Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Green Lama returns

Way back in early December, in a fit of nostalgia, I wrote a short piece about "Green" heroes in comic book history. Yesterday, much to my surprise, while browsing through Comic Store Guy's new selection of comics, I came across a comic featuring the unmistakable artwork of Alex Ross, and a VERY familiar figure -- the Green Lama!

Yes, the world's first Buddhist superhero is back, in VERY fine form, along with a whole, exciting slew of Golden Age heroes who have long since fallen into public domain. Dynamite Entertainment has finally released the long-promised first issue of Project Superpowers (Issue #0), and it is well worth picking up. Ross doesn't illustrate the entire issue (he and Jim Krueger share the writing duties), but the interior artwork served up by Stephen Sadowski, Doug Klauba, and Captain Moreno is gorgeous.

Ross fans will notice parallels between Project Superpowers and his other works, particularly in the aged protagonist being manipulated by spirits a la Kingdom Come. Project Superpowers #0 also makes use of two tried-and-true chestnuts of superhero plotting -- "Hitler Is Obsessed With The Occult," and, "Let's Throw Obscure Golden-Age Heroes Into A Modern/Future Setting." HOWEVER, Project Superpowers takes these familiar plot devices and essentially turns them on their ears. There are some very interesting twists in the proceedings.

The main protagonist of this first issue is the Fighting Yank (Yankee), who is now aged and struggling with the sins of his past -- and being plagued by two spirits with completely different agendas. Green Lama serves as a philosophical counterpoint to the Fighting Yank, and is also somewhat feared by the Fighting Yank, for a very good reason. Green Lama also views the occult issues at work with a healthy dose of skepticism as he teams up with the Fighting Yank and other superhero colleagues to battle the evils of World War II.

I won't go into more detail, especially since Issue #0 presents only the setup. But it's a GREAT setup, and it definitely promises even greater things to come.

My only complaint is that I wish the creative team had taken time to explain who all of these Golden Age characters are up front, since most readers aren't likely to be familiar with heroes like the Mighty Samson or the original Daredevil (now called "Death-Defying Devil"). Still, the comic is a great read with plenty of action and fabulous art, and my guess is the series will get around to filling in the information gaps in very short order. Definitely a must-have issue, and a title worth watching, in my opinion.

Now, if only someone would bring back Green Turtle ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Green Arrow challenge continues!

Green Arrow is certainly good at coming up with interesting and completely unnecessary uses for his trick arrows:

Most belltowers DO have steps leading up to them, so they could have just walked upstairs and tied a new line onto the bell. However, if Ollie feels that strongly about using an arrow to tie his line onto a dingus, then more power to him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ollie meets Bono! (Well, no, not really)

Before I submit today's entry for Sally's ongoing Green Arrow weird-arrow challenge, I just gotta say ... Mr. Sea and I just returned from the Indiana State Museum, where we saw U2 3D at the IMAX theater. Wow. That was by far the most astonishing concert film I've ever seen -- and I'm only a mild U2 fan. Highly recommended for people who don't mind feeling -- er -- vertigo from watching 3D imagery on a screen that big.

And while we were at the IMAX, apparently we missed out on a tornado and a drop in temperature from the mid-50s(F) to the mid-20s(F) in less than one hour. Oh, well. That's Indiana for you.

Anyhoo, on to Green Arrow's weird arrows. I found THIS little gem today:

So, in order to be able to use remote control on an arrow, doesn't the arrow need to stay airborne for a rather extended (and ridiculous) period of time? I love comic book physics.


Monday, January 28, 2008

"New arrow's a success! Time to GET NAKED!"

Sally at Green Lantern Butts Forever has issued a challenge! I'm now on a quest to find evidence of some of the weirdest arrows in Green Arrow's arsenal. Well, I'm still looking through my comic collection for some truly good ones. For the time being, though, I DID find this nifty little sequence showing Oliver Queen's approach to fine-tuning and testing his arrows:

Okay, so I guess the cocoon arrow is a bit weird, but ... Gosh, I wonder if Ollie strips all the way down to his birthday suit after EVERY successful arrow test? I'll bet he ain't even wearing socks. Woo hoo!

(We never see Hal Jordan strip after testing his power ring, though. Hardly seems fair.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And now for a parody ...

(Click on image for a view that's actually large enough to read.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Life on Mars?

