Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick’s Day

by Patrick Bain

Green-Lantern-300x157 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayWhen it comes to St. Paddy’s Day, I’m conflicted.  Sure my name is Patrick Timothy, I have Irish ancestry, and my small hometown had two parades: Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day.  And just to throw more green beer on the fire, my college gave students two days off for St. Patrick’s Day every spring and celebrated with a week of craziness.  Nonetheless, I’m more likely to forget to wear green than dress as a leprechaun and carry a shillelagh.  So why volunteer to write a St. Patrick’s Day themed blog?  Well, while some articles leading up to March 17th will promote unnaturally green food.  Others may educate on just what is a blarney stone.  I wanted to talk about being fashionably green.  Specifically, let’s survey original art featuring Green Lantern, a man and his corps, who always looks good in green!

Green is a Many Splendored Thing

Golden-Age-Green-Lantern-art-by-Martin-Nodell-219x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayOf course, Green Lantern is not the only green hero.  Going natural, we could have looked at Hulk or She-Hulk art.  But even if they weren’t wearing green, would you dare pinch them?  Further, on a day to remember the 5th century Patrick who was a missionary in Ireland, I won’t focus on green-clad villains like Poison Ivy or the Green Goblin.  So, on the hero side, we’ve got Green Arrow, Green Hornet, and the Green Lama.  That brings me to Green Lantern!  There are some fantastic artists that have worked on Green Lantern since the Golden Age character was introduced by Martin Nodell in 1940.

Nodell and Bill Finger chronicled the first seven years of Green Lantern’s adventures.  This unpublished splash page from 1947 sold for $4,183 in 2014.

All-American-Comics-21-Featuring-Green-Lantern-220x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayMany unpublished G.A. GL pages have sold through Heritage Auctions in the last few years.  Though published art sells higher, the rarity of Golden Age art boosts the prices.  Artists Irwin Hasen and Paul Reinman illustrated many of the pieces recently sold.  Sales prices ranged from roughly $1,200 to $3,600.  As an example, an action-packed Green Lantern panel page by Paul Reinman fetched $2,400 in 2020.

As a creator of the Alan Scott character, Nodell’s works interest me.  Reinman works should interest collectors.  His fame is most linked to inks on Jack Kirby masterpieces like X-Men #1 and Incredible Hulk #1.  However, he contributed to Green Lantern’s mythos as well.

All-American Comics #21 featured Green Lantern cover art by Sheldon Moldoff.  The highest CGC census copy (9.6) sold in 2018 through ComicConnect for $16,700.

Art for the NEW Green Lantern: Gil Kane

Green-Lantern-46-200x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayGreen Lantern #46 featured one of many spectacular Gil Kane covers from the Silver Age.  Mid-grade slabbed copies can be found for less than $100.  A terrific Green Lantern Corps cover, but not the first appearance!

Hal Jordan, the ‘new’ holder of the green power ring, debuted in 1959.  The brainchild of Julius Schwartz, John Broome, and Gil Kane, Green Lantern ushered in the Silver Age with other revived heroes like Hawkman and Atom.  Gil Kane penciled most of Hal Jordan’s early adventures.  Of course, Kane’s contributions to Spider-Man are also legendary.  Quality Green Lantern art by Kane from the sixties sells significantly lower than his Spider-Man art of the seventies.

Green-Lanter-8-Page-1-by-Gil-Kane-and-Joe-Giella-219x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayFor example, the 1961 Green Lantern #8 splash page sold a few months ago for $12,600.  And actually, that was a discount from its prior 2018 sale price of $15,000.  Still, Gil Kane’s contributions in the sixties and seventies to both major publishers endears his works to collectors and investors.

After Kane came Adams

Green-Lantern-85-200x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayPredicting the future demand for comics and art is more difficult than catching the Lucky Charms leprechaun.  However, many people will have to die before the socially conscious Green Lantern/Green Arrow/Black Canary series is forgotten.

The award-winning series by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams also boasts the highest price sale of GL art.  The cover of the inaugural issue 76 by Adams topped $400K in 2015.
Green-Lantern-85-Page-10-300x230 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayThat’s outside the reach of most of us.  However, interior pages featuring Adams’ art fall well short of that lofty price.  Even powerful pages like one from Green Lantern #85, where “Snowbirds Don’t Fly”, are manageable.  The issue reveals Speedy sadly addicted to drugs.  Page 10 sold for $8,365 in 2017.

Less expensive Neal Adams art originated in the Flash’s title series.  After Green Lantern’s title was temporarily discontinued, O’Neil and Adams continued to chronicle GL/GA adventures as short backup stories.  A couple pages sold in 2019 for an average of $7,200.

Mike Grell’s Green Lantern Art

Green-Lantern-Green-Arrow-90-200x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayUnderrated, Mike Grell produced fabulous works on Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Warlord, and even his own characters like Jon Sable, Freelance.  Mixed in there, Grell drew the duties for Green Lantern’s reboot in issue 90.  His run was TOO SHORT!

Interior Green Lantern pages sold CHEAP in 2020.  Issue 110 Page 4 art can only be described as spectacular.  Someone must have used their green power ring light to blind all other bidders.  The final hammer price reached only $408 counting the buyer’s premium.  Other pages sold similarly.

Grell cover art from Green Lantern #104 sold for $11,400.  Shrewd art buyers may want to consider the cost difference of DC art versus Marvel art by similar artists from similar eras.  There could be a turnaround someday.

Green-Lantern-110-Page-4-by-Mike-Grell-205x300 Green Lantern Art: Going Green on St. Patrick's DayWear Green, Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage

Regardless of how you celebrate or ignore St. Patrick’s Day, Green Lantern stories are very readable, usually with great art.  Whether you drink green beer or like me, green tea, I suggest a new tradition of picking up a few GREEN Lantern stories to read to celebrate the occasion.  And if you have an eye for art by top industry professionals: GL comics have featured Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Brian Bolland, Jim Lee, Keith Pollard, and many others, including his creator Martin Nodell.

By the way, if you prefer the natural green hue of She-Hulk to Green Lantern, then check out my Smashing She-Hulk article.

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