Secret Origins #18: The Creeper and Golden Age Green Lantern

Ryan Daly and returning guest Anj review the origin of The Creeper from Secret Origins #18. Then, Michael Bailey joins Ryan for the story of the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott.

Listen to Episode 18!

Subscribe to Secret Origins Podcast on iTunes!

Sample pages from Secret Origins #18, written Andrew Helfer with art by Keith Giffen and Rick Bryant (The Creeper), and Roy Thomas with art by George Freeman (Green Lantern), and a cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.

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Plus, sample pages from Showcase #73 by Steve Ditko, First Issue Special #7 by Michael Fleisher and Ditko, All-American Comics #16 by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell, Justice Society of America #3 (1991) by Len Strazewski and Mike Parobeck, and JSA: Classified #25 by Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero.

Showcase Showcase2 1stSpecial2 1stSpecial AA#16page1 AA#16page8 JSA#3 JSAC#25

Check out Anj’s Supergirl blog Comic Box Commentary

And hear Michael’s thoughts about Alan Scott and the JSA at Tales of the Justice Society of America:

And his thoughts on Superman at Fortress of Baileytude:

And other comics at Views from the Longbox:

And still more comics at Comics Monthly Monday:

And, of course, Bailey’s Batman Podcast:

“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music this episode: “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz; “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung; “The Touch” by Stan Bush.

Leave a comment, Secret Admirers!

19 thoughts on “Secret Origins #18: The Creeper and Golden Age Green Lantern

  1. The Creeper is one of those characters that I think just doesn’t work long form, but makes for a great guest star. Not everyone can be an above-the-line talent. (On a side note, I love that Kenner bothered to make a Creeper figure for the BTAS line. I can only imagine how difficult it was to sculpt that Phyllis Diller boa thing he carries around)

    I loved the GL story, mostly because it was drawn by George Freeman, whose work I have always loved but never seemed to make a huge mark on mainstream comics. Everyone he draws looks like they’re in the middle of a windstorm, so having him do GL and his billowy cape is perfect. And his layouts are amazing.

    One of the things I loved about the SO series was when they allowed for some artistic flights of fancy with the covers–the Kevin Nowlan Adam Strange/Dr Occult for example, and this issue too. I remember how much this cover jumped off the shelf at the time.

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  2. The Creeper is weird for me because I was introduced to him through the New Adventures of Batman and Robin cartoon series, and his depiction there immediately made him come across (to me at least) as a knock off of Freakazoid. Obviously I know that’s not the case, as the Creeper pre-dates the short lived animated hero by quite a bit, but it’s a comparison I’ve never been able to shake since. Something about a hero who annoys and confronts his villains in equal measure. Maybe it’s the fact that Freakazoid does it better (again, in my view at least) that I can’t drop the comparison even though I know which came first.

    I’m glad you at least briefly touched on the Alan Scott being made gay thing. That whole decision was weird, a sort of odd middle ground. Obviously “Green Lantern is GAY!” is headline grabbing, but the actual headline of “The least popular and least known character to have ever been called Green Lantern is now gay in a new version of the character” just feels weird. The whole thing smacks of compromise to me, with one side wanting to create a new gay character and another wanting to reveal a long standing character to be gay and we end up with this strange meeting in the middle that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. It’s not a bad thing, and the diversity is ultimately a good thing, it’s just strange to me.

    Overall I’m never really sure what to make of these Golden Age versions of long standing characters, because the legacy thing has never really been handled very well by DC so they mainly serve as a bit of an oddity (especially since the multiverse can’t decide if it’s going to be a thing or not.) Not sure that this thought goes anywhere, but if I stopped myself just for having no real point then I wouldn’t say much of anything.

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    1. Surely Simon Baz is the least popular and least known character to have ever been called Green Lantern…(limiting to those who have starred in the book and been set on Earth.)

