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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Maybe the mobsters only watch WGBS for their news? 

So Ollie quietly resigns and they have another election?

They would have been better off saying that the mayoral campaign was a dream.

  • Clark Kent's involvement in all this is both puzzling and center to the plot! The only way his covering of Star City's mayoral election makes sense is if Star City is part of Metropolis or close by in the same state.
  • Was Clark a national anchor or a local one? Either way he shouldn't be reporting on it unless the story was "Is Green Arrow running for Mayor?"
  • Despite Clark learning that the Star City district attorney has the files, he later claims that only he has read them thus allowing him to cover up the election results which Ollie had believed that he lost.
  • Apparently no one involved with this story researched how elections are monitored!

    ClarkKent_DC said:

I repeat, "Wait -- WHAT?"

  • Why is the anchor of a national television network covering a mayoral election? (Okay, Star City is a semi-major city akin to Seattle, but still.)
  • Why does the anchor of a national television network have a Pullet Surprise? TV anchors win Emmy Awards! (Okay, okay, he got it from when he used to be an ink-stained wretch, but still.)
  • How does said anchor not accurately reporting the election results prevent the Board of Elections from releasing the election results to other news outlets?
  • And wouldn't the difference between what said anchor reported and what every other news organization reported damage said anchor's reputation, as well as that of the company he represents?
  • Wouldn't the candidate himself question the discrepancy? (Okay, okay, okay ... I got nothin' here, but still.)

I’m sure I read this when it first came out, but I certainly don’t remember it.  

I could see this being a news story worthy of national coverage.  A superhero is running for a political office — that would be big news.  Even after It becomes clear that Ollie and GA are different people, having superheroes endorse a candidate is big news with national implications.

Of course, it all falls apart because of your third bullet point.  It doesn’t matter what Clark Kent says, the truth would come out from the Board of Elections.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I repeat, "Wait -- WHAT?"

  • Why is the anchor of a national television network covering a mayoral election? (Okay, Star City is a semi-major city akin to Seattle, but still.
  • Why does the anchor of a national television network have a Pullet Surprise? TV anchors win Emmy Awards! (Okay, okay, he got it from when he used to be an ink-stained wretch, but still.)
  • How does said anchor not accurately reporting the election results prevent the Board of Elections from releasing the election results to other news outlets?
  • And wouldn't the difference between what said anchor reported and what every other news organization reported damage said anchor's reputation, as well as that of the company he represents?
  • Wouldn't the candidate himself question the discrepancy? (Okay, okay, okay ... I got nothin' here, but still.)

Hmmmm, despite what the newspaper said, I don’t think Dewey became president.

SPACE TRAVELING HEROES (2020): Collecting Green Lantern #90-106

The cover art of this new collection is taken from #90, but underneath the dust jacket is a reproduction by Mike Grell ,without copy, done in his current style. Speaking of Mike Grell, I first encountered his work in Warlord #1, but I was disappointed that it was not the first appearance of the character. I boght the next issue I saw, #4, but didn't see another for many years. I first really became aware of Mike Grell when he was doing Jon Sable, Freelance at First Comics. That led me to Pacific Comics' then-recently-completed Starslayer, which in turn led me to backissues of [Superboy & the] Legion of Super-Heroes and Green Lantern [co-starring Green Arrow]. The first 10 issues of the GL/GA run were by Denny O'Neil and Mike Grell. 

Four years had passed since the title went on hiatus after #89. Hal Jordan is still out of work (strady work, anyway). #90 begins with all of the Green Lanterns being given new power rings, supposedly superior to the old ones. Back on Earth, in the Nevada desert, GL and GA find a spaceship which had been buried in the sand for 4000 years. Inside, released from suspended animation, were members of the Guardians' previous police force, who predated the Green Lanterns. (No, not the Manhunters; they came later.) 

Sinestro returns in #92. Green Arrow runs afoul of the Grand duchy of Shan and has to rescue Yolanda from the Errol Flynn-esque Abraxis. (Apparently, Oliver Queen and Simon Williams shop at the same boutique because they sport identical red safari jackets.) I don't think Grell was co-plotting these tales, but O'Neil is certainly writing to the artist's strengths, first with the swashbuckling Abraxis, then with Arthurian knights in #92. Prince Yuan, Marion and King Rickard Stoutarm are straight out of a futuristic Sherwood Forest. Sinestro is still pulling the strings, and green Lantern encounters a "silver twist" in space which looks like as Moebius strip on acid.

