greenlanterntimeline

This timeline is a work in progress as I work on my research regarding how the stories of the Green Lantern echo the ways Americans identified themselves and their country’s role in the world throughout the continuing duration of the character’s relevance. This is not a character timeline. This is a historical timeline and I assert with some confidence that these events did in fact happen, unless noted otherwise. While not every event relates directly to the Green Lantern, something about these events shape the American consciousness at this time and I believe is reflected in the Green Lantern comic books. My observations and opinions do not reflect any secret relationship with the authors of these texts; I am just another audience like any other audience who has seen the spectacles I’ve seen.

1940s- Alan Scott, Hyper-Heterosexual, Hyper-Objectivist

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June 1940: U.S. Representative from Virginia Howard W. Smith introduces the Alien Registration Act to the U.S. House of Representatives and it quickly passes through both houses and is signed into law by FDR. The Smith Act aimed to temper both sedition and foreign influence. Enforcers of the Smith Act would define it terms to fit their particular political agenda.

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July 1940: Alan Scott first appears as the Green Lantern in All-American Comics #16.

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Winter 1940-1941: Alan Scott joins the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics #3.

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June 1941: Alan Scott finds a sidekick in Brooklyn native Charles “Doiby” Dickles in All-American Comics #27.

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December 6, 1941: FDR approves the Manhattan Project, the plan to build a nuclear bomb. It’s worth noting that this decision is made before the Japanese attack the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.

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October 1944: Alan Scott encounters Solomon Grundy for the first time in All-American Comics #61. Solomon Grundy is the classic riches-to-rags story with a twist because he is a rich man who dies and comes back as a hobo zombie.

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December 8, 1944: Polish scientist Joseph Rotblat resigns from the Manhattan Project because he believes the weapon is no longer needed as Hitler’s forces have become significantly weakened. In 1995, he is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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1945: Public Law 601 gives the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) the sacred task of pursuing real and imagined communist threats.

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January 27, 1945: Auschwitz is liberated by the Soviet Army.

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February 4-11, 1945: Yalta Conference between FDR, Churchill, and Stalin to decide the fate of Europe.

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February 15, 1945: Fire bombing of Dresden, Germany

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March 24, 1945: 55-year old truck driver Ebb Cade is unknowingly injected with plutonium as part of the Manhattan Project.

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April 12, 1945: FDR dies.

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April 30, 1945: Hitler allegedly kills himself.

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May 8, 1945: Allied Victory in Europe

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July 1945: Potsdam Conference

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July 16, 1945: In Alamogordo, New Mexico, the U.S. detonates the first nuclear bomb- the Trinity Test.

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August 6, 1945: The U.S. military drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

August 9, 1945: The U.S. drops another atomic bomb on Japan.

August 14, 1945: Allied Victory in Japan

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November 21, 1945: War crimes tribunal at Nuremberg commences.

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October 24, 1945: The United Nations charter is ratified by the permanent members of the Security Council.

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January 1946-1949: As part of the Tennessee-Vanderbilt Nutrition Survey, the Tennessee State Health Department and Vanderbilt University gives radioactive elements to pregnant women.

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March 5, 1946: Winston Churchill delivers his “Sinews of Peace” address to Westminster College where he first employs the term “Iron Curtain” to describe the impenetrability of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe.

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August 31, 1946: The New Yorker publishes John Hersey’s Hiroshima.

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March 21, 1947: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs U.S. Executive Order 9835 or the Loyalty Order to find entrap Communists working for the Federal Government.

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June 5, 1947: The European Recovery Program or Marshall Plan is announced.

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October 1947: The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) convenes a hearing to investigate red shades of the Silver Screen, beginning the era of the Hollywood Blacklist.

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October 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier

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June 1948-May 1949: Berlin Airlift

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August 3, 1948: Whittaker Chambers testifies before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and identifies Alger Hiss as a communist. Richard Nixon’s political career really starts to take off.

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April 4, 1949: Of out of the Treaty of Brussels emerges the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an international and intergovernmental military force, comes into existence when the North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C.

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August 29, 1949: The Soviet Union performs their first atomic test.

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October 1, 1949: Communists overtake Beiping, make it Beijing, and declare themselves masters of the newly born People’s Republic of China. Reversing a foreign policy where the Chinese are allies and the Japanese are enemies, the U.S. allies itself with former enemies Germany and Japan in the name of reconstruction while demonizing former allies China and the Soviet Union.

