Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Summer Green #2 - Desolation!

Green Lantern and Green Arrow begin their odyssey across America in the remote town of Desolation. The trio (the heroes plus the slumming Guardian of the Universe) enter the isolated mining town and immediately come under attack by locals who fear they are more muscle for the local boss Slapper Soames who has already imported former Nazis to work for him and to oppress the population. But the emerald heroes disabuse of that misunderstanding and join forces to stand up to the repressive Soames and his black-shirted thugs

The story by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, and inker Frank Giacoia is set in no particular place, though it feels like Appalachia where the mountains created pockets of isolation in which this kind of tinpot dictatorship is imaginable. Slapper Soames is something of a cliche and his Nazi minions are almost laughable vile and stupid in that they constantly refer to him as "Furher" which he rejects, but the point is sledge-hammered home when it happens for the fourth or fifth time.

Rejected Alternate Cover

Despite the histrionics in this story company towns are all too real a phenomenon, and I personally see them returning in full force in modern days as corporations are empowered and individual citizens are increasingly limited by financial opportunities. Wal-Mart and others of its ilk create economic deserts and in some ways resembles the vintage company town, though not necessarily with the geographical isolation. As the canyon between the rich and poor widens in this country the commonplace depredations will inevitably increase until a new balance is struck.

While the messages in these stories can be overtly hyperbolic at times, sadly they have a lasting universality which still makes them resonate even in the modern day. 

More to come.

This is a verdant vintage Dojo post. 

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  1. I read these in real time and they are among some of my favorite in sixty plus years of reading comics. One can't help but think today we'd hear complaints about being woke but at the time the medium had not addressed the issues you see in these pages as directly as O'Neill and Adams did. 1970 was a hell of a year with the first Earth Day and the Kent State massacre just weeks apart. That's the America our heroes went out to see.

    1. Comic books were for sure becoming "woke" in the 70's as a younger generation seized control of an aging industry and brought to the table concerns of the day. I've never understood the popularity of that term. Who wants to be "asleep" when it comes to the concerns of the day? You count sheep in your sleep.