Deck Log Entry # 228 The Wienie-isation of Hal Jordan

By the green beam of my ring . . . I see that you are honest!  And the battery has already selected you as one born without fear!

 

Those would be decent qualities for anyone, but Hal Jordan started out as a pretty remarkable guy, even before he put that emerald bauble on his finger.  From his first, fateful appearance in Showcase # 22 (Sep.-Oct., 1959) to his own title as the Green Lantern, we learn that Hal Jordan was the kind of fellow admired, in those long-ago days before males started getting their sensitivity cards stamped, as a man's man.

 

He was forthright and two-fisted.  In "Riddle of the Frozen Ghost Town", from Green Lantern # 2 (Sep.-Oct., 1960), he waylays two muscle-bound thugs roughing up his friend and mechanic, Pieface.  He takes on a trio of murderous scuba divers in "The Elixir of Invulnerability", G.L. # 38 (Jul., 1965) and barehandedly puts away three armed attackers in "The Jailing of Hal Jordan", G.L. # 46 (Jul., 1966).

 

He was good looking.  Reputedly, artist Gil Kane based Jordan's features on actor Paul Newman (though I don't see it, myself).  You can't do any handsomer than that. 

 

But the topper was that Hal was a test pilot.  Throughout the 1950's and early '60's, the U.S. Air Force was the darling of America's military services.  The jet-propelled aircraft of the U.S.A.F., capable of reaching around the world and even extending into space, represented an exciting and modern future to those of us here on the ground, and the steady-nerved men who flew them were considered a cut above ordinary mortals.

 

Hal Jordan had taken the most dangerous of aviation jobs.  First, as a combat flier during the Korean War, as noted in "Green Lantern's Explosive Weekend", G.L. # 36 (Apr., 1965).  Then, as a test pilot, pushing experimental airships to the limits of their design capabilities.  That calls for more than just aviation skill; it also takes engineering smarts and an iron-solid backbone.  Hal had all three in enough quantities to win the Aerospace Man of the Year award in "Wizard of the Light-Wave Weapons", from G.L. # 33 (Dec., 1964).

 

On those credentials alone, Jordan would have made a pretty solid headliner for a DC comic published in that mid-1950's interregnum between the Golden and Silver Ages of super-heroes.  Hal Jordan, Jet Ace would have been a natural, slotted among Mr. District Attorney and Congo Bill and Big Town on the spinner racks.  And why not?  If someone needed evidence of an air hero's popularity, you only had to point to "Steve Canyon", the comic strip featuring Milt Caniff's flying adventurer, which was easy enough, since Canyon was appearing in some six hundred newspapers.

 

Instead, Hal Jordan got to be a super-hero, but he was written as such a strong character on his own that he turned one of the genre's conventions on its ear.  The customary alter-ego trope insists that the super-hero, in his civilian identity, display a less forceful personality, behave differently enough from his costumed self that nobody will suspect the two as being one and the same.  Superman's pose as the mild-mannered Clark Kent was the prototype.  Bruce Wayne was a wealthy idler.  The easy-going Barry Allen was constantly late.

 

But none of that song and dance for Hal Jordan.  He was a man of action, whether in his Green Lantern duds or out.

 

And let's not forget---he was dating the boss.  Well, technically, the boss' daughter.  But when the head of the Ferris Aircraft Company, Carl Ferris, and his wife departed on a two-year round-the-world cruise, in the second Green Lantern story from Showcase # 22, he left his daughter, Carol, in charge.  As professional as she was lovely, the lady executive was determined to be all business, but despite herself, she softened around Hal Jordan and practically melted whenever Green Lantern showed up.

 

Carol insisted that she was in love with Green Lantern, but there was reason to suspect that it was more of a case that she was enraptured by his glamour as a masked hero.  She essentially admits as much to Iris West in "Parasite Planet Peril", from G.L. # 20 (Apr., 1963), when she says that Green Lantern is so dashing that it sends shivers down her spine.  (And she can't understand why Iris doesn't feel the same way about the Flash, preferring, instead, the pleasant-but-dull Barry Allen.)  Yet, despite setting her cap for the Emerald Crusader, Carol spent more time in the company of Hal Jordan, on dates or attending social gatherings, and she didn't seem too unhappy about it.