1950s That Period Between the Golden Age and the Silver Age When People Mostly Read Western and Romance Comics

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January 25, 1950:  Alger Hiss is sentenced to five years in jail for perjury, publicly defamed as a spy and still regarded as such despite more than reasonable doubt.

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February 9, 1950: Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy gives a speech to the Republican Women’s Club of Wheeling, West Virginia where he claims to have a long list of Communists in the U.S. State Department. He becomes the physical embodiment of the Red Scare as far as the annals of U.S. History seem to be concerned.

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June 25, 1950: North Korea invades South Korea, spurring the police action that inspired M*A*S*H*.

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December 9, 1950: General Douglas MacArthur proposes the use of nuclear weapons against China and North Korea. He is later dismissed the following April.

September 24, 1951: The Soviet Union performs an atomic test using technology markedly different from the U.S.

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October 3, 1951: Bobby Thompson hits the home run that allows the New York Giants to defeat the Dodgers Brooklyn, dubbed “The Shot Heard Round the World,” which allows the Giants to face and ultimately lose to the Yankees in the World Series. Don Delio draws a parallel between this baseball and America’s evolution in the 20th Century, using pop culture to explain the irrational passions of the American people. In his retelling of the sporting event, he speculates how news regarding Soviet advances reached the U.S. intelligence community.

October 18, 1951: The Soviet Union performs their first atomic air-drop.

Fictional 1951: Rather give up their identities to the fictional Joint Congressional Un-American Activities Committee, based on HUAC, the Justice Society of America disbands.

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1951: The Green Lantern’s final golden age appearance (All Star Comics #57)

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March 5, 1953: Stalin dies.

June 19, 1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, a charge related to their sharing of atomic secrets with the Soviet Union.

August 12, 1953: The Soviet Union tests its first hydrogen bomb.

August 19, 1953: British Intelligence recruits the American CIA to overthrow democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh to prevent the nationalization of Iranian oil.

November 1953: J. Robert Oppenheimer is accused of being a spy.

April 10, 1954: The United States offers France two atomic bombs for use in Indochina. The French refuse the gift.

April 12-June 28, 1954-: The Atomic Energy Commission hold their hearings on Oppenheimer, ultimately voting against him and withdrawing his security clearance.

August 1954: The Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist, KMT, Republic of China) install troops on the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, beginning the First Taiwan Strait Crisis and inciting Mainland China to respond militarily. In the United States, Eisenhower receives a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to use nuclear weapons in the aid of the Nationalists and while Eisenhower dismisses the idea, his support for the Nationalists is more heavy-handed that his predecessor Truman.

September 1954: The Soviet Union performs nuclear tests, using real Soviet soldiers as targets to test the effect of radiation and fall-out on human life and military performance.

September 8, 1954: In Manilla, Philippines, the South East Asia Treaty Organization is established as an extension of U.S. foreign policy under the Truman Doctrine.

January 17, 1955: The United States Navy sets the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine to sea. The SSN-571 or the USS Nautilus enjoyed an exciting career, including being the first submerged vehicle to travel to the North Pole (Operation Sunshine- 1958), until it was decommissioned in 1980.

March 16, 1955: In reference to the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, Eisenhower responds to a journalist’s question with a phrase that would become notorious, “A-bombs can be used…as you would use a bullet.” This statement comes on the heels on several incendiary statements by US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Such an extreme stance alienates the US from other NATO members and the United Nations.

May 14, 1955: Eight communist countries sign the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, more commonly known as the Warsaw Pact, to establish a stronger coalition capable of resisting Western influence and invasion.

September 6, 1955: Director of Eisenhower’s Foreign Operations Administration and US delegate to the United Nations Harold Stassen tells the UN that the US no longer agrees to complete nuclear disarmament.

November 22, 1955: The Soviet Union tests its first true hydrogen bomb (first thermonuclear), Sarkharov’s “Third Idea.”

July 26, 1956: Egyptian President Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, beginning the international affair known as the Suez Crisis, involving Egypt, the UK, France, the US, Israel, the Soviet Union, and both Chinas. The implications of the crisis for the United States include the Eisenhower Doctrine, which enabled the US government to transfer their funds and materiel to the Middle East with less bureaucratic obstacles, and perhaps most importantly, recognized superiority over older European nations, particularly the UK. The Crisis contributed to conflicts already in progress such as the Cold War, hostility between Mainland China and Taiwan, and Israel’s difficulties with its neighbors. The shift of power from European nations to the United States is not lost on anyone, least of all the United States. Many in the US sees this change in its global role as something akin to Abin Sur passing the Green Lantern ring onto Hal Jordan- a wise, but dying legend passing its sacred legacy onto a hot dog with a heart of a gold.

