Tuesday 20 May 2014

The Villainous Villainies of the Lamplighter *

Presenting a Super-Blog Team-Up Production.

In conjunction with Flodo's Page.

Picture the scene.

The year is 1968.  The popular comic book Green Lantern is about to hit its landmark 60th issue.  The creative team of Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene lock themselves in a room together to brainstorm ideas.  Clouds of grey smoke fill the air.

GF:  So what have ya got, guys?
GK:  60 issues.  It’s going to be a big one.
SG:  A big one for sure.
GF:  We gotta have a big villain.
GK:  A super-villain!
SG:  Someone that can give Green Lantern a run for his money.
GK:  Yes.  So how do we do that?
GF:  Let’s give the other guy a lantern too.
GK:  No. That’s too close to our guy.  What we need is a lantern but… ya know… not a lantern.
SG:  A lamp?
GF:  A lamp.
GK:  A lamp!
GF:  And… and… let’s put it on a stick!

SG:  A stick?  Why’s he gotta put it on a stick?
GF:  You know.  ‘Cos he needs a stick.
SG:  He does?
GF:  Because, you know, because he’s BLIND!
GK:  Hold on.  He’s a super-villain but he’s blind?
GF:  Well yeah.  Why not?  He’s got a magic lantern.
SG:  Lamp!
GF:  Maybe he can only see when he’s got the lamp turned on.
GK:  So what else does this lamp do then?
GF:  Anything.  Green Lantern can do anything with his powers.  So this guy can do even more than anything.
GK:  Works for me.
GF:  So how do you think he got his powers then?  Him and this lamp?
GK:  How about a nuclear explosion?  No-one is ever going to expect that.

SG:  Yes.  He’s a mad scientist and his experiment went wrong and it blew up in his face.
GF:  Oh, that’s good.  That must be how he went blind too.
SG:  And he had a giant machine that could turn anything in to anything and he was making gold and diamonds and stuff, and the whole thing just blew up.
GK:  So why didn’t the lantern blow up in the explosion?
SG:  Oh yeah.  Didn’t think of that.  Maybe the lantern… lamp… didn’t get its powers until after the explosion.
GF:  Maybe he was still doing his experiments but he couldn’t see and he spilled a load of chemicals all over himself and made a special kind of light only he could see in.
GK:  So he spilled them on the lamp too..?
GF:  Too farfetched?
GK:  I don’t know.  Maybe.
GF:  So maybe he didn’t spill them on the lamp.  Maybe he PAINTED the chemicals on the lamp after.
SG:  Genius!

GF:  So he gets his lamp on a stick and now he can see in the magic light and he can turn anything into anything…
GK:  He can turn anything into anything?  Wasn’t that the giant machine that blew up?
GF:  Yeah but now he’s got something small that can do it too.  Like a crystal.
SG:  Can’t go wrong with a crystal.
GF:  And he puts the crystal on the stick-lamp and he can turn anything into anything.
GK:  Ok.  Well, our guys a super-villain so he’s going to need a costume.
SG:  Let’s put him in an old colonial uniform.  With a three corner hat.
GF:  A three corner hat?
SG:  I like three corner hats.
GF:  But the guys a scientist.  Maybe the most brilliant futuristic mind in the world.  Why does he go and get himself a three corner hat?
GK:  Maybe he sees it in a picture.
GF:  Sure.  He sees it in a picture and gets himself a three corner hat.
SG:  And a mask.
GF:  Well, sure.  He’s gotta have a mask.

GK:  I bet this guy gets up to all kinds of stuff.  Bad stuff.
SG:  All kinds of villainies
GF:  All kinds of villainous villainies.
SG:  Like robbing banks.
GF:  Jewels even.  Sure.
GK:  Sounds like one rough hombre.

Just then Julius Schwartz puts his head around the door.

