I was going to do a thread on my FIVE favorite Justice League/Justice Society team-ups when I discovered that I couldn't pick just five! So I'm going to write about all of them. These won't be synopses since I am assuming that everyone is familar with them, thanks to the Justice League Archives and the Crisis On Multiple Earths TPBs. This will just be my personal recollections and observations with a few facts. I'll start in the Mister Silver Age sub-heading then continue in my Fan of Bronze.

The first seven team-ups were written, of course, by Gardner Fox and the first six illustrated by Mike Sekowsky.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21-22 (Au-S'63): The Crisis on Earth One & The Crisis on Earth Two

The JLA: This was the only JLA/JSA meeting that the Martian Manhunter played a part in the Silver Age.

Green Arrow meets his future love interest, the Black Canary. Naturally no reaction.

Both Flashes are taken out of the story early since they already had three team-ups in Flash.

 

The JSA: Instead of including Wonder Woman and Doctor Mid-Nite, Fox revived Doctor Fate and Hourman, neither seen since WWII.

Doctor Fate-restored with his full golden helmet, something that Silver Age readers would not know or even Bronze Age ones since DC would only reprint one Dr.Fate story with his half-helmet! But his gloves would be missing for awhile.

Hawkman-was revived wearing a hawk helmet in Flash #137 yet returned to wearing his yellow cowl. He appeared in Justice League before his Silver Age counterpart, even though he was mentioned in #3.

Black Canary-her marital arts skills and amulet devices are highlighted.

Hourman and the Atom--neither's super-strength is mentioned.

Green Lantern-seemed to hit it off with Hal Jordan right away.

The Villains: The Crime Champions are a great idea but...

Chronos takes on Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman!

The Icicle goes one-on-one with Doctor Fate!

The Fiddler is bald and wears a wig. Take that, Luthor!

The Icicle looks like Groucho Marx! "Last night, I shot Green Lantern in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know!"

The Crime Champions have a HQ between the Earths in "a great sphere of vibratory energy" that is multi-leveled and tastely furnished. Their civvies however leave a lot to be desired!

Some Notes: The golden, chained cages that the two teams are trapped in #22 was ripped off inspired by Mystery In Space #18 from 1954!

While the two groups meet, they do not team-up until the end when sixteen heroes gang up on six villains.

The Crime Champions do not return until the 80s!

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The Commander wrote: < whatever self-awareness G.A. might have picked up from that episode was gone by the next issue, when he was back to being his usual self-righteous, bellicose self.  There was no permanent growth or adjustment in his attitudes. >>>

 

I dunno, Commander... I think we're remembering things a lot differently. The issue that followed the two-part Speedy storyline had two stories, one being the John Stewart debut, the other being the "What Can One Man Do?" story where Ollie wonders if he'd be better use to society if he ran for mayor. That seems like a pretty big adjustment in his attitude to me.

 

If you're looking for a story where Ollie wakes up and says, "Gosh, maybe Nixon is the right guy to lead this country after all! What a fool I've been, railing against the corporate interests of the United States when clearly they're looking out for each and every one of us," then no, you're never going to see that happen. Once O'Neil cast Queen in the then-new role of a crusading liberal, that was going to be the template from there on out. Nobody else at DC fit into that mold, so GA was always going to be a hot-headed, speak-first-think-later do-gooder type. But to say he never had moments where he wondered to himself, and aloud, if he was doing anything that made a difference in the world, you would have to ignore an awful lot of stories where he did in fact do what you say he didn't do.

Dave Blanchard said:

If you're looking for a story where Ollie wakes up and says, "Gosh, maybe Nixon is the right guy to lead this country after all! What a fool I've been, railing against the corporate interests of the United States when clearly they're looking out for each and every one of us," then no, you're never going to see that happen. Once O'Neil cast Queen in the then-new role of a crusading liberal, that was going to be the template from there on out. Nobody else at DC fit into that mold, so GA was always going to be a hot-headed, speak-first-think-later do-gooder type. But to say he never had moments where he wondered to himself, and aloud, if he was doing anything that made a difference in the world, you would have to ignore an awful lot of stories where he did in fact do what you say he didn't do.


