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Romita & Conway go “Pro2Pro” on Green Goblin!

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GREEN LANTERN AND GREEN ARROW TM & © DC COMICS. HULK TM & © MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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GREEN HORNET • GUY GARDNER • MARTIAN MANHUNTER • GREEN TEAM


The Ultimate Comics Experience!

Volume 1, Number 18 October 2006 Celebrating the Best Comics of the '70s, '80s, and Today! EDITOR Michael Eury

DESIGNER Rich J. Fowlks CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Bob Brodsky, Seastone Marketing Group PROOFREADERS Eric Nolen-Weathington & Christopher Irving COVER ARTIST Neal Adams COVER DESIGNER Robert Clark SPECIAL THANKS Dan Johnson Arthur Adams Dale Keown Jason Adams Jim Kingman Neal Adams Scott Kress Bill Alger Bob McLeod Mike Baron Brian K. Morris Mike W. Barr Al Nickerson Al Bigley Dennis O’Neil Alex Boney John Petty Jerry Boyd Robert Reilly Michael Browning Adam Richards Randy Buccini John Romita, Sr. Mike Burkey Rose Rummel-Eury Jeff Butler Philip Schweier Tony Caputo Scoop Ernie Chan Joe Staton Continuity Studios Brian Stelfreeze Gerry Conway Tom Stewart Nicola Cuti Shannon Wendlick Peter David John Wells J. M. DeMatteis Marv Wolfman Shelton Drum Ed Dukeshire Steve Englehart Steve Erwin Ron Fortier Dave Gibbons Grand Comic-Book Database Mike Grell David Hamilton Jack C. Harris Heritage Comics Adam Hughes

ISSN 1932-6904

BACK SEAT DRIVER: Editorial by Michael Eury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 INTERVIEW: Peter David on The Incredible Hulk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The celebrated “writer of stuff” surveys his days in Bruce Banner-land NEAL ADAMS GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW ART GALLERY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Four pages of ultra-rare Adams illustrations Original 1993 commissioned drawing of the Hulk by Ernie Chan. From the collection of Al Bigley. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

PUBLISHER John Morrow

BACKSTAGE PASS: An Afternoon with Neal Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 An intimate portrait of the groundbreaking artist YOUR BACKSTAGE PASS TO CONTINUITY STUDIOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 A photo tour that’s the next best thing to being there FLASHBACK: Lone Lantern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The solo adventures of Hal Jordan after Green Lantern/Green Arrow OFF MY CHEST: Guy Gardner: The One, True Green Lantern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Al Nickerson (with help from friends) reveals why this GL’s his number-one Guy INTERVIEW: Mike Grell on Green Arrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 The writer/artist draws aim on DC’s archer, with never-before-published illos ROUGH STUFF: Dave Gibbons Pencil Art. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 From Albion to Watchmen, “raw” work by a modern master PRO2PRO: Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Revisiting “The Green Goblin’s Last Stand,” and lamenting the death of Gwen Stacy BEYOND CAPES: Now Comics’ Green Hornet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 The story behind the popular and controversial rebirth of the classic crimefighter WHAT THE--?!: The Lost Adventures of the Green Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 “The Comics Savant” examines Joe Simon’s boy millionaires FLASHBACK: The Martian Manhunter Chronicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Making sense of J’onn J’onzz’s ever-changing history BACK IN PRINT: E-Man: Recharged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Cuti and Staton’s energy man is back on the stands … and we helped put him there! BACK TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Reader feedback on issue #16

BACK ISSUE™ is published bimonthly by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614. Michael Eury, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial Office: BACK ISSUE, c/o Michael Eury, Editor, 5060A Foothills Dr., Lake Oswego, OR 97034. Email: euryman@msn.com. Six-issue subscriptions: $36 Standard US, $54 First Class US, $66 Canada, $72 Surface International, $96 Airmail International. Please send subscription orders and funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial office. Cover art by Neal Adams. Green Lantern and Green Arrow TM & © DC Comics. The Incredible Hulk TM & © Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All characters are © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter © 2006 Michael Eury and TwoMorrows Publishing. BACK ISSUE is a TM of TwoMorrows Publishing. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.

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Many classic comic-book runs are historically defined by the artists that worked on them: Joe Shuster/Wayne Boring/Curt Swan on Superman, Neal Adams on Batman, or Jack Kirby on darned near everything he did. However, fewer seem to be associated with a single writer, especially if he speaks with an American accent. Peter David’s 12-year association with The Incredible Hulk is one such exception. While still a recognizable figure to pop-culture fanatics outside of comics fandom due in large part to the CBS-TV series featuring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, the Green Goliath’s comic’s sales had plunged dangerously towards cancellation in the 1980s. But just as Frank Miller’s creative input on Daredevil saved that magazine from becoming a trivia question, the self-professed “writer of stuff” pulled The Incredible Hulk from its sales morass. Working with a series of talented artists, David applied a combination of sharp dialogue, dark humor, and innovation to keep the book fresh. Eventually, The Incredible Hulk worked its way toward the top of Marvel Comics’ sales charts. Listing Peter David’s creative output over the last two decades would fill this magazine to bursting! He’s written comic stories for DC, Dark Horse, Claypool, Ocean, and others. He’s also scripted for TV and movies, along with numerous articles and more than 50 books—fiction and non-fiction—carrying his credit, some of which have made the New York Times best-seller list. And fortunately for his loyal fans, Peter David shows no sign of slowing down. —Brian K. Morris

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on July 13, con duc ted via em ail

Gray Hulk vs. Green Hulk Detail from penciler Dale Keown and inker Bob McLeod’s original cover art to the Peter David-written Incredible Hulk #376 (Dec. 1990). Courtesy of Bob McLeod. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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Beginnings: “Compulsion,” Spectacular Spider-Man #103 (June 1985)

Milestones: Comics: The Incredible Hulk / Spectacular Spider-Man / Spider-Man 2099 / X-Factor / Sachs and Violens / Wolverine / Captain Marvel / The Atlantis Chronicles / Aquaman / Star Trek / Spy Boy / Spike: Old Times / Spike Vs. Dracula / Books: The Incredible Hulk: Ground Zero / Photon and Psi-Man series (as “David Peters”) / various Babylon 5 and Star Trek novels / co-creator of the Star Trek: New Frontier series Howling Mad, the King Arthur trilogy / movie novelizations / Television: Space Cases / Babylon 5 / Crusade / Movies: Oblivion / Oblivion 2: Backlash / Trancers 4: Jack of Swords

Works in Progress: Fallen Angel (IDW) / Soulsearchers and Company (Claypool) / Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man / Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man / X-Factor / 1602: Fantastic Four / Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series / “But I Digress” for The Comics Buyer’s Guide

Cyberspace: www.peterdavid.net

Peter David Photo courtesy of Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find.

BRIAN K. MORRIS: You began your career at Marvel Comics in its Direct Sales department. How did you get the job and what were your duties? PETER DAVID: Interesting story: I was assigned by Comics Scene magazine—long defunct—to do a story on the direct-sales market. One of the people I interviewed was Carol Kalish, then the newly instituted head of Direct Sales. We hit it off and talked for hours, until both our throats were raw. Toward the end of the interview, she asked what I did for a living when I wasn’t doing freelance stories. I told her that I was working in the wholesale division of a book publisher which had been sold, so my job, along with about a hundred other people’s, was going away. This immediately piqued her interested, because she was looking to hire an assistant. She hired me a few weeks later after she brought me back for more formal interviews. My duties were many and varied, including putting together the sales orders, overseeing print runs, troubleshooting, dealing with distributor problems, etc. Basically, anything having to do with getting books into the stores, I was involved with at some level. MORRIS: When you were working in Direct Sales, was getting to the writing side your ultimate career goal at Marvel? © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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DAVID: No, not at all. I got the job in Direct Sales because my career track at the time was book sales. Writing was what I did on the side. The more time I spent at Marvel, though, the more it seemed a challenge to try and sell a few stories here and there. It never occurred to me that I could make a fulltime living at it. MORRIS: What was your prior writing experience? DAVID: I had a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. I did some newspaper work. I also started writing novels, including Knight Life, which was published by Ace books. MORRIS: How did you get an opportunity to write The Incredible Hulk after Al Milgrom? DAVID: Bob Harras walked into my office and asked if I’d be interested. Honestly, I wish I had a snappier answer than that. But the truth is that no one else was really interested in writing the book at the time. MORRIS: When you first thought of submitting stories to Marvel, was the Hulk on your list of characters to write for? DAVID: No. MORRIS: Was there something you’d have preferred to work on? DAVID: Pretty much anything else, actually. The green, brainless “Hulk smash” Hulk had absolutely no allure for me. But when Bob approached me, he told me they had just transformed him back to his early gray, gangsterish incarnation, and that sounded like it had potential. MORRIS: What inspired you to return to the Lee/Kirby gray, brutal Hulk? DAVID: Again, I didn’t return to it. It’s a popular misconception: It’s so associated with me that people assume I made that change. I didn’t. Al and Bob made the change. I simply came in and stuck with it. MORRIS: How were the sales when you started on the book? DAVID: Sales were pretty much flatlined. In fact, even for most of Todd’s [McFarlane] run they were still pretty flat. MORRIS: To what do you attribute the increase in sales as the years went on? DAVID: It wasn’t until the Wolverine guest shot in #340 (Feb. 1988) that people started seeing what we were doing with the book. Ironically, once retailers finally started increasing orders, Todd was off the book. Sales started climbing with the Jeff Purves era [issues #347–366], interestingly enough, and then really skyrocketed once Dale [Keown] came aboard [issue #367]. I guess people just liked the combination of story and artists. MORRIS: Where the savage/dumb Hulk persona lasted for years and years, it seemed like you reinvented the book every year or so. Since your sales seemed to be gaining momentum as time went on, why did you change the direction of the title so often, as opposed to sticking with something that comic fans were obviously responding favorably to? DAVID: I didn’t change it “so often.” I changed it when I saw sales starting to dip. Back in those days, I had total access to sales numbers. So if a particular incarnation of the Hulk was starting to lose momentum, I was able to perceive that three, four months in advance and immediately course-correct.


