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.
I swear, these creative teams are so random it's as if Julius Schwartz had two big wheels he would spin to assign Green Lantern writers and artists.
The writer is... [WHRRR..clk...clk...cllk...clk]... Gardner Fox!
And the artist is... [WHRRR...clk...clk...clk]... Dick Dillin!
Oh, wait. This issue also has a back-up feature.
The artist for that is... [WHRRR...clk...clk...clk]... Sid Greene!
Wait a minute... Sid Greene the inker? Okay, whatever.
Every once in a while, an artist primarily known for his inks is assigned to pencil. (Joe Sinnott and Tom Palmer come to mind as two noteworthy examples.) The back-up feature is "Tales of the Power Ring" (eventually replaced by the much more popular "Tales of the Green Lantern Corps"). The first installment is "The First Green Lantern!" He is a Jirinn named Rori Dag from the planet Rojira. He was given the ring and battery to fight off the Rulanns, a race of aggressive, red "starfish" from the "terrible land" on the same planet.
NOTE TO BOB: When the Guardian granted the power ring and battery to Rori Dag he said, "Remember, the ring must never be used to kill--only to overcome the forces of evil and injustice!"
Also, no set number of Green Lanterns or Guardians has been mentioned up to this point.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
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.
Apparently, the grizzly bear puch-out happened in issue #58. My original issues are long gone and my Archives end at #57,so I haven't read the story since it debuted. If they had Hal, bare handed, fight off a grizzly bear....well, that's impossible. Maybe he was using his power ring without realizing it.
In #62, were the button, pen and shoe in a museum? If not, how would they come to Hal's attention?
Hal Jordan is an insurance adjuster again, so last issue's description of him being an ex-insurance investigator must have been in error.
I think this inconsistency and the back-and-forth between Denny O'Neill and Gardner Fox indicates that the Fox (and probably John Broome) stories were already completed and held back. This is when the writers and artists at DC tried to get benefits and were all fired.
"Apparently, the grizzly bear punch-out happened in issue #58."
"If they had Hal, bare handed, fight off a grizzly bear....well, that's impossible."
"As the shaggy beast shuffles forward, it is met by a bruising tackle... the peace-and-quiet man pile-drives a punch onto the most sensitive part of the animal [its nose]... A grizzly forepaw-swipe meets only empty air... Moving lightly out of the bear's reach, Hal leaps for a hanging tree limb... With a swinging maneuver [kicks it with his feet], he topples the bear over..." Then he throws a bee hive at the bear to keep it "bee-zy" and the bear runs off "closely pursued by a horde of indignant bees."
"Maybe he was using his power ring without realizing it."
Nope. His power ring had developed a defect and been confiscated by the Guardians at the time.
"In #62, were the button, pen and shoe in a museum? If not, how would they come to Hal's attention?"
The victims of the thefts were all clients of the Evergreen Insurance Company and, suspecting a bigger plot, Hal's boss assigned him to investigate.
"This is when the writers and artists at DC tried to get benefits and were all fired."
Ah. I hadn't connected those particular dots.
A classic "empty costume" (in this case, "uniform") cover.
The writer is... [WHRRR... clk.clk...clk]... Denny O'Neil!
Hmmm... "Somewhere in sub-space... the sinister ships of the cosmic corsair Commander Calibax..." O'Neil must have been practicing his alliteration that day.
And the writer is... [WHRRR...clk...clk...clik]... Oh, wow... Gil Kane! As a matter of record, although the writers will remain in flux, Gil Kane will stay on the title for the remaineder of the run through #75.
In the main plot, the "cosmic corsair Commander Calibax" trick green Lantern into wearing a device which eliminates the ring's yellow weakness, but essentially makes it vulnerable to everything else. At One point, Green Lantern strips off his uniform to fake that his body had been vaporized, which (kinda/sorta) explains the cover.
In the sub-plot, Green Lantern sees Eve Doremus with another man. It's his own damn fault, really; he hasn't taken her out for three issues. He doesn't get all weepy about it, though; he resolves to offer the new guy some competition!
You did not mention that the villain of #67 was Bill Baggett who desired the power ring and was named after Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit who also had a thing for rings!
The writer this issue is... [WHRRR...clk...clk...clk]... John Broome!
I've already said the artist is Gil Kane, but let's spin for inker. [WHRRR...clk...clk...clk]... WOW! Wally Wood! Wally Wood inking Gil Kane? That's unusual. (Were they ever paired before, at Tower Comics, maybe?)
The story this issue is another one of those, like #49, that's going to be more remembered for the sub-plot than the main plot. To be honest, it gets off to a pretty bad start. Returning from a mission in outer space, Green Lantern thinks, "Now it's back home again... and to my civilian job as an insurance investigator--where I can expect to become involved with more disasters, deaths and catastrophes! No wonder I feel down in the dumps! I never laugh anymore--never have fun--in either of my two identities!"
There's no two ways about it: that's whiny.
