How The First Green Lantern Was Almost A Movie Star

Next June sees the release of a film based on the Green Lantern comic book series. Interestingly, the Lantern franchise has always had a small connection to the motion picture industry.

In 1940, Martin Nodell was a strugling artist looking for a comic book idea. While waiting for a New York subway train, he saw a subway employee holding two lanterns; a red lantern warning the train to stop for track work and a green one to give the train the “all clear.”

With the green lantern in mind, Nodell was reminded of the story of Aladdin. Drawing inspiration from this tale, Nodell created a superhero who wielded a magic ring that gained power from a magic lamp, in this case a green lantern.

With the character designed, Nodell planned to give the character the secret identity of Alan Ladd, as a nod to the Aladdin story. However, this was soon changed to avoid confusion with the actor of the same name. Alan Ladd the actor would go on to star in films such as Shane, The Blue Dahlia and The Great Gatsby. Meanwhile, Alan Ladd the Green Lantern would become Alan Scott and continues to appear in DC Comics to this day.

Funnily enough this is not the only connection between the Lanterns and Hollywood. When a new Green Lantern series was started in the late 1950s, artist Gil Kane would model the new hero Hal Jordan (who will star in the upcoming film) and his archnemesis Sinestro after the actors Paul Newman and David Niven.


About Michael Darling
Collector of the interesting and absurd.

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