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IN BRIGHTEST DAY, IN BLACKEST NIGHT,
NO EVIL SHALL ESCAPE MY SIGHT!
LET THOSE WHO WORSHIP EVIL'S MIGHT,
BEWARE MY POWER -- GREEN LANTERN'S LIGHT!
THE ORIGINAL GREEN LANTERN actually had several oaths over the course of his Golden-Age adventures, as I will account for here. However, to answer your question, the oath which has become accepted as Alan Scott's standard one first appeared in his debut adventure in All-American Comics # 16 (Jul., 1940). He spoke it in the last panel of his origin story, though at the time, it wasn't clear if it was meant to be an oath or a statement of dedication, since GL wasn't charging his ring.

It read: " . . . And I shall shed my light over dark evil . . . for dark things cannot stand the light! The light of the Green Lantern!"

With minor changes in preposition or phrasing, this was the oath the original GL used for the next several stories. He was first seen using it while recharging his ring in All-American Comics # 18 (Sep., 1940).

.Though, as I mentioned, this was far from the only oath--minor deviations understood--that Alan Scott used. Here are the other oaths he used in ring-charging scenes over the years:

"Let the light of the lantern penetrate the dark places of ignorance and wrong, setting all minds right and overthrowing all servants of evil!", from Green Lantern # 5 (Fall, 1942)

"I shed my light upon the darkness! Evil has no place to hide itself! Green Lantern goes forth to conquer!", also from Green Lantern # 5

"My rays strike the darkest corner, banishing all wickedness!", from All-American Comics # 45 (Dec., 1942)

"Let all power and triumph be mine in whatever right I do!", from Comics Cavalcade # 1 (Winter, 1942-3)

"The light of the Green Lantern pierces darkness and mystery, and its radiance will strike at the heart of evil!", from Green Lantern # 6 (Winter, 1942-3)

"As the green rays strike forth into darkness, so may all black evil be exposed and driven away!", from All-America n Comics # 47 (Feb., 1943)

The best guess as to why GL's oaths occasionally deviated from the ". . . I shall shed my light over dark evil . . . " version would be that those particular stories were scripted by writers other than regular GL writer Bill Finger.

In mid-1943, Alfred Bester replaced Finger as the regular GL writer, and the oath changed yet again, only this time, for good.

The original Green Lantern's new oath became:

"In brightest day, in darkest night,
No evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power--Green Lantern's light!"

Yes--that oath was FIRST used by the original Green Lantern, and actually became his standard from then on.

And my use of the word "darkest" was not a sop to the PC police. That was the way it read when Bester first put the words in Alan Scott's mouth. However, much as his first oath saw minor deviations over the years, so did this one. By 1945, one simple change became permanent--the substitution of the word "blackest" for "darkest".

("... which is one of the key methods researchers use to discern when Henry Kuttner succeeded Alfred Bester as GREEN LANTERN scriptwriter. And as much as I liked Alfie (who gave me all his original SHADOW radio scripts) and love his writing, Kuttner's slight revision was indeed an improvement. " --Anthony Tollin.)

So, interestingly and ironically, when editor Julius Schwartz revamped and updated the character of Green Lantern for his re-introduction in Showcase # 22 (Sept-Oct 1959), one of the few elements of the Golden-Age version which WASN'T changed was the oath. It was the same one that the original GL had used for the last few years of his Golden-Age existence.

Written by DIAL B reader Commander Benson

FIRST TIME SILVER AGE GL RECITES HIS OATH
SHOWCASE #22 -- OCT 1959
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ART by GIL KANE and JOE GIELLA

FIRST TIME GL RECITES HIS OATH IN HIS OWN TITLE
GREEN LANTERN #1 -- JULY 1960
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ART by GIL KANE and MURPHY ANDERSON

GREEN LANTERN #9 -- NOVEMBER 1960
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ART by GIL KANE and MURPHY ANDERSON

GREEN LANTERN #12 -- APRIL 1962
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ART by GIL KANE

FLASH #143 -- MARCH 1964
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ART by CARMINE INFANTINO

GL COVERS FEATURING THE OATH AND POWER BATTERY!
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GL #9 NOV 1961 GL #20 APRIL 1963 GL #32 JUNE 1964


GREEN LANTERN #20 -- APRIL 1963
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ART by CARMINE INFANTINO

GREEN LANTERN #55 -- SEPTEMBER 1967
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ART by GIL KANE and SID GREENE

GL COVERS FEATURING THE OATH AND POWER BATTERY!
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GL #52 APRIL 1967 GL #555 SEPT 1967 GL #68 APRIL 1969

GREEN LANTERN #76 -- APRIL 1970
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ART by NEAL ADAMS
GL COVERS FEATURING THE OATH AND POWER BATTERY!
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GL #74 JAN 1970 GL #76 APRIL 1970 GL #88 MARCH 1972

GREEN LANTERN #83 -- APRIL 1971
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ART by NEAL ADAMS and DICK GIORDANO

FLASH #220 -- MARCH 1973
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ART by DICK GIORDANO

DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 -- OCTOBER 1980
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ART by JIM STARLIN and STEVE MITCHELL

GREEN LANTERN #154 -- JULY 1982
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ART by JOE STANTON and BOB SMITH

GREEN LANTERN #156 -- SEPTEMBER 1982
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ART by GIL KANE

THE END!

NEXT: DIAL B for BLOG #300!

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