 

That put Jordan a leg up on Clark Kent and his pursuit of Lois Lane; Hal actually had a decent shot at beating out his super-hero identity for the girl's hand. 

 

War veteran, test pilot, handsome, rugged, and the steady swain of a wealthy heiress---I tell you, the man just oozed testosterone.

 

But then came the Marvel problem.

 

 

 

If you're a long-time reader of my Deck Log, or you were a comics fan at the time, then you know what I'm talking about.  But for those of you who came in late, here's the short form:  For over twenty years, DC---known as National Periodical Publications, then---had dominated the comics industry.  It had out-sold, or out-sued, all contenders.  The few rivals still standing---ACG, Charlton, Gold Key, Dell, Harvey, and Archie, among them---survived on the crumbs, mostly by focusing on other genres, such as cartoons or licenced characters.  Thus, the folks at DC had grown complacent, content to just keep doing what they were doing and watching the profits roll in.

 

When the success of the revamped Flash introduced the Silver Age of super-heroes, another also-ran, Marvel Comics, followed suit, shifting from monster comics to super-doers.  It was a raw effort, but its editor, Stan Lee, made up for his comics' shortcomings by the sheer enthusiasm of his writing.  By 1963 or so, Marvel Comics was gaining traction.

 

The fat, dumb, and happy execs at DC ignored Marvel, figuring it would wither away, just like all their other competitors.  That would come back to bite them in the place where they made contact with their plush swivel chairs.  By 1966, Marvel Comics had improved in quality and improved in sales, to the point where it was now taking a big chunk out of DC's profit margin.

 

The reaction in the DC offices was just what you might envision:  "We must do something about this immediately!  Immediately!  Immediately!  Harrumph!  Harrumph!  Harrumph!"

 

The thing was, they didn't know what to do.  What Marvel Comics was doing right seemed pretty obvious then, as well as now.  But the management at DC couldn't wrap its arms around it.  Roughening up the art (on the belief that Marvel employed poor artists) didn't improve sales.  The writers' attempts to imitate Stan Lee's jocular style came out as campy and insincere.  Marvel Comics had corner boxes for instant cover recognition, so DC plastered the top border of their magazine covers with "go-go checks", which became a source of universal derision.

 

Editor Julius Schwartz was able to put his finger on one of the things that made Marvel stories so popular:  emotional conflict.  Marvel heroes weren't just Hairbreadth Harrys; they brought other feelings to the fore, such as frustration and insecurity.  Their dealings with the other characters in their supporting casts weren't always on the best of terms.  Schwartz figured he could bring this soap-opera-type stuff to Green Lantern.

 

And he did it by turning he-man Hal Jordan into a wienie. 

 

 

 

"The Spectacular Robberies of TV's Master Villain", from G.L. # 49 (Dec., 1966), pits the Green Lantern against an actor who plays a costumed criminal on a popular television show and has become a real-life super-villain, thanks to the unwitting help of an alien with amazing mental powers.  It's a pretty good tale, providing excitement and mystery, with the mechanics of producing a television series as a backdrop.  Nobody remembers it for that, though.

 

It was the sub-plot that got the G.L. fans' attention.  After returning from a lengthy space mission, Green Lantern learns of his good buddy Barry Allen's marriage to Iris West.  This inspires him to make a bold move.  He's tired of playing she-loves-me-she-loves-me-not with Carol Ferris.  As Hal Jordan, he drives to the Ferris mansion, intending to propose to her.  But when he gets there, his pretty boss-lady preëmpts him.

 

While Jordan was away protecting space sector 2814, Carol met Jason Belmore, a fellow in her own social circle (i.e., rich), and after a whirlwind courtship, he asked her to marry him---and she accepted.  Hal responds in a true manly fashion; he wishes the lucky couple the best of happiness, then leaves without a wimper.