You’re suggesting an extreme shift in ideology which I don’t mean.

 

What I am saying is this:

 

Hawkeye demonstrated a gradual change in how he interacted with the Avengers, based upon the experiences he took from his association with them.  He started out as openly hostile toward Captain America.  Openly, because initially, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch---for their own reasons---sided with him.  Thus, Hawkeye was loud and abrasive and overtly challenged Cap’s leadership.

 

Cap was able to turn Pietro and Wanda’s opinions of him first, and that led the mutant siblings to less approve of Hawkeye’s contentiousness.  That was the first realisation in his development---that he was now a lone voice.  Now “outvoted”, as it were, he ratcheted back slightly on his open antagonism of the Star-Spangled Avenger.  He did so even more when Goliath and the Wasp returned, since his place on the team was no longer assured.

 

This was another realisation:  that being in the Avengers meant a great deal to him.  By this point, he verbally complained at orders, but did not openly defy them.  And by the end of The Avengers # 29, he understood that he had been ragging a good man all along and felt shame.  And this shame evinced itself in Hawkeye’s subsequent behavior.  Yes, he was still impetuous and spoke without thinking.  But he was now a team player.   No longer did he blow off security briefings, as he did back in The Avengers # 26 (Mar., 1966).

 

What I’m saying is, with each realisation, Hawkeye’s behavior within the group and toward the group changed.  The evolution is there in the issues.  No, he never became a calm, deliberate voice of reason; but he grew from barely tolerating the other Avengers and seeing himself as the guy with all the answers to eventually embracing his place on the team to the point where he stopped disrupting it.

 

You never saw this kind of change in the Green Arrow with regard to the Justice League.  You bring up the story “What Can One Man Do?”, and sure G.A. did some self-examination there, just as he did with the “Speedy is a Druggie” tale.  But it didn’t continue on into his relationship with the Justice League.  He continued to be the same old pain-in-the-ass, council-table-pounding, I’m-right-and-you’re-all-wrong antagonist.  None of his single-issue epiphanies seemed to translate into a permanent shift in his behaviour.

 

In fact, none of his relationship with the Justice Leaguers seemed natural.  Despite his antagonism and contentiousness, every Leaguer treated him as if he was some kind of dear friend, which makes absolutely no sense.  As I pointed out, there came a time in the Avengers when it dawned on Quicksilver and his sister that Hawkeye was completely in the wrong and they marginalised him.

 

That was one of the reasons why Green Arrow never had to change his ways---because, as written by the writers, there were no consequences to his outrageous behaviour.  The writers’ handling of Green Arrow and the JLA was frozen in place:  he was a loudmouthed irritant and the Justice League never did more than, once in a while, tell him to hush.  They still regarded him as a swell fellow.

 

And sure, I could accept as reality the fact that G.A. never changed---some people never do, no matter what.  But if you’re going to keep G.A.’s behaviour the same, then there better be a shift in attitude by his teammates toward him.  Because eventually, G.A. is going to become wearisome and his contentiousness is going to disrupt the group’s teamwork on a case.  But that never happened, either.  Which made the whole “G.A. is a hot-head and a disruptor” come across as contrived and phoney.

Commander,

 

You use "never" and "none" an awful lot when writing about GA, even though there clearly are instances when GA backed down, or apologized, or realized he was being cranky for no good reason. And there are instances as well when other Leaguers call him out on it.

