What Was The Reasoning Behind Hal Jordan Taking the Name Parallax?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Jonathan F. wrote in to ask:

Why did Hal Jordan take on the name "Parallax" (which was later retconned to be the fear entity)? Wiktionary defines parallax as, "An apparent shift in the position of two stationary objects relative to each other as viewed by an observer, due to a change in observer position." Was the name Parallax chosen because of the "shift" in Hal's outlook on life, or did the writer simply pick the name because it sounded "cool?"

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To recap, the whole deal started during the storyline "Emerald Twilight," where Hal Jordan essentially snapped after his home of Coast City was wiped out without him being able to stop it...

Hal went kind of crazy...

He cut a swath of destruction to Oa, where he planned to absorb the Green Lantern Corps Central Power Battery...

He succeeded in doing so and became a new sort of being, called Parallax...

DC at the time had a placeholder name of the Protector for Hal, but because he was going to become a bad guy, that name really didn't make a ton of sense, ya know? So in stepped artist Darryl Banks, who designed the costume for Parallax AND coined the name!

From an old interview with 4-Color Comics (I can't find the link anymore. It might be a dead link now), Banks explained...

So they knew they wanted Hal to change and wanted his power to become internalized. They wanted to give him a slightly different outfit and call him The Protector. ... The Protector? I asked them 'so tell me this, who is he protecting?' They just liked the name. So I said 'let me come up with a costume and a name and see what you think.' I gave them the Parallax armor and the name. I thought maybe I could get something that sound like Protector ... so I stuck with the letter P. I mean, I'm literally going through the dictionary and ... Parallax! It had different meanings but they all related to our concept. Like, it means a different point of view and I though Hal's got a different point of view of the Corps now, and how the Guardians have treated them. And also it was something like a star that was once part of a constellation but has moved out of formation and to me the constellation was the Corps and the star is Hal.

So yes, Banks WAS taking the meaning of the word into account!

Thanks to Jonathan for the question!

If anyone else has a question, feel free to drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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