April 24, 1957: Dr. Albert Schweitzer delivers his Declaration of Conscience on the radio, a plea to stop developing and testing nuclear weapons.

November 3, 1957: The Soviet Union sends a dog named Laika up with Sputnik 2.

March 5, 1957: As part of the Atoms for Peace program, the United States agrees to support Iran’s nuclear program by supplying them with enriched uranium.

July 2, 1957: Consumers in Southern California are the first to receive commercial nuclear power.

August 1957: Soviets successfully launch an Intercontinental Ballistic Missle (ICBM).

October 4, 1957: The Soviet Union launches the first man-made satellite into orbit, Sputnik.

January 31, 1958: The United States successfully puts the satellite Explorer 1 into orbit.

April 27, 1958-May15, 1958: US Vice President Richard Nixon visits South America where he receives a hostile welcome from local populations in Peru and Venezuela.

August 23, 1958: The People’s Republic of China attacks the ROC-held island of Quemoy, starting the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.

October 1, 1958: The National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) is renamed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

October 31, 1958: The United States and the Soviet Union agree to restrain from any nuclear tests, an agreement that lasts almost three years.

July 21, 1959: The world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship and one of only four nuclear cargo ships ever built, the NS Savannah begins its maiden voyage, christened by First Lady Eisenhower.

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October 1959: Hal Jordan first appears in Showcase #22. He is given his ring by a dying Abin Sur, making Hal Jordan of Earth the new Green Lantern for Space Sector 2814. We are also introduced to Hal’s primary love interest Carol Ferris. She embodies many of the phenomena experienced by women at that time as well as many of the misconceptions held about women by men at that time. Hal Jordan is a test pilot (very masculine occupation) who struggles with the radical concept of having a female boss. Luckily for Hal, his insubordination and apparent absent-mindedness (a cover for his GL duties) is generally received as flirting by Ms. Ferris.

1960s

February 13, 1960: France successfully tests its first atomic bomb in the Sahara.

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July 1960: Hal Jordan’s organ-grinders the Guardians of the Universe appear for the first time in the first issue of Hal Jordan’s own title Green Lantern v.2 #1

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October 1960: The antimatter universe of Qward is introduced in Green Lantern v.2 #2. The nature of this universe touches on many elements of Orwellian totalitarian states. In Qward, it is legal to be bad and illegal to be good, legal to lie and illegal to tell the truth. Some citizens of Qward look to Hal Jordan like desperate Cubans seeking political asylum in the United States or German rocket scientists hoping to continue their experiments with U.S tax dollars.

October 31, 1960: The United States successfully tests its first ICBM.

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December 1960: In Green Lantern v.2 #3, Hal Jordan arrives at Ferris Aircraft as Green Lantern only to find that he has not actually arrived at Ferris Aircraft, but an exact reproduction of Ferris Aircraft including an exact reproduction of Hal Jordan. This reproduction was created by agents from the anti-matter universe of Qward. The agents are after Green Lantern technology, specifically the Lantern itself. The plot is overheard via crossed radio signals by “Hal Jordan’s Eskimo mechanic” Pieface. All of this continues a theme that the anti-matter universe of Qward is a thinly veiled metaphor for life behind the Iron Curtain.

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In a follow-up story called “The Leap Year Menace,” Green Lantern is mobbed by female fans at a charity event. He can handle the excitable teenagers, but his biggest fan proves more difficult as Carol Ferris decides to take advantage of the leap year tradition and ask Green Lantern to marry her. In an effort to dodge the bullet of marriage, our hero creates a terrible monster that may accidentally destroy a bunch of nuclear weapons and destroy Coast City.

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January 17, 1961: Eisenhower delivers his infamous farewell address in which he warns of the looming spectre he names the “military-industrial complex.”

February 1961: Fear of the Other’s technological advantage appears as the central theme of “The Diabolical Missile from Qward” in Green Lantern v.2 #4. The missile from the story’s title draws Green Lantern to the anti-matter universe of Qward via the unlimited psychedelic effects of imaginations. Green Lantern finds himself in battle with a yellow robot who delicately articulates the principles of M.A.D.- “We must pretend to continue to fight… But I shall not try to harm you…” before leading into a kind of confessional, typical of a defection scenario fantasy- “Even though I have had only a short life up to now, I have learned the difference between Good and Evil! Those humans who made me — the Qwardians — are evil! I, Gnaxos, was made to be evil but something happened to my brain and I have become Good — and I want to help you because I have learned from probing your mind that you too are Good! Take this, Green Lantern! It will counteract the deadly radiation that is affecting your friend! Take it — and flee!” and when confronting death at the hands of its maker, the yellow robot calms Green Lantern with the words “if they do [destroy me], I shall perish the way I want to perish — fighting for Good and against Evil! Go, Green Lantern!” When the yellow robot falls victim to the Qwardians’ weapons, Green Lantern laments as if he “lost a friend.” The robot is like a foreigner, less than real but practically real for wanting to be real (i.e. like Hal Jordan- white American man).