THEN... Carol Ferris shows up in Evergreen City. $&%#! Her wedding has been postponed... twice... for what reasons she does bnot say, but she's getting married tomorrow and shows up to mess with Green Lantern's head a bit more. What a bitch! Green Lantern still wants to Carol to love him as Hal Jordan. I don't know if I necessarily understand that, but it's his decision and I must respect it. As he's mulling over his response, he thinks, "Could anyone be more miserable than I?"
Oh, come ON! I have been defending Green Lantern's choices up to this point, but... BUCK UP! To his credit, he does send Carol packing at this point, but he he even think about Eve Doremus at this point, the woman who loves him as Hal Jordan? No, he does not. Instead he starts pining after Kyra, this issue's guest villain. When that doesn't work out, he concludes, "After this latest... disappointment... I can't face the insurance business as Hal Jordan... with its disasters and tragedies! I'm going to hand in my notice... find a new job... get some fun out of life!"
I think he's doing the right thing but for the wrong reason. As I mentioned earlier in this discussion, I had 30 years experience at my previous company. But within that 30 years, I held multiple positions. The first I held for one year, the second for two, the third for three and the fourth for four. when that job function was eliminated, I found a position I stayed in for nearly 20 years. After a major re-org a couple of years ago, my duties changed significantly and, for a short while, I hated my job. But I found a different position, one better suited to my skill set, and, as I said last week, I would have stayed in that position until I retired had I not been furloughed.
What I'm saying is, if Hal Jordan doesn't like his job (and, as has been brought up before, "test pilot" doesn't seem to be a good fit for "insurance investigator") and wants to change, I have absolutely no problem with that. One might argue that "he knew the job was dangerous when he took it," but if it turns out that he simply didn't like it as much as he thought he would, I'm okay with that, too. But if he's leaving just because he's feeling sorry for himself (which does seem to be the case), then maybe Hal Jordan is a wienie.
Maybe the inconsistencies are due to the behind-the-scenes changes Richard Willis alluded to, or maybe it's DC's stab at Marvel-style angst. (If so, it fails miserably on that count.)
Okay. I've been at this all day and I'm not going to get through #75 tonight.
This seems like a good point to call it a day.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Wally Wood inking Gil Kane? That's unusual. (Were they ever paired before, at Tower Comics, maybe?)
That sounded interesting to me, too. According to GCD (I reviewed all of the issues of THUNDER Agents, Dynamo, NoMan and Undersea Agents), Gil Kane stories were mostly inked him. One story (In the Caverns of Demo in THUNDER Agents #5) is listed as Kane inked by Wood.
According to the GCD, Wally Wood inked Gil Kane on Hawk and the Dove #5 (My'69) though he was not listed in the book.
Wood also inked Kane on Captain Action #2, 3, & 5.
I glad I said "unusual" and not "unique"!
I hope everyone had a happy "Green Lantern Day" yesterday.
I hope to cover through #75 today.
Ehh. I'm not too wild about that cover. I'm not too wild about the story, either. The less said about it the better. Like #49 and #69, #70 is going to be best (if not fondly) remembered for the sub-plot revelation of Green Lantern's new job in his civilian identity: toy salesman. Like last issue, this one is by John Broome and Gil Kane, but let's spin the artist wheel to see who inks. Last time we lucked out with Wally Wood. I'm so excited! this time it's... [WHRRR...clk.clk...clk]... Vince Coletta? Oh, well. they can't all be winners.
The one thing about this issue I do find intriguing is the alien creature who "feeds" off gravity.(I'm not entirely sure how that would work.) also, I would like to offer a guess (and that's all it is: a guess) that this is a comic book Mike Baron read in his younger days. first, his character Ashram (ruler of the Bowl-Shaped World, where physics doesn't work the way it does in our universe) bears a striking resemblance to this issue's alien; also, there's Baron's "Gravity Well" [see Nexus].
Better cover, if still, a bit deceptive. In this issue, the Merlin toy Company sends Hal Jordan to Solar city, Florida to secure a contract, where he meets rival (and love interest?) Olivia Reynolds. speaking of potential love interests, what has happened to Eve Doremus? Have we seen the last of her? I rememeber Olivia Reynolds from Green Lantern [third series] in the '90s. (Come to think of it, was Eve Doremus in that one, too?) I hope no one here thinks this is coming from a sense of "political correctness" when I say, "Boy Howdy! Is this story sexist!"
this issue also has a back-up feature (with art by Dick Dillin), another "Jordan Brothers" story set at the annual family reunion. All I have to do is mention the title ("Hip Jordan Makes the Scene!") to let you know how hopelessly unhip this story is.
I actually read this one last night.
Hilar certainly has a Stan Laurel vibe going.
Interestingly, the Guardians have no qualms at all about GL killing the gravity eating alien. I've definitely read too many comics: how is that alien different from Galactus? It's just a part of nature, doing what it does to survive. It wasn't malicious or evil.
Also, too much Star Trek: Next Generation: Hilar is a sentient being. He has free will and consciousness, but he is a "toy." How is he different from Data, or Vision, or Red Tornado? Oh, boy, the philosophical implications of this story. GL should be freeing all of the enslaved toys on that planet.