Back when Kyle Rayner was Green Lantern, editorial edict had it that he never use his ring the same way twice. Because he was an artist, it was decided that his imagination be used to create all manner of light constructs. Ironically, Kyle Rayner became the least imaginative Green Lantern of all time because he used his ring for one purpose only: to make light constructs. Then I started reading Green Lantern Archives and discovered how powerful a tool a power ring could be in the hands of someone who knew how to use it. I resolved to one day read Green Lantern from the beginning, making a list of all the uses Hal Jordan put it to, plus a separate list for light constructs. I figured there'd be maybe one non-light construct use per issue, but there were nearly a dozen in Showcase #22 alone! 

Compiling these lists was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. For one thing, it's sometimes difficult to classify a use as a mere construct or something else. For example, if he creates a hose, that would be a light construct. But what if the hose shoots water? Is the water real, or is it, too, a light construct? On more than one occasion he has created a tidal wave, but he's used different methods. Once, he actually caused the water itself to swell; another time, the water was made of green light; another time still the wave he created was an illusion. But was the illusion "real" or did him plant it in observers' minds? 

I kept a running tally of every time he used a light construct, but I tried to list other uses only once each. the further I got into this project, the more difficult it became to verify previous uses. I have eight pages of lists! And this is just from Green Lantern. I didn't even take his JLA missions into account. (I do plan to fold them in eventually.) After a while I started to forget. Has he put the ring to that use before or not? I've tried to avoid duplication, and some may quibble about why a use is on one list and not another. I'll tell you this: far and away his favorite light construct is giant hands. I counted 33 individual times he used them up to #75. (Once he created a boxing glove and once a hand with brass knuckles on it; I counted those separately. Other frequently used constructs include a net (of some sort), jail cell or cage, shield and pincers.

Up through the first 48 issues, Green Lantern used his ring far more inventively than simply making light constructs (however imaginative they might be). At that point, he began to use light constructs more frequently, but they never did catch up to the other uses. Some of the uses below were by other Green Lanterns (or someone else using the ring), but the majority of them are Hal Jordan's.

