Martin Nodell, 1915-2006

Martin Nodell, creator of the Green Lantern: "I picked out the name from the train man on the tracks who was waving a lantern, going from red to green.... green meant go and I decided that was it. Then I needed a colorful and interesting costume. I was interested in Greek mythology and so the costume took on elements of that. It just all fell into place. When I sent it in, I waited into the second week before I heard the word to come in... I did the first five pages of an eight page story, and then they called in Bill Finger to help. We worked on it for seven years. After that, I retired from comics and went into advertising. I came back to comics in 1981, when I began touring comic art conventions with my wife, Carrie. I've been at it ever since and have enjoyed every minute. At the Megacon this year, a young lady showed her admiration for the character by dressing up as a member of The Green Lantern Corps-- what a thrill!"
Forgive a moment of tenderness for a man I never met and a childhood remembrance: when I was a very small child, being kept quiet with my neighbors' comic books, long before I discovered the more sophisticated charms of Marvel's Silver Age, I always kind of had a soft spot for DC's Green Lantern.
The stories were never as good as the platonic idea of the character or the imagery of that emerald light and the chiaroscuro it created-- I don't think I've read but one or two "Green Lantern" comics since early childhood, with the exception of Neil Gaiman's wonderful adult fantasy, "The Heart of a Star" in ENDLESS NIGHTS about how the light and the lanterns and the good people of Oa came to be.
The thing is, I always remembered the Oaths, and the Lanterns chosen for being honest and brave, and the importance of the light in so much darkness. A silly child's totem, perhaps, akin to T.H. White's foolish candle in the wind that Arthur tries to guard, or the flickering candle wrapped in barbed wire to represent the prisoners sought by Amnesty International...

And what shall we live by instead, when we become adult and too sophisticated for dreams of justice and the belief that Truth would have a virtue and power of itself? Adopt the cynical pose of the culture of television-baby hipsters? The realpolitik of a Kissinger and his clones? Become small and mean instead?

4 comments:

SQT said...

See, a little guilt goes a long way. I felt bad when you asked Stewart about the lack of comments, and here I am.

Who knew you had a post about the Green Lantern. My kind of guy.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

Glad to have you, so long as no one confuses the "pity post" with what used to be called "pity sex". Nice avatar of Mystique, BTW. Still find it hard to believe that Hollywood would strip their breakout character of her powers in "X-3"...

SQT said...

Ah, but she'll be back with a vengance, just you wait and see.

I just hope they don't use a dream sequence to explain it all away. That would just be wrong.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

This is Hollywood. The definition of "a new low" hasn't been discovered yet.
There are sub-basements in Hollywood's vulgarity undreamt of by eldritch horrors.
The money would be nice. I just wish our representative American art form had better things to offer humanity a thousand years from now. Picture what Greece, Egypt, the Minoans, even the bloody minded Shang Chinese or the Romans have left behind, beautiful bronze and marble laws ameliorating the slaves' blood on the sand. Now imagine America's legacy as a television rerun with Bob Saget floating through space...
Ooops, get a rag, someone, Cthulu just threw up a cookie...