THE GREEN LANTERN OMNIBUS VOL. 2 (DC, First Printing, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Green Lantern #22-45 (cover dates July, 1963- June, 1966)
Writers: Gardner Fox and John Broome
Artists: Gil Kane with Inking by Murphy Anderson, Frank Giacoia, Joe Giella, and Sid Greene
Comic books are a wonderful escape from reality. It doesn't get any more escapist than the absolute good versus evil, white hat versus black hat mentality of Silver Age DC. DC were behind the times. Cross town rivals Marvel Comics were steeped in the zeitgeist, reflecting the changes of the day with their more sophisticated output.
The stories are formulaic and often predictable, but this is said from my armchair fifty years later. Audiences are more sophisticated today, for better and often worse. The artwork is the real draw here though. Gil Kane is a god. His artwork matures here, becoming more refined with each passing month, until he reaches his true voice that fans of his Marvel Comics work know and love. I will go as far as saying that no one except for Kirby was doing it as good as Gil Kane in 1966. *Guards face from rocks and tomatoes*
I enjoyed every single issue in this book, but I will list the ones that really grabbed me. I loved the battle with The Shark in #24. I loved the fight that he and Green Lantern had in the Wein/Gibbons run in the 1980s, and it was great to read his first appearance and his rematch with Green Lantern in #28. We see Gil Kane break the fourth wall in issue 29 for no real reason. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did this over at Marvel a handful of times, so we'll just chalk it up to goofy Silver Age fun and move along.
#35's battle with The Golden Mask was a blast to read. Kane's action sequences really moved by this point. Folks like to throw words like dynamic around to describe Jack Kirby's artwork during this time. Kane was one of Kirby's few peers in 1966, and dare I say that he even gave the King a run for his money. Kane of course lacked Kirby's wild imagination, but for bone-crushing action Kane is right on the money.
Not everything here is timeless fun. Overly sensitive readers will find the portrayal of Hal Jordan/ Green Lantern's friend and confidant, Thomas Kalmaku (or Pieface as he is called) to be, shall we say...not as culturally sensitive as he is portrayed today. It's not a horribly racist caricature, but calling “his Eskimo friend” Pieface isn't something that would fly today.
Aside from that, this is brilliant stuff that was just what the doctor ordered for me. I welcomed the escape from reality that this book provided. DC is going to be reissuing this book as well as the first Omnibus in a hernia-inducing single volume titled Green Lantern: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1, so if you missed out on this one or hate the tight binding (see The OCD zone for more information) on this book I strongly recommend that you grab it. I'm done with endless double dips and upgrades, so I'm sticking with this glued abomination.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- DC's earliest entries into the Omnibus market were filled with missteps. To be fair, so were Marvel's. DC has since rectified the complaints in binding that I have below, so please understand that the complaints are about THIS BOOK, not about their Omnibus program as it currently stands, which is fine aside from not remastering their material.
Linework and Color restoration: The linework is excellent, as DC took very good care of their film. The color palette, while faithfully maintained here, is plagued by awful gradient blends instead of the more abrupt blends found in the original comics. If DC recolored their comics “by hand” on computer they could have rectified this.
Paper stock: Thick matte coated stock. I like the paper used in this book a lot.
Binding: Rage inducing glued mousetrap binding. It is so tight that this book should be kept away from small children. I wouldn't let my son near this book alone because it is a two fisted read. If you let it go it shuts fast. SNAP! He could break his finger or hand that way. This is some serious glue though. This book will never fall apart.
This book inspired me to make a video many moons ago. Bleeding Cool posted it, and it is the reason that many people discovered this here blog. I don't take myself too seriously, but this video is pretty bad. It makes me laugh.
|Front cover. You can barely see it but Green Lanrern's power battery is stamped onto the front cover. DC's cheap feeling boards make me a sad panda.|
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: DC's matte boards feel so cheap. No foil stamping, nothing. The dustjacket has a thick lamination.