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Ten Goofiest Moments in Green Lantern #76-85

With the release this weekend of Green Lantern, I figured I’d devote two days to goofy moments related to the film’s release. let’s look at the first ten issues of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up in the pages of Green Lantern #76-85. Here‘s a look at the goofiest moments in the first ten issues of Green Lantern.

All ten issues were written by Dennis O’Neil and penciled by Neal Adams. Adams also inked #76 and 85. Frank Giacoia inked #77 and 78. Dan Adkins inked #79. Dick Giordano inked #80-83 (with some assists from others along the way). Bernie Wrightson inked #84.

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

SPECIAL MENTION

The most famous scene in all of the Hard Travelin’ Heroes stories is this one from Green Lantern #76. I don’t feel right putting it on the goofiest moments list, but it is too famous to not mention, so here it is…

Some think it is goofy, some think it is not. You decide!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

I just like how Green Arrow tries to work atomic fission into the discussion about his new trick net arrow in #78…

In #76, Hal saves a slumlord and he thinks the public will praise him…

I just love the sight of Hal taking a can to the noggin.

This bit in #83 is meant to be funny, but still, I think it is worth showing it. Check out the little nod to Hitchcock’s practice of making cameos in his films…

In #84, there is a cute (if goofy) nod to fellow comic book artist Mike Kaluta with the name of the plastic being produced at this factory town…

10. Don’t know much ’bout Geography….

In #77, we learn that the Guardians don’t know what mountains are…

Huh?

9. Subtle, they ain’t…

If there’s one thing these stories are, they are certainly not subtle. The opening to #85, though, is one of the more over-the-top bits in the series…

They forgot to have a nun walk by and spit on him and a group of innocent looking kids come by and steal his wallet.

8. A public service message from #85…

This is your ring construct…

This is your ring construct on drugs…

How awesome is seeing what a ring construct would look like if Green Lantern was high on smack?

7. You said it, Green Arrow, not me…

I decided to take Green Arrow’s comments below as meta-commentary on issue #83…

6. Quite a plan…

In #77, the owner of a mine is secretly compelling the miners to rise up against him because he wants them to attack while they’re angry and unprepared so that he can quash any future rebellions with a dramatic show of force. But that is not the reason why he is having the town’s local singing star killed. Nope. Check out his logic for why…

So you think that reporters doing puff pieces on a new hit musician (and that’s providing he ever becomes famous in the first place) will uncover your scam? That’s a pretty thin motive behind killing a guy, even for a bad guy.

5. Green Arrow Invokes Godwin’s Law

Really, Green Arrow, Green Lantern is like a Nazi? And I love that Hal just goes along with it. “Yeah, maybe you’re right, maybe I am a bit of a Nazi.”

4. And yet…

In the following issue, #77, they actually fight Nazis!!!!!

Remember what I said about this run and subtley?

3. That’s it, Ollie, blame the victim…

In #78, a bad guy hypnotizes Dinah…

After they stop the bad guy, Ollie decides to sermonize some more, and for some reason, decides to throw some blame Dinah’s way…

I love the way she says “he hynotized me!” and Ollie essentially says “you were asking for it.” Damn, Ollie. Luckily, you can tell O’Neil realized that this was a weird approach, as the next couple of issues have Ollie going overboard the other way.

2. Green Arrow’s Burden…

Perhaps the epitome of Green Arrow’s patronizing sermonizing happens in #79, when he dresses up as the ghost of a famous tribal leader to inspire the members of the tribe to stand up to the white man…

You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to get more patronizing, Ollie…

1. The most bizarre Nixon reference ever…

In #83, Adams and O’Neil decide to make Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon the bad guys of the issue. Only Nixon in the issue is a little girl with magic powers…

Besides the bizarreness of having Nixon being a little girl, their commentary is, in and of itself, odd, as it seems to imply that Agnew was controlling Nixon, which we obviously all know now not to be the case, but I don’t know if it was even believed back then….

I mean, if you did this with Cheney and Bush, that would make a lot more sense. But Agnew and Nixon? Huh?

To make the reference even more clear, note where they were when Nixon/Sybil brought the building down on top of them…

Again, subtle they were not.

50 Comments

The most famous scene!?! Lets not kid ourselves. Arn’t the Speedy/Heroin scenes in these issues? If they are – that takes the cake.

I never really cared for Green Arrow and I didn’t even read this. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I did, because he seems like a real ass.

