In further celebration of John Stewart, the February 2015 Comic Vine Character of the Month, Green Lantern Corps writer Van Jensen has written a touching essay for the fans about what they and John Stewart mean to him. It also serves as a farewell message to his GLC readers, as Jensen’s final issue of Green Lantern Corps is scheduled for release next month.
The news of Green Lantern Corps‘ cancellation rocked the entire DC readership. Of all the titles slated for cancellation in March, Corps is the most perplexing. It is a very long running, critically acclaimed title with stable sales well above cancellation level. This is especially impressive because it stars a Black protagonist. What is also shocking is that Van Jensen will not be on an upcoming Green Lantern title where he can continue John Stewart’s adventures.
This is… weird to me, because DC Comics has not had the best track record with minority characters. A writer–Van Jensen–came along in a period when the fanbase was very distrustful of DC editorial, and actually won them over with his brilliant showing of DC’s most celebrated PoC character. I don’t know why DC would want to take Jensen off the character. Naturally, my perspective is very limited, because I don’t know what they have planned for John Stewart, and I have not been in the DC Entertainment meetings where such things are discussed, but from my current vantage point, I can’t understand this decision. DC Comics has recently trumpeted that they’re working hard to be more inclusive to varied sorts of people, and with John frankly being their most popular “diverse” character, I can only hope that DC has something grand in store for the Green Lantern.
Whatever does come, I will always, always cherish Van Jensen, Bernard Chang, and Marcelo Maiolo’s Green Lantern Corps run. As a huge fan of the ’00s Justice League cartoons, and someone who is about one-fourth African American, I finally found a comic series from DC in current publication that appealed to me and gave me what I wanted to see. At last, I did not feel excluded, or as if I was being lectured that everything I came to love about the DC Universe and Green Lantern, in particular, was wrong. Van Jensen’s run of Green Lantern Corps revitalized my interest in DC Comics, and I’ve had a blast since. It is quite literally what inspired me to build this site. People like me want to be fans, but when DC adamantly puts out material that is totally contradictory to what we came to love so much from television, it’s really hard to be a fan.
I know I speak for many when I say thanks to Van Jensen from the bottom of my heart. He gave me something to look forward to in Green Lantern and comics again, and that means so much to us who have wanted to enjoy them, but found it very difficult. I sincerely hope he returns to John Stewart some day. The fanbase will no doubt welcome him with open arms.
The solicits for May 2015 are in, and “Convergence” continues. Check out the cover and sales pitch for Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #2 below:
CONVERGENCE: GREEN LANTERN CORPS #2
Written by DAVID GALLAHER
Art by STEVE ELLIS and ANDE PARKS
Cover by TONY HARRIS
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 20 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The Green Lantern Corps is revived when Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner power up and race to take on Hercules Unbound and Anti God from the Great Disaster!
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!
.Co is back with a review for Green Lantern Corps #39. I know I’m a little later than usual with this, but there’s been quite a bit going on. Give this a read. Green Lantern Corps is ending, but it’s going out with a bang:
“This issue earns a full five stars because I really can’t think of anything wrong with it at all. It’s not just that it’s competent, everything is exceptional. It is a very dense read that captivated me the whole way through and made me want to know more about what was going on. The villains are intriguing, the character designs are excellent and unique, all the characters are used to great effect, the art is astonishing, the coloring is extraordinary, and the script is solid and affecting. Lost Army is going to have to be unbelievably good to trump this title.”
Stay tuned for more, folks. There’s been a lot of John Stewart information coming in, and there’s likely more to come.
Great news, Lantern fans! There’s more John Stewart merchandise around the corner. This Wednesday, February 18, a John Stewart chess piece will be released. Here’s the information for it:
DC SUPERHERO CHESS FIG COLL MAG #75 GL JOHN STEWART WHITE BISHOP
Publisher: EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
The DC Chess Collection continues with the Justice League chess set. Each character is superbly rendered, cast from a specially formulated metallised resin. Each chess piece is accompanied by a fascinating 16-page magazine featuring superb DC Comic artwork plus vital chess tips for players of all levels. Continue your Justice League collection with:
#73 Vibe – (White Pawn)
#74 Arcane – (Black Pawn)
#75 Green Lantern John Stewart – (White Bishop)
Item Code: OCT141862In
I’ve said multiple times that it’s important for us to support John Stewart’s merchandise to ensure that we keep getting more of it, so be sure to pick this cool collectible up.
