Diamond Jack (Earth-S)
Real Name: Jack Lansing
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Had a black diamond embedded into a ring which allowed him to create whatever appeared in his mind.
The effects of the ring were highly variable. Generally they literally created whatever was in his mind. Jack generally imagined objects that weren't "in-scene" prior to the battle. So he might create a weapon for himself or the like. These objects were "real"--as opposed to Green Lantern's "solid light" recreations.
Other times, however, he wished for transformation of solid objects already there. In Wow Comics #1, he made an entire hillside change its shape and turned people into stone.
Unlike the various Green Lanterns over the years, the black diamond's limitations were not specific to a particular material or color. Rather the limitations were all about Jack's mind. It required a good imagination and strong willpower. Unfortunately, Jack didn't appear to have either in great abundance. Thus, he was often seen to have his concentration broken or his use of the diamond hindered by a certain lack of creativity.
Jack Lansing wasn't a hero so much as an adventurer. In his travels, he met a mysterious wizard from the Far East who gave him a ring that held a black diamond at its core. This diamond had incredible power, which allowed Jack to think of a thing and it would appear. Instead of using this power to generally help others, though, Jack was usually seen continuing his personal adventures around the world with this newfound power--and often came across as something closer to a treasure hunter or soldier of fortune. This character trait was confirmed by the fact that he never created a costume to wear, because he was basically using the power for his own personal gain. The audience may have been sympathetic to his use of the ring--he was certainly no villain--but had a movie been made at the time of his adventures, one could certainly have imagined that Humphrey Bogart would've made the perfect Diamond Jack.
As you've probably already guessed, it's almost impossible to discuss Jack without also referencing the Green Lantern. Here, then, is a more detailed investigation of the differences between the two power-ringed personalities.
Diamond Jack and the Green Lantern
This obscure Fawcett character--now an unused DC property--made but 8 appearances in his entirely Golden Aged life. Since these predate Alan Scott's first appearance, he's is sometimes cited as the forerunner to the Green Lantern. Some even uncharitably suggest that the Green Lantern is stolen outright from Diamond Jack.
But while there are superficial similarities, it's probably more accurate to say that both characters come from a common ancestor, Aladdin, but are operationalized in importantly different ways. Throw in the fact that he wasn't very good at using this awesome power, and the character actually had as much commonality with Johnny Thunder (I), as he did with the Green Lantern (I).
Yes, Diamond Jack has a device that allowed him to project his will into a situation, generally resulting in the creation of an item that can then be used to subdue a criminal.
But the ring produced "real" items, as opposed to look-alikes shaped from a ray of light. For instance, if he was thinking of a cage to imprison his attackers, an actual cage made of metal, with whatever other dimensions and properties he might've been imagining, would appear. He therefore had to be much more specific about his thoughts than would the Green Lantern, because he could easily create a cage that wasn't particularly difficult to escape. He didn't appear to have the ability to change the power of the object on the fly, as did the various Green Lanterns. If he was thinking of a sword, he got the sword he originally thought of. If that sword wasn't big enough or powerful enough, he'd have to think of another sword to get a replacement. He couldn't make the original sword grow in strength, durability, or power.
Indeed, we often see that the objects Green Lantern makes are metaphorical. He might create an object that looks like a sword, but because it's actually a construct of Starheart or Green Lantern energy, the weapon is actually the fluxing energy, not really the sword. With Diamond Jack, the weapon was literally a sword.
Also, the ring didn't create a protective field around the wearer (despite appearances in the picture to the right). When facing multiple opponents, he could easily find himself trying to subdue "criminal #1" while "criminal #2" came up and easily knocked him out--thus ending his concentration and "disspelling" whatever he had created to take out "criminal #1".
Nor did the ring have any communicative or analytic properties, as we see in modern Green Lantern rings. It was entirely dependent upon input from the user.
Its origin was given in Slam-Bang Comics #4. There, Jack discovered that it was the third eye of the idol Khor. When priests of the sect of Khor reanimated the "god", Khor attempted to regain his lost eye, but was defeated by Jack. We can therefore say that the black diamond was much more tied into occultist notions of "the third eye" than the more scientifically based Green Lantern rings. (In fairness, though, it should be pointed out that the original, Golden Age Green Lantern ring had an ambiguously magical origin as well--though it has retroactively been made a part of the Green Lantern Corps more science fiction-based concept.)
Finally, there are the profound differences in the characters of Alan Scott and Jack Lansing. One is unambiguously a hero, the other is a basically good guy with a taste for adventure and money. Alan Scott is a leader who sometimes makes mistakes, owns up to them, and takes corrective action, even when that correction causes him a personal loss of power or influence. He's consistently shown as putting the team--whether that be the JSA or his family--first. Jack is clearly out for himself. Luckily, he's a basically good guy, so that doesn't bode too badly for the rest of us. But it is not out of the realm of possibility that were he revived today, modern writers would be tempted to play with the effects of his selfism, giving him even greater moral amiguity, using his egoism to eventually turn him into a villain, or showing us some transforming event that brought him firmly into the camp of the heroes. With only eight stories under his belt, there wasn't really time to to explore the consequences of his anti-heroism.
Because so much about Jack was left unfinished, though, the differences between him and the Green Lantern come down to their powers. Jack's ring was much more like a portable "Aladdin's lamp" than it was a Green Lantern ring. Similarities between the two characters are roughly analogous to those between Superman and Captain Marvel. Yeah, they might hold up in court, but any careful observer of comics know the two characters are merely playing in the same ballpark, but on distinctly different teams. Wow Comics (1940)
First Appearance: Slam-Bang Comics (1940) #1
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Slam-Bang Comics (1940)
Wow Comics (1975)
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