Sunday, July 1, 2012

Green Lantern: Green Lantern takes Giant Step

Cover to DC Comics' Last Day of the Justice So...Cover to DC Comics' Last Day of the Justice Society Special. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s not the most surprising coming out of all time, but it’s definitely one of the biggest. He’s super. He wears a skintight green leotard and a flashy ring. He’s a powerful part of the Justice Society. And yep, he’s gay.

Every superhero has a few reboots in him. The nearly 72-year-old Alan Scott — a k a the Green Lantern — has already gone through numerous incarnations in his evil-fighting existence. He’s been married. He’s had kids. He’s inhabited an alternate universe. You know, the usual life stuff. But his much-ballyhooed reinvention in DC Comics’ “Earth Two” No. 2 is a milestone in comics history. Because now the hunky blond is an openly gay man who gets to kiss his boyfriend and propose marriage to him. He’s just your ordinary hero, balancing his private life and the fate of the planet. Hell, yeah.

It’s been a good year to be a gay comic book character. Later this month, Northstar, who made history 20 years ago by becoming one of Marvel’s first gay characters, will marry his partner, Kyle. And earlier this year, Archie Andrews’ compatriot and Riverdale, U.S.A.’s first openly gay citizen, Kevin Keller, married his African-American boyfriend. One Million Moms had a predictable fit. The issue sold out.

Shaking up any franchise is a time-honored strategy of luring in new readers — and essential for economic survival. But just because something is a smart business move doesn’t mean it isn’t also awesome.

If we assume the universe is riddled with both superheroes and regular small-town citizens, why wouldn’t some of them be gay? Because it has taken so long to acknowledge that, there’s nothing to do now but celebrate that it’s finally happening.

It helps that Alan, Northstar and Kevin are all monogamous, decent do-gooders. Imagine how far we’ll have come when gay characters are so commonplace that they can be ubervillans. too. (Though James Moriarty did pretend to be gay in last year’s season of “Sherlock.”)

Meanwhile, simply by being present, by becoming part of the vernacular of comic book culture, the new characters are giving gay readers images to identify with. They’re also sending straight readers the necessary message that gay people are no longer going to be invisible, even in the most fanciful, fictional, two-dimensional places. And though the Green Lantern may exist in an alternate universe, in this one, in his own mighty way, he’s truly a hero

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Green Lantern: Green Lantern Going Gay to Help Boost Stagnant Comic Book Business

Green Lanterns of two worlds: The Silver Age H...Green Lanterns of two worlds: The Silver Age Hal Jordan meets the Golden Age Alan Scott in Green Lantern #40 (Oct. 1965). Cover art by Gil Kane & Murphy Anderson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blockbuster movies like ‘The Dark Knight’ rake in billions, but sales of the comic books on which they’re based have been stalled at $670 million annually for years. DC’s gay Green Lantern gimmick is part of an effort to freshen aging characters and boost flagging sales.

In New York’s scorching summer of 1940, Alan Scott toiled on the railway lines. His prospects were limited and his job, perilous. In mid-July, a tragic bridge collapse would have ended his story—were it not for the appearance of a magic space lamp. Alan Scott picked up the powerful lantern, and took its name for seven decades of green flaming and Justice League-ing.

Last week, DC Comics announced that it will reintroduce Alan—the first of at least six Green Lanterns, depending on how you count—as an openly gay man. Normally, when an octogenarian comes out of the closet, it’s fodder for an endearing Christopher Plummer performance. But DC’s PR move is a window into a changing industry. It’s a decision that may have less to do with diversity than it does with new dynamics in the comic-book business, which has seen about as many booms, busts, “zooms,” and “thwacks” as its characters. Switching up sexual orientation is a cunning way of compensating for flagging sales and aging characters. In the meantime, the industry is rebalancing: toward independent publishers, author ownership, and cross-platform digital tie-ins. As small studios sap talent from the giant conglomerates, comics are changing—and there’s a lot of money to be made in the process—just not in the comics themselves.

The business world of comic books is a curious place. The “big two,” DC and Marvel, own the rights to pretty much all the superheroes you know, but most of the artists and writers who actually created them—and those who now draw them—have no intellectual property. Although most artists would love to start at DC or Marvel, the comics’ classic heroes just aren’t selling as well as they used to. In the meantime, investors and creators are seeing major opportunities at independent studios, like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and Man of Action. In the past year, these groups’ successes have inched up comic sales for the first time in several years, bringing other titles with them.

The heroes of yesteryear—Batman, Superman, Iron Man—still have tremendous value. But today, their worth has almost nothing to do with their printed personae. All the power is in the merchandise or on the silver screen. Marvel is owned by Disney, and DC, by TimeWarner. To the parent corporations and their mega movie studios, the core comic business is practically a rounding error. According to Tony Wible of Janney Capital Markets—who has covered Marvel, DC, and their parent companies—the comics are “too small to move the needle.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Green Lantern: Is Green Lantern #0 Among the Worst Superhero Redesigns of All Time?

English: Cosplay: Sinestro Corps, Larflize, Re...English: Cosplay: Sinestro Corps, Larflize, Red Lantern Corps vs. Star Saphire, Green Lantern Corps. Dragon Con 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Superhero costumes get redesigned all the time, for any number of reasons. There are story reasons, trademark reasons, merchandising reasons and, once upon a time, it used to drive enough interest to change it for sales reasons all on its own.

While it’s unclear what motivation, exactly, there is for adding a new Green Lantern–an apparently-Arab one with a tattoo and a pistol in his hand–or for redesigning his costume to look more like an S&M gimp suit filtered through Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass, that cover jumps right out at me as one of the worst of the 55 mainstream superhero titles DC will publish in September.