Today, BBC News reported that NASA has released an image taken by the Spirit spacecraft showing what many people believe is proof of life on Mars. The photo depicts a mysterious, manlike shape amongst some rocks on the planet's surface:

Maybe these guys should read more comic books.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Ask nicely, and MAYBE we'll help!"

Justice League members seem to have some pretty strange notions about when they should actually step in to help somebody:

"...'cause, you know, damned if we're gonna help Green Lantern unless he follows emergency signal protocol or says 'pretty please.'"

Of course, Hal may just be stuck in the bathroom -- in which case Superman's attitude is perfectly understandable.

(But then ya gotta wonder, why is Superman spying on someone in the can ...? Ahh, never mind.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Being a sexy super-hero ain't easy, PART 4

Hal Jordan seems to have a problem in that super-villains are always falling in love with him. This problem also seems to have its roots in the earliest days of his Green Lantern career, per this early altercation with the Invisible Destroyer:

"A nibble on the collar bone always leaves me breathless!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Being a sexy super-hero ain't easy, PART 3

Sometimes Hal Jordan's ego is his worst enemy:

"Are you serious?! Damn, Lantern, didn't you read that Cialis warning label? It states quite clearly that for 'an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help.' And you've waited FIVE DAYS?!?"

"Hey, Ollie -- I'm Hal Jordan. I have my reputation to consider!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Green Lantern-Green Arrow #110: "Who were those masked men?"

There are many Green Lantern stories that are deliberately humorous, but following is probably one of the most humorous stories from the Green Lantern-Green Arrow tales of the 1970s. Written by Denny O'Neal and illustrated by the incomparable Mike Grell, Green Lantern-Green Arrow #110 places Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen in a setting so full of cliches that the creative team must’ve had giggle fits while working on it:

The story begins in Green Arrow’s indoor practice range in Star City. Ollie, in full uniform, is in a great mood because Roy has just given him “genuine American Indian archery gear!” He's having a good time running around in a full-blown Sioux headdress while shooting at a cowboy dummy: "Wa-HOOO! Take THAT, you cow-kissin' paleface!"

Hal is there, in his civies and slumped in a doorway. He’s decidedly bummed because Carol Ferris has just dumped him for the umpteenth time. Ollie invites Hal to stay for dinner (“Dinah’s bringing!”) and proceeds to bad-mouth Carol in an attempt to cheer up his friend. Unfortunately for him, Dinah arrives just in time to overhear all the verbal woman-bashing that’s going on. She gets a wee bit ticked off at Ollie and storms off (see Green Lantern History #4: Hal's Gals for the entire sequence).

So, Green Arrow and Green Lantern are left to their own devices. Not only that, they have free rein to go off and be idiots without Black Canary around to point out that they’re being, well, idiots.

At this time in his history, Hal is employed as a truck driver, and he has a habit of leaving his rig floating around in Earth's orbit when he's not working. (Hal must use really good antifreeze. Note to citrus distributors: NEVER hire Hal Jordan to deliver your goods.) Hal says he has to go inspect his truck, and Ollie elects to accompany him via one of Hal’s ring-generated space bubbles: “A little hop into space might be a real mood-lifter!”

While in space checking on the truck, Hal and Ollie encounter the Silver Twist. The Silver Twist is a convenient plot device that shows up fairly regularly in GL-GA stories in the mid-to-late 1970s. It's basically a large, mysterious object floating around in space that flings anyone who touches it into other dimensions or planes of existence.

Suddenly, out of one end of the Silver Twist comes a burst of energy and a figure that looks somewhat like a man with four arms (no, not Salaak). The figure disappears into the other end of the Silver Twist, but the energy discharge knocks one of Earth's nuclear-powered satellites out of orbit. The satellite plummets straight toward Columbus, Ohio.

Hal chases down the satellite and places it back into orbit, courtesy of some giant green tongs and a tennis racket. “Ohio's too nice to have a radioactive hole in the middle of its biggest city.” he says.

“Yeah,” Ollie replies, “The chamber of commerce would be really miffed.”

Because his space sector has been violated, Hal is determined to go after the four-armed alien in the Silver Twist. He gives Ollie a choice to either accompany him or be taken home to Star City. Ollie decides to come along.

