Sure, some of our childhood favorites have fallen into obscurity over the years, but some licenses have been reborn, bigger – and better – than ever. Let’s take a look at who’s on top of the Property Ladder.
I started reading comics in 1991, and if you’d asked me “Who is the Green Lantern?” I would have looked at you and shrugged. To be honest, it wasn’t until ten years later, when the Dini-verse Justice League cartoon debuted, that I finally became familiar with the character at all. Still, I didn’t entirely understand why – in my three encounters with the character (Super Friends, Justice League cartoon, and the JLA comic) – he was portrayed as a different character each and every time. Then again, I also didn’t understand why a guy named Green Lantern relied on a ring in battle. What’s up with the lantern? And what do you mean there’s a whole corps of these guys!? Smash cut to another decade having passed, and we’re on the verge of almost every man, woman, and child in America being able to name Hal Jordan’s supporting cast and recite – or at least try to – the oath. So what happened?
Geoff. FREAKING. Johns. That’s what.
Starting with Green Lantern: Rebirth and carrying forward through Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, Johns rebuilt the very concept of the Green Lantern from the ground up. The scribe tweaked the details of the GL mythos, taking seemingly arbitrary plot points (like Jordan and company’s weakness to yellow) and weaving them into a much greater, more well-thought-out narrative. In short, Johns made Green Lantern GOOD. From there, making it profitable was no problem. An animated feature, spin-off books, and an entire line of DC Direct figures catapulted the emerald corps to prominence and helped line the coffers at the DC offices. So what could possibly come next?
That’s right, kids – HOLLYWOOD! This summer, Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan in the big budget, live action Green Lantern motion picture. The movie’s actual box office success remains to be seen, but it has already succeeded in furthering the exposure of the titular character. People everywhere are beginning to know who Green Lantern is, and it’s just the beginning. DC’s also ramping up for the movie’s release by cranking out numerous merchandising tie-ins such as sneakers, caps, and t-shirts, as well as a whole new mass market line of action figures. Where the previous DC Direct offerings were targeted at fans of the comics and sold via the direct market, these new waves of Mattel figures are being released at retail chains across the country. For the first time, ever, children can go to Toys R Us and buy a whole collection of toys focusing on the Green Lantern. And there’s no better measure for success…
… until we’re pouring ourselves a bowl of Mog-O’s in the morning.