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  3. My first encounter with the Creeper was Adventure Comics #447, as the back-up feature (with Aquaman, fighting The Fisherman, as a lead). I didn’t like the character. He was beyond weird; but that wasn’t the main issue. Ditko made Jack Ryder such a smug, sanctimonious a-hole that I just wanted to see him get the sh!# kicked out of him. Ditko’s Randian outlook didn’t make things palatable, either, and generally ruins his non-Marvel stuff, for me, even when I like the concept (like The Question). I find his creations fare better in other hands and seem less insane, like Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s The Question, or his use on JLU. For the Creeper, about the only appearance I really enjoyed was on the New Adventures of Batman and Robin, as well as his appearance in The Joker #3, back in the 70s. he was okay in the JL issues; but, I was glad he didn’t become a regular. This is a much better reimagining; but, it’s still not a character I’m drawn to read.

    So, Green Lantern. Man, Roy’s trying to cover a lot of ground with this story! The costumed adventure, following the finding of the ring, just seems a bit at odds with the rest of the story. It doesn’t help that we are back at the New York World’s Fair. I like art deco as much as the next guy (more, even); but, Roy seems obsessed with this. I also see we have to have the obligatory reference to another medium, with the appearances of Terry Lee, Pat Ryan and Connie, though I am sad to see that Freeman didn’t depart from the racial caricature of the Terry & the Pirates comic strip.

    My first encounter with Alan Scott was a house ad for The Amazing World of DC Comics, focusing on the JSA. I remember wondering who this guy was who looked kind of like Green Lantern, but with a red shirt and purple cape, as well as who the guy with the helmet was (though I had that answered around the same time, in a house ad for the Famous First Edition of the Flash). It was a while before I saw him in the pages of JLA, as well as a crossover with Hal Jordan, when Mike Grell was artist on GL/GA. There was just something about him that made him that much cooler than Hal, even if he looks like he is color-blind. Like Ryan, though, there is something about Golden Age costumes that work. I suspect part of it as they tend to be drawn from real theatrical and circus costumes, so they seem more real than the skintight costumes of the Silver Age, and beyond.

    The comments about James Robinson are interesting. I haven’t read much of his post-Starman work; but, Starman was fantastic. I prefer that and his early stuff (Grendel, 67 Seconds, Firearm), as well as Leave it to Chance and Golden Age (love, love). Post-Starman, I haven’t really been reading enough comics to sample it. He definitely went a little nuts with the pop culture stuff (it was books, in Firearm), and it could be distracting. I am intrigued by his new Airboy series, which seems like some weird form of therapy for his various issues, related to Starman and his success (and reputation as a jerk). I will say his movie, Comic Book Villains, is pretty stupid, though enjoyable. I have no clue how much of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman movie came from his script. Word was that a lot of it was thrown out the window.

    Agree with Mike, about the art; very Staton-like.

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  4. ps the early stuff on page 5 looks like it supposed to be the Arabian Nights stories. I haven’t read enough Terry & the Pirates stories to know if Caniff did a riff on Aladdin or not. he usually kept it realistic. Might be more treasure hunting. On a side not, Mike Grell introduced alegacy of Pat Ryan and the Dragon Lady, in his Blackhawk story, in Action Comics Weekly, their daughter, Red Dragon. Grell basically took the post-war Blackhawk and turned it into Caniff’s other masterpiece, Steve Canyon, while mixing in a bit of Terry Lee and Pat Ryan.


  5. Any podcast that ends with “The Touch” is pure gold. I put my old Transfomers: The Movie soundtrack album on the turntable last weekend. And yes, I admit that.

    The Creeper…yeah, I never got into him that much. I think like the original Hawk and Dove, he kind of worked in that moment, and that was it…and apparently he didn’t work too well then, because he got cancelled pretty quickly. I did like him on BTAS, but they totally revamped his origin and tied him into the Joker. The BTAS crew had originally tried to use him in the first version of the series, but couldn’t figure out how to make his origin work. So I think that says a lot.

    I could never figure out if Giffen’s 9-panel grid/close-up period was genius, or just lazy. I kind of think it’s the later, since the guy was pretty busy at the time. Drawing 17 pages of close-ups of eyeballs makes the work go by pretty quick.

    Can you tell I didn’t like this one much? I really dislike Giffen’s work in this period. To me, it’s just ugly. No offense to Anj, as I thought he did a great job covering it, and I appreciate his enthusiasm for the character. There’s characters I like that I really can’t tell you why. It happens.