Hal touches the Silver Twist, and ZAP -- he and Ollie are no longer in a traditional superhero setting:

Ollie abruptly abandons his stubborn sit-down in the middle of the street when his hat gets shot off, and the cowboys start spraying the street with bullets. “Okay, OKAY--!” Ollie yells, “I believe!”

For some reason, Hal's ring isn't working properly, and instead of his regular archery equipment, Ollie has the bow and arrows that Roy gave him. Lacking reliable weaponry, Hal and Ollie take refuge behind a water trough while the cowboys continue shooting at them.

Hal tries to get his ring to work, but all it will do is fire a simple energy beam. Ever the resourceful archer, though, Ollie finds a way to put his less-than-tricky bow and arrows to use. He manages to fire an arrow down the barrel of every gun aimed at him.

“Gol-DERN!” one of the cowboys yells in surprise.

“Must be a hull tribe of redskins thar!” yells another one -- the sheriff -- who happens to be wearing a Green Lantern badge on his coat.

Suddenly, another group of gunslingers shows up:

“Got a scorecard … or a rule book?” Ollie asks Hal. “Heck, I’d settle for a garden-variety explanation!”

“Our ambushers are being ambushed!” Hal replies. “Those characters circled ‘round behind them while they were plinking at us!

Just as Hal points out that the four-armed alien is the same one they were chasing through the Silver Twist, an energy weapon blasts its way through the water trough and hits Hal squarely in the chest:

With Hal down for the count, Ollie decides it’s time to make a run for it. He throws Hal over his shoulders and ducks into the nearest building, which appears to be the local saloon. Of course, the saloon is full of angry cowboys, all waving pistols at Ollie:

Before the cowboys can shoot, Ollie is rescued by "Miz Lulu," the local saloon madame/dance-hall floozy:

Miz Lulu instructs Ollie to place Hal on a nearby table (“I’ve doctored a bit--"), but both are shocked when they get a good look at Hal. In the middle of Hal's chest -- in the regular spot for his uniform's Green Lantern insignia -- the uniform is burned away, revealing a huge burn mark in the shape of the GL symbol. Ollie is kinda grossed out by it, but Miz Lulu seems a bit impressed.

"Is he a ... lawman?" Lulu asks Ollie.

“Kind of,” says Ollie. “How'd you guess?”

“No guess, mister,” Lulu replies. “That's a sheriff's badge on his chest, ain't it?”

No, the sheriff who got gunned down in the middle of the street was not a Green Lantern. Ollie figures out that wherever he and Hal have landed, the Lantern symbol “stands for law and order instead of a star!”

Hal regains consciousness and sits up. "Hey, surprise! I'm alive!" he says.

Ollie and Lulu hasten to fill Hal in on what’s going on. Hal doesn’t seem at all concerned about having a Green Lantern symbol branded onto his chest; rather, he seems more than interested in the Wild West setting they’re in.

Since their sheriff has been gunned down, the locals elect Hal as "chief cop of Coyote Gulch,” and the Clancy Bunch is now his responsibility. Turns out the Clancy Bunch wants to turn Coyote Gulch into an “outlaw town.” The town had been successful in keeping the outlaws at bay until the four-armed gunslinger “stranger” arrived. The cowboys say the “stranger” has been around for a month, leading Hal and Ollie to determine that the Silver Twist warps time in addition to its other abilities.

“Our work’s cut out for us, right?” Ollie asks Hal. “To nail Four-Arms, we gotta whip the Clancys!”

“Afraid so,” says Hal. “Before we try, though, we’d better check our resources!”

Hal tries to use his power ring again, but it still isn’t working properly. It won’t generate force fields or allow him to fly. But Hal can't resist an opportunity to try shooting up the bar:

Hal, Ollie, and Miz Lulu step outside the saloon to face Rance Clancy. “Speak your piece, you stinker!” Lulu yells. Rance Clancy obliges:

Hal turns to Lulu. “Borch is the alie -- I mean, the newcomer?” he asks.

“Yes!” says Lulu.

“’Borch,’ huh?” says Ollie. “Sounds like a case of indigestion!”

Hal accepts Rance Clancy's proposal, and then he, Ollie, and Lulu duck back into the saloon to plan for the upcoming shootout.

While the other cowboys are milling about in anticipation of the coming fight, and Ollie is lounging around in the background (and probably rolling his eyes), Lulu takes the opportunity to cozy up to Hal at the bar.

“You sure you want to go through with this?” she asks him.

