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