Creator of superhero Green Lantern dead at 91

Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern, the comic-book superhero who uses his magical ring to help him fight crime, has died. He was 91.

Nodell died at his home in Muskego, Wisconsin, on December 9 of natural causes, his son Spencer Nodell said on Tuesday. He previously lived in West Palm Beach.

Martin Nodell was looking for a new idea for a comic book in 1940 when he was waiting for a New York subway and saw a trainman waving a lantern.
The lantern displayed a green light, meaning all was safe, and the artist was inspired.

Nodell imagined a young engineer, Alan Scott, a train-crash survivor who discovers in the debris an ancient lantern forged from a green meteor. Scott constructs a ring from the lamp that gives him super powers, and he recharges his powers by touching the ring to the lantern. Scott becomes a crime fighter with a red, green, gold, black and purple costume and high-collared cape.

He brought his new drawings and story lines to All-American Publications, which later became a part of National Periodical Publications, the company that was to become DC Comics, said Maggie Thompson, senior editor of Comics Buyer’s Guide.

The first Green Lantern appearance came in July 1940 in an eight-page story included in a 68-page comic book featuring other characters. After that, he got his own series and joined Superman, Batman and Captain America as other popular comic-book characters in the “Golden Age” of the 1940s, Thompson said.

“There were myriad fans who would come up to my dad and would say, ‘Green Lantern got me to read,’ or ‘Green Lantern got me to do something in my life,’” Spencer Nodell said.

Nodell drew the character until 1947 under the name Mart Dellon.

After its cancellation, the series was reborn in 1959 and has been revived several times.

After spending time with DC Comics and Marvel Comics, Nodell left the industry for an advertising career. As an art director at Leo Burnett Agency in 1965, he was a member of the design team that did early work on the Pillsbury Doughboy character.

Nodell later moved to newspaper advertising, including a stint with the Palm Beach Post from 1979 to 1983. He continued to travel the comic-book convention circuit with his wife, Caroline, who died in 2004.

Nodell was born in Philadelphia and studied at art schools in Chicago and New York.

Besides Spencer Nodell, other survivors include another son, Mitchell, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.—Sapa-AP

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