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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The first issue of Doctor Solar where he is in costume is #5 cover dated September 1963.  The first issue of X-Man is also cover dated September 1963.  I don't think Dr. Solar could have had too much influence on the creation of Cyclops.  I don't have Tom Scioli's GN, can you summarize what he said regarding this?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Do you think that Jack Kirby was "inspired by" the earlier comic?"

I don't know. 

I tend not to think so, as (from what I have read) Kirby didn't read too many comic books (although he was a voracious reader otherwise). Was Stan Lee aware of "Mogo" though? That's my question. I suspect he may have simply suggested "Have thor fight a Living Planet" and let Kirby run with it.

I yield to no one in my admiration for Jack Kirby, but this would fit with his rejected concept for Spider-Man, which was basically identical to the character The Fly that he and Joe Simon had previously done for Archie. If someone hadn't caught it Marvel would have had a lawsuit from Archie like they did with the original Captain America shield.

Dave Palmer said:

The first issue of Doctor Solar where he is in costume is #5 cover dated September 1963.  The first issue of X-Man is also cover dated September 1963.  I don't think Dr. Solar could have had too much influence on the creation of Cyclops.

There must have been something in the air at that time, since Doom Patrol famously hit the stands then, too.

I'm delighted to see this discussion. The Li'l Captain's two favorite characters in the early-to-mid '60s were Spider-Man and Green Lantern. I like to think that Peter Parker is sort of who I was and Hal Jordan is sort of who I wanted to be. But there's no denying another reason a young me would have been attracted to Green Lantern: Those awesome, exciting covers. Gil Kane rulez!

I also like to think that "The Planet Named Green Lantern!" and Mogo are one and the same. How many sentient planets can there be? (Unless there's a whole race of them, but if so, where are they hiding? I know they don't socialize, but surely one of DC's many space travelers would have run across one of them.)

Why is anybody surprised that Flash and Green Lantern: Brave and Bold would connect to the original Star Sapphire in a satisfactory way? It was written by Mark Waid, wasn't it?

Jeff, I haven't read Silver Age Green Lantern in many a year, so I hope your re-examination confirms or denies my vague impressions.

One memory is that I grew frustrated with Hal because he seemed to forget every clever use of the ring issue to issue. If he figured out a way around yellow in issue X, he had to think of a new way in issue Y. This was no doubt John Broome trying to keep the strip from becoming repetitive, but to the Li'l Capn it made Hal look like an idiot. Couple that with the many ways my friends and I thought of to use the ring that Hal didn't (Permanent force field! Kryptonian DNA! Delayed aging! Curing cancer!), plus all the dumb ways Silver and Bronze Age JLA writers used to sideline GL so that other characters could shine (one time he slipped in the shower and hit his head on the sink so he couldn't answer his JLA signal), all contributed to many fans, myself included, questioning Hal's intelligence -- an impression that later writers (who were kids the same time I was) actually writing Hal as kinda dim, or at least reckless. (Then even later, homicidal. Whoops.)

There's also the "weeniezation," which I remember beginning with him quitting his test pilot job because Carol found another man while he was gallivanting around in space. (I don't remember the issue number.) That's just pathetic. OK, maybe he can't stay at Ferris Air, because he's too much of a sad sack to work near his ex (something non-superheroes do all the time). But he also petulantly threw away his entire career -- Air Force, test pilot, the whole schmeer. That was just idiotic and small. His subsequent jobs were nothing any kid would aspire to, which killed the wish-fulfillment aspect of Hal Jordan. Instead of being someone I wanted to grow up to be like, he became a cautionary tale.

Much of that went away with Green Lantern #76, when Denny O'Neil took over, and Hal and Ollie went on a long-term walkabout. So Hal didn't have any sad sack jobs -- but he was still weeniefied, now by Green Arrow. Ollie was always right, and Hal just looked ... naive, and childlike, in need of guidance.

