Green Lantern comes out on Friday, and we can't wait to see how Hal Jordan's saga translates to the big screen. We can't tell you just what'll happen in the movie, but we do know one thing.
There's no way the movie can include these 16 utterly loopy storylines from the Green Lantern comics.
#1 Green Lantern gets knocked on the head. It's the thing that seems to happen most often to Hal Jordan in the early Green Lantern comics — he's flying around minding his own business, and he gets whomped in the head. Sometimes it's random tree branch falling on him. Sometimes it's a guy hitting him with a lamp. Sometimes it's ice cream hitting him in the face — because there's no defense against ice cream. Whatever it is, it always catches him by surprise. Forget Thomas "Pieface" Kalmaku — concussion is Hal Jordan's real best friend. (Ice cream pic via The Absorbascon, the home of many great Hal Jordan posts.)
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#2 The mystery of Star Sapphire. Why is it that whenever the love of Hal Jordan's life, Carol Ferris, disappears, the evil alien queen Star Sapphire appears? And she looks just like Carol? Hal will never figure this one out, even after he finds an alien sapphire next to Carol's unconscious body. Meanwhile, Carol is trying to defeat Hal in battle, so she can prove that she is worthy to be Star Sapphire, Queen of the Zamarons. But she not-so-secretly wants to lose to Hal, and so she does. Leading to the greatest line of all time: "He's defeated me. How terrible. No — how wonderful!" Sure, Carol.
#3 A token person of color chides Green Lantern for being like George Bush and not caring about black people. He's helped the red-skins, the green-skins and the fish-headed skins... he's a tool of the blue-skins. But what has he ever done for the black-skins? Answer me that, Hal.
#4 Hal and Ollie set off to look for America. It's a totally deep sixties moment, man. As a result of that little confrontation, Hal realizes he's lost touch with America, or something. And his personal Jiminy Cricket, Green Arrow, delivers a huge speech to Hal and the Guardians about how MLK and RFK died, man, and if you were really a man, you'd care, but nooo Hal is just a tool of the man, and he's not a man, because a man eats five-alarm chile and grows crazy pointy facial hair. This speech is so moving, Hal and one of his little blue taskmasters both agree to get in an old pickup truck and travel around America helping out poor downtrodden miners and Native Americans. Oh, and it was around this time that Ollie's sidekick, Speedy, revealed that his code name really should have been Smacky instead. But that's more of a Green Arrow storyline than a Green Lantern storyline, I guess.
#5 Hal gets a sidekick who won't get addicted to heroin. First Hal became the mentor to an incredibly goofy young legacy superhero, Airwave 2, whose power involved just traveling along radio waves. (And he always had to include the 2 in his name, IIRC.) But then he got an even better sidekick — Itty, an alien starfish that sat on Hal's shoulder throughout all his adventures. Then Itty dies, and Hal buries the little guy in a grave, with a headstone and everything. Awww. But then a weird monster turns up and starts trashing everything, and it turns out to be Itty — back from the grave! Except Itty's not so itty any more. Did Itty get hooked on smack after all? We'll never know, since he took off soon afterwards.
#6 Hal steps in on Guy Gardner's psychic girlfriend. Hal thinks that his fellow Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, is dead. So he decides to honor Guy's memory the best way he can — by stealing Guy's girlfriend, the psychic lady Kari Limbo, who insists on referring to herself as a gypsy. At one point, she says Guy was a good man, "and I've known many." Kari keeps hearing people shouting her name when nobody else is around, or maybe those sound effects are just her listening to her theme song. "KARI LIMBO! KARI LIMBO!" She slowly lets go of Guy Gardner and falls for the irrestible charms of Hal — this happens over like 10 issues. Finally, she lets Hal into her "secret place," which is concealed by an AWESOME bead curtain, of course. They finally decide to get married, and you'll never guess who shows up at their wedding — the supposedly dead Guy Gardner! (In issue #122, which I somehow don't manage to have a copy of.)
#7 Who is the Predator? So Hal gets over Kari Limbo pretty quickly — in fact, as soon as the wedding's off, he never mentions her again. Instead, he goes back to being obsessed by Carol Ferris, his original love interest. But every time he starts to get close to Carol, something gets in the way. And every time she needs him to help out as Green Lantern, those blue-skinned bastards, the Guardians, summon him to go save another planet from blowing up. It all comes to a head when some bad guys are trashing Carol's company, Ferris Industries, but Hal is forced to run off and save a planet instead of helping out. Suddenly, a mysterious figure named the Predator shows up and saves at least some of Carol's father's empire. The Predator starts romancing Carol with his pointy mask and funny shoulder-pads. Meanwhile, Hal decides to give up being Green Lantern so he can be with Carol full time and be there for her whenever she needs him. She's thrilled — for about five minutes. But really, she's bored with Hal once he's not Green Lantern any more. And he's not that much use to her without his ring. She invites him to come stay at her house — but only in the servant's quarters, and he has to pay rent. Ouch. Then Predator shows up and starts romancing her again! And he beats the crap out of Hal. It turns out Predator has a nefarious scheme for romancing Carol and taking over her company... but then the book's writers change a couple times, and suddenly we find out that Predator is actually the male half of Carol's personality, which she's been repressing. No, really. And when he plays a magic organ, her male and female halves will integrate.... turning her back into Star Sapphire. Because it's a magic organ. No, it doesn't really make any sense.