 

The classic man's man would've headed to his favourite watering hole, knocked back a couple of stiff ones, and started riffling through his little black book.  Within minutes after leaving Carol, Hal has to go into action as Green Lantern, but it doesn't take long to find out that he wasn't going to put Carol behind him with a couple of bourbon-and-sodas.  The first chance he gets, he visits his buddy Pieface and goes all Hamlet.

 

Boo hoo hoo, I couldn't be with her because I was out saving galaxies as Green Lantern, he whines.  It's not fair!  Oh, woe is me!

 

G.L. puts his hanky down long enough to capture the Dazzler, who's both a crook and plays one on TV.  Then he returns to drop a bombshell on Pie:  he's bailing out of Coast City and his job at Ferris Aircraft.  Too many bitter memories. 

 

He retrieves his power battery from his hangar dressing room and flies off for parts unknown.

 

 

Julie Schwartz was on the right track when he decided that adding emotional conflict to his stories would raise the level of interest in them, particularly from older readers.  Having Carol Ferris become betrothed to another man was a perfectly logical development.  With Green Lantern's life so busy, fighting super-villains and handling other-world assignments from the Guardians, it took both the Emerald Crusader and Hal Jordan out of her life for long stretches.  Eventually, Carol would get tired of waiting around, waiting for G.L. or Hal to show some commitment to her.  She would move on to other men.

 

There's not a thing wrong with that plotline.  The problem came when John Broome's script had Green Lantern bugging out on Coast City.  Even emotional conflict has to make sense and be consistent with how the characters in play have already been depicted.

 

From the beginning, Hal Jordan had been presented as a man with determination and a strong sense of duty.  Forget about his responsibilities as Green Lantern; he had an obligation to Ferris Aircraft.  The company relied upon his expertise, and replacing a test pilot isn't like hiring a new clerk at Wal-Mart.  Skilled, experienced test pilots are a sparse commodity and losing Jordan would cost Ferris Aircraft thousands of dollars in set-backs while it sought a replacement.  In the meantime, the remaining pilots, like Eddie Harman, would be forced to work hours taking over Hal's flights.

 

No, the alpha-male Hal Jordan would have stayed at his job in Coast City, no matter how much losing Carol hurt.  Running out is the act of---a wienie.

 

 

 

The next issue sees Hal in Idaho, where he's found work piloting a plane ferrying tourists to the Lakeview Lodge.  In "The Quest of the Wicked Queen of Hearts", the fast-moving flier has already gotten cozy with Joan Colby, the attractive daughter of the hostel's owner.  Maybe, he thinks, she's the one that can help him get over Carol Ferris.

 

It's fortunate that Jordan is on hand when two German crooks arrive at the lodge, following the trail of a valuable painting they had stolen from a Paris museum during World War II and then turned over to an American confederate.  When the foreigners locate the painting and take it from the Colbys at gunpoint, it's the Green Lantern who tracks them down.  After a knock-down, drag-out fracas in the snow-capped mountains (see sidebar), G.L. captures the Germans and recovers the artwork.

 

However, when he returns to Skyview Lodge as Hal Jordan and relates the adventure, he's crestfallen to discover that Joan has a grade-A crush on Green Lantern.  Obviously, Joan isn't worth fighting for---because Hal decides to leave Skyview Lodge behind.

 

Mind you, once again, he's leaving his employer in the lurch; it can't be easy to find someone to fly the air service.  Moreover, Hal knows that the elderly Mr. Colby is ill and won't be able to run the lodge for a while.  Nevertheless, Jordan sneaks away at daybreak.  This time, running out is not just the act of a wienie, but of a jerk.

 

Jordan doesn't wander very far this time.  In "Captive of the Evil Eye", from G.L. # 53 (Jun., 1967), he's in Washington state, where he's been hired as a claims adjustor for the Evergreen Insurance Company.  He will hold this position for some time.  The cases assigned to him by his boss, Mr. Lawford, always wind up involving Green Lantern one way or another.  But, as the assigned investigator, Hal Jordan has a greater part in things.  In fact, in the next issue's "Menace in the Iron Lung", Our Hero carries most of the action as his civilian self.  For a while, Hal stops moaning and groaning about losing Carol and there's a hope that the he-man Jordan is returning.