#93 is a Thanksgiving issue. Back on Earth, Carol Ferris plays hostess to Tom Kalmaku, Oliver Queen, Dinah Lance and Hal Jordan. Hal now has a little "pet" named "Itty" (full name: Itty-Bitty from Outer Space), a small purple "starfish" with an orange, slug-like tail protruding from its dorsal side. No mention is made of how he found this creature or why he kept it. Hal is called away on a mission. after he returns, their dinner is interrupted by F.I.A. (Federal Intelligence Agency) agents who abduct Green Arrow, leading into the next two-part story.

I had issues #94 and #95 in my collection for a couple of years before I actually read them. (I was waiting until I acquired a solid run of issues.) Both featured a mysteriously clean-shaven Green Arrow who apparently assassinated the President in #95. The story I imagined was much better than the boring one in those issues when I finally got around to reading them. Although not featured on the covers, John Stewart is featured in both these issues as back-up Green Lantern. (I guess Guy Gardner is out of the running... or is he?) 

Green Arrow had "shaved" his beard and mustache with an arrowhead as a "disguise," and by #96 it had already grown back. (Odd, because by the time they return to Carol's house only a day or so has passed.) GA tells BC they had better "split" because "Carol and Hal are itching for privacy!" "You think they're talking marriage?" she mysteriously deduces. It sounds to me more like they're horny. Maybe she does know what's going on, though, because the next thing she says is, "Don't let it give you any ideas." 

Katma Tui falls from the sky and delivers a warning before she falls unconscious which, for some reason, makes black Canary jealous. As Green Lantern flies off to deal with Katma's warning, he considers some "news" he had for Ollie and Dinah. A footnote says we'll have to wait until next issue, but in #97 no news is forthcoming. I have no idea what he's referring to (unless it's what is eventually revealed in #99). While Green Lantern deals with the apparent death of a Guardian on Oa, on Earth Green Arrow deals with "Junior Musto, the terrorist! My father is Musta Musto, the terrorist!" 

While Green Lantern deals with the "Mocker" who lives inside the Central Power Battery, black canary confronts an image of her dead husband in #98. "Images" must be the thing, because Green Lantern confronted an image of Green Arrow in #97 and an image of Hal Jordan in #95. Vince Colletta blandly took over the inking in #95, and I can't say much for the lettering, either. When lettering is good it should be unnoticeable, but I frequently found myself reading balloons and captions out of order when more logical placement was readily apparent. 

The terrorists, whose intention it was to kidnap Carol Ferris, kidnap Katma Tui instead, despite her having, y'know, red skin! Julius Schwartz was well known for not letting his writers rely too heavily on coincidence, but Denny O'Neil found a "clever" way around it. GL and GA were not present for the abduction, yet arrive in the nick of time to save the criminals car from falling off a bridge. GA reamrks, "Talk about arriving in the nick of time... and a fine coincidence it is!" to which GL replies, "Coincidence my ear! We played detective, remember? We questioned a girl scout who saw Katma being abducted and described that car to us!" reminding GA of something that happened mere minutes before.

Noticng the cars headlights are out, GA concludes, "Ffa'rzz [the villain] draws energy from the nearest available power source! Without a power source, he's formless... a soul without a body!" He then stops in the middle of his explanation to ask, "Do you buy that?" Apparently so, because GL responds, "Sold!" After some more spurious deductions, GA concludes, "Somehow... you guys are carrying him with you!" "I wish I could find a flaw in your reasoning... but I can't!" gushes GL. I could, but right now I just want to get though this thing.

Oh! In issue #99 Hal reveals that he has become a cross-country trucker! (Carol bought his rig for him.) Apparently that's the news he wanted to share with GL and BC back in #96. 

#100 has two stories: a GL story by Denny O'Neil and Alex Saviuk, and a GA story by Elliot S! Maggin and Mike Grell. the ten hero Airwave II (son of the Goldena Age Airwave and cousin of Hal Jordan) debuts this issue. Interestingly (to me), the St. Louis radio station mentioned in this story, KWK, actually exists, or did. I had only an AM radio in my first car, a '72 Ford Pinto. KSLQ was the only AM rock station at the time, but I'd listen to KWK, the big band station, just as often. But I digress...

Roy "Speedy" Harper's band, Great Frog, makes an appearance in the GA story. Oliver Queen himself is running a new company, a PR firm called Queen Promotions. It is revealed that he did not run for mayor in #87, but rather Mayor Jack Major held another four year term. Oliver does, however, decide to run now. Hector Hammond returns in #101, as do Jim and Sue Jordan, the latter of which has finally given up the notion that her husband is Green Lantern, for one reason, GL hasn't been around their city for years, and for another, Jim has grown a beard.I wish he would have thought of that a long time ago. Bill Baggett (#67) has also returned, this time calling himself "Wilhelm Baggins."