“Hal Jordan- Social Climber,” the opposite side of “Green Lantern- sympathetic to defectors,” reveals itself in the second story of Green Lantern v. 2 #4. Hal Jordan crashes a high society party and a fake Green Lantern appears with a gang to rob the place. Hal Jordan obtains the social mobility he craves because a fraud appears as his alter-ego; the obvious lesson and American dream: be a phony, save the day, get the girl.

April 1961: US President Kennedy embarrasses himself by going forward with a poorly planned mission inherited from his predecessor, an ground invasion of recently revolutionized Cuba that fails, commonly referred to as the Bay of the Pigs, named after the delightful fishing spot, one of Fidel Castro’s favorites, where the botched invasion began.

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May-June 1961: Hal Jordan meets the orange skinned and finned Green Lantern of Secotr 2813 Tomar-Re in Green Lantern v. 2 #6. He is a friend of Abin Sur and somewhat of a mentor to Hal Jordan and seems nice enough, but he’s also the Green Lantern who failed to save Superman’s home planet Krypton- a failure that haunts the Green Lantern Corps.

August 13, 1961: Construction begins on the Berlin Wall, separating East and West Berlin.

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August 1961: A pink (red? purple?) beanpole Lenin look-a-like named Sinestro appears for the first time in Green Lantern v.2 #7. In his first appearances, very little is revealed about Sinestro’s connections to the family of Abin Sur or Sinestro’s past as a Green Lantern. Sinestro’s first appearances do mark the beginning of the philosophical conflict that will continue to dominate the Green Lantern narrative into our present day. The argument’s precipice requires the acceptance of fear and will as dialectically opposed forces. From this supposition, a battle between these two forces must occur in perpetuation until one side, fear or will, emerges victorious over the other. Like many Silver Age Green Lantern enemies, Sinestro represents a culture of fear that is expressed in language that suggests Soviet culture with little subtlety. Visually, Sinestro is red/pink right down to his underpants, but not down to his lantern. His lantern is yellow. What notable flags were red and yellow in 1961? Soviet Union? People’s Republic of China? Sinestro’s groomed to look Russian as well- his exaggerated facial features, mustache, and hair style.

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The message of the Green Lantern in terms of the global power struggle can be expressed quite primitively as: “Capitalist countries are better than communist countries because the people of communist countries lack the will to overcome communism or Capitalist countries draw their power from will while communist countries draw their power from fear.” Sinestro makes for an excellent antagonist to the rugged individualism of the Green Lantern. As Sinestro’s rule over his home planet Korugar is later explained, these geopolitical metaphors only become more clear.

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September-October 1961: Green Lantern v.2 #8 introduces audiences the conceptual hero Pol Manning. Pol Manning is an identity assumed first by Hal Jordan and later Salaak. People in the future created the identity to be assumed by heroes from their past. The time travel erased the heroes memories, allowing them to become the hero Pol Manning. Of course, one of these future babes fall for Hal.

October 30, 1961: The Soviet Union tests the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba.

December 20, 1961: The United Nations unanimously accepts the McCloy-Zorin Accords, a “roadmap” to nuclear disarmament.

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October 1962: Carol Ferris wears the Star Sapphire ring for the first time in Green Lantern v. 2 #16. Lovestruck to the most absurd conclusion one can draw from the structure of love, the Star Sapphire is an expression of gender role schizophrenia. Men struggling to understand how women struggle to combine the realities of the workplace with their own femininity results in a brutal assessment of woman as shallow creatures that only truly desire one thing, man’s love, and use the public sphere and the market as places to a) further their hunt for Mr. Right b) hostilely engage a world that has deprived them the precious nectar of man’s love c) childishly playing at a man’s game as if it were a beauty competition or fashion show d) fulfill dormant lesbian desires (such as going to college, playing sports, or working) while waiting in limbo for a man to satisfy her healthy desires (such as making babies, serving men, chewing Valiums). Despite its absurd assumptions, like most good science fiction, the Star Sapphire character shares very real feelings of male impotence in the face of female social mobility. On the other hand, the Star Sapphire is in many ways a liberated woman and should be celebrated for it. Though at the cost of her sanity and the safety of those around her, Carol Ferris becomes an incredibly powerful woman as a result of her encounter with the Star Sapphires. She is an under-examined icon of women in sequential art. Is she a figure for feminists to celebrate or condemn? In her Silver Age appearances, the Star Sapphire costume is relatively modest compared to Violet Lantern couture to come.

