Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1
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Retro Comics are Awesome

Post by andersonh1 »

I'm starting this thread for a couple of reasons. #1, I plan to read more older DC comics since I'm not enjoying most of the current output, and it might be enjoyable to put my thoughts down somewhere. And #2, my discussions with Sparky Prime about the current direction of Green Lantern and characterization of Hal Jordan have me wanting to go back and re-read old GL stories to see if my memories of them are cheating me or not.

If any of you have some older comics you want to post about, feel free.

Green Lantern #1
Cover date June 1990, price $1.00
Gerard Jones, Pat Broderick

Looking back, I think this was the first book I ever read that featured Hal Jordan as the main character, so this series is where my impressions of most things related to Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps were formed. I've got the first eight issues in collected format, and it's surprisingly annoying to pull out the actual issues and try to read them, since DC was still using newsprint at this point. It's not exactly high quality paper. The quality of the paper is one area where modern comics are certainly much better than those of 20 years ago.

At this point, there is no GLC, and Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and John Stewart are the only three Green Lanterns (as far as I know, anyway). The Guardians left the Universe after the Crisis, leaving one of their number behind, and then the main power battery lost power somehow, essentially ending the corps. How the three human GLs kept their rings functional I don't know. In any case, Hal is searching for direction in life, John Stewart is consumed with guilt for letting a planet die, and is unable to act in the face of crises worldwide, and Guy Gardner is still a complete jerk with a bowl cut at this point. He's actually the main antagonist for the first few issues as he follows Jordan around, trying to provoke him.

The issue introduces Hal's soon to be love interest, Rose Hardin, who Hal remembered from years before when he was travelling with Green Arrow and the Old Timer. It's interesting that there's no sign of two mainstays of the current Green Lantern series. Missing from the book are Carol Ferris (she's Star Sapphire, and will turn up down the line) or Sinestro (who is presumed dead, but is trapped in the central power battery). Hal has the grey streaks on his temples, and it's worth noting that DC was apparently not all that averse to letting their main characters age at this point, since Hal's been a Green Lantern for 15 years. He's clearly meant to be around 40 or so, though the narrative never comes out and specifies an age. All of that will be retconned away down the line.

The issue ends with Hal on the road again and John Stewart arriving on Oa to find Priest, the Old Timer's company, dead in a cave. There's a lot in this one issue, and it's worth noting that it doesn't feel like a modern, decompressed, written for the trade storyline, though the overall plot will run through issue 8. All three main characters get introduced and defined as characters, and the story has a beginning, middle and end. It's a strong first issue, in my opinion. I thought so at the time and still think so today.

Green Lantern #2
Cover date July 1990, price $1.00
Gerard Jones, Pat Broderick

I don't miss the old Guy Gardner. He's become a far better character over the last twenty years. He's still got the attitude and determination that the old Guy had, but he's nowhere near as much of a jerk, and he doesn't spend all his time competing with Hal Jordan. He spends his time essentially looking for trouble in this issue. He's in his apartment getting buzzed, then he goes out to the porno store and gets blessed out for too much browsing, then he decides to go for a tattoo. And of course, he runs into the Tattooed Man and tries to pick a fight. When he finally succeeds, he drags Hal Jordan into the fight as well. Hal's having none of it. He's still trying to "get in touch with himself" by taking a job on a fishing boat down on the southern coast somewhere. (I wish I could point out to all these non-southern writers that "Ya'll" is plural for you all. It's not singular). Hal is essentially a drifter at this point, taking odd jobs wherever he can, so he's not all that much better off than Guy Gardner in the sense that neither have much of a direction in life. In any case, Hal throws the Tattooed Man off guard then leaves Guy to actually finish the fight. He ends up having to leave again, and has clearly had just about enough of Gardner.

John Stewart gets in major trouble this issue. He finds the Old Timer, Appa Alla Apsi, the last Guardian in the universe, and the Old Timer has gone crazy. He murdered Priest for refusing to join him in a mind-union, something the Guardians used to all be a part of. When John figures out that he's crazy and tries to run, the Guardian simply removes the power from his ring and demands that John stay to "keep him company". Makes you wonder why they don't do that to Hal when Emerald Twilight hits. That would have solved their problems really quick.