A writer named Frank McGinty spelled O'Neil this issue due to illness, but Saviuk stays through #105 (actually for longer than that, but "Iron Mike" returns in #106). I have always considered Saviuk's style to be competent, but rather dull. In #102-103 Black canary is captured by Aliens while Green Lantern is delayed by writer's fiat. In #104, Itty dies for no aparent reason, while Professor Ezra Drok uses Quarks in an attempt to solve the energy crisis. The long arm of coincidence reaches out once again as the creature created by his experiment passes over Itty's grave.

In #105, Sonar returns while the monster rising from Itty's grave languishes in the background. In #106, the monster comes to the fore and Green Lantern deduces it needs calcium (which he supplies) in order to evolve to its next stage of development. THE END.

Say what you will about the O'Neil/Adams era... those stories at least had purpose. the ones in this collection are just plain boring.

In between Green Lantern #89 and #90, Hal had been the backup in The Flash and Green Arrow was one of the rotating backups of Action Comics along with the Atom and the Human Target. Both were drawn by Mike Grell. (btw, my first issue of Superboy (starring the Legion of Super-Heroes) was #203 (Au'74) which was Grell's first issue as well.)

One major factor that led to Green Lantern getting his own book again was the sales of DC Special #17 (Winter '75) and #20 (Ma'76), both with Grell covers! Even though they featured GL's Silver Age adventures, the book was revived with Green Arrow included, though GA would continue his own solo strip in Action, then World's Finest Comics.

The Green Arrow/Black Canary story from #100 was meant for 1st Issue Special where Grell's Warlord had earlier debuted!



My next "interlude" is Retroactive Green Lantern - The '70s (according to the indicia). It is a thematic sequel to the Flash back-up storyline discussed above, and is everything the so-called "Space Traveling Heroes" arc should have been. Green Lantern and Green Arrow are each involved in their own separate cases, and only come together on the last page to discuss them. the plots are simple, but the art and script are top-notch. For me, it is more of a GA story than a GL one. It takes place one year after Green Arrow has accidentally killed a man. I thought about sequencing it between #89 and #90, but I'm glad I covered it here to end this era on a high note. 

This comic also includes a reprint of #76.

I'm not finished with this discussion yet, but I may back-burner it for a while to catch up on some other things.

I just reread this last month and thought it strange that Green Lantern wasn't the focus in his own special!

Plus I winced at GL/GA #76 being reprinted yet again! I would have preferred their story from Flash or #90.

I love reprints. I have had a philosophy since the '80s that has served me well over the decades, and that is that reprints are a good value because publishers aren't going to reprint their crap. That's not to say that I originally read this next run as reprints, but rather an explanation why I'm going to skip ahead at this point to three volumes of Green Lantern: Sector 2814 which reprint #172-200. Trade paperbacks are a different animal than, say, the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series which reprinted the O'Neil/Adams run, but then again, I don't see DC reprinting anything between #107 and #171... at least not yet. In any case, if anyone has anything to say about those issues I invite you to do so now. I will pause.

No one? Okay, I somewhat overextended myself on reading projects, but I'm caught up now and am ready to continue this discussion. 


Most super-hero series with a long history have two definitive runs: 1) a "classic" run (usually from the '60s), and 2) a "neo-classic" run (usually from the '80s). For example, for Fantastic Four it would be the Lee/Kirby issues and the John Byrne issues; for Thor it would be the Lee/Kirby run (them again) and the Walt Simonson run (of course). [Some series have more than two; for Thor I would include the Dan Jurgens run as "definitive" as well. But I digress.] For Green Lantern it would be the Broome/Fox/Kane issues for the "classic" (hell, I'd even be willing to extend that to O'Neil/Adams) and the Len Wein/Dave Gibbons/Steve Englehart/Joe Staton issues for the "neo-classic."

Ever since I read the Green Lantern/Green Arrow reprint series in the early '80s I had been considering starting to buy the current series regularly. I was only just starting to buy DC comics in the early '80s, but I was waiting for good jumping on points, such as Justice League of America Annual #2 for JLA. [Brief aside, Chuck Patton and Dave Gibbons were two artists I discovered who were unique to DC. Patton dropped off the scene shortly thereafter, but Gibbons went on to do a project or two you may have heard of.] If it was a "good jumping on point" for Green Lantern I was looking for, I immediately knew #181 was it as soon as I saw the cover. 

If a cover's job is to convince a reader to buy the issue, then this cover was working overtime because it convinced me to buy Green Lantern for many years to come. Shortly after reading #181, I picked up all of the backissues back to #172, which is where the arc begins. As #172 begins, Green Lantern is returning to earth from a one year "exile" imposed by the Guardians because they deemed he was neglecting the rest of Sector 2814. He arrives at Ferris just in time to see Carol kissing a blond guy in her office. Green Lantern's old insecurities burst to the surface and flies off to blow off some steam.Hal really leapt to a conclusion there because, as it turned out, the guy was Clay Kendall, who had just got a research grant, and Carol was merely congratulating him. 