#8 Sinestro pretends to be gay. Or does he? During the "Millennium" crossover, our heroes capture the evil Sinestro, who used to be a Green Lantern until his mustache became too awesome. But Sinestro is a resourceful bastard, and he hits on a foolproof scheme — pretending to be gay and hitting on the outrageous gay stereotype, Extrano. Or is Sinestro really gay? We asked the writer of this issue, Steve Engelhart, and he told us that Sinestro would sleep with just about anyone, to achieve his villainous goals. (Oh, and as commenter Speednuts points out, later the stereotypical gay character, Extrano, gets infected with HIV by an "AIDS vampire" named Hemo-Goblin. Because it was the late 1980s, and all teh gays had to have AIDS. And Hemo-Goblin is a kewl name for an AIDS vampire.)
#9 Hal is NOT a pedophile. Annnnd then there's this ooky storyline. There's a young Green Lantern named Arisia. Who's sort of an elf girl. She's cute, and she's clearly drawn like a little child, who has a crazy crush on Hal. Eventually, Hal figures it out and lets her down as gently as he can. And then.... the book changes writers a few times. And then Arisia starts having weird, mysterious dizzy spells which nobody can explain. And she grows big boobs and starts wearing a miniskirt and looking all hawt all of a sudden. Hal hooks her up to every diagnostic he can think of, but can't find what's going on. At one point, he looks at her suddenly voluptuous body and says, "Something's different, but I can't tell what." Eventually, Arisia herself figures it out — she's been subconsciously using her ring to, ummm, spur her body's development. So she's grown to fully adult status in no time whatsoever. As Katma Tui puts it, she didn't have to live through adolescence, "day by dizzy day," she just skipped past it. But she's still mentally a child, in many ways, because she grew up so fast. So now that she's all womanly, she redoubles her efforts to win over Hal — and he resists. For like two issues of the comic. And then he's like, "Well, as long as nobody thinks I'm a child molester." Of course not, Hal.
#10 Hal's comrade in arms: a cartoon squirrel. In the 1980s, there was a big push to add lots of funny/weird creatures to the roster of Green Lanterns, who patrol the universe with their power rings. And so we got Ch'p, the squirrel from space. Who gets more and more cartoonish as the 1980s go on. Then the Green Lanterns get a new adversary — Truk, a guy who is a truck. Yep, that's his whole deal. And Truk is almost unstoppable, because he's got truck powers. And trucks are the natural enemies of squirrels. Except then it turns out that Truk is actually Ch'p's arch enemy, the squirrel mad scientist Dr. Ub'x, in disguise.
#11 Hal's girlfriend kills John Stewart's girlfriend for no reason. Star Sapphire comes back, now that she's integrated her male and female halves thanks to her magic organ. And she decides to "deliver a message" to Hal Jordan. Could she write it down? Send him an email? Maybe take out a personal ad? No, she just tears John Stewart's wife, the former Green Lantern Katma Tui, to shreds. Somewhat gratutiously. Hey, is it the 90s yet?
#12 It turns out Hal's ring "lobotomized" him. From the department of really random plot twists that will never be mentioned again. A big part of the Hal Jordan mythos was the idea that he was a man who knew no fear, and that's why he was chosen to wear the power ring. But when writer Peter David took over the character, he decided that actually Hal had originally had fear, like all other humans. But when the former wearer of the ring, Abin Sur, asked for a man "without fear," the ring had tracked down Hal, who had the minimum amount of fear — and altered his brain to remove all remaining traces of fear. With me so far? So Hal is horrified to hear that he's actually been "lobotomized" by the ring all this time. So he instructs his ring to give him fear once again, so he can be a normal man. Unfortunately, the next time he tries to fly, he looks down and all that stored-up fear comes out, making him lose control and almost go splat. Oops!
#13 Hal was a drunk driver. It turns out that before he got the ring, Hal was a washed up test pilot who drank too much and crashed his car. This attempt to give Hal a new "gritty" origin and a problem with alcohol akin to Tony Stark's pleased absolutely nobody, as you can imagine. After he gets the ring, Hal decides to blame the sign that he almost crashed into when he was driving drunk — that sign was too close to the road, it's the sign's fault — and doesn't realize that because the sign is yellow, his green ring can't affect it. Because irony.
#14 Hal decides to find himself. Yet again. The now Reed Richards-haired Hal Jordan gets a mid-life crisis, and decides he doesn't need his ring. He needs to be a man. Because depending on the ring makes him both less and more than a man. So he puts the ring away — thus condemning countless innocents to horrible deaths, because the owner of the most powerful tool in the cosmos isn't bothering to use it — and goes off to find himself. He says "brother road" a lot and thinks about his past, with thought captions like, "Damnation, I lived. I was a man. Brother road, where should we go now? Where will you take me?" Brother.
#15 Hal gets unhinged and gets himself some extra rings. And finally, there's the "Emerald Twilight" storyline. No this isn't a story where Hal becomes a vampire and fights a werewolf for the love of Kari Limbo. Rather, it's a ridiculous, editorially dictated story in which Hal suddenly goes nuts about the destruction of his hometown, which he had already gotten over in the previous issues, and decides to steal as much Green Lantern ringpower as he can for himself. He turns Kilowog into a skeleton! Kilowog! Eventually Hal turns into a full-on villain named Parallax. This is much later ret-conned into being a kind of fear parasite that preys on Hal's fear — which means it's Hal's fault, for asking his ring to un-lobotomize him during the Peter David era.
#16 The girlfriend in the refrigerator. Various people suggested we add this, and I'm kind of embarrassed I forgot it. Several years after John Stewart's girlfriend got slaughtered for no particular reason just to launch a new creative team and get some good buzz, the same thing happened the girlfriend of another GL — this time it's Kyle Rayner, who took over from Hal after he Parallaxed. I can't really explain it better than Topless Robot does, so head over there and scroll down to #4.
This article originally appeared on io9 in July 2010.