thehefner: (Green Lantern: Bling Bling!)
[personal profile] thehefner
Over the past few days, it seems there's been a sudden resurgence in Hal Jordan hatred on [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily. I'm not surprised, but I'm frankly disappointed. I don't wanna get all butthurt, but damn it, I'd thought we were beyond this bullcrap after all these years. Let me tell you, nothing stirs up passion of all extremes like the Green Lantern mythos.

Valerie D'Orazio wrote an excellent essay recently as to how fervor for fictional characters can equal that for religious and political beliefs, and in my opinion, this trend is nowhere more apparent than in GL. For the past fifteen years, the feelings for Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner have been the closest thing comic fans have had to the abortion issue.

Especially Hal Jordan. I have honestly never known a major iconic character of comics so widely (or at least, loudly) loathed. Many of the complaints heaped upon him are the same as heaped upon those who (deeply and also loudly) hate Superman: boring, whitebread, arrogant, "Captain Perfect," and so on and so on.

But unlike Superman, I can't rebuke these complaints and defend my position. Not in a way that'll really matter to them. Because, as I realized, my love for that character is more complex and personal than anything I can sum up in a single comic appearance.

Not too long ago, in attempt to explain these thoughts to [livejournal.com profile] angrylemur--who didn't hate Hal, but certainly found him the least interesting of all GLs--I wrote the following essay. We were considering maybe posting it (and our subsequent e-mails back and forth) somewhere, if we could find an appropriate venue. I'd like to add scans to back it up. But for now, here it is, for those who are interested.





Because you might be interested to know how this whole thing got started, and because I wanted to try to put this out in words myself.

So here's the thing: I never read Hal as Green Lantern growing up. At that point, I was in middle school, my Harvey Dent obsession taking full flight. I'd always been fascinated by Two-Face, probably since my very first comic was the third part of "A Lonely Place of Dying," with Batman and Harvey (drawn by Jim Aparo!) run parallel storylines trying to out-think one another. But it wasn't until BATMAN FOREVER came out that my attention to Two-Face exploded, because when I saw the film, I immediately went, "Something's not right here." It took an incorrect bastardization portrayal to get me interested in the character as he's SUPPOSED to be ideally portrayed. Eventually, I'd come to realize that the only way I'd get that ideal take on Harvey--the one I knew in my heart, even though I'd never seen him complete on paper--was to write him myself.

Around the same time, thanks to Wizard magazine (it took me several years before I realized that Wizard was fit only for wiping my arse) I discovered a villain called Parallax. I thought, "Wait, isn't that the Green Lantern?" I only knew of GL in passing, as I was hardly the comic geek I later became. Heck, the only reason I knew the name "Hal Jordan" is because Wizard once dream-casted Bruce Campbell in the part for a possible GL movie.

Then, as I was at the food store (back when supermarkets sold comic books) I discovered a GL/Silver Surfer crossover book on the racks. I knew NOTHING about these characters, couldn't care less... and yet, there he was: Parallax, the former Green Lantern. This Hal Jordan person. And I was immediately taken. He wasn't just some grinning evil bad guy. He was a seriously messed-up but tragic person whose whole world had become twisted around, but still thought of himself as a hero, still thought he was doing the right thing.

And that's what really got to me about Harvey too. The twisted hero who could also be a major threat, always with one foot in redemption and the other in damnation. He was Harvey on a cosmic level, space opera that dwarfed all the Star Trek and Star Wars combined. Parallax soon became my new favorite character, neck and neck with Harvey, for the next couple of years.

I scoured the back issue bins for Parallax stories and appearances, the few I could find. I'd weed my way through old GL issues, so many fucking old GL issues, but I didn't care about those. Green Lantern? Psh, whatever. Where's the drama? Where's the conflict? Where's the angst and the redemption and all that sound, fury, and Kirby Crackles? Yawn. The only Hal Jordan that interested me was the stuff that led directly to Parallax; if he didn't have white temples, I wasn't buying.

But then some funny things happened. I don't know what order they occurred, and perhaps it doesn't matter.