USES FOR A POWER RING

1. Seek out individuals based on personality trait (fearlessness)

2. Telekinesis, move heavy objects through air, lift great weights

3. Telepathic communication

4. Language translation

5. Detect honesty/truth

6. Flight

7. Detect and trace radiation and other forms of energy

8. Allow wearer to phase through solid objects

9. Stop bullets

    a. Cause then to explode

    b. Melt them

    c. Turn them into soap bubbles

    d. Turn them into mist

    e. Catch them in mid air with tiny hands

    f. Elongate them into spears and divert them

    g. Turn them into feathers

    h. Split them with tiny daggers

    i. Divert their course

10. Create force field / protective bubble

11. Transmutation

    a. Change metal to water

    b. Change ray to confetti

    c.Change rock to balloon

12. Space travel

13. Force blast

14. Induce state of deep concentration in self or others

15. Brain / mind probe (to detect physical or mental damage)

16. Negate effects of Nuclear explosion

17. Create "anti-energy"

18. Memory probe (uncover lost or hidden memories in self or others)

19. Create multiple tiny "bugging" devices

20. Melt (dissolve) metal without heat

21 .Cosmic ray filter

22. Make itself or wearer or other things invisible

23. Produce and spry liquid oxygen

24. Make ice

25. Compass / direction finder

26. Generate heat

27.Turn wall into "closed circuit" television screen

28. Create sentient monster (as a distraction)

29. Stethescope

30. Affix mask to face

31. Subconsciously turn friend into GL replica including power ring

32. X-ray probe

33. Person tracker (vibrate and glow in vicinity)

34. Drain life from tree

35. Hose to shoot blast of compressed air

36. Paralysis beam

37. Truth ray (will people to tell the truth)

38. De-evolution ray

39. Destroy / create dam

40. Machine gun nest

41. Wipe memories

42. Communication device (holograms with other GLs)

43. Create duplicate of self (under certain conditions)

44. Disarm bomb

45. Affect gravity

46. Analyze alien machinery to discern function

47. Restore motion and vigor to person in suspended animation

48. Propel CO2 particles to affect operation of atomic clock

49. Transform friend into bird (while dreaming)

50. Project images of events witnessed or memories

51. Shrink self to sub-atomic size

52. Set up perpetual "alarm system" against invasion

53. Oxygen bubble for underwater action

54. Create chemicals (hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, silver iodide, etc.

55. Protect wearer from destruction (default setting)

56. Super magnetism

57. Communicate with wearer, relay infomation

58. Reflect energy bolts back at shooter

59. "Radar" beams

60. Make people / things phosphorescent

61. Earth tremor or shock detector

62. Induce temporary paralysis

63.Extract water vapor from breath & shoot hydrogen element at chlorine gas to create hydrgen chloride

64. Provide endless power source

65. Hose / water

66. Spectroscopic analysis

67. Animate statue

68. Scan for high frequency vibrations

69. Faster than light travel

70. Mirage; create / disperse illusions

71. Distort body proportions (really big head, for example)

72. Sincerity detector

73. Speed read text

74. Wipe mental conditioning from wearer's own mind

75. Change form to look like another kind of ring

76. Restore damage to buildings and vegetation

77. "Coat" items so that if stolen can be traced

78. Create food

79. Provide automate, timed reports across distances

80. Ink pen / create sketches

81. Create spare "energy packet"

82. Heal injuries

83. Tap phone lines

84. Alter course of stream

85. Cause explosions; blow things up

86. Magnet / control magnetism

87. Opaque black light shield

88. Infra red light

89. Fake rash

90. Giant vaccuum cleaner

91. Stop Moon from "wobbling"

92. Drain its own power

93. Cause mental regression

94. Extinguish fire

95. Heat up Sun

96. Dehumidifier / refrigerator

97. Protection from air / water pressure

98. Move moon into orbit of planet

99. Create fire

100. Create vaccuum

101. Send beam to future

102.Cause dormant volcano to erupt 

103.Absorb beings into ring

104.Blow torch / flame thrower (fire)

