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Mayor Compares Austin To The Green Lantern; Captain Marvel Slighted

Austin as Super Hero
Picture courtesy DC Comics
Austin as Super Hero

Mayor Lee Leffingwell's state of the city address this morning focused on Austin's current challenges and, as the mayor described them, opportunities that lay ahead.  He pointed to the positive things like the city's unemployment rate, which is lower than the state and national average but not low enough for most people's liking.

It was a pretty straightforward, "here's what's working…and here's what's not" speech.  But at the very end, the mayor threw in a comic book analogy that sent the KUT Newsroom into a tizzy trying to decipher his meaning.

"I’ll put it this way: If New York is Superman; and Chicago is Batman; and Los Angeles is the Flash; then Austin is the Green Lantern."

Wow! What does that mean?  The four main nerds of the newsroom (I'll only out myself on that list…and Nathan Bernier) put our officially licensed Comic-Con thinking caps and started running down possible connections.

Maybe he's comparing Austin to the fictional home town of Hal Jordan (AKA the Green Lantern).  Coast City is described by Wikipedia as, "…an analogue of San Diego or Los Angeles or the Jersey Shore."  So okay, that doesn't really make sense because no Texan makes political points comparing any part of the state to California.

What else did we turn up while surfing the Googles?  Here's a sampling:

Back in 2009 when producers were casting for this summer's Green Lantern movie, Brian AUSTIN Green was campaigning for the title role.

A comic book artist named Terry AUSTIN worked on a couple of Green lantern titles -- the last one in 2000 (No real connection there).

Nick Jones, who plays John Stewart in the upcoming Green Lantern movie, came to Austin's Comic-Con in 2010 (yeah…I know…weak).

Finally there's DC Comics recent focus on the Green Lantern.  Over the last two years the hero has been the central character in the comic book company's year-long stories.  So maybe mayor Leffingwell is saying Austin is the center of the actual universe - like the Green Lantern is the center of the DC universe (getting warmer as you'll read below).

The answer is actually found in the rest of Leffingwell's speech (guess we should have kept listening).

"We are a city without fear. We are a city that can create anything we can visualize, through sheer force of will. We are a city with a special charge to shine a light into the darkness and lead the way to a new and better day."

So here's the comic-nerd-to-non-comic-nerd translation:

  • Hal Jordan was picked by "the Ring" because he was a man without fear.
  • The power of the ring is only limited to Hal's imagination.  If he can visualize it, the ring can create it.
  • This actually does refer to DC's Green Lantern focus over the last couple of years.  The series started with "Blackest Night" and is now using the title "Brightest Day."

There you go.  Mystery solved.  Although that's 15 minutes of your life you won't get back.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.