Defined Green Lantern Comic Rings

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Gregatron

Sr Member
The recent GREEN LANTERN movie has resparked my interest in the comics. I've been a lifelong GL fan, and it kind of amazes me that there have been relatively few ring replicas that are fairly true to the comic designs. I have several of them--the Blackest Night promo, the 1990 promo, etc., but none of them have really scratched that itch to have a high-quality, comic-accurate, wearable GL ring.

I love my modded TRU Movie ring, but that's, well, the MOVIE ring, and my first love is the comic. There's an elegance to the comic rings. I get why they went with the weathered crystal/metal look for the movie, but I prefer the solid green metal style of the comics.

Of course, there have been countless artistic interpretations over the years, but three basic designs have been used over the years (aside from Alan Scott's and some other variants for the very non-human GLs):



* The original/Hal Jordan style.



Gil Kane's original version of Hal Jordan's ring was essentially a simple ring band (akin to a wedding ring band--no detailing, and the same shape/width all the way 'round), with a disc on top emblazoned with the GL symbol. The symbol, of course, went through many, many evolutions over the years, from the original, more complex design, to the classic version used for licensing, to the recent modification of that design (with the slanted sides on the top and bottom).

This design has had several variations, from the band blending into the disc, to the more traditional, signet-style ring as depicted by Alex Ross, among others. Also, the inset areas of the face have often been colored a lighter green than the reliefed GL symbol, so as to make the symbol stand out more as in the last image of the three seen above.



* The "Version 2" Corps style.

Mike Grell's 1970s redesign eliminated the disc-on-band look, and went with a 3-D version of the GL symbol (minus the circle surrounding the symbol) stuck on top of a band. This version also went through many variations, until it stabilized under the hands of artists like Joe Staton and Dave Gibbons.

The only real variation of this design is that some versions feature a center gem (depicted as either flat and flush with the GL symbol, or a dome-shaped gem protruding from the face of the symbol, as in the last image of the three seen below).




* The "chunk" style.

This is a distinct variant of the V2--on this one, the GL symbol blends into the band, with the grooves going all the way around the band (or not, in some cases). The GL movie ring follows this style, despite its being the least-seen of the three main types.





For many years, I've wanted a high-quality replica of the first two versions (or even all three), although the classic Jordan style is my favorite--it has a certainly classy elegance to it.

While there have been some great fan-made replicas, none have quite captured the right "look" for me (although some of the work I've seen is really, really great).

My "perfect" GL rings would go something like this:


Hal: Anodized metallic green metal ring. Two-part construction (GL symbol-disc atop simple band). No two-tone color scheme for inset portions of symbol.

V2: Anodized metallic green metal ring. Two-part construction (3-D GL symbol atop a simple band). One version without a gem, and the other with a lighter, lime-green-ish "dome" gem.

Chunk: Same as the V2, but with a flush lime-green gem.




The available licensed rings have their issues. Here are a few examples:





The Brightest Day promo ring is pretty spiffy version of the more recent "Jordan"-style rings--it just sits really high (due to the very thick ring-symbol-disc on top), and features the modern, "slanted-sides" symbol, which I'm not fond of. But I LOVE the metallic green paint scheme--it's just about perfect for my ideal ring. It's more of a traditional signet-style, though, as opposed to Gil Kane's disc-on-a-band look, which I prefer.

The 1990, glow-in-the-dark promo ring is about 80-90% right when compared to the V2. The only issues are the funky slanted sides on the GL symbol piece (when viewed in profile), and the band width, which spreads out to create a "platform" for the symbol piece. The "gem" is just glow-in-the dark plastic which sits flush with the face.

The DC Direct "toy" ring (which was released with many action figures, and as a Comic-Con promo in 2005) is very close to my preferred style--a GL-symbol disc stuck on top of a band. The issues here are size (won't even fit on any my fingers), color (a drab olive), and the "squashed" GL symbol.

The cheapie version of the "chunk" ring that's currently available gets the basic design right, although the bare metal with green inlay is wrong, of course.


The 1990 and Blackest Night rings also use the correct, "official" version of the GL symbol (the modern variant in the case of the BN ring). Too many ring replicas feature a "squashed" symbol, or one that has the wrong proportions. Can it really be so hard to get this symbol right, even at a small scale?




Thoughts? What are your favorite GL ring styles? What artists have drawn your favorite rings? Do you like some of the really far-out styles of the alien GL rings?

Most importantly, when and how will the definitive comic-style rings be made, and by whom? It's really amazing that such relatively simple designs have never quite been done justice. I think a two-piece construction on the Hal and V2 style rings would make the task easier. Although, as noted, Megatron's signet-style rings look really sweet.
 
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Gregatron

Sr Member
Hey, I don't suppose anyone could start designing some blueprints and/or renders of the different ring styles so as to get a feel for what might work for some future run? We could all provide feedback so as to narrow down some "definitive" versions of the various comic rings for any future runs.

I'd do it myself, but I'm not a computer-art whiz or anything.


