September 18, 2011
Golden Age Profiles: Martin Nodell
Bill Black, editor and publisher of AC Comics, interviewed Martin Nodell at the 2000 Megacon in Orlando, Florida. Marty told Bill the story of how the Green Lantern came about. After graduating from art school in Chicago, Marty went off to New York in 1940, to make his fortune. His first work was for companies that always seemed to be going out of business, so he decided to investigate what companies there were and which ones were lasting. There was Superman and Batman, both from DC Comics. He saw Sheldon Mayer, editor, and showed him his samples. He was told that they were looking for another superhero type character. So, he started developing a character on the subway ride home and had it done in a week.
“I picked out the name from the train man on the tracks who was waving a lantern, going from red to green…. green meant go and I decided that was it”, Marty reported. “Then I needed a colorful and interesting costume. I was interested in Greek mythology and so the costume took on elements of that. It just all fell into place.”
“When I sent it in, I waited into the second week before I heard the word to come in. I was ushered into Mr. Gaines office, publisher, and after sitting a long time and flipping through the pages of my presentation, he announced, “We like it!” And then, “Get to work!” I did the first five pages of an eight page story, and then they called in Bill Finger to help. We worked on it for seven years.”
“After that, I retired from comics and went into advertising. I came back to comics in 1981, when I began touring comic art conventions with my wife, Carrie. I’ve been at it ever since and have enjoyed every minute. At the Megacon this year, a young lady showed her admiration for the character by dressing up as a member of The Green Lantern Corps. What a thrill!”
Complete coverage of Martin Nodell and The Green Lantern, as well as other “green” characters, can be found in AC Comic’s “Men of Mystery No.25”, available in the Online Store or from AC Comics, PO Box 52-1216, Longwood, FL 32752.