“A force-shield will ward off the dinnerware” is a great line, though!

Subtlety was not one of Denny O’Neil’s habits. I have these, and frankly I laugh myself slck whenever I re-read them. The art is glorious of course, but O’Neil really likes to hit the reader over a head with a hammer. But seeing Hal get hit in the head is ALWAYS a bonus! And bless Ollie and his tendency to call anyone who disagrees with him, a Nazi.

“With the release this weekend of X-Men First Class, I figured I’d devote two days to goofy moments related to the film’s release. Today, let’s look at the first ten issues of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up in the pages of Green Lantern #76-85.”

Boy those mutants are EVERYWHERE…

John Trumbull

June 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

I was rereading these stories in the new Showcase collection just this week, and I never realized that the little girl was Nixon until now.

With the release this weekend of X-Men First Class, I figured I’d devote two days to goofy moments related to the film’s release. Today, let’s look at the first ten issues of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up in the pages of Green Lantern #76-85.

We’ve been using the copy & paste again haven’t we Brian?

They are spectacularly unsubtle, goofy comics, but at least a couple of these scenes make slightly — very slightly — more sense if you know the recent events to which they refer. Joshua, for example, was basically Charles Manson, and some of his followers later claimed he brainwashed and essentially mind-controlled them. Green Arrow sounds a bit like Vincent Bugliosi when he shuts down that defense. It’s still ridiculously out of place and goofy; maybe the seriousness of the real events makes it even more goofy (and rather tasteless) in comparison.

Likewise, the Dylan reference makes a little, tiny bit more sense if we’re meant to think that kid is specifically a protest singer, and that his protests songs could galvanize America or somesuch. I mean, Dylan really did seem to impact some people’s lives by calling them out in songs; just ask William Zantzinger. It’s still laid on with a trowel, though.

It is interesting to go back to a time when American liberalism was often expressed in popular culture as naively earnest purism rather than the calculatingly ironic pragmatism it seems to have become in today’s pop culture.

The black guy asking G.L why he cant help black ppl reminds me of the scene they did in Superman where a lady blames Superman for not being around to detect her husbands cancer. Id said”Dude,I got a whole space sector to protect I cant do everything for everybody”

Why does Dinah sleep with Ollie again?

The Fourth Man

June 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

That Nixon girl is creepy. I hope DC brings her back to be the major villian in it’s next Crisis of infinite flashpoints.

its more black humor that ends up becoming goofy if you really think about it.

This is one of the worst runs of a comic ever. The art is great, but the stories are simply liberal junk with costumes. Really bad stuff, as can be seen here.

When these came out, they were the best comics had ever made, winning some prizes and being distributed in paperbacks (which I still own) from the Scholastic Book Club. A comic had never dealt with prejudice before. Why hadn’t the Green Lantern ever helped black people? Huh? Again? What would happen if someone gave a creature of will a drug that defeats will power. Pretty good question. Lastly, until this comic series came out, Green Arrow looked liked freaking Peter Pan. Suddenly he was Robin Hood. The series was too controversial (imagine that), and ended after just a few issues. So, if i remember right, they moved on to Batman.

Saying Neal Adams is a great artist is kind of like saying water is wet, but as freaky-looking as characters like Nixon Girl are, I love how incredibly clearly distinctive all the characters’ faces are in these pages. None of this nonsense of trying to figure out whether I’m looking at Steve Rogers or Clint Barton because all blond guys look alike, or the fact that we can’t tell if some dark-haired young woman is Danielle Moonstar, X-23 or Hope in some X-Men solicit art. Adams really gave each face its own distinct personality.

I love those old GL/GA stories. The only thing that beats the O’neal stories for heavy handedness is Judd Winick.

I just love that this is the way O’Neil thinks the world should work. A lefty spouts some cliched argument that is, in his view, so self-evidently obvious that anyone with an opposing view simply hangs their head in shame. Hilarious.

Dude, the Nixon girl is CREEPY.

Yeah, I don’t think people considered Nixon a puppet even at the time, but considering that Agnew was the bad cop to Nixon’s good cop, I can see why he was portrayed as the Big Bad.