I miss those days. It made it so much easier as a writer to have that information because it enabled me to stay ahead of the curve … as opposed to discovering reader erosion—not three months in advance of sale—but two months after the book has hit the stands. MORRIS: What were your inspirations for the various phases of the Hulk, such as Joe Fixit, “the Professor,” the Pantheon, Savage Banner, etc.? DAVID: Joe Fixit stemmed not only from the attitude of the Hulk as seen way back in the original Incredible Hulk #6 (Mar. 1963), but from the idea of flip-flopping the status quo. A typical Hulk story has Banner having set up some sort of life for himself and then the Hulk comes along and ruins it. With Mr. Fixit, it was the Hulk who had a pretty sweet deal going … and Banner comes along and mucks it up. For the merged Hulk—not “the Professor,” a term I despise to this day—it derived from the notion that, in treating MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder], the therapist typically tries to merge the personalities. So the merged Hulk was supposed to be the ultimate blending of the shattered personalities that Bruce and the two Hulks represented. Again, some of that stemmed from Hulk #6, when—for a few very loopy pages—the Hulk had Bruce Banner’s head. And that was such a weird looking image that it became the artistic model for the merged Hulk. If you look at him carefully, you’ll realize he’s got Bruce Banner’s face. The Pantheon was simply a means of giving the merged Hulk some sort of base from which to work. I wanted to create a think tank with teeth. Since the Hulk had the brains and brawn to accomplish anything, it seemed logical to give him an environment that would enable him to do so. The real genesis for it stemmed from a time when Dale Keown

McFarlane Smash!

and I were on a promo tour for The Hulk and we flew over a mountain range. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was an entire organization hidden in one of those mountains?” “Savage Banner” was merely a short-term story device that stemmed from, yet again, flip-flopping the familiar status quo. Instead of the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets, in this instance it was the madder he got, the weaker he got. MORRIS: You had many outstanding artists on your run such as Todd McFarlane, Jeff Purves, Dale Keown, Gary Frank, Liam Sharp, Angel Medina, Mike Deodato, and Adam Kubert. Did you tailor your plots to your artists’ strength or did you write the stories, trusting them to use their own skills to deliver what you intended? DAVID: I tried to tailor them, yes, with varying amounts of success. MORRIS: What did Bobbie Chase bring to the editorial

The splash page (story page 2) of Incredible Hulk #336 (Oct. 1987), with pencils by Todd McFarlane and inks by Jim Sanders III. Courtesy of Heritage Comics. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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An Afternoon with

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Every so often, mankind is blessed with an individual who excels in numerous arenas. Legend has it Leonardo DaVinci could simultaneously write with one hand and draw with the other. Thomas Jefferson, besides being one of America’s founding fathers, was an accomplished inventor and architect. In comics, there are a great many creators who write, pencil, ink, and color their own work. But few are known to have moved into other disciplines, such as science or film. It should come as no surprise that comics legend Neal Adams is just such an individual. A graduate of the School of Industrial Arts (now known as the Manhattan School of Art & Design), Adams began his career at Archie Comics, doing occasional pages and backgrounds. At age 20, he was probably one of the youngest artists to capture what was then considered the brass ring for comic artists: a daily newspaper strip. He drew Ben Casey for about three years before moving on to Warren Publications. In the late 1960s, Adams managed to squeeze in the door at DC, starting out drawing war comics, and then working his way into more and more titles, such as The Spectre and Deadman [in Strange Adventures]. “When I came into comic books, one of the things that I discovered,” he says, “was that it wasn’t necessary to design a panel and a panel and a panel and a panel, you could design a page. It wasn’t necessary to use the colors that were available to you. You could use other colors and you could find ways to bring in other colors.” At the time, the [Caucasian] skin tone in comics published by DC was more pink than flesh, because unlike Marvel Comics, DC’s color spectrum did not include a toned yellow. Their four-color printing process used combinations of cyan, magenta, and black in tones of 100%, 50%, and 25%, but only 100% yellow. “That’s the math part of science,” explains Adams. “If you add two more colors and you multiply those colors with all the other colors you have instead of 32 colors, you’ll have 64 colors. To me, science is like anything else. It’s like design, it’s like art. Science is dependable; like math, it works. If you got it right, it makes sense.” He regards this period of comics as something of a dark age. Most readers weren’t very discriminating, and the few remaining publishers felt they were on borrowed time, believing that the demand for comics would eventually dwindle into non-existence. Improving printing techniques wasn’t high on anyone’s agenda. Nevertheless, DC was losing half their available color range.

Philip Schweier

Double Vision Scan of the original art to an unused version of Neal Adams’ cover to Green Lantern/Green Arrow #77 (June 1970). The published version appears in the inset. All original art in this article is courtesy of Neal and Jason Adams, unless otherwise noted. © 2006 DC Comics.

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© 2006 DC Comics.

“So the question was, ‘How do I change it?’, because I’m one of the ***holes. I change it through being clever, by getting the word to the publisher [DC’s Jack Liebowitz], who will be damned if [Marvel publisher] Martin Goodman gets 64 colors and he gets 32 colors and he’s paying the same price to the same separator. He gets mad, goes to Production. I get it to him without him knowing I gave it to him. He goes to the head of Production [Sol Harrison] and says, ‘How come Martin Goodman is getting 64 colors and we’re getting 32 colors?’ ‘Well, because it’s cheaper, boss.’ ‘You’re telling me that that guy, Martin Goodman, is paying more for his color than I am? Are you out of your mind? Call the separator.’ He calls the separator and says, ‘Well, how much more will it cost us to get toned yellow?’ ‘Oh, you want toned yellow? Well, you can have it.’” Adams snaps his fingers: “Less than 14 seconds. ‘Okay, we’ll take it. They’re going to give us 64-colors. Fine.’ “When I said these things, everybody thought I was crazy. And instead of just railing, I went out and proved it,” he says. “I would go off by myself and do the things that I would say because it really became a waste of time to say them, to minds that were closed. Clearly, I was right, but that didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re right. It only matters if you prove it. And so I did, and so things changed, and so the business is different than it was, and I’m happy.” Adams has had a fascination for science since he was a 13-year-old. “I loved science,” he says. “I used to read science books like you would read a mystery book. I’d stop off at my local library and they would have books that would have these experiments and then set up the experiment, tell you what chemicals and other things to use, and then they would say, ‘And then you do this, and then you’d pour this into this. What’s going to happen?’ Aw, man, I couldn’t wait to get to that next page. ‘Is it going to boil over? Is it going to turn blue? What’s going to happen?’ They’d tell you and then they’d give you the conclusion. They’d tell you why. It’s like a magic trick, you know? I love science for its discovery.” As much as Adams enjoys the scientific approach, he avoids the technical end. “I don’t touch computers hardly at all, but I know what computers can do. So I’m always constantly telling people, ‘No, that’ll work on that program.’ And they say, ‘No, it won’t work.’ And I say, ‘Yes, it will work.’ They say, ‘No, it’s not going to. Neal, I’m telling you, you don’t know computers. You don’t know what the program will do or doesn’t—you’re not listening to me. You’re not listening to me.’ I say, ‘Look, if it can do this, and it can do this, because it can do this and it can do this, it has to be able to do this. Not because I say so, but because it has to be able to do this or else it couldn’t do this, not because I know. I’m trying to tell you I’m simply saying the

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Neal Adams This self-portrait appeared in DC house ads in late 1970. © 2006 DC Comics.

logic is, you can’t do this without being able to do this. It just can’t be.’ “My daughter says, ‘I hate that about my dad. He’s always right. Makes me crazy.’” Adams’ passion has taken him through many disciplines, from paleontology to cosmology. “I don’t study it deeply because you haven’t got time in your life to do that. I’d just go in like a bird and I’d dive, and I’d get what I need, and I’d go. And if I realized I left something behind and I’d go back and I’d read it. What’s amazing is that all of the information you really need to get is available to anybody. “Unfortunately, it’s not translated into English, which is a real problem because sometimes you have to go to four or five sources to actually know what the heck they’re talking about, because most of the time, it’s in Latin, or six-syllable words, or mathematical formula that only they understand.” Which presents Adams—and most lay people— with a substantial bone to pick with the scientific community. “If I could have a campaign in the world, it would be to make everybody speak English or whatever language it happens to be in, but not to speak that tech talk. I would make doctors, lawyers, and scientists speak regular English. You’re not an otolaryngologist—you’re an ear, nose, and throat man. Get off your high horse. “You can be talking to somebody, not even about technical stuff, but you lose them within a word.


