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30th October 2014

Addressing Arguments Against Using John Stewart as the Cinematic Green Lantern – Part 2

Green Lantern JS!

This article is a continuation on an earlier article, titled, Addressing Arguments Against Using John Stewart as the Cinematic Green Lantern. I only addressed two arguments in that essay, and though they were some of the more regular points, there exist others that I’ve seen.

Let’s jump right in. The first argument this time is that “John Stewart doesn’t have any villains.”

This is, of course, not true. What is very interesting to me is that these arguments often come from people who profess to be knowledgeable about Green Lantern. I have reason to believe that many of them only really know the Geoff Johns run of Green Lantern, which is only a fraction of the mythology that, interestingly, more or less ignores John Stewart.

Green Lantern isn’t like most other superheroes, which is probably one of the reasons I find it the most interesting mythology. Green Lantern doesn’t need to be bound to a city, fighting the same villains over and over, like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and so on. Green Lantern is a cosmic defender, protecting an extremely broad and diverse universe from a wide variety of threats. In John Stewart’s adventures, he typically deals with entire hostile alien races, not a few people in a city sporting weird costumes. Though, he deals with the latter from time to time, too. A trip through John’s history will reveal such antagonists as the Horde from the “Mosaic” arc, the Manhunters, Thanagarians, and Despero and the Kalinorans from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and the Keepers, Third Army, Durlans, Khund, and Shadow Empire from the New 52 comic books. John Stewart has absolutely no shortage of adversaries to fight.

Indeed, when John Stewart is seen starring in comic books, he usually winds up fighting. If he has no one to fight, why is he always fighting in his stories? All enemies of the Green Lantern Corps, from the Spider Guild, the Manhunters, Durlans, Keepers, Sinestro, and so on, are, by default, enemies of Green Lantern John Stewart.

Speaking of Sinestro, a sub-argument of the above one is that “John Stewart has no connection to Sinestro and Star Sapphire. Therefore, by using John, two long time Green Lantern villains are lost.”

Actually, no they’re not, because we’ve seen both Sinestro and Star Sapphire done with John Stewart and without Hal Jordan in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Static Shock. The explanations we are given about Sinestro in Static Shock and Justice League are very faithful to the comic books. Sinestro is an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps and hates all Green Lanterns. John Stewart helped take him down. Does this dishonor the comic books? Not at all. In comics, Sinestro is an enemy of the Corps and John has helped defeat him more than once.

Regarding Star Sapphire, both she and John Stewart have an extensive history together. Ferris Aircraft is not even lost if Hal Jordan is removed from the story, because John worked for Carol Ferris just like Hal Jordan did. In comics, John was an architect flown in from Detroit to California to help with the rebuilding of the Ferris Air grounds after the Demolition Team wrecked them. Star Sapphire killed John Stewart’s wife, Katma Tui, so she was actually John Stewart’s most hated enemy at a time. Speaking of Katma Tui, she was Sinestro’s direct successor, so there is a huge connection that could easily be exploited.

I think it’s really weird that some people act as though John Stewart has basically no connection to the Green Lantern mythology when he has been in the comics for over forty years. Some paint a picture to where it would seem John has spent that entire time locked in a dark closet.

Another argument I’ve seen is that “The Green Lantern mythology revolves around Hal Jordan. Thus, Green Lantern cannot be done without Hal Jordan.”

This, again, is not true at all, because we’ve seen Green Lantern done without Hal Jordan on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and it was wildly successful. Well, to be fair, Hal Jordan appeared with an extremely brief cameo that was explained away as being caused by a time paradox, which had no bearing on the plot, whatsoever. Hal Jordan, more or less, didn’t exist in that universe and that was the most successful thing that any incarnation of Green Lantern has EVER BEEN A PART OF. So, yes, Green Lantern can, and has, been done without Hal Jordan to great success. It’s been proven.