I really do have an urge to get some definitive comic rings, right now! Heck, I'd make 'em myself, if I had the talent.
 

Nexus6

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I am also a life-long Hal Jordan GL fan, & my favorite rendition of his ring is from your 3rd example (which also happens to be from my all-time favorite GL cover). However, I find I REALLY like the shape of the newer version of the Lantern symbol:



If I could get a GL "signet" ring with ^that^ symbol made from a sturdy material (stainless or titanium or something, I'm hella-rough on jewelry), it would be the most awesome thing evar.
 

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Yeah, not that the modern version isn't neat, I just prefer the traditional version.

Also, it kinda annoys me when the edges of the symobl blend into the surrounding circle, as they do on some replicas. It looks kinda funky to me that way.


And, despite the content of that cover you like--GL (3rd) # 49 (what with Jordan going totally nuts and all)--, it's a great cover, especially since it depicts all three ring styles, and thus is very useful for quick reference!
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Been going through a lot of comics, doing research. It's amazing how many artistic interpretations of the rings there have been--they're sometimes inconsistent even from page to page of a story!

But, I gotta say, my love of the Gil Kane and Gibbons/Staton versions of the ring have only been reaffirmed.
 

knightwing316

Active Member
My favorite style has always been the "coin" style ring from the 80's.

I've got a lot of reference on the comic rings, but I don't have them in order at this point. I'd love to have a history of the rings (with pictures, of coarse) and the order in which they appeared (including variant versions like the bizarro lantern, ect...).

I'm getting better at designing in 3d, and would love to help with this.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Yeah, there are a lot of variations. The GL symbol itself went through many, many evoultions. Even though the symbol we know was established fairly early on (although it was often depicted with a green center circle instead of white), later artists like Neal Adams continued to tinker with it.

As for the rings, Jordan's original went though many shapes under Gil Kane's pencil--sometimes the band blended into the disc, sometimes not. Sometimes the disc had a beveled edge (going in either direction, depending on the drawing), and sometimes it didn't. Sometimes the disc was flat, and other times it was convex. Sometimes the band had a consistent width, and other times it flared out to connect to the disc.

As noted, I prefer the "disc" look to the true signet ring, since that's what Kane drew.

Someone really should create a visual flowchart of all the ring variants, so that some kind of concensus could be reached on the best versions.


And I am shocked that Jack T. Chance has not chimed in here!
 

knightwing316

Active Member
I'm sure he just hasn't seen the thread yet.

As for the symbols, i've started working in sketchup and already have several mocked up. I'll post some pics later to show you what i've done and get your opinion on them.

A visual flowchart would be great, ideally, i'd like to design all of the rings from Allen Scott's to present.
 

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Cool! It's kind of a two-fer, since it would also chart the evolution of the GL symbol itself.

I have no computer art/modeling skills whatsoever, but I have my brain, at least!
 

knightwing316

Active Member
I can handle all of the modeling if you can help me with the reference pics of the rings, by year if you can. We can do the chart as we go. What all reference do you have?
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
I have the six GL Archives volumes (which reprint GL 2nd series # 1-47), the GL/Green Arrow trades, a smattering of issues from 1976-1985, most of the GL/GLC issues from 1984-1988, the EMERALD DAWN minis along with other assorted minis and one-shots (like TALES OF THE GLC), the entire 3rd series run from 1990-1993 (up to the early Rayner days), and a smattering of more recent stories like REBIRTH.

So, there are some gaps in my collection.

Also, the Alan Scott material would be much harder to catalog, since those stories are so old, and not all have been reprinted, as I recall.

And then there are the countless GL appearances in other titles. Methinks it's best to stick with the home series and related titles.


This would also prove a valuable opportunity to chart the evolution of the power battery, as well, especially since it's had nowhere near as many variants as the rings.
 

knightwing316

Active Member
I've got all of the early Alan Scott stuff and most of the Green Lantern comics, version 1 - 3, on my laptop. I simply don't have a lot of time to go threw all of them, between work, my kids, and my wife. If there's a way to transfer all of them to you, let me know. It's about 15 gigs worth of comics.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Okay, I've begun the slow process of scanning images.


The original GL symbol was more complex than the version we know. It evolved gradually, with variants appearing in almost every issue. At times, the symbol was inconsistent even from page to page. The first real appearance of the classic GL chest symbol was in GREEN LANTERN # 8, although it continued to be inconsistent, sometimes with the bars and the circled seprated by horizontal lines, sometimes not. Sometimes the center circle was colored green, and sometimes white.

For the sake of time, I won't scan every variation of the symbol--just a few highlights. It's the RING that we're studying here. The early issues have very few close-ups of the ring.

Eventually, the ring and symbol designs became pretty consistent under Gil Kane's pencil, and there were more and more close-ups of the ring. The ring was usually colored a solid green, although occasionally it was a lighter, lime-green-ish shade. And, on some rare occasions, the inset areas around the ring's symbol were colored white, as on GL's uniform.