Anybody who doesn’t understand this, to me, doesn’t understand the nature of people understanding and not understanding things. You can have one scientist talking to another scientist. They are of equal skills, this guy uses a term and this guy is expected to understand it, and he doesn’t, he loses the thought. I don’t do that. “I’m a comic-book writer and artist,” he continues. “I talk English. I talk regular talk—what I call regular talk—to people, and that’s the only way I can tell a story. And that’s the way stories have to be told, and that’s the way the story of science has to be told.” Science includes many stories, with varying degrees of believability. For instance, it is commonly believed that at one time the land masses of the world formed one larger continent dubbed Pangaea. However, Adams doubts very much that the Earth was the same size then that it is now. “You know, I’m jinking through space in my Gil Kane Space Taxi and I’m approaching the Earth, and I fly around it and they’ve got this one big, giant island like an iris, sitting on one side. And there’s nothing but ocean, five miles deep—five miles deep—around the rest of the planet. That’s an odd picture.” So odd that he regards it with skepticism. “Now these land masses could not fit together, just like this globe I have here. I mean, it’s not possible, unless they fit together at some point. I could not possibly take those continents that are on that globe down there and magically just go ‘foop’ and they go together. You have to turn them and twist them and find out how they get together.” Adams argues that the land masses could only come together like that if the Earth were 50% smaller. To illustrate his point, he uses a soccer ball as an example. “If you make a soccer ball any bigger, the designs don’t work. They work for this size. Make the soccer ball bigger, keep the designs the same size, it won’t fit because the geometry doesn’t work. If you make the Earth smaller, what happens is things tend to curve, like this, and go like that, and the shapes interlock. “So it’s not if the Earth is the way the geologists say, that these things moved around and crashed into one another, and made mountains, and they made all kinds of configurations. And believe me, I’ve seen all these maps that they have and you would find it incredible the jigs and configurations that, presumably, the Earth went through.” Using a globe, Adams indicates an enormous crack down the center of the Atlantic seabed. “You see that crack? That’s the spreading rift down the Atlantic so presumably, by pushing these two sides together—which they say happened in reverse— you basically move these pieces toward one another to that crack, see? And when you get all the continents together, you make the giant island of Pangaea.” But if the Earth was smaller, how did it get bigger? Did the Earth grow? “Well, for Earth to grow, matter has to be made,” he says. “It’s not blowing up like a balloon, so matter has to be made. If matter is made on the Earth, we don’t see it happening. You know, I don’t see my table growing, so it has to be made somewhere I can’t see it. It has to be made inside the Earth, which we can’t know, so we’d better start studying physics to find out if matter can be made.” Adams explains that if he were to go to a physicist and ask, “Can a rock grow?” the answer would be, “No.”

“Physically, you can’t make matter. ‘It’s impossible.’ If I go to a geologist and ask, ‘Can a rock grow?’ he’d say, ‘Define your terms.’ Well, already, this is a different answer.” A geologist would explain that a rock is a crystal. By joining crystal to crystal, a rock will grow, forming crystals in caves and geodes. So scientists in different specialties respond differently, not that anyone says matter is made. Then Adams cites the work of Carl David Anderson, who won the Nobel Prize in 1932 for his experiments with cosmic ray and the discovery of what is known as anti-matter. This research led to further work regarding positrons and the creation of atomic particles. Supporting Adams’ belief is an ongoing debate among paleontologists regarding the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Some scientists claim the T-rex to be a scavenger. Due to its size, a Tyrannosaurus Rex couldn’t run more than ten miles an hour, nor could he swing his head around fast without breaking his neck. An elephant’s bones are structured so that his shoulders protect his neck because his head is too heavy, and it would break its neck if it were to swing its head too quickly. Without similar built-in protection, the same would happen to a Tyrannous Rex, a creature of comparable size. Others who study dinosaurs firmly believe that everything about the anatomy of a Tyrannosaurus Rex—such as its teeth and the length of its stride— say it was a predator. In the film Jurassic Park, a Tyrannosaurus is shown running, illustrating clearly how they may have done it, running 40–50 miles an hour. Adams concedes that both sides of the debate are right. “On a (smaller) planet with less gravity, half or a quarter of the gravity that the Earth has today, a Tyrannosaurus Rex could run and be a predator.” By reducing the size of the Earth, he continues to follow logic. “Okay, you’ve got all the continents, and then you have these lines”— which might resemble stretch-marks—“then you have these cracks, okay? We’re headed for the cracks and you have these lines as if somebody went in and drew them. “So we’ll say, ‘Okay, Scout’s honor, I’m going to follow your lines. I’m going to move the continents

Caped Crusader Neal tries out a new look for Hal Jordan. © 2006 DC Comics.

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.© 2006 DC Comics. by

Jim Kingman

Comic-book historians hold a bright light on the early career of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who debuted in DC’s Showcase #22 in 1959 under editor Julius Schwartz. Throughout the 1960s, the majority of Green Lantern’s adventures were written by John Broome and Gardner Fox and illustrated by Gil Kane, who also designed one of the best super-hero costumes in comics. These exploits of the Silver Age Green Lantern— the fearless test pilot with the power ring that worked off his tremendous will power, and not to mention a founding member of the Justice League of America—warrant high and justified praise. Green Lantern also maintains a special place in comic-book history as half of the legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow team depicted by writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams in the early 1970s. As classic as that then-socially conscious and politically relevant series has become, as numerously reprinted as it has been, it did not sell well at

the time, and we all know what that meant. The cancellation ax did fall on the Emerald Crusader’s magazine, with #89, after a 12-year run. This was not the end of Green Lantern, however, but the beginning of the second stage of his career, a lengthy emerald epoch—once again steeped heavily in science fiction and space opera—that most comicbook historians have not shone a bright light on (it’s pretty dim, at best). That changes as of now. I’m carrying a big, green spotlight that shines brightest on Hal’s solo adventures. Every phase of Green Lantern’s two official solo careers from 1972 to 1976 and 1979 to 1986 has its hits and misses, moments of weirdness, ludicrous debacles, touches of controversy, and just plain fun cosmic drama (which, of course, is the whole point). I have seen and read it all, yet hold this era high in unabashed and unashamed reverence. Green Lantern is my favorite super-hero, and has been since I started

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collecting comics at the age of ten in 1972 (just in time to feel the weight of the ax). Green Lantern is very much a part of my personal Golden and Silver Ages of comics. There is no higher praise; and there is no change in praise, no matter the number of times I rolled my eyes in critical dismay while rereading these books in chronological order and back again to research this article. Four months after the cancellation of Green Lantern in February of 1972, the Emerald Crusader and the Emerald Archer moved to the back of The Flash beginning with #217 (Aug.–Sept. 1972). After a three-part story by O’Neil, Adams, and Dick Giordano, Green Lantern’s solo adventures began in The Flash #220 (Feb.–Mar. 1973), published in December of 1972 (the same month Green Arrow went solo in Action Comics). GL appeared in 25 issues of The Flash for a total of 12 adventures, including the three-part GL/GA adventure and three team-ups with the Scarlet Speedster (issues #222, 225, and 235, which features Carol Ferris’ only appearance with GL during his stint in Flash). GL’s return to straight science fiction (Flash #220) was impressive. Solidly plotted by Denny O’Neil with exquisite artwork by Dick Giordano, the two-part “Duel For a Death-List” and “Death-Threat on Titan” begins in the Arizona desert. Green Lantern is handed a message by a dying extraterrestrial. He soon battles another alien of the same race, who GL surmises is after the message. After the alien apparently self-destructs, GL reads the note. It is a death-list, and all the names on it have been crossed out except the last: Hal

Sharing is Fun! (above) GA gets the shaft from GL as Hal gets up close and personal with old pal Flash in this DC house ad. Special thanks to Jim Kingman. (below) GL recites his oath.

