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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Jeff of Earth-J said:

I am five issues into the "wenie arc" but so far haven't seen any evidence of "wenie-ization" of Hal Jordan. If anything, he's gotten more manly, using his fists rather than his ring to solve his problems.

Doing his fighting with his fists doesn't make Hal Jordan more manly. Any knuckle-dragging troglodyte could do that. A real man doesn't shirk his responsibilities, and that no longer applied to Jordan as of the end of Green Lantern # 49.

As I said in my Deck Log entry, being a test pilot isn't like being a stock clerk at the A&P, who could quit his job without having a major impact on operations. Good test pilots are a rare commodity, and Hal was supposed to be the best of the best in that department. When he left Ferris, undoubtedly, a number of vital projects were delayed until the company could find a replacement. That would cause considerable financial loss to Ferris Aircraft, both in overtime pay and in penalties for not meeting their contracted deadlines.

Speaking of which, a number of Ferris' jobs were government contracts for military aircraft, so Jordan's abrupt departure had a negative impact on national security.

Jordan was most likely a contracted employee, so by walking out, he violated the terms of his agreement with Ferris Aircraft.

All examples of the major responsibilities that Hal Jordan turned his back on by walking out. And why did he do this? Because his girl friend dumped him. Oh, boo hoo. Wallowing in self-pity over that is what a teen-age boy does when he breaks up with his high school sweetheart; it's not the response of a grown-up, particularly not one with the duties on Hal's shoulders.

Jordan's reaction to Carol's announcement that she was marrying another man should have been, "Glad to hear it, Carol. Good luck to you both! Oh, I've got to get going . . . I'm flying the stress test on the XP-41 to-morrow. I want to get that done early; I've got plans for this week-end."

And then he would have sucked it up and gone to work every day, as a professional would. Of course, it wouldn't be easy to see Carol on a regular basis, but dealing with it is part of being a man, a larger part of being a man than duking it out with a couple of ex-Nazis.

That running away from responsibility continues when Jordan sneaks away from his job at the Skyview Lodge because . . . the boss' daughter, whom he's dating, has a crush on Green Lantern.

Oh, the pain, the pain!

While not as weighty as his duties to Ferris Aircraft, Jordan's responsibilities were just as significant to his employer at Skyview Lodge. Perhaps, more so. Certainly, the lodge depended on its sightseeing flights to draw customers, and Jordan suddenly quitting (not even having the guts to face Mr. Colby or his daughter, Joan, but leaving a note and stealing out in the middle of the night) because, sob, sob, Joan likes Green Lantern put Mr. Colby in the lurch. And, as the story mentioned, old man Colby was ill and unable to run his hostelry for a number of days. Hal could have, at least, stayed until Colby was back on his feet.

The period when Jordan worked for the Evergreen Insurance Company seemed to be a return to the Hal Jordan of old. (Although I agree with Mr. Willis that there's no way a born aviator like Jordan would be content in a non-aviation job like insurance adjustor.) He had entered into a serious relationship with Eve Doremus and, best of all, he had finally moaning and groaning over losing Carol Ferris.

And then, just when it looked like Hal had put his big boy pants on again, the script of G.L. # 69 has him going all ga-ga over a coëd from another planet, even while he's again mooning over Carol. As for his current girl friend, it's "Eve---who?" And when he learns that this alien cutie is betrothed---and, mind you, Hal hasn't even had one personal moment with her throughout the story---he's so crushed that he decides to quit his insurance job and his obligations to Evergreen Insurance Company without even so much as two weeks' notice.

Hal Jordan could punch up all the bad guys he wanted, but where it counted, he was a wienie.

Obviously, I'm coming at this from a different angle.

"Doing his fighting with his fists doesn't make Hal Jordan more manly."

Heh. Yeah, I've been reading a lot of old CBGs lately and I guess Beau Smith's writing style has rubbed off on me somewhat. Engaging in fisticuffs may not make him more manly, but doing so certainly doesn't make him a wienie, either. I know that's not what you're saying, but let's take a look at some of your other points.

