09 February 2010

No1 Comics: Green Lantern in ALL AMERICAN COMICS History

If there's one thing comic book people love, it's comic books with a big #1 on their covers.   A 'Number 1' of anything has always been magical (except when it comes to potty-training, of course) - and where comics are concerned, everyone knows that initial numeral can mean big bucks.   Take for instance Action Comics #1: published back in 1938, this was the comic book that invented superheroes and introduced the world to Superman for the first time.  Given its age, it's also understandably quite scarce - and of the 100 remaining copies of the comic known to exist, 80% of them have been restored to some degree. Those that haven't, well, are valued over $400,000.  In fact, a nearly-perfect copy of Action #1 -- the ultimate rarity and Holy Grail to all collectors -- found in 1966 is now going up on the auction block. If you've got the cash, then we give you full permission to leave -- go right now! - and place your bid.  [For the full scoop and all the Action, go HERE...then spend your half-million HERE.]

Aside from how the fortunate part with their fortunes, Action's value speaks volumes about the mythology* of comic book first issues.  They're (a) worth a lot (b) old and of historical value (c) scarce (d) introduce a major character. Of course, not every major character comes on stage for the first time in a 'Number One' comic book. In fact, today's hero, the very first Green Lantern, is a perfect example of which we speak, but more on him in a second.

'Number One' comic books no longer have the value of their distant ancestors, but they're great places to begin a story,  as most stories usually begin at the beginning. They make great prizes (as every dabbler who played our Winder One-derland last Christmas knows), and they're sweet inspirations for abbracadabbling's latest recurring blog, too. 

*As for why we call it a mythology, the crash of the comics bubble in the late 1980's and early 1990's explains it better than we ever could - more HERE and in a future blog of No.1 Comics!
DC Comics' Golden Age heroes - the oldest and the first of the super men and women, most of whom have modern day successors of the same name - are back in action and as popular  today as they were seventy years ago. While many of these early characters never fully disappeared,  their fifteen minutes of fame had long since been over - until just recently. What's long been true in politics and presidential campaigns now holds for superheroes (and the sales of the comic books they star in): experience - being on the front lines - counts.  Interestingly, the experience and longevity of old superheroes has become meaningful not just in the story lines of younger generation comic book heroes or their titles like Teen Titans and Justice Society of America, but to comics readers as well.  Beyond their worth within DC's fictional-world, the company's first Golden cache of characters are new to younger readers, nostalgia to older ones. For creators, these elder heroes come with enough history to be written well and with enough holes for new stories to now fill.

None of this could be truer than for Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern.  Initially created by Martin Nodell, a young artist who found inspiration in the sight of a New York Subway employee waving a red lantern and a green lantern to conduct train traffic,. Taking that vision and borrowing heavily from the tale of Aladdin, Nodell created a mystical crime-fighter who got his powers from the flame of a strange lamp. Along with his writing partner Bill Finger, Nodell gave Green Lantern his first appearance in All-American Comics #16.
Alan Scott's Green Lantern persona has been much-manipulated over the years, especially as his later-day successor, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, has gained popularity and mythos.  But the modern day Lantern's fame has worked  both ways, too -- with Green Lantern ranking among today's best-selling comic books and a Green Lantern major motion picture due in 2011, renewed interest in the original ring wielder is on the rise.

Reclaimed fame has also been found by Alan Scott Green Lantern's many team-mates of The Justice Society of America, the very first superhero team to be portrayed in comic books.
No better example of the team's current stature could be given than last Friday's two-hour Smallville movie 'Absolute Justice', in which young Clark Kent meets several of the Society members. While mentioned by name, only Green Lantern's ring makes an actual appearance in the episode -- either an Easter-egg or foreshadowing, yet all-together appropriate and nonetheless validating.
The Comic Book Bin has drafted an excellent summary of Alan Scott, The Golden Age Green Lantern's history, which can be found HERE. For fans needing a more detailed biography, we've got that for you HERE. And more information on All-American Comics, which later became part of today's DC Comics, is located HERE. Below, a page from All-American Comics Issue #17 and Green Lantern's second adventure. (Hint: Right-click to make readable!)

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