    Green Lantern on the other hand…WOW!!! George Freeman actually inked “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne from The Brave and the Bold #197, over Joe Staton’s pencils, so there is a connection between the two which Michael touched upon. His style is perfect for the Golden Age characters, combining a cartoony look similar to many artists of that era, with modern storytelling sensibilities. I believe he got his start on Canada’s Captain Canuck comic. He didn’t do a lot of super hero work for DC, although he apparently drew quite a few issues of Wasteland and Black Orchid following this.

    Alan Scott is my favorite GL, and it was nice to hear him get the love he deserved. I’m a big fan of that Strazewski/Parobeck series as well. A great book cut down in its prime by editorial stupidity. Alan’s role as the replacement for the Golden Age Superman was definitely locked down in Robinson’s Golden Age. He’s the big gun there for sure. I guess I can forgive you Ryan, for not getting into Robinson’s Starman. Just make sure you listen to all the Starman Chronicles episodes of Super Mates, and call me in the morning.

    Glad to finally hear Mr. Bailey on the show. I could listen to that guy talk about just pretty much anything, (and I practically have!), so it was nice to hear him weigh in on ANOTHER favorite character that’s not Superman or Batman. He’s more than that! And thanks for the kind words, Michael. I could only fill in for you when it comes to Superman…you are the E. Nelson Bridwell of the podcasting community!


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  6. A couple of comments:

    Thanks for the explanation of Under Pressure. I didn’t comment with my dislike of the choice last time because it felt like piling on. At least I know the reason behind it now. I love ‘you got the touch’ from Transformers. But I cannot accept the fact that Radiohead’s Creep wasn’t used here.

    I really liked the GL story as a kid. There was a book in my local library that had the secret origins of DC heroes and included both old and new versions if that applied (so I read Jay and Barry’s origins, Alan and Hal’s origins, etc.) The whole ‘burn three times’ thing was fascinating to me then and now. So I am glad that they included that portion in depth. But I think that I didn’t need the last half of this showing the second story. The first was enough of an origin. I always liked Alan as the elder statesman. And I found it interesting that he was the GL in Kingdom Come, brooding on his green satellite.

    Lastly, Chris I think your visceral dislike of the Creeper is just the other side of the coin, mirroring my visceral like of him. I don’t know if I have yet to find the comic incarnation that matches my enthusiasm for the guy!


  7. I agree that Radiohead would have both been too on-the-nose and insufficiently anarchic. (I would have tried to fit ‘Stars’ from Les Mis for Alan Scott, though. And If we don’t get some Beatles next week there will be plenty of cause for complaint.)

    I’ve never been a Creeper fan or anti-fan. I like seeing him (or simply Jack Ryder) as a guest appearance, but have never been particularly tempted to pick up any of his doomed serieses.


  8. Great episode! The Creeper has never really done anything for me as a character, but I’ve never actively disliked him, either. To me, he’s always been a character you throw into a superhero crowd scene, or include when you need somebody to make ridiculously irreverent wisecracks but you can’t use the Joker because you need the wise-ass to be hanging out with the heroes.

    I loved the discussion of Alan Scott’s history, and his role as one of DC’s elder statesmen. While I’m a child of the Bronze Age, there’s always been something about this version of GL that’s spoken to me, to the point where my son is the only kid in his first-grade class with a Golden Age Green Lantern tee-shirt. Interesting thoughts on the lantern’s “giving life” by restoring sanity. Yes, simply saving a person from death would have made more sense (and could have tied neatly in with the Starheart later returning Alan’s youth and vitality when he became Sentinel), but if Roy Thomas was known for one thing, it was working with what had come before and changing it as little as possible. In the 1940s, I’m thinking that a “cure” for insanity made perfect sense to a layperson writing for kids. And hey, it’s a magic lantern. By definition it does the impossible.

    I have a couple of trivial nitpicks to throw in. The fact that there are only a couple should be taken as an indication that the rest of the episode was more or less flawless, from this listener’s perspective.

    First and foremost, just because it came up twice in the episode, Alan Scott WAS married to Rose/Thorn when they conceived Jade and Obsidian. The story was told in the Infinity, Inc Annual that is due to be covered soon on Tales of the JSA, after that happy day when the podcast returns. Rose falls in love with GL, discovers his secret identity, adopts a new identity of her own in order to pursue him, and the two get married and consummate the union in a glowing green bubble. The Thorn persona awakens, and Rose is forced to fake her own fiery death, only to discover that she’s pregnant with twins. There’s more, but my head is spinning just recounting that much.

