Friday, November 17, 2017

Making a Splash: Neal Adams' Green Lantern/Green Arrow

All right, Groove-ophiles, it's time to look back on one of the most celebrated and influential series of comics' Groovy Age: Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams pretty much turned comicdom on its ear when it took two of DC's staid characters and used them to usher in DC's "relevant" era of comics. Green Lantern, DC's "cosmic cop," and Green Arrow, the former millionaire Batman rip-off who became the liberal everyman's mouthpiece after his fortune was stolen from him, touched on "today" issues like politics, the economy, overpopulation, the generation gap, sexism, racism, rioting, and drugs--all the while keeping the super-hero/sci-fi/fantasy edge handy. O'Neil's realistic dialogue coupled with Adams' realistic art turned GL's moribund mag into a critical darling, though it only delayed the mag's inevitable cancellation. While the styles may seem "dated" to today's readers, O'Neil/Adams' GL/GA is bound to be an influence on many of today's "socially conscious" creators. More than anything else, though, Neal Adams drew the living daylights out of GL/GA's adventures! With inkers like Dick Giordano, Berni Wrightson, and more, here's Neal doing his thing for issues 76-89 (February 1970-February 1972)!














14 comments:

  1. I'm trying to think of another series which had more impact on the industry and produced so few actual issues. I cannot think of one. The GL/GA stories stand up still after all these decades.

    Rip Off

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  2. I enjoyed the art work, but actually got very turned off by Oliver Queen' s constant liberal rants. At the time I remember thinking if I wanted to hear this I would watch Meathead on All In The Family.

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  3. As a political conservative the GL/GA series didn't do much for me. But I love Neal Adams and he really put his heart into this series. The teaming of him with Bernie Wrightson was a one-time stroke of brilliance. And who can forget Richard Nixon as the little girl? Eew.

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  4. Yeah, when I was 7-8, the politics didn't bother me. I just liked the art and the snappy patter. Reading it now, GA is too preachy and screechy--like someone on Facebook with no filter. I love the comparison to Meathead on All In the Family. Now, if GL had been more Archie Bunker-ish to balance GA...hmmm... ;D

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    1. Now THAT would have been some entertaining reading lol

      Green Arrow: "So you're going to sit there and defend Nixon?!?"

      Green Lantern: "Shut up you meathead you!"

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  5. Yes, this was an incredibly important book, but man, Adams' art is so much better than every other part of it as to defy description. O'Neil's characterization, especially in the early issues, makes an Internet comic section seem mature, balance, and dignified, and the world he created was far too drab and petty for comics.

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  6. Great post. Yes, to today's mindset it seems preachy though the message was and is still legitimate, perhaps even more so. But I cannot think of a comic since those GA/GL issues which has attracted attention except the Death of Superman in the early 90s. Man what a profit motivated feeding frenzy that was, lol.

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  7. I always loved that page from What Can One Man Do? (GL87) and its atypical coloring, so unlike what Cory was doing on the series, and I've wondered if Dick or someone else colored that one chapter.

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  8. I still have my coverless copy of issue 86 that my sainted grandmother, a teacher, must have found laying around her classroom. I remember being shocked at how graphic and detailed the depictions of Speedy shooting up were. It disturbed me, so I think Denny and Neal did their jobs.

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    1. I agree totally that Denny most certainly showed the horrors of drug abuse in issues 85 and 86. "Snowbirds Don't Fly" made such an impression on me--horrified me to the point that I never, ever wanted to experiment with "dope", so yes, indeed, he and Neal most certainly did their jobs as far as you and I are concerned, Dee. I'd venture a whole lot of other kids were steered away from the drug scene because of those comics, too. While GA might've been "too much" sometimes, O'Neil and Adams still deserve tons of credit--and our thanks.

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  9. These books were a pure delight when first published. I recently acquired a hardbound edition of them, and in re-reading each story, I'm inclined to think they sound a bit clunky and preachy, but for their time, they were perfect. I used this material as a kid to prove to others that comics could tell important, influential stories.

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  10. I just finished reading the collected editions. Sure some of the politics are handled in a hamfisted manner but the subjects are still completely relevant, and there's an energizing charm to the proceedings. I personally miss the hotheaded, swashbuckling activist Oliver Queen. And I was reminded that Adams was my first and probably alltime favourite artist.

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  11. Great series, and one must remember what DC was offering prior to this series in Green Lantern. Denny's scripts were an important step for mainstream comics in the US. While some may legitimately criticize certain aspects of them today, they were like a bolt of lightning in their era with such earnest, heartfelt outcries against social injustice that really hadn't been seen in super-hero comics EVER (in E.C. titles like CRIME SUSPENSTORIES or SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES, yes, but those were pre-code and with a distinct lack of 'men in tights').

    Regards,

    Chris A.

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