There’s an issue in Green Lantern fandom I’d like to address. It involves who is and isn’t a fan of Green Lantern John Stewart. I honestly don’t like saying who is and who isn’t a fan of something. People express their fandom in different ways and come into fandoms from different sources. I recognize that, and don’t disparage people over how or why they are a fan. However, I am going to break this rule of thumb in this instance, and question certain people’s fandom, because this is a special case.
Ever since I’ve been into Green Lantern, I’ve noticed people who claim they are fans of John Stewart, but they really aren’t. They are usually Hal Jordan fans. I would like you to keep that in mind while I take a relevant detour and turn our attention to former Green Lantern writer, Geoff Johns.
The above image -wonderfully drawn by Ivan Reis- is an example of why I criticize Geoff Johns so much. “Someone call for backup?” Really!?
Johns would love to keep John Stewart in the role he originally had in the 1970s; a “backup Lantern” who hardly ever showed up. An understudy who appeared during the rare instances Hal Jordan was unable to. Essentially, he was an infrequent supporting character in the wonderful world of Hal Jordan. Have a look at this other image from the Geoff Johns era of Green Lantern:
You’ll notice that early into this scene, John Stewart identifies himself as “Hal Jordan’s partner.” In other words, his whole identity is pretty much what he is in relation to Hal Jordan. Saying, “Name’s John Stewart. I’m Hal Jordan’s partner,” would be okay if he was introducing himself out loud to some friend or acquaintance of Hal Jordan’s who did not know him. Yet, there John is, having an inner monologue identifying himself as what he is in relation to Hal Jordan.
This is an example of what Geoff Johns has done to John Stewart, which is downright insulting to his fans. He refused to acknowledge that John Stewart has legitimately and organically evolved out of that supporting character role. He liked to paint an image showing John Stewart as unimportant, a side character, and not noteworthy. Not just compared to Hal Jordan, but to all the Earth Green Lanterns. Geoff Johns was likely bitter over the fact that many people came to know John Stewart as Green Lantern. John was shining bright on the television sets of millions of people, being cemented in their minds as THE Green Lantern, while his favorite -Hal Jordan- was rotting in the grave. Johns is a fanboy who has been put in a position of power, and like a fanboy, he childishly took his revenge against a character he does not like. He probably heard people saying things like, “Oh yeah. I know Green Lantern. That cool Black superhero,” which burned him up similarly to people saying “Aquaman is the lamest superhero,” burns him up.
Geoff Johns often throws telling a great narrative aside to biasedly prove a point about his favorite and least favorite heroes. His playing of favorites is incredibly transparent and something many people across comic fandom have noted. What I’m pointing out with John Stewart is a very real example of him doing this. YES, Johns is an incredibly biased comic book fanboy! It is a well-established fact. He’s not entirely unlike the many you may see on the internet. Do you think those fanboys are above performing petty acts like that?
I certainly don’t.
As writer of Green Lantern, and undisputed creative mastermind of the franchise, Johns’ word was ‘law’ and canon. Thus his horrible disrespect of Green Lantern John Stewart, teamed with his burning passion for Hal Jordan, gave plenty of Geoff Johns’ toady fans fodder to denigrate John Stewart and proclaim the singular greatness of Hal Jordan, which I believe is essentially what Geoff Johns wanted to achieve.
He set up a perception where Hal Jordan was undoubtedly the “main Green Lantern,” and clearly superior to John Stewart, who was a frequently absent, boring background supporting character. This was Johns taking a massive passive aggressive dump on all the people who came to greatly respect the John Stewart character from the Justice League cartoons and identify him as being the Green Lantern. And, of course, we know this lasted for a very long time. After much patient waiting, it became apparent that so long as Geoff Johns was overseeing Green Lantern, John Stewart wasn’t going to get anywhere.
From a short Twitter discussion I had with the producer of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, I learned there were unrealized plans to bring John Stewart into the show. That sounds exciting, right?
No. Not really. Because I’m guessing if that happened, John Stewart would be a supporting character, just as I feel he would have been in some hypothetical Green Lantern film that would have happened if the 2011 Green Lantern movie was a success. There is great reason to believe John Stewart would have been some kind of stooge of Hal Jordan’s, while Hal Jordan would likely remain the lead hero.
That is why -I’m just going to say- the success of that cartoon show and the 2011 film was not in a John Stewart fan’s best interest, regardless of whether we’d get to see him in some capacity or not. What was in our best interest is exactly what happened. Now, John Stewart has a legitimate great chance of being THE Green Lantern next time Warner Bros. decides to use Green Lantern in a meaningful role in animation or film. Indeed, most people who address the current state of Green Lantern in those sectors of entertainment are telling Warner Bros. they want a reboot featuring John Stewart as the lead.
The people who I say are not true fans of John Stewart are people who support the structure Geoff Johns built, and who DO NOT want to see John Stewart headline the franchise. They are people who are okay with John Stewart being around, and who don’t openly blast the character (unlike the people who are overtly against him), but who are only okay with him so long as he doesn’t have a better role than Hal Jordan. To me, one cannot be a John Stewart fan yet still wish for his hindrance. To me, one cannot be a John Stewart fan depending only on his relation to another character. Green Lantern isn’t set up to work that way.