Great article. The Hard Traveling Heroes story art was my first exposure to Green Lantern and Green Arrow. I have to say that as a child the Nixon girl and the Agnew villain did creep the hell out of me.
Like other “goofy” moment subjects, these stories are a product of their times.
Neal Adams and Jack Kirby spoiled me. They set the bar so high, that I expected either Adams’s realism or Kirby’s dynamic style.

of course, it isn’t Peter Milligan’ AMERICAN SCREAM but I too finally discovered this run in the GREEN LANTERN SHOWCASE and I like the fact heroes took the road, dealing with drugs, sectarism. Now all these problems are aborded as anecdotes, or grindhouse decorum..This will certainly turn as “product of their times” and if our followers aren’t numbest as we are, they’ll spit on us and they’ll be right..

Neal Adams is stunning of course

The main criticism of these comics here seems to be the lack of subtlety in the politics presented, the too simplistic approach taken.

But this an anachronistic approach. Subtlety, regardless of the genre or subject matter, was not a defining characteristic of the comics of the Silver and early Bronze Ages. The super-heroics were were grand gestures of hyperbole and the the politics, when they entered the fray, were bound to be coloured no less purple.

Denny O Neil was taking mainstream comics into areas where they had scarcely ever been, but a new vocabulary was not yet at hand to do so, to allow for a more nuanced and, hence, 40 years later, less risible approach.

As someone who grew up with these comics as they first came out, I guess I am much kinder and more understanding of the attempts being made in these old chestnuts.

Quoted from Michael P: “Why does Dinah sleep with Ollie again?”

Because he’s actually a charming guy until he gets pissed off and starts calling everyone a Nazi. :p

Thanks for # 9 – the Nun comments were priceless and made me laugh out loud.

And this once again reminds me how much of a jerk Green Arrow is, and why I can’t stand the character in his own book or the JLA. Although I will be using his “well you’re just a Nazi” comeback for any criticism of me from now on – how can anyone come back at you after a putdown like that?

With all it’s weaknesses and datedness, I loved this run. I never realized the Nixon/Agnew thing before, though. Fascinating!

Travis Pelkie

June 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

“Why does Dinah sleep with Ollie again?”

Well, as we see in #3, “he…hypnotized” her, and “there had to be a part of [her] that responded to his insanity”, right? :)

Wow, I’ve never gotten to read the full stories, only seen bits of it, but that is some goofy stuff.

I like what benday-dot is saying, to paraphrase (and hopefully not distort) that given the times and the growth of comics to that point, this was the best that could be done at that time.

It’s like how a lot of the EC stories can read as heavy handed, but given the times, they were the state of the art.

one of the greatest comic runs ever. i have the trades that were put out a few years ago. while they didn’t age the best, they are amazingly brilliant.

Of course they look dated, but as mentioned, comics had ****NEVER**** dealt with contemporary political issues before. (Other than, “Don’t ask questions, son, just accept the status quo.”) This was a FIRST.

Except it bothered me even then that GL didn’t say to the black accuser, “Have I ever helped black people? Uh, let’s see… Oh, yeah. I saved the entire f*ing PLANET like 20 times while black people were living on it.”

CE

I love this series I only wish it could have been longer someone posted this was liberal garbage I don’t agree to me it was pretty balanced it was one those rare runs on series back then that could and still does read like a self contained larger novel .

I’m surprised that the issue about the planet that was all men and tried to kill black canary because they suffered from over population and were scarred she might be able to reproduce

or the issue about the new aged religious leader who talked to birds and tied him self to a cross and died . I am looking forward to the showcase volume that has then next section of the story the ones drawn by Mike Grell .

or the issue about the new aged religious leader who talked to birds and tied him self to a cross and died . I am looking forward to the showcase volume that has then next section of the story the ones drawn by Mike Grell .

That one is a bit later in the series.

have to admit other then green arrow being on his preachy kick in those issues. some of the craziest stuff happen. espically the one where gl and ga are taken down by a bunch of kids doing their children of the corn impression. not to mention Alfred hitchcock as mail man. plus kind of freaky the drugged out constructs hal created while on drugs.

Joe S. Walker

June 19, 2011 at 5:42 am

Re Hitchcock, O’Neil and/or Adams seem not to have noticed that his onscreen appearances were invariably of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nature. He didn’t put himself in the forefront of the bloody frame.

How about a Goofiest Moments in Mike Friedrich’s JLA run of around the same time? Though I think everyone who’s read those comics would guess number one…

I read these at the time and they came across, as so much of DC’s output at the time, as an attempt to emulate/outdo Marvel. They effectively told us that the hero whose adventures we had enjoyed for the previous 75 issues was an idiot and needed GA ( a politically radical ex-millionaire, yeah,sure) to point out where evil existed.