 

There's a comic-strip precedent for this too, of sorts, in Roy Crane's "Buz Sawyer".  After V-J Day, Crane's narrative has newly discharged Naval aviator Sawyer take on the job of troubleshooter for the Frontier Oil Company.  This leads to a decade's-worth of dangerous adventures.

 

But, despite the promising set-up, insurance adjustor Hal's cases never seemed as entertaining as troubleshooter Buz's.  The new format for G.L. fell kind of flat.  The problem could have been that, while Buz had Rosco Sweeney, Christy Jameson, and crotchety old Mr. Wright to play off of, Jordan, in his new situation, didn't really have a supporting cast.  A regular group of characters gives the hero dimension, keeps him from appearing to operate in a vacuum.

 

Oh, there was Mr. Lawford, but his only function was to start the story with "Hal, I need you to go to (wherever) and investigate a claim," and to end it with "Good job, Hal!".  That part could have been handled by putting memos on Hal's desk.

 

Writer Gardner Fox tried to fill that vacuum a bit by introducing Eve Doremus and her younger brother, Buddy, when Jordan saves them from a menacing bear in "Peril of the Powerless Green Lantern", G.L. # 58 (Jan., 1968).  Eve is pretty and vivacious and---wouldn't you know?---her white-haired, moustachioed father is a wealthy owner of a corporation.  But it's not exactly like the Carol Ferris arrangement; there's that kid brother I mentioned---and, oh yeah, Eve has red hair.

 

Hal's new lady friend languishes for the next three issues, then reappears in # 62, # 64-5, and # 68.  They're shown to be in a tight romantic relationship, so secure that, though Eve encounters Green Lantern several times, even taking an active rôle in one of his cases, Jordan doesn't get the heebie-jeebies that she's going to throw him over for his emerald alter ego.  It sure looks like Hal is wearing his big-boy pants, again.

 

Then comes issue # 69 (Jun., 1969).

 

"If Earth Fails the Test---It Means War" has Green Lantern encountering a group of college-aged youths who have just robbed an Evergreen City bank using devices of incredibly advanced technology.  He attempts to prevent their escape, but is fended off by the band's leader, a striking blonde named Kyra.  Defiantly, she uses another amazing gadget to deflect his power beam.  G.L. outmanœuvres her and manages to net three of the youngsters.  However, Kyra and the others vanish before his eyes.

 

Overriding even the bizarre mystery before him is the strange feeling left in the Emerald Gladiator by Kyra.  He's repelled by the girl's hard-nosed attitude, but at the same time, strangely attracted to her.  Thoughts of Eve Doremus never cross his mind.

 

Before he can investigate the fantastic case further, Green Lantern gets a call from Carol Ferris.  She's in Evergreen City and wants to see him.  G.L. can't agree fast enough.

 

Once again, it's "Eve---who?"

 

When they meet, Carol tells the Lantern that she's getting married in the morning.  What she doesn't say is that she's come all the way to Evergreen City because she's still in love with him and hopes that he will finally profess his love for her.

 

Actually, he wants to do just that, but he's still peeved that Carol didn't love him as Hal Jordan.  Best wishes to you both, he tells her, instead.

 

Then, it's back to business.  After a couple more encounters with the strangely alluring Kyra and her group, the Power-Ringed Paladin learns that they are student revolutionaries from the planet Hegor.  The tradition-bound ruling class of Hegor has stunted their society's development.  Kyra and her cohorts wish to overthrow the establishment in order to breathe new life, inject new attitudes, into the Hegorians.  The students had been secretly using the Earth as a training ground, committing crimes and learning how to evade the police, to develop skills to use against the rulers' forces.

 

Green Lantern learns all this when he follows Kyra to Hegor.  He also believes that he's fallen in love in love with her.  The fact that he has been in a hot-and-heavy relationship with Eve Doremus doesn't deter him.  Neither does seeing Kyra's true appearance.

 

What does deter him is when Kyra says, "I'd like to introduce you to Tarkro!  We are being married on the morrow!"  Best wishes to you both, he tells them.