“A man's got to do what a man's got to do,” Hal replies.

Hal then grabs a parka from the bar, snatches a hat off a cowboy's head, and heads for the door. By the time he's outside, he's fully dressed in these items, and darned if he doesn't resemble Clint Eastwood in a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western:

"At last ... I understand why the Lantern never misses a John Wayne movie," Ollie quips. "He eats this stuff with a spoon!"

Four-armed Borch is there in the street, waiting for Hal. Hal asks the alien who he is and why he's there, and the alien's reply is first cryptic ("I jump from existence to existence, forever seeking") and then uncoorperative ("You could not possibly understand! Nor shall I explain!").

Meanwhile, the rest of the Clancy bunch is sneaking around behind the buildings, trying to set up a good shot at Hal. Unfortunately for them, Ollie is also sneaking around behind the buildings, and he manages to get the drop on them before they can get off a shot. "Your show, Lantern!" Ollie yells at Hal.

The locals run out of the bar, cheering. While the locals take Borch into custody, Hal brings up the concern that perhaps he and Ollie are trapped in this Wild West setting. Ollie isn't worried, though, because earlier when his hat was shot off, it fell into a hole in the middle of the street -- "and vanished! Looks like a rift between the universes!"

Hal and Ollie wave their farewells and jump into the rift, trusting that Hal's ring will start working properly to protect them once they're in the other universe. Sure enough, the boys end up back in their own universe, right about the time they left it, and Hal's ring is working fine. He generates a bubble around them and heads for home.

"No sign of the Twist," says Ollie. "Any further ideas about it?"

"A wild surmise ..." Hal replies. "It probes our subconscious and creates realities from the contents of our minds! You were playing Westerner -- remember?"

However ...


Here's a question, though: Whatever happened to the big Green Lantern brand on Hal's chest? I guess we'll never know.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Green Lantern Corps #211: Pink Elephants

The other day, while reading a copy of Green Lantern Corps #20, Mr. Sea looked up at me and said, “They’re opening a bar on Oa? So what happens if you get a bunch of Green Lanterns drunk?”

Ah. Longtime Green Lantern readers already know the answer to that question. Which reminds me -- Wow, New Year’s Day came and went without any mention of a certain little gem from Green Lantern history. Time to make up for the oversight and examine Green Lantern Corps #211, from 1986, which definitely answers the question of what does happen when a bunch of Green Lanterns get drunk.

First, a little background information: During DC Comics’ initial Crisis of Infinite Earths, many members of the Green Lantern Corps lost their planets and sectors, and they were given leave to serve where they chose. A few alien Lanterns -- Katma Tui, Kilowog, Ch’P, Salaak (whose name is spelled “Salakk” in this particular story), and Arisia -- chose to team up with Hal Jordan and John Stewart, forming what became known, for a time, as the Green Lantern Corps of Earth:

Guy Gardner was included with the group -- sort of. For various reasons he didn’t earn any friends among the Corps during Crisis (and Hal ended up flat-out HATING Guy). However, back on Earth, Guy did help a few Corps members with a situation in Russia -- so he was kinda welcome in the GLC citadel headquarters outside of Los Angeles. (The GLC citadel, by the way, was situated in a very woodsy and mountainous region, and somewhat resembled a ski lodge.)

Green Lantern Corps #211 begins at the GLC citadel on New Year's Eve. Hal Jordan (who more or less functions as the GLC leader) has all of the GLs on duty so they can "fix the mistakes the drunks are sure to make." It should be pointed out, though, that despite supposedly being on duty, for some reason Hal is the only Lantern running around in civies (including his bomber jacket) instead of his GL uniform.

Guy Gardner is giving Hal a hard time, saying that everyone needs to "loosen up ... like the resta' the world!" Hal and the other GLs blow him off, though, so Guy decides one way or another he's going to make them loosen up.

The scene abruptly shifts to a party in L.A. that's being attended by Kari Limbo. Kari Limbo is a very talented fortune teller who also happens to be an ex-girlfriend of both Guy Gardner AND Hal Jordan (see Green Lantern History #4: Hal's Gals for more information). Kari is still carrying a torch for Guy, and she also feels kind of responsible for him, but Guy really doesn't want to have anything to do with her anymore.

At any rate, Kari suddenly leaves the party without giving anyone an explanation.

