The revamp of Green Lantern as Hal Jordan was one of many old DC Comics characters to emerge in the Silver Age of comics. Controversy erupted among comic book readers in 1994 when Hal Jordan became supervillain Parallax and Kyle Rayner replaced him as the Green Lantern.
Jordan underwent a number of further changes in the 1990s including dying and later returning as a new incarnation of The Spectre. Hal Jordan returned to the role of Green Lantern in 2004's Green Lantern: Rebirth miniseries and is currently the protagonist of the current volume of Green Lantern.
Like E.E. Doc Smith's Lensmen, the new Green Lantern was a member of an intergalactic constabulary made up of many different alien species who were given a device that provided them with great mental and physical abilities; however, both Broome and Schwartz had denied a connection between those stories from science fiction pulps and the Green Lantern comic book stories. Gil Kane drew from actor Paul Newman in creating Hal Jordan's likeness and redesigned the Green Lantern uniform into a very sleek form-fitting outfit of green, black, and white - quite the opposite of Alan Scott's red, yellow, green, purple, and black costume with a puffy shirt and cape.
The character was a success and it was quickly decided to follow-up his three issue run on Showcase with a self-titled series. Green Lantern #1 began in July-August 1960 and would continue until #84 in April-May 1972.
This creative team was responsible for introducing many of the major characters in Hal Jordan's life. First and foremost was Carol Ferris, Jordan's love interest. She was in charge of Ferris Aircraft, and as such, Hal's boss. While she preferred Green Lantern to Hal Jordan, she took an active role in trying to win him over, even going so far as to propose to him in the old Leap Year tradition. Although she gave Jordan the time of day, her job and company always came first. Ferris was a strong-willed woman of authority at a time when this was rare, especially in comic books.
Another unique addition to Green Lantern's supporting cast was his best friend, Tom Kalmaku, who was both Hal's mechanic and the chronicler of his super-hero adventures. An Inuit (Eskimo) from Alaska, Tom's nickname was "Pie" or "Pieface", in reference to Eskimo Pie ice cream sandwiches. Like "Chop Chop" from the Blackhawk comics, this nickname is now understandably viewed as racist and has been downplayed by most modern writers. However, unlike "Chop Chop", Tom was actually a competent and intelligent character with a well-rounded personality, not a stereotypical buffoon. Despite the unfortunate nickname, Tom Kalmaku was among the first minority characters to be portrayed in this manner and broke new ground for mainstream comic books. Tom would later be followed by another trail-blazing minority character, John Stewart, the first African-American super-hero of the DC Universe.
Jordan's masters, the mysterious Guardians of the Universe, were physically based on David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, and were developed from an idea Schwartz and Broome had originally conceived years prior in a story featuring Captain Comet in Strange Adventures #22 (July, 1952) entitled "Guardians of the Clockwork Universe".
Schwartz and company also allowed Jordan to have a family, which was another rare thing at this time in superhero comics. While he didn't have a wife or children of his own, he had many interactions with his two brothers, Jack and Jim. The Brothers Jordan were primarily inspired by the Kennedy brothers, who rose to prominence during the sixties.
When compared to comics of the thirties, forties, and early fifties, Green Lantern broke new storytelling ground and can be seen as a precursor to the "Marvel Revolution" that would take place several years later. Whereas older comics treated each issue as a stand-alone with no real sense of temporal direction between issues, Green Lantern's issues followed the order of publication, with references within the stories to previous stories and adventures. Not only were references made, but subplots (such as Hal and Carol's romance, the marriage of Tom Kalmaku, etc.) were advanced showing actual growth in the character's lives. While these subplots rarely were given much notice in comparison to Marvel's storylines in the sixties and especially to today's modern stories, they were the first step toward this sort of serial storytelling instead of the episodic nature of older comics.
Likewise, Green Lantern was one of the first comics to be a part of a "shared universe". The Justice League of America united several superheroes that DC owned, just as the Justice Society of America had in the Golden Age. The crucial difference was that events occurring in the Justice League title were reflected and referenced in individual superheroes' titles (such as Green Lantern).