 

And the wienie-Hal returns.  In the face of his latest heartbreak, he's too depressed to deal with the disasters and tragedies that come with the insurance business.  He decides to quit his job as a claims adjustor and leave Evergreen City.

 

No doubt, sometime afterward, Mr. Ferris and Mr. Colby and Mr. Lawford got together and formed the "Rat-Bastard Jordan" Club.

 

 

 

By now, it was obvious to Green Lantern fans that the title was running on fumes.  Neither Julie Schwartz, nor any of his writers, seemed to have any enthusiasm for the series.  The return of classic G.L. artist Gil Kane was the one bright spot, but it didn't help much.

 

The readers had to be underwhelmed when they turned to page twelve of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Earth", from G.L. # 70 (Jul., 1969), and found out that Hal Jordan's new job was a salesman for the Merlin Toy Company.  Really, a toy salesman?  It was like the producers of a Green Lantern television show had fired Robert Culp as the lead and replaced him with Larry Blyden.  Practically all of the manliness had been bled out of Hal Jordan at this point.

 

The next five issues didn't do much with the new format.  Hal's sales job was barely mentioned.  One of the few times it was, we saw Jordan getting stung by a rival from a competing company, saleslady Olivia Reynolds, when she brazenly used her sex appeal to win a toy account in her first appearance, "The City That Died", G.L. # 71 (Sep., 1969).  I suspect the intention was to make Olivia a "frenemy".  Hal is reunited with her during his guest appearance in The Flash # 191 (Sep., 1969), and the encounter is much less confrontational.

 

Olivia was the only recurring character to come out of this period.  Hal had no boss, no girl friend, no rich company-owner.  And Miss Reynolds would make only one more appearance, in issue # 75 (Mar., 1970), spending the most of the tale comatose in a hospital bed.

 

 

 

And that conveniently brings us to the one issue of Green Lantern that everybody knows---the groundbreaking # 76 (Apr., 1970), which turned the focus of the magazine away from evil scientists and alien invasions.  The Emerald Crusader and his new co-star, the Green Arrow, would tackle social ills, such as racial injustice and corrupt government and corporate greed.  Unfortunately, Denny O'Neil's writing didn't do Green Lantern any favours.

 

G.L. was presented as the staunch organisation man, as a counterpoint to Green Arrow's liberal humanism.  In theory, the stories would present opportunities to illustrate the virtues and the shortcomings of both men's perspectives.  But in practice, Green Lantern was simply a strawman, stood up so that his conservatism could be knocked down by G.A.'s fiery moralising.

 

It begins with the first four pages, when the Green Gladiator stops an illegal assault, and Green Arrow calls him out for it, justifying the attack because of the victim's unsavory character.  The bowman's tirade about greedy rich men squeezing out the impoverished, yet staying within the law leads to the famous what-have-you-done-for-the-black-skins? scene.

And it continues from there.  In the subsequent issues, Green Lantern is shown repeatedly how his belief in authority and the law is misplaced.  Even his manhood is questioned.

 

The G.L. stories since issue # 49 had turned Hal Jordan into a wienie, but they hadn't tinkered with the Emerald Crusader much.  For the most part, when acting as Green Lantern, Jordan was still bold and forceful.  But Mr. O'Neil's scripts took even that away from him.  Now, G.L. finds himself doubting his rôle as a super-hero, to the point where he can't get his act together.

 

In issue # 77 (Jun., 1970), his power ring begins to conk out in mid-use.  Not even the all-knowing Guardians of the Universe can determine the reason.  By the end of the adventure, we learn that the problem isn't the equipment; it's the operator.

 

"Seems I'm pretty confused these days . . . about what I should do," realises G.L., "and the ring takes total concentration!"

 

And with that, the wienie-isation of Hal Jordan was complete.

 

 

 

In Teacher's Pet (Paramount, 1958), Clark Gable, an actor known for being a man's man both on the screen and off, plays Jim Gannon, the city editor of a leading metropolitan newspaper.  Gannon's risen to his position the hard way, a high-school drop-out who started as a copy boy and climbed the ladder.  He believes that experience is the best way to learn the newspaper business.  The plot puts him into conflict with Erica Stone (Doris Day), who teaches journalism at a local college.  Education is the key to good reporting, she insists, because newspapers should do more than report the facts; they should inform the public of the social and political factors that led to the events.