Remember, Green Lantern doesn’t work like most superheroes, so it is useless and incorrect to hold him to the same principles other heroes abide by. Green Lantern does not depend on any one character the way Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman do. The core of Green Lantern is the power ring, the Guardians of the Universe, and the Green Lantern Corps. As long as those concepts are present in some fashion, a Green Lantern story can easily be told. The different characters add different takes and perspectives to the mythology, but by no means is the entire mythology contingent on any one protagonist. I stress again that Green Lantern technically cannot entirely revolve around Hal Jordan, because we’ve seen Green Lantern done completely without him. There is a whole rich world there to be explored, which doesn’t at all rely on the Hal Jordan character.

Another argument is that “By not using Hal Jordan, you lose all his relationships.”

And to that, I say, “So what?”
I have personally never found Hal Jordan’s relationships with Tom Kalmaku, Carol Ferris, Green Arrow, Barry Allen, or whoever else especially riveting. Audiences got a taste of Hal Jordan’s relationships in the 2011 Green Lantern movie, and they failed to impress.

With John Stewart, there is potential to bring other relationships to the screen, such as his romance with Hawkgirl. Geek elitists will no doubt argue that the Green Lantern/Hawkgirl romance is not “Green Lantern,” but taken from the Justice League cartoon, which, by some bizarre twisted logic, invalidates the whole thing.

This is what those people need to understand:
NO ONE BUT THEM CARES ABOUT THAT SEMANTIC. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s romance is a famous, beloved story, even more so than Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Audiences don’t care that it didn’t originate from the comic books, or that it didn’t originate in something branded “Green Lantern.” Comic book nerds need to let go of this geeky elitism, because it serves absolutely no purpose other than to turn away potential fans from the hobby and to perpetuate the anal, basement dwelling image that comic book fans have.

The fact of the matter is that the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons have a much, much larger impact than any of Hal Jordan’s comics, and to continue to shun them out of misguided, misplaced elitism is the biggest, most unnecessary folly that can be committed regarding these issues. It’s because of that closed minded mindset that we wound up with the 200 million dollar flop that was the 2011 Green Lantern movie, which presented a familiar name to audiences, with an unfamiliar setting and unfamiliar character that they did not respond well to at all. There were many “regular people” who knew the name Green Lantern, but only intense comic book geeks had any knowledge or appreciation for the name “Hal Jordan.”

The reality of the situation is that no one cares about geeky Green Lantern history aside from hardcore Green Lantern fans, which is a relatively small group of people. No one cares that Hal Jordan came first, or about Carol Ferris. They don’t even know Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner exist. When you tell this to these elitist fans, they act as though you are denigrating their religion, but it is actually just common sense and reality. Despite the success of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern comics, the pool of comic book readers just isn’t all that big. In other words, Geoff Johns and Hal Jordan are big fish in really little ponds.

All these “regular people” care about is what they know and like, and where Green Lantern is concerned, for many people, that is the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. Those cartoons have had a very far ranging impact that the comic books just can’t compete with, and they’re universally acclaimed and loved. The people at DC Comics and the elitist nerd fans need to just accept this reality instead of trying their darndest to deny it. I have a feeling that Warner Bros. realizes this truth, especially after the 200 million dollar disaster that was the 2011 Green Lantern film.

Hopefully this article will provide food for thought for readers, and also make things easier for John Stewart fans when confronted by stubborn and deluded fans of Hal Jordan.



25th October 2014

IGN Supports John Stewart as the Cinematic Green Lantern

IGN

IGN throws their support behind John Stewart for being the cinematic Green Lantern in their feature:
I’ve Got Issues: How to Make the New Green Lantern Movie Work

John has been getting huge support from both fans and critics, more than any other incarnation of Green Lantern, by far! Using John Stewart really is the most logical thing to do, and it’s not a difficult conclusion to arrive at. The last Green Lantern movie was one of the movie industry’s biggest bombs ever, and the character that was the star of that film –Hal Jordan– will be tainted by that. To dissociate the brand from that failure moving forward, the wisest course of action is to go with John Stewart. He’s already a hugely known and loved character from his large roles in animation.