Also adding to the advancement of the medium was Gil Kane's use of dynamic art. Whereas previously, comics had mostly stuck with a six panel page consisting of six equal sized rectangles, Kane's panels changed in size and shape to offer a more emotional and visceral experience. The action and/or scene dictated the art instead of being forced into a rigid box structure. In addition, while there had been plenty of flying superheroes in the past, none flew quite like Hal Jordan. Kane’s art made Hal look more like he was gliding or swimming through the air than the usual leaping or bullet-like flying motion of other superheroes. His fluid poses made Hal a more graceful and, as a result, realistic-looking flying man.
John Broome seemed to come up with stories centered on a common theme and then run them together within a fairly short time. For example, Green Lantern #2-4 each contained stories involving the anti-matter universe of Qward, issues #12 and #15 featured "Zero Hour" stories, and issues #8 and #12 involved Hal being sent to the year 5700 AD in the guise of Pol Manning.
Starting in issue #17, Gardner Fox joined the book to share writing duties with John Broome. The quartet of Schwartz, Broome, Fox, and Kane remained the core creative team until 1970.
Green Arrow was a character originally created by DC in 1941 (then known as National Comics). He was a wealthy businessman named Oliver Queen who wore a green Errol Flynn-esque Robin Hood costume and shot “trick” arrows in his efforts to fight crime. His characterization was fairly basic (borrowing heavily from Batman but lacking the depth and tragedy of that character) and as such remained a second or third string hero throughout the Golden Age. However, the character managed to survive the fifties (during which most superhero comics were eliminated due to lack of interest) by being a backup character in the Superboy comics. In 1961, DC added Green Arrow to the roster of the Justice League of America, but still remained in the background and fairly uninteresting.
This changed in 1968 with Justice League of America #66. Written by Denny O’Neil, Green Arrow started to show resentment toward his fellow superheroes who wielded great power (as he himself, possessing exceptional skill but no actual super-powers, did not), but did little to help the ordinary people with ordinary problems. O’Neil continued to push Green Arrow’s tolerance for his peers, and a little less than a year later, Neal Adams (not working in any sort of cooperation with O’Neil) redesigned Arrow, giving him a goatee and more dynamic and fierce outfit. Justice League of America #74 (still being written by O’Neil) introduced Black Canary as Arrow’s love interest and issue #75 left him broke, his company and fortune stolen from him. O’Neil wanted to recreate Green Arrow to better represent a modern Robin Hood, but felt a rich man would be a poor champion of the downtrodden.
Some time after this, Schwartz invited O’Neil to take over Green Lantern. Wanting to represent his own political beliefs in comics and take on social issues of the late sixties and early seventies, O’Neil came up with the idea of pitting Hal Jordan, who as an intergalactic cop stood for not only Law & Order but The Establishment, against Oliver Queen, who O’Neil had characterized as a profoundly outspoken liberal and stood for the Counter-Culture Movement. The first issue he wrote had Green Lantern capturing a street "punk" who was pushing around a man. All around him, people start throwing things at the bewildered Jordan. As he steps in to attack, he is stopped by Green Arrow, who explains that the man he defended was a slum lord "fat cat" and goes even further to show Lantern the conditions of the slum. At the roof, in a now famous scene, an old African-American man grills Jordan as to why he has not done much for the "black skins" of his own planet while helping out other different colored aliens of other planets.
Following Schwartz's approval of the story, Neal Adams was brought in to replace Gil Kane, much to the surprise of Denny O'Neil. And yet, the pair had already been working together on Batman (where Adams successfully reconstructed the character into a more dramatic "Dark Knight"), Adams had been the one to redesign Green Arrow's costume, and the artist had a growing reputation for one who did not back down and pushed for innovative, good ideas and therefore, was the perfect candidate to work with O'Neil.