Moving on, ComicVine.Com continues pitting John Stewart against other comic book characters in their weekly character battles. John has defeated Magneto and Ronan the Accuser. Now, he’s up against his toughest opponent yet – Beta Ray Bill.
The victor will be decided by vote, so be sure to head over to Comic Vine to support John Stewart. We have got to get together and campaign for this again, like how we did to get John to become character of the month. So spread the word via Twitter and whatever other social media you use. We can do this, John Stewart fans!
Lastly, the site Batman News has come to the conclusion that John is the likely cinematic Green Lantern. Check out the article and the reasons why, and continue supporting John in the comments. It never hurts to stand up for our favorite character and represent his fanbase.
Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim has come out and addressed the recent viral concept that the character John Diggle may actually be the Green Lantern. From MTV.Com:
“It’s funny, I’ve spoken to David quite a bit about this issue, I know it keeps coming up,” Guggenheim told MTV News over the phone. “I spoke to [writer] Geoff Johns at DC after that interview went viral. Basically, John Diggle is now a character in the comics… John Diggle is John Diggle. We’re not being coy and saying John Diggle is someone else, i.e. John Stewart.”
Some may be disappointed by this, but there is a nugget of gold in the discussion. Guggenheim lets on that DC has “other plans” for John Stewart.
“DC has other plans for that character. We love David, and we love the character of John Diggle that he’s created. We have really cool plans for him… they involve a wedding ring, but they don’t involve a power ring.”
What could these “other plans” be? When I hear “other plans” in relation to the current DC television shows, they are usually of cinematic nature. This is exciting news because an actual industry official who is in the know has come out and said that DC has something planned for John. If it came down to having to decide between seeing John Stewart in movies or in CW televisions shows, I’ll take the movies any day!
Keep your eyes on GreenLantern.Co for further developments.
John Stewart made a cameo on the cartoon show Teen Titans Go!, and in a rather hilarious segment. The whole thing isn’t long, but if you want to see John right away, you can find him at the 44 second mark.
In other news Comic Vine’s coverage of their character of the Month, John Stewart, continues. They have picked some excellent art pieces for showcase that were submitted by fans. Head over there to check them out.
Also, John Stewart has defeated both Magneto and Ronan The Accuser in the Battle of the Week competitions, thanks to voters like you. Comic Vine has officially declared John Stewart the winner of his latest confrontation. Visit Comic Vine to support John Stewart in the comments sections and the polls.
Being one of DC Comics’ first African American superheroes, Green Lantern John Stewart is a very important contribution to Black history. When we hear about such figures, they are usually of real people, like Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglas, and so on. Why should this comic book superhero be seen as a luminary of Black history?
It’s because John Stewart is one of the earliest inspiring, idealized representations of a Black person in comic books and adventure stories. Black people have the same desire for escapism and wish fulfillment as other types of people, and John Stewart gives them a character they can relate to and aspire to be like without having to forsake their “Blackness.” He is not maimed or emasculated. He doesn’t have a horn coming out of his head. He is nobodies sidekick. He is not a criminal. He is a strong, fit, competent, smart, independent and steadfast hero.
A problem the Black community has faced is a lack of prominent positive role models. Outside of sports stars and musicians -who are often of dubious character, and sometimes have messages that are either questionable or easily misconstrued- Black youths don’t have many figures that resemble them to look to for inspiration. When you look into escapist fiction, the number is pathetically low. Yes, you may find Black characters there, but how are they used? What are their roles? What is the caliber of those characters? If you were to look, I think you might find that they are often in the background, being side characters, frequently used for comedic relief, and are rather rarely depicted as idealistic heroes who are front and center protagonists.
An interesting observation I once read was that there aren’t many Black geeks. Being a “geek” is just not a real big part of the culture. Why would that be? It’s not because those people are just those people, and they don’t have much capacity to be interested in such things. It’s because the overall geek entertainment and culture does not speak to those people as well as it could. When people who look like them are only given bit parts in cartoons, comics, and so on, and are often not idealized like the White characters, why would they want to escape to those worlds and partake in that entertainment? John Stewart is one of the few leading Black superheroes that allow Black people a conduit to pure, unadulterated wish fulfillment with a character that looks like them. This is no small feat. What’s more, he’s not your typical Black superhero.