JS:  Ay! How’s my guys?
GF:  Julie…
GK:  Boss…
JS:  How’s that Green Lantern?  Ya got something good for the 60th?  It’s gonna be big.
SG:  It’s gonna be big.
GF:  We’re working on it now.  We’ve got a super-villain.  He’s a colonial criminal.
GK:  With a lamp on a stick.
JS:  Guys.  Guys.  We’ve got to try something a little different here.  Ya know.  Mark the occasion.
GF:  We will.  We are.  Erm.. we’re going to do one that looks at the little guy.  You know.  The ordinary folk who get caught in the cross-fire.
JS:  Crossfire?
GF:  All the super-beams.
JS:  Doesn’t Green Lantern have beams?
GF:  Yeah, but those are green beams.  This guy has RED beams.
JS:  Oh.  Ok.  Sounds good.

Julius Schwartz leaves, closing the door behind him.

GK:  So.  Are we going to do all that stuff?  The little guy stuff?
GF:  It’ll be fine.  We’ll stick it in the first caption where Julie will see it and then we’ll catch it all up on the last page.  He’ll never know the difference.

SG:  But we’re going to have a big fight, right?
GF:  Of course.  It’s Green Lantern.  We’ve gotta have a big fight.
GK:  The biggest.  And maybe because this guy has a lamp Green Lantern can toss another lamp at him too, a big one.  And say something funny.
SG:  Funny?
GF:  Something like… ya know, “So be my guest… and have a taste of a modern kind of lamp!”  Something like that.
SG:  That should do it.
GK:  And the bad guy,  he takes this big green lamp and turns it into a big red buzz saw and tosses it right back at ‘Lantern.

GF:  And then Green Lantern makes a huge, huge lamp, but this time it’s really a lampshade, and it’s got like a dozen of himself on it and the lamp guy can’t tell which ones the real Green Lantern.
GK:  That could work.
SG:  So if this guy can do anything…
GF:  More than anything!
SG:  More than anything.  Why doesn’t he just smash the ring?  The power ring?
GF:  Maybe Green Lantern turned it invisible.
GK:  But wouldn’t our guy see that he had no ring on and was still flying around.  He might guess the ring was invisible.
GF:  Maybe ‘Lantern made a fake ring.
GK:  A fake ring?
GF:  Sure.  He made the ring invisible and then he switched hands and made a fake ring for lamp guy to smash. 
SG:  Guys, guys.  Hold up.  We’ve got a problem.
GK:  Problem?
SG:  We haven’t done the yellow thing.
GK:  Oh yeah.  We haven’t done the yellow thing.
GF:  Oh, that’s easy.  I’ve always got a yellow thing.  Get this.  The guy… lamp guy.  He loves gold, right?  So he turns Green Lantern into yellow gold. 

SG:  I like it.  So how does he get out of that one then?
GK:  Maybe he’s not really gold.  Just inside the gold.  Like, encased in gold.
GF:  Yeah.  And he shrinks down to the size of a molecule and escapes.
SG:  A molecule? That’s small.
GK:  We’re going to need a name.  Ya gotta have a villain name before ya can go about robbing and committing villainous villainies.
GF:  Sure.  What about Lamp Guy?  No.  Lamp Man?
SG:  Light Man?
GK:  Stick-lamp?  Lamp-stick?
SG:  Red Lamp?
GK:  I got it, I got it.  The guy in the picture he sees, the one he copies.  He can be this old three corner hat wearing lamplighter that goes around in a mask lighting old lamps.  Guy calls himself Lamplighter.  Well, what d’ya think?
GF:  Sure.
SG:  Works for me.
GK:  So how does Green Lantern beat this guy anyway?  How does he beat this guy who can see in a magic light and turn anything into anything?
SG:  How does he beat this guy?
GF:  Hmm… Wait.  I know how he beats him!
GK:  You do?
GF:  Sure.  Green Lantern, he can take his stick right off him and he can punch him in the face!
GK:  Punch him in the face!
SG:  Ha!  Punch him in the face!
GF:  Punch him in the face..!

Picture the scene.

The year is 1992.  The popular comic book Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #3  is about to go to print.  The creative team of Jeff Bailey, Marty Golia, Joe James, Barbra Kaalberg, Albert DeGuzman and Anthony Tollin lock themselves in a room together to brainstorm ideas.  Clouds of blue smoke fill the air.