The first was my sinking realization that I didn't like Kyle, at least as written by Ron Marz and edited by Kevin Dooley (Morrison's was better). Even at age 15, I thought, "What a cheap, lazy, 90's-tastic attempt at a 'hip' character. He's like a whiny version of Poochie the Rockin' Dog. Hell, even when I do read these old issues of Hal as GL, I already feel like he's far more of an appealing hero than Kyle. Kyle's all whining and angst and snark. Hal's a fucking superhero, and does what needs to get done. He doesn't have to strike a pose or throw in a one-liner like someone in an action film or make giant Manga robots for the sake of making Manga robots. Hal used to get the job done because he's the hero."

And I furthermore realized that, yes, I was starting to dig Hal as GL as well as Parallax. There was something old-school about him, something more pure, but I never saw him as white-bread (maybe my own arguable white-bread-ness could be a factor). The more I read about Parallax, the more I wanted to see him redeemed, or even win. All the stories were tailored around ousting Hal, painting him as the crazy old fogie in favor of their hip, Wizard-approved snarkster Peter-Parker-wannabe "one true GL," and the more I read of that, the sicker I got of Kyle and Marz. I wanted Hal to triumph. I wanted Hal to be the good guy again, just as I want Harvey to be the good guy again (to a degree).

As I read and reread the old GL comics, I started to realize that the Hal Jordan who became Parallax wasn't exactly the Hal who was this "greatest Green Lantern." I mean, it might have been, if the writers didn't take three fucking issues to turn him crazy and evil. The more I reread "Emerald Twilight," the more I came to realize that it was utter editorial-mandated bullshit. It didn't fit Hal Jordan, as anyone who actually followed Hal before that point would have seen. It really began to piss me off, but here I was, late to the game, and Parallax had already been killed off (a mercy killing on the part of Karl Kesel, who was sick of seeing Hal fucked around). I found myself in mourning for a character I'd never really experienced.

My excitement at discovering a whole GL fandom online was short-lived. There's something about the GLC mythos, no matter which version you follow, that reaches into their hearts, burrows under the skin, and touches something so deep and moving that it hits right to the core of your fandom passion. And seeing those Kyle fans rage against Hal for being too dated, too old, boring, stupid, lame, get over it, move on, he had his time... I just thought, "I'm living proof that he hasn't had his time. Those old stories aren't enough. I want to see a heroic Hal Jordan brought back to this time, this context, to further explore the character! This isn't enough!" But all they had to say was "get over it." I've come to loathe "get over it." It's so dismissive, devoid of respect.

Once Superman lost the mullet and classic status quo was reinstated, I knew that Hal would be back as GL someday. It was inevitable, especially with Hal fans like this Geoff Johns guy joining up on DC's slate. So I waited year after year, initially excited about Hal's return as the Spectre but quickly become dissatisfied with its New Age-y sub-Gaiman lameness and went back to waiting for the inevitable. As such, for folks like us, GL: Rebirth was like fucking Christmas. It breathed new life and new perspective into the whole GLC mythos, bringing Guy back to his awesome GL roots, tying in John's neat military background introduced in the Justice League cartoon, using a whole new take on the rings and how each user works differently, setting the stage for a bold new step forward (while taking whole pages from the past) for Green Lantern.

And, of course, Hal was back. His major first entrance still gives me goosebumps today. However, most everything after that...

... uh, it took me several hard months to work past my happiness that Hal was back to accept the sense that... well... um... these stories weren't really interesting. That Hal... wasn't as interesting here as he should have been. As I *knew* he could be. As... as I was so *sure* he could be. Couldn't he?

I mean, the whole point of why I wanted Hal back was to see a modern take on the character. All the classic issues were all well and good, but they were all products of their time. Batman of the 50's, 70's, 80's, and modern day are all different characters, yet retain certain spiritual connections that makes them all--more or less--the same character. As such, I had very few Hal Jordan classic stories that I could hand to people to show them why Hal was a great character. I could look beyond their datedness of "period" to the indescribable heart of the character, the charisma, style, and spirit of Hal, but I'd only gotten to that point after *everything* I just described to you here. I desperately wanted Hal back because I wanted to see someone take that spirit and transport it to the modern day, where your average current casual reader can pick it up and go "Oh wow, I totally see why he's the 'greatest!'"

But for the first several issues, Johns was not capable of doing that.