John Stewart is from the ghetto, but is not bound to it. Interestingly, he is one of the leading cosmic superheroes. His adventures usually take him across the universe, and he’s had numerous alien love interests. His stories are not always about race relations. Some have been in the past, but John has since grown out of that pigeonhole. He’s transcended being a “Black superhero,” and is now a highly recognized, respected, regular superhero. This is a good thing, because Black people do not always need hamfisted reminders about how they’re weird, different, or disenfranchised. Again, Black people desire the same type of wish fulfillment as others. Sometimes they just want their heroes to be heroes like the others. Not heroes who are overly urbanized or weighed down with loads of social commentary connected to them wherever they go.
One thing that really hooked me about John Stewart from the Justice League cartoon show was that the creators essentially let him be a superhero. He would do the same types of things Batman and Superman have done countless times before. He fought evil in a colorful costume and had exciting powers. He saved the day. He got the girl. The creators did not make him asexual like so many Black characters in fiction are. They were not afraid to pair him with a woman who had the appearance of a Caucasian. In many instances, his role could have been written for a White character and nothing would change.
Yet, at the same time, John Stewart was not white washed or phony. As we can see from the opening to the famous Justice League episode “In Blackest Night,” he allowed for a perspective that had been largely unexplored by popular cartoons and that no other hero on the League could have legitimately offered.
There is a great balance with John Stewart. There is much more to his character than being a Black person, but his background is not entirely ignored. He is a wonderfully fleshed out character in amazingly well written stories, which is why he has captured the hearts of millions and millions of people, Black, White, and everything in between.
John Stewart is also important because of how far he has come against huge amounts of adversity from both fans and industry professionals.
Some people cannot easily accept a Black superhero that was initially a supporting character and meant to be a “backup” becoming a legitimate lead character even to the point of surpassing the supposed “iconic” White version. It is an ugly fact, but not one that I’m going to dance around. Such people are okay with John Stewart being around so long as he is a Beta Lantern, in that he is secondary and meant to prop up another White Green Lantern.
This was seen clearly after John Stewart had reinvigorated the name of “Green Lantern,” thanks to the acclaimed Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. Certain people at DC Comics could not stand for that, and did everything in their power to diminish John Stewart while attempting to boost the profile of the White Green Lantern. Eventually, the 2011 Green Lantern movie was made, and when the trailer was shown, many people wondered why the character was played by a White actor, because in their minds, Green Lantern was John Stewart.
Feeling more desperate than ever, because they had not changed the public perception of Green Lantern, and the Hal Jordan projects failed, the people at DC Comics even attempted to kill John Stewart. The writer they hired to carry this out refused to do it and news of this leaked to the fans, who were vocally outraged.
What is so amazing is that after all of the efforts to diminish John Stewart, he is still relevant. He is still the Green Lantern in millions of people’s eyes, and the White one walked away a highly damaged character, despite having hundreds of millions spent on propping him up.
Ever since John Stewart’s creation, when then DC Editor in Chief, Julius Shwartz, wanted to name him “Lincoln Washington,” John has faced hardship. Yet, he has naturally managed to surpass all of it. He’s more in demand now than he’s ever been. He’s in news headlines more now than ever. Numerous multi-million dollar stars have expressed their appreciation for the character and desire to play him. His comic book series goes on being successful, and he has a hugely passionate fanbase.
One reason people feel so passionate about John Stewart is because the issues surrounding the character go beyond usual concerns fictional characters and their fans face. They’re very topical and serious. John Stewart has —in real life— faced the Black struggle. The character has been held down, had his opportunities taken from him even when he succeeded, has been denied what he’s deserved, and has been generally mistreated for no good reason (the-powers-that-be would rather back a White character). These are real life things, that real life Black people sometimes face, and John Stewart has publicly confronted them, and overcome them!
I’ve heard people –even minorities– say that these sorts of issues should be fought in courts of law, and in places where policy is made, and they shouldn’t really have a place in our superhero stories or fanbases. However, I think they should be fought in ALL arenas until they need not be fought anymore. Prejudice can rear its head anywhere, and there should be no place in our society for it.