The scene shifts back to Guy, who is standing outside of the GLC citadel and consulting his ring for "equivalents for alcohol" for the aliens ... "stuff I can mix with water an' make come out tasteless, to get everybody in that citadel drunk on their butts."

Sure enough, Guy spikes the citadel water supply. The Green Lanterns must be a pretty thirsty bunch, because in no time at all, ALL of them consume some of the water, and one by one they all become completely plastered.

The first victims are Hal and Arisia. Both of them drink up while Arisia is trying to convince Hal that maybe they should go party and leave Salakk to monitor things, pointing out (quite rightly) that Salakk's rather-grouchy alien race isn't exactly known for partying. The point very quickly becomes moot, though. After a couple of swigs of water, Hal and Arisia are utterly blotto, and it quickly becomes obvious that they're very, er, friendly drunks. (Really, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that Hal, in particular, is that type of drunk.)

While Hal and Arisia are all over each other like frolicking otters, Salakk staggers into the room. No surprise, grouchy ol’ Salakk turns out to be a mean drunk. “I can beat any Glan’ern inna house--!” he yells -- then he promptly falls flat on his face and passes out:

“Le’s g’outta here--!” says Arisia.

Hal and Arisia manage to get their paws off each other just long enough to stagger out of the citadel and head toward the woods, laughing the whole way. They stagger past Guy Gardner without even noticing he’s there. When Hal and Arisia are just out of sight, they start foolin' around, rather noisily, in the trees. Guy smirks and mutters, “Happy New Year, Jordan.”

Guy walks into the citadel and encounters Ch’P, who appears to be a happy drunk. The cute little critter is singing and dancing around.

“Gardn’r!” Ch’P calls to Guy. “Hey, ya came back! Heyyy! Wanna dance?”

“Sorry, Ch’P,” Guy replies. “My dance card’s full!”

“S’too BA-AD!” says Ch’P. “I’m drunk’sa -– drunk’sa-–“

“--Skunk!” Guy finishes for him, which Ch’P apparently finds hilarious:

Guy walks away from Ch’P and happens upon Kilowog, who is one very depressed drunk. During a previous incident in the Soviet Union involving several Lanterns, Kilowog lost someone he thought of as a friend. In his drunken stupor, Kilowog is blaming himself for his friend’s death. His way of handling his depression involves sitting on the citadel steps and repeatedly punching himself in the head:

Lastly, Guy spies on John Stewart and Katma Tui, who are stretched out on a rug in front of the fireplace and being very romantic drunks -- and having trouble pronouncing the world beautiful:

Katma: "Booful!"

John: "Booful?"

Katma: "Byoo-ti-ful! Be-YOO-tee-ful! Full of be-TOO-teeee!"

Suddenly, John proposes to Katma: "Marry me, Kat-lady!" Katma accepts, and the two give each other a very romantic kiss -- much to Guy's disgust:

Guy turns away from John and Katma -- and runs into Kari Limbo! It seems she's come to the citadel because she sensed that Guy was up to mischief. While lamenting a previous failure to "restore" Guy to the way he'd been during their relationship, she suddenly produces a syringe and jabs Guy in the neck with it.

Guy reels backward: "What was ... that--?"

"It came from the water tap," Kari replies. "You tell me!"

"Well ... Whadd' I care" says Guy, who's now as drunk as the other Lanterns. "I'ma one wannda party inna firs' place--! An' you -- Kari Bimbo! You gonna watch me get silly now--?"

"No!" says Kari, taking a drink of water so she's as drunk as Guy. "We're -- we're in this -- togedder--! To-geth-er!"

Guy stomps off and leaves Kari, and Hal and Arisia both stagger back in from frolicking in the woods (yes, they're both fully clothed):

Kari turns around, and Hal instantly recognizes her -- and he and Arisia both have one of those "Oh-CRAP-ex-girlfriend" moments. Kari hastens to assure Arisia that it isn't Hal she's after.

“I don’ wan’ HAL ‘ny more!” Kari tells Arisia. “B’lieve me –- I’m drunkanuff ta tellya the truth! Don’ wan im!”

“Oh--“ says Hal, no doubt feeling a blow to his pride. “Well--!”

Kari starts crying about Guy. While Hal and Arisia try to calm her down, John and Katma walk into the room.

"Hey, guys!" says John. "Dunno whatcher talkin' about. But we've got great news, you all! GREAT news!"

