7th June 2014
Bryan Q. Miller’s Green Lantern epic comes to a close. How does it measure up? Read more to find out!
“Miller uses common sense and goes with the character most people know and respect as Green Lantern, and this is what it takes to draw in people who aren’t just comics fanboys, which is desperately needed. He cleverly shows how John Stewart can be showcased without going through stories about Hal Jordan first, which is actually a very easy thing to do, but some people seem to think it impossible, so it’s good to have both the DC Animated Universe and the Smallville universe to point to for debunking that strange notion.”
Green Lantern Corps #32 is right around the corner, so be sure to pick that up, and I’ll see you soon with more content!
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a panel for legendary comic writer Len Wein at the Long Beach Comic Expo. Len Wein’s contributions to comics are groundbreaking. He is perhaps most famous for many innovative things he did when working on Marvel’s X-Men, such as creating the characters Storm and Wolverine. However, he should be of special importance to Green Lantern John Stewart fans because he is the one who first made John Stewart a leading character back in the early 1980s.
Wein brought John to the fore when he had Hal Jordan give up his power ring in favor of being with his girlfriend Carol Ferris. He began one of the most important and fondly remembered eras in Green Lantern, which is now collected in the Green Lantern: Sector 2814 trade paperback volumes (for much more info on these stories, see this article).
At the panel, I asked Len Wein something I’ve been wondering for quite some time; what his thought process was behind making John Stewart the star of Green Lantern. It was really a huge move that people don’t put enough emphasis on. First of all, Hal Jordan had been the headlining Green Lantern since 1959. John Stewart was the first character to wholly take up the mantle of Green Lantern and lead the title after Hal Jordan. Also, a Black lead in Green Lantern made huge waves that are felt even today. If it wasn’t for what Len Wein did, we would not have gotten all the great stories of John by subsequent Green Lantern writer, Steve Englehart, in which John Stewart meets and falls in love with Katma Tui. If it wasn’t for what Len Wein did, we likely wouldn’t have gotten John Stewart on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoon shows. If it wasn’t for what Len Wein did, many moviegoers wouldn’t have been expecting to see a Black person when they heard of a Green Lantern movie coming out. Len Wein is the one who took John Stewart out of supporting character status and made him THE Green Lantern.
So… why exactly did he do that?
It turns out Len Wein simply was not having a good time writing Hal Jordan. He felt he wasn’t doing anything that hadn’t been done before, and he had no fresh stories to tell with the character. He approached his friend, fellow famed comic writer, Marv Wolfman, and asked for advice. Wolfman told him that if he’s not having fun writing the book, then to change it! He reminded Wein that the book was not called “Hal Jordan,” it was called “Green Lantern.” And so, Len Wein looked to Hal Jordan’s back up at the time, John Stewart, and made him the star of the book, thereby opening up worlds of possibilities for John Stewart and Green Lantern. He told fresh stories that really revitalized a frankly boring title.
Len Wein is one of the most important creators to have ever worked on Green Lantern John Stewart. It was a real honor to meet him and to hear the story of how my favorite superhero character came to be what he is now. Thanks, Len!
Here is a photo I took of the event.