I hurt the feelings of my friends' seven-year-old son. Not intentionally, of course, but I answered a question blithely that perhaps would have been better served with a moment's reflection. Asked who is the best superhero, I admitted my favorite is Green Lantern. Thinking it would for sure be Spider Man, the little guy's spirits were crushed to learn that I don't put the friendly neighborhood webslinger at the top of the list. It's not like I hate Spidey, I told him, trying to soften the blow, but it was too late. I may have lost a friend.
The cover image above (drawn by Joe Staton) coincides with my childhood discovery of Green Lantern. It features the hero's oath, recited when he has to recharge his power ring every twenty-four hours. Ryan Reynolds, starring in next summer's film adaptation, spoke the oath this weekend at the San Diego Comic Con in response to a kid in the audience:
Goosebumps? I just about hit the roof with a throaty yowp.
Now, let's be reasonable. The movie could be utter crap. For all we know, it will be another special effects disaster like most superhero movies are these days. As a friend recently commented, they look cheaply made. Green Lantern could fall on this very same path oh so very easily, and chances are good that it will. You know what? It doesn't matter one bit. We can always go back to the source material. For all the haters against, say, the Lord of the Rings films, the only thing you have to do is point at the bookshelf: we'll always have the original.
Nevertheless, I'm a die-hard optimist. I've got huge hopes for this movie, that it will be high adventure along the lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a big dose of space opera to honor Green Lantern's science-fiction roots. His oath was penned by none other than Alfred Bester himself, one of the genre's finest writers. From such beginnings Green Lantern has awesome potential. When you consider that it's only in the last several years that the comic itself has become readable -for decades the Green Lantern comic was pure dreck- this could be the moment when our hero achieves his zenith.