"As I said in my Deck Log entry..."

I've been holding off reading that because I'm reading most of these stories for the first time and I don't want your article to color my perception. I do remember much of what your said about these stories years ago, though.

"A real man doesn't shirk his responsibilities..."

No man is irreplaceable. The only responsibilities Hal Jordan had to Ferris Aircraft was to do his job to the best of his ability and collect his paycheck. (Richard Willis's post just above yours points out some of the opportunities available to him as a free agent.) Carol Ferris may have been in charge of the company, but she was still a flake. And whether she was a flake or not, I believe Hal Jordan truly loved her. The way the situation was set up, in order for Hal Jordan to maintain any sense of self-respect whatsoever, he had to leave. There's a term for someone who would have stayed under those circumstances: pussy whipped. Because breaking the terms of whatever agreement he may or may not have had with Ferris Aircraft was never raised as a plot point and Ferris Aircraft did not sue him, we must assume that either your speculations don't apply or he was released from his contract.  

"And why did he do this? Because his girl friend dumped him. Oh, boo hoo."

I have a theory of my own about that. In my past couple of posts I have suggested that DC Comics, at the time these stories were published, was trying (unsuccessfully, for the most part) to emulate the formula which made Marvel Comics a burgeoning success. Whether editorially mandated or not, I think Hal's whiny-ness is a poor imitation of Marvel-style angst. DC would have been better served to produce good comics in their own style than poor knock-offs in the Marvel-style.

"That running away from responsibility continues..."

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with what he did after he left Ferris Aircraft. As with the Marvel-style angst, I see it less as an an error in direction as an error of execution. Becoming an itinerant flyer or hitting the road follows a literary tradition which includes Stranger the the Ground by Richard Bach, On the Road by Jack Keroac and Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck. Although it may not play out that way, I suspect the "insurance investigator" angle of the '60s was intended to be the "news reporter" angle of the 30s.

I cannot address any of the points raised beyond issue #56. Moving on...

#55: First let me say I was... well, not "completely"... taken in by the cover of #55 I posted last week. I suspected all might not be as it seemed; that's the reason for the "disclaimer" I posted along with it. that scene did happen... after a fashion. (It was a scene from a television drama about Green Lantern... although  the actor did die.) I posted that cover in response to a query from Bob about whether or not the Guardians had a policy against killing in the line of duty. Not that I recall, but in this story, newly instated Green Lantern Charlie Vicker of Earth thinks, "But somehow... wearing this precious ring that has been given to me, makes me realize that I must not take life if I can help it." I remember Charley Vicker from some "Green Lantern Corps" stories in the '90s, but for some reason I thought he was a new character; I didn't know his roots went back to the Silver Age.

If DC was trying to emulate Marvel Comics at the time, they apparently got many of their story ideas from television of the day: #49, Batman; #52, My Mother the Car; and this issue, Star Trek, specifically "A Piece of the Action." In it, an Edward G. Robinson-lookalike gangster from the 1920s, Al Magone (immortal on the prison planet), leads a prison revolt against the Green Lanterns. Unusual for the time, this story is also another two-parter.

#56: Both parts are old schools, ball-to-the-wall, sci-fi/fantasy action epics with nary a romantic sub-plot to be scene. I'll concede that fist fights don't necessarily make one more manly, but this issue's five-page slugfest (three of them while blind) against Ashez of Jubelo doesn't exactly make him a wienie, either. 

I also learned that Tomar Re, the bird-like Green Lantern, has natural wings beneath his uniform.

Didn't the FF also visit a "gangster planet"?

Yep. (#91)

...and in #84 they visited "The Villiage."

I guess Marvel "borrowed" from TV just as much as DC did.

(Of course, both of these issues were published after Jack Kirby decided to stop "giving" Marvel new characters.)

Richard Willis said:

Becoming an airline pilot would have taken him to other cities and other countries, opening up lots of story possibilities. 

I can see a major problem with that career choice.  Here's Hal, piloting a commercial airliner, thirty minutes into a fourteen-hour flight to another continent.  And then the Guardians summon him to Oa, or his Justice League signal device goes off, or...

