The Men Who Continued the Mythos
The Eighth in a Series Examining Green Lantern History
Throughout the summer we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Green Lantern’s first appearance via a series of features each of which focuses on the characters and creators who had a lasting impact on the rich history of Green Lantern mythology. This installment focuses on the writers who left their mark on the Green Lantern universe during the Dark Age.
While Steve Englehart began his career as an art assistant for Neil Adams his true talent became apparent as a writer during his early days at Marvel Comics. Originally hired as a proofreader Englehart quickly moved on to writing scripts, often uncredited, for books like Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk. Throughout the 1970s Englehart wrote an impressive array of books for Marvel including popular runs on The Defenders, Avengers, and Captain America and he created the Peter Quill Star-Lord character in 1976 before leaving Marvel in 1977 after a dispute over editorial control.
Englehart had originally planned on quitting the comics field to focus on writing novels until DC talked him into writing for them. Taking on Justice League first he eventually moved on to a highly popular run in Detective Comics which is rumored to have served as a template for the first Michael Keaton Batman film in 1989. After taking a break from comics Englehart worked for both DC and Marvel as a freelancer for a number of years during which time he wrote Green Lantern, shepherding the title as it became Green Lantern Corps. He also served as the main writer on their Millenium event which centered on the Guardians of the Universe leaving with the Zamorans. Englehart notably created Night Man for Malibu Comics in the early 1990s and wrote a handful of scripts for the television series based on the character. Englehart is still active in writing comics and books to this day.
Born in Montana in 1957 Gerard Jones began his writing career at National Lampoon while expressing his love of the comics medium in his first book about the history of comic books. Jones’s love of the medium would lead him to write comics for a number of publishers including DC. Jones wrote a number of books including Justice League and Batman at DC. Jones played a pivotal role in the relaunch of the Green Lantern series in 1990 after working on Emerald Dawn and later writing the sequel, Emerald Dawn II. Jones drew his inspiration from the original John Broome / Gil Kane adventures from the 1960s and saw Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner as contrasting personalities who all shared a common mission.
Jones’s rebuilding of the Green Lantern mythology after the departure of the Guardians was a hit and soon each of the three main heroes would star in their own series with Jones driving the narrative in all three books in addition to contributing to the Green Lantern Corps Quarterly anthology series. A combination of a heavy workload and the rising tensions between Jones and editor Kevin Dooley would have a negative impact on sales and four years into his tenure Jones would, as he says, “quit so they didn’t have to fire me.”
Jones left comics around that time to focus on non-fiction books and won an Eisner in 2005 for his book Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. He’s appeared in a number of documentaries about comic books including Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle and Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. Jones continues to write books and teach writing to future authors today.
Born in 1959 Ron Marz would begin writing comics in the late 1980s at Marvel Comics where he worked on books like Thor and Silver Surfer. After writing a number of short stories for Green Lantern Corps Quarterly in 1993, Marz was hired by DC Comics in 1994 to write the infamous Emerald Twilight story after the departure of Gerard Jones, a story based on plotting by a number of DC editors to make drastic changes to the Green Lantern mythology. Marz would go on to create Hal Jordan’s replacement, Kyle Rayner, and helm the new character’s adventures for six years and establishing him as the heir apparent to the Green Lantern mantle.
After leaving the series behind Marz would become a major writer for CrossGen Comics before going on to have a popular run on the Witchblade series for Top Cow. Marz has returned to the Kyle Rayner several times over the years including a twelve-issue Ion maxi-series and writing the final six issues for Kyle Rayner’s tenure as the last Green Lantern prior to Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern: Rebirth limited series. Marz also served as the writer of the Voodoo title which was launched as part of DC’s “New 52” era and both the Justice League International and Batman and Robin limited series that served as part of DC’s Convergence event.
Marz continues to write comics today and continues his work on Witchblade as well as writing other series such as John Carter, Warlord of Mars, and Skylanders.