring for a desk job… instead of continuing to not-matter in the grand scheme of things. He could take a seat next to Wally, and they could simply wait until the next crisis. Or until someone recalls why he mattered in the first place.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

NYCC 2011 Cosplay, Part 2: White Queen vs. Dark Phoenix, Catwoman, Dr. McNinja, and Two-Face

Still churning through some great photographs, although sadly my photos of Banana-Wolverine didn’t come out at all (just for the caption “In Canada, banana slices you! </yakovsmirnoff>”) but luckily, ComicsAlliance caught him.

But we have photos of everything else, from Astro Boy to Avengers, from Slave Leia (of course) to the littlest Sinestro, and Optimus Primes both large and sub-Optimus… let’s take a look!


Green Lantern

1000156673brdlefo-300x402-6397171The problem with Green Lantern is that for something that was epic in concept, the film felt ordinary. It appears the producers looked at Iron Man and decided that was their template, retaining the look and feel from the comics, trying to ground it in reality with a likeable hero and monumental threat requiring the good guy to overcome his personal demons to save the day. The film cratered as a result, putting Warner Bros on the spot and casting a shadow over the new DC Entertainment administration. The film returns this week on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video complete with digital copy and some neat new bells and whistles.

The transfer is glorious and the CGI stuff really looks swell here but little of this sheen can mask the misfires, including the horrible GL mask Ryan Reynolds is forced to have painted over his nose. His Hal Jordan was recruited to join an intergalactic law enforcement corps, acknowledging the existence of extra-terrestrial life for the first time and rather than explore what all that meant, they kept dragging the audience back to Earth.


As a result, we got one scene of Hal being trained by Kilowog, but later hear the big poozer take credit for successfully preparing him for duty. We see Sinestro (Mark Strong) as the first among equals without being given any clue how the Corps worked as an operating unit or anyone really explaining things to Hal, like how often he needs to charge his ring (and recite the oath each time). We take no time to share with Hal the sense of wonder of meeting 3599 other lifeforms nor does anyone sit him down and say, “Hey, in your sector keep an eye out for the…”

That could have set this film apart from the Marvel Universe series and allowed Green Lantern to stand tall as a unique feature. Also missing was a memorable score (seemingly a dying artform), a theme for the GL Corps that could have stood alongside the theme to Superman or the Imperial March. James Newton Howard missed a terrific opportunity for immortality here. (more…)


THE COMICS CONNECTION-A column discussing, exploring, and theorizing about the link between Pulp and Comics- By Joshua Pantalleresco


Green Lantern is one of the richest concepts in superheroes. I mean, just how awesome is it to talk about someone that has a ring that can make any wish come true as long as you have the willpower for it?

The concept has evolved since the beginning. Before there was Abin Sur, before the guardians, the corps, Sinestro and all the mythology we know today, Green Lantern was originally a riff on Aladdin. It was a magic ring that was part of an old Chinese prophecy. It came to earth in the form of a meteor, promising three things; death, life, and power. The meteor killed a village, restored a man to sanity, and finally fell into the hands of our hero.

In the wake of a train wreck caused by one of Alan Scott’s competitors during a trial, Alan finds a lantern and by talking to the green flame inside it he learned how to make a ring. He fashions a costume and seeks revenge of Dekker, the man that sabotaged his train. After defeating him, Alan Scott feels the call of destiny and decides to become a hero. He forges his costume and becomes the Green Lantern.

Like the Shadow or Batman before him, Alan emerges from the tragedy a changed man. He becomes a larger than life figure and battles the underworld, whether they were mobsters or the truly villainous Solomon Grundy.

That isn’t to say there wasn’t a light hearted side to the character. When he first moved to Gotham City, Alan Scott met Dolby Dickles, who would become his sidekick and drove a cab named “Goitrude”, a rocket powered cab, which would signal emergencies to the Green Lantern. A lot of these stories were more light hearted and fun. Dolby added much needed levity to the series when needed.

Contrary to the space stuff in the more modern incarnations, the original Green Lantern dealt with more traditional crime or adventure stories with a touch of the supernatural. It wasn’t until the sixties until we came closer to the concepts we know and love today.

Hal Jordan is a test pilot that finds an alien spaceship crash landing to earth. Inside, a mortally wounded Green Lantern, Abin Sur, tells Hal that he has been chosen to be a Green Lantern. With his sidekick, Tom Kalamaku, mechanic and able bodied assistant, Hal battled foes such as Hector Hammond, Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Doctor Polaris.

This version of Green Lantern has more similarities to The Lensmen than say The Shadow. The two strongest connections are The Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe. While they don’t try to breed a solution to their problems, the Guardians do share the evolved tendencies of the Arisians and the mental energies projected by the Arisians could be similar to the energy projected by both the guardians and the power rings.

As for the Corps themselves, they are at the very least influenced by the Lensmen. Although DC initially denied it, two corps members were named Arisia and Eddore in honor of the Lensmen series. Arisia still appears regularly in the pages of Green Lantern.

Through many revamps and reincarnations, Green Lantern’s mythology has grown and expanded into what we know and love today, the concept both from its beginnings with Alan Scott, to today with Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and company can trace its roots back to a pulpy beginning.

DENNIS O’NEIL: Green Is The Color Of My Lantern

Now let’s see – where were we? Last time we decided that parallel evolution caused a duplicate David Niven… well, almost duplicate; there is the matter of that magenta complexion… a duplicate David Niven to evolve on the planet Korugar, because parallel evolution will have its way and Sinestro’s mom was so smitten with the magenta Dave’s moustache that she insisted her son grow a similar one. Or something like that. (And from here, Freudians can have their field day.)

Let’s call the moustache question settled, even if it isn’t.

Just two more items on the Green Lantern movie agenda and we can tuck it into our memory banks, at least until the sequel appears.

First, the Guardians. I dimly remember that when I was writing the Green Lantern comic book, I had the tiniest bit of a niggle over the Guardians. I mean, these aren’t just any lower case-g guardians…these are the big, honkin’ Guardians Of The Universe. The wisest, smartest, most advanced beings in the…well – in the Universe! And yet – look at them! Little blue fellas in red night shirts. Stately? Majestic? Not a bit of it. They look like first cousins to Smurfs.

Okay, I know, I know…maybe the most powerful being in the universe, if such exists, is the size of a microbe and looks like Elmer Fudd. I’m a fan of Mr. Mind, the criminal genius who bedeviled Captain Marvel and who, when his identity was finally revealed, proved to be a worm. But aren’t we allowed a bit of imagination here? Can’t our Guardians resemble something we can relate to when we’re thinking ageless galactic savants?

Here, we must offer kudos to the Green Lantern film makers. Without changing the basic design of the Guardians – still little blue guys in red gowns – they art-directed a certain gloominess and gravitas into the fellas and, if my aging eyes did their job properly, at least one gal, and these worked for the characters and the narrative. Watching the film Guardians, I had one of those uncomfortable why didn’t we think of this moments.