THE WEARING OF THE GREEN… Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

UPDATED 3/17/22: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are you wearing green? These superfolks are! Dig this piece that first ran during May 2020’s GREEN LANTERN WEEK. — Dan

Welcome to GREEN LANTERN WEEK! On May 17, 1940, All-American Comics #16 gave us the original Green Lantern — Alan Scott — and the rest is history. All week long, we’re celebrating 80 years of the best of GL — from Hal Jordan to John Stewart and so much more. So click here for the complete INDEX of features — and beware Green Lantern’s light!

This is a funky new feature we’ve been trotting out for theme weeks and other occasions, so we had to make sure to include it for GREEN LANTERN WEEK. After all, is there a hero with more costume variations than the GLs? (By the way, you can click these links for Robin, the Joker and Catwoman.)

So here is 13th Dimension contributor and graphic designer Anthony Durso (of The Toyroom and Retropolis Tees fame) with THE TOP 13 GREEN LANTERN COSTUMES — RANKED:


In Brightest Day,
In Blackest Night…
What the best dressed Green Lanterns are wearing on the intergalactic runway…

13. Tangent Green Lantern: In 1997, DC published a series of one-shots set in the Tangent Universe, where only the name remained the same. The Tangent Green Lantern (later established on Earth-9) was more of a Phantom Stranger-type than galactic guardian and had mystical abilities gained by holding onto her ancient Chinese lantern. Created by Dan Jurgens, this GL performed the (temporary) resurrection of the dead, clad in a green dress, hooded cape and mask to hide her mysterious (never revealed) true identity.

12. Rond Vidar. The son of Universo, one of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ greatest foes, Rond Vidar was actually one of their staunchest allies. His invention of the Time Cube should’ve been enough to earn Rond honorary LSH membership. But Rond had a secret — he was also a member of the Green Lantern Corps of the 30th Century. During this era, the GLC had been banned from Earth. In fact, Universo had once been a Green Lantern himself. So when Rond Vidar revealed himself in Legion of Super-Heroes #50 (1988) it was a surprise to everyone. And to add even more surprise, he wasn’t wearing the traditional uniform made famous by Hal Jordan and others in the 20th Century. Instead, this GL wore a mostly white costume, with the logo offset to the left side. Definitely not your average Green Lantern.

11. Power Ring. The evil Power Ring is the Green Lantern analogue of Earth-3, where the Crime Syndicate reigns supreme. First appearing in Justice League of America #29 (1964), this ring-wielder has a costume that on the surface may be similar to that of good guy Hal Jordan but he evils it up a notch by being heavier on the black. His more sinister silhouette to his mask completes his creepy look.

10. The Man With No Name. One of my favorite covers of the Bronze Age is Green Lantern #110 (1978), where Hal Jordan is “being burned alive… by his own brand of power!” In the story, GL covers up this unsightly burn with a poncho and adds a cowboy hat straight out of a spaghetti western. Ring-slinging against the gun-slinging four-armed Borch is a sight to behold and makes me wish we got stories of a time-tossed Green Lantern cleaning up Western towns.

9. Iron Lantern. Marvel and DC in the late ’90s produced a series of books set in the Amalgam Universe, where heroes and villains from both companies were meshed together. Some concepts worked better than others and Iron Lantern was at the top of the list. The mixing of the best parts of Silver Age Iron Man and Green Lantern resulted in the creation of Hal Stark. Iron Lantern’s armor (powered by an alien power battery) was basically the Mark II version of Iron Man, albeit green and gold instead of red and gold. A simplistic but efficient design while IL (???) battled the likes of Madame Sapphire and Mandarinestro.

8. Kyle Rayner. After Kyle Rayner was tossed a ring by an alien in an alley in the pages of Green Lantern #48 (1994), he suited up as a GL wearing the traditional garb. But a few issues later he went his own way, with a suit that was slightly reminiscent of Rond Vidar’s emblem-on-the-left-side costume, though it had a primarily black vibe. Created by Ron Marz and Darryl Banks, Kyle was a comic book artist by day so maybe that explains the choices he made, including his crab-like facemask.

7. Arisia. When Arisia was first introduced as a member of the GLC in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #1 (1981), she was seen as a kid sister to Hal Jordan. Things, um, changed however, when Arisia used her power ring to age herself so that she and Hal could, um… yeah let’s just not go there. Forget that part. Instead focus on how Arisia changed her cookie cutter costume into something more uniquely stunning.

