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. 

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From Wikipedia ("Green Goblin Reborn!"):

This was the first story arc in mainstream comics that portrayed and condemned the abuse of drugs. This effectively led to the revision of the Comics Code. Previously, the Code forbade the depiction of the use of illegal drugs, even negatively. However, in 1970 the Nixon administration's department of Health, Education, and Welfare asked Stan Lee to publish an anti-drug message in one of Marvel's top-selling titles.  Lee chose the top-selling The Amazing Spider-Man; issues #96–98 (May–July 1971) feature a story arc depicting the negative effects of drug use. Acknowledging that young readers (the primary audience for Amazing Spider-Man) do not like being lectured to, Lee wrote the story to focus on the entertainment value, with the anti-drug message inserted as subtly as possible.

While the story had a clear anti-drug message, the Comics Code Authority refused to issue its seal of approval. Marvel nevertheless published the three issues without the Comics Code Authority's approval or seal. The issues sold so well that the industry's self-censorship was undercut and the Code was subsequently revised. Weeks later, DC Comics published a two-issue story in the series Green Lantern in which Green Arrow's teen-aged ward, Speedy, starts using heroin when his mentor leaves him to travel across America with Green Lantern.

Lee recalled in a 1998 interview:

I could understand them; they were like lawyers, people who take things literally and technically. The Code mentioned that you mustn't mention drugs and, according to their rules, they were right. So I didn't even get mad at them then. I said, 'Screw it' and just took the Code seal off for those three issues. Then we went back to the Code again. I never thought about the Code when I was writing a story, because basically I never wanted to do anything that was to my mind too violent or too sexy. I was aware that young people were reading these books, and had there not been a Code, I don't think that I would have done the stories any differently.[

Richard Willis said:

Even though the Code had been loosened (due to Stan Lee's forcing the issue), it was probably harder for DC to do it because there were more suits that could slow it down or stop it. Stan was the writer and his own editor. Martin Goodman likely only cared about sales and in 1971 no one was really noticing the shrinking CCA seal on a comic before buying it.

It was also obvious that Stan did little or no research on the negative effects of drugs. Harry wasn't shooting or smoking, he was just popping pills!

Dave Palmer said:

Weeks later, DC Comics published a two-issue story in the series Green Lantern in which Green Arrow's teen-aged ward, Speedy, starts using heroin when his mentor leaves him to travel across America with Green Lantern.

I omitted the HEW request from my comment. It should be noted that Amazing Spider-Man 96, 97 and 98 were on sale in February, March and April 1971. DC jumped on it fairly quickly,* but Green Lantern 85 and 86 went on sale in June and August 1971, respectively.

*were they going to defy the Code or did they have early word that the Code was changing?

Dave Palmer said:

From a letter dated May 5, 1971

"Did you notice the NY Times section (Sunday May 2, I think) regarding the new ‘relevant look’ in comics, featuring a full color Sgt. Rock cover for openers?  It mentions Stan, Carmine, Dick, Neal, Roy Thomas, Kirby, O’Neil, and how comics are combatting the race problem, Agnew, the War, the administration, etc. etc. etc. -- it all made me a little sick.  I’m against any small select group speaking for the whole comics scene -- but somebody in the above mentioned group has an ‘in’ with a NY (Liberal) Times reporter -- and the rest of us will have to live with their words -- dammit.  I meant to save the Times section and mail it to you -- but Lou [his wife] threw it out -- which didn’t exactly make me angry."

Not everyone it seems was pleased with the new direction GL had taken.

Here's the New York Times Magazine cover referenced above:

The inset is the cover of Our Army at War #233, June 1971. In the story, titled "Head Count," Easy Company's newest member is one Johnny Doe, who doesn't mind killing the enemy ... no matter who gets in the way.

(Just in case we need a spoiler tag for a 49-year-old story, I'll throw up one here.) 

