“Green Lantern” is getting peoples attention in a big way. The legendary DC Comics super hero joins the ranks of Batman and Superman, as he leaps into theaters this summer. It’s not a question if people are going to see him at the movies but when. Within the extensive lore and saga of the Green Lantern comic book cosmos, the question begs, which Green Lantern is it?
At Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, manager Chris Rosa said “People are excited, because fans of the comic know that Geoff Johns, who spearheaded the rebirth of the character, is directly involved with the film. People are optimistic and looking forward to it.” Comic book writer Johns was given the duty of reviving the Hal Jordan character and gained success with the mini-series “Green Lantern: Rebirth.”
At Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood, sales associate Jonah Lantern has been highly anticipating the big screen version of “Green Lantern,” especially with his Green Lantern tattoo he wields on his arm. He also recognizes that some people are having reservations with the new film. “The problem people are having with it,” Jonah says, “is they are expecting it to be a movie based on ‘Green Lantern’ the comic book, but what they are actually getting is a movie based on the ‘Green Lantern Corps’ series, which tells the story of Green Lantern’s adventures in space and offers a wealth of great characters from the ‘Green Lantern’ universe.” Either way, Jonah and his Green Lantern tattoo will see the movie.
With the recent explosion of comic book movies, the film studios recognize the importance and levity that comic book fandom carries, especially with word of mouth as important as it is. Comic book shops like Meltdown and Golden Apple can really be the conduit between the fandom getting behind a new comic book franchise brought to the big screen. Annual events such as Comic-Con now carry as much weight in the entertainment industry as Sundance did twenty years ago.
There’s always the question of what ranks higher, the comic book or the movie. For many it’s hard to watch a comic book movie and at the same time imagine it taking place in the same universe as the comic book. There’s so many things in print that you just can’t do on-screen. I don’t think anyone wants to see a panel-for-panel recreation of what they read already. In all the films that are held in high esteem by the comic book fandom, all of them take wild diversions from the original source material. The real benchmark for a big studio comic book adaptation is whether the film dramatically reflects the core of the comic book characters.
If audiences go into it thinking these are the same characters, but taking place in another story or timeline or universe (as comic book characters are warranted to do) then films like “X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and the upcoming “Captain America: The First Avenger” hold their own exceptionally well. The same can hold true for “Green Lantern.” Fans realize there’s no way to encapsulate 30-70 years of a characters mythology in a two hour film. They want to see, thematically, that the film understands what makes the characters tick and doesn’t get away from that in the cinematic universe.
Chris Rosa said, “There’s an old line from writer Alan Moore about his comic book ‘Watchmen.’ ‘Watchmen’ is on the bookshelf. Even after the movie, it will still be there. The book is still the book.”
So no matter if Green Lantern is the “The Godfather” or the “Howard the Duck” of comic book movies, no one is going to torch the comic book because of it.