Friday, June 10, 2016

Showcase #22 + Green Lantern #1 & #7: -isms Abound

Check out the Editor's Note (as it says it all):

Green Lantern (1960) #7 Page 25 Panel 1: The editor's note explains why Carol Ferris is not really Hal Jordan's boss, only his "romantic interest."

While the characterizations in comics from the early 1960's have a tad more complexity to them, the sexism and racism are still pretty dang blatant.

Green Lantern (1960) #7 Page 25 Panel 1: "Editor's Note! Carol Ferris, in the absence of her father, is in sole charge of the Ferris Aircraft Company where Hal works! Nominally, therefore, she is Hal's boss --- but actually, and mainly, she is his romantic interest!"
In Green Lantern #7, the reduction of a powerful woman to just a "romantic interest" actually happens in the editor's own voice -- "nominally." NOMINALLY?!? She is "in sole charge" of the company, but she's Jordan's boss "in name only"?!

Her "real" purpose is "actually"-- no, no, is "mainly" -- to be his "romantic interest." UGH.

And, unfortunately, this sexism is  present from Hal Jordan's very first appearance in Showcase #22, which features the Silver Age Green Lantern in all three of its stories.

At the end of the second story in this issue, Carol Ferris' father decides to take two years off work, leaving Carol in charge of the company. The confidence he expresses in her business abilities is affirming (unfortunately, he prefaces this confidence with an admission of wanting a male child so "he" could assume the reigns of the company).

Showcase (1956) #22 Page 14 Panels 1 & 2: Ferris leaves his daughter, Carol, in charge of his company while he travels.

Showcase (1956) #22 Page 17 Panel 1: Hal Jordan ignores Carol's professional boundaries and hits on her in her office.As a result of this promotion, Carol makes it clear to Hal that their relationship has to be strictly business from there on out. Unfortunately (again), that clear boundary marker does not stop Hal from making an aggressive come-on in the final story of this issue.

Approaching her from behind in her office, Hal calls her "honey" and wraps his arms around her. In the next panel, he is depicted as pinning her between his arms up against the filing cabinets saying, "You want to keep your employees happy, don't you?" The implications are clear.

Sexual harassment suit, anyone?
Showcase (1956) #22 Page 18 Panel 1: Failing to take the "hint," Hal pins Carol against the filing cabinets and suggest she "keep [her] employees happy." Hyuk, hyuk.





In addition to this ucky sexism, I learned that Hal Jordan has his own side-kick, an Eskimo mechanic, named Thomas Kalmaku. The unfortunate part here is that Tom's nickname (used abundantly throughout these early issues) is "Pieface."

You can read about the controversy over this racial epithet here.

Green Lantern (1960) #7 Page 21 Panel 5: Like Aladdin's Lamp, Green Lantern's power ring can make his clothes magically fly through space invisibly.Surprising Details:

I also learned that Hal Jordan's power ring really functioned more like Aladdin's Lamp back in the day. My impression of the ring's power, as depicted in modern tales, is a green ray that the wearer can transform into whatever the holder can imagine.

But, apparently, Hal could make his clothes travel invisibly to his destination or turn Tom into a bird (through his subconscious will expressed in a dream) with his power ring back in the 1960's.

Final Notions:

Green Lantern (1960) #7 Page 15 Panel 2: Sinestro, Green Lantern's arch-nemesis, suggests that "good" has limitations that "evil" does not have.
The introduction of Sinestro, Green Lantern's arch-nemesis, in Green Lantern #7 includes the first truly interesting diatribe on the nature of good and evil that I have encountered in these early comics.

While resolved relatively quickly with the power of good being reaffirmed at the end of the tale, Sinestro positing that "good" has limitations evil does not have is provocative and demonstrates the medium's capacity to ask the really interesting questions about what it means to be human.






Showcase (1956) #22 Cover
Series: Showcase (1956)

Issue #: 022

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: October 1959

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count:  28 pages

Print Release: 19-August-1959

Digital Release: 28-May-2011


Writers:
DC Comics Logo
Penciler:
Inker:
Colorist:
None Listed
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Titles:
“S.O.S. Green Lantern!”; "Secret of the Flaming Spear”; “Menace of the Runaway Missal”



Green Lantern (1960) #1 Cover
Series: Green Lantern (1960)

Issue #: 001

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: August 1960

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count:  26 pages

Print Release: 22-June-1960

Digital Release: 15-June-2011


Writers:
DC Comics Logo
Penciler:
Inker:
Colorist:
None Listed
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Titles:
“The Planet of Doomed Men”; “Menace of the Giant Puppet!”



Green Lantern (1960) #7 Cover
Series: Green Lantern (1960)

Issue #: 007

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: August 1961

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count:  28 pages

Print Release: 28-June-1961

Digital Release: 28-May-2011


Writers:
DC Comics Logo
Penciler:
Inker:
Colorist:
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Titles:
“The Day 100,000 People Vanished!”; “Wings of Destiny!”




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