The pair proved to be dynamic and stunning. They tackled a number of social issues including corruption, sexism, cults, consumerism, the environment, racism, poverty, and even (subtly) child molestation. However, none were more shocking and controversial than the issue explored in the famous "Snowbirds Don't Fly" issues #85 and #86. Neal Adams drew the cover, which showed Green Arrow’s youthful side-kick, Speedy, shooting heroin. Editor Julius Schwartz did not want it published. Neither did publisher Carmine Infantino. It appeared that the cover, which at that point had no story, would be forgotten. But over at Marvel, Stan Lee had green-lit Amazing Spider-Man #96, which featured pills and presented an anti-drug message without the Comics Code Authority seal. Facing opposition and controversy, the Comics Code Authority revised its rules in regard to what could and could not be presented in comic books and, while still restrictive, became more lenient. As a result, DC approved Adams’ cover and O’Neil wrote a two-part story involving drugs with Speedy being hooked. Green Arrow, who was usually presented as being the more understanding and mentoring of the Arrow/Lantern duo, now had his world turned upside-down, not only unable to understand his own part in leading Speedy toward drugs, but even coming off as uncompassionate toward the troubled youth. With this story, Adams and O’Neil not only tackled a difficult social ill, but looked inward at the ways that their “champion of the everyman” could be wrong. New York Mayor John V. Lindsay wrote a letter to DC in response to the issue commending them, which was printed in issue #86.
Despite unprecedented mainstream media coverage, critical attention, awards, and apparent increased sales, Green Lantern/Green Arrow was canceled, one of many titles that ended publication perhaps prematurely under the reign of Carmine Infantino. Julius Schwartz had a reprint of an older story published for issue #88 and saw the comic he began back in 1959 come to an end in 1972 with issue #89. However, he had Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams do one last story together, stretched out over Flash #217-219 as a backup story.
Jordan's origin was revamped again in 2008, this time by fan-favorite Geoff Johns in the fourth volume of Green Lantern. This story, Secret Origin, is Hal Jordan's New Earth origin in the post-Infinite Crisis continuity, and also features a new villain, Atrocitus, who will appear in 2009's GL crossover The Blackest Night.
It is important to note that Green Lantern is something of an anomaly in the greater DC Comics universe. While most titles were "rebooted" with the 1980s Crisis on Infinite Earths, Green Lantern's continuity remained (for the most part) intact with relatively few exceptions (the only rule being, if a future issue contradicted something that came before, the subsequent issue would have precedence).
The second Green Lantern is Harold "Hal" Jordan, who in comics published in 1959 was a second-generation test pilot (having followed in the footsteps of his father, Martin Jordan) who was given the power ring and battery (lantern) by a dying alien named Abin Sur. When Abin Sur's spaceship crashed on Earth, the alien used his ring to seek out an individual to take his place as Green Lantern: someone who was "utterly honest and born without fear" (which would be later retconned in Green Lantern vol. 4 as someone instead who would "overcome great fear").
Hal Jordan had a longtime on-again off-again love affair with his boss, Carol Ferris. He fought colorful 1960s-published villains such as Star Sapphire (a mind-altered Ferris), Hector Hammond, and the rogue Green Lantern, Sinestro. He was also a founding member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1959), where he became friends with the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen. Later, Hal became friends with Barry's nephew, Wally West, the third Flash (then known as Kid Flash).
Near the end of the sixties, Hal decided to finally propose to Carol only to discover that she'd already agreed to marry another man named Jason Belmore. Heartbroken, Hal quit his job as a test pilot at Ferris Aircraft and began traveling around America in a series of different jobs including a commercial pilot, an insurance investigator and a traveling toy salesman (where met and began dating Olivia Reynolds). The combination of this change in status quo and new competition from less idealized heroes published by Marvel Comics led to diminishing sales on Green Lantern, prompting a startling new direction...
In comics published in 1970, torn between dealing with the intergalactic problems of the Guardians and his individual, personal issues on Earth, Jordan traveled across the United States with fellow hero Green Arrow in a "search for America," highlighted by tensions between the pair due to their different outlooks on life. One memorable scene from this period saw Green Lantern confronted by an elderly black man, who noted that the Green Lantern had done much for aliens with fantastic skin colors, but asked what he had done for the "black skins."
The Guardians assigned one of their own to accompany the pair for a time, while temporarily reducing the power of their insubordinate Lantern's ring. Meanwhile, a new character was introduced named John Stewart, who was designated by the Guardians to assume the role of the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 should Jordan ever become unable to perform his duties. John was chosen for this task when Jordan's previous back-up, Guy Gardner, was injured saving a young girl during an earthquake. Gardner later recovered, but was left a vegetable when his Power Battery exploded and hurled him into the Phantom Zone and the Anti-Matter Universe of Qward.