October 16-29, 1962: The United States discovers that the Soviet Union are installing missiles in Cuba, beginning thirteen days affectionately known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

December 1962: International spies use the latest technology to acquire secret rocket plane plans and accidentally uncover the Green Lantern’s identity in Green Lantern v.2 #17.

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1963: Alan Scott makes his first Silver Age appearance in The Flash #137.

September 1963: Green Lantern v.2 #23 opens with Carol Ferris in a typical fret over Green Lantern spending time with other beautiful girls when she finds the enchanting Lee Kerr painting a life-size portrait of Green Lantern. Carol offers to buy the painting at any price and responds icily when Kerr refuses to sell the painting. At the gallery opening of the painting, the super-villain wet dream of every 1960s acid head makes his first appearance- Tattoo Man, a villain who upon discovering a magical chemical that made drawings come to life decided to tat himself up with some magic ink. This discovery leads this villain to adopt the same objectivist philosophy that dictates the actions of Hal Jordan and other will power junkies in the Green Lantern corps. On page 10, Tattoo Man declares

“I’ve found the age-old secret of mind over matter! Now I can fulfill my lifelong dream.”

His dream is to steal things he likes and now thanks to his groovy tats, he follows his dream. Ultimately it is Tattoo Man’s over-ambition that brings about his downfall as he over-extends his limited powers. Carol Ferris’s jealousy is resolved at the end when Kerr gives the portrait to her, explaining that the portrait was always intended as a gift to Carol from GL. In the second of story of Green Lantern v.2 #23, the grasshopper Green Lantern Xax is introduced as Hal is sent to the planet Xaos, sent to Xax as an advisor as Xaos has been overrun with criminals. Helping Xax is merely a side errand to Hal’s primary task as caricature of U.S. Exceptionalism and the World Police mission as he explains on page 23,

“Now I can proceed with my assigned task of giving heat and power to a faltering star-sun. Thereby enabling life to grow and thrive on its planets! My duties are not only to maintain justice on the star-worlds in my sector of speace–2814–but to prevent catastrophic natural injustices too. All life must given its chance to thrive and multiply…In the centuries to come the natives of this world will evolve into true men–and take their place in the brotherhood of worlds! Good gosh! My visit coincides with a nuclear bomb explosion!”

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Much like U.S. military advisers sent in developing countries to assist with a situation that have limited knowledge and understanding of, Hal Jordan comes to Xaos with a create-constructs-now-ask-questions-later attitude, totally fucking up the scheme Xax had spent days planning. It would be a stretch to compare this story to a contemporary military fuck-up like the Bay of Pigs. Before we deem such an assertion intellectually irresponsible, let’s see what else we can learn about the situation on Xax. The planet Xax is suffering from dictator dreams of Zorx, described on page 26 as “a power hungry wasp who set out to steal all the world’s sugar for himself and so force Xaos to name him sole ruler.” To accomplish the nationalization of sugar and implement his planned economy, Bad boy Zorx quickly figured out a vulnerability in Green Lantern Xax’s abilities (what can you do, necessary impurity, right?) and uses this vulnerability to see Green Lantern’s political positioning pushed into a Mexican standoff against Zorx’s own political and criminal forces. Of course, Zorx’s criminal actions could very well be considered a legitimate assertion of right to Xaosian resources by the wasp community. Oh and the Mexican standoff is nuclear, which makes it something the Cuban Missile Crisis. Power is restored to Green Lantern Xax after Green Lantern drops a little science on the easily impressed grasshopper GL.

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October 1963: Green Lantern Hal Jordan encounters a world both exotic and familiar in the tale “The Strange World Named Green Lantern” in Green Lantern v.2 #24. While flying back from some space crime-busting, Green Lantern sees a planet with a continent that sort of resembles his outline in flight. While the reader may not immediately see the image, Hal Jordan does because he is a narcissist. His narcissism grants him foresight as the planet attacks him, but not enough foresight to get him entangled in the planet’s affairs. Hal describes his feelings when he first arrives on the planet after being grazed by a yellow missile on page 24:

“Stunned,  I fell to the surface of the planet, barely saving myself from harm as I landed. I didn’t know who my enemies where! I was prepared for anything, but I saw nothing about me…”

On this strange planet, Hal encounter his illusive imitations of worst enemies and his best friends before coming in contact with the planet itself. The planet explains how lonely it has been and how it took on the image of the Green Lantern to attract his attention. The planet asks Hal to be its friend, unknowingly setting the stage for Mogo’s arrival many years later. Like a good friend, Hal takes a look at the planet’s ecosystem and decides to tamper with it. Green Lantern cures the planet’s spiritual and geological despairs with the help of his trusty ring and then he flies back to tell his buddy Pieface all about it. Hal Jordan is a friendly guy.