© 2006 DC Comics.

© 2006 DC Comics.

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Jordan’s. From the Arizona desert to Titan, moon of the planet Saturn, GL hurtles headlong toward a diabolical plot to destroy the Guardians of the Universe. Hal is still on leave from the Green Lantern Corps in the first part of this story, but is officially reinstated into the Corps in the second part (#221). Hal comments on his “split” with Green Arrow. Hal is also down to his last $200 and is pursuing a job in Phoenix, Arizona, until adventure interrupts, of course. O’Neil and Giordano continued a winning run in Flash #223 (Sept.–Oct. 1973). In “Doomsday … Minus Ten Minutes!”, Green Lantern returns to Hal Jordan’s car somewhere in the American Midwest and is apparently attacked by a bug-like extraterrestrial before he can recharge his power ring. There’s more to this alien than meets the eye, however, and while GL will always remain baffled by the extraterrestrial’s actions, the reader is allowed access to the alien’s thoughts at story’s end. O’Neil shifted gears in #224, bringing Green Lantern down to Earth and involving him in some small-town thievery. A real treat for Green Lantern fans came in The Flash #226 (Mar. 1974). Neal Adams returned to pencil an eight-page tale involving contaminated chili. While not a great O’Neil story, it was just plain exciting to have Adams back, if only for one issue. After that … matters got weird for a while. In what should have been a self-contained story in #226, O’Neil decided to further expand upon that plot for GL’s adventures in Flash #227 and 228. O’Neil trashed the ending of #226’s tale and continued it in #227 from where GL rescued a young female hiker. GL suddenly developed an obnoxious, abrasive attitude toward everybody he came in contact with. He even went so far as to physically assault park rangers. When he finally got enough of a grip on himself to realize he shouldn’t be using the ring, he learned a group of campers had become surrounded by a raging fire and that only he could save them. Towards the end, nasty extraterrestrials become involved, and GL eventually comes to his senses. I was glad when this misguided adventure was over (and on a bimonthly pace it seemed to take forever). Then came the startling return of Aaron Burr in Flash #230 and 231 (Nov.–Dec. 1974 and Jan.–Feb. 1975). Yes, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a historic duel, and, as believed in some historical quarters, the leader of a failed attempt to attack Mexico. That Aaron Burr, never having died, merely transported off-planet (just prior to the duel) and replaced by a very convincing clone from outer space (who died in 1836 while the real Burr lived on to rule an alien race and ache for home). I believe O’Neil was affected by some of that contaminated chili before writing this tale, but it does have its amusing moments. In fact, this story is so outlandish that it is a true joy to read. O’Neil righted plot matters in The Flash #233 and 234, batting out a more straight science-fiction tale with a tragic denouement. With issue #237 O’Neil and artist Mike Grell guided Green Lantern on a very interesting cosmic chase that spanned six issues. GL was in pursuit of the Ravagers, a band of extraterrestrials intent on joining some kind of federation, but first they had to perform the Biblical creation story in reverse by destroying various worlds through flooding, snuffing out the sun, devolving the planet’s life forms, et al. The climatic chapters had Green Lantern saving his home planet. Along the way, GL picked up a traveling companion, the alien creature known as “Itty.”


Guy Gardner: The One, True Green Lantern by

Al Nickerson

Editor’s Note: Comics inker and columnist Al Nickerson (www.yacanteraseink.com) believes that someone other than our cover star Hal Jordan is “the one, true Green Lantern,” and he’s anxious to get his opinions off his chest…

Guy Gardner is my favorite Green Lantern. Thaaat’s right. Guy Gardner. Hal Jordan is cool and all, but Guy has been called (mostly by Guy himself, mind you) the “one, true Green Lantern.” Guy Gardner made quite an impact in the 1980s with his appearances in Legends, Justice League, and Green Lantern. Guy Gardner is strong, confident, boastful, and assertive. Back in the 1980s, Guy was a wonderful symbol for Ronald Reagan’s America. But, let’s start off at the beginning, shall we?

The History of Guy

A friendly Guy Gardner was created by John Broome and Gil Kane. Guy first appeared in Green Lantern #59 (Mar. 1968), entitled “Earth’s Other Green Lantern!” As the story goes, Guy was supposed to be Earth’s Green Lantern, but that pesky Hal Jordan got in the way and stole Guy’s glory. As he lay dying, the alien Green Lantern, Abin Sur, sought a replacement for himself in the Green Lantern Corps. Two people were chosen—Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan. However, since Hal Jordan was closer to the dying alien, Hal was selected to be Earth’s Green Lantern. Later, Guy suffered brain damage and, for many years, lay in a vegetative state. In Green Lantern #193 (Oct. 1985), Steve Englehart and Joe Staton brought back Guy Gardner, but here was the imposing Guy Gardner that we know and love today. Two months later, with Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (Dec. 1985), the Guardians of the Universe made the wise decision of appointing Guy Gardner to be an official Green Lantern.

Who is Guy Gardner?

So, is Guy Gardner a hero, a jerk, or both at the same time? Sure, Guy Gardner can be arrogant and annoying, but he’s also been a fearless hero. So, who is Guy Gardner, really? Steve Englehart (writer of Green Lantern) agrees that Guy is “arrogant and annoying.” And that Guy “operates directly from the id—like James ‘Sawyer’ Ford on [the television series] Lost.” Joe Staton (penciler of Green Lantern) says that “Guy is a clean-cut American hero who’s been damaged so that the self-censoring elements of his personality no longer kick in as they do in most adults.” J. M. DeMatteis (writer of Justice League) suggests that Guy is just “a human being who, like most of us, is a mass of incredible contradictions. Hard as he tries to be a total bastard ... and he succeeds more often than not ... he can’t quite hide a (sometimes extremely small) core of decency and humanity. In the end, for all his extreme behavior, he always ends up siding with the good guys. That’s his choice ... and it speaks volumes about his character. (Such as is it!)” B i g ,

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After all these years, I am still fond of Guy Gardner. I think that he’s a likeable character regardless of his obnoxious behavior. Staton feels the same way: “I’m really fond of Guy. He’s sort of like a tough little kid.” “You can’t write a character and hate him,” DeMatteis continues. “Even if you’re writing the most despicable villain that ever lived, you have to have compassion for him ... for the forces that turned him into a monster. Plus, Guy (well, OUR [Justice League] version of Guy) is often as hilarious as he is obnoxious ... so how could you possibly hate him? The funny thing is, Guy was never one of my favorite Leaguers. [Blue] Beetle, Booster [Gold], J’onn [J’onzz], Fire, Ice, Ralph [Dibny] and Sue [Dibny] ... those were the characters that I fell in love with. That said, Guy provided a dynamic that really galvanized the team. The other characters were constantly bouncing off him, reacting to his behavior ... so he was an essential component of our League. The book wouldn’t have been the same without him.”

© 2006 DC Comics.

Before the Bowlcut Detail from the cover of Green Lantern #59, Guy Gardner’s first appearance.

Englehart “liked [Guy] a lot. He was incredibly fun to write (which is why I created him). And he worked so well against the more upright heroes of the Green Lantern Corps.” Englehart explains, “John Broome created a, um, nice guy named Guy Gardner, who after two or three stories became a mental vegetable, and there he languished for years and years. When I took over Green Lantern, I created a completely new character with a completely new personality—and said he was Guy Gardner for continuity’s sake.” Some readers do dislike Guy. So, what’s their problem? Englehart suggests that “envy” could be the answer. Staton believes “they probably are responding only to the aggressive elements of his personality. Steve Englehart was a very sophisticated writer who balanced the extremes of Guy’s behavior so that Guy could be seen either [as] a jerk or an over-the-top, take-charge hero.” Or maybe there’s not a problem in readers hating the “one, true Green Lantern.” As DeMatteis explains, “I don’t think it’s a problem. I think that Guy has become very real to them and so they’re responding emotionally to his personality. I don’t think that means they don’t like the character. I suspect that they completely enjoy reading about him ... and part of that enjoyment is in disliking him!”