During this period, Hal had fallen in love with psychic Kari Limbo, whom he met following Gardner's presumed death. When Gardner was discovered alive on Hal & Kari's wedding day, Kari left Hal at the altar to care for Gardner, now in a coma. Soon afterwards, Hal dissolved his partnership with Green Arrow and returned to Ferris Aircraft to work as a test pilot once again.
In 1985, the Crisis on Infinite Earths saw Jordan once again take up the mantle of Green Lantern, even as the Guardians withdrew from his dimension for a while to consort with their female counterparts, the Zamarons. Jordan helped organize the new Corps, with seven members residing on Earth, including several aliens, John Stewart, and Jordan's slightly-unbalanced "other backup," Guy Gardner. For a while, Jordan was romantically involved with a younger alien Lantern named Arisia. The alien Lanterns took a more direct hand in human affairs, a fact not appreciated by human governments. (Kilowog helped create the Rocket Reds for the Soviet Union). Eventually, the Earth corps broke up, several members returning to their home sectors. The Guardians soon returned to this dimension, and Jordan worked with them to rebuild the fractured Corps.
As Hal Jordan is testing a new flight simulator, the machine suddenly seems to tear itself free of its moorings and begins to fly through the air. Hal lands near a crashed alien spacecraft occupied by a fatally injured alien who tells Hal that he is this sector's Green Lantern. The dying man, Abin Sur, chose Hal to be his successor, using his Green Lantern power ring to bring him to the crash site. The alien calls Jordan a "man without fear" and gives him the power ring.
Though treated on Earth like a superhero, Hal Jordan soon learns that Abin Sur was a member of an elite force of intergalactic police called the Green Lantern Corps, who work for the Guardians of the Universe.
Initially, Jordan uses the ring for personal entertainment, until the arrival of an evil alien known as Legion. Legion appears unstoppable, and Hal finds out about his power ring's one flaw, a vulnerability to yellow, the color of Legion's entire body. Jordan resorts to detonating the engine of Abin Sur's ship to cause a nuclear explosion to kill the enemy. Although this move seems successful, Jordan realizes that he is out of his depth using the ring. To address the problem, Jordan asks if he can meet another member of the Green Lantern Corps for help and the ring takes him to Green Lantern Tomar-Re. Upon hearing of Jordan's concerns, Tomar-Re suggests that Jordan go to Oa for the Corps' optional training program. Jordan takes his new friend's advice and undergoes a rigorous training regime on Oa under the strict tutelage of the Green Lantern, Kilowog.
The conflict escalates when Legion attacks the Guardians at the Green Lantern Corps headquarters on Oa. The full might of the Corps suffers heavy losses, trying to neutralize the adversary. Jordan devises and implements a plan to defeat Legion that impresses the Guardians of the Universe. Jordan then returns to Earth to face the consequences of the mistakes he has made in his personal life, accepting a 90-day jail sentence resulting from his drunk-driving incident. After serving his time, he emerges to continue as Sector 2814's Green Lantern.
In the controversial 1994 Emerald Twilight storyline in Green Lantern vol. 3, #48-50, the villainous alien Mongul comes to Earth in a plot to take advantage of the death of Superman. Jordan defeats Mongul, but not before Coast City (Jordan's former home) is destroyed and all of its inhabitants murdered. He tries to use his ring to recreate the city, but the Guardians condemned this use of the ring for personal gain and demand that Jordan come to Oa for trial. Angered at what he saw as the Guardians' ungrateful and callous behavior, Jordan seemingly goes insane and attacks Oa to seize the full power of the Central Power Battery. The Green Lantern Corps attempt to defend Oa, but the enraged Jordan overwhelms them, crippling his fellow Lanterns (even cutting off the hand of Boodikka and reducing Kilowog to bone and ashes) and the Guardians. He then renounces the Central Power Battery to his life as Green Lantern, adopting the name Parallax.
