Friday, July 29, 2011

It Ain't That Easy Being Green

Bullshit color symbolism.  That's what I'm on about today.
As a fan of pumpkins, I think we all know what green means, right?  It means NOT RIPE.
So a little research on the symbolism of colors returns the following information for the color green:
good luck

We know that green is a color of nature not yet decayed and a color of harmonious environmental balance.  It seems to me that there are cultural reasons for the symbolic nature of colors and variations within a culture.  The same English speaking world that says that green is a good, healthy, natural thing also equates it with being sick (green around the gills), jealously (green with envy), or money.  Green is also a color we associate with deadly reptiles that want to kill us, like gators and crocs and snakes and Godzilla.  So sickness, health, prosperity, jealousy, monsters, and so many other things polarize green into a color symbolic of both bad and good things.
So what's missing?
Ghosts and Atomic Power!  Obviously.
Green glow is a great sign of something spooky going on and we also know it is the color you turn when exposed to Gamma Radiation.
Soul Ranger, courtesy of Atmosfear the VHS board game

See?  Green glowing inside the empty eye sockets of that skeleton cowboy.  Clearly something supernatural is going on here.
This is what a gamma bomb does to you.  If you get your gamma radiation in a safer way, you just get buff and green hair (like Doc Samson)

Marvel Comics taught me that atomic power manifests greeness in people.  It's like Kermit says, "It's not that easy being green."  Clearly it is not.  So how is it that green can mean both the wellspring of Earth's eternal life (evergreens, for example) and the destructive power of ATOMIC EVIL SKELETONS?
Psychobilly Rumble, copyright R.W. Saxon

Or maybe a good guy whose SKELETON glows GREEN with his ATOMIC POWER!
Perhaps this is that "duality of man(kind)" thing at work.  You know what else is green?
Snot.  Snot is pictured as green in artwork.
I believe it is shades of green that really matter.  Dark green is meaningful, olive drab says "Army Man", glowing green says SUPERNATURAL or ATOMIC POWER!
It also says "corpse" if you consider that we usually depict Frankenstein's Monster as "greenish" or outright green in art.  I've seen corpses and green is not a color I would ascribe to them, but maybe I have brain damage or something.  Unless, of course, the corpse was full of ATOMIC POWER!  In which case I would expect it to glow green.
I think, ultimately, green is a very "photogenic" color for glowing power.  Blue is good for electricity and Red is for fire, so Green is pretty much POWER of NONSPECIFIC ORIGIN, so it works well for supernatural power.  Oh, and ATOMIC!
Skullfire from X-Men 2099...nonspecific energy is GREEN!

So those are my thoughts on the color green.  I'm university trained in looking for symbolism, but usually I think it's a load of bollocks.
So until next time, keep your pumpkins lit.


  1. Definitely the color the of the supernatural. That Psychobilly pic is good that is. The skeleton matches up nicely with the body form. Well done.

  2. I used HeroMachine 3 Alpha to make that. Or it might have been the Zombie Machine come to think of it.