Great Scott — The Many Looks of Green Lantern Alan Scott by Jon Morris!

Note: As we work behind the scenes to judge, jury and comment on the entries for our Green Lantern: Emerald Ensemble contest, we present you another great article on the Emerald Sentinel’s colored costume history. This time out, Jon Morris wrote a piece about the many designs for the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. – Chris A.

Green Lantern’s unique look was, according to creator Martin Nodell, inspired by the uniform of an employee of the New York Subway system and his own interest in the costuming of Greek mythology. The hybrid outfit, filtered through his own imagination, was as outlandish and memorable as his protagonist Scott anticipates it will be in a thought balloon at the end of his first appearance.

A red blouse dotted with yellow insignia, a purple collared cape with emerald green lining, forest green pants, red boots, yellow laces and a broad leather belt made up most of the outlandish costume, accented with his purple domino mask and, lest anyone mistake his color scheme or purpose, a detailed image of a green lantern smack in the middle of his chest.

The costume served Alan Scott well enough through the end of his popularity, at which point he was effectively replaced in the pages of his own book by a crime-fighting dog (and in many ways, aren’t we all?). Fading away after that low point, Scott was given an entre back to comics via the Silver Age revival of his concept, where his costume received some sleek tweaks to make it align a little better with his successor’s space age togs.

The blouse was made skin-tight, the lantern insignia was simplified, and the laces were turned into boot accents. The cape was toned down dramatically, as well, but Scott’s new duds might have passed for contemporary costuming if he’d ditched it altogether.

Those minor changes remained the rule until the (dunh dunh dunnh) 1990s, when total change became the order of the day. Made younger by the “Starheart” magic of his power ring, the rejuvenated Green Lantern goes out into the night with teeth gritted and seemingly endlessly long cape going all crazy behind him all the time for no reason.

The 90s incarnation included a very simplified logo, red boots, green opera gloves, a body-hugging one-piece bodysuit employing a restricted color scheme (unfortunately evocative of Christmas), an all-over body shine and – since gothic capes were now fashionable again, thanks to Todd McFarlane – a voluminous cloak that might either be scalloped or simply folding in on itself so often that it’s effectively without physical limit.

A slightly streamlined version of the same costume – now with a “Starheart” logo – was adopted when Scott transitioned to his “Sentinel” codename a little while later.

Scott eventually returned to his original costume for the majority of his run as a member of the revived JSA, but in the interim he sported a literal knight-in-shining-armor look in Waid and Ross’ Elseworlds series (and apparently also on the post-Infinite Crisis but pre-DCNu52 Earth-22, which is whatever-it-is now as far as I know).

Like a lot of Alex Ross’ designs, it looked lovely under the guiding hand of his realistic, gouache-painted style but unfortunately didn’t translate to traditional pen and ink renderings by other artists (see also: Captain Atom, seriously, just see him). Modeled after an idealized form of the armor of medieval knights, the costume expressed the idea of Green Lantern as a hero and protector, but didn’t do much to convey “Lantern” any more than his other costumes (That the lantern’s origin was original Chinese and the ring was inspired by Aladdin, the medieval European motif does seem to come out of nowhere)

But speaking of conveying the idea of a Green Lantern, let’s be sure to acknowledge Scott’s last costume change before Flashpoint, when he cosplayed as a Coleman camping supply.

Paralyzed by the amount of will necessary to contain the power of his Starheart, Scott uses the power of the ring to create a suit of armor which will grant him sufficient mobility – apparently it takes less willpower to imagine a suit that lets you walk than it does to just walk, we should all try it someday. In any case, the answer to this problem involves a suit of armor over a flowing material which evokes the blouse of his original costume combined with a more sensible color scheme. Unfortunately, he also looks like a lamp in a cape.

It’s too bad this costume didn’t catch on, I would have loved to have seen the Flash dressed as a foot.

Of course, that leads us to Scott’s most recent incarnation as a brand-spankin’ new superhero on DC’s Earth-2.

Bearing probably the only costume in the Earth-2 catalogue that isn’t a complete eyesore, Alan Scott now wears a sleek, simplified bodysuit with armor accents. It’s a pretty clever compromise, actually, because the new costume isn’t visually that far removed from a traditional Green Lantern Corps uniform, but the power effects – his green flame – makes him distinct enough to behave as a separate character. There’s nothing about it that is – as the original story put it – so bizarre that once seen he will never be forgotten, but it’s not the worst thing he’s ever worn (reminder: The worst is the big lamp).

Lastly, no survey of the original Green Lantern’s costume would be complete without a nod to the animated Justice League’s Green Guardian, a hero who can really pull off chartreuse.

