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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Mr. Silver Age said:

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 . . . I think the breakup was created to introduce new people into the series and move him around.

 

I don't disagree with your assessment of Julius Schwartz's intentions, Mr. S. A.  That could very well be what Ye Olde Ed had in mind---to free up Hal Jordan and get him on the road.  But, if we take that as a given, then I would argue that Schwartz and his writers didn't execute that plan very well, either.

 

As I said, driving Jordan out of Coast City could be made to work.  But it would take something more, I feel, than just Carol announcing her engagement to another man.  If DC really wanted me to believe that Hal would run out on his responsibilities to Ferris Aircraft (and he certainly had them; skilled, experienced test pilots aren't a surplus commodity, and Jordan leaving Ferris would put the company in the lurch, at least for a while), then, instead of simply being affianced to Jason Belmore, the script should have had Carol marry him.

 

Having Carol become Mrs. Jason Belmore brings about a certain finality.  If Carol were simply engaged to Belmore, Hal could hang around, hoping that, at some point, she'd come to her senses.  Marrying him constructs a whole new barrier.  And I could buy Hal not wanting to continue to work for the company where, everyday, he has to report to his boss, Mrs. Belmore.

 

(There's no way to know, of course, but possibly Julie was hedging his bets by only betrothing Carol to Belmore.  That way, if the new "Hal on the road" format didn't work out, he could put Jordan back in Coast City by simply having Pieface call Hal and telling him Carol and Belmore broke up.)

 

But, again accepting the premise that Schwartz and company wanted to make Jordan a wanderer, they never really went anywhere with that idea.  Nor did they really cling to it.  After the next three issues of Jordan travelling about, he settles down to his new job as an insurance adjustor in Evergreen City in Green Lantern # 53 (Jan., 1967), and he stays there for a year and a half, until the end of issue # 69 (Jun., 1969).

 

Hence, my problem with the "Vagabond Jordan" premise.  One is either a wanderer or one isn't.  And the way the series played out after issue # 49, Hal Jordan was a wanderer---and he wasn't.

 

Yeah, they kind of slipped the travelling part in by sending Hal to various cities to investigate insurance claims (which, somehow, always turned into a case for the Green Lantern), but at the end, Hal always wound right back up in Evergreen City.

 

Now, conceptually, there's nothing wrong with giving Hal Jordan roots in a new home city.  But if you're going to do that, then he needs to have a supporting cast.  That's what gives the protagonist dimension; it keeps him from appearing to operate in a vacuum.

 

Julie put Hal in one city for some seventeen issues, but never provided anything to make it seem like he really lived there.  The most recurring character was his boss, Mr. Lawford, who's only function was to start a story with, "Hal, I need you to go to ____________ 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.

 

Eve Doremus was introduced in G.L. # 58 (Jan., 1968), then disappeared for three issues, reappeared in # 62, 64-5, and 68.  Five issues scarcely makes her a regular character, certainly not like Carol Ferris or Jean Loring or Iris West.  Eve was intended to be Hal's girlfriend, I imagine, but they never seemed to get past the dating stage.  And when Jordan abandoned insurance work and Evergreen City at the end of issue # 69, there was no resolution to his relationship with Eve.  She simply dropped into limbo.

 

They tried again with Olivia Reynolds, after Jordan became a toy salesman.  But in her three appearances, two in G.L. and one in The Flash # 191 (Sep., 1969), they never even got to a dating stage.  She was a business rival, which is not a bad idea for a regular character, either.  Except she was off the stage so quickly.  And Hal didn't even have a boss during his toy-salesman phase---at least, not one we ever saw in the stories.

 

It strikes me that Schwartz tried to have it both ways---make Hal Jordan a traveller, yet give him a home.  And, as always, in trying to do both, didn't do either one well.

I remember that turn in Metal Men... why given them human, flesh personalities and make them hunted? to add drama? To make us care more?  I don't recall what caused this, was it Doc Magnus turning against them?  He certainly seemed to be a conflicted kind of guy, wasn't he?

Kirk G said:

I remember that turn in Metal Men... why given them human, flesh personalities and make them hunted? to add drama? To make us care more?  I don't recall what caused this, was it Doc Magnus turning against them?  He certainly seemed to be a conflicted kind of guy, wasn't he?

 

 

These might answer your questions . . . .

 

The Metal Humans

 

Scrapped Metal

Thanks to everyone for the replies.  Good food for thought, and I expect that given the inexpensive nature of the Showcases that I will pick up the subsequent three volumes, which will cover right up to issue 75.  I'm excited to read Vols 2 and 3 (GL 18-38 and 39-59), and like Jeff of Earth-J, morbidly curious to read Vol 4.

It's amazing the ups and downs that Hal Jordan has had as both a character and a property.  Sure, many characters have gone through the "died, but got better" phase ... but Hal has just been all over the map.

 

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