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'Green Lantern' Creator Martin Nodell


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'Green Lantern' Creator Martin Nodell

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Martin Nodell

MIAMI, Florida -- Martin Nodell, the creator of "Green Lantern," the comic book superhero who uses his magical ring to help him fight crime died on Saturday, December 9 of natural causes at a nursing home in Muskego, Wisconsin, according to his son Spencer Nodell. He was 91.

Nodell was born November 15, 1915, in Philadelphia. He studied at the Chicago Academy of Art, Chicago Art Institute and then the Pratt Institute after he moved to New York City in the 1930's. He previously lived in West Palm Beach before moving to Miami. Martin got his first job in comics in 1938 doing freelance work for several publishers before landing at DC Comics.

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 train operator waving a lantern displaying a green light, said Maggie Thompson, senior editor of "Comics Buyer's Guide." Nodell imagined a young engineer, Alan Scott, a train crash survivor who discovers in the debris an ancient lantern forged from a green meteor.

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Martin Nodell

Scott constructs a ring from the lamp that gives him super powers, and becomes a crime fighter. Nodell brought his 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, Thompson said.

The first "Green Lantern" appearance came in July 1940, an eight-page story in a comic book also featuring other characters. The character then got his own series and Nodell drew it until 1947 under the name Mart Dellon. After its cancellation in 1949, the series was reborn in 1959 with a revised story line, and it has been revived several times.

Nodell left DC Comics in 1947 and joined Timely Comics (now Marvel Comics), where he drew Captain America, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. Meanwhile, Nodell left the comics field for an advertising career. In the 1960s, he was on a design team that helped develop the Pillsbury Doughboy. He retired in 1976.

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Martin Nodell

In 1987, Nodell submitted some new work to DC Comics, which led to him being rediscoverd by comic fans. His final work for DC Comics appeared in December 1991 issue, "Green Lantern #19" in which he provided an illustration of the Alan Scott Green Lantern for the last time.

In later years, Nodell traveled the comic book convention circuit with his wife, Caroline, who died in 2004."There were myriad of 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 is survived by two sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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