The Green Lantern Corps

During his time in the Green Lantern Corps, Guy wasn’t above getting into a tussle with his fellow Green Lanterns when he thought they needed to learn a lesson or two (The Green Lantern Corps #207, Dec. 1986). Guy even got a chance to kick some commie butt when he took on the Soviet Union (The Green Lantern Corps #210, Mar. 1987). Steve Englehart has his own favorite Guy Gardner issue: “The Green Lantern Corps #211 (Apr. 1987), ‘Pink Elephants,’ is one of my all-time favorite stories. Guy gets the entire Corps drunk and they play out their innermost desires. It’s revealing character insights for the drunks, and a revealing character insight—the very essence—of my Guy Gardner.” Joe Staton offers his favorite Guy Gardner moment: “I enjoyed the encounter between Guy and Kari Limbo. I was always hoping for something to come of that. It would be great to have them playing off each other, the NRA, NASCAR guy, and the New Agey, mystical babe (Green Lantern vol. 3 #18, Nov. 1991).”

© 2006 DC Comics.

Legends

Guy Gardner’s heroism really shined in the Legends miniseries. Guy saved a passenger jet full of people (Legends #2, Dec. 1986), he captured a group of muscle-bound, bodybuilding villains (Legends #4, Feb. 1987), and he squashed some of Darkseid’s giant robot Warhounds (Legends #6, Apr. 1987). Yet Guy’s most amusing adventure in Legends was his battle with the super-villain Sunspot (Legends #5, Mar. 1987). To me, Sunspot seemed awfully familiar. In fact, Sunspot looked just like then-Marvel Comics’ editorin-chief, Jim Shooter. With a strong likeness to Shooter, and such catchy dialogue as, “I wield the ultimate power ... the power to create a New Universe...”, it’s difficult not to imagine that the folks behind Legends had Shooter in mind when they created Sunspot. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a conformation of my Sunspot-is-Jim-Shooter theory from any of the Legends creators. 3 2

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by

Alex Boney

con du cte d on Ma rch 31 , 20 06

When promotional posters for Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters went up in comic shops in 1987, the comics industry was still reeling from the shakeup that DC Comics had initiated two years prior. Crisis on Infinite Earths had realigned DC’s complex mainstream super-hero continuity, but the publisher had actually diversified its line of comics offerings. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns had injected a dose of gritty realism into super-hero comics, Swamp Thing had emerged as the industry’s premier dark fantasy comic for adults, and Watchmen had reimagined what super-heroes really were from the ground up. By the time Green Arrow was launched as a monthly series in early 1988, DC’s checklist consisted of the following: Vigilante #50, Hellblazer #2, Swamp Thing #69, New Teen Titans #40, The Question #13, and Wasteland #3. It was another Golden Age of sorts, and Mike Grell added a touch of green to DC’s rich palette for the next five years. Mike Grell did for Green Arrow in the late 1980s what Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams did for the character in the 1970s. Grell not only redefined Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen’s look and personality, but also made the character relevant to his time. O’Neil and Adams’ Ollie became a radical social reformer who took Green (Hal Jordan) Lantern on a journey of self-discovery across America and across the universe, and both characters learned quite a bit about themselves and their turbulent world along the way. In Mike Grell’s Green Arrow, Oliver Queen and his partner Dinah (Black Canary) Lance relocated from the fictional Star City to “real-world” Seattle, Washington, and examined what America had become by the end of the Reagan era. The three-issue prestige-format Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters (Aug.–Oct. 1987) and the subsequent ongoing Green Arrow series didn’t provide a serious study of super-heroes and super-villains, but instead offered a serious study of politics, justice, and a range of social issues from government corruption to sexual victimization. In Grell’s hands, Oliver Queen was not a super-hero. Rather, Ollie adopted the identity of an urban hunter and tried to become an extraordinary man. —Alex Boney

Arrow Head Grell’s pencil rendering of Longbow Hunter GA. Unless otherwise noted, all artwork in this article is courtesy of Scott Kress and Catskill Comics (www.catskillcomics.com). © 2006 DC Comics.

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Beginnings: Assistant to Dale Messick on the Brenda Starr newspaper strip (1972)

Milestones: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes / Green Lantern/Green Arrow The Warlord / Jon Sable, Freelance / Starslayer / Tarzan newspaper strip / James Bond graphic novels / Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters / Green Arrow / Shaman’s Tears / Iron Man

Work in Progress: Jon Sable: Bloodtrail

Cyberspace: www.mikegrell.com/mikegrell/index.jsp and www.catskillcomics.com/grell.htm

Mike Grell Photo courtesy of Scoop.

ALEX BONEY: What led you to work on Green Arrow in particular? Was it a long-time respect for the character, or was it timing? MIKE GRELL: It was both, really. I was a fan of Green Arrow when I was a kid—back in the old days when he had all the specialized arrows. I had actually gotten away from comic books altogether about the time I got seriously interested in girls, which was pretty typical back then. Along about 12 or 14 years old, your thoughts stray to other things, and so my comics pretty much went into a box under the bed. You know, I had Spider-Man #1 and Fantastic Four and all that good stuff. Then when I was in the Air Force, I ran into a guy who was a huge comics fan. In fact, I was stationed in Saigon and he showed up with his comic-book collection with choice bits and pieces, and in among those was Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, and Dick Giordano’s run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, and I was stunned. I had no idea that comics had grown up at the same time that I had grown up. Back in the old days, Batman had a chest shaped like a cardboard box and everything was way over the top, and all of a sudden here were stories about real issues in the real world with reasonably real people. And I guess what always attracted me to

Ollie’s Pal A commissioned illo of Green Lantern. © 2006 DC Comics.

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Green Arrow was the fact that he didn’t have any superpowers. He just had this extraordinary skill. And it’s a skill that, in all honestly, if you dedicate enough time to, you can learn it whether you’ve ever shot a bow or not. And that strongly appealed to me. I decided right then and there that that was the kind of work that I wanted to do. But I had already geared myself toward newspaper comic strips. And then, finding that the newspaper-strip business was completely locked off—nobody was interested in buying action/adventure strips—I had the good fortune of running into Allan Asherman and Irv Novick. Irv, of course, [drew] Batman, and Allan Asherman was Joe Kubert’s assistant [at DC Comics] at the time. And they both told me in no uncertain terms that I should get my carcass up to Julius Schwartz’s office and show him my stuff. And Julie, in fact, gave me my first Green Arrow assignment, which was a backup story—“Little Dog Lost”—about Krypto wandering around and being found by Oliver Queen and joining in the crimefighting there. Elliot Maggin wrote that one. BONEY: Do you remember what book that was in? GRELL: No. It was a backup story that, I think, ran in Action Comics. [Editor’s note: Action #440, Oct. 1974.] BONEY: That’s what we’re for. We’re supposed to research this. GRELL: Yep, that’s your job. [laughs] Actually, people ask me questions like that all the time, and the truth is no, I just write the darned things and draw them and, in fact, very seldom get a chance to re-read them afterwards. Sometimes I’ll be sitting at a table at a convention and somebody will come up with a book that I haven’t seen in ten or 15 years and ask for it to be autographed. And before I autograph it, I’ll take it out of the bag and read it, sign it, and hand it back to them. A lot of times, it’s like a family reunion, going back to the old homestead again. You know, it gives you a great feeling—and sometimes a weird feeling, but that’s another question, I guess. BONEY: Right. I guess any time you look back at what you did earlier, it can be a little embarrassing. GRELL: I’m always alarmed. So when I was doing the backup stories with Green Arrow, it was sort of steps in a progression. My first story that I wrote, I actually did the plot and then about half of the dialogue. Elliot Maggin did the finished dialogue on it, and it was a Green Arrow story called “Black Canary is Dead” [Action #444, Feb. 1975]. It was I think a three-parter, and there’s foreshadowing of some of the themes that I incorporated into The Longbow Hunters. If you go back and check it out, you’ll see that. And then, when Denny O’Neil was going to resurrect Green Lantern/Green Arrow, I heard about it and I caught him in the hallway at DC Comics and asked him who I needed to kill in order to get it. And so, he just said “If you’re interested in it, it’s all yours.” And that was great. I think that was Green Lantern/Green Arrow #90 (Aug.–Sept. 1976), and that was like a dream come true for me, because I was finally working on the title that got me interested in comics in the first place. And then, many years and lots of water under the bridge later, after I had gone on to do The Warlord and Sable and Starslayer, I got a phone call from Mike Gold, who was editing over at DC Comics at the time. He asked me if there was any particular character at DC that I’d really like to do— wanted to do badly enough to come back to DC and work for them—and I said that I did such a miserable job on Batman when I was on that book that I’d always wanted to get back and take another shot at that. But I also knew that Frank Miller was just starting his work on Dark Knight Returns, and I told him that when Frank’s