 

Despite himself, Gannon observes evidence that Miss Stone's viewpoint is correct, and he develops a crisis of self-doubt.

 

He confides to a mutual acquaintance, "You don't know what it's like to live one way all your life, confident that you're right, then suddenly find out that you're all wrong . . . Now I question everything I do."

Sound familiar?

 

Ultimately, though, Gannon regains his confidence when he realises that Erica's idealistic perception of reporting fails to take into account the practical requirements of publishing a newspaper, and he educates Erica on the brutal business side of journalism---"We stay alive by advertising, and we battle each other to get it."  The film ends with Jim Gannon a stronger man than before.

 

Too bad they didn't make that movie about Hal Jordan.

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I also liked the Shark, and have a soft spot for the original Tattooed Man.

Commander, your comment about DC not getting why Marvel was a hit reminds me of William Messner Loebs making the same complaint about DC's reaction to image. In The Hawkman Companion he said DC concluded that mindless action and bad art were what young fans wanted so they pushed his Hawkman in that direction. He wrote one issue which was all action with page of Hawkman thinking and brooding; his editor said to take out that page because Image fans would just stop reading.

Fraser Sherman said:

Regarding the fisticuffs, GL was actually punching people out before the Batman show took off: something would deactivate or neutralize his power ring so he'd have to resort to fisticuffs. Gil Kane's said he wanted to draw more dynamic action than just Hal wielding the ring; I always figured that was a factor.

I didn't mean to imply that Green Lantern never used his dukes before issue # 50.  He did, indeed---and for the reason you specified---Kane wanted to draw more dynamic scenes.  But it wasn't a regular thing---there were plenty of stories in which G.L. never so much as swatted a fly, but let his power ring do all the work---before # 50.

That panel in # 50 made it a point of stating that G.L. was going to use his fists to handle things from now on (except for those "emergencies" and "special purposes").  In short, he was now going to battle crooks as a normal guy---like the Batman.  And did so in every issue for the next couple of years.

I love your suggestion of a retro-series featuring Hal Jordan and Rex Mason.  And Mr. Palmer's addition of Cliff Steele is even better.  The series could be called "Soldiers of Fortune".  That might be one modern comic I'd buy.  My concern, though, is that a modern comics writer wouldn't know how to evoke that "manly man" image of the middle 20th century.

Then, there's the problem of editorial censorship.  There's no way the powers-that-be would allow a scene like Rex Mason lighting up a cigarette after a hard-bitten escape from a dangerous situation.  Even though that's something you would have regularly seen in a movie or television show from the time.

This post doesn't have anything to do with the "wienie-isation" of Hal Jordan, but I just finished reading issue #9 and sharing it with Tracy. For those of you who don't recall off the top of your head, one of the stories in #9 introduced Hal Jordan's two brothers, Jack and Jim. Of all the amazing things that happen in Green Lantern, the one Tracy finds the most unbelievable is that Hal Jordan's parents didn't give him an alliterative name like his bothers'. 

I see your point about the fisticuffs.

You're probably right about the smoking. I was amused when Agents of SHIELD had a 1930s set episode this season and even FDR wasn't smoking his iconic holder. It's just as bizarro as  "far future where everyone's still smoking" look, but without the excuse of not knowing better.

I stick a lot of smoking into my historical fiction because it's now such a convenient Not Our Time marker.


Commander Benson said:

Fraser Sherman said:

Regarding the fisticuffs, GL was actually punching people out before the Batman show took off: something would deactivate or neutralize his power ring so he'd have to resort to fisticuffs. Gil Kane's said he wanted to draw more dynamic action than just Hal wielding the ring; I always figured that was a factor.

I didn't mean to imply that Green Lantern never used his dukes before issue # 50.  He did, indeed---and for the reason you specified---Kane wanted to draw more dynamic scenes.  But it wasn't a regular thing---there were plenty of stories in which G.L. never so much as swatted a fly, but let his power ring do all the work---before # 50.