I'd noticed a pattern when it came to Geoff Johns' writing. Much as I dug his runs on JSA and FLASH, he was a deeply uneven writer, often resulting in cliche and ideas that just didn't work. Yet underneath it all, there was a passion, an *earnestness* that drove his comic work, making me forgive his faults and hold out for those stories of his which succeeded, sometimes excellently.

But the problem was that his passion for Hal overwhelmed his storytelling. And as I write this now, I realize that he did what I fear I'm doing with Harvey: writing a personal dream version of the character to show how awesome and kick-ass he is, pretty much *smothering* the character instead of standing back and letting him breathe. Know what I mean? Fanfic writers mess this up, while professional writers (ideally) do not. Passion for your character can really go either way. I'm counting on my trusted editors to keep me from getting to that point. In doing so, Johns had actually backfired on his intentions to make Hal relevant again, giving the detractors all the more reason to dislike the character, while simply preaching to the choir of Hal-fans.

It made me wonder: what if they were right? What if Hal really is boring, not compelling, a dated character who doesn't work today? What if he's too powerful, too flawless, too arrogant, too white-bread to be interesting?

Then I thought: fuck that shit. And the reason I thought "fuck that shit" was because of Superman. People throw that shit around with Superman all the time, often for the exact same "flaws." Because we live in an era where heroes have to be "flawed." It's not "believable" otherwise. That he's not human otherwise. Unfortunately, thanks to the 80's, where a handful of brilliant writers influenced a whole generation of cheap, shitty, lazy writers, that basically meant painting in broad strokes: make them insane, murderers, rapists, drug addicts, whatever. Cheap drama. But real-life humanity is not uniformly defined by such melodramatic flaws. We don't all have such deep, dark secrets in such grand, dramatic fashions. We're far more complex than that, even when those complexities are so subtle that they appear to be nonexistent.

Such was the case with Superman. Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman is pure Silver Age, pure classic superheroics, and yet, here was a character who was all at once wondrous, human, epic, tender, moving, inspiring, and human. All it took was a good writer to hone those preexisting elements to find that heart of the character, and make it shine through. And if they could do that with Superman, someone could do it with Hal.

It took Geoff Johns around two years to really start. And now, with "Sinestro Corps" wrapped up, Johns is not letting up; with his "Empire Strikes Back" completed, he's now finally overhauling Hal's origin and relationship with Sinestro, setting the stage for the climactic finale to his trilogy in 2009, "The Blackest Night," based on Alan Moore's short GL stories. Yes, he's taken a cue from the unintentional-god of the lamentable "grim and gritty" movement to fashion some of the most kickass, pure superheroic space opera epics in modern comics. After some clumsy missteps along the way, Johns is finally starting to give me the Green Lantern stories I'd felt in my heart, but could never have imagined on my own.

But it took two years to lay the groundwork and establish the current status quo, and yet it's only recently that Johns is finally opening Hal up a little bit. The reason for this is because Hal is not the sort of human being to wear his heart on his sleeve, where the character's soul is laid bare within the first few pages. He's not only from another era, he's from a whole different mindset: the test pilot. It worked perfectly in NEW FRONTIER, because in that era, test pilots were celebrity heroes. Not so much today, even though they still exist, attracting the same sort of people today as it did then.

I have some relatives in the military who, I recently realized, remind me of Hal. These people (good, honest people who believe in doing what's right) are driven. I've always loved driven characters. Usually, the stories of driven people are like THERE WILL BE BLOOD, where the drive is what ultimately destroys their connections and their souls. Characters like Harvey, in fact. Harvey deals in absolutes, in black and white, and that's one major reason he ends up broken and destroyed. But with Hal, it's not that simple.

To paraphrase Kurt Busiek, Hal Jordan is the sort of person who doesn't sweat falling off a cliff because he knows he'll figure out a plan on the way down. He was originally "without fear," but this was later adjusted to "the ability to overcome fear," which is much truer to the character and to those real-life test pilots. Hal faces fear head-on, constantly challenging himself, pushing to overcome that fear and survive.

And yet throughout this, he keeps everyone in his life at arms-length. He breezes through one-night stands, his only meaningful on-again off-again relationship being with a competitive ball-buster who makes Lois Lane look like Golden Age Gilda. His best friend is Ollie, another thrill-junkie with serious commitment/relationship issues who is ALSO a competitive ball-buster. Hal's attracted to conflict, to challenge, even when the challenge causes him to stop and completely reevaluate his life (like Ollie did, turning Hal's world-view upside-down, and shaking him to his foundations).