“John has asked me to marry im' -- an’ I said Y-E-S!” says Katma.

Suddenly, everyone is interrupted by Ch’P, who makes an abrupt switch from happy drunk to depressed drunk. VERY depressed drunk. He starts bawling his head off. “I lost my WIFE!” he cries. “I lost my WIFE an’ my FRIENDS an’ -- an’ -- my whole SECTOR--! BAWWWWWWW!”

Kilowog stops punching himself in the head, crawls up to Ch’P, and awkwardly tries to pat his hand (awkward because Kilowog’s hand is bigger than Ch’P’s entire head). “I know, GL--" says Kilowog. “I KNOW! I lost MY frien’, too, in Russia -- n’ I lost MY sector, jus’ like you!”

Overcome with sympathy, Katma Tui and Kari Limbo both rush toward Kilowog and Ch’P.

“I lost half of m’sector--!” says Katma Tui.

“An’ I lost my man--!” says Kari.

All four collapse on the floor together and fling their arms around each other -- and suddenly there are four depressed drunks:

John, Hal, and Arisia all stare at each other, utterly confused.

“What’s goin’ on here?” asks John.

“Gar’ner!” says Hal. “It’s gotta be Gar’ner!”

“Le’s GETTIM!” Arisia snarls.

The three of them rush outside, where Guy is hanging from a tree branch and laughing his head off.

“Wha’dja doodawuss --?” Hal demands.

"I madeja party hearty, wimps!" Guy replies. "You always wanna tell me how human y'are 'n' how limited I am! Well I'll showya who's limited!"

Guy jumps down to the ground, whereupon Hal immediately blasts him with his power ring.

"G'wan!" Hal yells. "Show me. You d'generate, d'gusting --! Show me wha' kinda Green Lantern you are, once 'n' f'r'all!"

"You bet!" Guy yells back. "Oh, you bet! I was just hopin'--!"

Suddenly, all of them get blasted off their feet by a bolt of pink energy that comes down from the sky: KRAKA-DOOM!

"We're unner attack!" Arisia yells.

Hal, John, and Arisia all gang up on Guy and tell him to get rid of whatever is making them drunk. Grudgingly, Guy uses his ring to clean them up ("Instant Prohibition," plus Hal is finally in uniform), and then all four Lanterns fly upward and encounter ... pink elephants?

Yes, the Green Lanterns are being attacked by pink elephants. Flying pink elephants that appear very alien and very grouchy.

"Your year ends, and so do your lives, Green Lanterns!" says one of the elephants.

The four Lanterns start battling the pink elephants, all the while exchanging insults with one another (well, okay, Hal and John are insulting Guy -- and vice versa).

Meanwhile, Arisia (usually the most observant member of the Green Lantern Corps of Earth) is the only Lantern asking where the heck the alien elephants came from and why they're attacking. Then one of the elephants yells, "Die, John Stewart, die!" -- and Arisia pieces everything together. The pink elephants seem very familiar to her:

"Oh my god--!" says Hal, finally figuring out what Arisia already knows. He immediately turns to Guy. "What did you use to get Salakk drunk?" he demands.

"Salakk--?" says Guy. "Hell, I dunno!"

Yes indeed, it turns out the alien pink elephants are being generated by drunken Salakk's ring while he's passed out on the citadel floor. (Note: In older stories, it wasn't unusual for Green Lanterns to be able to generate ring forms in their sleep, or generate ring forms in colors other than green.)

Guy aims a beam at the citadel to wake up Salakk. When Salakk comes to ("SNFF! SNRRT! FRRAGH!"), the elephants disappear.

Later, in the citadel, the Green Lanterns are "restored to sobriety." All of them have terrible hangovers ...

... and all of them want to kick Guy's butt across the cosmos:

For his part, Hal kicks Guy out of the group once and for all, saying he doesn't want Guy around them "ever again!" Guy retorts that the Justice League wants him, so he's going to join them. Hal doesn't believe him -- and then Guy leaves, claming he's going to lead the Justice League.

They're both wrong. Guy does end up joining one of the most colorful incarnations of the Justice League, but he certainly doesn't become the leader.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The latest weird reason for missing a writing deadline

Editors who have worked with authors as long as I have (18 years and counting) often keep lists of the zillions of excuses and (yes, sometimes legitimate) reasons as to why authors miss their deadlines. I swear, at least 50 percent of all authors miss their deadlines on a consistent basis. Of course, all editors want to believe the authors who promise to meet their deadlines. Sadly, though, most editors have been disappointed so many times that they’ve become very cynical about the whole deadline issue. At the beginning of a project, whenever an author says to me, “I’ve never missed a deadline,” all it tells me is that he or she is almost guaranteed to miss a deadline.