I do have some thoughts about certain other points in the video. One of the commentators points out that WB/DC has put their support behind Hal Jordan in recent years. That is true, but a lot of that was due to them gearing up for the terrible Green Lantern movie, and then doing projects meant to coincide with the movie’s media push, such as Green Lantern: The Animated Series. With that whole endeavor proving a giant bust, it’s time to switch gears and go back to John Stewart, which I feel they’ve steadily been doing. John is starting to elbow his way back into additional media, and was chosen to be Green Lantern in certain comic book projects, such as Smallville: Lantern, and Futures End #0.

Also, I don’t agree with the point one of the commentators makes about John Stewart not having any good comic book stories. Not at all. In my opinion, John Stewart has some of the best comic book stories among the Lanterns. The character totally rocked the ’80s with many great stories written by Steve Englehart. The early ’90s Green Lantern: Mosaic is one of the best comic series I’ve ever read. Though not comics, in the 2000s, John was kicking serious butt on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons, which were defining runs that introduced millions of people not only to that character, but the whole Green Lantern concept. Currently, John Stewart is starring in some of the best Green Lantern stories I’ve ever read in Van Jensen’s Green Lantern Corps.

What I believe the fellow may be referring to is the Geoff Johns period of Green Lantern. If so, then I agree that John Stewart wasn’t interesting during that period, but I believe that’s because the writer did not like him and was very partial to the Hal Jordan version of Green Lantern. Thankfully, that’s over.

I think WB is going to have to use John. It makes too much sense and there’s way too much demand for him. John has only ever succeeded. Every comic run, every video game, and every cartoon he’s starred in has been a success. Warner Bros. would be fools to disregard that and the large, passionate following calling out for the character.

Take a look at the IGN article in the link below:
I’ve Got Issues: How to Make the New Green Lantern Movie Work



24th October 2014

Addressing Arguments Against Using John Stewart as the Cinematic Green Lantern

Green Lantern JS!

With the announcement of a new Green Lantern movie scheduled for 2020, many people are getting into figurative camps, supporting which Green Lantern they think should be the focus of the film, and a member of the Justice League. It always comes down to two characters above all others; John Stewart and Hal Jordan. Naturally, I am 1000% behind John Stewart. In browsing the net, I have seen some arguments in favor of Hal Jordan, and I’d like to address a couple of the more consistent ones, and bring out why I feel they don’t hold much water.

First up is that Hal Jordan has more stories to adapt than John Stewart.

I will concede that is true! Hal Jordan does have more comic book stories centered on him than John. However, this argument seems to carry the implication that comic book movies are direct adaptations of the source material. It is actually very rare that they are. This argument also implies that people cannot simply write new stories that accommodate the John Stewart character. As if writing stories for this particular character is virtually impossible. If that was truly the case, we wouldn’t have episodes of Justice League that are focused on him, like “Blackest Night,” “Hearts and Minds,” and “Starcrossed.” None of those events ever happened in comics, and yet they’re famous stories. The show had writers that wrote for the character. It was really simple. I don’t see why the films must be different.

I think we should consider why Hal Jordan has been focused on much more than John Stewart. There are layers of reasons, such as Hal Jordan being created first, writers and editors preferring Hal Jordan, and so on. However, underneath all of those, the core reason is because the products that DC Comics has been putting out for decades upon decades have been made primarily by, and primarily for, White males, which Hal Jordan is depicted as being. For this great length of time, appealing to other demographics has not been anything they strived to do with any great effort.

Given that the comics that birthed Hal Jordan were the product of a society that was very much rooted in racism, it was virtually impossible for John Stewart –a Black character- to be a huge showcase in that climate. When the Green Lantern series was rebooted in 1960, in the United States, people who looked like the John Stewart character had to drink out of specialized water fountains away from the normal ones, had to sit in the back of buses, and were refused service at certain eating establishments, all because of the way they looked. What are the chances that there would be an idealized superhero that looked like John Stewart and was the star of a popular comic book series back then?

The question, then, is should this system where only Whites are idealized heroes be preserved? Should Black characters be denigrated because they never had the opportunities of the considerably more privileged White ones? This system, which is deeply rooted in the industry and the fanbase, is built on the notion of White male power fantasy.