The John Stewart character is very inspiring, but what is equally inspiring is the devotion and passion of his fans. We have stuck with John through thick and thin, but we have to continue to bring even more of that passion, because, remember, this is a struggle. By simply being a Black character, John is immediately underprivileged. By simply being a Black character, he already has something to prove. We, his fans, need to make up that difference and then some with our support for him. If we continue this ever more, then hopefully, one day it will no longer be this way.
One reason I made this site is because I realized no one else was going to do it. No one else was going to make a Green Lantern site with this perspective. I looked around at the online Green Lantern fanbase and thought it didn’t accommodate John Stewart fans that well. I knew we were out there, and if we had a place to go where we could be relaxed with our views, we would congregate. It’s a huge honor to know that GreenLantern.Co speaks to so many people and has made such a difference.
We have to stand up and make ourselves heard, because no one else is going speak for us. If you don’t like the way things are do what you can to change them. It’s not a hopeless endeavor. Your voice can make a difference. And though your voice matters, you must also put your money where your mouth is and vote with your dollars. At the end of the day, this is all a business for WB, so we have got to show them economic strength to prove that John is a viable character they should invest more in.
The fact that John Stewart refuses to go away, and that he means so much to so many people makes him a true figure in Black History worth discussing. It goes to show how far we’ve come when many White children want to see and be like John Stewart more than they do Hal Jordan. It’s not just Black people who are behind John Stewart. A character like this helps bridge gaps. The more people see an idealized Black hero, the less weird the idea becomes to them. The more they see interracial relationships in media, the more acclimatized people become to them. A character like John Stewart nurtures our society by breaking down barriers, building bridges, and giving marginalized groups a top class hero and role model they can aspire to be like.
I hope we see more of John Stewart in key leading roles. As fictional characters go, this Green Lantern has made a large impact on society.
Header image by skyvolt2000.
John Stewart, the Comic Vine Character of the Month for February 2015, is in another Character Battle of the Week over at ComicVine.Com. This time he’s up against Ronan the Accuser. The victor will be decided by vote. You know what to do, Lantern fans. Head on over to Comic Vine and go support our guy!
The rumors of Arrow character John Diggle secretly being the Green Lantern John Stewart have been running rampant, so much that the show runners have actually been in talks about making it happen, according to David Ramsey, the actor who plays Diggle. When asked if there was any truth to the rumors, he had this to say:
“Is John Diggle John Stewart? I cannot say “yes,” and I cannot say, “no.” I’m serious! I do know that there is serious discussion about whether or not this guy becomes John Stewart. But, I mean, I’ll say this: it is top secret. I’ve asked them – David Ramsey has asked them – and they’re like, “we’re working on some stuff.” If that’s the case, it’s gonna be huge. This is the stuff they want to avoid. I think they don’t want anybody to know yet and they haven’t even told me. But they have told me that they are thinking about it and that they are considering it. But they’re not going to release anything yet. That’s exactly what the told me. Greg Berlanti told me that. Andrew [Kreisberg] and Marc [Guggenheim] have told me that. I haven’t spoken to Geoff Johns about it. But that’s the word from people directly involved in Arrow- that they’re working on something. “Here’s the truth of it: if I knew, I would tell you I know the answer to that, but I’m not at liberty to tell you that. I would answer like that. I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway, but I would at least tell you that I know. I honestly do not know.”
This is certainly an interesting development. Not even the actor knows who his character really is. This goes to show more of the influence John Stewart has. The demand for this character is at a very, very high point now. Numerous multi-million dollar actors have endorsed the character and expressed interest in playing him, loads of fans are behind him, he won Character of the Month at ComicVine.Com, and fans are enthusiastically coming up with theories about how Diggle is actually John Stewart. I think it would behoove DC/WB to give us more of this character and explain what their plans are for him in media. Check out more on this story at ComicBook.Com
The preview for Green Lantern Corps #39 is out, in which Van Jensen kills another old person (with the first being Ergann). My favorite comic book series draws to a close. I really hope DC has something phenomenal planned for John after this. If he isn’t the undisputed star of another series, I will be very discontent.