    Second, a note on the GL Corps oaths. The idea that Hal’s oath is the standard oath is actually an invention of the Geoff Johns era. In the Silver and Bronze Ages, most alien GLs had their own oaths. It was stated that about 100 or so of them had copied Hal’s, presumably to explain away those instances where a writer had slipped and put the “In Brightest Day…” words into an alien mouth. Salaak used the Alan Scott oath from his very first appearance, long before the Green Lantern
    title switched to “Green Lantern Corps”. Many of the other oaths showed up either in the original1981 “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” miniseries, or in the backup feature of the same name in Green Lantern. And in the Green Lantern Corps Quarterly stories, well, I just have one word: Yowza!

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  9. Were these two characters teamed up for their color schemes? Because there’s a lot of crossover there! Stunning cover by Sienkewicz, and I am a huge fans of his. It’s no one where near my favorite work of his but it’s still stunning and clearly was enough to make me pick this up off the racks back in the day. This here issue is the FIRST of the series I ever bought!

    Both Green Lantern I and Creeper are characters who’ve always intrigued me due to their costume designs. Sort of like Anj with the Creeper, I’ve been attracted to both characters over the years mostly due to their physical appearances. And a lot like Anj, and Ryan, I’ve never really been satisfied with much of what I’ve read of the Creeper. I really think his BTAS appearances are my favorites. In comics I’ve always been underwhelmed by him. He’s a hot mess of a character, frankly. I too believe that they aren’t any bad characters, and that any of them can be resurrected by the right writers and artists. But Creeper is a tough one. Like Ryan, he always reminds me of the Joker too, just superficially, and he pales in comparison to the Joker when you look at it that way. His costume design is simultaneously eye catching and repulsive! I like it depending on the artist. Then other times I find it just too goofy even for comics. And it seems like no one ever knows how to write him – is he really crazy? Or pretending? And why is he pretending if that’s the case? And wouldn’t that be exhausting? I realize this origin reset the status quo and made it clear he was under the influence of the bad LSD trip. But did that last? I have no idea. And I don’t think I need to know, really.

    Overall I enjoyed the story though. So it might be the most interesting Creeper story I’ve read, but that’s not saying much. However, I really loved Giffen’s art and layouts here. I remember being fascinated by the shift in his art style when I was a kid and really enjoying his newer style quite a bit – it was so stylish. I think it fit well with this story. Some great work from Giffen on the costume party scenes too.

    I’ve always loved Alan Scott’s GL and I think it traces back mostly to his costume too. But in his case, I’ve actually found a lot to like about him in most stories I’ve read with him. I think he’s a fantastic Golden Age character and he really does have that classic Superman feel to him too. And that costume! It’s like Ryan said – so many disparate elements and it seems to include one or two more colors than is likely a good idea, but it all works! The puffy sleeves, that great purple mask and giant belt, it all just works for me.

    The origin story was decent but rereading it recently, for the first time since I bought it the year it came out, was a bit rough. I found myself tiring partway through it. It seemed a little longer than necessary. That said, I enjoyed the Golden Age feel to it, helped in no small part by the fantastic cartooning of George Freeman. His characters always looked like exaggerated cartoon versions of classic movie actors to me. And thank you Ryan for mentioning the work Freeman did on those two Batman stories – the Autobiography one and the Clayface story. Those are two of my fave Batman stories ever and I’ve always loved Freeman mostly due to those issues. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his work elsewhere besides this Secret Origins issue. So maybe I bought this issue for his art back in 1987? I know I already owned the Alan Brennert Batman story at this point, so maybe? Who knows.

    Just a few notes on the podcast too. Ryan, you’re doing a great job here! My life’s been hectic and busy lately but I’ve enjoyed finding some moments to tune in to your show. It’s always a blast. Your guests are universally good too. Keep up the good work! And I think I might have said this last time he was on but I don’t remember. Either way, Anj is a perfect guest! He articulates some great points on comics and characters that show how thoughtfully he considers everything when he’s reviewing stories like this. Bring him back often!

