Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hanging The Green #10 - Snowbirds!


The eighty-fifth issue of Green Lantern and Green Arrow kicks off the most famous two-part story the series would create and cemented the reputation of the series for all of comics history. The drug issues made an impact outside the ghetto of comics fans and made the series part of the larger pop culture of its day. The issue by the now-regular team of Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano is a beauty.

Green Arrow finds himself up against some very small-time drug dealers who try to shake him down and in the process he himself is shot by an arrow which penetrates his shoulder.


He recognizes the craftsmanship on the arrow as his own and suspects his ward Speedy is working undercover, though he doesn't say this at the time. He calls upon Green Lantern to help him and the duo begin to unravel a drug operation which goes from poor junkies to predatory dealers.


They though themselves are subdued and injected with drugs which have powerful effects on our heroes.
The gather themselves and head home only to find Speedy in the process of shooting up, a moment which famously startles Green Arrow.

This one is a biggie, the cover probably one of the ten most famous images in comics history having been swiped and homaged dozens of times over the decades. When comics discovered the drug problem it was met with a range of attitudes. Over at Marvel we get a more paternalistic attitude with comics produced by men who are somewhat isolated from the then current drug culture. This effort seems more interested in the junkie's perspective offering up a really sympathetic image.

But there's more to this story, as we'll see next time.


Rip Off

7 comments:

  1. This was one comic that I never collected at the time, probably because I considered the characters to be second-stringers. Also, I don't really recall seeing the title on the spinner-racks either, apart, perhaps, from a very occasional issue. I do have reprints of one or two of them, but I'll buy a collected edition one of these days, and sit down and read what I missed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's worth the effort. Clearly most folks (myself included) agreed with your assessment of the series since the bravura storytelling didn't save it from cancellation. The fame though did lead to a revival in the 70's with Mike Grell trying his best to recreate the magic.

      It makes me think that Neal Adams also was brought in to save the X-Men and that failed too. Not a great track record really. His then singular style was though only worthy of comics headed to the boneyard.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  2. Great art, bold story! Also some nice coloring on that last panel page.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is in my top 5 favourite Neal Adams comics of all time - the art in this issue is (imho) sublime - I was never a fan of the collected editions of Adams GL/GA work as for some reason I felt the better quality paper and printing was never as good as on the original paper versions (later reprints with new colouring were good but again detracted (imho) from the original)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly I have only one of the originals to compare to, but Adams experience with the production team led by Adler doubtless contributed to the high quality of the issues.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  4. My comic collecting was sporadic at the time and mostly I collected Marvel Comics-- at age 9 I already preferred Marvel's output over DC's. I did get the last 3rd of the earlier Spider-Man drug story and eventually I did get the other 2/3rds of the Spidey story as well as the GL/GA reprints. Both very good stories and neither as a kid reading ASM #98 nor as a young man reading the whole story much later did I ever get the sense that the writing was obviously a middle-aged man writing down to a young audience. Of course, the reality is that people of all ages take a variety of mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, for a variety of reasons, but showing Harry or Speedy getting high just to have fun wouldn't have worked very well in early '70s superhero comics -- the audience wasn't quite the same as that for Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (although, admittedly, as an adult with wide tastes in entertainment, I enjoyed both).

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...