At the time, I had very little idea of what had happened to lead up to all of this. The so-called "tangle of confusing continuity" should have been a lock-out, according to modern comic book companies. Somehow, I just read the book, figured out what I could and left the rest until later. I wasn't pushed away from the series by references to stories that I hadn't read. To the contrary, I found the story I was reading interesting, and it made me want to read more and find out what had happened before that I hadn't read. It didn't scare me away. I've never had a lot of patience for calls to simplify continuity, probably for that reason. All it takes is a little effort and a little patience, and a reader can work things out for themselves in most cases. If the story is good, it's worth it.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote:And #2, my discussions with Sparky Prime about the current direction of Green Lantern and characterization of Hal Jordan have me wanting to go back and re-read old GL stories to see if my memories of them are cheating me or not.
Well I had somewhat older comics in mind, before Hal started going grey, for what we'd been talking about, but I suppose there could be some stupid things he does during that time as well...
The Guardians left the Universe after the Crisis, leaving one of their number behind, and then the main power battery lost power somehow, essentially ending the corps. How the three human GLs kept their rings functional I don't know.
Little background since I had actually recently looked this up... After Sinestro had once again been captured, he was put on trial by the Green Lantern Corps and found guilty of his crimes. As punishment, they sentenced him to death and executed him. However, this triggered a fail safe they did not know about in the Central Power Battery which will cause it to explode and it starts draining their rings of power. Eventually it even begins to reclaim their rings. To try and stop this, Hal flies into the Battery itself where he finds Sinestro's consciousness has somehow merged with the Yellow Impurity in the heart of the Battery. They battle but Sinestro's strength from the Impurity outmatches Hal, so Hal decides the only way to defeat Sinestro is to release the Yellow Impurity, which also releases all of the Green energy.

This prevents the Battery from exploding and seemingly kills Sinestro's consciousness. But it also leaves the Central Battery powerless, and with out the Guardians, no way to restore it's power or the Corps who lost their power/rings as a result. Despite the Central Battery being out of commission though, several Lanterns still have functioning rings. The 3 Earth Lanterns of course as well as Ch'p and G'nort at least.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Sparky Prime wrote:
andersonh1 wrote:And #2, my discussions with Sparky Prime about the current direction of Green Lantern and characterization of Hal Jordan have me wanting to go back and re-read old GL stories to see if my memories of them are cheating me or not.
Well I had somewhat older comics in mind, before Hal started going grey, for what we'd been talking about, but I suppose there could be some stupid things he does during that time as well...
I've got some older GL comics, but it's been so long since I read them that I barely remember the plots. I do remember Hal resigning at one point, and John Stewart being given his role as GL of the sector. I'll have to go back and re-read those as well.
Little background since I had actually recently looked this up... After Sinestro had once again been captured, he was put on trial by the Green Lantern Corps and found guilty of his crimes. As punishment, they sentenced him to death and executed him. However, this triggered a fail safe they did not know about in the Central Power Battery which will cause it to explode and it starts draining their rings of power. Eventually it even begins to reclaim their rings. To try and stop this, Hal flies into the Battery itself where he finds Sinestro's consciousness has somehow merged with the Yellow Impurity in the heart of the Battery. They battle but Sinestro's strength from the Impurity outmatches Hal, so Hal decides the only way to defeat Sinestro is to release the Yellow Impurity, which also releases all of the Green energy.

This prevents the Battery from exploding and seemingly kills Sinestro's consciousness. But it also leaves the Central Battery powerless, and with out the Guardians, no way to restore it's power or the Corps who lost their power/rings as a result. Despite the Central Battery being out of commission though, several Lanterns still have functioning rings. The 3 Earth Lanterns of course as well as Ch'p and G'nort at least.
I remember G'Nort, but I had forgotten about Ch'p. He shows up in Mosaic #2 and gets flattened by a truck, oddly enough.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote:Looking back, I think this was the first book I ever read that featured Hal Jordan as the main character, so this series is where my impressions of most things related to Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps were formed. I've got the first eight issues in collected format, and it's surprisingly annoying to pull out the actual issues and try to read them, since DC was still using newsprint at this point. It's not exactly high quality paper. The quality of the paper is one area where modern comics are certainly much better than those of 20 years ago.
The "higher quality paper" is actually something in modern comics I wish would go away. I don't buy floppies to save them for 20 years--in fact, I give them away whenever I can. If I want to keep something for ages, I'll buy the trade, and take care of that. My floppies go into a box where I pretty much never look at them again.

So I say, slash the price and print the floppies on newsprint again. When I tell people to read All Hail Megatron, they don't look for single issues. They want the trades. Same deal here.

