Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why we love Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan

There are MANY reasons to love Hal Jordan. We love Hal Jordan because ...

1. Hal Jordan is an arrogant bastard.

2. Hal Jordan is a reckless bastard.

3. Hal Jordan is a careless bastard.

4. Hal Jordan is a promiscuous bastard.

Waitaminute ... something's not quite right here. Just WHY do we love this bastard ...? Oh, wait, I remember:

5. BEST ASS in the DC Universe!

(Or BIGGEST ass in the DC Universe -- you decide!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kilowog, and the perils of hanging around with Earthmen

Good ol' Kilowog. In many ways, he's the wisest of the Green Lanterns. He also hangs around with the guys from Earth perhaps a little too much:

On second thought, if Kilowog has to ask THAT question, maybe he hasn't been hanging around with the Earthmen enough!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ivan Reis: The Green Lantern power ring charge

Artwork time! Please forgive me for crowing, but I'm SO HAPPY to have secured one of my favorite Ivan Reis Green Lantern pages, AND Reis's rough draft of the same page. Presenting, from Green Lantern #14 (2006), Ivan Reis's take on Hal Jordan charging up his power ring.

Here's Reis's rough draft:

Here's the finished page, inked by Oclair Albert:

Here's how the final page looks in the actual comic book, complete with lettering and Moose Bauman's colors:

Now I gotta figure out how to frame all this stuff.

Gosh, how I miss Moose.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thank you, Jim Lee!

For a while now, artist Jim Lee has been penciling Frank Miller's woefully hilarious (intentionally or unintentionally) and over-the-top series, All Star Batman and Robin -- a series cheerfully referred to as "Goddamn Batman" by many readers. I know comic book artists have to do their best with the material they're given, but I've been particularly ticked off about how one of my favorite characters, Hal Jordan, has been depicted in the series. Oh, Mr. Lee's art is ALWAYS superb, but I've been feeling (admittedly unfairly) judgmental regarding his treatment of Hal Jordan -- The artist has been "guilty by association" and all that.

That is, I DID feel that way, until THIS showed up in the mail, from a friend:

Oh. Oh my. What a lovely illustration of Hal and Ollie -- and that's just the cover of this excellent little sketchbook of Mr. Lee's. Anyone interested in Mr. Lee's art should grab a copy. The drawings it contains are simply gorgeous!

Thank you, Mr. Lee! Thank you for doing right by my beloved Hard-Traveling Heroes! Please forgive me for getting grumpy at you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Green Lantern: “Hip Jordan Makes the Scene!”

Some comic book stories transcend the era in which they were created and thrill generations for decades to come. Some DON’T transcend their eras, and in fact become somewhat painful to read (or hilarious, depending on your point of view) decades down the line. For example, take the following tale from Green Lantern #71 (1969).

The story opens at one of the many Jordan family gatherings that occurred in Green Lantern comics in the 1960s.

(Note: In the Silver Age, Hal Jordan's family was HUGE -- much bigger than the families of most super-heroes -- and many ‘60s Green Lantern stories focused on Hal’s relatives, particularly his brothers, Jack and Jim.)

Suddenly, a gate-crasher shows up!

Eek! It’s a .... a .... hippie!

Even worse, he's from Tennessee instead of California! Oh, horrors!

Susan Jordan, wife of Hal’s younger brother, Jim, hauls her poor hubby into another room and starts giving him hell about Hip Jordan. Apparently, Susan is not very fond of hippies.

Poor Jim Jordan. Throughout Green Lantern comic book history, Jim has always been a very nice, very sweet guy -- the most likeable member of Hal Jordan’s family, by a landslide. And here, Susan thinks Jim is Green Lantern, and she wants Green Lantern to do something about that hippie.

A big reason why Susan married Jim in the first place was because she thought she was getting Green Lantern as a husband in the bargain. And no matter how much or how vehemently Jim denies being Green Lantern, Susan refuses to believe him.

Y'know, Jim -- if you want to convince Susan that you're NOT Green Lantern, flashing your pectorals probably isn't a good way to go about it.

Here, Jim has no idea that his no-good test-pilot brother, Hal, is actually Green Lantern -- and Hal, for his part, has absolutely no sympathy for his brother. In fact, Hal often goes out of his way to build upon the case of mistaken identity, to the extent that Jim has actually ended up being dressed as Green Lantern on several occasions -- which is why Jim has a Green Lantern costume in his closet:

In other words, GO GET THAT HIPPIE, Jim! Because Green Lantern has nothing else better to do than to keep the world safe from hippies! And, you know, hippies think Green Lantern is soooooo SCARY.