JB:  Dudes… come on.  Wake up.  We gotta do this.  Jones and Stern and Friedman and all those guys have already handed their pages in.  Boss says they're ready to go to print.
MG:  Alright, alright.
JJ:  Man.
MG:  What have we got then?
JB:  We got nothing.  Except G’nort.
ADG:  What?
BK:  G’nort?
JB:  Dooley sez if we want to go effin’ around all day we can eff around with G’nort.
MG:  Aww man!

AT:  Hah… you said, “eff around with G’nort”.  Heheh…
JJ:  It’s going to have to be somebody lame to get beaten by G’nort.
JB:  Dooley sez he wants tons of bad guys, this being a quarterly and all.
JJ:  Going to have to be tons of LAME bad guys to get beaten by G’nort!
BK:  We can do this.  Put that roach down for a minute and get the character book.
MG:  Yeah, the character book.
JB:  Ok, who’ve we got?
MG:  Erh… Mr Fisherman.
JB:  Sweet.
BK:  That is lame.
MG:  Terrible Trio?  Three guys with animal heads?
JJ:  They’ll do.
MG:  Strobe?
ADG:  What’s he do then?
MG:  He’s yellow.

JB:  Yellow?  Stick him down.
MG:  Baron Tyrano.  Makes replicas of himself.
BK:  That doesn’t sound too bad.  Not very lame.
MG:  His replicas wear a monocle?
JJ:  Lame!!
JB:  Right.  We need one more, then that’s it.
ADG:  If we give all these names and stuff to Gerry Jones and break out the stash he’ll probably even write it for us.
AT:  Duude…
JB:  Sweet.
MG:  Lemme see.  One more… one more.  Oh yeah.  There’s this one guy with a lamp on a stick and a three corner hat?
JB/JJ/BK/ADG/AT:  LAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* The super-villain named Lamplighter was created in 1968 by the legendary team of Gardner Fox and Gil Kane, along with the very talented inker Sid Greene.  Despite displaying momentous power and battling Green Lantern Hal Jordan to a standstill in Green Lantern #60,  the character was not seen again in comics until a compilation of short tales collected under the banner of Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #3 was published in 1992.  What may have befallen the ambitious Lamplighter in the intervening years is not recorded and the loss to storytelling is sadly ours.


This was a production for Super-Blog Team-Up in conjunction with Flodo's Page.  A feast for your grey matter still awaits you with some of greatest geekery ever written courtesy of the gracious folks at 
Super-Blog Team-Up.

So what you are waiting for?  Get clicking on the links below and give your inner villain a visit because, sometimes, it's good to be the bad guy!

Links (posts go live throughout 21 May 2014 and beyond):

Fantastiverse: Green Goblin: The Art of Villainy and Madness (Coming soon)
Longbox Graveyard: Thanos: Love & Death
SuperHero Satellite: The Great Darkness Saga
Superior Spidertalk: Chameleon: Peter Parker's Parents Are Androids?  (Coming soon)
Silver Age Sensations: The Voracious Villainy of The Crimson Dynamo!
The Unspoken Decade: Godkillers: Doomsday and Bane
The Daily Rios: JLA vs. Beasts

Friday 16 May 2014

Lanterns, Lanterns Everywhere...

So you love Green Lantern (and let's face it, why wouldn't you?) but you stepped away for a while, or you are daunted by the long history of the GLU, and you don't know where to jump back on.

At Flodo's Page we are always here to help a willing rookie overcome great fear and there has never been a better time to be a Lantern fan because, as the title suggests, right now in DC Comics there are Lanterns, Lanterns Everywhere!

Here's the low-down you'll need to find
the GL book that is right for you:

Green Lantern - The mainstay of the world's favourite comic book franchise, this title follows the fortune of Silver-Age hero Hal Jordan as he struggles to come to terms with leading the largest police force in the universe (GL is very closely tied to Green Lantern Corps at the moment and I strongy recommend the two are read together).

