Before the paradigm shift brought on by computer-generated imagery (CGI), science fiction TV shows and movies had a tough time creating truly alien-looking aliens. Due to obvious budget and technology limitations, most of the "aliens" would be 95% human looking with a few odd facial features here and there. Where were the really bizarre, utterly alien beings that our imaginations conjured up as we read science fiction novels or doodled in our school notebooks?
Fortunately, a few comic books featured aliens that lived up to the high standards of our imaginations...none moreso than DC's sprawling Green Lantern Corps. Formed by the Guardians of the Universe, the Corps was a galactic "police force" spanning the entire universe, with each member assigned to one of 3600 sectors.
Beyond the impressive number, what really made the Corps special was the mind-blowing diversity of its membership which, more than anything, conveyed the staggering size of the universe they patrolled. Sure, there were plenty of humanoid aliens with the minor cosmetic alterations I was griping about earlier, but so many more deeply weird life forms...each wearing a modified Green Lantern ring and uniform to fit their peculiar physiology.
A gaseous cloud, a grasshopper, a giant manta ray, a snake, even a sentient planet...you name it, it was probably wearing a ring and a Green Lantern logo.
Occasionally there were issues that featured the combined power of the entire Green Lantern Corps, all of which were immediately snatched up into my comic book collection. One of my favorite All-Corps team-up covers is Green Lantern #127 (1980), illustrated by the amazing Brian Bolland and chronicling their clash with the Weaponers of Qward.
Banished from DC Comics continuity for a number of years, the Green Lantern Corps has recently returned and is stronger than ever. In fact, their ranks have swelled from 3600 members to 7200 (since two Green Lanterns are now assigned to each sector), so I look forward to many more years of enjoying green-garbed crowd scenes like the one above.