To explain that better, I’d like to momentarily consider the Sailor Moon franchise. I don’t think Sailor Mars fans typically want her to usurp Sailor Moon’s position, even though they may like Sailor Mars better, because of her personality, character design, character arc, and so on. Sailor Mars was never meant for that position, and she never organically grew into a role where it was plausible for her to be in that position. These Hal Jordan fans would like for John Stewart to be like Sailor Mars. They may think John Stewart is okay, just as many Sailor Moon fans like Sailor Mars. They may think he has a place, and they may think it’s cool if you like him best. However, in their minds, John Stewart is not meant to be THE Green Lantern, just as Sailor Mars is not meant to be the focus of the Sailor Moon franchise. To them, he is a “secondary character” and that is all he should be. There is a glass ceiling, and he cannot rise above it. To them, maybe if Hal Jordan is really successful, John can enjoy some of that and get a spin off.
But real John Stewart fans recognize the situation isn’t comparable. John Stewart is no Sailor Mars. Real John Stewart fans recognize that John Stewart is GREEN LANTERN. Real John Stewart fans recognize the character organically grew out of his role as a supporting character a long time ago, to the point where a lot of people think he’s THE Green Lantern. Real John Stewart fans recognize that his profile is higher than Hal Jordan’s, and it’s definitely more respected, seeing as the only thing Hal Jordan has done on any level compared to what John has, is star in a critically panned financial flop of a film.
So, those who like to hold John Stewart in that Sailor Mars category ARE NOT JOHN STEWART FANS, simply on grounds of them not genuinely having John Stewart’s or his fans’ best interests at heart. If John Stewart legitimately steps above Hal Jordan, and they are dissatisfied by that, THEY ARE NOT JOHN STEWART FANS.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying every Green Lantern fan has to be a zealot on one side or the other. I’m sure there are many people who would be welcoming to either Green Lantern, but the individuals in question are not those people. Do not be fooled by the so-called John Stewart fan who appears in an attempt to shut you up if you speak out against the character’s treatment while Geoff Johns was overseeing the franchise, and who then proceeds to tell you why Hal Jordan should be Green Lantern, despite financial bombs. No matter what they say, these individuals do not care about what is best for the John Stewart character, nor do they have the best interests of John Stewart fans in mind. If they were really fans, why would they be so against John Stewart’s advancement, be so blind or apathetic to his mistreatment during the Johns years, and take such offense when someone mentions it?
Solicitations for July 2014 are here. Accordingly, we get a look at the final cover of the “Uprising” storyline, and it sure is a beauty.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #33
Written by VAN JENSEN
Art by BERNARD CHANG
Cover by FRANCIS PORTELA
BATMAN 75 variant cover
On sale JULY 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
“UPRISING” part 6! All is fair in love and war – and both are likely to get John Stewart killed as the final battle of the uprising concludes! With the woman he loves in mortal danger, John will face the most difficult test of his career!
It’s great to see another Francis Portela cover. I’m glad DC has gotten him back for Green Lantern Corps. I wouldn’t mind seeing Portela doing covers whenever Bernard Chang can’t. His work compliments Chang’s wonderfully, unlike the J.G. Jones covers seen early in the Maiolo, Jensen, Chang run. Don’t get me wrong, J.G. Jones is a great artist, but seeing his work next to Chang’s gave me an impression of incongruity, not totally unlike looking at the western Mega Man 1 box art in relation to the way Mega Man is actually meant to be depicted.
I wrote in my review for Green Lantern Corps #30 that I was felt an event on the horizon for John and Yrra’s romance, and unsurprisingly, it looks like “Uprising” may include that event. Will John and Yrra stay together? Will Yrra make it through this war? If not, I would still welcome bringing the Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol) romance into the comics. It may be a pipe dream, though, seeing as DC Comics may feel it would diminish Hawkman in some way. But, if they can make Supergirl a Red Lantern, why not? The HG/GL romance is the most well-known and highest profile romance for both characters ever, which is very ironic for Hawkgirl, since, prior to Justice League, her whole deal was being Hawkman’s sidekick love interest.
Speaking of the Red Lanterns, Green Lantern John Stewart fans should also set their sights on Red Lanterns this July. That looks like John Stewart’s hand and arm on the cover, and the text is pretty telling, as well.
RED LANTERNS #33
Written by CHARLES SOULE
Art by ALESSANDRO VITTI
Cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
On sale JULY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
“Atrocities” kicks into gear – the epic that the last year of RED LANTERNS has been building to all along! It’s open war between Atrocitus and Guy Gardner – and there’s a powerful squadron of Red Lanterns on each side! But Guy Gardner could never have imagined what Atrocitus has been planning all this time… And he couldn’t imagine that one of his closest friends would refuse to stand by his side!
DC has also released advanced solicits for their Futures End tie-ins. It sounds like in the future, John Stewart is in need of redemption. Again. I wonder if he’s still worried about that planet that blew up.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS: FUTURES END #1
Advance solicit • On sale SEPTEMBER 10
32 pg, FC • RATED T
3-D Motion Edition: $3.99 US
2-D Standard Edition: $2.99 US
Orders due May 29 • Not offered on FOC
John Stewart makes a fateful decision – will he choose to take his last shot at redemption? Or will he pull the trigger and kill any chance of a life worth living, in the name of saving the Corps?
Bryan Q. Miller’s awesome Smallville Season 11: Lantern continues. Going by the excellent Cat Staggs cover, Superman has had enough of that Green Lantern business he’s been unwillingly caught in. Any Green Lantern John Stewart fan who is not reading Smallville: Lantern is seriously missing out.
SMALLVILLE SEASON 11: LANTERN #4
Written by BRYAN Q. MILLER
Art by MARCIO TAKARA
Cover by CAT STAGGS
On sale JULY 9 • 40 pg, 4 of 4, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Fighting a pitched battle against the strength of Parallax, John Stewart is able to regain his Green Lantern will. But will the change come in time to defeat Parallax’s minions?
There looks to be a lot of cool stuff ahead for us, John Stewart fans. Don’t let it pass you by.