But I have weird ideas about comic books. (I'm the guy who thinks they'd sell better if they borrowed the manga magazine format.)
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Onslaught Six wrote:
andersonh1 wrote:Looking back, I think this was the first book I ever read that featured Hal Jordan as the main character, so this series is where my impressions of most things related to Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps were formed. I've got the first eight issues in collected format, and it's surprisingly annoying to pull out the actual issues and try to read them, since DC was still using newsprint at this point. It's not exactly high quality paper. The quality of the paper is one area where modern comics are certainly much better than those of 20 years ago.
The "higher quality paper" is actually something in modern comics I wish would go away. I don't buy floppies to save them for 20 years--in fact, I give them away whenever I can. If I want to keep something for ages, I'll buy the trade, and take care of that. My floppies go into a box where I pretty much never look at them again.

So I say, slash the price and print the floppies on newsprint again. When I tell people to read All Hail Megatron, they don't look for single issues. They want the trades. Same deal here.

But I have weird ideas about comic books. (I'm the guy who thinks they'd sell better if they borrowed the manga magazine format.)
I've read that newsprint is almost as expensive as the better paper, and that there really wouldn't be much price benefit from returning to it. I'm not sure that I really believe that, but I've seen that stated on more than one occasion. Something has to change though... you'll never convince me that price isn't one of the big factors keeping the comic-buying market smaller than it used to be.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Definitely. I would say my montly list is rather conservative--seven titles--and I regularly spend $25 or so when I go in the shop; twice a month at best.

I'm sure colour has something to do with it, too, but I doubt the industry would allow it. (Can you imagine the outrage from entitled fanboys?) I just know that the manga market can sell titles with three times the content of a regular trade for $8-10. (Compare a single volume of, say, DBZ to Superman.) You pay between $3-4.50 or something for the average floppy and you get 22 pages and ads. It's ridiculous that we haven't moved to a magazine or all-trades format yet, or done something to cut individual issue costs down. (The average comic print run being less than 20,000 copies doesn't help, I'm sure.)

I mean, the way comics are created and released these days, it's more like if Christopher Nolan filmed the first 30 minutes of The Dark Knight and released it on DVD for $4, and then the next month he released the next half hour, and so on until the film was "completed" and released again on DVD. It's not like you're getting it in a different format, like watching episodes of a show on TV and then buying it on DVD later.

I understand the way the market is is largely a result of the fandom and market surrounding it, and that any attempts to change it the way I'm suggesting clearly aren't going to work well because the fanbase is too damn stubborn. (Remember Wednesday Comics?) I'm sure if they just made a Batman Family magazine with every Bat-book they have currently, unchanged, released once a month, people would bitch because they were being "forced" to buy a book they didn't like, like Catwoman or something. (Personally, I always see this kind of thing as an opportunity to get into a series you're not familiar with for free.

I'd love a Marvel book that just consisted of all the Spider-Man related books. Spidey, Avenging Spidey, Scarlet Spider, Venom and Carnage all together? Sign me up. The format would also allow people to take a different direction with the stories because, unlike now, the "lesser" books would be paired up with more obviously successful series. You don't have to worry so much about Scarlet Spider selling if it's attached to every copy of Amazing Spiderman.

But that's me and I'm going on a tangent!
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote:I remember G'Nort, but I had forgotten about Ch'p. He shows up in Mosaic #2 and gets flattened by a truck, oddly enough.
A Yellow truck at that, despite Hal releasing the Yellow Impurity. Then again, how do they recharge their rings with the Central Battery dead? I suppose their personal batteries must have kept working, but I don't think that's something they ever really explained. Or maybe the Central Battery wasn't as dead as they thought it was? Obviously Sinestro is still kept alive inside it somehow. And the Yellow Impurity wasn't actually released as Parallax hadn't escaped. I know, that's a retcon but still... Interesting to note that this is when Parallax started influencing Hal though, as it's after this he started to go grey.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Sparky Prime wrote:
andersonh1 wrote:I remember G'Nort, but I had forgotten about Ch'p. He shows up in Mosaic #2 and gets flattened by a truck, oddly enough.
A Yellow truck at that, despite Hal releasing the Yellow Impurity.
The yellow impurity didn't actually vanish until Hal absorbed all the power in the battery and completely destroyed it. See below.
Then again, how do they recharge their rings with the Central Battery dead? I suppose their personal batteries must have kept working, but I don't think that's something they ever really explained. Or maybe the Central Battery wasn't as dead as they thought it was?
The Old Timer mentions something about a very thin connection to Oa's core in issue 7, so the battery wasn't completely gone. Presumably there was enough to power a few batteries, just not the entire Corps.
Obviously Sinestro is still kept alive inside it somehow. And the Yellow Impurity wasn't actually released as Parallax hadn't escaped. I know, that's a retcon but still... Interesting to note that this is when Parallax started influencing Hal though, as it's after this he started to go grey.
Yes, and as retcons go, that's a decent way to explain Hal's gray hair. I'm glad they didn't just pretend it never happened, but they worked it into the story. In retrospect, I think we'd have to say that the battery was just badly damaged the first time, the Guardians rebuilt it when they returned, and then it was completely destroyed when Hal absorbed the power. Kyle clearly had a different type of power battery and ring, since he destroyed Oa and suffered no loss in the ability to charge his ring.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1 wrote:The yellow impurity didn't actually vanish until Hal absorbed all the power in the battery and completely destroyed it. See below.
I know, but in GLC #224, Hal is literally shown flying into the core of the Central Power Battery and releasing the Yellow Impurity that Sinestro's consciousness is supposedly linked to and seems to die. The implication there is that the Yellow Impurity should be gone.

