Remarkable Receptions

The Green Lantern (John Stewart) -- ep. Stephyn Phillips

November 03, 2022 Stephyn Phillips Season 6 Episode 7
Remarkable Receptions
The Green Lantern (John Stewart) -- ep. Stephyn Phillips
Show Notes Transcript

A short take on John Stewart, an African American character who became the premier Green Lantern for a generation of fans.
Episode by Stephyn Phillips
Read by Gigi Monroe

For decades, the name Green Lantern brought comic readers the images of Caucasian superheroes: either the original Allan Scott, or the immortalized fan-favorite Hal Jordan. 

However, in recent decades, John Stewart, an African American character, became the premier Green Lantern for a generation of fans who grew up with him in the pages of comic books and graphic novels and on television screens. 

You’re listening to Remarkable Receptions—a podcast about popular and critical responses to African American novels.

During an attempt at capturing the social consciousness of the 1970s in the pages of Green Lantern, John Stewart became the first DC Comics black costumed superhero. The black characters before him were either soldiers or adventure comics characters. With John Stewart, it was the first time in the history of the medium that a character of color was given the name and costume of an established Caucasian character, as Stewart was featured on the cover of his debut issue, standing over Hal Jordan. 

The character was originally made as one of the Lanterns to provide support for Hal Jordan defending Earth from intergalactic threats. Jordan immediately protested the decision and had his ideals questioned by his superiors and readers. Ultimately, John Stewart took on a major role within the pages of Green Lantern, becoming the leader of the entire Green Lantern Corps. 

In 2001, John Stewart was solidified as a powerhouse in the DC Comics Universe, and the top Green Lantern in the eyes of many fans. When Warner Brothers developed the cartoon Justice League, they decided they needed a Lantern, and decided to go with John Stewart as opposed to Hal Jordan. John Stewart was featured in numerous episodes and presented as a true peer of the Superman, Batman, and other popular superheroes. This depiction made Stewart the Lantern in the eyes of a generation of fans that grew up on Justice League

Among African American fictional characters in comic books, graphic novels, and animation, John Stewart has received a remarkable reception. 


This episode was written by Stephyn Phillips. The episode was edited by Elizabeth Cali and Howard Rambsy.   


This podcast, Remarkable Receptions, is part of the Black Literature Network, a joint project from African American literary studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. The project was made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.  For more information, visit