I own a copy of Showcase: Green Lantern Volume 1, which I'm sure I purchased when it was released in 2005.  I probably read it through when I bought it, and haven't re-read it since then.  Not surprisingly, I recall very little about the stories.  There's a lot of fans on this board of Silver Age DC comics and I was wondering if some of you would share your thoughts on the Green Lantern series.  The stories by Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil that started in issue 76 get all the publicity, but I'd like to know more about the first 75 issues.  How highly do you recommend them?  If I like the first Showcase, would you think I'm likely to enjoy the following volumes?  If I find the early stuff a little too silly, or dry and boring, does it get better later?  What are your thoughts?

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I feel that in the early years of Hal Jordan, the series was held back by the general attitude of DC at the time toward the material they produced, and their perceived audience: "junk for kids".  (Uncle Mortie might have said "CRAP for IDIOTS!", but not publicly... heh)

However, the potantial for greatness was there. I just keep wondering WHY, if Hal Jordan is a member of an interplanetary police force, he's fighting super-villains ON EARTH-- and 3rd-rate super-villains, at that!

The book got off-track for the various reasons stated above. When sales fell, instead of trying to get back on track, they went further off-track. There must be some reason I always had the feeling that in the 60's & 70's, that Hal was treated better in JLA than his own title. Eventually, he got his own series back, and I understand at some point began doing a lot more space adventures.  But from all I've read, it seems the old problems kept cropping up... both from writers who wanted to continue on or emulate the "wrong" periods of the book, or those who for some reason just could not "relate" to a SPACE COP (I'm thinking of Denny O'Neil, specifically). So the book kept going up and down, a tug of war between those trying to "fix" it and those out to train-wreck it.

There was NO sense of "nostalgia" for me when I got GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES Vols.1-2, because I'd never read any of those stories before. And yet, those simple, "innocent", sometimes even "dumb" stories, I found MORE involving and entertaining than the bulk of his later stuff. Why? Because they were what they were.  They were on-track.  Too many of the later runs were off-track, and either didn't know it, or were in the process of either being "fixed" or "wrecked". (ACTION COMICS WEEKLY and EMERALD TWILIGHT come to mind.)

A good example of a series finally living up to its original potential was the Tim Truman & John Ostrander HAWKWORLD.  They took the Fox-Kubert concept from the early 60's and pumped more life, heart and soul into it than had ever been POSSIBLE during the early 60's. A lot of it reminded me of Alex Raymond's FLASH GORDON-- and I mean that as a compliment. (The only real down side was a severe continuity problem, caused by the editor, which John Ostrander methodically worked around and eventually cleared up. But it never should have had to be there in the first place. Of course, as soon as Ostrander left the book, his replacement DESTROYED all his hard work in less than 6 months.  That's DC for you...)

...Where is this at ? Could you link to , say , a local newspaper's story about this dispute , please ? And by the " reality issues " I assume you mean the " Hard-Traveling Heroes " " relevant " ones ? ( STAN LEE'S MIGHTY SEVEN blurbs itself as a " Reality Comic Book !!!!!!!!! " but I've gotten no response to my posts about it here.........)

Kirk G said:

Aw crap.... It's Metal Men 2 and Teen Titans 2.... I guess I eschewed the Kane Green Lantern after all. (I'm out of the discussion, guys.  I have only the reprints of the "reality issues" which came out recently. and I've tried to read and follow.)

 

Interesting side light: The used bookstore which sold this is now locked up in a custody battle, as the family is split over wanting to sell it off, lock stock and barrell and others want a careful inventory to maximize the return on the holdings.  In the meantime, the community weaps over the loss of this treasured but struggling historical bookstore that had a bit of everything and was housed in a former Carnige Library building!

Kirk G said:

I'm pretty sure that I have at least one of these showcases, that I scored for just $3.00   I don't  know that I read it all, so it's probably still in Mint condition.  The used bookstore where I bought it had three volumes each of one Green Lantern, one Metal Men, one Flash, and one Atom and maybe one Teen Titan volumes...three copies deep in each instance.  Alas, I bought the Metal Men and one other...probably the Green Lantern.  Stay tuned while I go check....

Here's a link to a "recent" news story about the closing/impounding of the local used bookstore.   Not much has happened since then.  http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/531054.html?n...