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  10. And I meant to add during my discussion of Freeman’s art – the racist caricatures that Michael mentioned from the GL story were indeed cringe worthy. Even back in 1987.


  11. Another entertaining episode of guest-stars! Great to hear Anj again, and that Michael Bailey guy seems familiar.

    When it comes to favorite characters, Anj is certainly a glutton for punishment. Reactron, Hyathis, and now Creeper?!?! Is Anj also a fan of Knodar and the Hawkman foe Darkwing?

    While I haven’t read this issue of Secret Origins in years, this does sound like the most palatable of Creeper origins.

    I’m just going to put it out there. Creeper isn’t that great of a character and wouldn’t still be around today if he hadn’t been created by Steve Ditko. There, I said it. Feel free to argue the point, but I believe it to be true. If a different creator had come up with the Creeper, he’d just have been a forgotten nobody from the Silver Age. Look at the amount of indifference in the comments above. Other than Anj’s fandom (and even that is somewhat intangible), nobody LOVES this character. Why does DC keep trying to make this character work? Seems to me it’s the popularity of Steve Ditko.

    I like the idea of Jack Ryder, sensationalist reporter. It’s just the Creeper that really lacks a home in the DC universe.

    I’m pretty sure my first encounter with the Creeper was in an anthology title, like World’s Finest or something. I remember thinking the character looked utterly bizarre. In my young mind, I made immediate connections between Creeper and the Joker, based solely on similarities in name and look. I thought Creeper was some derivative of the Joker, like Batgirl is connected to Batman, or perhaps the Earth-2 version of the Joker. In hindsight, that might have been more interesting.

    Bit of obscure trivia, there are plans for an unproduced Creeper Super Powers action figure from the 1980s. The fascinating part was the red shag rug/shawl would have suction cups so he could stick to walls (like another Ditko creation).

    Nice coverage of the Alan Scott origin. Not a lot of comments that haven’t already been covered. In case anyone cares (and they don’t), Alan is my second favorite Green Lantern. Kyle > Alan > Guy > John > Hal.

    In regard to James Robinson and Earth-2… I loved (LOVED) Robinson’s Starman, Firearm, Golden Age, and much more. Robinson then left comics for several years to work on films. Since he’s come back, I’m not sure he’s written anything worth reading. And I’ve read a lot of his books since he’s come back. Yuck.

    Keep bring in those great guest-stars, Bryan! And the highest compliment I can probably give is… well done on taking my advice about episode numbers. That’ll do.

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  12. Great show, but saying something is the best Creeper story you’ve read is not a high recommendation.

    Did you avoid that ‘I’m a creep’ song because it’s too obvious, Ryan? I didn’t recognise the tunes played.

    I rather liked Green Lantern #100, connecting the Golden and Silver Age GLs via the Starheart. And while i love Alan’s original ‘bizarre’ look, the Sentinel tweak was a terrific update, sleek and undoubtedly honouring the original.


  13. It says something about the Creeper that after reading his occasional pop ups for decades I never once thought about his origin or even the mechanics of his 2 personalities. This story sounds cool though, as Giffen is always a fave and I adore Helfer for his ‘break every rule’ approach to the Shadow.

    Hey Ryan, great work pulling these episodes together and making substantial, entertaining, flowing and informative content on a weekly basis. As half of a podcasting team, I have a bit of an idea of how much work you’re doing. It’s greatly appreciated.

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  14. The Creeper was in one of the very first comic book stories I ever read, and nostalgia dictates that I try to like the character, but I don’t. He is an excellent visual repudiation of those who would undervalue Stan Lee’s contribution to creating the Marvel Universe. Steve Ditko’s work was raw mad genius, but without an editor and scripter to harness his energies, he was just raw and mad. This concept is a hot steaming mess of influences and ideas that somehow turn to ash rather than fertilizer. Starting out by trying to meld The Shadow with his own Spider-Man was a good way to go, but the wretched design, unfocused narrative, and inane pseudoscience demolish Ditko’s efforts. Insert Killjoy in The Creeper’s place, disregard that idiotic origin with the matter transmitter, and this could have worked. Nobody told Ditko no, or massaged the material, and we end up with one of the worst things to spring from his imagination. Further, the Creeper is one of Ditko’s only notable creations at DC, so people won’t leave it alone, even though they should.