 

Those JLA stories did not occur in the Silver Age, though, so considering that we're parked right now in the Mr. Age Forum, I dunno that it's necessarily relevant. I'm not going to suggest you go dig up some of those 1970s-and-on stories because, frankly, a lot of those stories aren't very good and that's a lot of work just to go hunting hints of humbleness in GA. I think you're looking in the wrong comic book for GA's growth, though -- he tended to be used more as a cliche by some of the post-O'Neil JLA scribes, but in the GL/GA title (including the Mike Grell era a few years later), GA was portrayed as very much more of a real human being than Hawkeye ever was.

" . . . there clearly are instances when GA backed down, or apologized, or realized he was being cranky for no good reason. And there are instances as well when other Leaguers call him out on it."

 

I'll allow that.  I don't recall any significant instances, but there's probably a few in there someplace.

 

However, they didn't lead to any revelations that had a lasting effect on the part of the Green Arrow.  With the next issue of JLA the reset button was pressed and he was right back to being the same old gadfly.  Now, if there had been a situation in which G.A. had reflected, "Hoo boy!  The whole blasted Earth almost bought it that time.  I guess maybe the League shouldn't be devoting all of its time to busting slumlords and drug-dealers," and in subsequent issues, he was less strident about the JLA overlooking the problems of the common man, that would be character development.

 

Or if at some point, perhaps after Hawkman had risked his neck in a major way to save the day, G.A. had thought, "Geez, I've really been a jerk to that guy!" and in the stories after that, he stopped being a pain with regard to the Winged Wonder, or at least bit his tongue, that would be character development---the same kind that Hawkeye showed over in The Avengers.  But in the pages of JLA that never happened.

 

 

" . . . [Green Arrow] he tended to be used more as a cliche by some of the post-O'Neil JLA scribes . . . ."

 

And there you have stated the reason why G.A. never showed any character development in JLA---because he was a cliché, and Mike Friedrich and Cary Bates and Len Wein and Steve Englehart loved writing G.A. as that.  His was the most distinctive personality among the JLAers, and every JLA writer wanted his own shot at writing Green Arrow, the well-meaning abrasive loudmouth.  A more mature Green Arrow?  More of a team player?  Well, where's the fun in writing that guy?

 

 

" . . . but in the GL/GA title (including the Mike Grell era a few years later), GA was portrayed as very much more of a real human being than Hawkeye ever was."

 

I won't disagree with you there.  I'm not as familiar with the Green Arrow's non-JLA appearances post-Silver Age.  You are, and I'll stipulate to what you say---that he was better presented than Hawkeye.  On that score, I'll bow to your better knowledge of the character, no problem.

 

 

Besides, Hawkeye could beat Green Arrow any day of the week!  And twice on Sunday! :) :) :)

 

I DID read past the Commander's end of the Silver Age, through the Bronze Age, and Green Arrow never changed his tune.  There's a point I've made previously that the JLA was the home title for Green Arrow and Black Canary (and later, Red Tornado) - while other heroes had their own titles.  (Yeah, yeah, Aquaman and Atom, and later Elongated Man, kind of fell into the middle - but they were used so rarely that there wasn't time for much more than complaining about Atlantis or feeling inferior or "my mystery solving nose" before the story took over.)

 

Point is, the writers of the JLA COULDN'T do anything with Superman, Batman, Flash, etc. - those characters were well established, and not much was in JLA to work with.  But GA and BC and RT (OK?) - ah, they were virgin territory!  As happened a lot in Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Green Arrow was the "real" character, and the others merely straw men - just characters for him to play off of.

 

Realistically, if one looks at the match up, all Green Lantern and Green Arrow had in common was green, and memberships in the Justice League.  For cosmic problems, all Green Arrow was was the gadfly, until he was the one who had the wisdom to see the reality of the situation, while Green Lantern was played stupid.  For street level action that perfectly suited Green Arrow and Black Canary, Green Lantern was the 800 pound gorilla... and didn't require more than three panels to fix everything (that includes the closing panel when they're sitting around eating Ollie's Patented Paint-remove Chili.)

