Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Green Lantern (1941)

Go To

Into the humdrum reality of everyday life, into a world harassed by crime, there comes a fantastic being with strange supernatural powers. A being determined to stamp out evil and bring justice where it has never been before. This is the man called Green Lantern!

The first volume of Green Lantern tells the adventures of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott.note 

The book started in 1941 and ran for 38 issues before being cancelled in 1949. The first five issues and the seventh were written by Bill Finger, with Joseph Greene, Henry Kuttner, Alfred Bester, Robert Bernstein, John Broome and Robert Kanigher writing the remaining 33. Martin Nodell did the art through issue 25, with Alex Toth and Irwin Hasen working on the remaining 13 issues.

For the related character sheet, see Characters.Green Lantern 1941.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: One story had a "Professor Nobody" who was a genius, but couldn't remember anything, including his own name. Let alone that he was being financed by a gangster, or what the machine he was building actually did (ironically, it gave its recipient a flawless memory).
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: Having captured Green Lantern, a group of thugs are all eager to learn who he is, only to have no clue once they remove his mask. Doiby Dickles on the other hand learns that Alan is GL due to this incident.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: There were a few chapters where Green Lantern would refuse to believe something like someone was really cursed with bad luck or his current opponent was really a legendary evildoer. In spite of getting his powers from magic, his archenemy being the reanimated hulk Solomon Grundy, and all the magical heavyweights he either threw down with or fought alongside in the Justice Society.
  • Busman's Holiday: Doiby Dickles, a cab driver, is ordered by his doctor to take some time off for his shoulder and arm to heal and while on vacation accidentally buys a cab due to the language barrier.
  • Character in the Logo: Alan Scott's face is depicted inside the lantern in the logo on each cover.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Alan Scott discovers one in the middle of the Atlantic in Green Lantern #3. It's filled with ships from across the centuries who have become trapped there, and the descendants of the original crew still live in and around the ships. Things are great until the Nazis try to take over the area...
  • Exact Words: One story had an Oriental cult thinking Doiby was their reincarnated god, its leader going around hypnotizing people who got in his way. This led to some humorous outcomes, like when he un-hypnotized a gangster, he commanded him to become a "normal man". This made the gangster stop acting like a monkey, but it also made him stop acting like a gangster, making a good and honest man out of him.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Harlequin isn't shy about her obsession with GL, and while GL claims not to feel the same about her he's still got subtext. The fact that Harlequin was later revealed to be mostly a government agent who is infiltrating villain groups rather than a dangerous supervillain in her own right helped later writers use this subtext to see the two get married, but in this book there's no real reciprocated feelings.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Alan Scott's preferred method of taking down the villains early in his career. In any given Green Lantern story, he's far more likely to throw a punch at a gangster than to use his ring to stop them.
  • Gratuitous Animal Sidekick: Streak the Wonder Dog near the end of the comics' run. A Heroic Dog sidekick for Alan Scott. Who has internal monologues so the audience knows what he's thinking.
  • Green Rocks: Despite all the differences between Alan Scott and all the other Green Lanterns that would follow, it's interesting to note that even in his 1940 origin story, the source of Alan's power is extraterrestrial Green Rocks. A burning green meteor crashes in China, and it is first formed into a lamp, then a lantern, and finally comes to Alan Scott to grant him power.
  • Inspiration Nod: With DC Comics being based in New York City the name Green Lantern is likely a reference to the New York City Police Department's use of green lights on either side of the main entrances to all of their precinct houses. According to the NYPD's website:
    "It is believed that the Rattle Watchmen, who patrolled New Amsterdam in the 1650′s, carried lanterns at night with green glass sides in them as a means of identification. When the Watchmen returned to the watch house after patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show people seeking the watchman that he was in the watch house. Today, green lights are hung outside the entrances of police precincts as a symbol that the 'Watch' is present and vigilant."
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: The very first story has a colleague telling Alan he's worried the head of a rival company will try to get revenge for their company getting the contract to build an important bridge. Alan tells him to stop worrying. The very next panel has the bridge being bombed, and Alan the only survivor because he was holding onto the magic lantern.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Some thugs once subdued Alan Scott and stole his power ring after figuring out that it was the source of his power. One of the thugs tried the ring on, and the ring killed him for doing so.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Streak, the Wonder Dog, Alan's pet... who had human thoughts and eventually just about took over the book, right before it was cancelled!
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Villain The Fool would act like a silly, harmless prankster who knew all his stupid plans just couldn't work against GL, but there was always a twist that made his silly pranks dangerous for awhile.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Doiby Dickles is actually often fairly stalwart for a comic relief sidekick. He still has to ask Alan what things like being called a "moron" means, the answer to which gets him riled up enough to go deck the criminal who'd called him such.
  • Quote Mine: Not one, but two Golden Age stories involved criminals framing Alan Scott by stringing together words spoken on his radio broadcasts to make a record that seems to make him say something incriminating.
  • Tap on the Head: What Green Lantern's vulnerability to wood usually came down to. Most Golden Age stories would have GL get knocked out by some convenient wooden object or another falling on his head or a hood getting in a lucky shot with a wooden object midway through, so the villains would have a chance to get away, and the story could make it to full length.
  • Track Trouble: Alan Scott became the Green Lantern when the Lantern saved his life after a blown up bridge killed everyone else aboard the train he was on.
  • Trapped in the Past: In a blatant homage to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Alan and Doiby were once transported to Arthurian England. They were there long enough that Alan's ring ran out of power, leaving the two of them apparently stranded. Thankfully, Alan's lantern was centuries old, and existed in that time period, so he was able to charge his ring and return to his own time.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: While Alan's original introduction in All-American Comics made it clear that it was the bridge that was sabotaged by his business rival which lead to the catastrophic train accident that killed all onboard except for Alan, in the retelling in Green Lantern #1 its not made clear whether it was part of the train or the bridge where the explosion originated from.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: On the cover of issue 12 Green Lantern and Doiby Dickles are looking at a wanted poster for the Gambler posted up on the wall while the Gambler's distinctive shadow, with gun drawn, is cast on them from behind.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: While it doesn't really effect him much initially (save when fighting foes with forms of plant control) Alan's ring supposedly doesn't work against wood, which started out as a counterpoint to his immunity from metals. At first it was a case of being able to shrug off bullets, while at the same time being unprotected from organic items like a club or a fist. As flanderization took hold over time later issues would describe wood as "Green Lantern's greatest enemy!"
  • When Trees Attack: In one of Alan Scott's stranger adventures, he and sidekick Doiby Dickles shrink down to microscopic size and discover a world of walking, talking trees called Mossboles. The Mossboles are stealing food from the other inhabitants of the micro-world, who had been stealing Doiby's goldfish in order not to starve. Yeah. Anyway, in the end, Alan discovers that the trees just want to eat some dirt, which doesn't exist in the micro-world, so he enlarges them to full size and turns them loose in the forest. Problem solved.