The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force of warriors who are all chosen for their honesty and the ability to act without fear. They wear power rings tap into the emotional spectrum of the universe, drawing on the collective will of all sentient life and pouring it out as green energy. These weapons are among the most powerful in the universe and are mainly limited only by the bearer’s force of will (which must harness and shape the green energy), their imagination, and the need to occasionally recharge through the use of a lantern-shaped power battery. Green Lanterns patrol the universe and sometimes will venture into parallel realities when they recognize that there’s evil that they need to take down.
This is pretty epic. And the Earthmen who have been chosen to be Green Lanterns are all pretty formidable characters. And fortunately for these folks, a hero can’t always be judged by his or her enemies. These days, the GLs fight the likes of the Red Lantern Corps, the conqueror Mongul, the necrotic Black Lanterns, and other terrifying menaces. But back in the old days, for every great villain that existed like Sinestro, the rogue Green Lantern, there were a couple of losers who just had no sense of style and couldn’t help but make you chuckle. Let’s look at some of them, shall we?
A powerful mage who is a little crazy and has a serious revenge fixation on Green Lanterns, due to one of them (Abin Sur) forcing him into exile for a time. That’s not a bad recipe for a cool, scary villain. But when the mage in question looks like an old man who accidentally threw his underwear on outside his collared sweatsuit, you look creepy in a nursing home kind of way rather than as a super-villain. A few changes in this wardrobe and Myrwhydden could finally be ready to lay down some punishment.
Paul Booker could create natural disasters whenever he wanted to. This is a scary thing, no doubt about it. The destruction you could cause, the terror you could inspire. You could hold entire cities or even countries hostage. Earthquakes and hurricanes could keep police and military forces from reaching you. This guy could cause volcanoes to form in front of him!
But then, we have this suit. Magenta and blue? And what’s the deal with that weird mask and hood? Those are strange enough, but then you add in a skirt and thigh high boots? Really? You thought all of these elements worked well together?
Booker later got a new look and spent some time with the Justice League where, surprisingly, no one really brought up this previous fashion disaster.
Green Lanterns have trouble directly affecting things colored yellow. So I’m Goldface. Get it? Do you see my gold? And I even have a gold-spray gun!
Okay, here’s the deal. Armor can be cool. Helmets can be cool. Armor and helmets with pirate boots and some kind of matching gold poncho is a combination that just makes you look like a guy who belongs in the parades they hold at Disney World. Wearing all-gold is very smart, considering whom he was fighting. But there are elements here that just don’t work.
And what the HELL is with that enormous belt buckle?!
After his parents were shunned by their community for being deaf, our boy here learned how to use sound as a destructive force and a way to nullify gravity. He became “Sonar, master of sound” and decided that the best way to intimidate people was if he looked a little bit like Napoleon. I realize you see yourself as a world conqueror, but this outfit just makes it look like you’re late for a fancy dress party.
Sonar (and his successor) have had other outfits over the years, but this first design just can’t be forgotten.
Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m an Evil Star! No time to talk!
Okay, so… on the planet Auron, a scientist was willing to sacrifice his entire race for the sake of drawing power from the stars themselves. That is the start of a great, terrifying villain. So with his new star-born powers, this scientist became… EVIL STAR!
Wait, that name is awful!
And that costume. What is this? Is his plan to conquer the universe so he can open the world’s largest disco dance hall? Because that would actually be a plan I can get behind! Shake it, Evil Star! Shake it!
I’m Dr. Polaris! I experimented with magnets and then my experiments created a new evil personality, the POLAR opposite of my good personality, who has magnetic powers. There’s a picture of a magnet on my chest so you know what I can do! My helmet is shaped kinda like a big magnet! And my name is Dr. Polaris! Do you get it? Do you get it yet?!? Magnets, dude! How the frak do they work?!?
Seriously, Dr. Polaris later became a pretty scary villain and got himself a whole new look, but let’s just remember this old armor outfit and laugh. I mean, those shoulder pads and helmet look like they’d just smack into each other all the time!
So divided here. On one hand, I really like how Star Sapphire has developed over the past few years and how they’ve redefined what her gem does and what it’s really about. That’s cool. Saying that there’s an emotional spectrum to the universe and the Star Sapphire gems harness love (but not compassion) is very cool. But this outfit, I cannot get behind. I’m not against women in comics looking sexy and I actually prefer Power Girl and Wonder Woman to rock out with their bare legs. But this outfit just goes too far for me. A few tweaks and it can work, but right now it’s just something that I almost feel like I have to apologize for when I show a Green Lantern comic to new fans. In fact, I’ve met multiple GL fans who have told me they have decided not to buy some GL comics when Star Sapphire is on the cover because they’re embarrassed to be seen with it and possibly judged. I do think that’s extreme, but it does point out that it’s not great for marketing when at best a costume is a joke and at worst it’s insulting.
Frankly, I wouldn’t mind a new take on the classic Silver Age look Star Sapphire once sported. There was something very fun and Jestsons-like about this outfit. Lose the collar, use the modern-day mask, you could definitely have something here. It almost makes you forget that her name sounds like a drag queen.
And that wraps it up for this week, folks. Hope you enjoyed this fun little list. Join us next Friday for more looks at art and fashion history. Until then, this is Alan Kistler, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E., signing off.
Alan Kistler writes the comic book history/fashion column Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. He is an actor and freelance writer living in New York who has been recognized by Warner Bros. Films and major media/news outlets as a comic book historian. He is also the creator/host of the web-show “Crazy Sexy Geeks: The Series.” He knows entirely too much about the history of comics, Star Trek, Doctor Who, time travel, and vampires that don’t sparkle.