And why? Because--as Johns is hinting, or at least as I see it--Hal's *afraid.*

This is a guy who watched his father, his hero, crash into flames before his eyes, then went ahead and dreamt of becoming a test pilot himself. That kinda speaks to serious issues, wouldn't you say? With Johns' retcon of Parallax, it was this very fear that cracked Hal open and made him vulnerable to manipulation. Parallax may have possessed him, but Hal's own fears and insecurity were what drove him.

All the same, there's a part of him that does desire that connection, that settling down. He spent a whole era traveling from town to town, trying out all different manner of professions, and moving on. Ever read the story where Hal, Barry, Alan, and Jay went on a camping trip to an alien world? In that story, Alan criticized Hal by saying "As a ring-wielder, you're top-notch. As a man, you worry me. I've seen the way you operate. You'll never enjoy the success I've enjoyed if you keep ditching your job and your town whenever things get rough. That's taking the easy way out."

In response, Hal exploded, "The EASY way out?! You think it's 'easy' to keep starting over with nobody at your side and nothing but the clothes on your back? You think it's quitting to keep going when nothing works out?! You think YOU'D have the guts to suffer through that again and again and again?"

And that, I realize, is really key to the essence of Hal Jordan. He isn't invulnerable. He isn't above failure, fear, pain, loneliness, nor powerlessness. Being the "greatest Green Lantern" means nothing on a human level. I love my superheroics to focus as much on the character without the mask, to see them when they're not walloping giant robots. We don't read superhero stories to see if the hero is going to win. We know the hero will win. The question is *how* he'll win, what challenges he'll need to overcome, and what sacrifices he will make along the way.

In that sense, Hal's one of the truest, purest examples of a comic book staple: the deceptively simple image of the superhero. The DC hero especially, not the angsting and bickering Marvel heroes. Like the other GL's, he wasn't born into greatness, he's just a guy. A decent human being who had the potential for greatness, a potential others misused (like Sinestro and, for a while, Guy). He still has his fear, his insecurities, but he refuses to let them own him (as they once did in a huge obvious super-hero metaphorical way) managing to face them head on and overcome them. That doesn't mean he still doesn't feel that failure, fear, pain, loneliness, powerlessness, etc. He just doesn't waste time *angsting* about it.

Guy does it with brash cockiness and boasting. John does it with soulful introspection. Kyle angsts and worries and whines and jokes, and I'd be lying if I said I'd be any different in his shoes. They all deal with it in easily-recognizable ways that we can all identify.

But Hal? Hal just keeps going. He "gets over it" as best as he can, and moves on. In the end, all that matters is doing what's right, no matter the personal cost. Which is why, for all his issues, he can still rise above it all--literally and figuratively--with the power of a god but the heart and soul of a man.

Harvey Dent is who I identify with on a negative level, a metaphorical representation of what I could be--or could have been--if I ever gave up.

But Hal Jordan is my inspiration to keep going.



Maybe sometime I'll make accompanying scans and put this on [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily, but I know several responses will just end with me being further frustrated. I know I have a way of mistaking disagreement with personal insult, which is because I take everything personally. Especially Hal, obviously. In my own way, I too am guilty of icon-worship with all the other wackos, even if I lack the virulent fire.

Hopefully with a GREEN LANTERN movie finally in the works (you can see some official concept art right here), we'll get a depiction of Hal that finally does the character justice. Justice in the way I've seen him, justice that will make others go, "Ohhh, so that's why Hal Jordan is Hal fucking Jordan."

Then again, not even Robert Downey Jr's rightly-universally-beloved depiction of Tony Stark seemed to warm anybody to his much-maligned comic counterpart, another great character twisted and misused by a cynical comic company looking for shock-value controversy. Ah well. I suppose such unchanging prejudices won't really matter if the film is 1.) good and 2.) a hit. I guess that's all for which I can really hope.

In brightest day. In blackest night.

Date: 2008-09-10 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suburbfabulous.livejournal.com
Yeah. You tell 'em, Hef.

