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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – “I’m Defeated! How Terrible…No, How Wonderful!”: The Odd Debut of Star Sapphire

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Yesterday’s installment inspired reader Frank W. to write in with another suggestion that I found amusing enough to do it right now, the odd debut of Star Sapphire!

1962’s Green Lantern #16 featured “The Secret Life of Star Sapphire,” by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.

The issue opened with a fascinating microcosm of a traditional female lead in a Julie Schwartz edited/John Broome penned title…Carol is piloting a freaking JET by herself for fun…

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As you can see, that’s pretty badass. Carol is very badass in a lot of ways. She runs her own company, she flies jets in her spare time. She’s very impressive. At the same time, we have to make sure that it is clear that she can’t possibly be as good of a pilot as Hal Jordan and most of her time in the book is all about her point position in the love triangle between Hal Jordan and Green Lantern.

Carol is then kidnapped from her jet by the people of the planet Zamaron, which translates into English as “the land of lovely women.” For serious. They want her to be their queen, but her love for Green Lantern taints her. So they come up with an elegant solution. If she defeats Green Lantern in battle, then she’ll concede he is unworthy of her. If he defeats HER, then she is unworthy of being the Queen.

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So they create some “crimes” for her to commit (oddly enough, they’re very meticulous in making sure she doesn’t actually steal anything, I don’t know why) and control her to make her fight Green Lantern (who is trying to find Carol, so these thefts are quite annoying to him). Their first battle doesn’t go well for Hal, as remember, Hal Jordan’s early days were all about accidental head trauma

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Carol successfully argues that that really wasn’t a case of her defeating him, but rather a messed up accident. So they give Green Lantern one more shot. I love this one bit here where Broome cleverly works in some exposition as to how their plan works by having one of the Zamarons ask a “dumb” question…

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Ultimately, Hal figures out that Star Sapphire is being powered by an outside force, so he cuts off that radiation, which saves the day (and leads to the great line that made up our headline)…

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The Zamarons quickly cut ties with Carol…

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All told, an odd issue but a fun one!

12 Comments

” She runs her own company, ”

Of course, the helpful editor’s note makes sure that we know that she only gets to run the company while her Dad is away on a round the world tour….

To be fair, one presumes that the company’s test pilot SHOULD be a better pilot than anyone else at the company.

Of course, the helpful editor’s note makes sure that we know that she only gets to run the company while her Dad is away on a round the world tour….

Yeah, there’s this one issue where Schwartz actually throws in an editorial note to explain to people that, while yes, nominally Carol is Hal’s boss, she’s mainly his love interest. He even said “nominally”!

interesting always wondered if carol really got turned into star sapphire by the zamorns . though that oh i am defeated how terrible no wonderful sounds like something grant morrision would write or wonder womans own creator if he was still around.

“the company’s test pilot SHOULD be a better pilot than anyone else at the company.”
… and maybe the hero of the book should also be better at his job than everyone else.
Or worse.

Aliens trying to recreate their queen using an exact replica from Earth?
I wonder if this is where Jupiter Ascending got its ideas from?

Gearing in mind that this story appeared in the early Sixties when it was unusual and unexpected in real life for a woman – especially one as young as Carol – to head any company, least of all an aviation company, reminding the kids of why Carol was in charge was an explanation, not a put-down.

And even given the notes, it was easy to assume Carol was a self-made executive–I didnt learn it was a family firm until the Bronze Age because Carl Ferris was mentioned so rarely.

I’d blame comic books only, but pretty much every type of fiction is guilty of it… The suggestion that everyone has an exact double somewhere! And they don’t even have to be related to you! Many past sitcoms seem to believe it as well.

As far as the semi-sexist nature of it, Carol IS running a company. It’s sort of funny, I suppose, that they NEED to point out it’s her father’s company, but it would be very unusual at the time. I don’t mind calling out blatant, offensive sexism in every era, but you can’t always fault people in the past for not being heroically progressive.

What I really need to read are more stories with that “fantastic organ” that gives people super powers and costume. To hell with radioactive spiders.

Perhaps an evil Ray Manzerek gave Jim Morrison his sexy mojo and tight leather pants to destroy the morals of middle America in the late 60s… Go get him straight laced Green Lantern!

@Ethan ~
“I’d blame comic books only, but pretty much every type of fiction is guilty of it… The suggestion that everyone has an exact double somewhere! And they don’t even have to be related to you! Many past sitcoms seem to believe it as well.”

I believe that was an actual philosophy of the times that was believed well beyond the realms of fiction.
But I could be wrong.

Man, given what we know about head trauma and CTE now, they wouldn’t have had to invent a yellow fear demon to explain Hal’s turn to the dark side if they waited a few more years.

@Ethan- I think that it becomes a lot iffier when where talking about people from different PLANETS like Carol and the Zamaron Queen or Captain Marvel and Walter Lawson.

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