done with this one, that’s going to put a period on the end of the Batman sentence. BONEY: Yeah, that’s a hard act to follow. GRELL: Well, he was essentially redefining the character, and that would be the definitive concept of Batman. So what was the point? Gold said, “What about Green Arrow?” And I said, “Well, he’s always been my favorite.” Then he said “Well, think about this: Green Arrow as an urban hunter.” And he had me. I was hooked. That was it. BONEY: So that was Gold’s idea? GRELL: The urban hunter aspect. Everything else was mine, but that whole concept was the trigger that started it all. BONEY: A lot of influential creators worked on Green Arrow before you came to the character. You’ve mentioned a couple of them. Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams and Jack Kirby all had a time with the character. They all made their marks on Ollie’s life and adventures. Do you have a favorite incarnation of the character from previous creators? Was it O’Neil and Adams’ run? GRELL: Oh, yeah, no question about it. The two combined were the strongest single influence on me. Well, really you have to say three, because Dick’s [Giordano] work—his contribution to that book— can’t be discounted by any means. Dick Giordano is the best comic-book inker that ever walked, bar none. There’s nobody who can surpass him. There are a few who come close, but the guy is just terrific. He’s got such an amazing fluidity of line. You look at the layers in his panels and there’s no question about it: these drawings are enhanced by his work instead of just being something that’s just traced along underneath. It was that combination of Denny’s unique storytelling and Neal’s powerful illustration, topped off by Dick’s amazing inks, that just did it for me. What I liked about Denny’s stories was that he dealt with real-world issues. Even though they were basically science-fiction stories, they were all fairly thinly veiled metaphors for the problems of the world that we live in. And he tackled some serious social issues. He tackled the drug problem. BONEY: Right. With Speedy. GRELL: Yeah, the concept of dealing with drugs was a strict taboo in comics. You didn’t mention things like that because it might offend somebody, might offend the Comics Code Authority. And working with Denny, I learned so much what makes a good comic-book story—how to write a good comic-book story. You know, there’s so much involved in what you don’t write. There’s so much involved in having faith in the artist and being able to state clearly what it is that you want and not worry about all the extra stuff. It’s sort of like the difference between a good screenplay and a bad screenplay. A bad screenplay is full of detailed camera direction for the director, which does nothing but piss the director off. It makes him want to throw away the script and do his own thing anyway. But Denny’s scripts contain all the elements you need in order to make the story work, and then he has faith in the artist to be able to interpret that in such a way that it will be able to come off. And it gives him room to add enough of his own personality into it that things really shine. It brings out the best in everybody. BONEY: And the material’s usually good, so it’s easy to bring the best out of everyone. GRELL: It sure is. I’ve worked with other writers who wrote a phone book for a 22-page comic book. And all that extra writing was just wasted.

BONEY: You mentioned that Green Arrow was your favorite super-hero, and that was part of what led you to the book. Oliver Queen is the preeminent super-hero with a social conscience. But is he a super-hero, really? Or was he in how you wrote him? GRELL: No, I didn’t write him as a super-hero at all. In fact, when I did Longbow Hunters and the Green Arrow comic book, you’ll notice I moved him away from Star City and put him in Seattle, Washington, which was a real-world city. The stories that I dealt with were all based on real-world situations. I took a lot of my story ideas from headlines. Some of the more controversial ones came out of the headlines. In Longbow Hunters, in one case, I jumped the gun on the whole Iran-Contra scheme by six months. A radio station in New York phoned me up to find out whether I had an inside track or not. And I said no, I just looked around, dealt with the characters and the situations that I was seeing, incorporating the CIA and the drugs and all this other stuff. I thought, now what would be the stupidest thing these people could do if they thought they could get away with it? And that’s what I wrote, and sure enough, that’s how it happened. BONEY: Sometimes you just have to read between the headlines. GRELL: For all I know, someone read the comic book and said, “Hey, this would be a great idea.” In point of fact, it was all probably happening at the same time, and maybe I just plucked it out of the ether. But I took great pains not to call Oliver Queen “Green Arrow.” BONEY: Yes, and that’s especially noticeable early in the book. GRELL: Because, face it, it’s a silly name. I got to do an origin story, Green Arrow: The Wonder Year, and I wrote this scene where he’s at a costume party and he’s dressed as Robin Hood. He’s just been out shooting archery golf. He unknowingly shot a golf ball with a fieldtip arrow, and the golf ball winds up stuck on the end of his arrow. Well, in comes this guy who’s going to rob the party, and Ollie reaches in his quiver for an arrow to take a shot at the guy as the guy is swinging his shotgun toward him. And as he pulls the arrow back, there’s a golf ball stuck on the end of it. So he figures “Okay, maybe I can hit him in the head.” He takes the shot, and the weight of the golf ball makes the arrow drop like a rock. Instead of hitting him in the head, he hits him in the crotch and takes him down that way. And as the police are dragging him off in chains, he says, “You never woulda caught me if it hadn’t been for that big, green, arrow-guy!” And in the next scene, Ollie’s reading the newspaper and it says “Green Arrow Grabs Greedy Gooch.” BONEY: The origin of the name and the origin of the trick arrow. GRELL: That’s right. Ollie says: “Melvin Purvis gets George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly. I get a semi-literate named Lester ‘the Gooch’ Norton, who never goes to the movies, let alone read the classics. Melvin Purvis gets: ‘Don’t shoot, g-man!’ I get: ‘That big, green, B i g ,

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Boxing-Glove Arrow Mike’s 2002 rendition of the pre-Longbow Hunter GA, courtesy of Heritage Comics. © 2006 DC Comics.

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Dave Gibbons

© 2006 WildStorm Productions.

(right) Alan Moore and I talked over the cover designs for the series one afternoon, and this was done immediately after I hung up the phone.

I blew up the thumbnail and put it underneath the layout paper I drew this on. The pencils were then scanned and printed out in light blue on the final board for inking. 4 6

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ALBION #1 (2005)

Pencil art and captions by


© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

This was one of a pair of covers for the collections of Amalgam [hybrid DC/Marvel characters] stories. The crowd of figures took a bit of juggling, and this was the last in a series of layouts I progressed through before settling on the final arrangement.

AMALGAM MARVEL COLLECTION (1996)

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by

From the time the Green Goblin was introduced in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964), his and Spider-Man’s destinies were intertwined in a manner readers had never seen before. Their relationship went beyond the standard “good guy versus bad guy” dynamic, as Spider-Man and the Green Goblin were more than just adversaries. They were mortal foes that were engaged on a personal level, both in and out of their masks. After all, Peter Parker was a close friend of Harry Osborn, Norman (the Green Goblin) Osborn’s son. Indeed, when Norman was in his right mind, he was a friend to young Parker. But when under the influence of his darker persona, Osborn, as the Green Goblin, knew all of Spider-Man’s secrets, including his true identity, and he knew how to best strike at the Wall-Crawler. In The Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122 (June and July 1973, respectively), the conflict between these two characters came to a head when the Green Goblin committed his ultimate sin, one so terrible it sealed the fate of one of Marvel’s most memorable menaces, and also marked a major turning point for Spider-Man. —Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson

cond ucte d Marc h 23, 2006

DAN JOHNSON: Before we discuss the death of the Green Goblin, I think we have to first touch on the death of Gwen Stacy. How did the decision come about to kill these characters off? GERRY CONWAY: [Killing Gwen and then the Green Goblin] were two separate decisions. As I remember, John, I think it was originally your idea to kill Gwen Stacy…. JOHN ROMITA, SR.: Well, we had decided we were going to kill somebody. The original thought that was brought to us was that Aunt May would die. I remember telling Gerry that Aunt May was too important to Peter’s secret identity for us to kill her. I know she was a pain in the neck to a lot of readers, but she was a good foil and as long as Aunt May was around, Peter was going to be a kid. I suggested that if we were going © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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to kill somebody, it should be Gwen or Mary Jane. [This was] based on Milton Caniff’s trick. Caniff used to take very important female characters in Terry and the Pirates and knock them off regularly every four or five years. As a young kid, I was very much into Terry and the Pirates and I remember when Pat Ryan, who was the main hero, lost his girlfriend, there were people on the street the next day talking about how Raven Sherman had died. I thought, “This can’t be! I thought I was the only guy who thought of these characters as real people!” It stuck in my mind that if you’re going to kill somebody, kill somebody very important, make it a real shock. CONWAY: Make it count. ROMITA: That was the only suggestion I made to Gerry when we were plotting this. I thought if somebody was going to die, it should be Gwen. I thought she was so important, [the readers] imagined she would never die. I think it bears out, because 35 years later we’re still talking about it! JOHNSON: Gwen’s death was a major turning point for Spider-Man. Until her death, the driving force for Spidey had been, “With great power comes great responsibility”: When Peter had the power to act, but chose not to do, so he lost Uncle Ben. Now, all of a sudden, Peter does everything he can and yet still fails to save the woman he loves. ROMITA: We were counting on that. CONWAY: That was the idea. This was a more mature Spider-Man, a more realistic Spider-Man. JOHNSON: A lot of people see Gwen’s death as the end of the Silver Age. ROMITA: I don’t think that was expected or planned, was it, Gerry? CONWAY: Oh, no. We were just trying to tell an interesting story, something that mattered. I guess we succeeded. ROMITA: I don’t know if we anticipated that we might have to kill the Green Goblin until after the reaction to Gwen’s death … that is, after everyone in the office realized what we had done. CONWAY: I think it was part of the plan because it was a two-part story. We were going to end up [killing the Green Goblin]. I don’t think we thought any further about the repercussions, like what would these deaths mean. JOHNSON: How did you decide that the Green Goblin would be Gwen’s murderer? ROMITA: Spider-Man was in the middle of a confrontation with Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin anyway. I think he was a natural character to use because of all the intermeshed lives [of the Spider-Man cast]. CONWAY: I don’t think there was any ulterior motive. This was Spider-Man’s main villain and his main girl. For Gwen’s death to have consequence, it had to be tied to Spider-Man’s most potent enemy. For the Green Goblin’s death, it has to be tied to a crime that’s unforgivable.

