I decided to move these posts over from "What Comics Have You Read Today?" and make a discussion out of it.

GREEN LANTERN: I started re-reading Archive volume one today (August 23), which comprises Showcase #22-24 and Green Lantern #1-5.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES, v2 (#6-13): I have already mentioned elsewhere that Tracy finds that Hal Jordan's parents did not give him an alliterative name as they did their other two boys to be completely unbelievable. Political correctness aside, "Pieface" is a stupid nickname. (I rank it right up there with "King Faraday" and "Tom, Dick & Harriet.) Personally, I find the term "little Eskimo grease monkey" (which Broome uses at least once each issue) to be even more offensive. The covers of each of these issues stands out in my memory, but the splash pages are quite distinctive and memorable as well. I have learned to skip all of the footnotes (as well as the oath) in order to avoid repetition.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v3 (#14-21): Up until this point, all stories had been by John Broome and Gil Kane, but in this volume, Gardner Fox writes one story (of two in each issue) in #16, 17 and #21. Also, in #18, Mike Sekowsky pencils six pages (over Gil Kane layouts). The Gardner Fox story in #16, "Earth's First Green Lantern," is remarkable in that it answers the question, given that a Green Lantern can fly through space via his or her power ring alone, why was Abin Sur travelling in a spaceship in Showcase #22? Fox provides a convoluted explanation regarding energy creatures called Larifars and the theft of "I-factors" from victim races.

What makes this story remarkable is that Alan Moore provided a completely different explanation in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1986). As I recalled these two contradictory stories, I preferred the one by Alan Moore... until I re-read them both in the course of this project. Whereas both stories use the explanation that Abin Sur is using a spaceship because he's worried about his ring losing its charge, in the Fox story, he does so as a ruse so (for convoluted reasons, as I mentioned) Larifars do not see him recharge his ring' "Earth's First Green Lantern" knows his ring will remain charged until the time limit is up. Alan Moore's story, as entertaining as it is otherwise, does not account for this fact, so I must change my favorite to the earlier Gardner Fox story.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v4 (#22-29): Within these eight issues, John Broome wrote five stories, Gardner Fox wrote ten. The comics themselves were published without credits, but that information is provided in the table of contents. It's fun to guess which stories were written by witch writer. [HINT: The distinctive way Fox uses nouns as verbs is a dead giveaway, as is his use of the term "star-sun." He also tends to throw in more theoretical physics.) Also this volume includes: the third appearance of Hector Hammond (#22), the first appearance of the Tattooed Man (#23), the first two appearances of the Shark (#24 & #28), [arguably] the first appearance of Mogo (#24), the return of Sonar (#25), the return of Star Sapphire (#26), the first appearance of Black Hand (#29), a cameo appearance by the Justice League of America, and more. The first solo Green Lantern story I ever read ("The House that Fought Green Lantern" reprinted in a 100-Pager in 1974) originally appeared in #28. Tracy finds it even more implausible that Hal wasn't given an alliterative name after the introduction of Judge Jeremiah Jordan. No "weenie-ization" of Hal Jordan yet. 

Views: 2939

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Peter Wrexham said:

Here's Hal, piloting a commercial airliner, thirty minutes into a fourteen-hour flight to another continent. And then the Guardians summon him to Oa, or his Justice League signal device goes off, or...

It's worse than when a crisis needing Superman's attention hits Metropolis, and Clark Kent is reading the news live on WGBS-TV!

To be honest, I don't really see how anyone who has to work for a living can manage to have a secret identity.

When I was reading the comic Nightwing, Dick Grayson became a police officer, driving a patrol car. It was his dream job, except he had to be in a certain place at a certain time. This probably explains why so many secret identities are newspaper reporters who can come and go at odd times without arousing suspicion. The Golden Age Green Lantern (similar to the Green Hornet) ran a business from which he could come and go. Peter Parker's photographer job (not even full time) was ideal for a superhero except that the money wasn't great. When he tried to be a school teacher he had to be in a certain place at a certain time, and be prepared to explain his many bruises.