105. Move or transfer between planes of existance

106. Garb wearer

107. Breathe under water

108. Prevent / cause earthquakes

109. Cut through stone / tunnel through solid rock

110. Depth charges

111. Track footprints / tire tracks

112. Turn on all lights in a building

113. Freeze mechanisms

114. Extract and animate an image from a mirror

115. Alter air temperature

116. Jet propulsion

117. Time travel

118. Planet-wide telepathic search

119. Emotion meter

120. Fireworks display

121. Take control of every mind on Earth

122. Prevent merging with self from other dimension

123. Rain mudballs, then freeze, trpping crooks

124. Seal barrier between alternate Earths

125. Wind tunnel

126. Proton-dissolving rain

127. Giant light bulb

128. Separate "gem" from "setting"

129. "Fake" doppler effect

130. Change wrist watch into TV camera

131. Inflate money bag until it pops

132. Tornado / whirlwind

133. Variety of electrical appliances to absorb convection currents

134. Electrostatic generator

135. Robot body for mind to occupy

136. Change body into letter (mail)

137. Enlarge and explode

138. Will constructs to become non-existant

139. Absorb noxious chamicals

140. Will away sickness

141. Search out a specific set of fingerprints

142. Manipulate water / lava to overcome yellow threat

143. "Ectoplasmic" duplication

144. Super speed

145. Atomic ovens to vaporize water

146. Absorn someone else's mind / will power

147. Mind transfer

148. Ionize air

149. "Burglar alarm" with tell-tale aura

150. Shrink / enlarge objects

151. Force confession (truth)

152. Cure virus

153. Transfer power reserve

154. Hold back thunderstorm; help plane land

155. Table, chair and feast

156. Carbon 14 test

157. Rehabilitate duplicate's subconscious

158. Repair optic nerve; rerstore sight

159. Create ham & rye (no mustard) and coffee

160. Implant false memories

161. Elongate limbs

162. Quick change of clothes

163. Trace counterfeit money

164. Create highly concentrated pain pill

165. Mixer & concrete

166. Dissolve oil

LIGHT CONSTRUCTS

1. Giant hands

2. Net (fishing or butterfly)

3. Trampoline (or fireman's net)

4. Pincers / coils / restraints

5. Buzz saw

6. Lasso

7. Ice picks

8. Giant hawk

9. Giant springs

10. Jail cell / cage

11. Parachute

12. Giant test tube

13. Giant ice tongs

14. Handcuffs / manacles / chains

15. Giant lock wrench

16. Football player (or other figure) 

17. Sledge hammer

18. Umbrella (one big enough to cover a crowd)

19. Hook

20. Battering ram

21. Shield

22. Car

23. Javelin

24. Smoke screen

25. Giant broom

26. Knives / spikes / pins

27. Giant wave

28. Mattress

29. Fan blades or propeller

30. Sling (for transport)

31. Toy replica of power ring

32. Bubble (for confinement)

33. Boxing gloves

34. Giant sword

35. Mirror

36. Cylinder / scoop / funnel

37. Bed (in Earth orbit)

38. Treadmill

39. Ax

40. Wrecking ball

41. Bulldozer

42. Punching bag

43. Stone wall

44. Giant sachel

45. Giant bell jar

46. Giant mouth to blow wind

47. Steam shovel / scoop

48. Large chain

49. Pliers / forceps

50. Giant hat

51. Anchor

52. Slingshot

53. Scissors

54. Bellows

55. Hammer & anvil

56. Baseball

57. Gag

58. Tubular chute

59. Clam rake

60. Floating platform

61. Tuning fork

62. Wings

63. Escalator

64. Sack with tie

65. Scythe

66. Counterfeit money

67, Sky writing

68. Whistle

69. Air vent

70. Duplicate power battery

71. Paddy wagon

72. Giant tweezers

73. Shears

74. Two-man saw

75. Rocket or projectile casing

76. Giant bird

77.. Glass rod and silk

78. Staticly charged plane

79. Feather pillows

80. Tow truck

81. Cymbals

82. Cutlasses

83. Riveting machine

84. Hydra

85. Sponge

86. Atomizer (to dispense aqua regia)

87. Team of horses

88. Bells

89. Tiger

90. Cannon

91. Needle & thread (to make stitches)

92. Hydraulic grapple

93. Lightning rods

94. Skate boards

95. Bowling ball

96. snow skis and poles

97. Table, chair and "feast"

98. Santa claus

99. Hydraulic jack

100. Giant saucer

101. Slide

102. Beach towel

103. Chair

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And the front-runner for the "'I Read This So You Don't Have To' Award" for 2020 is Jeff of Earth-J. 

Seconded!!

ClarkKent_DC said:

And the front-runner for the "'I Read This So You Don't Have To' Award" for 2020 is Jeff of Earth-J. 

Thanks, guys.

Initial post now updated with light constructs.

Even though Green Lantern virtually stopped using his ring for anything but light constructs after issue #49, the other uses still far outnumber the light constructs. 

I'll update this thread from time to time.

O'NEIL / ADAMS ERA: I expected the uses to be quite visual during this period, and that's pretty much what I got. These lists I'm keeping are by no means official; for one thing, I keep changing the rules on myself as I go along. Initially, I had no qualms about duplicating uses with the previous lists (or within this run of issues) as I wanted to examine this era independent of the rest. Eventually I discovered that Green Lantern used his ring as a method of transportation for other a lot, but every time he did, Neal Adams drew something different. for example, once he might use a flying sofa; the next time a flying platform; after that a little cart with handlebars, etc. I eventually just lumped those together under "conveyances" and listed them once.

