#2714: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

“Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, first shined his emerald light in 1940’s All-American Comics #16.”

1940 proved to be a rather jam-packed year for super hero comics.  After the immense success of Superman and Batman in the two years prior, DC (then National Comics Publications) launched more of their own additions to the genre, but were also joined by a good number of competitors.  One who was perhaps less competitor than the others was All-American Publications, whose characters had frequent crossovers with National’s, and who were themselves absorbed into what would become DC before the end of the Golden Age.  Among All-American’s most prominent heroes was the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, who arrived in July of 1940 in the 16th issue of All-American’s self-titled periodical.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was released in the second series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line, which hit not too long after the first.  Like Jay, prior to the release of this figure, Alan’s only prior figure was the slightly less artist-specific one from the JSA line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  After the stripped down articulation approach they gave to the non-Batman figures in Series 1, DCD was nice enough to change things up ever so slightly for the second round, and actually gave Alan here swivels for his wrists, which is certainly nice to have for a character like GL.  His posing is still somewhat limited, of course, but you can get a respectable range out of him.  The figure’s sculpt is based on Marty Nodell’s interior illustrations for the character.  Nodell’s work was somewhat fluid in it’s exact depiction of the character, so this sculpt tries to get the key most elements of his illustrations, worked into a cleaner overall design.  It’s quite a nice looking sculpt, and probably one of the best to come out of this line-up (really, only Hawkman rivals it).  These figures were mostly pretty light on detailing, but in keeping with Nodell’s tendency to put a lot of smaller detailing into his art, there’s actually quite a bit going on in this figure’s sculpt as well. The pants in particular have some really nice work on the folds and creases, and the billowy shirt even manages to look pretty decent.  The head’s also got a little more character to it than most of the other sculpts in the line, with more detailing in the face and hair, and even the actual band that held his mask in place (consistent in the earliest depictions of the character).  In an effort to keep with the cloth goods set-up for the line, Alan’s cape is a cloth piece.  It’s not one of the line’s finest elements, being rather bulky and a little cumbersome.  It’s got a wire to aid in posing, which is cool, but it has some trouble staying in place, and the yellow band across the front that’s supposed to be the chain is really goofy looking.  Like most of the other figures in the set, Alan’s paint work is bright, clean, and colorful.  There’s some very sharp work on the logo, as well as on the face, especially the eyes.  Alan is packed with the usual stand and reprint of his first appearance, but also gets his actual Lantern power batter as well, which is quite a nice piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a somewhat sentimental attachment to Alan Scott, largely due to dressing up as him for Halloween when I was 7, but this was the first Alan Scott figure I actually owned.  I got it from my parents for Christmas the year it was released, and even happened to have it with me when I met Marty Nodell at Baltimore Comic Con the following year, although I didn’t have the forethought to actually get him to sign it, which probably would have been a good idea.  He’s a really cool figure, and probably the best of the First Appearance figures.  I don’t like the cape a ton, but that’s ultimately pretty minor.

#0388: Alan Scott & Solomon Grundy

ALAN SCOTT & SOLOMON GRUNDY

DC POCKET HEROES

Before Minimates made it onto the scene, minifigures hadn’t yet settled on being “block” figures. In 2002, DC Direct decided to do a line of smaller scale figures, which were inspired by Mego’s Pocket Super Heroes line of the 80s. Instead of dedicated character sculpts like the original figures, DC Direct opted for a basic body with add-on pieces, not unlike Minimates or LEGO Minifigures (or Kubricks, a contemporary of DC Pocket Heroes.) The line never really hit it big, but it was successful enough to get seven assortments of two-packs and four larger boxed sets. It covered characters from all over the DC Universe, but tended to focus more on “classic” characters and looks. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the line’s versions of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, and Solomon Grundy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Alan and Grundy were released in the third assortment of the first series of DC Pocket Heroes, released in December of 2002.

ALAN SCOTT

Alan Scott isn’t really anybody’s default Green Lantern, but he’s the original, making him very important. His figure is about 3 ½ inches tall and features 6 points of articulation. He’s based on Alan’s original appearance, back when he was THE Green Lantern. Admittedly, it’s a goofy design, and it doesn’t have the sleekness of the Silver Age design, but it’s not bad. He makes use of the standard Pocket Heroes body, with add-ons for the hair and cape/collar. Unlike Minimates, these pieces aren’t removable, making him a more traditional action figure. The hair and cape are both basic pieces for the line, but they suit the character well, so the re-use is certainly warranted. The base Pocket Heroes body is an interesting piece. It’s a lot clumsier in terms of design than other such bodies. It wasn’t as versatile as DC Direct wanted it to be. However, Alan is one of the characters that fits pretty well on it. The only real issue I see is that the sculpted boots don’t line up with Alan’s actual boots. I don’t know why they didn’t just leave the boots off the sculpt, but I guess that’s what they went with. The paint on Alan Scott is serviceable. It’s nothing amazing, and there are definitely some issues, especially on the color overlay of the boots (the green bleeds through the red, and the red bleeds through the yellow). He’s also got a gash of paint missing on his right eye. However, the paint is mostly bold and colorful, and it looks good for the character. Alan Scott included no accessories.

SOLOMON GRUNDY

Solomon Grundy. Born on a Monday. So, yeah… Grundy is technically a zombie, I guess, and he was a recurrent foe for a few of the Golden Age DC heroes. He had more than a few run-ins with Alan Scott, so this pairing is sensible. Grundy is about 3 ½ inches tall and he sports 6 points of articulation. He’s based on Grundy’s classic, more reserved design. Like Alan, he makes use of the standard Pocket Heroes body, with an add-on for his hair. The hair was new to this figure, though it would eventually see re-use on the line’s version of Bizarro. The body doesn’t work as well here as it did for Alan. The body is very clearly meant to be used for characters in tights, wearing boots. Grundy has neither of those, resulting in an odd looking figure. Obviously a generic suit body wouldn’t have really worked either, but this looks silly. The figure’s paint isn’t too bad, given that they had to work around the base body. Everything is relatively clean, and the detail lines are pretty sharp. The face is kind of gooney looking, though. An, to top it all off, my Grundy figure’s …uhh…backside… fell off right out of the package, which makes him look even sillier!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Golden Age Green Lantern. When I was in 2nd grade, I even dressed up as him for Halloween. So, it’s no surprise that I picked up his Pocket Heroes figure. He actually wasn’t as easy for me to get a hold of as some of the others, though. I actually ended up having to special order this set through a local comicbook store because it had sold out. All in all, Pocket Heroes are a sort of a goofy little set of figures. Some of them didn’t really work, but some of them really did. This set includes one of each.