 

This works once in a while - but not as a constant situation.  The answer would have been to make GL/GA a split book, with somewhat infrequent crossovers, and occasional booklength storylines that involved just one or the other character.

 

Justice League suffered the same problem, but if one looks at the majority of the Bronze Age stories - mostly emphasized with Gerry Conway, but Denny O'Neil and Mike Freidrich have their on guilt to bear - one sees a Justice League of four - five members, with others appearing as guest stars.  From around issue 70 or so through Crisis, the JLA was Superman, Batman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and the Red Tornado.  MAYBE Wonder Woman or Flash or Green Lantern.  Don't believe me?  Find the first issue where Superman doesn't appear after around #70 or so.  You'll have to go to the JLA/JSA crisis with Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin.  Englehart improved the stories some, but still the same cast; Superman and Batman were the authority figures, rigid as stone, and Black Canary and Green Arrow get all the characterization and the good lines.

 

Green Arrow really was Johnny One-Note, and the JLA seemed to think that was just fine... because after all, JLA was Green Arrow's and Black Canary's book for quite a little while there.

 

ELS

x<]:o){

Eric Sofer wrote: >> There's a point I've made previously that the JLA was the home title for Green Arrow and Black Canary (and later, Red Tornado) - while other heroes had their own titles. >>>

 

Well, no, actually it wasn't. Green Arrow had his own title until GREEN LANTERN was canceled in 1972, then he had a rotating back-up strip that ran in ACTION form 1973 to 1976, and then he gained back his co-starring gig when GL was revived in 1976. The JLA also went through so many different writers in relatively short order that *nobody* had a consistent personality throughout the 1970s. They were *all* cliches of standard stock characters.

 

That's why I keep urging people to stop looking to the JLA for any kind of deep character development; that came (such as it was -- remember, we're not talking about deeply layered personality development for ANY DC characters until long past the Bronze Age ended) in their own titles or back-up series.

Now that I think of it, GA also had a brief back-up gig in THE FLASH, shortly after the GL/GA comic was canceled. It was a story that apparently was planned for GL # 90, and was reconfigured so it could run as a three-part back-up. Considering that it was by the A-team of O'Neil and Adams, it was one of those occasions where the back-up was the main reason for buying the comic for those three months.
I just wanted to add here:  thanks, Mr. Blanchard, for the stimulating discussion on this topic.  It was vivid but without a sense of malice.  At least, not on your part.  I trust I came across the same way, for I felt none, either.

It was a very enjoyable discussion, Commander... as all discussions tend to be under the benevolent auspices of Mr. Age.

 

I just wish somebody who actually *likes* GA had chimed in here! As I said earlier, I never really much cared for the guy, even though I probably read every story he appeared in during the 1970s.

Dave Blanchard said:
Now that I think of it, GA also had a brief back-up gig in THE FLASH, shortly after the GL/GA comic was canceled. It was a story that apparently was planned for GL # 90, and was reconfigured so it could run as a three-part back-up. Considering that it was by the A-team of O'Neil and Adams, it was one of those occasions where the back-up was the main reason for buying the comic for those three months.

I remember that story, although, again, I read it well after the fact (I think in a DC Digest). It was an early effort to deal with the ramifications of killing. The story begins with Green Arrow chasing some crooks in a dark alley. Unfortunately, at the very moment he fires an arrow, he feels a muscle spasm, throwing off his aim, so the shaft punctures the hood through the chest, killing him dead.

Green Arrow is so shocked, so chagrined, so remorseful that he --

-- goes to a monastery?

There, he gets a lot of fortune-cookie wisdom from the head monk about being the snow that falls from the leaf, or some such.

That story never sat right with me; I always thought the right and proper thing to do would be to turn himself in and face trial, but, of course, the rules are different for superheroes. And, of course, in the years since we've had Wolverine skewering people left and right and Green Arrow, starting with Mike Grell's more "realistic" approach, puncturing people willy-nilly.