JOHNSON: I believe this was the first time that a major Stan Lee-and-Steve Ditkocreated character was going to be killed off. What were your thoughts as you plotted the Goblin’s final battle with Spider-Man? CONWAY: I can only speak for myself, but I was, at that time, maybe 20 years old, and I don’t think I had a great sense of history or anything. We were just going to do this and see what happened. It did have some consequences, but I don’t think it was something where we sat down and thought it all the way through. That’s one of the reasons Stan later said that nobody talked to him about it. We talked about it, and it did seem like a big deal, but not like it was a major, life changing event. ROMITA: Supposedly, Stan and Roy discussed this. Stan claimed that he never expected the Green Goblin to be done away with. CONWAY: Well, that was Stan’s memory. ROMITA: Which we know has its faults.

Like Father, Like Son John Romita, Sr.’s original cover artwork to Amazing Spider-Man #136 (Sept. 1974). This issue, written by Gerry Conway, featured Harry Osborn taking on his “late” father’s guise. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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TM

by

Michael Browning

In the 1980s, all the buzz about the Green Hornet was dead. For nearly two decades, the TV show had been off the air, except in cable-television reruns. The most popular member of the TV show’s cast, Bruce Lee, who played Kato, had died in 1973. The radio show had been off the air for 40 years. A Green Hornet comic-book series hadn’t been published since 1967, although several comics companies had tried to get the rights to put the Hornet back in print. A new Green Hornet comic book, it seemed, just wasn’t in the cards. No one seemed to care about the Green Hornet, except for writer Ron Fortier, artists Steve Erwin and Jeff Butler, and Now (NOW) Comics publisher Tony Caputo. Back in the mid-1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had started an independent-comics revolution that saw numerous comic-book companies spring up. Now Comics, then owned by Tony Caputo, opened its doors in 1985. Now became a major publisher when it acquired the license to do new Speed Racer comics and a series based on James Cameron’s first Terminator movie, and soon published comics such as Ralph Snart, Syphons, Mr. T and the T Force, Fright Night, Vectors, and Married... With Children (and its many spin-offs and one-shot tie-ins). But the company struck gold (or, rather, green) with the Green Hornet.

The New Buzz Begins

Ron Fortier, a longtime fan of the Green Hornet of the TV show and the Gold Key comics series, actually had the idea for a new Green Hornet series in the late 1970s. But it didn’t catch on until 1989, when Now published the first issue of the new Green Hornet series. “What started the whole process of getting the Green Hornet back into print as a comic book was a meeting between myself and artist Steve Erwin,” Fortier says. Erwin is best known for his art on New Teen Titans, Deathstroke the Terminator, and Checkmate, all at DC in the early- to mid-1990s. He later went on to work on Star Trek comics for different publishers and now works in advertising and does commission art for fans. “Steve had hooked up with a small, independent comic company in Texas; Lonestar, I believe they were called,” Fortier continues. “They started putting out a few books. Supposedly, they got together and decided they were going to do a cross-country tour of comics shops to promote their books. This was a small outfit and they scrounged up a lot of money and everybody put in their own two cents for gas. Steve and three or four other guys loaded up in this jalopy and started driving across the country from Texas, just basically using The Buyer’s Guide to Comic Fandom’s [precursor to The Comics Buyer’s Guide] list of comics shops, stopping in and visiting with the fans. Ultimately, they wound their way up here to New Hampshire and showed up at a local comic shop that I frequented at the time. The guy who ran it, a friend of mine, had known they were coming up. They had called ahead and made arrangements and said they were going to

The Green Hornet and … a Chick?! Jeff Butler’s rendition of the masked crime fighter and his controversial sidekick. The Green Hornet and related characters TM & © 2006 Green Hornet, Inc.

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As Seen on TV! (above) These photo covers make Gold Key’s three Green Hornet comics a sought-after series. © 2006 Green Hornet, Inc.

be up on this particular Sunday afternoon to spend a few hours at the store. So he had let me know this one or two days ahead of time and he said, ‘Stop by. You’d probably get a kick out of meeting these guys.’ So, sure enough, there I am and I meet Steve and the other guys. “Steve and I hit it off immediately,” Fortier reveals. “I’m a little older than he is, but we had pretty much the same background as far as our likes in comics and growing up and those kinds of experiences. The next thing you know, they’re sitting down, Steve’s doing sketches for people, and I pull up a chair and sit next to him and we spend the next couple of hours talking comics, movies, and things we liked. Somewhere in that conversation, Steve turned around and looked at me and said, ‘Man, I’d sure like to work on some of those great old heroes that nobody does anymore.’ We’re talking the Lone Ranger and Tarzan and, in that mix, comes the Green Hornet. Our only real connection to the character was the 1960s television show with Bruce Lee and Van Williams. We start talking about that and the fact that Gold Key at that time put out all of three comic books involved with the series. And they were great books. They had the photo covers, the art was great, and the stories were awesome, but that was all they ever did. The Hornet came and did that ridiculously short one season, disappeared, and was gone off the face of the Earth. “Steve, who was a much bigger fan than I was, was like, ‘Man, I’d really like to do that.’ ‘Okay.’ We talk and talk and exchange telephone numbers and addresses and shake hands, and Steve goes off to finish his tour and go back home to Texas,” Fortier says. “I came back home and started mulling over what it would take to put together a really nice presentation package were we to get together and do something for a comics company. I started doing my homework. I called Will Murray, an old friend and pulp expert, and said, ‘What do you know about the Green Hornet?’ The next thing you know, I got this manila envelope in the mail with all this [historical material about] the Green Hornet, going back to his radio days at WXYZ in Detroit where he got started, then the stories of the two serials that Universal produced, The Green Hornet and The Green Hornet Strikes Again, and then, the TV show. Will had amassed all this stuff. Some of it was research for articles he’d written in the past. It was a phenomenal wealth of information on the character and more than I could ever, ever need. The thing was, the more I kept looking at it, it was bothering me that you basically had various versions of the character. Every time you went from another generation or another decade, people who creatively got a hold of him kept changing and altering him to bring him up to our time. One of the things Steve had talked to me about was how great it would be to do a modern-day Green Hornet with a female Kato. And I liked that idea. I thought that was such a great idea and would be so much fun.”

Heroes of Two Eras From Fortier’s original Green Hornet presentation, Steve Erwin’s illos of the Hornet and Kato in their radio-era garb (left), and their TV show-inspired look (opposite page). © 2006 Green Hornet, Inc.

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by

Tom “The Comics $avant” $tewart

Or … How to Waste a Perfectly Good Million Dollars They were dead almost before they were born. Four boys with money to burn and an unquenchable yen for adventure, they were the Green Team, and you could join them. If you had a million dollars. From their New York office, in their Green Room, with their ticker-tape communicator watches, they were venture capitalists of adventure! They were: Commodore Murphy, shipping magnate and owner of a scale model toy boat that shot real missiles! J. P. Huston, oil magnate! Cecil Sunbeam, “starmaker” and movie mogul (with a disconcerting habit of calling people “sweetie”)! And Abdul Smith, shoeshine boy and newest member of the team (and its only African American). They gathered to judge applicants to see who was worthy of their million-dollar challenge of financing adventure.

Gangway for Simon!

The Green Team’s first and only official adventure was in First Issue Special #2 (May 1975). The team was a creation of Joe Simon, who was employed at DC as an editor and idea man, and drawn by artist Jerry Grandenetti. Simon was the co-creator of Captain America and half of the legendary team of Simon and Kirby, and was recognized as a powerhouse creative force in the comics industry. But… …Joe had not been involved in comics for a while. He’d left the long-underwear characters behind for the lure of the magazine market and MAD imitator, Sick. In the late ’60s, Joe got a bit more active in the comics biz again, developing titles for Harvey Comics like Jigsaw and B-Man. In 1968, Joe came on board at DC at the instigation of editorial director Carmine Infantino. A buzz was created throughout the industry. Joe Simon was well known as an innovator, an idea man with a

1st Issue Special #2… …was the not-so-special last issue of the Green Team. © 2006 DC Comics.