Further, the young Captain had already decided in 1970 that the Guardians were an irritating plot device, whose orders no self-respecting human being would follow. But I accepted the Guardians and GL's subservience the same way I did Odin and Thor's subservience. The Guardians and Odin both tended to give contradictory, abusive and/or insane orders, which Thor began to reject rather quickly. GL didn't -- until Green Arrow started to point out that the Guardians were contradictory, abusive and/or insane. That was a bold stroke, revealing the little John Broome behind the curtain, but simultaneously making it impossible for GL to follow the Guardians' orders without looking like a putz. And he started to fight back, but too late for the young Captain, because I couldn't forget that Jordan had taken those orders for 75 issues, until someone else, someone with a spine, pointed out what a putz he had been. And instead of being meek to the Guardians, he was being meek to Green Arrow.

All of this a far cry from his early days, when he was modeled on Chuck Yeager. Sigh.

Anyway, I am not holding the above up as The Absolute Truth. I am, instead, laying out my vague memories and impressions of Hal Jordan in Showcase #22-Green Lantern #89 (1959-1972), and asking for confirmation or correction.

"The first issue of Doctor Solar where he is in costume is #5 cover dated September 1963. The first issue of X-Man is also cover dated September 1963. I don't think Dr. Solar could have had too much influence on the creation of Cyclops."

Allow me to change that to: "For many years I thought the X-Men's Cyclops was inspired by Stan Lee's awareness of Gold Key's Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom. Whereas I still no longer think that's partially true, I cannot discount what I learned from Tom Scioli's recent Kirby graphic biography." I think I did believe that "for many years" but, even though I'm aware of the timing you mention, I guess i forgot.

"I don't have Tom Scioli's GN, can you summarize what he said regarding this?"

Using first person narration from Kirby's POV, Scioli wrote: "I started thinking about the post-atomic futures of the pulps. What if that world came today? I remembered an old Mechanix Illustrated article talking about 'mutants' and 'homo superior.' It was a further development of themes from Fantastic Four, but thjat any one of us could wake up one day and realize we were the mutants." In the background, the TV blares: "Coming soon! The story of Dr. Xavier! 'X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes!' by Roger Corman. Both of these panels are illustrations of Kirby's respective sources.

"There must have been something in the air at that time, since Doom Patrol famously hit the stands then, too."

And, a decade later, the respective debuts of DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing were similarly close.

"Jeff, I haven't read Silver Age Green Lantern in many a year, so I hope your re-examination confirms or denies my vague impressions."

I haven't read Green Lantern (or any comics) for two days now, and counting. We're having house guests later in the week, and Tracy and I are spending our days getting the house in order. I'm glad my previous posts have drawn some comment because I don't have anything "new" to post. My purpose for undertaking this reading project is threefold, somewhat paralleling some of your observations.

First, simply, I have never read all of these issues, and thought it was high time I did.

Second, coincidentally, Commander Benson recently posted a Deck Log (#228, I think it is),about the "weinie-ization" of Hal Jordan, and I want to be able to speak authoritatively (or at least from recent memory) about that.

Third (and I've had this idea in the back of my head for a long time), I want to provide an analysis of how Hal Jordan uses his ring and why he's the greatest Green Lantern of all time.

I'll be posting my first installment of that after I get as far as issue #75, but I plan to beyond that. I do not plan to read every issue of Green Lantern but, if my purpose holds, I do plan to take this discussion as far as Parallax, and I already have plans to cover many of the issues you raise in future posts, so please keep reading.

In addition to Swamp Thing and Man-Thing, at the same time we also had the return of the original muck monster, the Heap, from Skywald.  It only lasted one issue, but something was certainly in the air.  Not to mention the return of the Glob (1970).

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Jeff of Earth-J said:

"There must have been something in the air at that time, since Doom Patrol famously hit the stands then, too."

And, a decade later, the respective debuts of DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing were similarly close.

So, by the time the Bog Beast showed up (1975), muck monsters were old hat.

And any discussion of swamp monsters brings us back full circle to (a) Green Lantern.

Okay, I admit it, I just went out to YouTube to listen to The Legend of Woolley Swamp by the Charlie Daniels Band.

Just two more, then I’ll stop.

1972

1976

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