Writer: John Broome
Artists: Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson
|via DC Comics Database
Of course, as devotees already know, that's not quite the beginning for Green Lantern. The character first emerged in 1940 during comics' Golden Age. The hero's basic equipment was already there: a magic lantern (inspired by that of a New York subway worker) and a magic ring to go with it. When the character was re-introduced in the late '50s, he got a Space Age origin story and the snazziest costume in comics.
I think the appeal for me with GL over other DC heroes is simply the fact that the basic set up is so wonderfully weird, even by comic book standards. Abin Sur, Hal Jordan's predecessor as GL of Earth's sector, lies dying in his crashed spacecraft. The Lantern selects Jordan out of all the planet's inhabitants as best suited to carry on the responsibility. Jordan takes it on with very little understanding of his powers or their purpose. His Ring has to be recharged with the Lantern every 24 hours - such a modern world hindrance for a superhero. Best of all is his weakness: he has no power over things that are yellow - so arbitrary!
Oh, then there's the Oompa-Loompas...er, excuse me...Guardians who run the Green Lantern Corps for the entire universe from their home planet of Oa. GL knows nothing about them, yet he obeys them unquestioningly. The one time he is brought to meet them, albeit in virtual form, his memory is wiped immediately afterward.
Beyond the trappings, Green Lantern faces all of the same problems the other superheroes do, fighting evil-doers and managing his love life. The early stories in this collection don't do a whole lot for character development but seeds are already planted for the broader GL universe, one of the most fascinating in comics. I'm definitely in it for the long haul with this character.