O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
It’s St. Patrick’s Day. As Warren Ellis says, “If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, eat a raw potato, build a house of of peat, and get yourself shot by an Englishman.” Sounds good to me, but that’s probably my red hair talking. Oh well.
Also, it’s still Joe Simon Week, part six. And because it’s St. Patrick’s Day and everybody likes a certain color of the rainbow on this day, well, some of you out there may be able to guess which Simon creation I’ll be spotlighting today.
76. The Green Team
The Green Team was another creation of Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti, the team that gave the world Prez. Their first (and almost only) appearance was in 1st Issue Special #2 (“1st Issue Special” was a series much like Showcase that presented new concepts to launch new series from them. Not too many actually ever got their own series, aside from Warlord and the Creeper, but we got a couple great Kirby concepts, and other cool stuff like Lady Cop and more Metamorpho).
It was a pretty fun idea. The Green Team was a cadre of boy millionaires willing to throw one million bucks into the pot for the sake of an adventure. The world’s most capitalist boy heroes– throwing money at their problems! It’s hilarious and wonderful.
The gang consisted of Commodore Murphy, shipping tycoon; J.P. Houston, oil magnate; Cecil Sunbeam, the Hollywood “star maker;” and later, Abdul Smith, young shoeshine boy turned stock market millionaire. Their first adventure was about the Great American Pleasure Machine and the evil Daniel D. Merritt.
The team wasn’t a success in comics. Two further adventures, however, appeared in the first Cancelled Comics Cavalcade: one involved giant lobsters, and another a mad paperhanger. That was it for the Green Team until a brief cameo in Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and a brief cameo in Giffen and Fleming’s Ambush Bug. Also, during my favorite era of Superman, when he was blue and made of energy, the Green Team appeared in Adventures of Superman #549 to settle a dispute between the Newsboy Legion and the Dingbats of Danger Street (a Kirby creation from 1st Issue Special that never took off). God bless Karl Kesel.
I wouldn’t mind some kind of Green Team revival, even in a diminished capacity. No Joe Simon concept is worth losing forever. Heck, one member of the Green Team is basically our current president, so I think it’d be great to bring back in today’s climate. It works amazingly as a commentary on today’s zany economics and politics. Also, it’s a vehicle for exceptionally weird stories. Heck, at least make them recurring characters in a Prez revamp. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d buy it.
Now, Kevin Church thought the Green Team was godawful, but I think it’s funny and kitsch. You can read a lot more about it on Comic Book Profiles, which gives a very detailed description of the plot and characters. There’s also Cheek the Toy Wonder’s in-depth look at it, and Dial B for Blog took a glance at the Green Team’s presence in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade. For a failed concept no one remembers, the Green Team lives on through wistful remembrance on the internet. Huzzah!
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