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November 22, 1963: President Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The implications of this assassination are so far reaching they will probably never be fully understood. The best piece of scholarship on the incident remains a tie between the Warren Commission’s official report and J.G. Ballard’s “The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race,” itself a twist on Alfred Gerry’s “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.”

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December 1963: Green Lantern v. 2 #25 offers an arms technology tale called “War of the Weapons Wizards” that pits Green Lantern against returning enemies big-brained Hector Hammond and Sonar. Hector’s greatest weapon is his ability to make people obey him. The lesson of Hector Hammond is to be wary of intelligent people as much as the lessons of intelligent heroes is to find intelligence an admirable quality. With his big brain, Hector looks a lot like Sinestro in the Silver Age. Hector uses his mind’s awesome powers to use the nationalist villain Sonar as a pawn in his game against Green Lantern. This whole conflict occurs quite inconveniently as Hal is pressed by such urgent concerns as how to manage the many tasks of joining a fundraiser for a summer camp for underprivileged kids, as illustrated on page 8:

“How can I be the director picnic activities– and compete in them as my civilian self at the same time?”

This clear exhibition of Hal’s bleeding heart runs contrary to the commonly held assertion that Hal Jordan cared little for the victims of capitalism’s harsh inequalities until Green Arrow Oliver Queen and a whole score of Americana’s animatedly downtrodden in the series where Hal, Ollie, and Guardian Ganthet take a road trip in search of America’s true spirit, starting with Green Lantern v.2 #76. Hal’s always shown liberal tendencies. For example, his best friend is an Eskimo. Having an Eskimo friend is pretty fucking liberal. Go down to Brooklyn and ask fifty of the best-dressed hipster snobs and I doubt one of them is cool enough to have an Eskimo friend. Hal Jordan may not have always had a “ghetto pass,” but the guy’s got an “igloo pass,” which defies all simple social currency. Hal Jordan not only tolerates women in the work place, but loves his lady boss. Of course, Hal is so hip that he finds society’s laws for love far too rigid for his tastes and pursues a variety of ways to satisfy his carnal urges during his travels throughout the galaxy.

February 9, 1964: Ed Sullivan hosts the Beatles on his television program.

October 16, 1964: The Chinese successfully test an atomic bomb “596” at Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base in the Xinjiang region.

September 8, 1966: Star Trek: The Original Series airs for the first time on NBC.

January 27, 1967: The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, more commonly referred to as the Outer Space Treaty, is signed by the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union. It begins the process of establishing laws to govern space activity. It went into effect on October 10, 1967.

June 17, 1967: The Chinese successfully test their first hydrogen bomb at Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base in the Xinjiang region.

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.

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June 5, 1968: Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot and mortally wounded in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. He dies the next day.

August 20, 1968: Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia marks the end of the Prague Spring.

August 24, 1968: France successfully tests its first hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.

June 28, 1969: Homosexuals face off against New York City Police in the Stonewall Riots.

November 1969: In Finland, the United States and Soviet Union conduct the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I).

1970s

April 1970: The United States and Soviet Union continue to discuss nuclear weapons at SALT in Vienna, Austria.

April 22, 1970: US Senator Gaylord Nelson calls for the first Earth Day, celebrated by over 20 million people.

May 4, 1970: At an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University in Ohio, the US National Guard fires upon its own citizens, killing four.

May 9, 1970: Anti-War March in Washington, D.C.

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1970-1971: Green Arrow joins the Green Lantern title for several issues, beginning with Green Lantern v.2 #76. During this partnership, Green Arrow and the American people open both Hal Jordan and Ganthet’s eyes to the struggle inherent in the American experience. With Green Arrow’s help, Hal Jordan stands up to the Guardians. Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Ganthet intend to bum around the US like some freak-flag-flying beatniks in search of the Kerouacesque. They encounter coal miners, cults, racists, and the Black Canary. Hal Jordan really starts to doubt working for the Establishment, but the audience soon learns that Green Arrow’s progressive utopia falls short when Green Arrow’s ward Speedy is revealed to be addicted to heroin. African-American Green Lantern John Stewart is introduced.