6. Alpha Lanterns. Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Mike McKone kicked it up a notch when they took a sci-fi horror route with the creation of the Alpha Lanterns. Designed to be the internal-affairs division of the Green Lantern Corps, the members of the Alpha Lanterns were surgically altered by the Guardians of the Universe to be emotionless cyborgs. With their ability to tap directly into the Central Power Battery, these Green Lanterns were horrific in a design that was far removed from the spandex jumpsuit of the Silver/Bronze Age.

5. Guy Gardner. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hal Jordan was once again on the outs with the Guardians. So a minority faction of the little blue guys decided to throw Hal’s former backup into the… ring. Between Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 and Green Lantern #195 (both 1985), Guy Gardner became the new GL of Sector 2814 — and it was quite obvious that this wasn’t your daddy’s (or your) Green Lantern. Guy’s costume is more “macho” than the pajamas that the rest of the Corps wears. With his giant boots, gauntlets, and collar (adorned with buckles and studs galore), this GL is ready to dish out punishment. Wanna make somethin’ of it?

4. Green Lantern Batman. Although the concept of a Green Lantern Batman goes back to the Batman: In Darkest Night Elseworlds one-shot of 1994, the idea was best executed in Green Lantern #9 (2006). Hal temporarily allows Batman to wear the ring to try and help him overcome his inner demons. And although this ring exchange is short-lived (Bruce isn’t quite ready to give up the darkness) it created an awesome glimpse into what a Green Lantern Batman would be like.

3. Kingdom Come Green Lantern. In the Elseworlds-future depicted in Kingdom Come, Hal Jordan is nowhere to be found as the Green Lantern of Earth. Instead, Golden Ager Alan Scott has once again assumed the mantle of Green Lantern. Designed by Alex Ross, this GL has fused his Power Battery with a suit of armor, resembling an actual Green Knight of Arthurian legend, complete with a green energy sword. It’s a very striking look and is in complete contrast with the original multi-colored costume that Scott’s most famous for.

2. Alan Scott. The very first Green Lantern, introduced in All-American Comics #16 (1940), wore more red than green. A perennial Golden Age favorite, Alan Scott was (retroactively) the Earth-Two GL and wasn’t beholden to the traditional uniform of a member of the Green Lantern Corps (of Earth-One). Instead, as stated at the end of his first appearance, Alan Scott – created by Martin Nodell — set out to scare criminals with a bizarre look. No one can accuse him of not giving it his all. Over the years I’ve grown to love this costume more and more for its sheer outlandishness.

1. Hal Jordan. Introduced in Showcase #22 (1959) as part of Julius Schwartz’s Silver Age revival of Golden Age heroes, Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern costume is not only the BEST Green Lantern costume, it’s one of the best costumes PERIOD. Designed by the legendary Gil Kane, this GL suit was sleek and streamlined (compared to his cape-wearing predecessor… NO CAPES!), befitting of a space cop. It was so good, it was worn by the majority of the multi-alien Green Lantern Corps for years. In an ever-changing comic book world with its various retcons and reboots, some things are still timeless. And this costume is one of them.

Though the original had black shoulders, I prefer Kane’s tweaked, green-shouldered version.

Anthony Durso is the owner of Retropolis Tees (click here) and The Toyroom toy package customizing company (click here), so make sure you check out his nifty wares.


— The Complete GREEN LANTERN WEEK Index of Features. Click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I wish you had included the Infinite Crisis Arcane Green Lantern. One of my favorite costumes and versions of the character. Of course, I’m a sucker for medieval superheroes!

    Also, it might be worth noting that while Gil Kane’s design for the Silver Age GL IS timeless, it WAS changed at some point to cut off the lower green portion and make them more regular pants. Maybe not a huge change, but it did impact the design in a slightly negative way. And that’s the way it still is today.

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  2. I have to go with the Hal Jordan (Gil Kane’s) costume also and not just because he’s my favorite Green Lantern as well. But I also really like Guy Gardner’s costume even though he’s 5th in my favorite GL’s.

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  3. Great piece, but I am stunned… STUNNED… that Alan Scott’s Human Bucket look of the 2000s never made the list!

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  4. Hal has been THE Green Lantern for me since his beginning. His costume has changed 3 times over the years.His shoulders were originally black with none of the cutaway green on his torso side. Then it acquired the green shoulders and black trim on his torso and then after his rebirth they got rid of the “trunks” which I think makes for his best design. The New 52 design which looks like armour plating is not as good. Number 3 is sleek and stylish and my favourite.

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