Costume Week: Green Lantern Edition
It’s Costume Week on the Cube and the dutiful leader left it up to me to decide what blend of costumes I would target with laser like focus. I chose to examine some of the Green Lantern costumes I enjoy (per my usual policy of not wasting my breath ranting too much). For once (ok, more than once), I won’t be focusing too much on the Earth GL’s, partly because their costumes aren’t as interesting.
The nice thing about the Green Lantern Corps is that they don’t really have a single uniform (well, in the comics). There is a generic look that can be used, but each Lantern has a costume that reflects his/her/it/their personality. A creative artist can use this feature as an opportunity to showcase the Lantern’s distinctiveness and probably show off a little. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:
Ok, so let’s get the one Earth GL whose costume I actually like out of the way. The Earthlings tend to go for the generic Green Lantern costume. There are a lot of variations on this costume within the Corps (Tomar-Re, Kilowog to name a few). Basically, Hal and John have the same costume with a major difference: John doesn’t wear a mask. He is the only GL stationed on Earth who doesn’t wear one. John Stewart’s decision to not incorporate a mask into his costume (and not be Guy Gardner), brings him closer to the beings (usually on Earth) he is protecting. There is no need to hide for fear of your insurance salesman brother getting attacked by Star Sapphire, no need to hide for fear of your girlfriend getting attacked. John’s costume speaks to his desire to be part of the community he protects, rather than an outsider.
Mogo, the living planet who doesn’t socialize (...and was killed by John Stewart, sort of) is obviously a planet and doesn’t per se wear a costume. As will other Green Lanterns, it is more about character design and execution combined with the Green Lantern costume concept that works. Instead of a ring, Mogo fashions itself a belt of green with the lantern symbol. What’s best shown in the included image is that Mogo is still a planet, over and under its ‘uniform.’ The clouds and damage to the planet are evident, as one would expect from battle (in this case it was crashing asteroids onto the surface to fight a fungus).
Rot Lop Fan
Rot Lop Fan is one of my favorite Green Lantern concepts. Er, scratch that, F-Sharp Bell Corp concepts. Since his species has no eyes, color is meaningless to him and as shown in his joining the Corp, his symbol is a bell instead of a lantern. This follows over to the costume, which incorporates the bell theme.
Morro is the Green Lantern crypt keeper, so naturally he had a big scene in Blackest Night. However, his role in the Corps started with the Sinestro Corps War. Morro is hooded, reclusive and dark. He doesn’t even have a lantern on his uniform! Morro’s costume provides the solemness one expects from a cryptkeeper, he is often portrayed shrouded in shadows, holding his mace and talking to his dragons (well, they aren’t dragons, but whatever). He socializes about as much as Mogo does and his costume shows the reader that he looks inward and takes his job seriously without him shouting it at you. Morrow wouldn’t do that.
The Collective is a weird Green Lantern that has the distinction of not being created by Alan Moore. The Collective are a group (or collective...) of green puff balls that absorb the intelligence and personality of whatever gets trapped by it. Basically, the former Green Lantern of the sector allowed himself and his power battery to be absorbed by the Collective to create an army of fuzzballs to patrol the sector. The fuzzballs, with their really weird back story (just search for it on the internet), turns the individualized costume idea a bit on its head by making a horde of identical creatures, without individual personalities, become “a” Green Lantern.
Malet Dasim is the Corps’ prosecutor. He argues for the Book of Oa and basically is portrayed about as sympathetically as an internal affairs investigator is in a police procedural (which is what Green Lantern stories are, just set in space). His uniform is reminiscent of the robes worn by lawyers in the British legal system and his horns add the allure of a white wig. Despite being a Green Lantern, he has more of menacing look, which, combined with all the tentacles, serves to make him look prosecutorial. The overall effect of the character and costume design serves to emphasize his part as a legal advocate for/within the Corps.
If you ever receive a black plant from a yellow man wearing purple, do not put it anywhere near your body. That’s just good advice. The black mercy plants are the offspring of Mother Mercy (or Matris Ater Clementia as she/it is formally called). Mother Mercy is also an empath on a colossal scale (like covering the entire surface of a planet) so her costume must convey not only the otherworldliness, but also not terrify people. The image included actually conveys these goals rather well. In the story, Mother Mercy gets both Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps rings and must decide with Corps to join. You have a green body, yellow crackling background and also purple. Purple is compassion in the emotional spectrum and you see is in the speech bubbles and the goo-highlights. It’s a subtle trick that takes a creature that has been a terrifying menace and softens her to highlight her Green Lantern qualities.
Dkrtzy RRR is a sentient math equation and actually is 2-dimensional and only the Guardians know if it shows up for meetings. Again, in this case, character design is costume design. Being a math equation, Dkrtzy gets a nice fractal-type look courtesy of Dave Gibbons. The concept of a math equation that forces itself into the heads of its enemies is very relatable, especially to people who took quite a few college math theory classes.
Zghithii is, for lack of a better description, a space silkworm. He has no arms, which adds a new dimension to designing his costume. The kinks and wrinkles on the costume give it texture and placement of the ring allow what is essentially a snake have more depth. He is also wearing a mask, which I find kind of hilarious. I think Zghithii is a good example of how to deal with a creature that has a familiar shape (worm/snake), but has to perform uncharacteristic action (weaving space tapestries to battle evildoers/looking like it’s standing). You need to convey the idea that the creature can move, is dynamic and a plausible space cop. This design and costume accomplishes that task.
Green Lantern Shout out: Leezle Pon
Leezle Pon is a smallpox virus and a Green Lantern. Leezle doesn’t have a face and quite frankly, smallpox is scary. I just like the idea of Leezle Pon, but there isn’t a lot of design going on. He gets a shout out though.
* Side note: I realized after compiling this list that Alan Moore created a lot of these characters. I don’t begrudge the man his creativity, but how boring were GL’s before the 80s? Very, apparently.