A Tribute to the of

Greetings, dear readers, and welcome back! We’re taking a short detour to the early Bronze Age this time around and the issue in the spotlight contained more than one “first” within its 48 pages (for only .25!) It’s Green Lantern #87 with a publication date of December 1971/January 1972. The lead story by Denny O’Neil and illustrated by the dream team of Neal Adams and Dick Giordano brought us a new Green Lantern, namely John Stewart, but…I’m taking you through the 13-pager after that titled “What Can One Man Do?” It’s a Green Arrow solo story, once again illustrated by Adams and Giordano, but with a spanking new writer working for Editor Julie Schwartz named Elliot Maggin,. No “S!” had yet been added to his moniker and if memory serves, the story was actually based on an essay he’d submitted for a class at school.

The first couple of pages are a bit of a rehash of where Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow has found himself. The wealthy playboy is wealthy no more, having been snookered out of his business empire by unscrupulous men. So, he’s getting by as best he can in an apartment, likely on the wrong side of the tracks and spending a lot of time in a certain green costume.

As he goes about his business, we learn that the mayor of Star City has decided not to run for re-election this cycle. He and his backers discuss some likely candidates and ultimately settle on Oliver Queen. As it happens, Ollie is freshly back from patrol and is somewhat incredulous at the suggestion, but he is obviously at least a little intrigued. He begins to burn the landline (with an interesting page treatment by Neal Adams, showing the classic spiral phone cord in the place of some of the gutters on the page) to a few choice friends for advice. He starts with Dinah Lance, the Black Canary. She’s less than enthused. It soon becomes apparent that his other contacts share her skepticism as he calls Bruce (Batman) Wayne, Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan and Clark (Superman) Kent and to a man they suggest it wouldn’t be a great idea.

He continues to ponder things and again regains the cloak of Green Arrow when he comes upon a riot. As he’s trying to help calm things down, he actually takes a blow to the head from a youth, who immediately apologizes, but then a shot rings out and the young man is wounded. GA quickly gets him aboard a handy ambulance and accompanies him to the emergency room. As he waits, young Mr. Maggin quotes Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” as a poignant backdrop in the captions, where no dialogue is needed.

Unfortunately the young man doesn’t make it and we get to see Neal Adams and Dick Giordano’s peak work with a close-up of an angered Green Arrow with tears running out of his domino mask. It has been a galvanizing moment and he decides to take the challenge to run for Mayor, bringing us full circle to the title, “What Can One Man Do?” Oliver Queen is about to find out.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of when Elliot S! Maggin ran for office himself in his current home state of California a handful of years ago, so while he was unsuccessful, perhaps he still felt that there was something one man can do.

I also noted that the first letter in the lettercol was by none other than John Workman,, another of my interviewees (along with Elliot, of course) that you can read here at the dear ol’ Silver Lantern.

Elliot must have pleased Julie Schwartz, because this first effort led to many, many more stories from the Maggin typewriter. He’s likely best known for his takes on the Man of Steel and some of you may know that I got to meet him in person at the Denver Con a few years ago. I further enjoyed his prose version of Kingdom Come and recommend it.

Elliot, along with Jim Shooter and Cary Bates, has always held a special fondness for me and it was fun to get to delve into this first tale from his fertile brain. Since this story resides in the Bronze Age, however, no rating at this time. Frankly, I’m just glad not to be doing another tribute to a deceased creator this time around.

Speaking of such, be sure to pick up a DC comic this month of October if you can. Most of them have a beautiful 2-page spread dedicated to Len Wein.

Okay, short and sweet and the next edition of the Silver Age Sage will be right here waiting for you on November 1st, so be sure to swing by during your web surfing sessions.

As usual, you can reach out to me at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you next time and…

Long live the Silver Age!

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