It's worse than when a crisis needing Superman's attention hits Metropolis, and Clark Kent is reading the news live on WGBS-TV!

To be honest, I don't really see how anyone who has to work for a living can manage to have a secret identity.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

No man is irreplaceable. The only responsibilities Hal Jordan had to Ferris Aircraft was to do his job to the best of his ability and collect his paycheck.

My response to this comes from an unusual direction.  For the past few weeks, I've been bingeing on Barney Miller, a show I haven't watched in, literally, three decades.

An episode I viewed just the other day presents the situation of the police officers of the N.Y.P.D. going on strike.  As depicted in the script, it's not a union-directed thing.  Rather, it's been organised by the police officers themselves.  They're fed up with what they feel is too little pay and no appreciation by the government of New York City and have decided to all call in sick for a day or two.  It's a two-parter, with much of the first given over to the inner conflict of the detectives in Captain Miller's precinct in making the decision to strike.

Ultimately, all of the one hundred-twenty officers in the 12th Precinct opt to stay home, except for Miller and one uniformed officer.  The show further indicates that it's pretty much the same way in all the police precincts in the city, with a resultant spike in crimes against the public.  (It's a pretty powerful scene to see Barney Miller standing there alone in the squad room while all the phones are ringing with citizens reporting crimes.)

My question to you, Jeff, is:  in principal, were the police officers right to go on strike, despite the consequences to the citizens?

If you say "yes, they had a right to look out after their own interests first," then it's just like Hal Jordan running out on his responsibilities to Ferris Aircraft.  After all, didn't you say that no man was irreplaceable?

If you're answer is "no, they should have stayed on the job, because their responsibilities are more important than their personal benefits," then, that's my point.

You're an honest man, my friend.  What do you say?

I remember that episode of Barney Miller even though I haven't seen the show any more recently than you have. Until three months ago, I worked in the airline industry (first for TWA and then for American Airlines) for 30 years. I remember (some of you reading this may remember it, too) when the unions representing the pilots and the flight attendants and the gate agents, back in the '90s, staged a "sick out" at the height of Christmas holiday travel. Flights were cancelled. Holidays were ruined. I remember the local news coverage of the frustrated travelling public coming down hard on a gate agent who did come to work that day. She was mu hero! what the unions did that day was wrong... just plain WRONG... and it was equally wrong for the men of the 12th Precinct to strike under those circumstances.

I understand company loyalty, and I understand responsibility. I had three decades of seniority (carried over), and I would have retired in that job had I not been furloughed due to COVID-19. But I've seen, oh... dozens (at least), of young people (especially in the last ten years or so), who come in, get trained, then leave the company for whatever reasons. They are not responsible for people's lives, but they did have to be replaced. Similarly, I've known many career people over the years, experts in their job functions, who had so much accumulated knowledge that I would have thought they were irreplaceable. Yet they retired, were replaced, and the company went on.

That's where I'm coming from when I say Hal Jordan is replaceable.

And, hey! I've read two more Green Lantern comics since I posted this morning.

#57: No sooner do I post my theory that DC may be emulating Marvel than i read this story, which is pure fancy (and illustrates a profound misunderstanding of how insurance policies work). 

#58: This issue sees the return of Gardner Fox (I knew it as soon as I read the words "wets the line" in quatation marks) and Sid Greene on inks. More jarring (for me) than the shift in tone since #49 is the change in art (with Gil Kane inking his own pencils). Honestly, I prefer the slicker like of Sid Greene. We've already discussed Kane's desire to draw fisticuffs, but the flipside of that is that Green Lantern rarely uses his power ring in inventive, imaginative ways. It didn't just taper off, it was like flipping a switch.

