Green and Black


Green and Black
by Saab Lofton

When the DC Comics character Green Lantern was created in 1940, he was an individual with a magic ring, but twenty years later, his back story was rewritten so that being a Green Lantern meant one was part of a collective.

The Green Lantern Corps, as it was called, could be compared to the Jedi Order from Star Wars since both organizations enlisted thousands of different aliens (and just as the Jedi had a fallen angel in the form of Anakin Skywalker, the Green Lanterns were similarly betrayed, but I'm getting ahead of myself).

In 1959, a white character named Hal Jordan debuted as Earth's Green Lantern. Then the Corps decided a substitute would be chosen and kept in reserve in case Jordan was ever incapacitated, so in 1971, a black character named John Stewart was introduced -- making him DC's first black superhero (Marvel Comics' first, the Black Panther, premiered in 1966).

Hal Jordan remained the Green Lantern of Earth until 1994, when a 9/11-esque event traumatized him so much, he tried using his magic ring to raise those who died from the grave. The Corps deemed this as a gross abuse of power, but instead of turning himself in to be disciplined, Jordan turned on and murdered most of the other Green Lanterns.

DC Comics made a supervillain out of Hal Jordan, but in a subsequent storyline, DC redeemed/martyred him and had Jordan return as the ghostly Spectre (The Spectre was created by Jerry Siegel -- the creator of Superman).

I bring all this comic book trivia up because making Jordan the new Spectre was a brilliant move, but not only that, doing so could've cleared the way for John Stewart to finally become Earth's Green Lantern (Stewart survived Jordan's rampage), BUT OH NO! In something called, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Jordan is not only brought back to life, but now it's claimed "a demonic, parasitic entity" MADE him go off -- and all this time I thought he CHOSE to be a genocidal maniac like Anakin did ..!

So DC Comics would rather revive a dead white character than empower a brother ... I guess it was just too much for white comic fans to have their white hero fall from grace and take responsibility for what he did -- let alone have him replaced by a NIGGER. Yes, this is all fiction, but it's still indicative of something publisher Alonzo Washington said during a comic convention:

"Most white people are uncomfortable with people of color gaining power. That's why affirmative action and immigration are always controversial topics in America. Therefore, the concept of a superhero of color is an uneasy thought to most white Americans. Moreover, the image of a superhero is one of perfection and morality. For years the mainstream media has always force fed the American public with the most negative and immoral images of black people (murderers, gang bangers, thugs, pimps, video tramps, whores, rapists, gangsta rappers, criminals, etc.). Therefore, the concept of a black superhero is almost a joke in the minds of most white people. That's why a number of Hollywood films are made with a black superhero as a comedy release (Undercover Brother, Meteor Man, Pootie Tang and Blankman). I have turned down a number of Hollywood producers who want to make a movie with my black superheroes as a comedy. Moreover, most of the creators in the comic book industry (not all) are white nerds. What do they know about black people or any other people of color?"

... as a black storyteller myself, I too will refuse to base any comedies on the black superhero -- a concept that MUST be taken seriously if blacks in real life are ever to be. Actually, there's at least one white man who understands. Bruce Timm was the producer of Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited -- a show where John Stewart is cast as Green Lantern -- and at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con, Timm nailed it ...

"When the show's lineup was first announced, there were a lot of people saying, why aren't they using Hal Jordan ... I'll just say it: You know we did need ethnic diversity in the Justice League. We felt that the show is going to be seen worldwide and I think having a member of the Justice League who is not just 'Mr. Whitebread' is a good thing."

... as Timm stated, "there were a lot of people" who had a problem with John Stewart and I seem to know most of them. One was Ralph Mathieu, owner of Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas -- who told me flat out a major motion picture about Green Lantern would flop if a black actor wore the fabled magic ring. Another was one of the three co-hosts I did an Internet radio show with ( known by his nickname, "The Goof," and what he said about the prospect of someone black portraying HIS hero on screen is simply too vile to be repeated.

Given the amount of resistance there's been to John Stewart taking Hal Jordan's place, is it any wonder why white supremacists have such a problem with their distant descendants looking like Halle Berry ..?