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Friday, February 01, 2013 

Some panels from the early period of Green Lantern's 3rd volume, the Gerard Jones run

Here's a couple of panels I scanned from some issues I own of Gerard Jones' initial run on Green Lantern in 1990-93, plus a few from GL: Mosaic as well, that I thought I'd use to try and make a point about what I find impressive in his run. For example, one from the 1st issue:
And 3 from issue 13:
And then, 2 from issue 32:
Then, here's some panels from Green Lantern: Mosaic, starring John Stewart. From issue 2:
From issue 14:
And, from issue 17:
Now what is it about stories and scenes like these that impress me? Character drama and developments, that's what! All the things I thought mainstream editors and publishers were looking for, and Jones delivered, IMO. Of course not everything's perfect in his run, but I think he did a much better job than anything Ron Marz or even Judd Winick ever accomplished, because he used plenty of the cast members of GL's world, both Earth and space-based, and there were more than enough guest characters too who added well to the mix. The part where the Guardians burst into laughter because they're flattered by Guy Gardner's asking for G'nort to be a fuller member of the Corps is also charming, since it wasn't every story from the better days where I'd seen them written as anything other than serious. And Jones both brought back Katma Tui, reversing the disastrous story from Action Comics Weekly where she was put to death at the hands of a brainwashed Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire, and cured Carol of said brainwashing too!

Reading these really made me appreciate the GL world for what it is, and what it could've been, including alien cast members who could serve both serious and humorous purposes. As seen in issue 32, Hal wanted to invest in a private airfield and plane, while Carol tried to put her life back together, and it looks like Jones was trying to go somewhere with all that.

And that's why, thinking back on those times, it really makes me sad that Kevin Dooley, once he succeeded Andy Helfer as the main editor of the series, threw all that away like a stale loaf of bread, and stuffed his politically correct ideas of what GL should be down the audience's throats. Jones was trying to offer up some worthy character-driven story elements, and how did Dooley and the rest of the staff of those times at DC thank him? By going the cheapskate route of eschewing plausible drama for the sake of sales through controversy when Kyle Rayner replaced Hal (and GL: Mosaic was cancelled not so much because of low sales, as they claimed, but rather, because Dooley's editorial mandate dictated there be only one GL, and that was Kyle). Even today, how do they thank Jones? By letting much of his run turn to rot with either no reprints in paperback, and if there were any, they're no longer in print (I think the first 8 issues may have been published in a trade, but they've long stopped reprinting it). GL: Mosaic has never been reprinted, and by now has definitely been disregarded by the incompetents running the store.

Also of interest, I found 2 interviews with Jones from the past decade, the first one from a site called Fanzing that ran between 1997-2003. In this one, Jones was actually fair to Dooley, saying:
What I feel worst about in retrospect is that Kevin was apparently going to bat for me again and again with his bosses, but because he wasn't free to tell me what was going on behind the scenes, and because I was mad at him about other petty crap, I blamed him. I criticized him to his bosses, wrote a nasty fax, really puerile ways to blow off my frustration. I apologized later, and I think everyone understood that I was just a clueless freelancer, 3000 miles away. But it was an ugly finish. I quit so they didn't have to fire me.
But in this later interview he did with another GL fansite, he said:
The idea that people go crazy because something terrible happens--especially people like superheroes who are supposed to be used to keeping their heads in the midst of the worst crises--always struck me as a really cheap way to twist a plot. I have to admit, though, I hated the whole idea of Coast City being destroyed, so I really resisted dealing with it in my plots. I think that was very frustrating to Kevin Dooley, whose attitude, quite reasonably, was, "Maybe you hate the idea, but that's DC continuity now, so deal with it."
That sounds a lot less lenient, and I congratulate him for describing just what went wrong with the 90s, and is still prevalent today. Jones is correct, DC plummeted into some very pointlessly cruel-tinged storytelling around that time, and it's only served to ruin them.

These issues are among several I own of Jones' run on the flagship GL series volume of the time, and also a few from Mosaic and even the premiere issue of Guy Gardner's solo book that ran between 1992-96. If I can ever complete anything from the 3rd volume, it'll be up to about issue 45, prior to the story where Mongul destroyed Coast City, and I think just about all the Mosaic run for about 18 issues is worth collecting in its entirety (I won't be getting the latter part of Guy's series because Arisia was depicted getting knocked off by Major Force there, in a followup to the disastrous beginning for Kyle, and the end of his first girlfriend Alexandra deWitt). And that's all I need, because the PC-laden direction that followed...just isn't for me.

And these stories are just the reason why I wish I could one day own the rights to DC properties like these, so I could try to reverse all the harm caused to them, and even research Jones' ideas that never saw light to see which ones could make for the best translations into modern day storytelling. And, I'd make sure that his 1990-93 run could be reprinted as well. With any luck, someday, a dream like that could come true.

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