If Green Lantern were to create an energy bubble to capture a villain, let's say, is that a different use than shaping it into a top with the crook inside and spinning it around? If he were to create a a giant horseshoe, I would count that as a light construct, but I would classify a horseshoe magnet as  "other" because he also created magnetism. Similarly, a simply fan would be a light construct, but a fan which also served as a dryer would be be "other" because he also created heat. I found myself second-guessing myself when I was keeping this list, as well as typing it in. 

In the first issue alone, Green Lantern used his ring to create light constructs eight times, but for another use (changing his own appearance) only once.

LIGHT CONSTRUCTS:

104. Giant fan

105. Spinning top (with crook inside)

106. Jail / cage

107. Umberella

108. Chute to redirect meteors

109. Flying couch (at least six other types of "conveyance" used throughout run)

110. Giant hand

111. Giant mousetrap

112. Yoke (or some type of circular restraint)

113. Giant roller (to set off mine field)

114. Giant snipper (to clip barbed wire)

115. Winged horse

116. Shield (hand-held)

117. Shield (force field)

118. Giant fist

119. Hand (finger plugging gun barrel)

120. Wall braces (to prevent collapse)

121. Battering ram (with ram's head)

122. Wall / barrier

123. Giant drill bit

124. Winged horse (again)

125. Giant scoop / shovel

126. Clamp (to seal a burst dam)

127. Giant fan (again)

128. Handcuffs

129. Funnel

130. Giant Green Arrow figure (to save Black Canary from falling)

131. Glider

132. Meat hooks (to hang crooks by jackets)

133. Pincer or clamp

134. Giant salad bowl with utensils (to "toss" crooks)

135. Bubble (to phase passengers through ceiling)

136. Restraints

137. Stretcher / gurney

OTHER USES:

167. Change appearance (disguise)

168. Melt gun

169. Bend gun barrel

170. Open trench (split in ground)

171. Melt robot

172. Energy blast

173. Fan with heat

174. Enlarge handgun

175. Lift building

176. Margnet (2X)

177. Melt ax (including wooden handle)

178. Plug gun barrels

Although "Other Uses" still outnumbers "Light Constructs," we are now well into the era when the usage flips.

My first Justice League was the first one, The Brave and The Bold #28 (on sale Dec 29 1959). It was the first time I saw Flash and Green Lantern, who were on the cover with three other characters I already recognized. I immediately bought Flash #111 (which was on sale Dec 22 1959, the week before). My first Green Lantern was #8 (on sale July 25 1961). I was immediately excited by the Flash, but it took me nineteen months to pick up Green Lantern, and I probably did it because of the wash cover.

This is my way of saying that, as written in early JLA, the character didn't grab me enough to buy his own book. Once I started reading the Green lantern title I was hooked. So don't expect to find innovative ways to use the ring in JLA, at least early on. If he formed a boxing glove it would have reminded me of Green Arrow's boxing glove arrows. If the ring usage was exciting in JLA I would have picked up his book a lot sooner.

So noted.

the last time I read the Fox/Sekowsky run straight through was 2003.

Yesterday I finished reading #90-106. Uses of the power ring were just as boring as the stories themselves. Mostly Green Lantern uses the same old standbys: giant hands, cages, fans, etc. Here's where I change the ground rules again. From here on out, I'm going to eliminate duplication (as best I can) and only point out uses that are unique or otherwise remarkable (and in the list below I'm being very loose with those terms).

LIGHT CONSTRUCTS:

138. Bellows

139. Telescope

140. Vice press

141. Bear (CB radio pun)

142. Scissors

143. Direction finder (to trace radio static)

144. Noose

145. Shovel (twice)

146. Two arms holding baseball bat

OTHER USES:

179. Create calcium

180. Open space warp

The "space warp" was like a window, between Oa and Earth orbit (where he left his truck and power battery floating in space) in this case, which he leaned through to charge his ring. In other issues he carried his battery with him invisibly through sub-space, thereby eliminating the risk of his ring's charge ever running low at a critical time. His ring itself has the new power to change itself into any shape, which he used once to transform it into a pair of sunglasses. 

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