Friday, June 21, 2024

Summer 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.

This is a verdant vintage Dojo post. 

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  1. One of my all time favourite comics of all time ( and issue 86) . I always felt DCs comments her on the drugs issue was more relevant than Marvels ( which had its merits as well). Comics grew up with this issue .

    1. Welcome back amigo. This issue is a watershed in the development of the form. So many things in this era are such markers as the art of comics was handed from one generation to the next.