Here’s a secret that’s being kept from viewers of this weekend’s Green Lantern:
Green Lantern was created by four men. None of them get credited in the movie.
Bill Finger and Martin Nodell created the original Golden Age Green Lantern, a man named Alan Scott whose weakness was wood. Nodell really did a lot of the heavy lifting on the look of the character, taking his inspiration from a signalman on the New York City subway. Back then a guy would stand with a lantern and signal the trains when it was time to go, and his lantern would go from red to green.
Bill Finger was the writer who worked with Nodell (who was doing his art under the pen name Matt Dellon at the time because comics were such a lowly form); you may recognize Finger as the guy who co-created Batman, The Joker, and more.
Superhero comics were on the wane in the early 50s, and Alan Scott made his last appearance in 1951. Green Lantern lay dormant for most of the rest of the decade, until fellow Golden Ager The Flash was reimagined in 1956 with a new identity and costume and became a smash hit. The Silver Age was born, and in 1959, in the pages of Showcase comics, the new Green Lantern debuted.
This version of Green Lantern was named Hal Jordan, and where Alan Scott had a magical lantern, Jordan would be rooted in science fiction. That was the decision of editor Julius Schwartz, who was a huge fan of the genre.
Writer John Broome helped create the new Green Lantern, including his larger mythology, like the Guardians of the Universe. And the legendary Gil Kane designed Hal Jordan, creating the basic costume that shows up in the new movie.
These men, as far as I can tell, get no credit in the film. The character of Green Lantern is credited simply to DC Comics. This is shameful; while comic book characters are the equivalent of snowballs rolling downhill, made up of the contributions of dozens of artists and writers, they all begin someplace. These creators should be at the very least credited in the movies that spring from their creations. Of all my problems with Green Lantern, this is the most serious.