    The Creeper was supposed to receive his own ongoing series under Giffen, but for whatever reason, it never came to be. I think some of his ideas for that project may have been redirected toward his short-lived but beloved Heckler series, while the Creeper himself became a supporting character in the Giffen-plotted Eclipso series. Before anyone asks, no, he didn’t really work there either. They did kill him off at one point, but unlike the heroes caught in the Diablo Island massacre, he was back in the fight as soon as he could collect his dismembered parts. Not even serviceable as cannon fodder.

    Based on this Secret Origin, I don’t feel bad we never got a Helfer/Giffen book. I think the mobsters drugging and dressing the Creeper is even less believable than Ryder putting the suit together from costume shop scraps. If the partygoers were hopped up on the same stuff as Ryder, like PCP, why wasn’t he also violent and impervious to pain? If they’re all on hallucinogens, why aren’t they all chill or too far out to act as a mob? Where was Galt (get it?) with the double tap? Promethium was DC’s answer to adamantium, and seemingly even more rare, so it’s being available for a seriously random device more applicable to government operations than criminal ones is about as likely as an obscure hyper successful polymath working for the mafia. It’s not trippy, or comic booky, but just plain stoooopid.

    Fixing the Creeper would be a challenge. The most obvious way to go would be embracing the supernatural, so Dan Didio did exactly that. The problem with that angle is that it’s virtually identical to Jack Kirby’s Etrigan, immediately damning him through comparison to an (ironically) purer take. The Vertigo book was closer to the right direction, but I don’t feel the design suits a heroine, that story wasn’t gonzo enough, and Ditko would be almost as disapproving of a Dadaist as a demon. My thinking is you appease the creator through indulgence in the opposite direction. Super-heroes are steeped in fascism, yet leftist creators always downplay that element and marginalize right wing readers (resulting in crypto-conservatives like the Punisher.) It even happened to Ditko, who created Hawk & Dove as a parable favoring the military-industrialist complex over ineffectual hippies, but was sabotaged by Steve Skeates’ scripts rendering Hawk a dumb brute disconnected with the times.

    If I were the editor saddled with The Creeper, I’d reteam wingnut James D. Hudnall with his painting partner on The Psycho, Dan Brereton. I’d have them create a city that was the realization of the worst paranoid Big Government fantasy, with revolving door jails and a disarmed populace taxed into poverty for income redistribution. Then, The Creeper could serve as a conservative answer to Harlan Ellison’s Harlequin, a frustrated upright libertarian who dons a madcap facade to wreck the machinery of the feminazis and SJWs. And then, most importantly, I would force my assistant editor to do all the work, because I couldn’t read that crap, but I bet it would sell and get positive mention on Fox News.


  15. The Creeper, I probably first met in the pages of Who’s Who. He looked cool and interesting there, but while I see his potential every time Jack Ryder shows up in a comic, I don’t think it was ever fulfilled except as a visual. While Frank’s idea for the series above is interesting and would naturally veer into satire, I might also play it as a Jekyll and Hyde situation where Ryder is his own J.J.Jameson, frustrated that this Creeper creep undermines all he believes in. I don’t know. And I guess that’s the problem with the Creeper property. For the record, I like this era of Giffen’s art.

    Alan Scott, I first encountered in All-Star Squadron, as with many Golden Agers. I’ve never not liked him, though my #1 GL was probably Mosaic era John Stewart. I don’t think I can add anything to this conversation though.

    On James Robinson’s odd voice, Ryan name-checks Tarantino, and yeah, that works for Starman at least, but I like to compare him to another writer-director: Mamet. Because I think the oddness of that voice, especially in later-day work, is that he tries to give his characters real speech patterns, which somehow reads as artificial when imposed on a fiction.

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  16. I very much like the Bill Sienkiewicz cover, with Green Lantern & Creeper interacting in the same space. His stylization makes two precariously colored and costume individuals in a manufactured environment clearly rendered and appealing to the eye.