As Parallax, he initiates the Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, attempting to rewrite history to his own liking, but he is eventually defeated by a gathering of heroes. Jordan is replaced by Kyle Rayner as the Green Lantern of Earth when Rayner comes into possession of the last power ring, created from the shattered remains of Jordan's. During the same storyline, Alan Scott gave up his ring upon the death of members of the original Justice Society of America, and this ring is later crushed by Parallax. Alan Scott soon renounces his "Green Lantern" identity and begins to use the codename "Sentinel". This leaves Kyle Rayner as the sole bearer of the mantle of "Green Lantern."
In his new title, he faces revamped versions of his Silver Age foes Hector Hammond, The Shark and Black Hand. He and Batman team up to fight a new version of the Tattooed Man, at the end of which Batman finally comes to terms with Jordan's return as a hero and they begin to rebuild their past friendship.
Hal also takes Kyle to Edwards Air Force Base shortly after his resurrection. He bribes the guard, a family friend named Johnny, in order to take Kyle on a joyride with one of the base's jets. Afterward, a close bond begins to form between the two, as Kyle finally learns how to truly fly.
Along with John Stewart, Hal is involved in one of the first post-Freedom of Power Treaty confrontations. After a battle with the Great Ten and Black Adam, Stewart and Jordan are escorted to Russian airspace by the Rocket Reds.
As part of DC's reimagining of the entire universe, as of Green Lantern vol. 4, #10, the book has skipped ahead one year, bringing drastic changes to Hal Jordan's life, as with every other hero in the DC Universe. Over the "missing year", Hal shipped out as part of the United States Air Force's first operational F-22 Raptor squadron, assigned to bomb terrorist training camps. The details of this event are vague, with no reason given for the assignment. Hal, along with fellow pilots Shane "Rocket-Man" Sellers and Jillian "Cowgirl" Pearlman, are shot down somewhere over the former Soviet Union where they were captured and held as prisoners of war for months. Hal is unable to escape as Green Lantern because he never carries his power ring with him when he flies. Hal has repeatedly encountered the Russians and their Rocket Red patrols while chasing intergalactic criminals as Green Lantern. Because of these encounters, Russia once issued a statement that they would not hesitate to use force against him if Checkmate failed to uphold the metahuman treaty legislation prohibiting metahumans from entering foreign air space. Hal's defense is that as the Green Lantern of Earth, he is not acting as an American when he crosses international borders. Among those threatening Hal are a new form of The Global Guardians.
Also in Green Lantern #10, while Hal is receiving a P.O.W. medal, an alien ship crashes to Earth and reveals to Hal an alien Green Lantern named Tomar-Tu, whom Hal had supposedly killed while under the control of Parallax. In Green Lantern #11, Hal discovers that the Green Lanterns that he had supposedly killed as Parallax are all still alive, and he and Guy Gardner go to rescue them, only to be attacked by Cyborg Superman.
After returning to Earth, Hal is then attacked in Russia by a series of bounty hunters (including brainwashed Global Guardians under the Faceless Hunter's control) in an attempt by Amon Sur, son of Abin Sur, to reclaim his father's power ring. The attack results in the death of 23 people; in response, the Rocket Red Brigade attack Hal. When they fight each other to a standstill, the Justice League of America and Alan Scott arrive at the scene and resolve the conflict. ("Green Lantern" vol. 4, #14 and #15). After Hal rescues his fellow pilot Jillian "Cowgirl" Pearlman from her attacker, she recognizes the hero as her fellow pilot and friend. As they are about to share a passionate kiss, Hal is captured by Amon Sur, and forced to exhume Abin Sur's remains. John Stewart arrives to rescue Hal, leading to a confrontation with Amon Sur, who turns out to be the son of their predecessor, Abin Sur. During the fight, Amon receives a ring from the Sinestro Corps and vanishes. Hal brings Abin's body home and reinters him with a new tombstone. After Hal leaves, a yellow light appears in the sky; presumably Amon has arrived to visit his father's grave.
Hal visits Jillian in her room at the base hospital, where she is being treated for injuries she has suffered. Before he leaves, she tells Hal that they need to talk about his double life and their feelings for each other.