This run is lacking one thing that would have taken it from great to classic: one story, or even just a page, where Hal got to be right about a situation.

Exactly where did some possibly-hobo read about Hal’s adventures in outer space?

Funny how “goofy” today was a “award winning” run in yesteryears. Certainly it was a social experiment, an attempt to bring DC to comtemporary times, to be socially relevant. Perhaps it was a bit over the top but seriously, authority figures and what it stood for was being questioned with all the lying and cover ups. This is part of the era that saw the JFK,RFK and Martin Luther King assinations,the Vietnam war escalation,the protest movement,burning of the draft card,etc.

Go back to the Golden Age where everyone asian was like the Yellow Claw, a yellow peril/threat to be gunned down by Captain America and the like or a sterotype like Chop Chop in the Blackhawks.

Comics like other media is commentary, it reflects the times it came out. I understand your preface that this is all in good fun but sorry I dont think these are “goofy moments” at all..

chall88′s got a point. I wonder how silly today’s comics will be considered in 30-40 years. “Dude everybody was super brooding and shit. It’s like they were trying to overcompensate or something”.

Eliot Johnson

June 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

amrothery,

Hal is “right” several times throughout the run. Most notably, he acted much more rationally and compassionately than Ollie in the Roy Harper drug issues. Hal also succeeds in getting a senator or representative to come to the Native American reservation in 79 or 80. And the senator was more successful at helping the reservation than Ollie dressing up as a yellow ghost.

Clayton Emery,

Obviously Green Lantern saved the planet many times over at that point, but he had never once individually helped out a black person, while he had frequently individually helped out orange skins, purple skins, blue skins, etc.

I remember the christ guy tying himself to the cross. One of the goofiest moments ever. I recall GA being crucified too and breaking the ropes holding him because he pulled a bow so many hours a day for years.

I’ve read Green Lantern / Green Arrow for 30 years. Knew about the Agnew reference, but never saw the Nixon reference, ever.

Here’s an interesting Comics Legend Revealed for you, Brian: the panel with the kids standing around GL and GA on the floor when redone for the cover of the ’80s reprint book have the kids holding knives, which they aren’t in the original panel. Were they originally drawn with the knives in the ’70s and then the Comics Code/DC Editorial told them to remove them? Because the pose sure looks like they’re supposed to be holding something.

I’ve read Green Lantern / Green Arrow for 30 years. Knew about the Agnew reference, but never saw the Nixon reference, ever.

To be fair, it is a really bizarre reference. I mean, it’s Nixon as a little girl, for crying out loud! :)

Do these “goofiest” surveys include the covers? GL #79′s cover was goofier than anything in the story.

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/9976-2013-10984-1-green-lantern_super.jpg

“This run is lacking one thing that would have taken it from great to classic: one story, or even just a page, where Hal got to be right about a situation.”

Final panel of GL #89.

Anything Neal Adams draws is superior to about 95% of comics by definition, so I don’t know how far this “dated” series could fall. From the 100th percentile to the 95th percentile?

Comics still aren’t dealing with issues such as drug abuse, poverty, Native rights, feminism, and overpopulation. Even if parts of the run were flawed, it still looks groundbreaking to me.

But I bet know one can answer this question:
When Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams wrote and drew covers of Green Lantern/Green Arrow (numbered in the 70′s) they created a controversary by using a satirical version of a politiician. Who was the politician?

I like this Gerard Jones callback to the “Answer me that, Mister Green Lantern!” scene. The setup is that Hal had been spending the vast majority of his recent time in earthbound adventures:

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/gl_v3_029_p19_skins_small.JPG

suedenim, from what comic is THAT ? ! ?

That’s from Gerard Jones’ run on the Green Lantern title, circa 1990-1992.

[...] talking heads what they've done for America (besides empty rhetoric). Say what you will about Denny O'Neal's writing on that series, but some of it does hit, and at the time, there was nothing like it, not even at Marvel. And it [...]

[...] from a Robin Hood-style knock-off version of Batman, to one that traveled the U.S. in the 1970s in Hard Traveling Heroes, to Mike Grell’s acclaimed Longbow Hunters version. The show draws heavily on Grell’s [...]

[...] not an election per se, the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow run was undoubtedly full of some seriously goofy moments, not least of which was a little a girl with psychic powers who looked like Richard Nixon. Included [...]

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