Salutations, FELLOW QUESTERS!!
It's your favorite comics fan, back again to share the gems of my collection with you, and explore ALL that comic-book knowledge that you can't get in ANY college!
Thank you all so much for riding with me as we pay our respects to Steve Ditko, our fallen comics legend; however, today, we are going to deviate just a little and get back to my CBCS Reveals series - a series which shares with you all the results of my very first foray into having my comics graded with CBCS. Today...
It's all about my favorite Green Lantern, the preternatural powerhouse...John Stewart!!
Green Lantern John Stewart first appeared in Green Lantern vol 2, #87, as a replacement for Hal Jordan's back-up, Guy Gardner, after Gardner suffers a severe injury (like being nearly smooshed by a bus) while trying to save a child. Jordan doesn't initially think Stewart's a good choice when he finds Stewart living in an extremely impoverished area, standing up to a police officer who was abusing his authority (which is ironic because Hal isn't exactly a rule-follower himself). But the Guardian of the Universe who helped to select John pushes Hal Jordan to take Stewart under his wing. Stewart proves to be a quick study, mastering energy projection, and flight in record time, and assisting Hal in saving innocent lives from a runaway fuel truck. John and Hal save innocents, but Hal notes that John goes out of his way to embarrass a racist senator during his heroics. Hal has heated words with John, and to teach John a lesson, Hal assigns him to protect the senator. When there is an attempt by a Black man to assassinate the senator, Hal is baffled as John refuses to chase the killer...But what Hal doesn't know is that John has already seen the assassin...And another one who is just about to brutally murder a police officer! As Hal chases the assassin, John saves the police officer. Hal is livid with John, but John explains that he had spotted both the would-be assassin trying to "kill" the senator and the second man armed with a machine gun ready to burn down every police officer in sight! Having seen the would-be killer earlier with the senator, John deduced senator's malicious plan to make it seem like the Black People of the city were on a murderous rampage which would amp up his racist support-base and give him a better shot at the presidency. John knew the assassin's gun was full of blanks, and that the man with the machine gun was the one to watch. Hal is EXTREMELY impressed with John, even though he admits that he doesn't much dig John's style. You can read it for yourself, HERE.
Don't be surprised that a story this poignant could be found in a Green Lantern comic of the early 70s. The 60s and 70s were times of high civil unrest and scandalous revelations. Comics are dynamic literature in that they constantly change, even using the same characters, to reflect the hopes, fears, frustrations, social injustices, and trends of the time in which they were written. That's part of why I love comics, and what continues to make comics relevant and so darn awesome. In fact, here's where GL got REAL politically charged:
If you are a comics fan who has been around for awhile, a comics enthusiast, or a comics historian, you already know this book and its importance as a key issue that helped change the comics game forever. Above, is my very own copy of Green Lantern vol 2, #76, published by DC Comics in 1970, done by comics greats, Dennis O'Neil (writer), and Neal Adams (artist). In this comic, Green Lantern Hal Jordan teams up with the anti-establishment people's hero, Green Arrow, but not before they have a heated discussion on the way Green Lantern goes about doing his job, missing out on just who the real victims might be. Then there's this ICONIC page:
Ouch! That exchange cut GL to the core and helped to convince him that there was a whole other way of seeing things, which ultimately cemented the bond between Hal and Ollie: The Hard-Traveling Heroes. Gotta love it. You can read it HERE.
But I digress. Let's get back to John Stewart.
John Stewart is definitely my favorite Green Lantern. Have you ever seen Warner Bros' animated masterpieces, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited? You know, the shows that were arguably the BEST animated superhero shows ever to hit television? Yep. Those. Wasn't Stewart just totally amazing in those shows? I thought so, and I loved them. He was the Green Lantern of my son's generation. As a former Marine, John Stewart is disciplined, serious, morally-driven, justice-centered, focused, follows orders, practical, and one of the most formidable, tactical, and dangerous members of The Green Lantern Corps - he is a natural, battle-tested warrior and leader, even without the ring. And as an architect, John's constructs are some of the most practical, well-planned, and powerful. As far as I know, he is the ONLY Green Lantern whose willpower EXCEEDED the capabilities of the ring!
WOW!! That is some serious badassery, right there, hoss.
Without a doubt, John Stewart is awesome. I am so proud to have his first appearance, now graded and slabbed by CBCS!! So, without further ado...
Here it is! My newly-slabbed copy of Green Lantern vol 2, #87, featuring the very first appearance of John Stewart! Once again, the dynamic duo of Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams knocked this comic out of the park in both the storytelling and the penciling! I had it graded at a solid 8.0, but those white covers are hard to protect - CBCS graded it at 7.0. But it's all good! I bought it about ten years ago for around $15. Comicspriceguide.com has this comic valued at a $60. Ebay says it is valued at between $249 and $299, and one with an asking price of $300.
I sure hope that we see John Stewart in the DCEU someday. Thanks for reading!