|I can't say I approve of that hair cut|
First Appearance: Green Lantern #87 (1971/1972)
History: Born and raised in Detroit John Stewart escape the ghetto by joining the Marine Corps. He eventually left to become a full-time architect. One day the Guardians of the Universe, leaders of the intergalactic peace keeping force known as The Green Lantern Corps, came to him with a recruitment proposition; to replace the injured Guy Gardner as the back-up for this sector’s primary Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Stewart agreed and became an ally of Jordan for years. Eventually he would be promoted to a full-time Green Lantern and become not only one of the most reliable and respected veterans of the Corps but also a valued and key member of the Justice League.
Beta Says: Not to be confused with the host of the Daily Show John Stewart was created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams. He was one of the first black superheroes created at DC Comics, even if he wouldn’t become a full time superhero for a few years. Interestingly John has, like Cyborg, greatly benefited from his appearance in a 2000s cartoon. When Justice League became a hit DC greatly increased the character’s relevance to the point that he was a regularly member of the comic book version Justice League of America’s roster for much of the decade (Beforehand Stewart was not majorly affiliated with the team). In fact the cartoon was so popular that in 2011 when the Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern movie came out I heard a sizable amount of non-comic book fans wondering why they changed Green Lantern into a white guy. That’s hilarious.
More on John Stewart after the jump.
|There is no Green Lantern more badass than this man|
Anyway John has had something of a rough journey. His character was pretty racially charged when he was first created as typical with black characters created in the 70s, so things tended to be somewhere between goofy and offensive in his earliest days. At some point he starred in his ongoing series called Green Lantern: Mosaic where he was appointed the protector of an artificially created patchwork world. The thing is that the book was popular. Hell, the first issue sold over 210,000 copies. To put that in perspective that’s almost twice as much as the average highest selling comic today on a typical month (though to be fair back in 1992 the highest selling books would have been much, much higher than that). It was canceled not because of low sales but because the higher ups at DC Comics personally didn’t like the book and wanted it off the shelves. That is crazy…and now that I think about it eerily familiar sounding g as far as modern practices.
|Holy shit, guys; this book looks f**king amazing!|
As mentioned Stewart really had his stock raised by the Justice League cartoon. Now the creators of the show have admitted that they picked him over then current GL Kyle Rayner (who previously appeared in the Superman cartoon that shared a continuity with this new one) because they wanted to throw a black dude on the team. And you can tell as the creators take a lot of liberties with the character, including not only jettisoning his past an architect but also used to the Green Lantern Power Ring in very uncreative ways (one would imagine his ability to create objects with his skills as an architect would have been his main draw as a Green Lantern). But thankfully, due to the extremely strong writing of the show John was greatly characterized to the point that DC important several of his cartoon traits to the comic. Also Phil Lamar is pretty much always good.
John Stewart, as with all of the human Green Lanterns, is featured in the various Green Lantern books, specifically the ongoing title Green Lantern Corps . Thankfully his role in the DCU doesn’t seem to have been altered too badly in the recent reboot though much of his superhero career simply couldn’t have happened in the span of five years. Plus his stint as a member of the Justice League is improbable too. Still John does have the benefit of being pretty well known among casual fans which is more than a lot of other, arguably more iconic black characters, can say.
|Anytime Hal Jordan's not in the picture it's a win for me|