Green Lantern is a superhero published by DC Comics, regarded as one of the medium's greatest characters. Despite his popularity no one outside of lonely comic-book geeks gave a crap about him until Ryan Reynolds was picked to play him in a movie.
The original "Golden Age" Green Lantern first appeared in 1940's "All-American Comics" #16, written by Bill Finger (co-creator of The God Damned Batman). His name was Alan Scott and his ring was a magical artifact that granted him many abilities. The ring had two weaknesses: First, it needed to be recharged every twenty-four hours by touching it to the magical lantern it was crafted from. Second, it didn't work on wood. I know, right? Wood? You're probably thinking that's the dumbest superhero weakness ever. Keep reading.
To be fair, wood is at times terrifying.
In the "Silver Age", DC reimagined Green Lantern in 1959's "Showcase" #22. This new GL was test pilot Hal Jordan, and while the ring and lantern remained they were given a sci-fi spin more in tune with the pop culture of the times. Jordan was given the ring by a dying alien who was part of an interstellar police force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Chosen for his fearlessness, Hal became the defender of not only the Earth, but an entire sector of space as well. His ring gives him immense power, as it allows him to channel his steel-like willpower into a green energy that can become essentially anything the wielder imagines. Rocket launcher? Laser cannon? Giant, fire-breathing space shark? No problem for the one who wears (and can control) the ring. Given the limitless possibilities, it seems odd that most writers who worked on the strip in the early years chose to repeatedly depict Green Lantern just bashing the bad guys with a giant, glowy green fist. But hey, those were simpler times.
Simpler, stupider times.
One thing that remained from the original concept was the ring's weaknesses. It still had to be recharged every twenty-four hours in a lantern-like power battery, but the new ring didn't have the old one's silly weakness against wood. Instead, the ring was now powerless against anything...yellow. That's right, the most powerful weapon in the universe can be utterly defeated by a color. And not just any old color. No, only the mighty color of pee can test our hero's resolve. That wood thing doesn't seem so bad now, does it?
Green Lantern's worst nightmare.
There have been other Green Lanterns. Many, many characters have worn the ring over the years and every fan has their favorite, but Hal Jordan is almost universally recognized as the most iconic character ever associated with the mantle. Hal is to GL what Sean Connery is to Bond.
Connery, seen here on his way to the grocery store.
So now they're making a movie, and it comes as no surprise that Hollywood has tapped Hal Jordan to be the silver screen's Green Lantern. And when it came time to decide who should play the beloved hero, one name quickly sprung to the lips of casting directors: Ryan Reynolds.
It really is the perfect casting choice. He looks the part. His previous roles suggest that he won't screw it up too badly, and his mainstream popularity will bring in people who ordinarily wouldn't give a second look to a comic-book movie. In short, guys will go because it's Green Lantern and chicks will go because it's Ryan Reynolds.
Seriously. This guy.
It's a good time to be a Green Lantern fan. The character's stock is on the rise. Expect a nerdgasm of worldwide proprtions in June 2011 when Reynolds cranks up his power battery on the big screen and recites the famous Green Lantern Oath:
"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power...green lantern's light!"
As long as Evil isn't wearing this.