With James Gunn and Peter Safran relaunching the DCU and prepping a new slate of films to reintroduce characters, now is the time to consider adding some DC comics to your collection – before anything is announced and prices rapidly rise. Let’s take a look at Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, from Golden Age origin to Blackest Night.
Green Lantern’s First Light
The first DC hero to wield the Green Lantern ring was Alan Scott. He made his first appearance in All-American Comics #16, cover dated July 1940. It’s a comic affordable to only the very few. There are 61 graded copies in the CGC census, nearly half of them restored or conserved. There was only one sale of this comic in 2022.
A restored 8.5 graded copy sold in the September ComicConnect auction for $65,838. In 2020, three graded copies sold, the highest being an unrestored 3.5 graded copy selling in a September Heritage auction for $72,000. Somewhere out there is an unrestored 9.4 graded copy. It will be fascinating to see how high the price can go if it’s ever put up in auction.
Alan Scott would go on to be featured in the series until it’s end with All-American Comics #102. However, he also received his very own series beginning with Green Lantern #1, cover dated Fall 1941. If you’re looking for a Golden Age Green Lantern first, this is a much more affordable option. There are 123 graded copies, and a little less than a third have been restored or conserved. The most recent sale was a 6.0 selling for a slashed $27,500 on December 29.
That’s a decent comp for mid-grade prices. On the low end, we have a 3.0 selling in an October 2022 Heritage auction for $9,000, down 14% from the $10,500 selling price in a 2021 ComicConnect auction.
Let Those Who Worship Evil’s Might
There are two Green Lantern villains who made their debuts during the Golden Age and are still relevant within DC comics to this day. Vandal Savage first appeared in Green Lantern #10. Considering it’s importance and a CGC census count of 55, it’s a fairly affordable comic. Sales since 2020 include a 9.2 selling for $6,600, a 6.5 for $2,880, and a 3.5 for $1,181.
Solomon Grundy made his debut in All-American Comics #61. There are 78 graded copies in the CGC census but very few sales in grades above 7.5 or below 3.0.
Mid-grades appear to sell for very high prices, including 2022 sales of $27,000 for a 7.0, $28,771 for a 6.5 with white pages, $14,408 for a 4.5, and $9,900 for a 3.0.
The highest price paid was $138,000 for a 9.6, a Promise Collection copy selling in the June 2021 Heritage auction.
Hal Jordan Becomes the Ring Bearer
Hal Jordan first appeared as the all-new Green Lantern in Showcase #22, cover dated September 1959. If you’re going to focus on any high-end Green Lantern keys, this is the one. Hal Jordan has a better than average chance of being the Green Lantern in future DCU films, although an argument can certainly be made for John Stewart.
My guess is that Gunn and Safran focus on the Green Lantern corps, but more on that later.
There are 1,305 graded copies of Showcase #22 in the CGC census. In the very high grades this is a six-figure book. However, there have been some recent sales that highlight its value in other grades. A 7.5 graded copy sold in the December ComicConnect auction for $50,278, more than double any previous selling price in that grade. Sales since include a 6.5 for a slashed $13,999, a 5.0 for $6,299, a 4.0 for $4,560, and a 3.0 for $3,720.
This is a comic that is starting to rise in value once more; it had dropped like many comics after the 2020-2021 boom. It’s important to note, however, that Silver Age DC comics didn’t rise as much as Marvel during the boom and don’t appear to have fallen as far as a result.
As with the Golden Age Green Lantern, there’s another first if you find yourself priced out of Showcase #22, and that’s Green Lantern #1. Copies graded 5.0 have been selling for slightly above $2,000 and all grades under for less. Even 7.5 graded copies sold in the $3,000 to $3,600 range in 2022.
Should Gunn and Safran opt for a Green Lantern other than Hal Jordan, the next character to spec on would be John Stewart. He made his first appearance in Green Lantern #87, in the midst of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams classic run on the series.
This book had been in a downward trend in the 9.6 grade throughout 2022 since reaching a peak of $5,160 in late 2021. The correction dropped it down to as low as $3,000. The most recent sale, however, in the December ComicConnect auction saw it rising once more to $4,000.
On the off chance that Gunn and Safran opt to go with Guy Gardner the first time out, it doesn’t hurt to invest in his first appearance in Green Lantern #59. This one hasn’t been moving recently in the high grades, although a 9.4 sold on December 29 for a slashed $2,799.
Sales in the mid-grades are plentiful; based on recent sales, you should be able to find a graded copy between 6.5 at $475 and $230 or so for a 4.0 pretty easily.
Green Lantern Corps
My guess is that Gunn and Safran will focus less on one individual Green Lantern and more on the Green Lantern Corps. There are a ton of Green Lanterns out there, so it’s tough to narrow them down. Tomar-Re (1st appearance in Green Lantern #6), Katma Tui (1st appearance in Green Lantern #30), and big poozer Kilowog (1st appearance in Green Lantern #201, the first issue with the title changed to Green Lantern Corps) are all worth speculation. For a deeper cut, Ch’p, the squirrel-like Corps member who first appeared in Green Lantern #148 could make sense when you consider Gunn’s sensibilities.
It may also be worthwhile to invest in Green Lantern #25 from 2007. This issue is the prologue to the fantastic Blackest Night storyline, which could be very adaptable to film, as it would help to ground the Green Lanterns as the center of a prism of emotion-based rings of power. It also contains the first appearances of the Red, Orange, Blue, Indigo, and Black Lanterns.
Prices have dropped considerably for this book in the 9.8 grade, from highs of around $350 in 2021 to as low as $128 in recent sales.
Or they could throw us all off, and we could be looking at Kyle Rayner, Jessica Cruz, or Simon Baz in the DCU. This blog is already too long to cover them, and I didn’t even get to GL’s biggest bad – Sinestro.