Now it’s 2014, and we live in a different time, when people are fortunately much less ignorant, on the whole. In actuality, people of today have even accepted and been acclimated to a Black Green Lantern, more so than the White one. This is because progressive people (Bruce Timm, James Tucker, Dwayne McDuffie, et al.) gave the Black character an opportunity, instead of holding him back because of an outmoded “tradition,” which is ultimately rooted in racist ideals.

If Black characters are continually held back for White ones, because, “That’s the way it was sixty years ago,” we may as well come out and call superheroes a White male pastime and be done with it.

Another argument I see is that too much time and money was spent on making Hal Jordan viable. Therefore, WB should stick with him.

This one is, frankly, very foolish to me. First of all, a lot of time and money was spent building up John Stewart in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and related merchandise, yet DC and WB didn’t have a problem completely shafting him when the 2011 Green Lantern movie was made, or in their numerous direct to DVD animated films, or in Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and so on. So, why should Hal Jordan get preferential treatment now?

What is even more unfair about this reasoning is that a lot of time and money was lost in backing the Hal Jordan character! The big budget film lost money, the merchandise didn’t sell, and the cartoon didn’t last long. Why should WB risk throwing even more money down that funnel? Why should Hal Jordan continue to get all these chances when John Stewart has never failed them, and when legions of fans are dying to see him on the big screen?

This argument just smacks of White privilege to me. It seems to support the idea that a White person/character can fail, and continue to get opportunity after opportunity, yet a Black person/character can actually SUCCEED and still get all their opportunities taken away.

This is why I will boycott the DC films if Hal Jordan is chosen over John Stewart. I simply will not accept that racist exercise. John Stewart has only ever succeeded for WB, and for him to continue to be disenfranchised… well… it smacks of racism! It smacks of trying to hold onto that outdated principle where Black characters do not get opportunities, because that’s the way it was a long time ago.

There is no logical reason not to use John Stewart. There are reasons rooted in passion and personal preference, but no good reason born of rationality, fairness, and just good business sense. John Stewart is this generation’s Green Lantern. He’s never failed. The Hal Jordan projects bombed hard, and many people wondered why Hal Jordan wasn’t John Stewart. That, in itself, is extremely telling.

The fans are dying to see Green Lantern John Stewart and he’s primed for success!



21st October 2014

Green Lantern Corps #38 and Secret Origins #9 Solicits

DC Comics has released the solicits for their comics line for January, 2015. There are a few big things that will interest fans of Green Lantern John Stewart. First is Green Lantern Corps #38. Check out the cover and sales pitch below.

Green Lantern Corps #38 Cover

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #38
Written by VAN JENSEN
Art and cover by BERNARD CHANG
THE FLASH 75 Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
On sale JANUARY 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
The devastated Corps returns to a universe that has grown much different – and much more dangerous – in their absence. John Stewart must lead the weakened Green Lanterns against a truly demonic threat’s expanding its dark reach across the cosmos.

I imagine this is when the Shadow Empire story begins. It sounds like John is the full blown leader of the Green Lantern Corps. That’s great! It was a long time coming.

Fans have been asking for a John Stewart Secret Origins story, and they finally get their wish with Secret Origins #9.

Secret Origins #9 Cover

SECRET ORIGINS #9
Written by CHARLES SOULE, PAUL LEVITZ and VAN JENSEN
Art by JAVI PINA, ALISSON BORGES and PAT BRODERICK
Cover by BRYAN HITCH
On sale JANUARY 28 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
Swamp Thing is in the spotlight in this new set of origin tales in a story written by Charles Soule with art by Javi Pina. Also in this issue: the origins of Power Girl by Paul Levitz and Alisson Borges, and Green Lantern John Stewart by Van Jensen and Pat Broderick.

