All-American 16 – Green Lantern debuts, Ted finds Alan, and the power goes out for Ultra-Man

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All-American catches up with the tide with issue 16 (July 1940), as it gets a super-hero in the lead slot, and changes the cover logo to match the rest of the DC line.

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Bill Finger and Mart Nodell introduce Alan Scott, the Green Lantern, in this issue.  Alan Scott, railroad engineer, gets caught in a bombing.  While the others he is travelling with die in the blast, he survives, thanks to a magical lantern.

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The lantern’s back story is extensively covered in this issue.  Made from a mysterious green meteor (later called the Starheart), the meteor announces that it will “flame three times”, to bring death, to bring life, and to bring power.  The first man to carve a lantern out of the meteor is killed by the other townspeople.  The second man brings it back to the US, goes insane, but is cured by the lantern.  Alan Scott receives the power promised by the third flaming.

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Mind you, he doesn’t seem to be conscious during any of this, but the knowledge of the lantern’s history remains with him when he wakes.

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Alan creates a ring from the lantern.  Although this first ring bears the lantern on it, it will later look far less elaborate.  That is to say, easier to draw.

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Alan immediately heads for the people he suspects were behind the bombing.  To them, he appears to be a ghost at first.  The ring protects him from their attacks, until a man hits him from behind with a club.

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Alan believes that the reason the ring failed to protect him was that the object was made of wood.  This belief would grow into a certainty that the ring was powerless against wood.  Later, it would be neatly revised.  Alan was not aware of the man behind him, and the reason the ring did not protect him was simply that he was not expecting it, and had not commanded the ring to protect his back.  Alan Scott would, indeed, be vulnerable to wood, but only because he believed that he was.

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After he defeats and rounds up the men responsible for the bombing, he gets around to making himself a costume, and decides to become a super-hero, the Green Lantern.

The origin story makes it clear that this was derived from Aladdin’s magical lamp. But later stories would move away from this, rarely referencing the original lantern carved from the meteor, until the Silver Age.

The oath he uses is odd, beginning, as it does, with three dots followed by the word “and,” as if there were something at the beginning we did not hear.  But later stories would stick with this, and ignore the middle of the sentence nature to it.

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Adventures in the Unknown continues with “The Infra Red Destroyers,” as Ted searches for Alan.

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Ted gets kidnapped himself. But he gets free and tracks down Alan, all before this chapter ends.

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Marman (of Marman’s Monsters) finally show up in this story, as Gary Concord deals with the leader of an underwater city, who steal a power plant.  The story also introduces Ginger, the daughter of a senator, who has an unrequited crush on Ultra-Man.

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Marman, and his robot/clone/monsters have been taken control of by Gardo, the leader of the underwater city.  Marman aids Gary in defeating the would-be conqueror.  Gary manages to fend off Ginger’s advances on his own.

 

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