Johnny Doe is so named because, as he tells the Combat-Happy Joes of Easy, he's an orphan who doesn't know his family. He is so bent on killing the enemy, he won't listen when Rock orders him not to drop a grenade down the chimney of a house in the town of Alimy in which German soldiers are holding civilian hostages, which would kill everybody inside. To stop him, Rock shoots at him, the grenade goes off, and Johnny Doe falls off the roof. In the end, Rock wonders if it was his shots or the grenade that did Johnny Doe in. Here's an essay about it, from Sequart Organization: "On the Sgt. Rock Story 'Head Count,' by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert."

This issue was published a couple years after the Mỹ Lai massacre, and it's no coincidence that "Alimy" is "Mỹ Lai" spelled sideways.

I had never heard of this Sgt Rock issue before. I can understand the reluctance to have Rock kill the scumbag, but he should have.

Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson (there’s no such thing as a “Warrant Sergeant”) actually had to threaten to kill the murdering soldiers with his tiny observation helicopter’s machine gun to save a group of civilians. They wound up awarding him a Distinguished Flying Cross in an effort to shut him up. The service crosses are the highest awards short of the Medal of Honor.

Here’s an excellent article from The Stars and Stripes, which You-Know-Who recently tried to shut down.


I'm fairly sure this is a parody of some Green Lantern drawing or other.   (Sorry, I couldn't find a better image.)  It's set in 1972, and depicts Bleeding Heart and Radioactive Man meeting the Black Partridge.

Oh, that's great! The energy lines read "Hey, a Neal Adams Rip-Off," a homage to what Neal did with similar lines in a Deadman story: "Hey! a Jim Steranko Effect"


Mike Grell jumped on that bandwagon with Superboy #217's "Holy Cow! Dig the Fireworks!"

Like, crazy, man!

That's gotta be the one I was thinking of.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Oh, that's great! The energy lines read "Hey, a Neal Adams Rip-Off," a homage to what Neal did with similar lines in a Deadman story: "Hey! a Jim Steranko Effect"


"I'm fairly sure this is a parody of some Green Lantern drawing or other."

See also Green Lantern #86, p.5.


This issue (or rather the 1983 reprint of it) was mu first exposure to Guy Gardner, but he didn't make much of an impression. (The one that made an impression was #189, which I'll get to sooner of later.) In this issue, Guy Gardner appeared for all of seven panels, and his injury was a mere plot device to get the story rolling as the Guardians appoint a new back-up Green Lantern. I just accepted took it as "read" that Green Lantern had a substitute.

John Stewart, on the other hand, did make an impression. My first Green Lantern story (or story with Green Lantern in it), Justice League of America #110, was a John Stewart story. As I would nearly a decade later, I simply accepted that fact the Green Lantern had a back-up, and didn't think much beyond that. It was a big thrill and surprise to read at last that Green Lantern's first appearance and origin. 

The story itself, like all the stories in this arc, is painted in pretty broad strokes. John Stewart is very much the stereotypal "angry black man," yet the problems addressed in that issue still exist today, starting with a white cop hassling two black guys playing dominoes on the sidewalk for not having a "game permit." (Good then they weren't running a lemonade stand; they would have been in real trouble.) Senator Clutcher is a racist politician who uses the word "darkie" at his rallies amid other claims of dubious accuracy. (To be clear: outright lies.) 

TRIVIA NOTE: A sign on a building says "Eat Stans"

Second Story: Because Green Arrow was not featured in the main story, he was given a back-up story written by Elliot Maggin in which Oliver Queen is give the opportunity to run for mayor. He calls his friends for the JLA for advice in the following order: Black Canary, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman. Green Arrow attended a protest which turned into a riot. Just as things were getting out of hand, a shot rang out and a young (black) boy was killed.Five people lost their lives that night, and 21 were hospitalized. 

Maggin ends with a quote from Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them... so of course it kills them. the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong in the broken places. but those it will not break it kills, It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very very brave impartially." Tears flow freely from Green Arrow's mask. It is then he decides to run for mayor.

Justice League of America #110 was the first time that I saw John Stewart as well and he made enough of an impressions that there was a mini-campaign to have him alternate with Hal in JLAwhich would have been an interesting approach. Sadly John never made that many appearances in those Pre-Crisis days.

The "Ollie-For-Mayor" storyline dragged on for years!

In-story, did other worlds have back-up GLs?

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