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by

John Wells

Everything you know is wrong. Now there’s a concept fans have gotten to know quite well over the past few decades (even if some have never gotten used to it). Whether it’s the 1986 revamp of Superman or the 2006 swing backward of the pendulum in the latest Wonder Woman relaunch, the rewriting of super-hero history has been with us nearly as long as there have been superheroes themselves. What’s changed is the assumption of writers and editors that readers would neither notice nor object. The events of Justice League of America #71 (May 1969) may represent one of the last major instances where that actually held true. Fourteen years earlier, “John Jones, Manhunter from Mars” had debuted as a backup feature in Detective Comics (’Tec) #225, joining such stalwarts as Roy Raymond, TV Detective and the book’s real moneymakers, Batman and Robin. Created by writer Joe Samachson and artist Joe Certa, the series revolved around a green Martian scientist accidentally teleported to Earth by the “Robot-Brain” of a scientist named Mark Erdel. With Erdel’s death, J’onn J’onzz found himself stranded and took the persona of police detective John Jones while he bided his time for a means of returning to Mars. Over time he’d develop a small supporting cast that included Captain Harding (beginning in #228), police officer Diane Meade (#246), and an other-dimensional childlike creature named Zook (#311). His base of operation—Middletown—would not be named until ’Tec #322.

Big Green Man The Martian Manhunter by Brian Stelfreeze, a 1997 convention sketch obtained at Aggiecon by its contributor, Adam Richards. © 2006 DC Comics.

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Fight Club Detail from Nick Cardy’s cover to World’s Finest Comics #212 (June 1972), featuring Superman and—make that versus—Martian Manhunter.

Originally operating invisibly, the Manhunter from Mars was forced to reveal his existence in 1959’s Detective #273, conveniently right about the time he joined the fledgling Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28. By this point, the beetle-browed depiction of his face had given way to a more human look, all the better to help him fit in. Over the first several years of the strip’s existence, J’onn had made multiple attempts to return to Mars and finally succeeded in Detective #301, where a scientist reconstructed the Robot-Brain. Having now formed an attachment with Earth, J’onn didn’t stick around long but was heartened by the fact that he could visit his parents and brother whenever he wanted. Following a story in which Detective Jones was killed by a menace released by the Idol-Head of Diabolu (’Tec #326), the series was spun off as the lead of House of Mystery, starting with #143 (June 1964). Finally defeating the threat of the Idol Head in #158, J’onn took the new persona of billionaire Marco Xavier to investigate the crime combine Vulture (#160) and wound up unmasking their leader as the real Xavier in the last issue of the strip (#173, Mar.–Apr. 1968). Shortly thereafter, the first two Manhunter from Mars stories were reprinted in World’s Finest Comics (WFC) #175 and 176 (May and June 1968), and they were likely the only exposure Denny O’Neil had to J’onn’s past prior to writing him out of the Justice League in the aforementioned JLA #71. Suddenly, the Manhunter was a military science leader in exile who was only now returning to Mars to oppose the threat of Commander Blanx and his pole-dwelling White Martians. In the end, Blanx used the planet’s previously-

© 2006 DC Comics.

© 2006 DC Comics.

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unheard-of Blue Flame to all but obliterate the Martian population, and J’onn resigned from the Justice League to accompany the handful of survivors as they sought out a new planet to call home. Despite the wholesale contradiction of the Martian Manhunter’s established history, few, if any, readers objected. Most fans—and writers—got their knowledge of J’onn J’onzz from Justice League of America and perhaps the occasional origin reprint. Indeed, though telepathy is now regarded as one of the Manhunter’s foremost abilities, it was used in a mere four Silver Age stories—but two of them were the oft-reprinted origin of the JLA (Justice League of America #9) and the aforementioned Detective #225. O’Neil belatedly penned a follow-up in 1972’s WFC #212, where the Martian refugees found sanctuary on the world of Vonn even as they were secretly imperiled by J’onn’s traitorous girlfriend Bel Juz, and a rather inconsequential reunion with the Justice League in 1974’s Justice League of America #115. Also during 1974, an abortive attempt at a consecutive reprinting of the original John Jones series was attempted, with only the stories from ’Tec #225–227 being reprinted in WFC #226–227 before DC abandoned its 100-Page Super-Spectacular format. O’Neil’s final contribution to the Manhunter from Mars came in the form of a three-issue backup series published in late 1976 and early 1977. After his friend R’es Eda was mortally wounded by an unknown assassin alleged to be from Earth, J’onn came to the unlikely conclusion that one of his former Justice League comrades must be responsible. Setting a course for Earth over the violent protestations of his people, the Manhunter was pursued by army commander N’or Cott (Adventure Comics #449). After confrontations with Supergirl (#450) and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, J’onn finally came to his senses but an attack by N’or Cott threatened to kill them all (#451). The action concluded in World’s Finest #245 (June–July 1977), edited by O’Neil but scripted by Bob Haney with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. Returning to Mars with Superman and Batman, the Manhunter learned that R’es Eda had faked his death, intent on sidetracking J’onn while plotting a raid on the wealth of the ancient Vonn city of Baltaz. The invasion plans came to an abrupt halt when N’or Cott, who had entered Baltaz earlier, died from exposure to the city’s atmosphere, toxic to the Martians. Justice League of America #144 (July 1977), published just a month after WFC #245, offered perhaps the most affecting portrait of the Martian Manhunter to date. Scripted by Steve Englehart, the story flashed back to 1959, bridging the divide between the Certa era and O’Neil’s JLA #71 backstory. Here was a John Jones living in a vacuum, frustrated that he couldn’t take credit for his victories or confide in anyone or even repair the Robot-Brain that had stranded him on Earth. A John Jones who didn’t need the nightmare of being approached by Commander Blanx and his Pole Dwellers. Though J’onn was unaware of it, he’d actually succeeded in partially repairing the Robot-Brain, something Blanx had tested by allowing the device to pull a cache of Martian weapons to Earth (as seen in ’Tec #264). The White Martians were ready the next time the teleportation ray struck Mars—and ready as well to invade Earth. “Martians!” One word spoken in an interrupted exchange between a fleeing J’onn and a visiting hero


by

IS BACK!

Michael Eury

E-Man: Recharged #1 Written by Nicola Cuti, illustrated by Joe Staton Digital Webbing Press (www.digitalwebbing.com), Sept. 2006 32 color pages • $3.99 U.S. E-Man TM & © Joe Staton.

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My very first job, believe it or not, was “in” the comics biz! Each weekday after school and on Saturdays in the mid-’70s, I worked as a clerk and short-order cook at Williams Candy Kitchen, a mom-and-pop’s newsstand/lunch counter in my hometown of Concord, North Carolina. In those pre-comics-shop days of spotty distribution, the Candy Kitchen ordered (and received!) almost every comic book published. I took immense pride in policing the comic shelves, tidying up after aggressive manhandling from kids (most of whom were routinely dispersed by pint-sized powerhouse “Mom” Williams’ banshee-worthy shriek of “This ain’t no liberry!”). I confess that I would go behind my employer Tommy Williams’ back and re-rack the comics, showing unabashed favoritism by displaying my personal must-reads (The Brave and the Bold, Superman, and Amazing Spider-Man among them) on the front rows … while shunting the titles I cared little for to the back and lower rows, including almost everything from Charlton Comics, that odd little publishing house out of Derby, Connecticut. When I arrived at work one afternoon during late summer 1973, excited about that week’s new comics, the boss had given a coveted front-row spot to a quirky new Charlton title: E-Man #1 (Oct. 1973). Instinctively I reached for it to banish all copies to the “bowels” of the shelves, but its cover gave me pause: its confident, colorful rendering featured a dynamic super-hero, a sexy female sidekick, and one of comics’ most iconic super-villain archetypes, a brain under glass! Why, substitute a DC bullet or Marvel corner box for the Charlton bullseye, and this could have been a major-league title (in fact, it was more polished than many of the big-league series of the day). But it wasn’t a DC or Marvel book, so being an unenlightened, brand-loyal teen, I moved E-Man to the back row when Tommy wasn’t looking. A few weeks later, I finally sampled E-Man #1, upon the urging of my comics-reading friend Alan Misenheimer (who managed to locate the title despite my back-row exile) … and what a pleasant surprise it was! Between Nick Cuti’s bouncy dialogue and sly humor and Joe Staton’s semi-cartoony, spirited art, E-Man, the adventures of a sentient

E-Man TM & © Joe Staton.

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Back Issue #18