Over the course of almost a century of comics, DC's Green Lantern concept has gone through a number of changes. There have been reboots, revamps, resurrections and, really, just about every kind of twist and tweak you can imagine. When Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s The Green Lantern arrives, it promises to offer readers a new take on the idea as well, reflecting not just on the man behind the ring, but the ring empowering the man and what it means to the universe.
During a recent press event at the DC Entertainment offices in Burbank, CA, Morrison elaborated on his idea of the general goodness of the Lanterns, and just why he’s calling the book calling The Green Lantern.
The Blue Lamp
One of the most immutable ideas behind DC's Green Lantern Corps, and Hal Jordan in particular, is that they're all essentially space cops. The Corps flies around the universe, doling out justice wherever they can. Previous incarnations of the character declared Hal the “greatest Green Lantern ever,” and treated him as the intergalactic equivalent of a hero cop. But that’s not why Morrison wanted to call the series The Green Lantern. Instead, it’s because he wanted to reflect the power the entire mythology has on the galaxy, using our collective understanding of what police are to build towards something bigger.
“The Green Lantern basically refers to the Green Lantern, the central power battery," Morrison revealed. "It doesn’t necessarily refer to Hal at all… It actually came from a movie in Britain called The Blue Lamp. It was a police movie… and it gave rise to this sorta famous 1960’s police drama that ran for, like, two hundred years. It ran until the guy died on the job, basically."
"They had this character of Dixon of Dock Green, who was in the precinct, and the ‘blue lamp’ is the police lamp that hangs outside all the British police stations. So I just thought, ‘the blue lamp, the green lantern, it’s the same thing. It’s the science-fiction version of that concept.’… So it refers to the concept rather to the man.”
It’s interesting to consider that as the core of the concept. The sheer number of Green Lantern characters out there has always allowed creators to explore different personalities and ideas with the ever-changing cast, but by making this book more about what the Green Lanterns as a whole means to the universe, it allows Morrison and Sharp to really explore the cosmos and examine their interpretation of just how this corner of the DC Universe works. In short, the concept of “space cop” makes for a good jumping off point, but there's a lot more to the Lanterns -- and Morrison & Sharpe's series -- than that.