Also, it's not clear whether the ring symbol is scribed/etched into the ring's face, or whether it's reliefed. Sometimes, it clearly appears reliefed. And the circle around the symbol (which echoes the chest symbol) could just be etched in, or perhaps represents a raised lip, with the symbol area recessed into the face of the ring (as in most of the licensed ring replicas).

When Alan Scott began making guest-appearances, his ring and symbol were essentially modified versions of Jordan's.

Also, it's interesting to note that Abin Sur's ring was destroyed during a battle with Evil Star and replaced with an identical GL ring in the early 60s. Some people think that Jordan has always worn Abin Sur's ring, but this is far from the case, although some later stories have perpetuated this idea!


As noted, there's a gap in my collection spanning from GL # 48-75, but, from what I've seen, there aren't any major variants. Still, if anyone can provide some images, that would be great.

Neal Adams' classic run from # 76-89 sticks close to Kane's designs. Still, there are a number of design/color variants of the GL symbol, including a unique version which features the top and bottom bars curved so as to match the circle surrounding the symbol. We also see some two-tone ring variants, with the inset areas around the ring-symbol colored a lighter green.
 
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Gregatron

Sr Member
Sigh.

After much struggle, I cannot get the chart to look anything but tiny when I upload it from MS Paint to Photobucket. I'm not too experienced with this sort of thing.

Looks like I'll have to start over. Any suggestions on how to get this to work properly?
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Yeah, this is turning into a freaking nightmare. I'm not an expert with this sort of thing. I cannot get the images to scan so as to create a collage that is anything but tiny.

Bah!
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
A few years after GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW was cancelled, the series was relaunched. Mike Grell redesigned the power rings, with the in-universe reason being that these were new-and-improved models.

GL/GA # 90 marks the first appearance of the new design, which discards Kane's original disc/signet ring, and uses the GL symbol itself as the ring's face.

There were many interpretations of this redesign, ranging from the GL-symbol-stuck-on-a-band look to the "chunk" style, with the GL symbol blending into the band.

As before, the GL symbol and the ring design were often inconsistent from issue to issue--or even page to page. Eventually, by the mid-80s, the design of the symbol and ring had finally stabilized into the GL-symbol-on-a-band look (aka the Version 2).

As previously noted, sometimes this version was shown to have a center gem, sometimes not (although the gem was occasionally mentioned in dialogue). Sometimes the gem was flush with the ring's face, although it was usually depicted as a dome (sometimes colored the same green as the rest of the ring, but usually a lighter, lime-green shade).

The Version 2 was worn by the vast majority of Corps members, including Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Katma Tui. Still, the original Kane style popped up every now and then, as did the "chunk" and a few other variants for the non-humanoid GLs.

Interestingly enough, when Gil Kane came back to draw the last few issues of what had been renamed GREEN LANTERN CORPS, he drew the classic disc/signet rings, despite the V2 having been seen in all of the stories preceding those last issues before the book was again cancelled.





 
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Gregatron

Sr Member
After the cancellation of GLC, and the destruction of the central power battery and most of the rings, only a few GLs remained, including Jordan, Gardner, and Stewart.

During various appearances, all three styles of the ring were inconsistently applied to these GLs. Jordan was given a backup series in ACTION COMICS WEEKLY, and during this run, his ring was destroyed in a battle with Lord Malvolio (a villain who'd come into possession of a GL ring), and he took Malvolio's (Gil Kane style) ring as a replacement.

Eventually, the two EMERALD DAWN miniseries jumpstarted the GL mythos once again by modernizing Hal Jordan's origin.

Mark Bright drew both minis, and went back to the Gil Kane ring style.

Bright's version was worn by all GLs in the minis, and featured the disc blending into the band, and a two-tone color scheme (with the lighter lime-green used for the inset sections).

This led to the relaunch of the main GREEN LANTERN title, which featured Jordan, Stewart, and Gardner. The initial run was drawn by Pat Broderick, who drew all three characters wearing variants of the Kane ring--although Broderick drew it as more of a true signet ring.

Joe Staton and Mark Bright also drew stories as the series progressed, and Jordan was always drawn wearing the Kane-style ring, while Stewart and Gardner wore either the V2 or the chunk, depending on the artist.

Once Jordan began rebuilding the Corps, the new members were all usually shown wearing the V2 ring.

Eventually, Bright became the main GL artist, and so Jordan wore the Kane-style ring, with a consistent two-tone color scheme.



And then came "Emerald Twilight", the most controversial GL story ever, in which Hal Jordan went mad, decimated the GLC, killed the Guardians, and took the central battery's power for himself, becoming the villain called Parallax. Ironically, this story--which truly marks the end of the Silver Age GL era--features a lot of classic GL ring eye-candy. Indeed, the now-famous cover for GL (2nd) # 49, with Jordan boasting many rings, features all three styles.









Ganthet, the last surviving Guardian, created a new Version 2-style ring out of the shattered remains of Jordan's Kane-style ring, and this version was given to the new GL, Kyle Rayner.
 
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