That panel in # 50 made it a point of stating that G.L. was going to use his fists to handle things from now on (except for those "emergencies" and "special purposes").  In short, he was now going to battle crooks as a normal guy---like the Batman.  And did so in every issue for the next couple of years.

I love your suggestion of a retro-series featuring Hal Jordan and Rex Mason.  And Mr. Palmer's addition of Cliff Steele is even better.  The series could be called "Soldiers of Fortune".  That might be one modern comic I'd buy.  My concern, though, is that a modern comics writer wouldn't know how to evoke that "manly man" image of the middle 20th century.

Then, there's the problem of editorial censorship.  There's no way the powers-that-be would allow a scene like Rex Mason lighting up a cigarette after a hard-bitten escape from a dangerous situation.  Even though that's something you would have regularly seen in a movie or television show from the time.

...Wasn't Dell a bigger-selling company in their heyday? They had Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbra and other household names, I'm told had excellent distribution and they were Mom-friendly.

I have always been a big GL fan, since I first read his comics as a boy, circa 1973.

I never saw (and still don't see) Hal's/GL's resemblance to Paul Newman, even though Kane (I thought) perfectly captured other actors/identities likenesses; Edward G. Robinson's for instance.

I never appreciated, in fact hated, Denny O'Neill's using GL as a punching bag for his sanctimonious liberal ideas, from #76 on.

In my opinion, GL was a worthier, more decent man than late-Silver, early-Bronze Age Green Arrow ever was.

Although I have been following this discussion, I put off reading the initial post until I read though #75. I finished doing that yesterday. (I started from the beginning, not #49, which is what took me so long.) I think we aired our main differences over in my "Green Lantern" discussion, but I did want to come back to read the initial post now that I've read the issues under discussion.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I trust that you will), but your main point of contention seems to be that Hal Jordan abdicated his responsibilities when he quit his job at Ferris Aircraft, whereas I tend to cut him some slack, empathizing with his desire to distance himself from a bad relationship. I think, perhaps, we're both guilty of the same "mistake" (if you want to call it that): assigning real-world consequences to a fictional comic book character. You give Hal Jordan real-world responsibilities he does not have, and I give him real-world emotions he does not have.

Having now (and just recently) read the series from the beginning, what strikes me most (even more than the abrupt change of direction), is the lack of imagination as it pertain the use of Green Lantern's power ring, a change which coincides with the job change.

NOTE: I stopped reading the initial post when it got to the O'Neil/Adams era, not to avoid spoilers (I've read that series many times, plus I remember your view from having discussed it before), but because it's been about 15 years since I last read those stories. I'll be back soon (to my own discussion) with my thoughts on the "Hard Travelin' Heroes" arc, and I will return here to read the final bit of your article as well.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Having now (and just recently) read the series from the beginning, what strikes me most (even more than the abrupt change of direction), is the lack of imagination as it pertain the use of Green Lantern's power ring, a change which coincides with the job change.

After I returned to comics, I enjoyed the Kyle Rayner GL because of his elaborate ring constructs.

IIRC, there was an editorial mandate that Kyle never use the same construct twice, and to put emphasis on his creativity by creating elaborate constructs as well. 

I think there was an attempt as well to give each Green Lantern a distinctive construct style. John's were very utilitarian and Guy's were--I want to say childish and obnoxious but I'm not sure about that. 

Richard Willis said:

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Having now (and just recently) read the series from the beginning, what strikes me most (even more than the abrupt change of direction), is the lack of imagination as it pertain the use of Green Lantern's power ring, a change which coincides with the job change.

After I returned to comics, I enjoyed the Kyle Rayner GL because of his elaborate ring constructs.

I have just finished reading issues #172-200 for the first time after reading #49-75 (most of which I read for the first time ever) and #76-89. I am now convinced that the #172-200 arc was specifically plotted to turn around these concerns over the "wienie-isation" of Hal Jordan. I wouldn't have picked up on this (and, indeed, didn't 35 years ago) if I hadn't have read issues #49-75. In retrospect, it's pretty obvious that the writers, first Len Wein then Steve Englhart, set about to duplicate (as much as possible) the post-#49 status quo, then overturn it. Consider what I have come to call...

