Editor's Note: Today I have a guest post by contributor Paul Entrekin which I think you will find appropriate in light of a certain movie that is opening today. ;)
Thousands of years ago there were heroes. Indeed, there were Superheroes. From Agamemnon to Hercules and Thor, beings with powers far beyond the norm took bold, drastic action on behalf of mere humans to stop evil, right wrongs or just eliminate some menace to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some seventy years ago, due to a desire to keep idle printing presses running and make a bit of additional income, superheroes were once again re-envisioned, and tread across the pages of illustrated text we have come to know as Comic Books.
Like many who stumble on this media at an early age, whether by chance or choice, I first came to be infatuated with the first and “greatest” hero, Superman. It wasn’t that the stories were that good, in fact, they seemed ridiculous even to my ten year old mind. No, it was the myth. Who he was and how he came to be was just so tragic and cool! Then the reasons why he did the things he did, the way he did them, were just so noble and yet so necessary from a human point of view. He performed good deeds because it was the right thing to do, he passed on actual punishment to the legal system so that people would not fear him, mistrust him, or resent his vast superiority.
The concept of a part time secret identity seemed necessary for peace of mind and sheer sanity. I think even then there was some appreciation of the extreme empowerment of the individual in a world where it seemed that the power of the individual was greatly diminished by governments and large corporations.
At some point I became more interested in Batman, probably because he was at least remotely possible from the standpoint of reality. His non-super vulnerability made him more attractive. I could possibly actually become Batman. (Of course, I wasn’t rich and probably not willing to devote so much energy into the necessary training)
Then I stumbled upon MARVEL comics, and finally, the stories were much, much better. The heroes were more complex and human. They had doubts, could get freaked out, and could just as easily make a mistake as pull off a winning move. This was some good reading!
The new 60’s version was based on incredibly ancient science. The ring was a computer so sophisticated and compact, that it could literally create anything one could imagine! It could create any form of matter or energy, answer any question that could possibly be known through its billion year old and millions of cultures database (including every source of data on Earth!) His was not just a powerful weapon, but a device that could provide knowledge and create any needed material instantly on a galactic scale. Man become God!
All he really wanted was to have friends, love, and a place to come home to. Denny O’Neil got close to this mainly missed truth about the character, and created some of the most memorable stories ever to take comic form. If only DC had understood this, we would have had some of the greatest stories ever, constantly.
But for me, to answer the original question, I stick with Green Lantern. The ability to create as well as destroy makes him far more interesting to me. Perhaps one day DC will realize just how great that fact is and use it instead of ignoring it completely, or injecting ridiculous ideas like having it cause him pain to use the ring. There is a much greater story here. If only it were told.
Hope you enjoy the movie!