March 1, 1971: The Weather Underground plant a bomb in the U.S. Capitol.

April 24, 1971: Anti-war marches in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California.

June 13, 1971: The “Pentagon Papers” appear in the New York Times, indicting several administrations for poor judgement in the escalation of the Vietnam War.

February 21-28, 1972: US President Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China.

May 1972: Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon sign the SALT I treaty. Accordingly, the United States and Soviet Union began another round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks known as SALT II, a discussion that would continue through the Ford Administration and ultimately end in a treaty signed by Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter in Vienna in 1979.

May 15, 1972: Governor of Alabama and presidential candidate George Wallace is shot and paralyzed.

June 17, 1972: Members of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) are arrested at the Watergate Hotel where they are found snooping through the Democratic National Committee headquarters after hours.

September 5, 1972: Tragedy strikes the Munich Olympics as Palestinians murder eleven Israeli athletes.

January 22, 1973: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a woman’s rights include the choice to have an abortion.

November 29, 1974: Atari releases PONG.

May 18, 1974: India conducts its first successful nuclear test.

August 8, 1974: Richard Nixon announces his resignation as President of the United States on television. He leaves the White House the next day on a helicopter.

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March 1977: The Manhunters, one of the Guardians’ mistakes prior to creating the Green Lantern Corps, are introduced in Justice League of America #140. A robot race intended to police the universe, the Manhunters represent the blowback from excesses employed by self-righteous governing bodies. Like dictators bankrolled by the C.I.A. or enthusiastically forceful police officers, the value of the Manhunters quickly revealed itself to questionable in comparison to the

March 28, 1979: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania experiences a partial core meltdown. The accident rallies objections to nuclear power.

December 24, 1979: Soviet forces invade Afghanistan, beginning a nine-year war responsible for inspiring Watchmen. The invasion also compels Jimmy Carter to withdraw the United States from the SALT II treaties on December 27, 1979.

1980s

October 16, 1980: China conducts the last atmospheric nuclear test of any country…so far.

August 1981: Along with other members of the Justice Society of America, Alan Scott returns as part of the All-Star Squadron. Their new history posits them as a group called together by Franklin Roosevelt to defeat the Nazis and their black magic.

August 1, 1981: Music Television (MTV) goes on air for the first time, nearly completing the transformation of music into a medium imagined more visually than aurally.

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September 1983: The spawn of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott and villainess Thorn, Jade and her twin brother Obsidian are introduced in All-Star Squadron #25. Jade is the first lady Lantern of Earth, which probably gave Walter Mondale the courage to choose a woman for his running mate in his presidential bid against sitting President Ronald Reagan.

March 23, 1985: From the Oval Office, US President Ronald Reagan speaks to the American people and proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly referred to as Star Wars.

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May 1985: John Stewart reveals his secret identity and the innovative character Mogo is introduced in Green Lantern v.2 #188. Mogo is not a member of the Green Lantern Corps, but also a planet. He is surely a product of both growing environmental concerns and a surviving existentially phenomenological subscription to essences. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons create Mogo at the same time that Alan Moore is writing for Swamp Thing. Mr. Moore seems to be going through a phase where giving sentience to the unexpected really lights his fuse.

June 1986: Green Lantern of Space Sector 674 Kilowog is introduced in Green Lantern Corps #201. His character plays on an archetype, the tough army cliché who drinks with the boys and runs rookies hard. Unlike his counterparts in films like Full Metal Jacket, which would be released the following year, Kilowog runs a boot camp for soldiers in space, soldiers bound for glory in wars among stars, starry war-type things.

April 26, 1986: An accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine causes radiation clouds to drift over the Soviet Union and parts of Europe. It is the worst nuclear history the world had ever experienced, possibly trumped by the accident caused int he 2011 earthquake in Japan.

November 9, 1989: The Berlin Wall ceases as an institution and dismantling begins enthusiastically.

1990s

January 1991: Iraq invades its neighbor Kuwait and the United States comes to its defense in Operation Desert Storm.

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December 1991: The Green Lanterns and Alan Scott, in particular, have often been drawn to China. It’s sort of a love/hate relationship, much like the entirety of U.S.-China relations. Green Lantern Yalan Gur is introduced in Green Lantern v.3 #19 as a foreign ring-bearer appearing on Earth, accountable for Alan Scott’s Green Lanern-dom nearly one thousand years later. His ring is special and if you think about it for just a second, you may find it hilariously racist. His ring lacks the vulnerability to the color yellow, so, of course, he uses the ring to enslave the people of China.