THE DE-WIENIE-ISATION OF HAL JORDAN:

At his lowest ebb, after Carol Ferris has been lost to him, he considers then rejects alcohol as a solution to his problems. - "Can't seem to get any relief these days... [passes bar] But there's a solution to memory... Nah! that's not for me!"

Reacts with sincere best wishes for Tom Kalmaku's good fortune. - "Oh, Tom--Terga... good for you!Good for you!

Patches up his differences with Katma Tui and shares a laugh over his own naivete and sexism. - "Ha ha! I was so young then! Yesss--and I'm not sure I've gotten any older since! But that's the first time Ive laughed in I don't know how long! Yes, let's be friends, Katma!" 

Comes to terms with his decision to leave the Corps. - "A crisis in the universe--and I'm not going to be involved! Somehow, it doesn't seem so strange anymore," and, "I'll never be Green Lantern again! But I'll still be Hal Jordan--test pilot and former Green Lantern--whether I live another fifty years or fifty minutes! I still have a future to fight for, whatever role I'm able to play!"

Admits he made a mistake, resolves to get his ring back and offers his services to the Guardians. - "The way things sound, the universe needs my experience, and I have to convince the Guardians to let me use it! I have to convince them that i want my ring back--for good!" and "whatever injury I've done myself, in your eyes and my own, I want to offer my services, humbly, in the crisis which threatens us now! I want to join your fight!"

Offers his help to John Stewart, his replacement. - "I want to put my experience at your disposal! Who knows--you might need me for some information, or advice sometime. and i want to help you any way I can."

Wishes Guy Gardner the best on his recovery and congratulates him on becoming a Green Lantern. - "Guy, I told you once that I wished you the very best in your recovery! They still holds true, despite the grudge you bear against me! I'm glad you're up and around--and I'm glad that you became a Green Lantern at last!" 

Humbly accepts the honor when reinstated. - "You honor me by taking me back into your ranks. after the incredible wrong turn I took--you honor me more than I deserve... I'm more than a title and a uniform! I'm a man, and I can make mistakes--but I'll tell you this: after your sacrifices, and those of the nine hundred and twelve of us who fell in the line of their duty--nothing means more to this man right now than our Green Lantern Corps!"

Establishes his own vision for the future. - "To play the game, you have to learn the rules! Once you do, a good player interprets them in his own way! I don't follow rules blindly--but neither do i reject them just because somebody else thought them up! And I like this game--so let's go!"

Does all this make up for his "wienie-isation"?

I think it does.

YMMV.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I have just finished reading issues #172-200 for the first time after reading #49-75 (most of which I read for the first time ever) and #76-89. I am now convinced that the #172-200 arc was specifically plotted to turn around these concerns over the "wienie-isation" of Hal Jordan. I wouldn't have picked up on this (and, indeed, didn't 35 years ago) if I hadn't have read issues #49-75. In retrospect, it's pretty obvious that the writers, first Len Wein then Steve Englehart, set about to duplicate (as much as possible) the post-#49 status quo . . . 

Does all this make up for his "wienie-isation"?

As you understand, my involvement with the character of Hal Jordan essentially ends with the Silver Age, so I cannot attest to his depiction after that.  I mean, I bought the comics after that, but I was emotionally detached; he wasn't my Green Lantern, anymore.

Under that caveat, I'm going strictly by the arguments you present when I say my short answer to your question "Does all this make up for his wienie-isation?" is "No".

I had draughted a lengthy response, addressing each of your itemised points---that's what took me so long to reply---but, upon review, I'm afraid you'd find them too barbed.

I'll say this:  of all your points, I find only one of them shows Hal Jordan acting like a man's man, and that instance is undone by two subsequent things you mention.

The Hal Jordan you describe is a nice guy, a decent fellow, sure enough, but hardly a virile alpha male.  To use television references possibly too obscure, my version of a non-wienie-ised Jordan is Marshal Dan Troop, while the points you list describe Tom "Sugarfoot" Brewster.

I'm afraid our outlooks on this are too different, my friend.

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