It has been said that a comic book is only as good as the main character's supporting cast, and #173 introduces a good one. Tom Kalmaku is still there (and no one refers to him as "Pieface" even once). Other new Ferris employees and co-workers include Bruce Gordon (once the villain Eclipso), Richard Davis, April O'Rourke and Jake Ramirez. The Monitor and his assistant Lyla appear in several issues through this run as a build up to Crisis on Infinite Earths, but their characterization hadn't really been fleshed out yet. the villain this issue is Javelin, a German spy who steals the solar jet engine being tested by Ferris. Green Lantern takes off in pursuit, and the cliffhanger is him covered in a fast-drying yellow plastic polymer and falling to Earth.

In #174, Green Lantern deals with the threat, but Javelin gets away. Javelin was hired by Congressman Jason Bloch, who has a long-running feud against Carl Ferris. [Cap, if you're still looking for ways in which GL overcomes the color yellow, he does so three times this issue, using inventive ways.] Meanwhile, renegade employees of S.T.A.R. laboratories dump radioactive waste into the ocean, leading to this issue's cliffhanger, the return of the Shark.

#175 has a newspaper motif in which various scenes are introduced by characters reacting to the same headline. After the defeat of Jevelin last issue, Congressman Bloch (who also knows GL and Hall Jordan are one and the same, BTW) hires Mr. Smith of CON-TROL (i.e., CONtinental PeTROLium) to bedevil Ferris Aircraft. also this issue, Green Lantern learns of that the Flash is on trial for murder.

Reporter Tawny Young makes her first appearance in #176 while Green Lantern defeats the shark. Bloch also goes through the Monitor to hire next issue's threat, the Demolition Team, inspired (I would surmise) by Marvel's Wrecking Crew (also written by Wein at one time) and WWII's Rosie the Riveter. #177 was a reprint, but #178 picks up where #176 left off. Unfortunately, just as the Demolition Team begins its attack, the Guardians send Green Lantern on an important mission to outer space.

#178 also introduces a new antagonist, the Predator, working on behalf of Congressman Bloch and CON-TROL. It's fairly obvious who Wein intended the Predator to be, but he never did come right out and say it. i don't think his identity was meant to be a secret to the readers, only to the other characters. But when Steve Englehart took over from Wein, his revelation of the Predator's identity was, well... probaly the last person you would have suspected. (More on that next time.)

Green Lantern's assignment is to save the planet Omicron Ceti IV, the radioactive core of which was about the go critical (the same thing Tomar Re was unable to prevent happening to Krypton years ago). I won't reveal how Green Lantern saves the planet, but by the time he gets back to Earth, although Predator has defeated the Demolition Team, ferris Aircraft has been pretty much destroyed. 

In #180, Hal recommends that Carol hire John Stewart as the architect to rebuild Ferris Aircraft, but she gives him an ultimatum: he must choose between her and his duty to the Green Lantern Corps. (We also learn that Clay Kendall was crippled during the D-Team's attack.) Green Lantern consults three of his friends about whether to choose Carol or the Corps. Superman votes for his duty to the  Corps; Green Arrow chooses Carol; Flash is non-committal.

The beginning of #181 (where I came in) opens with him flying to Oa to quit. On his way he is confronted by five other Green Lanterns who try to talk him out of it. He refuses to change his mind, but his path is so meandering that, by the time he arrives on Oa, his fellow Lanterns are already there and try to dissuade him a final time. Katma Tui takes his decision particularly hard since it was he who convinced her to give up her relationship to become a Green Lantern in the first place. 

Back on Earth, Predator confronts and mortally wounds Congressman Bloch. He staggers out into the hall and reveals Green Lantern's identity to the first person he sees. In an exquisite case of situational irony, he tells Diana Prince the secret then dies in her arms. The issue ends with Hal Jordan, back on Earth, revealing his decision to Carol Ferris, But he's not at all confident he made the right choice.

I would not have thought of this a short time ago, but #181 is in many ways the flip-side of #49, ecept in this case, instead of leaving Carol and remaining Green Lantern, he has given up being Green Lantern in order to stay with Carol. I think Len Wein purposefully put more thought into Hal Jordan's decision than John Broome and Julius Schwartz did. Going forward, we'll see what that looks like.

No one? Okay, I somewhat overextended myself on reading projects, but I'm caught up now and am ready to continue this discussion. 

I'm following along with you, but haven't read these books. When you get to something I've read or know about, I'll have something to add.

I've read these when they were new, but they're in a place where it's not feasible for me to pull them out and read them again. So when something sparks a memory and I feel like it, I'll weigh in. 

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