May 21, 1992: China successfully tests a one-megaton nuclear bomb.

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January-March 1994: Kyle Rayner is introduced in the Emerald Twilight story arc in Green Lantern v.3 #48-50. Cyborg Superman destroys Coast City- is this a metaphor for tech geeks replacing fighter jocks as top studs in the bachelors showroom? Kyle Rayner is also a geek, hmmm. Hal Jordan tries to be a hero through it all, but ends up becoming Parallax.

July 9, 1994: Kim Jong Il becomes leader of North Korea.

1995: Alan Scott adopts the identity ‘Sentinel’ in Showcase ’95 #1.

July 1, 1997: The Opium War lease expires and the UK returns Hong Kong to China.

2000s

June 2001: Jong Li, a kung fu monk, is introduced as Earth’s first Green Lantern in Green Lantern, Dragon Lord #1. He’s a very Robin Hood kind of monk.

October 2004-May 2005: Geoff Johns scratches something off his bucket list- putting the Green Lantern ring back on the finger of Hal Jordan in the mini-series Green Lantern: Rebirth. More significant that Hal Jordan returning to Green Lantern status is the reformation of the Green Lantern Corps itself. The series features a large cast of characters including Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and most major GL-related characters like Sinestro, Carol Ferris, and Hector Hammond. Many in the DCU do not fully trust Hal because they cannot forget the damage he did as Parrallax. This distrust mirrors much of the cynicism dominant in the American political consciousness of 2004 as President George W. Bush pushed the United States into a war that rapidly lost public support. Despite the book marking the beginning of the modern Green Lantern era, it is regarded as a poor starting point for new comic readers because it is heavily laden with DC mythology.

July 2005: Hal Jordan returns to a glorious monthly title in Green Lantern v.4 #1

November 2005-March 2006: On the heels of Hal Jordan’s resurrection from Spectre-dom and the reforming of the Green Lantern Corps, DC publishes Green Lantern Corps: Recharge, a five issue series that concentrates on Kilowog, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner while the monthly Green Lantern title focuses on Hal Jordan and to a much lesser extent John Stewart. The series begins with the death of Tarkus Whin on his first day as Green Lantern of Space Sector 1417. Following his death, the ring journeys to Sinestro’s home planet of Korugar where it finds the lovely Dr. Soranik Natu performing surgery who immediately identifies the ring as “a symbol of oppression and pain,” having “belonged to Sinestro the Wicked and Katma Tui the Lost.” She refuses the ring, but when her patient is dying, she accepts as a means to save her patient while simultaneously “damning” herself. When the ring takes her to Oa for Green Lantern Corps, she is skeptical and demands to be returned to Korugar. Her return trip to her home planet is interrupted by troubles in Sector 2828 requiring her rescue by other Green Lanterns. In order to save Soranik Natu, the Green Lanterns must recklessly violate an ancient truce. The question is proposed: If Soranik Natu does not want to be a Green Lantern, is she a Green Lantern? This question touches on similar questions regarding any group identity. Are we what we want to be or we are told we are? Soranik is identified as a Green Lantern by both the allies and enemies of the Green Lantern Corps. When Kyle and Guy discover her, she is tied up provocatively. They cannot find her ring because she cleverly swallowed it.

As Thanagar and Rann fought a war, the Green Lantern Corps prove “one universe, one dream” by bestowing rings on  Isamot Kol and Vath, soldiers from each of the warring cultures like sending Irish and British peace-keeping forces to observe a genocide in Africa. I’m sure you can tell my their names, but to be clear Isamot is from Thanagar and Vath is from Rann.

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December 2007: Larfleeze (Agent Orange) appears for the first time in Green Lantern v.4 #25. Larfleeze in the ‘only’ Orange Lantern, which is depicted as some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy as the Orange Lantern represents the emotion of Greed. His designation as the ‘only’ Orange Lantern is more theoretical than practical because his constructs function very much as individual members of an Orange Lantern corps. Hal and Kyle both wear an orange ring at some point as does Lex Luthor. There seems to be some underlying message that Greed is a totalitarian emotion that requires agents that it infects to do its bidding.

2010s

May 2012: Simon Baz, a Lebanese-American Green Lantern, is introduced. He wears a terrorist-style mask and sports an Arabic tattoo. Despite being the creation of Geoff Johns, a Lebanese-American, Simon Boz is criticized for playing up to stereotypes about Arabs.

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