Date: 2008-09-10 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Maybe I will, man. Someday, perhaps someday soon, maybe I will at that.

Date: 2008-09-10 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philippos42.livejournal.com
Hm. I guess I always liked the alien GLs better. I didn't have a strong read on Hal until he was already frightfully old & way too lionized by the writers (mid-1980's). He wasn't too insufferable, but the, "Arisia ages herself to sleep with him," arc was a turnoff. Then there was the awful-awful Action Comics Weekly strip & the stripping away of the Corps, which just ended it for me.

Date: 2008-09-10 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Yeah, hardly the greatest eras for the character, and most definitely not the ones by which Hal should be judged. Especially not twenty years later.

Date: 2008-09-10 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumhead.livejournal.com
Guy is the best Green Lantern. Hal sucks.

The reason Hal is number #1 is they always let the boring guy win over the cool guy. Because it would make the boring people who read comics feel insecure.

The GL movie should be about Guy.

Date: 2008-09-10 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Welp, thanks for that insight.

Date: 2008-09-10 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumhead.livejournal.com
It's not personal.

But I havent read every GL book with Jordan in it. Maybe there's some cool ones. But Guy is better.

Date: 2008-09-10 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
No, I know, and I can certainly understand preferring the awesomeness that is Mr. Guy Gardner. The dude's the balls of the GLC, gotta love 'im.

But you'll notice I did just make this whole post as a way of dealing with my frustrations with people who generally have little more to say than "Hal sucks."

Where, oh where....

Date: 2008-09-10 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] american-arcane.livejournal.com
...were people like you when I was reading comics regularly? *sigh*

I had no one to have conversations like that with in my little hole in the wall town. (Where the comic book shop closed when I stopped buying comics... further reinforcing the idea that I must have been the only one buying $100 worth of books a month for a while...)

Anyway...

My only real Green Lantern exposure was to the Silver Age version of my father's cache of comics. Rarely the deepest stories there, in the early to mid 60s... but I did always like the character. Or, at least, the nifty powers... I really didn't have a lot to go on from those old books.

Re: Where, oh where....

Date: 2008-09-10 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Hell, pally, where were people like you when I actually was getting into comics? Hell, even today, I only have a tiny handful people with whom I can really discuss comics in person. God bless the internet in this respect, eh?

Have you read DC: THE NEW FRONTIER? Even without hearing that above description of your GL exposure, I'd strongly recommend that as a must-read all around.

Re: Where, oh where....

Date: 2008-09-10 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumhead.livejournal.com
New Frontier is what they call a "ret-con". (I think). They take a shitty character, and say "hey, he isn't shitty, he used to be cool, or always was cool".

I loved that comic though.

Oh, the other comment wasn't a swipe at you, it was a general thing-I've noticed in most stories the boring character is the lead, and the cool, non-boring character is always a supporting character. This was true until they introduced Wolverine, and started re-vamping Batman. My opinion is that I think writers thing "normal" people won't identify with a lead character who isn't boring.

Re: Where, oh where....

Date: 2008-09-10 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Not really a retcon, since it's out of continuity. It's just a stand-alone dealie. Is there even a term for that?

And again, I know. And also, adding to what I said above, said frustrations also stem from the fact that I can't really argue with such opinions, not in a way that'll really matter. So I'm just like, *throws hands in the air,* well, that's that then. Nowhere else I can go from here.

Date: 2008-09-10 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kali921.livejournal.com
DAMN RIGHT. This is one of the better meta pieces I've seen on Hal, and I so agree with you. I actually warmed up to Johns new GL series a little sooner than you did, but god, did he get off to a rocky start for all of the right reasons. See, that's the thing: when Johns screws up with Hal, he does it for the right reasons. He still screws up a bit, but he does it with the kind of fanboy love for pretty much the ENTIRE CAST that makes me sympathize with him as a writer and want to forgive his faults. (Except on the JSA book, which is devolving into schmaltz after such a great start.)

You know that series of fake motivators someone did a few years ago with a whole host of Marvel heroes, each epitomizing just one concept and just one word? Frank Castle was "COMMITMENT," Doom was "GOALS," and Elektra was "EXCELLENCE"? Etc. etc?