 

And yes, I was talking about the "reality issues of GL/GA" that Denny O'Neil and Neil Adams were behind in the late 1960s.  I remember them showing up on the stands, and realizing it was a departure from normal...and that the creators were taking a radical turn.... but as a marvel fanboy, I didn't buy them...just flipped through them and returned them to the spinner rack.  ("Hey Kid, this ain't a library...")

I didn't realize that Ditko had a "relavance style"   I know that the two Neils,  Denny and Adams introduced about a year's worth of "relavance" issues, but Ditko?   I'm lost. Please explain.

I almost said Ditko-style socio-political... whatever, but couldn't think of the exact term I wanted. I ended up putting "relevance" in quotation marks because, filtered through O'Neil.Adams, that what it became. (I knew that wasn't clear.)

 

Glamorous test Pilot - Insurance Adjuster - travelling toy salesman. What a trajectory. No wonder he went mad, killed all those people and then blamed it on a "yellow demon".

I have no clue what an Insurance adjuster does, but wouldn't it involve a few years of university study? It sounds complicated!

...IIRC ,Figs , an insurance adjustor deals with people's insurance claims . You report a loss that would (says you) entitle you to a claim from your insurance policy , Mr. Friendly Insurance ( cough ) Adjustor comes calling .

  A non-Brit/Aussie usage ???

I think the Insurance companies just pay up in the rest of the anglosphere. Lol. It's been raised as a controversy sometimes because the insurance companies' laxity means the cost goes up for everyone.

Henry R. Kujawa said:

GL was sabotaged by its own editors and writer long before they got there, in a sad, failed, and very misguided attempt to imitate Marvel. Series should be what they are, not what they aren't, and it does no good for one series to try and imitate the style of others from a different publisher, especially if they don't know what they're doing.

 

 

When I originally read this from Mr. Kujawa, I was in general agreement, but now, after giving the matter a bit of thought, I find that his comments, I have to say that Henry's comments are correct specifically with respect to the Green Lantern title.

 

By the second half of the '60's, DC realised that Marvel was not just yet another minor-league upstart, but a genuine threat to its supremacy in the industry.  After many months of fretting over just what it was about Marvel's approach that was so inviting to the readership, DC tried, with many of its titles, to copy the Marvel style.  However, as Mr. Kujawa alluded, the editors and writers at National Periodical really didn't grasp how the Marvel style worked; DC simply saw it as, "Throw some emotional conflict in the stories!"

 

What they failed to realise is that---even emotional conflict has to make sense and be consistent with how the characters in play have already been depicted.

 

Having Carol Ferris become betrothed to another man wasn't a poor idea, in itself.  In fact, it was a perfectly logical development; with Green Lantern's life so busy, either fighting super-villains or out in space on missions for the Guardians, that took both the Emerald Crusader and Hal Jordan out of her life for long stretches.  It makes perfect sense that Carol Ferris couldn't just wait around for G.L. or Hal to finally take time to show some interest in her.  She would move on to other men.

 

No, there's not a thing wrong with that plot line.  The problem was in its execution.  It was there that showed that DC just didn't under stand how to generate emotional conflict while remaining true to the integrity of the established characters.

 

If Stan Lee and company had been handling the G.L. title, here's how they would have taken the same plot development and run with it . . . .

 

Hal Jordan would have crushed, of course, and to some extent, angry and frustrated over the fact that his life as a Green Lantern had cost him his shot at landing Carol himself.  But, he wouldn't have run out on his responsibilities to Ferris Aircraft or have abandoned his rôle as Green Lantern.  Jordan had been too well established as a man with a strong sense of duty, too strong to turn his back on his responsibilities.

 

No, Stan would have kept Jordan working for Ferris Aircraft and continuing to be a G.L.  The emotional conflict would have come from him having to see Carol with Jason Belmore every day, seeing them as a couple, making their wedding plans.  Hal's missions as Green Lantern would have been a source of (1) escape from his troubles, but also (2) a source of anger, for it was being a G.L. that cause his turmoil in the first place. 

 

Second, instead of just being a name that was tossed out for the first time in the critical story, Stan would have put Jason Belmore on stage, and from all observations, he would be a fine fellow---handsome, fit, successful, affable, and attentive.  In other words, the perfect suitor for Carol.  Emotional conflict number two:  Hal hates the guy, but intellectually, he knows it isn't fair.  There's nothing wrong with Belmore; it's just that he won Carol's hand and Hal didn't.