And even lastlier than that, let’s not forget that Alan Scott’s costume isn’t complete without a rug.

16 comments on “Great Scott — The Many Looks of Green Lantern Alan Scott by Jon Morris!
  1. I actually really liked the lamp version there are some elements that could use some revision and I think could really work with some of the elements from his Kingdom Come costume.

  2. You know, the classic DCU Alan Scott is one of my least favorite characters. If you think about it, Alan Scott may not look like it, but he’s pretty much one of the 80 year old bigots who sit in my restaurant all morning, drinking free coffee and bitching about Obama. You have a character who pretty much turned his own son into a supervillian than accept that the kid liked men, and I find it almost ironic that in the New 52, Alan Scott is a gay man himself. Its like the comic book equivalent of the wheel of karma.

  3. Alan has always been my favorite Lantern (even though I’m 23 and there’s really no reason he should be). That said, I think the only costume that has worked has been his original when slightly simplified. It’s surely corny, but barely more so than any other classic DC character. The simplified Sentinel with Starheart is okay, and the Kingdom Come fits for that universe, but the “Lantern Cosplay” costume was just insulting and embarrassing, and the Nu52 costume is perhaps the most boring and garishly monotone overhaul. That much green just doesn’t work, and, as a fellow gay man, I expect more of NuAlan.

  4. Great article. The Silver Age GL is a classic favorite. I’d prefer if they just went back to his original outfit, possibly with a few minor tweaks. It was a quirky fun design.

  5. I don’t hate the new costume, but I wish he had some understated purple/black to make him like less of a big awkward green blob. Also I miss the cape conceptually, it goes a long way toward visually making him look like a heavy hitting hero in the line of superman.

  6. As a kid, I always hated the original Green Lantern costume. Having grown up accustomed to Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, I couldn’t get past the thought of using so much purple and red in a GREEN Lantern outfit. However, looking back now, Alan Scott’s duds may just be my favorite Golden Age superhero attire. There’s so much more going on there than any of the other big heroes of the time, he really stands out.

  7. The Sentinel costume was my favorite. It was a…I hesitate to say great or even good…but sufficient updating of his original that worked within the times that he wore it.

    Hell, I love it. Take that for what you will.

  8. The Justice League Animated Series’s Green Lantern of the other Universe was called Green Guardsman instead of Green Guardian or am I wrong?

  9. This guy as never had a great look IMO…the KC armor is the best but only works in that book as the article points out. If Alan Scott is going to be used you have to keep in in his classic suit because his appeal is that he’s from the golden age

  10. I liked more the first version of the new52 Alan Scott. With a look more close to the silver age green lantern and the slighty tweked gl symbol.

  11. The uopdated 90′s look, the Sentinel look, Kingdom Come, and The Green Guardsman are my favorite looks. The Earth 2 one isn’t bad though.

  12. I always liked the one “Kyle” had in Superman Batman: Generations 2. Thought it was pretty snazzy.

  13. Chris Field: You know, the classic DCU Alan Scott is one of my least favorite characters. If you think about it, Alan Scott may not look like it, but he’s pretty much one of the 80 year old bigots who sit in my restaurant all morning, drinking free coffee and bitching about Obama. You have a character who pretty much turned his own son into a supervillian than accept that the kid liked men, and I find it almost ironic that in the New 52, Alan Scott is a gay man himself. Its like the comic book equivalent of the wheel of karma.

    That’s funny I don’t recall Alan Scott ever acting prejudice towards his son for being gay. More surprised than anything else. Todd Rice and his sister were given up for adoption without Scott’s knowledge. Obsidian was raised by a abusive home, while his twin sister Jade was raised in a good home. Todd’s mental instability was mostly caused by his adopted father treating him like crap. When he does come out in JSA, Alan Scott is upset at all.

  14. The changes to Alan Scott’s costume described here as taking place in the Silver Age were actually Golden Age refinements. The shirt (I have no idea why the writer insists on calling it a blouse, puffy sleeves or no) became form-fitting in conventional superhero style at a pretty early stage, long pre-dating his Silver Age guest appearances. The original footwear (which always looked to me like viking footgear, tied on with rope) likewwise became proper boots with two yellow chevrons near the top in the latter part of the orignal GL’s Golden Age run.

    Some Golden Age artists made the ropes look more like strips of yellow adhesive tape. Recent attampts to show him in the original boots make it look like he got his feet caught in those plastic things that hold six-packs of soda together at the top.

    I love that character and I wish DC would continue his Archives past Volume 2. I also wish they’d continue the Comic Cavalcade Archives, and, while we’re at it, the Golden Age Flash Archives as well. Before I’m an old man, please.

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