Without looking it up, I think that in the beginning (like many of the early real-world test pilots/astronauts) it was mentioned that Hal Jordan flew jets in the Korean War. Hal (being eternally young until his gray temples) could have returned to the Air Force with high rank and a generous signing bonus (but then they'd have to explain why he wasn't in Vietnam). Even with that, he couldn't just take off when needed. If Hal didn't want to retire from or die at Ferris Aircraft, he would (being a responsible adult) give plenty of notice before leaving. What kind of an aircraft company with government contracts (were these ever mentioned?) would have only one test pilot?

Gayle and I worked for Los Angeles County in the department that conducts elections. She was a computer systems analyst and I ran a different unit that kept track of the many district boundaries and their changes (so voters got the correct ballots) and redrew voting precinct boundaries, usually because new housing caused too many voters to be in a precinct. Gayle had colleagues who could take over her work and I had an assistant section head who got my job when I left. Even so, we gave seven weeks notice of our retirement, finishing projects before new ones had to start.

Dave Palmer said:

Does the Barney Miller episode address that the police are breaking the law?  That adds another dimension to the story, and the officers internal struggles.  I assume the NY State Public Employees' Fair Employment Act (The Taylor Law), which prohibits strikes by public employees, applies in this case.


Commander Benson said:

The Barney Miller story addressed this only obliquely.  No involvement of an union or organisation such as the Fraternal Order of Police was indicated.  This was a demonstration of solidarity conceived by the police officers themselves, and it wasn't a strike in the sense that they marched in protest, carrying signs while refusing to work.  The officers simply hoped to make their point to the city administration by all calling in sick on the same day.

Sure, you and I both know that amounts to a strike.  But is simply "calling in sick" enough of a technical distinction to sidestep the Taylor law?  I don't know.  That determination would also be affected by the fact that four of the detectives came into work that morning, with the intention of all walking out at noon.  It's hard to cover that with even the veneer of laying out sick that day.  

Yet, the story made no mention that the officers were breaking any laws, and Barney Miller was usually accurate on those details of the N.Y.P.D.


Did somebody mention Barney Miller?

As I've said one or twice elsewhere, I can always stop what I'm doing and watch Barney Miller.

To the question at hand, it's my understanding that a) it is against the law for police officers (and for that matter, firefighters) to go on strike, in New York City and elsewhere and b) it's not illegal to call in sick, even if, by some odd coincidence, tens or dozens or hundreds or thousands of officers all happen to do so on the same day at the same time.

A bigger question is why did Hal have a job in the first place.  Yes, from a storytelling standpoint it makes sense.  It grounds the character.  He is more relatable to the reader.  It gives the writer some points of departure to develop stories and supporting characters.  So on and so forth.

But as the mythos of the Guardians and the GL Corps developed this makes no sense.  They are police patrolling a huge sector of space (granted, in 2020 the immensity of the universe is better understood than in 1959, but it was still huge back then).  Police here on Earth may be underpaid, but do we expect them to have a full time job and then do their police work in their spare time?  The Guardians should have somehow arranged for the GLs to get some sort of stipend to meet their basic needs. 

A parallel is actually Thor.  As the backstory of Asgard grew, we no longer needed Don Blake and Jane Foster.  Leaving that mundane world behind certainly didn’t hurt the stories Lee and Kirby cooked up for Thor.  GL had all of his space sector to patrol.  Did the Guardians really intend for him to use the awesome power of the power ring so that he could stop bank robbers on Earth?

Was this ever addressed?  I would guess the Guardians wouldn’t want the GLs using the ring to enrich themselves, but being a GL would seem to be a full time job (plus) and not just a hobby or a lark.

Richard Willis said:

Peter Wrexham said:

Here's Hal, piloting a commercial airliner, thirty minutes into a fourteen-hour flight to another continent. And then the Guardians summon him to Oa, or his Justice League signal device goes off, or...

It's worse than when a crisis needing Superman's attention hits Metropolis, and Clark Kent is reading the news live on WGBS-TV!

To be honest, I don't really see how anyone who has to work for a living can manage to have a secret identity.

When I was reading the comic Nightwing, Dick Grayson became a police officer, driving a patrol car. It was his dream job, except he had to be in a certain place at a certain time. This probably explains why so many secret identities are newspaper reporters who can come and go at odd times without arousing suspicion. The Golden Age Green Lantern (similar to the Green Hornet) ran a business from which he could come and go. Peter Parker's photographer job (not even full time) was ideal for a superhero except that the money wasn't great. When he tried to be a school teacher he had to be in a certain place at a certain time, and be prepared to explain his many bruises.