After a few days, Jillian recovers enough to leave the hospital, and joins Hal on a date at Pancho's, a bar outside Edwards Air Force Base. At the same time, Star Sapphire, still obsessed with making Hal her mate, possesses Carol Ferris again, knowing Carol's history as Hal's former love. She attacks Hal at the bar, and during the fight, senses Hal's affection for Jillian. Star Sapphire leaves Carol's body to possess Jillian.
Carol joins Hal in an attempt to rescue Jillian from Star Sapphire, and the two manage to defeat it and free Jillian. However, the Zamarons appear, demanding that Hal choose a mate. Thinking quickly, pretends to passionately kiss one of Zamarons, leading the gem to immediately possess her. The Zamarons retreat to their world in order to free their sister, after which they take the Star Sapphire and forge it into a "sapphire" power ring. The next 2 page spread shows the Zamarons in a room with a green, a yellow, and a "sapphire" lantern. Each lantern is displayed on one of three pedestals; a fourth stands empty. This may have undetermined future implications. Meanwhile, Hal visits Ferris Air and he finds out from Tom that Carol has divorced her husband Gil.
Aside from his own monthly title, Jordan is also a character of focus in the new Justice League of America series as a charter member of the revamped JLA. He is also involved in the first plotline of the Brave and the Bold monthly series, teaming up first with Batman and later Supergirl. His relationship with Batman appears to have fully recovered from his turbulent history, as the two are very professional and respectful of each other. When teamed with the fledgling Supergirl, Hal is very impressed with her cleverness, although he finds her flirtatious behavior somewhat unnerving.
Because of his full time status with both the League and the Green Lantern Corps, Hal calls upon his sector partner John Stewart to rotate the JLA's need for a Green Lantern between the two of them.
Hal and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps find themselves at war with Sinestro and his army, the Sinestro Corps. During the battle, Hal, along with Guy Gardner, and John Stewart are captured by Parallax and taken to the world Qward. Hal attempts to flee Qward after being overwhelmed by Parallax. The Sinestro Corps begin to attack him until help arrives from the "Lost Lanterns". The combined efforts of the Lanterns holds off the Sinestro Corps before they are attacked by Parallax, who forces them to confront their fears. Hal manages to free his friends, while the Lost Lanterns recover Ion. Jordan and friends return to Earth, only to find that New Earth, as the center of the Multiverse, is the Sinestro Corps' next target.
The Sinestro Corps invade Earth. Hal confronts Parallax, only to be absorbed inside the entity. Jordan with help from Kyle Rayner is able to expel Parallax from Rayner's body. The fear entity is then contained by Ganthet and Sayd within the Power Batteries of Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle. Ganthet gives Kyle a new Power ring and asks Kyle to become a Green Lantern again, which he agrees to. The four men then take their Lanterns and hearing the Sinestro Corps oath, recite the classic Green Lantern oath, and the issue ends with a shot of Sinestro and the other Sinestro Corps members with Hal saying: "Now let's go save the universe".
As the Sinestro Corps attacks Coast City, the citizens set up green lights in support of Jordan and the Green Lanterns. Following the defeat of the Cyborg Superman and the Manhunters, Jordan and Rayner are able to defeat Sinestro.
Later, Hal's family and friends relax over dinner and hear a news broadcast about the newly repopulated Coast City, which is now referred to as "The City Without Fear".
Several years later, in Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, it is revealed that Hal Jordan left Earth years previous, shunned by humanity, and decided to live on another planet. In Batman's words, "He used to need a lantern. Now he is one." He aids Batman in thwarting Lex Luthor, manifesting himself as a massive form that is actually able to hold Earth in his hands to shut down Luthor's defense satellites.
In 1997, Sinestro has vowed to kill him, but when he blasts Alan, Hal takes Kyle Rayner's ring and defeats Sinestro. Jordan and his wife Carol Ferris are taken to Oa, where Jordan is once again offered the role of Green Lantern. He accepts, and in 2008 has become the Green Lantern of Earth, having become young again due to the ring's powers.
Another Unknown Amalgam of Hal Jordan appeared in Speed Demon number one. He appeared he has done some terrible crime, as the speed demon killed him.