A Tribute to the of

Everyone has an opinion on "Man of Steel."  There seems to be very little gray area, for that matter.  Lotsa folks (to include Mark Waid) really, really didn't like it much at all. See for yourself:


Me?  I tried to go in with an open mind to my local movie house to watch it.  What kind of comic fan would I be if I didn't go?  I'll grant you that I've been pretty disappointed with a lot of DC's movie offerings, especially compared with the Marvel ones, but hope springs eternal, after all.  I did temper my expectations, however, with the notion that this would likely not be "my" Superman.  

During a conversation I had with Denny O'Neil he raised this notion to me.  Comics, he explained, are somewhat generational.  The era we grew up reading is "our" era and while offerings subsequent may be every bit as good in their own way, they're just not "ours."  It made a lot of sense to me.  I acknowledged the fact to myself that I've not read Superman continuity in any meaningful amount since the mid-'70s at the latest. "My" Superman was drawn by Al Plastino, Curt Swan, Wayne Boring, etc. Anything else is likely to be a bit foreign.

The result was that I took the movie for what it was, which was not in any continuity I recognized, but with enough familiar elements to be entertaining.  I let it stand on its own, both from that perspective and with the full realization that a movie is not a comic. There are similarities, sure, but we're talking two different mediums. My attitude helped.  I enjoyed it and sort of categorized it in my head as good science fiction with some adventure and left it at that. Was it wonderful?  Not necessarily.  Was it terrible?  I don't think so.  As with all things, your mileage may vary.  It did do well at the box office, but it remains to be seen what happens from here. Meanwhile, I'd sure love to see them pull off a JLA movie on a par with The Avengers…

So, back to one of "my" heroes, the immortal Green Lantern: Hal Jordan was getting a good foothold in the Silver Age by the time issue #3 of his alter ego's self-titled book came along and this November/December of 1960 offering was provided courtesy of editor Julie Schwartz, writer John Broome and artists Gil Kane and Joe Giella with lettering by the great Gaspar Saladino.  The title is "The Amazing Theft of the Power Lamp!"  It seems we're dealing with a threat from Qward again, too.

GL has just returned to Ferris Aircraft Company and things seem a bit off.  He arrives sooner than he expected and spots a couple of things that don't make sense, including a glimpse of Hal Jordan.  He decides to go and charge his ring with the concealed power battery, but only gets part way through his famous oath when everything vanishes and he's standing alone in open desert.

Writing it off as an incredibly detailed mirage, the Emerald Gladiator takes to the skies again and arrives at the real Ferris Aircraft and seeks out his power battery, but to his horror, it has disappeared.

A scene shift takes us to Hal's friend and co-worker, Thomas Kalmaku is on the roof of his boarding house, trying to fix the television aerial.  (Remember those?)  To his surprise he begins to intercept a communication as he's fiddling with the apparatus and we the readers are privy to a conversation between some otherworldly guests on the third floor and their home world, Qward in the anti-matter universe.

They proceed to report that their guise as traveling salesmen have alleviated any suspicion as they go about their true mission of locating and capturing Green Lantern's power battery.  Using a B-Stage Image Repeater, they successfully duplicated Ferris Aircraft to determine just where the lamp is kept.  Once their monitor revealed the location, they swiftly triangulated and seized it.

The device remains invisible and protected by a force imposed by Green Lantern, so they have contacted HQ for further instructions.  By now, Kalmaku has heard enough and slips away to alert his friend.

Hal decides his best bet is to try to work clandestinely, and in his secret identity, he enters the empty, adjoining room to do some power ring surveillance.  The Qwardians have determined to send the battery to Qward and GL decides he will follow, crossing the barrier into Qward in pursuit of his power battery.

The lamp reaches the Qwardian HQ, but their sensors have also alerted them to Green Lantern's approach.  They decide the best way to defeat him is to simply allow his 24 hour ring charge to expire and the best way to facilitate that is to secure the battery beneath a yellow dome.

Initially stymied, GL discovers a pin hole in the dome, allowing his beam through and fortunately the interior of the dome is not yellow, so a hastily willed sledgehammer shatters it from the inside, freeing the battery.  An attempt at recharging his nearly depleted ring, however, is thwarted due to an anomaly of being in an anti-matter world.

The Weaponers of Qward soon return and our hero flies off, but is hit by the enemy.  Fortunately, however, all they have hit is an image of Green Lantern, who has willed himself invisible.  Barely making it across the divide, he immediately re-powers his ring and makes short work of the Qwardian spies, bringing this brief but satisfying 13-page story to its close.

The original Green Lantern tales are some of the best from the Silver Age and I inevitably enjoy the science fiction aspect and overall dynamic twists that face the greatest of the 3600 members of the Green Lantern Corps.  I'll give this one a 7 on the rating scale and as you read this, (as I type it, in fact,) you can give a little mental thank you to inker Joe Giella, who celebrated his birthday June 27th.  Letterer non pareil Gaspar Saladino, who also contributed to this story, will celebrate his 87th birthday soon as well.  The Silver Lantern salutes these gentlemen who gave us so much enjoyable reading material and who are all around great guys in the bargain.  If you don't believe me, just check out the interviews they graciously gave and of course Joe's original art that graces the home page here.  Also, check out this birthday card to Joe from some years ago bestowed by his fellow members of the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists.

This is the place for all fans of DC's celebrated Silver Age.  The webmaster continues to provide a fantastic resource chock full of facts, scans and information for anyone desiring more details about this terrific era in comics.  I continue to be proud to be a part of it and invite your comments at: professor_the@hotmail.com.   

See you in about two weeks and…

Long live the Silver Age!

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