    Without doing a head count to cover my butt, to the best of my recollection, Alan Scott is my favorite classic JSA member. He’s got an interesting look and I like that his more mystically oriented power source sets him apart from the Green Lantern Corps. He’s the Gregory Peck to Jay Garrick’s Jimmy Stewart, and while I like both, I’m much more geared toward one over the other. That said, DC was my jam in the ’90s, so a lot of stuff more old school fans would see as liberties taken with the characters were the same elements that defined them for me. I liked it when Alan Scott removed his Green Lantern symbol and chose a new moniker (though “Sentinel” wasn’t exactly awe inspiring.) I was cool with Scott being the one JSAer who was de-aged, because he was married to a still elderly woman whom he loved enough to swear off a hot new Harlequin, but the resultant complications were intriguing. I was into the flashy Jim Balent art on the GLCQ strip, before the cheesecake completely overwhelmed his work. I actually thought (at the time, never revisited) that “Abyss: Hell’s Sentinel” was better than the core Underworld Unleashed title (R.I.P. Marla Bloom.) Alan Scott playing mentor to Kyle Rayner and disgruntled taskmaster to Jared Stevens totally worked for me (though I wanted Scott to eventually take over the Helm of Nabu as a more traditional Doctor Fate.) Basically, I liked Alan Scott peripheral to and probably even in spite of his ever having been a Green Lantern.

    When I look at the original Golden Age story, and somewhat still in Thomas’ version, my gaydar does ping a little. I know we’re not allowed to use “metrosexual” anymore, but Scott was so pretty with precisely loose blond locks and his delicately balanced shirt and his sharply tailored suits that he sure could define that stereotype if it was still okay to apply it. I also find it weird that in both versions, they bothered to name the doomed Dekker, who seemed kinda cozy right up next to Scott. They look comfortable together in a non-butch way, I’m saying. Unfortunately, I already said a big part of Scott’s appeal to me was his unique relationship to Molly, and him switching teams negates that aspect. Obviously, he’s also no longer the father of adult children who are heroes in their own right, nor an elder statesman shepherding the modern generation of champions with his decades of experience. Alan Scott is now the gay Green Lantern from Earth #2 in a multiverse filled with flavors of Lantern. I feel bad that his sexuality is now his primary or secondary distinction, and that he was so reduced in value and dimension before having his preferences reassigned as a consolation prize. I watched the Supergirl TV pilot this week, which demonstrated most of the same environments and dynamics of a Superman show, but watered down. Kara works in print media, but it’s a magazine, and she’s an errand girl instead of a reporter. She’s in an abusive relationship with her boss instead of one of mutual respect. She lusts after Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, instead of being lusted after by Lois Lane. She sits on her hands as a teenager where Superboy was already becoming a legend. Supergirl is insecure and untrusted as she battles also-rans from other people’s rogues galleries. But at least she’s on the real Earth, and having solo adventures battling some of her own established foes. Alan Scott is now further down the equality totem pole than DC’s “lady versions of…” At least if he were defined by his gender, he’d have sisterhood with half of the planet’s population. Instead, he isn’t even 100% Gay Lantern, since this minor factor of the character is in dispute. He’s the Questioning Sentinel of Spare Earth, Sector IDGAF.

    As for the origin story itself… Eh. The lamp blazes one time centuries ago in China, sits around doing nothing for ages, then rapid fires its last two promises inside five years after randomly becoming a lantern? That should have been better thought out. George Freeman’s art is nice on all the white people, but those Asian caricatures were unpleasant. In his defense, I think this might be a matter of heightened sensitivity though, since his Anglo-Saxons weren’t exactly delicately handled, either. For instance, I really like Freeman’s take on the mobster with the cauliflower ears, but the National Association of European Bohunks might take exception. So, Alan Scott was always getting knocked out by all that wood flying at his head? See previous paragraph. I was cool with the first part, but it was very disjointed the way Thomas summarized the second published GL story in one panel, then fleshed out a third with no ties to the first. At least that summary story tied into the theme of corporate espionage from the first, while the third merely indulged that World Fair fetish. The little girl was a boss, ‘tho. Which super-heroine did she grow up to become? I want to read that origin! Oh hey, Thomas went out of his way to fansplain the ruthlessness of the Golden Age to suit Silver Age Comic Code Approved sensibilities. I didn’t need that.


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