Meanwhile, in the next room, Hip Jordan has found that he can hear what Susan and Jim are saying -- and he hears Susan call Jim “Green Lantern.”

Hey, whattaya know -- Green Lantern really does scare hippies! Must be all that bright light -- it’s just a little too trippy.

While Hip Jordan vacates the premises, Jim very reluctantly steps out as Green Lantern and starts walking the grounds. Wow, Susan really has the poor boy whipped.

Hey, Hip -- doesn't the fact that Green Lantern is obviously a relative of yours mean anything to you?

Nope, guess not.

Suddenly, Hip Jordan leaps out and whacks Jim in the head!

Oh, no! Knocked out by a hippie!

(Hey, that’s one Jordan whacking another Jordan in the head. There’s an inside joke there somewhere ...)

Hip Jordan now has “Green Lantern” completely at his mercy, and he gets a bright idea: “Fer weeks I been tryin’ to join up with the Black Scooter gang -- real cool operators! But they kept shooin’ me away ... Maybe I kin BUY my way in -- by handin’ Green Lantern over to ‘em!”

(‘Cause, you know, hippies don’t just hang around with Ken Kesey and Tom Wolfe and drink Kool-Aid. Nope. ALL hippies want to be criminals!)

Hip Jordan throws Jim over his shoulders and hurries away.

Meanwhile, back in the house, Uncle Titus is proving that his priorities are a bit different from those of the other Jordans:

That’s right -- to hell with the family members, where the #&%*# is the CAR!?! Lousy hippie stole the car!

Of course, Susan isn’t worried -- she’s downright thrilled that Jim is out there playing super-hero. At least Hal decides to find out what’s going on:

Hal orders his ring to locate Jim, and he has no problem tracking down the stolen Rolls Royce with Hip Jordan at the wheel. Lousy hippie stole the car AND yer brother, Hal!

Hip stops the car at a “house on Route 804” and hands Jim (still unconscious) over to the Black Scooter gang.

Green Lantern’s been caught by a hippie? Even the crooks don’t believe it.

The gang members strap a “plastic bomb” around Jim’s neck and hand the detonator to Hip. (“Groovy!”)

Jim finally wakes up:

Hal orders his ring to melt all the guns before the baddies can start shooting, but then Hip threatens to use the detonator and blow up Jim: "Throw down your power ring in front of me -- right now -- or he gets it!"

Oh, no! You can’t let that hippie blow up your brother, Hal!

Hal tosses down his power ring, and when Hip bends down to pick it up, it paralyzes him. Apparently, Hal gave the ring a mental "pre-command" to paralyze Hip the instant he touched the ring, thus stopping him from using the detonator.

Not having his ring doesn't stop Hal from taking out the other bad guys.

Afterwards, Hal turns his mangy hippie cousin and the Black Scooter gang over to the cops. Jim then begs a favor from Hal: “Would you do me a personal favor, Green Lantern? PLEASE show up at my Uncle Titus’s party tonight --?”

Jim finishes with the thought, -- and prove to my wife -- once and for all -- that I’m NOT Green Lantern!

“Er--“ says Hal. “All right, Jim! I’ll be there!”

Later, back at the party:

Hal is SO mean to his brother. Jerk.

Oh, well. At least they got rid of their no-good hippie relative from Tennessee, right? Better make sure there’s no Kool-Aid in that punch, though!

Story: John Broome; Art: Dick Dillin & Murphy Anderson

Monday, May 19, 2008

Carol Ferris and the Exploding Bra of Doom!

Poor Carol Ferris. Granted, some Green Lantern fans think she's kinda bitchy. However, she also receives many kudos from many other fans for being a very tough and independent woman -- especially since she's the longtime on-again/off-again love interest of Hal Jordan, who most CERTAINLY is NOT the easiest of men to put up with. (Really, being Hal Jordan's boss AND girlfriend is enough to make anyone bitchy.)