But then, given what we know now, I suppose Sinestro and Parallax could have just fooled Hal into thinking he released the Yellow Impurity (while all he really did was drain the Battery of Willpower preventing the explosion), as part of their plan to have Parallax slowly corrupt him.
The Old Timer mentions something about a very thin connection to Oa's core in issue 7, so the battery wasn't completely gone. Presumably there was enough to power a few batteries, just not the entire Corps.
Ah, I see. Makes sense there was still some energy being provided to the few that remained at least.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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How are we defining retro? With DC, I suppose we could say "August 2011 and earlier". But, what about Marvel? Maybe pre-Bendis "Avengers" pre-JMS "Spider-Man" and pre-Whedon "X-Men"? Maybe pre-movie era? Normally, I would say pre-Quesada, but he has been around for so long that one could argue he has over-seen several eras.

I'm sure colour has something to do with it, too, but I doubt the industry would allow it. (Can you imagine the outrage from entitled fanboys?) I just know that the manga market can sell titles with three times the content of a regular trade for $8-10. (Compare a single volume of, say, DBZ to Superman.) You pay between $3-4.50 or something for the average floppy and you get 22 pages and ads. It's ridiculous that we haven't moved to a magazine or all-trades format yet, or done something to cut individual issue costs down. (The average comic print run being less than 20,000 copies doesn't help, I'm sure.)
I expect colour. If you want me to pay for a comic, it had damned well better look professional.

The only arguement I can think of against compilations is that they are individually more expensive than comics and require more money and time from the reader. (I happen to prefer compilations, but for things that I am already reading.)


I've read that newsprint is almost as expensive as the better paper, and that there really wouldn't be much price benefit from returning to it. I'm not sure that I really believe that, but I've seen that stated on more than one occasion. Something has to change though... you'll never convince me that price isn't one of the big factors keeping the comic-buying market smaller than it used to be.
I tend to think that the comic market itself suffers more for people not reading much to begin with than for pricing. Pricing likely does more to force existing readers to read less than to deter new readers. I have heard the same about newsprint though. It is more expensive than other types of stock.

(Remember Wednesday Comics?)
Yeah. It was garbage. It was low grade content in such small quantities that it was only worth buying if you wanted most/all of it. And, the physical format sucked.

I'd love a Marvel book that just consisted of all the Spider-Man related books. Spidey, Avenging Spidey, Scarlet Spider, Venom and Carnage all together?
That only works if somebody wants, or is at least willing, to buy all of those book.

Putting aside, "how do you define 'Spider-Man' books" (what about "All New Spider-Man" or various "Avengers" titles or "FF"?), what if somebody only wants to read about Peter Parker? Having to buy a book that is 50% or less what they want might drive readers off. I happen to like Costa's run on Cobra. I also prefer compilations. But, when IDW started reprinting "GI Joe" comics in consecutive volumes that crossed individual titles, I was out. I am not willing to buy a compilations that is 50% (or higher) Dixon. In this case, I am settling for the single issues by Costa. Maybe I would be more willing to pay for Dixon's work if single issues were not an option. But, I might also just give up.

In the case of "Batman", would somebody who is in for "Batman Incorporated" of "Odessey" going to be willing to pay for "Red Hood and the Outsiders" or "All-Star Batman"?

A Yellow truck at that, despite Hal releasing the Yellow Impurity.
If I recall the scene correctly, the colour of the truck did not matter. It was a nice truck. An expensive truck. Ch'p never saw it coming, and thus could not have blocked it.

That said, killing Ch'p always struck me as "ahahahahahaha, we killed Ch'p lolololol".


Dom
-two comic threads? Oi.

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