That's why I have posters of Elektra and Hal above my desk at work. Atlhough they're incredibly different characters in a lot of ways, they also epitomize excellence in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY: when there's a job to do, just get up again, keep on going, and get it fucking done. Angst later, and when you do, keep it simple and short. Elektra talks about fear the same way Hal does: something to simply be dealt with and put aside when you need to get shit done.

Also, your falling off a cliff scenario reminded me that Johns wrote that EXACT scenario with Carter Hall! I'll have to scan and post it for you, because it's such a classic Hawkman sequence. Carter and Kendra get their wings snatched off and are about to get their asses tossed off a really, really high Thanagarian cliff by Onimar Synn, and Kendra's freaking out, and Carter's all, "Don't sweat it, chill, I got this," they get tossed off the cliff...

...and Carter's so badass that he snatches a flying Thanagarian wingman out of the air on the way down, cracks his neck, takes his harness, puts it on - totally not breaking a sweat here, he's still got a couple hundred more feet to go - and then he grabs Kendra and catches her when she's about two feet from hitting the ground. (She promptly decks him for not telling her The Plan, and he's all "Mmmm, what a great right hook. Sex now, right? Y/N?")

See? Got the job done, no sweat.
Edited Date: 2008-09-10 02:56 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-09-10 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Awesome, glad you dug it! Means a lot, really. Glad to know it's not all just me imposing my personal feelings on a character which might or might not really be there. And you're totally right on Johns; like I said, there's this earnestness with his writing that even when he fails, you can tell it wasn't from lack of sincere love for the characters.

Yeah, JSA is increasingly "ehh." But I must admit, I'm mightily intrigued by Gog as a character. I kind of love how we're all clearly waiting for the other shoe to drop, and how the heroes are honestly not dumb enough to let their guard down, but Gog still hasn't really done anything outright evil yet. It's a nice tense twist on an old superhero trope.

I love that you have an Elektra motivational poster on your wall. Love it. Did you see back when they made officially licensed motivational posters with Frank and Magneto? Or are those the ones you mean?

Act now, angst later. Exactly. Love it. That's what heroes do. That's why we never saw the amazing adventures of SuperHamlet.

I've gotta see that Carter moment, when you get the chance.

Date: 2008-09-10 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kali921.livejournal.com
At work I have Carter, Diana, She-Hulk, Elektra, Hal, Mitchell Hundred & Kremlin, and the entire main cast of Annihilation as painted by Dell'Otto staring at me from various walls. Elektra and Hal are for motivation for excellence and bravery. Diana's for compassion and bravery. Carter's for toughness and for allowing no bullshit. Jen is for joy and intellectual acumen and for physical and emotional strength, Mitchell and Kremlin are for perseverance, and Annihilation is just for flat out asskicking awesome. See? Superheroes are like homeopathic flower remedies!

I also have some Jamie McKelvie prints, but they're just for the pretty.

(And, truly, if you're talking about dedication to excellence at your craft, you can do no better than Elektra. That's what she lives and breathes for and that's ALL she has to live for. That's why she's such a pure character, even in her absolutely FUBARED life with no hope ever for happiness. She can only find happiness and satori in her craft, and her craft is KICKING ASS.)

Date: 2008-09-10 06:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
yeah post it at s_d. they need more challenging. and if I had to deal with that flock of idjits, so do you dagnabit!

Date: 2008-09-10 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Hehe, this is revenge at my encouragement, clearly. Well, I'll need to scrounge up issues to scan, which will take a while, but I'll work on it, most definitely. I've let off a good deal of steam at present, but if the Hal-hatin' trends continue, the steam shall almost certainly build up again.

Date: 2008-09-10 06:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
LET IT BUILD THEN LET IT BLOW!

Date: 2008-09-10 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
... Damn it, don't feed me openings like that when I'm too exhausted to be witty! It's 2:21 AM over here!

Date: 2008-09-10 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
That was my evil plan all along!

Date: 2008-09-10 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Ugh, not tonight babe, I've got a headache. ;p

Date: 2008-09-10 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
My evil plan was to make you feel inadequate by throwing you a fabulous opening you were incapable of responding to.

DUH.



hehe.

Date: 2008-09-10 06:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Your evil plan was to make me feel inadequate? What next, you'll kick a puppy with Down syndrome?