Storywise, the Guardians diagnose Green Lantern with "combat fatigue" or "battle tension." The problems ends up being a default in the ring, but I'm no so sure that wasn't merely a contributing factor. Back in issue #50, his mental state (after losing carol) was described as "something akin to shell shock." Having been through a particularly nasty break-up myself once, I'm disinclined to dismiss that description as mere hyperbole. I didn't quit my job over it but, when it was over, I never wanted to see her again (and haven't). I don't think just leaving his job makes Hal a "wienie" (and he did give his best wishes to the "happy couple"). His actions as Green Lantern have been just as heroic as ever. In this issue he fought off a grizzly bear without his power ring, for Christ's sake! As I indicated, under the circumstances, I don't see that he had any other choice.

NEXT: "The One True Green Lantern"?

Does the Barney Miller episode address that the police are breaking the law?  That adds another dimension to the story, and the officers internal struggles.  I assume the NY State Public Employees' Fair Employment Act (The Taylor Law), which prohibits strikes by public employees, applies in this case.

If Hal Jordan had a contract, then he had to abide by it.  If not, he is an employee-at-will and could quit anytime he wanted with zero notice.  Just because he can do something, doesn't mean he should have, which seems to be the crux of the wienie discussion.  

Dave Palmer said:

Does the Barney Miller episode address that the police are breaking the law?  That adds another dimension to the story, and the officers internal struggles.  I assume the NY State Public Employees' Fair Employment Act (The Taylor Law), which prohibits strikes by public employees, applies in this case.

The Barney Miller story addressed this only obliquely.  No involvement of an union or organisation such as the Fraternal Order of Police was indicated.  This was a demonstration of solidarity conceived by the police officers themselves, and it wasn't a strike in the sense that they marched in protest, carrying signs while refusing to work.  The officers simply hoped to make their point to the city administration by all calling in sick on the same day.

Sure, you and I both know that amounts to a strike.  But is simply "calling in sick" enough of a technical distinction to sidestep the Taylor law?  I don't know.  That determination would also be affected by the fact that four of the detectives came into work that morning, with the intention of all walking out at noon.  It's hard to cover that with even the veneer of laying out sick that day.  

Yet, the story made no mention that the officers were breaking any laws, and Barney Miller was usually accurate on those details of the N.Y.P.D.


My first exposure to Guy Gardner was the 1983 reprint of Green Lantern/Green Arrow #87, which introduced John Stewart. I think that Guy Gardner has one of the most fascinating character arcs in all of DC comics (second only, perhaps, to that of Donna Troy), but admittedly he has been, more often that not, handled poorly. He didn't make much of an impression on me at the time; he was little more than a plot device to move Earth's substitute Green Lantern offstage in order to make room for another.

The first exposure that stuck (with me, I mean) was Green Lantern #189. I wanted to know the details of how he got in that coma, and by #200, I had acquired the storyline from issues #116-123. shortly thereafter, I had acquired #59 as well. Most of that issue is a computer extrapolation of what might have happened had Abin Sur's ring selected a different replacement. the "real" Guy Gardner appears in only four panels at the end of the story (Gardner is a pretty decent "guy" at this point, pun intended), and in #89 he appears in only seven additional panels. 

He is given a unique oath, however (at least in the computer projection). The meter sounds a bit off to my ear* but, for the record, here it is.

On worlds afar or scenes at home,

Wherever the cause should make me roam,

Always I vow to fight the good fight,

To combat evil with all Green Lantern's might.

It could have been improved by switching a few words in the last line, thusly: "To combat all evil with Green Lantern's might." 

Or did Star Trek get the idea of a gangster controlled planet from Green Lantern? GL #55 and 56 were published in the summer of 1967 - "A Piece of the Action" was originally broadcast on January 12, 1968.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

If DC was trying to emulate Marvel Comics at the time, they apparently got many of their story ideas from television of the day: #49, Batman; #52, My Mother the Car; and this issue, Star Trek, specifically "A Piece of the Action." In it, an Edward G. Robinson-lookalike gangster from the 1920s, Al Magone (immortal on the prison planet), leads a prison revolt against the Green Lanterns. Unusual for the time, this story is also another two-parter.

To be honest, I didn't check the broadcast date of "A Piece of the Action." (Working from memory often comes back to bite me in the arse.) There were also some strong similarities to the Doctor Who serial "War Games" but I did check the date on that (1969). 

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