Without looking it up, I think that in the beginning (like many of the early real-world test pilots/astronauts) it was mentioned that Hal Jordan flew jets in the Korean War. Hal (being eternally young until his gray temples) could have returned to the Air Force with high rank and a generous signing bonus (but then they'd have to explain why he wasn't in Vietnam). Even with that, he couldn't just take off when needed. If Hal didn't want to retire from or die at Ferris Aircraft, he would (being a responsible adult) give plenty of notice before leaving. What kind of an aircraft company with government contracts (were these ever mentioned?) would have only one test pilot?

Gayle and I worked for Los Angeles County in the department that conducts elections. She was a computer systems analyst and I ran a different unit that kept track of the many district boundaries and their changes (so voters got the correct ballots) and redrew voting precinct boundaries, usually because new housing caused too many voters to be in a precinct. Gayle had colleagues who could take over her work and I had an assistant section head who got my job when I left. Even so, we gave seven weeks notice of our retirement, finishing projects before new ones had to start.

Peter Wrexham said:

I can see a major problem with that career choice.  Here's Hal, piloting a commercial airliner, thirty minutes into a fourteen-hour flight to another continent.  And then the Guardians summon him to Oa, or his Justice League signal device goes off, or...

It's worse than when a crisis needing Superman's attention hits Metropolis, and Clark Kent is reading the news live on WGBS-TV!

To be honest, I don't really see how anyone who has to work for a living can manage to have a secret identity.

Dave Palmer said:

A bigger question is why did Hal have a job in the first place.  Yes, from a storytelling standpoint it makes sense.  It grounds the character.  He is more relatable to the reader.  It gives the writer some points of departure to develop stories and supporting characters.  So on and so forth.

But as the mythos of the Guardians and the GL Corps developed this makes no sense.  They are police patrolling a huge sector of space (granted, in 2020 the immensity of the universe is better understood than in 1959, but it was still huge back then).  Police here on Earth may be underpaid, but do we expect them to have a full time job and then do their police work in their spare time?  The Guardians should have somehow arranged for the GLs to get some sort of stipend to meet their basic needs. 

A parallel is actually Thor.  As the backstory of Asgard grew, we no longer needed Don Blake and Jane Foster.  Leaving that mundane world behind certainly didn’t hurt the stories Lee and Kirby cooked up for Thor.  GL had all of his space sector to patrol.  Did the Guardians really intend for him to use the awesome power of the power ring so that he could stop bank robbers on Earth?

Was this ever addressed?  I would guess the Guardians wouldn’t want the GLs using the ring to enrich themselves, but being a GL would seem to be a full time job (plus) and not just a hobby or a lark.

I think that's why in most comics today, being a superhero is shown as being a full-time job. Which may be more "realistic," but I don't think it's been a wholly positive change. From a storytelling standpoint, the job and the secret identity rounds out the character by giving her or him more people to interact with.

I firmly believe Batman went off the rails when and because they stopped writing about Bruce Wayne's life and friends out of costume. Conversely, my favorite period on Iron Man was in the '80s under David Michelinie, Denny O'Neil and even Mike Grell, because they made Tony Stark's life as interesting to read about as Iron Man's life.

As for Green Lantern and Hal Jordan, his bouncing around from job to job -- and the kinds of jobs he bounced to -- shows that those writers didn't figure out the balance.

I agree.  Bruce Wayne could be a fascinating character if handled correctly.  I think I’ve said before in a post or two that Bruce Wayne could do more good investing in good jobs, homes, communities, schools, etc. in Gotham City (especially now that he is a billionaire and not just “millionaire Bruce Wayne”) than he ever could running around the rooftops at night in a costume.

And Hal Jordan could have been fascinating as well.  He needed a few more interesting supporting characters.  Except that as things evolved he wasn’t just a superhero, he was a “police officer” with huge responsibilities.  Alan Scott was just a superhero, but Hal no longer was.  That’s where things fell apart a bit.  How do you balance GL the superhero with GL the police officer?

A side thought (considering I sat through a retirement webinar earlier today): when Hal quit, didn’t he have any savings? It’s good that he wanted to be gainfully employed, but he probably didn’t need to rush out and get a job.  I don’t know but I’d suspect a test pilot would be well paid. He didn’t lead an extravagant life, he should have been fine for a while.