Wait, okay, no, I can do this. I can do this. *breathes* PENIS! ... damn it. I need sleep.

Date: 2008-09-10 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
MWAUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


(I originally wrote hahahahahahaha then realised it wasn't evil enough)

and a

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

for good measure too.

which is the more evil? I've always thought mwuahahah but some people reckon bwahahahaha.

Date: 2008-09-10 06:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Mwa by far. Bwa is more the raucous good-natured (if sometimes naughty and pranktacular) laughter of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. But "Mwa" is pure cruelty and malevolence in laugh form.

Similarly, see Dirk Anger in NEXTWAVE: "Moo hoo ah ha."

Date: 2008-09-10 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessebee.livejournal.com
I'm going to see TDK again tonight. It's feeling more and more flawed to me as time passes but I still heart it.

Date: 2008-09-10 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suburbfabulous.livejournal.com
Oh, and if you DO post this on scat_daily, understand that their flames will not reach you.
Just by writing a piece like this, and not including some Batman/Superman or Batman/Robin buttsecks reference, you are too far for most of their snarky asses to reach.
Just saying.
-Guthrie, who only goes there for the scans of comics he doesn't buy (which am most of them)

Date: 2008-09-10 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Most definitely words of wisdom. I suppose that's the price I pay for going there rather then the wretched hives of scum and fucktardery that are the message boards at DC, Newsarama, and Comic Book Resources. The lesser of two weevils is still a weevil.

Date: 2008-09-11 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nymphgalatea.livejournal.com
Very thoughtful post.

Mr. Johns run has been a bit up-and-down for me too. The absolute highpoint was Sinestro Corps War, but the Secret Origins story is really dragging for me, I'm sad to say. I like Sinestro in it, and the links to the Blackest Night are interesting, but something about it just isn't clicking for me. I think perhaps because so much of it is about Hals' relationship with his father and his bottled emotions over his death. It's something I simply cannot relate to.

Looking at the posts on scans_daily, I'm wondering if there's perhaps a split along gender lines relating to which sort of Lantern you like the most. A lot of guys online tend to prefer Hal. Perhaps because they can relate to the "guy who doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve" as you noted above, and because they idealise just how damn *masculine* Hal is (you cannot get any more manly than being a test pilot. You just can't).

Whereas a lot of girls online react better to the emotional, slightly more metrosexual Kyle. For me personally it's easier to relate to Kyle, who has all his insecurities and hopes out there for the world to see. With Hal it takes a little longer to see where he's coming from.

(Plus, on Scans_daily, there's a lot of slash fans. Judging by all the online fanfic out there it's very easy to make Kyle gay. However Hal Jordan is the straightest guy...ever, therfore he doesn't get as much love in the creative community.)

Me? I love Kyle best of all, because my first exposure to the GL mythos was the Morrison/Waid/Kelly run on JLA in which Kyle shone. But I love Hal too. And Guy, and John, and Kilowog and Soranik, and Bzzd and....

Date: 2008-09-11 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Yay! I was hoping you'd read it.

Yeah, SC was most definitely the highlight ("ohhhhh, so that's where you've been doing with all this!") and SO is unfortunately starting to drag, but I do love the take on Sinestro. The character is finally as compelling and imposing as he's always needed to be, rather than an old top-hatted serial villain from the 20's.

And yeah, I too am actually having problems relating to Johns' Hal. But I don't find that gets in the way of a good story, necessarily. I can't relate to most of the Watchmen, yet I'm invested in their stories and care about them all.

At the same time, while I do relate to Kyle more, I do so in that he represents aspects of myself that I don't really like to see. Yeah, I get where you're coming from, Kyle, which is all the more reason I wanna smack you sometimes.

But that's mainly the Kyle of Ron Marz, a book so inexplicably popular in the 90's that it boggles me. What a terrible comic. Thank god for Morrison/Waid/Kelly, or I might never have liked the character.

All this has made me seriously tempted to do a wee bit for Hal what I've been doing with Harvey, to find and develop those aspects I've always seen. Maybe this could finally get me off my duff to write a comic script for DC, I dunno.

Date: 2008-09-11 08:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nymphgalatea.livejournal.com
My goodness what a long comment I left! I kind of got into a really long train of thought...

