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A light in the darkness: The renewed relevance of Alan Scott

DC Pride makes the original Green Lantern Alan Scott a bigger inspiration to a new generation of heroes ahead of his new series

Alan Scott stands ready as Green Lantern
Image credit: DC Comics

As DC Comics commemorates another Pride Month, bringing together LGBTQIA+ creators to celebrate LGBTQIA+ characters within the DC Universe, one hero to get the spotlight is Alan Scott. Created by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger as part of DC’s Golden Age in the ‘40s, Alan is the original Green Lantern and a co-founding member of the Justice Society of America, positions which he retains in current continuity. Alan has taken on a heightened prominence in recent years, not just with the JSA’s reintegration into the DCU but also reintroduced as a queer hero, adding a greater depth and nuance to the character.

Alan stars in the upcoming comic book miniseries Alan Scott: The Green Lantern by Tim Sheridan and Cian Tormey, with the title launching this October and the first to solo series starring the character since 1949. Ahead of this, Alan appears in several DC Pride stories, the first of which in the short story 'Anniversary' by Josh Trujillo and Don Aguillo as part of DC Pride Special 2023 #1. Here’s the role Alan Scott plays in the anthology special, how his place in the DCU is redefined by his queer identity, and what readers can expect from his adventures as DC’s Golden Age gets a renewed push this year.

Spoilers ahead for DC Pride Special 2023 #1.

Alan Scott and the courageous way forward

DC heroes assemble to celebrate Pride Month
Image credit: DC Comics

'Anniversary' has Midnighter and Apollo face homophobic bigots protesting LGBTQIA+ rights, frustrated not just at the unabashed prejudice but a lack of institutionalized support from politicians as the protest veers dangerously close to outright violence. Initially feeling ineffective and out of options without sinking to the bigots’ level, it is the sudden arrival of Alan on the scene that helps provide inspiration on what to do next. Alan reminds the married superhero couple that radical actions and public representation is what helps spur official action, from marriage equality to government-backed advocacy.

That 'Anniversary' contains a direct reference to Stonewall before Green Lantern even appears is, of course, no accident, with the 1969 riots being pivotal in establishing LGBTQIA+ rights and protections from systemic persecution at the time. Alan’s message underscores to the heroes – and the readers – that galvanizing action in the public eye is necessary for change to take place. Inspired, Apollo and Midnighter renew their marriage vows, with Midnighter arranging for the ceremony to be broadcast on televisions worldwide as a clear message to everyone, supporters and haters alike: We’re here, we’re queer, deal with it.

The New 52 reimagining

Alan Scott reunites with his boyfriend Sam Zhao
Image credit: DC Comics

The roots of Alan’s queer identity lie in the 2011 reset of DCU continuity, 'the New 52,' which relegates Alan and his JSA counterparts back to Earth-2 rather than the main DCU. Introduced in the comic book series Earth-2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott, Alan is a proudly open gay man in a serious relationship with his boyfriend Sam Zhao before gaining magical powers to become his universe’s Green Lantern. With Sam killed in the accident that transformed Alan into Green Lantern, he fashions the engagement ring he intended to propose to Sam with into a conduit for his power as a constant reminder of the man he loved.

The 2017 comic book maxi-series Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank reveals that Alan is the lynchpin of the JSA and DC’s entire Golden Age, with Doctor Manhattan effectively erasing the JSA from history by killing Alan before he can become Green Lantern in the main DCU. By the story’s conclusion, Manhattan recognizes the error of his ways and undoes his tampering, bringing back Alan’s history and the subsequent formation of the JSA into main DCU continuity. More than simply restoring the JSA heroes to the modern canon, Alan’s reintegration into the DCU came with the redefinition of his sexuality from the 'New 52' era.

Alan’s redefined place within the DCU

Alan Scott comes out to his children
Image credit: DC Comics

Following the JSA’s reincorporation into the DCU and the subsequent Infinite Frontier publishing initiative cementing much of the classic, pre-New 52 continuity, Alan’s sexuality in the main DCU was confirmed in a short story running the 2021 anthology special Infinite Frontier #0. The story, by James Tynion IV and Stephen Byrne, reunites Alan with his superhero children Jade and Obsidian and comes out to them as queer, receiving their full loving support. This is expanded upon in a short story by Sam Johns and Klaus Janson in DC Pride 2021 #1, with Alan recalling a past love from his days in the ‘40s working as a railroad engineer.

It’s important to note that Alan’s queer identity is additive, not subtractive, to the character’s history. Alan Scott still married one of his reformed supervillains and had two children but now carries the added nuance of having to live as a closeted gay man for most of his life. In Tynion and Byrne’s short story, Alan reveals several of his closest friends on the JSA knew the truth about his sexuality and admits he had secret romantic companions, adding more complexity to the character. Most poignantly, it’s Obsidian’s own queer identity that inspires Alan to come out to his children as a gay man, bringing him closer to them than ever as he finally is openly true and proud to himself about those that he loves.

Alan’s return to the spotlight

Alan Scott reintroduced as Green Lantern
Image credit: DC Comics

Over 70 years after his last solo comic book series, Alan Scott is the biggest he’s been in years. The Justice Society of America stars in a new ongoing comic book series helmed by Geoff Johns and Mikel Janín, with Alan headlining his own comic series this October as part of Johns’ New Golden Age banner. Beyond the main DCU, Alan’s queer identity has spread to other depictions of the character, including the 2021 Injustice prequel maxi-series Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Zero by Tom Taylor, Roge Antonio, Cian Tormey, and Rain Beredo, further establishing its prominent relevance.

With gentle revisions to his personal history, Alan Scott is now effectively the first queer superhero in the canonical history of the DCU, a distinction he has come to terms with in the modern era thanks to his children. And just as Alan had inspired generations of heroes as an elder statesman and the first Green Lantern, he continues to do so as an openly queer man in a world trying to restrict who and how he is able to love someone. Alan always stood differently compared to his counterparts on the Green Lantern Corps, with his feet more firmly grounded, and in his overdue return to the spotlight, his down-to-earth struggle is more timely than ever. Fortunately for the DCU, there is no one better suited to light the way forward than Green Lantern.

'Anniversary' is written by Josh Trujillo, illustrated by Don Aguillo, and lettered by Lucas Gattoni, running in the pages of DC Pride Special 2023 #1, on sale now from DC Comics. A prologue to Alan Scott: The Green Lantern by Tim Sheridan and Cian Tormey will be included in DC Pride: Through the Years #1, on sale June 13. Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #1 goes on sale Oct. 3.


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About the Author
Sam Stone avatar

Sam Stone

Contributing writer

Sam Stone is an entertainment journalist based out of the Washington, D.C. area that has been working in the industry since 2016. Starting out as a columnist for the Image Comics preview magazine Image+, Sam also translated the Eisner Award nominated-Beowulf for the publisher. Sam has since written for CBR, Looper, and Marvel.com, with a penchant for Star Trek, Nintendo, and martial arts movies.
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