Superman and Spider-Man are strong characters not because of their powers, but because of their supporting casts. Batman is a stronger character the more we see Alfred Pennyworth, James Gordon, Selina Kyle, Kate Kane, Barbara Gordon, Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown. Bruce's undercover identity of Matches Malone was an interesting recurring bit.

Establishing a secret identity for Green Lantern was following precedent and reader expectations, especially when readers either were or were thought to be young males. Having him fight bank robbers and jewel thieves, costumed or uncostumed, was following the first Green Lantern and the recently created Silver Age Flash. When Hal Jordan was off in space with the Corps he was unrelatable to me. I had no frame of reference. This emphasis on the Corps may help to explain the failure of the Green Lantern live-action movie. Dozens of CGI characters? Too many!

Sure, it makes more real-world sense for Bruce Wayne to use his money to help society, but who would buy that comic? Factor in the fact that his parents were murdered before his eyes at a young impressionable age. Peter Parker should just get rich using his scientific genius, but he was responsible for his uncle's death after he had superpowers.

I've said before that Superman never should have told anyone about kryptonite. He should never have confirmed to anyone that he even had a secret identity. "I'm Superman all the time and I live in my secret headquarters that no one will ever find." But then what stories would be written?

I took a couple of days off (reading) after posting about the Guy Gardner issue (#59), but I read two more issues this morning. I don't really have too much to say about #60, but it did feature an escape involving the color yellow whihc Cap asked me to keep an eye on. In this one, Green Lantern is encased in a sheath of gold. He escapes by shrinking to microscopic size and slipping between the molecules

#61: Say what you will about the stories of this era, they certainly had distinctive covers!

#61 is noteworthy in that it is the first issue of Green Lantern written by anyone other than John Broome or Gardner Fox. It is written by one of the "young Turks," Mike Friedrich. It is also the last issue drawn by Gil Kane... at least for a while. The story begins with the Green Lanterns of both Earths trailing Captain Challenge who had crossed over from Earth-2. Captain Challenge is a forgettable villain, but he has a cool name. Then again [DISCLAIMER], I used to play with a Captain Action doll at the time this issue was released, and I thought that was pretty cool, too. In any case. he was just a device to get the plot moving. 

The two Green Lanterns move back and forth so effortlessly throughout this story that they might as well be set on the same Earth. As later they were. Then weren't again later still. Friedrich's freshman effort is not significantly different from the previous stories by Broome and Kane, except perhaps in scope. In scope, it harkens back to the earlier (i.e., pre-#49) days, at least in terms of power ring usage. In this story, Green Lantern (Alan Scott, that is) tries to rid Earth-2 of all evil plaguing Earth-2. His plan backfires, however, as all people, including himself, are banished from Earth-2 only to reappear, in suspended animation, on Earth-1.

In comparison to just the two previous GA/SA GL team-ups (#41 & #45), I'd have to say #61 is better than both of them. As much as I love #41, for comic-related and non-comics-related reasons, as is the case for #49 (which people remember not for the Dazzler plot but the Carol Ferris sub-plot), I must admit that I remember #41 not for the main plot (Krona), but for a detail of the sub-plot (the giant hand cradling the universe). 

Thematically, this story brings to a close the "wienie" era (or does it?) as Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, that is) tells his counterpart: "I, too, once wanted to give up when my hopes were destroyed! When Carol Ferris told me she was marrying someone else... But I found out you can't stop being what you are--what you should be--because of even the greatest setbacks!" Although he does not return to being a test pilot at this time, that pep talk (apparently) writes finis to the arc begun in #49. The ultimate point of the story is to "Think globally, but act locally." 

According to my calendar, today is GREEN LANTERN DAY, so I am going to celebrate by attempting to power through the remaining issues up to the beginning of the O'Neil/Adams era. I plan to start a cyle of read/post and continue throughout the day starting with issue...

#62:

Gardner Fox is back this issue, but #62 is the first not to feature the art of Gil Kane, but rather that of Jack Sparling instead. The change is somewhat abrupt, eased by the inking of Sid Greene. I got used to the idea (especially since I knew in advance it was coming) after a few pages. Fox brings back a character, Eve Doremus, he introduced in #58. Unlike flakey Carol Ferris, Eve Doremus is attracted to Hal Jordan, not his alter ego Green Lantern. (apparently, having someone punch out a grizzly bear makes an impression.) Coming directly on the heels of last issue's epiphany about Carol Ferris cements his new resolve.