I said this over on scans_daily, but what I think the main GL book needed at this point was not "Hal's Secret Origin", but "Sinestro: Year One". I think many fans would have enjoyed that more.

Mr Johns is a highly capable writer, but as you said he's sometimes *too* invested in Hal. Since he rebooted the series we've already had so many flashback scenes and whatnot that I feel having a 6-issue origin story was redundant at this point. And they could quite easily have fitted in the Blackest Night stuff into a Sinestro story. I dunno. It just isn't working for me and I'll be glad when we get back to Modern-Day Hal and whatever adventure comes next.

And yeah, I too am actually having problems relating to Johns' Hal. But I don't find that gets in the way of a good story, necessarily

Eh. For me it does, a little bit. I like to be able to get inside a characters' head. For example, Superboy Prime: a character that most people don't seem to *get*. However he is essentially a male superpowered version of my slightly psychopathic younger sister, so I understand the character perfectly.

Yeah, I get where you're coming from, Kyle, which is all the more reason I wanna smack you sometimes.

Heh. Oh, bless. He's not a *bad* character to be able to relate to. He's just a little...superficial, sometimes.

Not having read any of Ron Marzs' stuff -save for the highly forgettable Ion miniseries- I only know Kyle through JLA. And my god, they did right by him in that book. His progression from "empty-headed rookie" to "Valued teammate" to "Holy Fuck, He Saved The Planet!" was awesome.

(Oh yes. Speaking of Mister Dent and your quest to read *everything* published that features him, did you read this weeks' Batman Confidential. He gets a couple pages in that, in which he goes up against Batgirl and proves once again that it sucks to be Harvey. No doubt it'll show on scans_daily soon enough)

Date: 2008-09-11 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
And this one's even longer! And Leon's getting laaaaaaaaaaarger!

I really, really hope Johns has got something up his sleeve for Hal. I want to see Hal really shaken to his core, cracked open, and explored in a way no one has before. Same with Cyclops in X-MEN, those characters need that so desperately.

Oh ho, so all of a sudden, your love for Superboy Prime and Damian becomes clearer!

I kind of want you to track down Marz' run, just to see what you think. I mean, I live in terror of you actually liking it, but still, I'd be interested. Here was Marz's formula for Kyle:

Kyle draws something so you see he's an artist and geek just like the reader. Bad guy shows up, and maybe so also does an established hero. Hero and/or villain remark how Kyle isn't the real Green Lantern. Kyle gets his ass kicked. At last minute, Kyle saves the day. Hero remarks how Kyle really is on his way to becoming the one true GL. Kyle shrugs and says, "I'm trying."

It was like that FOR SEVENTY-FIVE FUCKING ISSUES.

Yeah, I did read that! It was short but sweet. I liked how they showed Harvey really being *torn*, which is exactly the way he should be, especially when it comes to the coin. Batgirl's genuine compassion for him really made the scene work.

Date: 2008-09-11 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nymphgalatea.livejournal.com
Yeah. It took me a while to realise why they felt so *familiar* when they are new characters, but I figured it out last month, when she shrieked the immortal words "I HATE YOU, YOU'RE RUINING EVERYTHING, WHY DOES EVERYBODY HATE ME?". She is twenty one years old and she genuinely believes the universe revolves around her alone. Prime wouldn't stand a chance.

I really enjoyed the batman Confidential comic. Fun story, fun art, and the writer *got* all the characters. Really impressed by Fabian Niceza actually. He does fun stuff over in Trinity too.

Regarding Marz: I own Emerald Twilight, and was not particularly overjoyed with it. I had always thought that Hal losing the plot was a stretched-out sort of affair. This just left me with whiplash at the speed of Hal going from "Welp, I'm grieving" to "Let's destroy the Corps".

It was the most editorially-mandated comicbook I had ever read. No writer can shine under those sort of conditions, but I have to say, I was Not Impressed. But you can't really get many trades of that era of GL comics. I suppose that speaks for itself, huh?

Mind you, I think I have a Judd Winick Green Lantern trade somewhere that involves Kyle & Jade and a planet with lava monsters that turns out to be Mogo. It was...you can tell it was written by Winick, that's all I'll say. (After what he did to Raven in that appalling Titans comic I can no longer type the name Judd Winick without cursing like a navvy.)

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