There are, of course, plenty of legitimate, mundane reasons for missing a deadline, such as the author becoming ill, or computer-related problems. Heck, I’m a writer myself, and I’ve missed a couple of deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances (power outages and such).

Then there are the more dramatic reasons, like, “My dog died,” or, “My grandmother died,” or, “My wife went into labor.” Let’s face it, folks -- some things are just more important than meeting a writing deadline. These are all perfectly good reasons to miss a deadline -- assuming the authors giving the reasons aren’t lying through their teeth. Yes, some authors do lie. I once had an author who was a little too fond of the “grandmother died” excuse. Either his grandmother had a knack for coming back to life, or he had six grandmothers who all died the same year.

Nothing quite catches an editor’s attention, though, like a truly weird reason -- or excuse -- for missing a deadline.

For instance, there was the author I had who missed a deadline because he closed his garage door on his head.

Then there was the author who had a tree fall on her when she was out walking her dog.

There was also the author who missed his deadline because he got deported.

And then there’s the excuse I heard TODAY: Apparently, the author missed his deadline because two weeks ago, he spilled something on his kitchen floor. The floor was ruined, so he began pulling it up to repair it. It’s been taking much longer than he anticipated to repair his kitchen floor, so he absolutely will not be able to finish his writing until next Friday.


That has to be one of the weirdest and lamest excuses I’ve ever heard for missing a deadline -– and I thought I’d heard ‘em all. And what the heck did this guy spill on his floor, anyway? Alien acid?

Perhaps the authors who have mental blocks about meeting deadlines should look to the authors who bend over backwards to meet their deadlines. Yes, those types of authors do exist. Over the holidays, one of my authors suffered a heart attack. In spite of that, he kept writing, and succeeded in meeting his January deadline. I offered to extend the deadline for him, but he wouldn’t accept it. He said he didn’t have anything else to do, anyway, because he was stuck in bed.

I once had an author for whom DEATH wasn’t a deterrent from meeting his deadline. He died halfway through writing his book. His wife stepped in and finished writing the book for him, saying that working on the book had been so important to her husband that she wanted to make sure the writing was finished. She met the original deadline, and she did an absolutely superb job with the writing. Her husband would have been very proud of the finished book.

Those are extreme examples, of course. Most deadline issues aren’t nearly as dramatic. Deadlines, after all, are merely a necessary evil in the publishing world. They’re set up to ensure that the publishing companies release enough product on a consistent basis to bring in revenue and keep the companies in business. As long as there are publishing companies, there are going to be deadlines -- and there are going to be authors and editors battling to meet (or miss) those deadlines. You can also bet there are going to be editors who keep compiling lists of reasons as to why authors miss deadlines.

At the top of my list is a quote from a truly wonderful author who gave me one of the most disarming reasons I’ve ever heard for missing a deadline: “I’m really very sorry I missed my deadline. I am an idiot.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Comics vs. trade collections: Different content

For quite a long time now, it's been common practice for comic book publishers to reprint comics in trade or graphic novel form once a comic book storyline reaches completion. Readers with enough patience often wait for the trade releases of storylines rather than buy the individual comics. After all, the trade collections contain the same content that was in the original comics, right?

WRONG. Take the following example:

Recently, DC Comics republished Green Lantern (2007) issues 14 through 20 in a hardback volume called Green Lantern -- Wanted: Hal Jordan:

Now take, for the sake of comparison, an original copy of Green Lantern #20 (2007) ...

... which is supposedly faithfully reproduced in Green Lantern -- Wanted: Hal Jordan. Take a look at this four-panel sequence from the comic book:

Now, compare the previous sequence with the following four panels, taken from the hardback book:

The artwork is the same, but the dialog is VERY different.

Here's another example. First, here are two panels from the comic book:

Here are the same panels from the hardback book:

MUCH different information between the two!

One more example. Two panels from the comic book:

The same two panels from the hardback book.

There are even more differences between the comic book and the trade book, but you get the idea. Comic books and trade collections are not created equal!