The plot, concerning a series of petty thefts (a button, a pen, a shoe, etc.) and a device called a "chronolometer" is pure Fox and pure fantasy.

#63:

This issue is by Denny O'Neil and Jack Sparling, inked by Sid Greene. the cover is by... (Do I have to say his name?) The story starts in California with Hal Jordan visiting his brother Jim and sister-in-law sue on the occasion of their son Howard's first birthday, but the action soon shifts to the earth of billions of years ago. Green Lantern as a title is currently in flux at this point. To be perfectly honest, this series of stories so far reminds me of nothing so much as when Denny O'Neil and Dick Dillin took over Justice League of America from the long-time creative team of Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. 

Although I completed my collection of JLA in the early '80s, both of these changes were in my past when I first encountered them. Consequently, I simply accepted the one and accept the other. Between issues, Jack sparling does seemed to have given Green Lantern a new haircut, but the most stiking change is the innovative panel arrangements, a hallmark of the era. To use an exampkle from my own generation, the shift in art must have been as shocking to readers of the day as the shift from Herb Tripme to Sal Buscema on Hulk would be a decade later.

#64:

In this one, Mike Sekowsky comes aboard for a three-issue run. He is inked by Joe Giella, and the scribe remains Denny O'Neil. Mike Sekowsky is one of those artists whose earlier style I could not discern from his later style when i was young. When I first encountered Sekowsky (inked by Jack Abel at Atlas-Seaboard in the mid '70s) I loved him! Sometime later, when I first encountered his earlier work on JLA, I hated it. Also as with certain other artists, styles I did not like when I was younger I came to appreciate as I aged. 

the story features "four of the commonest criminals" ("Silver" Skates, "Torchy" Thomas, "Franky" Stein and "Natty" Nick Natwick), as well as three hippies (Dovey, Moon and Windy), or at least three of what the squares at DC thought hippies were like. the criminals are being controlled by Hector Hammond (or, as I like to think of him, DC's counterpart to Sam Sterns). Hal Jordan is referred to as an ex-insurance investigator, which came as news to me. (He must have quit between issues at some point.) Being from St. Louis, I always note when the Gateway Arch appears in comic books. It is almost always poorly rendered, and this issue's rendition is one of the worst I have ever seen. 

the story ends (for some reasons) with Green Lantern quoting random lines of shakespeare as he "makes the scene." Pure corn.

#65:

Cool cover but talk about deceptive! I guess it's supposed to be symbolic of what might happen if the issue's threat is not eliminated. In this issue, Gardner Fox returns as scripter which, if not evident from putting the word "snowcat" in quotation marks, would have been from his use of nouns as verbs (which he did no fewer than four times in this story.

Hal Jordan is an insurance adjuster again, so last issue's description of him being an ex-insurance investigator must have been in error. Dr. Polaris, in his civilian identity as a scientist, falls into a crevasse and creates a duplicate of his alter ego to seek help from Green Lantern. About half way through, Polaris spills the beans to Eve Doremus that Green Lantern and Hal Jordan are one and the same. Even though Eve prefers Hal to Green Lantern, she's not the flake Carol is so I wouldn't think the revelation would be that big of a deal, but the end of the story reveals that Dr. Polaris "telepathed" Green Lantern's ID directly to him so Eve never heard it.

#66:

Another Pol Manning story. (Even thought Green Lantern no longer uses the identity "Pol Manning," I still call them that.) This John Broome returns to partner with Mike Sekowsky. the story itself is a rehash of a boring cliche as a giant super-computer attempts to take over the world and rule mankind. The dual themes are "The Importance of Work" and "Love Conquers All." 

"We know now that work--and struggle--are necessary to us humans! Without work we can be only feeble shadows of ourselves! ... From now on, we humans will jealously guard our right--our duty--to work!" That one hits rather close to home as I find myself out of work and sitting home all day reading comic books. the irony hasn't escaped me.

As far as the second theme is concerned, Green Lantern finally gets it through his thick head that Ione cares for him as she was able to throw off the computer's mind-control and come to his rescue.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service