erasing clouds

by tonydoug wright

A Selection From The Champion City Archives

All of the comics and graphic novels I have reviewed for this column have been new releases from major and independent publishers. Unfortunately, not a single classic comic book or graphic novel has been reviewed for the Champion City Comics. To right this wrong, I made a trip to the Champion City Archives, to review the wonderful collection of comics and graphic novels, and decided to review some of these great works of the comic book universe so that we can gain a greater appreciation of the pioneers and trailblazers in the field.

Green Lantern - Green Arrow Volume 1 by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams (DC Comics 2004)

Those of us who read comic books during the 60s or have read comic books from the 60s know that a majority of the titles featured exciting tales of adventure with incredible artwork but at the same time were lacking a real world perspective. The comic book universe of the 60s seemed to overlook the issues of the times such as the controversial war in Vietnam and racial equality. Did comic book writers not care about what was going on or were they not given the opportunity to discuss these issues? Were comic books supposed to discuss these issues in the first place? These questions were answered in April 1970 when DC launched the Green Lantern - Green Arrow series.

The Green Lantern series was facing a decline in sales and writer Dennis O'Neil was assigned the task of reviving the comic book. O'Neil was teamed up with penciller Neal Adams and the two began revamping the series by adding Green Arrow, a fellow DC character who never really served as a major character, to the mix. They turned the role of Green Arrow into an anti-establishment antagonist Robin Hood while Green Lantern was portrayed as the pro-establishment do-gooder. O’Neil and Adams had created a series where both characters would come face-to-face and openly debate issues such as poverty and racism. "My generation, and my father's, had grown up ignorant; my son's didn't have to. Maybe I could help, a little,” wrote a reflective O'Neil in 1983.

The first Green Lantern - Green Arrow issue was titled 'No Evil Shall Escape My Sight' and to this day it is considered by many fans to be one of the most important comic book issues ever. In this issue the Green Lantern is confronted by an African-American man who wants to know why the Green Lantern, a hero that has done so much for the blue and purple skins, but nothing for the black community. A stunned Green Lantern is unable to give an answer but it sparked a change in this character that represented the out-of-touch establishment. This issue is the beginning of a rocky friendship between two different minded heroes who set out to stand up for those for face injustice in America.

Green Lantern – Green Arrow Vol. 1 gives us an opportunity to see comic book heroes fighting against real world injustices and standing up for the oppressed and minorities. Reading the stories today there is definitely a dated feel with the dialogue and with some of the topics discussed but nonetheless these stories are classics. Although the series was short-lived, it did expose readers to the greatness of Dennis O’Neil who went on to other projects such as Batman and Deadman while Neal Adams also went on to do Batman and Deadman but also went on to X-Men and The Avengers. The Green Lantern – Green Arrow series was a step away from the juvenile perspective that is still attached to comics to show that the industry could successfully deal with mature issues.

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