Green Lantern Corps - Fan fave John Stewart gets down and dirty in the trenches, inspiring the next generation of Lanterns to carry the torch (lantern!) at a time when their reputation has been severely tarnished.  They have to put it all behind them and get on with the job of saving the galaxy.  This is the book that puts the T-E-A-M in team.

Green Lantern: New Guardians - White Lantern Kyle Rayner explores the cosmos, righting wrongs with a bunch of Guardians that had been locked in a box for half a billion years tagging along behind him.  Together they face moral dilemmas and ask each other, "What does it all mean?".  Think James T. Kirk with the power of a god.

Red Lanterns - Guy Gardner has switched sides and now leads a rag-tag gang of Red rebels who are just beginning to realise there is more to life than spewing naplam over people all day long.  This book has been a revelation since Charles Soule took over writing duties and is HIGHLY recommended to anyone who likes their comics fun and action-packed.

Sinestro - The most recent addition to the Lantern stable, the book (as the name suggests) follows the adventures of the baddest ass-est villain in the DCU.  Sinestro is a malefactor on a mission, so if anti-heroes are your thing this is the book for you!

Larfleeze - Coming to the end of a 12 issue run, the Glutton of Greed rollercoasters his way across the stars battling gods for ownership rights to one very reluctant butler.  Written by Giffen and DeMatteis with the same zany tongue-and-cheek humour they brought to Justice League International in the '80s, this is one for the comedy lovers.  And the whole adventure is soon to be available in trade!

Justice League of America / Justice League United - Following the fallout of the war with Relic there is only one Green Lantern permitted to remain on planet Earth, and that Lantern is Geoff Johns' own original creation, Simon Baz.  Baz appeared initially in the JLA and teasers promise he will be cropping up in JLU shortly.

Supergirl - What happens when the strongest teenager alive throws a mega-strop?  She gets recruited into the Red Lantern Corps of course!  Penned by GL stalwart Tony Beddard, I can't recommend this crossover enough.  The title of the arc alone, "Red Daughter of Krypton", is enough to get the heart pounding and send adventure-lovers racing to their local comic book store.

Justice League 3000 - Another one from Giffen, this book is not short on laughs either but has a much darker tone than Larfleeze.  The League in this book are somehow brought back from the dead 1000 years into the future and, worst luck, their powers are on the blink.   Hal Jordan is slinging a magic cloak instead of a ring and becomes troubled by the unwanted affections of a tempestous teen with superpowers beyond measure.  It is not going to end well!

Scribblenauts Unmasked - The heroes of the excellent video game join forces with the heroes of the DC universe to kick some tail and look very cute doing it.  Issues #3 and #4 feature a rollicking battle between Green Lantern Corps and a dastardly team-up of Red and Yellow Lanterns.  Chuckles and a great big dollop of action ensue.  The book has something for everyone.  Great for the kids but with enough story and DC cameos to keep the geekiest mums and dads entertained too.

Smallville: Lantern - Taking up the story where the Smallville TV show left off, Clark Kent becomes attached to a ring that he cannot get rid of and has to deal with a whole new set of powers as a result.  Features a full array of our favourite Lanterns including John Stewart as the current GL of Earth.  Fans of the show can easily dip into this 4 issue mini-series without having to have read any of the preceeding Smallville comic books.  Well worth your hard earned pennies!

New 52: Futures End - What happens when you take a Green Lantern and mix him up with a power-mad cyborg-making super-computer?  Futures End... obviously!  The latest weekly comic from DC Comics is not to be missed.  Horror fans in particular should take note.

Earth 2 - A Green Lantern with a difference, the Golden-Age hero that started it all is re-imagined for the New 52.  Alan Scott fights for the survival of a parallel Earth empowered by the very planet itself.  A beautiful book with a carefully crafted story and unrivalled art offering up a host of classic characters as you have never seen them before.

With all these choices on the shelf everyone can put a little Lantern in their lives.  So go on fanterns, shine the light for the GLU and I can promise you'll have a lot of fun while you're doing it!