Here’s the thing about superhero redesigns: good ones will often stick with you for a while, but then just fade into the background of the character’s look and stop being something you really think about. Because of the cyclical nature of mainstream superhero comics, no change tends to take hold for long and so the bad ones are forgettable. It’s only the truly atocious ones that remain a part of the conversation forever.

So here’s a look at some of the worst, most misguided and hideous superhero redesigns of all time. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an authority on the matter–the last time I talked about some awful hairstyles, almost all of the readers disagreed with me, and I actually have a soft spot in my heart for a couple of the looks on this list, which are included for the simple reason that they’re objectively bad in the opinions of the broad majority of the audience.

Keep in mind, by the way, that this is just about the actual design aesthetic, not about whether or not the stories worked. Something like the ghost/angel Punisher doesn’t count, becuase frankly while it was the worst idea ever foisted on a character who had seen his share of bad ideas, it didn’t look sufficiently different from his regular outfit to really stick out on the shelf as monumentally ugly.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Green Lantern: Green Lantern Might Reboot

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern.Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now that Warner Bros. and DC's Justice League movie is back on track, lots of little details are emerging about the rest of their superhero slate. That includes Green Lantern, which could be facing a reboot already.

Variety has the inside track on the DC projects, with the latest word being that the studio is "figuring out whether to bring back Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern in a sequel to last year's actioner or relaunch the character in a completely new way." Michael Goldenberg, who co-wrote the first film, was commissioned to write Green Lantern 2 back in 2010, a year before the first film debuted. It would seem, however, that script may never see the light of day. (Don't cry for Goldenberg. He's now on the newly re-energized Wonder Woman script, as reported earlier this week.)

Obviously, the notion of rebooting Green Lantern doesn't come as much of a surprise considering the financial and critical hit Warners took with the film. To spitball for a second here, maybe the studio figures they can just relaunch the character in the Justice League movie, perhaps going with the John Stewart version in order to bring some diversity to the team?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Green Lantern: Rise of the Red Lanterns Coming to DVD

Green Lantern: The Animated SeriesGreen Lantern: The Animated Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Green Lantern: The Animated Series, currently part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block (Saturdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT), is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and animation legend Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series; DC Universe Animated Original Movies). The two-disc DVD set featuring the first 13 episodes of the CG-animated action series will be available on August 28, 2012 for $19.97 SRP.

“Green Lantern: The Animated Series has really taken us into a realm we hadn’t explored before: our first completely CG-animated series,” enthuses Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, at Warner Bros. Animation. “Like Teen Titans and Batman: The Animated Series, it’s an incredible, groundbreaking action series, combining the legendary instincts of Emmy®-winning executive producer Bruce Timm and the incredible artistry of WBA’s CG animators. It’s a beautifully rendered, epic space adventure with a scale that’s simply breathtaking.”

“With the release of the live-action movie last summer and the wildly popular Cartoon Network series, Green Lantern mania is at an all-time high,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Vice President of Family and Animation Marketing and Partner Brands. “Warner Bros. Animation is known for creating outstanding animated series, and we are thrilled to be able to bring these new super hero adventures to DVD.”

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Green Lantern: McDonald’s launches Green Lantern happy meals

Happy Meal logo, EnglishHappy Meal logo, English (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Fast food restaurant chain, McDonald’s celebrates the arrival of the new Happy Meal Green Lantern: The Animated Series, in a special way. As part of this promotion, McDonald’s restaurants in Trinidad will light up in green, allusive to the characters and plot of this popular TV series. During the promotion period, guests will experience the Green Lantern effect when they visit McDonald’s at night, as the exterior lighting will change to green. Additionally, kids will be treated to free face painting at all three restaurants (The Falls at West Mall, Grand Bazaar and Cipriani Blvd) on and May 5, from 2 pm to 4 pm. A release from the company stated that as part of new menu innovations introduced in McDonald’s, the Happy Meal now has more vitamins and minerals and less sodium, sugar and calories.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Green Lantern: Green Lantern The Movie review

The Green LanternThe Green Lantern (Image via
When I heard Ryan Reynolds was attached to play the titular role of the Green Lantern, I didn't complain. I knew he was a good actor so I had no problem with the casting choice. Last year prior to the film's release I copped Green Lantern: Secret Origins to fuel my anticipation for the film. A week before the release I see a plethora of reviews on the net filled with nothing but disappointment about the film. When I saw the film for myself I understood why.

I had high hopes for the film, very high hopes. The film could have been the new Star Wars. It could have been brilliant, but the film was plagued with thinly written dialogue from a script that elicited uncertainty and clumsiness on the big screen. What happened?! There was a good director, there was plenty of time to get the story right. Geoff Johns was attached as a consultant for the film!

Maybe there was a disunity among the people involved in the film, maybe the pressure got to everyone. We may never truly know. What we do know however is that Mark Strong was a solid choice for Sinestro and the choice of Blake Lively as Carol Ferris was equivalent to Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in Superman Returns.

As you already know, the movie was an embarrassment to Warner Bros. It was a critical and commercial failure. The chance of seeing a Justice League movie has never seemed more unreleastic until the Green Lantern movie hit theatres. If I'm honest, the film had it's good moments but they were few. Marvel dominated the theatres with Captain America and Thor. Thor was relatively an unknown but the movie raked in 450 million in the box office. There was no excuse for the failure of 'Green Lantern'.

November last year I decided to watch the pilot for Green Lantern the Animated series. I was more frustrated. I was frustrated because the likes of Bruce Timm brought to us 'Green Lantern' on a television budget. The TV series was much better than I hoped for. It is simply awesome, colourful, funny, well written and chuck-full of brilliant voice talents. This was true entertainment. From the pilot is was obvious the show had no intention of shying away from the theme of death.

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