 

Jordan would treat Belmore with veiled hostility, with petulance, to the point where Carol calls him on it---"If you wanted me so badly, Hal, why weren't you ever around?  You're acting like a child who doesn't care about a certain toy, until somebody else wants to play with it.  Then, it becomes your favourite toy.  Well, I've got news for you, Mr. Jordan---I'm nobody's toy, favourite or otherwise!"

 

And then, after a few issues of that situation, Stan probably would have tossed this in:  next, Jordan would notice certain things, subtle things, about Belmore that don't add up.  Eventually, these bits of information would suggest that Jason Belmore is a cad or a fraud or a crook, or maybe an industrial spy for a rival company---some sort of nogoodnik.  Yet, if Hal goes to Carol with his suspicions, Carol will simply accuse him of being jealous.  And, upon reflexion, Hal wonders if he is actually finding evidence of Belmore's perfidy, or maybe he really is jealous of Belmore.

 

A situation like that could go in quite a few different directions, but at no time is the core essence of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern changed.  He is still an upright, fearless hero with a strong sense of duty, carrying out his responsibilities.

 

 

Yet, as executed by DC, Jordan was written totally out of character by having him up and run at the news Carol was marrying another man, after offering a Hamlet-like soliloquy on how he can't bear to continue working for Ferris or remain in Coast City after having his hopes dashed, blah, blah, blah.

 

And DC might have even gotten away with that---if it had had some solid idea of what to do with Jordan next.  If they had put Hal down some place, and provided him with a new set of supporting characters, creating a new inter-dynamic.  But DC never did that.  Instead, it just bounced him around from place to place, in which any job he held and any characters there were simply plot devices to kick off that month's adventure.

 

And unable to think up anything else, the writers continued to harp on the one refrain:  Jordan keeps losing the girl; it's all Green Lantern's fault; and he has to run away.  Hence, resolute hero becomes a whiny wienie.

"What they failed to realise is that---even emotional conflict has to make sense and be consistent with how the characters in play have already been depicted."

This parallels what happened on DOCTOR WHO during seasons 19-22. The "regulars" at each other's throats for no reasons that ever made any sense, just to have "conflict", when the focus of the show should have been the conflicts that come up in EACH story. They turned an adventure show into a soap-opera. And not even a good one.

Which reminds me... this is also why CAPTAIN MAR-VELL was so bad when it started. A potentially interesting story about a race of alien warriors, and an alien spy with conflicted loyalties, derailed on page 2 of the 1st episode, by a really bad soap-opera plot. It's amazing that it took soeone like Arnold Drake (who'd done so much work for DC) to begin to turn that around. (Too bad Stan bounced him off the book before he managed to get where he was trying to go.)

That’s a pretty good scenario, Commander.

"Enough mushy stuff... now back to the action!"

 But, he wouldn't have run out on his responsibilities to Ferris Aircraft or have abandoned his rôle as Green Lantern.

I agree with your analysis, Commander, except with the underlying premise. I don't think Julie's idea was to break up Hal and Carol. I think it was to get Hal on the road, making him a vagabond. And the only way to overcome his sense of responsibility to do that was to have Carol "betray" him to free him up.

I don't think Julie broke up Hal and Carol and said, "Now what should they do?" and  he decided Hal would leave, which I agree Stan wouldn't have done (he *loved* guys who pined for the unobtainable girl). I think the breakup was created to introduce new people into the series and move him around.

I also agree with your assessment of the series: Anyone who likes the first 20+ issues will like up through the 50s. After that, the changes in the series--which were throughout DC--didn't do it any favors. Besides turning GL into a brawler, the changes in artists, especially Sparling, made it pale in comparison to what it had been.

That wasn't restricted to GL, though. Super-heroes were falling out of favor all over. So WW lost her powers, the Metal Men gained human identities and were hunted, the TT became an adventure team, etc., leading to GA joining GL on his search for America. 

The quality of those changes were all over the place, but I think they were brought about by desperation, because DC was built on super-heroes, and super-heroes weren't selling any more. GL is a good place to see them stumble around trying to figure out what will work. It's not pretty.

-- MSA

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