Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby – Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #1

In the spring of 1982, I was 8 years old, turning 9 that October. For me, it was a real golden age as a young comic book fan. There were so many great titles at that time, and my allowance money was enough to keep me in funnybook heaven week after week. I had enjoyed Green Lantern in the GL/GA series (this was the Itty era) and later as it reverted to a solo title. I also enjoyed he JLA and B&B appearances. I wouldn’t say that he was ever my favourite character, but I liked him and the Guardians of the Universe angle allowed for almost limitless possibilities.

At that time, of course, I had no idea who Brian Bolland was – but when I saw this cover on the racks, I just had to have it. It is freaking gorgeous. It still stands out in my mind as one of the most iconic covers of the era. Of course, it was also a #1 and I was always very excited about getting in on the ground floor.

This was really my first introduction to the Corps. I was aware that it existed but I never really understood the size of the undertaking. The first few pages, featuring the gathering of every GL in the universe, were mind blowing. We also get a very quick recap of Hal Jordan’s origin as a GL, after he tells another GL of Abin Sur’s demise. To me, this was a form of mythology – the universe seemed boundless and the dedication of the Corps was impressive to say the least.

I did a quick re-read recently, and this Mike Barr tale holds up quite well. There is actually quite a bit of carnage for a pre-Crisis story, which I found to be surprising. The plot gets a bit fuzzy in places and the sentimentality (which resonated with me at the time) seems a bit forced at times, but that may have to do with cynicism than anything else.

The real treat here is the artwork by the Joe Staton/Frank McLaughlin team. Staton is near the top of the ranks of all-time underappreciated artists. He infuses so much energy in his pencils that they almost leap off the page. He should have become a superstar – but I guess nice guys rarely finish first. I am also a bit fan of McLaughlin as an inker – he work well with all sorts of artists – I am never surprised to see his name in the credits of a book that I’ve enjoyed.

What a great book this was! What a treasure it was to come across as an 8-year old. They simply do not make ‘em like this anymore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved that mini when I was a kid - though I haven't looked at it ages.

I'm surprised to hear McLaughlin inked it - I would've assumed it was frequent Staton inker Bruce Patterson - though I do remember it being a pretty good fit. McLaughlin had a nice, clean style which seemed to work with most (if not all) pencillers.

Bill Angus