I guess that story would have been the start of some real character growth for Green Arrow. He certainly should have learned not to pop off at his more-powered cohorts on the Justice League knowing how a small thing as a tight muscle could cause him to end someone's life.

Well, I like Green Arrow. And so does the Justice League. They probably feel "Sure, he's a loud-mouthed, opinionated, bull-headed pain in the satellite but he's OUR loud-mouth, opinionated, bull-headed pain in the satellite!" I think the League accepts Ollie and lets him rants, always taking what he says with a grain of salt. They know what changed him and what drives him. Hawkman gave as good as he got in their arguments. When Katar had to leave the League in #109 (temporarily 'natch!), Ollie was visibly shaken and upset. He was glad when he returned in #117. The two were friends, no matter what people thought and despite their obvious differences.

He loved Dinah but always had an eye for the ladies. It was hinted at that he is the true father of Arrowette. Was this confirmed or was it dropped?

But like Hawkeye, Green Arrow was very good at what he did. He never let the JLA forget that there are no "small" cases nor that you need awesome powers to save the day. He never forgot that protecting the people was as important as beating the bad guy. He was shattered when he accidently killed someone. He was ready to walk away from his life to atone for it.

(Course, it didn't bother him when he killed a drug dealer on purpose in Brave & Bold #100 but that was a Bob Haney story! Though he did mention Speedy's drug addition and admitted that he failed his ward. So it could count or not count!)

I agree with the Commander that other writers ran with GA's abrasive personality because that was all they had to work with, similar to Hawkeye again. The Avengers weren't chock-filled with personality back then either. Cap=depressed veteran, Quicksilver= over protective and arrogant, Scarlet Witch= over protected yet slightly defiant. Hawkeye was a breath of creative fresh air and so was the early 70s Green Arrow. I think the Emerald Archer did change his attitude.

He just didn't tell anyone!

Even back then, I found it almost ludicrous how the writers had to so warp the way real people and real groups behave, just so the Green Arrow could keep on being a loudmouthed gadfly.

 

I’ve been on my share of elite operational teams, and believe me, not one of them would have tolerated someone as abrasive and contentious as Green Arrow for long.  Someone that ready to argue with anyone in the group loses the faith and confidence of the group---and that disrupts operations.  A real-world team would have marginalised G.A., and if he still didn’t get the message, it would have bounced the hothead.

 

The short form:  G.A.’s attitude just wasn’t professional.

 

Nor was I impressed by the idea that no matter how much G.A. gave Hawkman grief, deep down he really loved the guy.  That’s Writer’s Cliché # 47.  Real people don’t act like that.  I have had colleagues who had ideologies contrary to my own.  If those matters came up, we discussed them dispassionately, and if we couldn’t do that, we just didn’t discuss them at all.  Otherwise, the harmony of the workplace is disrupted.  That’s the way mature people conduct themselves.

 

When the Black Canary told G.A. that Hawkman had returned to Thanagar, at the end of JLA # 109, that panel showing a tear running down G.A.’s cheek is supposed to be a Touching Moment of “Awwwwwwww . . . “  But all it did was make me think, “If you cared for the guy so much, why did you give him such a hard time, you jerk?”

 

The writers argued that G.A.’s attitude was necessary to keep the JLA from forgetting that protecting people was important.  It seems to me that the Justice League already knew that.  When it kept villains like Starro or the Three Demons from conquering or destroying Earth, that protected a whole lot of people.  Billions of them. 

 

And yes, there are “small cases.”  Those are the sort of things that the super-heroes tackle on their own.  The whole purpose of the Justice League was to handle the threats too large for one super-hero to handle himself.  The idea that the entire JLA should pounce on drug dealers and greedy landlords is as absurd as calling away the police SWAT team to deal with your upstairs neighbor who plays his stereo too loud.

 

All of those excuses for the Green Arrow being a royal pain didn’t hold water---but it was the best the writers could come up with.

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