This is really great, and everything, but I have a complaint about Swamp Thing being billed over John Stewart. I mean, really, Swamp Thing!? A character starring in a comic selling around cancellation levels? It strikes me as DC Comics not appreciating John Stewart as well as they should, which is a feeling they’ve given me for a long time. John Stewart is their most popular minority character, and one of the few Black characters in current mainstream comics who is the star of his own book, which sells respectably, and without the aid of a superstar creative team. They just do not seem to appreciate what a huge accomplishment the character is. This is why I am excited about the company moving to California where Warner Bros. will be able to exert more direct control over them. I honestly don’t believe WB has anything against the John Stewart character. I believe it is certain people at DC Comics who do.

Anyway, I’m happy to see Pat Broderick make a return to working on John. He was the artist on Green Lantern in the very early ’90s, when the Mosaic arc was first being set up and when readers were introduced to Rose Hardin. That being the case, I hope that period in John’s history is touched upon in this issue. As the solicit says, John’s segment of the issue will be written by Van Jensen, the regular writer on Green Lantern Corps. He certainly knows John’s history.

There are a couple other things I’m hoping for. First is that Jensen removes Hal Jordan from John’s origin, in order to make John a more independent character. The second is that Jensen uses this rare opportunity to make it so the Xanshi incident was not John’s fault. I would like to see it depicted as something that he was not able to prevent. It would really go a long way in repairing the character. I have a lot of faith in Van Jensen. I don’t believe he’ll let us down.

Moving on, John is also on the variant cover for Sinestro #9, which was done by Ethan Van Sciver. He rendered an excellent John Stewart.

Sinestro #9 Cover

That’s it for now. Be back soon for more content!



17th October 2014

Green Lantern Corps #38 75th Anniversary Flash Variant Cover

Green Lantern Corps #38 Variant Cover

DC Comics continues its theme of charming variant covers. For January, 2015, they’re celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Flash. Green Lantern Corps takes part in this by featuring an awesome cover that is a throwback to Green Lantern (Volume 2) #87. That issue -released in 1971, written by Denny O’Neil, with art by Neal Adams- is the debut of Green Lantern John Stewart.

This cover is done by Bill Sienkiewicz. Click the lower link for a larger image:
Green Lantern Corps #38 Variant.


Oa, by the way

With the recent announcement of the 2020 Green Lantern film, the support for seeing Green Lantern John Stewart for the starring role is rolling in. Check out the comments section in this IGN article:
JUSTICE LEAGUE: WHO IS ON THE MOVIE TEAM?

There’s heavy John Stewart support. Here are some comments:

“LopezOne jarrodwjones • a day ago
I’m leaning towards Stewart myself, but only because its the best way to distance yourself from the first GL movie.
But I’d want Hal Jordan done right. And I’m not ok with him being the SECOND human GL as part of his background.

Ultimately, John Stewart is by no means a bad call. He’s quite awesome and the cartoon has a huge generation of fans following.”

“Oden_The_Great arm30 • a day ago
I agree! Either is good even can use Kyle Rayner too but John Stewart seems it”

“LavsToSpooge • a day ago
Just out of curiosity, why do most people prefer John Stewart to Hal Jordan? I have never really followed the John Stewart story that much to know any better.. if anyone can explain.”

“Darkangel_Omega Jimmy_Five • a day ago
You know. I’m not against Cyborg on the League. I’m against how he got there. They trashed ALL of his history and put him there as the new kid on the block. That I don’t agree with. Vic from the Titans would have made a good JL member. But I’m sick of Hal Jordan being forced, down our throats lately. I like ALL the other Green Lanterns now alot more than him because of it. But I agree I’d rather have John on the team and J’onn added onto the team. They both need the live action treatment.”

“Kal-El385 • a day ago
Personally, this will always be my favorite “founding member” line-up:

Superman
Batman
Wonder Woman
Martian Manhunter
Green Lantern John Stewart
The Flash
Hawk girl”

That’s not even scratching the surface. I cannot post it all, because there’s too much. And it’s not just IGN. It’s Twitter, forums, website articles, and so forth.

DC and WB. I’m talking to you. I don’t care how much some of you may love Hal Jordan. You CANNOT deny the massive wave of support for John Stewart. You cannot. The fans are telling you what they want. Make the smart move.

Don’t let us down.