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Golden Age Christmas – Green Lantern Teaches a Christmas Tale of Tolerance

Welcome to the latest edition of Golden Age Christmas, where we will feature a different Golden Age Christmas comic book story every day from now until Christmas Eve!

Today we look at a 1944 Christmas story featuring Green Lantern speaking to the very nature of (then) modern America.

The comic (written by Henry Kuttner and drawn by Paul Reinman) opens with a framing device of Alan Scott leading a Christmas choir on the radio when a lady in the audience begins to freak out because the singers are not all white…

In the fracas, Doiby is shot, but the only doctor who can save him is not allowed to because of his religion!

By the way, they must mean Jewish, right?

So Alan investigates…

The rest of the story, Alan keeps finding this Mr. Rogue fellow is influencing Committees all over the city to become super racist. No one has actually met the man. Alan travels along with Rogue’s press agent and Alan is getting angrier and angrier as time goes by over how much of a jerk Rogue is. He even considers killing Rogue when he finds him, but Doiby talks him out of it by reminding him of the oath he took as Green Lantern.

Finally, through the use of sidewalk Santa Clauses as spies, Alan finally finds Rogue…

And Rogue’s true identity is a shock to Alan…

This was a pretty strong story by Kuttner with a good message, although I dunno about some racist old lady actually shutting her trap long enough to listen to that whole story, especially when it begins with “You’re a fool!” Reinman does a good job on the art, although it is of course weird today to see a comic book about religious and ethnic tolerance to depict an Asian person like they do in this comic.

11 Comments

Daniel O'Dreams

December 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Wow Golden Age GL handled racism much more deftly than Bronze Age GL… OK that’s not much of a surprise, but still…

Daniel O'Dreams

December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm

It IS a surprise that Rogue didn’t turn out to be a Nazi.

although it is of course weird today to see a comic book about religious and ethnic tolerance to depict an Asian person like they do in this comic.

I don’t think the depiction of black people is much better. It looks like he just put a splash of black ink on the center of each face where the facial expression should be.

Also, the classism in the mocking of Doiby and his grammar is about as open-minded and good-natured toward the working class as Eisner’s depiction of Ebony White was to black people.

Still, for the time this was pretty progressive and brave and apparently well-intentioned, so overall it’s a good thing and an important baby step.

Not to pick holes, but in the time GL spent flying all over town looking for Rogue, couldn’t he have just flown Doiby to another hospital?

Isn’t the implication that the Women’s Hospital Committee dictates terms for all of the hospitals in the city?

The man has a magic ring. How long would it take him to fly to a hospital in the next city? Or does the Women’s Hospital Committee dictate the terms for all hospitals in the USA? Or possibly the world?

Just one of the reasons that Alan Scott is SUCH a fabulous hero. One of the few people who can actually make Batman sit up and pay attention.

They had me right up until they asked me to accept an Irishman. That’s just too much.

amazing that even the golden age had comics like green lantern deal with racists like that guy dictating that a certain doctor could not work because of his beliefs. not to mention that just telling that story had a racist old lady change her mind and see she was bigoted over her views that fast

I believe that should be “Peace on Oith”.

Startlingly direct for the time.

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