However, despite not having been around in the comics as long as Lois Lane, Carol Ferris has been subjected to more insults and injuries than just about any other super-hero's girlfriend. Over the years, poor Carol has been:

- Possessed by alien crystals.
- Kidnapped by villains and aliens of various sorts.
- Shot by various energy weapons.
- Rendered paralyzed (temporarily).
- Framed for murder.
- Used as an accomplice to murder.
- Subjected to having HER OWN murder faked.
- Subjected to alien possessions resulting in an interdimensional(?) pregnancy (or, at least, that's what appears to have happened ...).
- Enslaved by alien slave traders.
- Subjected to losing her company, and then getting it back, and then losing it again, and then getting it back again, etc., etc. -- through going bankrupt, through corporate takeover, and through having it blown up various times.
- Subjected to losing her boyfriend, and then getting him back, and then losing him again, and then getting him back, and then losing him again -- and then getting him back only to have him go crazy, DIE, come back to life, and get a new girlfriend...!

And -- hey -- Carol was once possessed by BOTH Star Sapphire AND Eclipso at the same time--!

Not to mention all those weird things that went on with Carol's various family members, especially her dad ...

Through it all, Carol has managed to stay sane, which is quite admirable considering the sheer number (and varieties) of indignities she's endured.

What's the worst indignity Carol Ferris has ever suffered? Arguably, it was probably the time she was kidnapped by Conrad Bloch and had a bomb strapped to her. The bomb, as this section from the cover of Green Lantern #140 (1981) shows, was molded and affixed to a VERY conspicuous part of Carol Ferris' anatomy:

Wow. Bombs come in a C-cup size. Ya learn something new every day.

Granted, Hal Jordan has also endured many embarrassing situations over the years, but nothing quite like this. In all fairness, he really should be subjected to a comparable indignity. It's LONG overdue.

So, Green Lantern creative team ... When are you gonna strap an exploding jock strap onto Hal Jordan? Huh? Huh? When?!?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Green Lantern #35 (1965): "The Eagle Crusader of Earth!"

Here's one of the weirder and goofier Hal Jordan tales, folks. It gives new meaning to the words, "It's a BIRD! It's a PLANE ...!"

One day, a lowly sheepherder is out in the country, tending his sheep and trying to brew a pot of coffee. SUDDENLY:

That's right, folks -- Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan is apparently trying to get himself a lampchop dinner. Look at him go!

The sheepherder actually has to fire a rifle into the air to scare off Green Lantern. SCOOT, you ornery critter!

Flappity, flappity, flap!

Ah, but it appears that our crazy, arm-flapping super-hero is being followed:

"Green Lantern's mind trapped inside the feathered body of a great golden eagle -- while the mind of the eagle inhabits the figure of the great crusader?!" gasps the narrative. "How could such a thing ever happen?"

(Hey, it's HAL JORDAN. Anything can happen as long as Hal's involved. Anyway ...)

Earlier that day, Green Lantern was summoned by the governor of California and filled in on a problem involving a town called Medusa. Apparently, people in the town were suffering mental blackouts in which they found themselves in the bodies of animals (dogs, cats, birds ...) for an hour, and then were suddenly themselves again -- but without remembering exactly what they did while they were animals.

The governor says people think they've been "hexed" or experienced a "voodoo transmigration of souls," and he wants Green Lantern to figure out what the heck's going on.

Hal agrees to help and flies off:

Poof! Suddenly, Hal's an eagle! And the eagle, in HIS body, is out chasing sheep!

Once the sheepherder chases Green Lantern away from the sheep, though, Hal flies over some men in a car -- who ALSO start shooting at him:

Turns out the bad guys are spies who have stolen microfilm for one of those typical Silver Age ultra-secret government projects that will help them "rule the world!" Mwaaa, ha, ha, haaaaaa!

As an eagle, Hal, without being noticed, is able to overhear what the baddies are planning -- and of course, he's having none of it:

(I don't even want to think about what Hal's doing to the bad guy's face in the following panel.)

Uh-oh -- look out! Da birdy's gotta gun, and he ain't afraid to use it!

(That's right, kiddies -- Hal Jordan has no qualms about using a gun. It might be another reason why Batman doesn't like him.)

Hal grabs the microfilm and flies away. BUT THEN:

Hal flies back to the bad guys, and proves once again that he DOES have a sense of humor where using his power ring is concerned:

Hal nabs the bad guys and recovers the secrets they stole. Readers are then treated to a classic Silver Age, long-winded, pseudo-science explanation as to why animals and humans were switching bodies -- and this is only PART of the explanation:

... but, of course, Hal kept his memories because he was flying the entire time -- and, besides, he has a power ring.

Uh, HUH.

Then Hal pays a visit to the sheepherder to explain what happened.

That's all well and good, Hal -- but nothing quite beats seeing you diving at sheep and flapping your arms like an idiot. ;-)

Art: Gil Kane; Story: Gardner Fox