Green Lantern differs from other comic-book superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man in that the real-life character behind the Green Lantern’s mask has changed over time.

The first Green Lantern was a railroad engineer named Alan Scott, who appeared in “All-American Comics” number 16 in July 1940. Created by Martin Nodell, with writing by Batman co-creator Bill Finger, the original Green Lantern got his superhero abilities from a power ring forged from a magical flame in a railroad switchman’s green lantern, the kind used to give trains the all-clear sign.

As the Green Lantern, Scott could do practically anything he could imagine, but the ring had to be touched to the magic lantern every day, and Scott was powerless against objects made of wood.

Naturally, issue 16 of “All-American Comics” is the most collectible Green Lantern comic around, but other issues are also highly prized. These include “Green Lantern” number one, which was published in the fall of 1941 and features the origins of Green Lantern. The character also appeared in “All Star Comics” number two from 1940—in issue number three of that series, the Justice Society of America, of which Green Lantern was a key member, made its debut.

Scott’s last appearance as Green Lantern in “All-American Comics” occurred in issue 102, October 1948. “Green Lantern” was cancelled in 1949 with issue 38, and the Scott character’s last “All Star Comics” appearance was in issue 57 in 1951.

DC resurrected the Green Lantern in 1959 in “Showcase” issue 22 in the person of a test pilot named Hal Jordan. Written by John Broome and drawn by Gil Kane, this new Green Lantern had the same sorts of superpowers as his Golden Age predecessor (i.e., he could pretty much do whatever he imagined), except that he was powerless against anything colored yellow.

Besides “Showcase” number 22, collectible Silver Age Green Lantern comics include issue one of the new “Green Lantern” series, which ran from 1960 until 1986 when a new character, Guy Gardner, took over from Jordan. Issue 40, in which the Scott and Jordan Green Lanterns do battle, is also sought by collectors, as is issue 76, which was the first of a series of comics featuring Green Lantern and Green Arrow.


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