Wednesday, January 14, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Green Lantern #67

Green Lantern #67 (On Sale: January 14, 1969) has a cover by Gil Kane and Dick Giordano.

We begin with "Green Lantern Does His Ring-Thing" by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. This book is really Gardner Fox's last work for DC as he has been fired. His first work for DC was in Detective Comics #4, June 1937, a Speed Saunders story entitled "The Mystery of San Jose Island." Fox wrote 1,487 stories for DC in his thirty-two year career. He would go on to write for Marvel for a short time, doing Dr. Strange and Tomb of Dracula. Besides his prodigious comic work Fox also wrote over 100 novels and a number of pulp stories. During a short stint on Batman, Fox created the Batarang and the Batplane and then moved on to create new characters including The Sandman, Starman, Dr. Fate, Hawkman, The Justice Society of America and the Flash. For Columbia Fox created Skyman and The Face.

In the Silver Age Gardner Fox created revamped versions of Hawkman, the Flash, the Spectre and the Atom as well as creating The Justice League of America. In 1968 Gardner Fox, Bill Finger, Otto Binder, and Arnold Drake went to DC and asked for health insurance and other benefits and were summarily fired. Fox spent the last 6 years of his life in the Princeton Medical Center, in New Jersey and died on December 24th 1986.

After being released from prison, ex-convict Bill Baggett travels to Evergreen City where Green Lantern has been operating. He has been improving his will power and when Green Lantern is near, Baggett is able to tap into the power ring. Baggett avoids meeting Green Lantern personally and uses the power for crime.

Green Lantern becomes suspicious after his power ring acts against him. He eventually discovers that Baggett is behind the crimes when he finds duplicate currency which the crook created with power ring energy. Green Lantern traces Baggett with the currency. After defeating the crook, he tries to ensure that Baggett will never be able to steal power from the ring again.

The back-up Green Lantern Corps story, "The First Green Lantern," is by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. Long ago on the planet Rojira two races existed separated by a lava field. On one side were the warlike Rulanns that were shaped like starfish. The Rulanns constantly fought one another, but their regenerative abilities prevented any side from prevailing. On the other side of the planet lived the peaceful humanoids called the Jirenn.

One day Korad of the Rulann was able to cross the lava field and find the Jirenn. The humanoids were not used to fighting and Korad planned to conquer them. One member of the Jirenn, Rori Dag, stood up and fought Korad. While he was inspirational to his people, he lacked the tools to fight the Rulann.

The Guardians of the Universe observed the events on Rojira and decides to intervene. They gave Rori a power ring and battery with which to battle the Rulann. They told him to use the ring for good and not to kill with it. Rori was able to defeat Korad and return him to the Rulann side of Rojira. He then sealed the gap that allowed the creature to cross the lava field. Pleased with Rori's success, the Guardians made Rori Dag the first of the new Green Lantern Corps.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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