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Green Arrow and Black Canary
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Fred Hembeck

Green Arrow and Black Canary
Uploaded October 12, 2000

Hey, it's another Green Arrow and Black Canary strip!

That particular super-hero relationship sparked first in the pages of the Justice League of America, when Earth-2 emigré Black Canary hooked up with the JLA following a cross-earth crisis in which her husband sacrificed himself for, well, everybody. It was Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams who set the romantic gears really in motion, though, when Green Arrow set up house alongside Green Lantern in the early 1970s, with the Canary tagging along for the ride.

As one of the more famous creator-based runs in DC's archives, these GL/GA stories have been reprinted collectively twice, first as a seven-issue reprint series in the mid 1980s, and in then in two trade paperbacks. For the true fans, though, DC recently solicited for a new collection of Denny's and Neal's run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, in a deluxe slipcased hardcover edition, to celebrate the stories' 25th anniversary. As you might expect, the book comes with a similarly deluxe, slipcased hardcover price tag, too. Hey, no one ever said that nostalgia was cheap.

Since I've already written stuff on Green Arrow and Black Canary for a previous Hembeck strip, let's try something different this time - quick, random thoughts on various things comic bookish (some of which I've already touched on in recent Usenet posts).

Wallowing in the details of personal disputes between writers/artists/editors/suits in the comics industry: I know it goes against people's natural sense of curiosity, but I think people ought to show a little more restraint in dishing the dirt. Yes, disputes, debates, and discussions (three siblings from the proposed Sandman spin-off series 'Endless Bureaucracy') do have an impact on the books that get published, and so become perfectly appropriate fodder for discourse and speculation. When such disputes turn intensely personal, however, we ought to have the courtesy to turn away and to respect the privacy of the individuals involved, regardless of any alleged behaviour on anyone's part. Certainly, if one or more parties directly involved begin airing their personal disputes in public forums themselves, then they've opened themselves up to the external slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (such as with that whole Richard Pini / Colleen Doran kafuffle). Otherwise, I don't think it's too much to ask for people to moderate any tendency towards ruthless gossip. Kind of like taking a 60 Minutes approach, as opposed to the National Enquirer.

Comic publishers shaving down the physical dimensions of their books slightly (impacting only the empty margin space, as opposed to the artwork) to achieve some aggregate cost savings: There are people out there who maintain that customers are somehow being shortchanged by this practice. I wonder if they also believe in the Easter Bunny...

Big, thick books collecting stories by specific artists and writers: I want more of them. DC published an Art of Walt Simonson book a few years ago, with the promise of similarly artist-themed volumes to come. There have also been recent biographical works focused on Nick Cardy, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Kubert, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Come on! How come Dave McKean gets a Dust Covers book, but all of those wonderful Neal Adams covers are languishing in the basement vaults? Where's that Alex Toth Archive Edition series? Let's get with the program, here!

Incidentally, DC's Marvelous competition just solicited for the first new volume in the Masterworks line in a very long time, featuring issues 51 through 60 of Stan 'n' Jack's Fantastic Four. There aren't any specific promotional arrangements in place for this book, but Marvel plans to use the sales of this volume to gauge whether they ought to produce more new volumes (as opposed to fresh printings of already published volumes). I've ordered my copy already, so my part is done, except for the proselytizing.

15th Anniversary of Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen series: I enjoy Moore's writing as much as anybody else, but his public comments with respect to DC Comics sound as if he partakes overly much of his own praise. His recent run-ins with DC management over unrelated editorial matters clearly display a temperament more suited for self-publishing, rather than having his work published by others. An editor needs to be more than a traffic cop, routing intermediate work products from place to place; he/she plays a significant role in story development, series direction, and publishing strategies, and should play an important contributory role with respect to the creative process. That's not to say that Jim Shooter was correct in his assessment that the editor of a given book assumes primary authorship; he clearly overstated that position in his testimony during the Fleisher/Comics Journal imbroglio.

Does Moore have the right to walk away, when confronted by DC's insistence on imposing editorial discretion upon his work? If no contracts are broken by his doing so, then, absolutely. To paraphrase an editorial he wrote several years ago, he has some stout and stylish footwear upon his feet, and he knows where the door is. Does it make sense to walk away from the Watchmen anniversary project because of a dispute with a different book, in essence linking two different matters together that aren't necessarily connected? Well, no, not in my book, but that may be where his and my principles part company. To me, it just seems kind of snarky.

Superman's Babysitter, Letitia Lerner: Brilliant stuff. Frankly, I'd like to see it issued as a wall poster.

Alex Toth: His artwork is just phenomenal, and I just wish there was more of it to collect. Does anyone have a really solid index of his comics work? I've compiled one from the Grand Comics Database, but that's only as good as what's already been indexed there.

People whining about DC publishing a trade paperback version of their Crisis on Infinite Earths opus by Marv Wolfman and George Perez: Please go away. You're almost as bad as the White House Press Corps at creating attributions that never took place. DC never vowed not to print a softcover edition of the book (nor for any of the Archive Editions, either), despite your collective bleats and spin-cycles to the contrary. It'll take more than anecdotal accounts of conversations with DC types on the convention circuit to make your case.

Let's see, who else can I slap around…oh, yeah, the goofs trying to make a mint by auctioning off home-drawn nudie versions of comic book characters on eBay: OF COURSE the comic publishers are going to take action against you! Duh! You should feel lucky that they've sought only to have your auctions cancelled, rather than get really aggressive about it, because they could go after your collective asses for damages resulting from the perceived harm done to their trademarks. Yes, satire and parody are protected forms of speech, as the Charles Atlas people can probably testify to these days. However, I don't think that your sketches of Black Canary sans fishnets really qualifies for that consideration, particularly when you're so obviously trying to derive profits off of trademarks that don't belong to you.

Hey, can you tell that I'm going through the curmudgeon phase of my biorhythm cycle this week?

- NP

The copyrights, trademarks and publication rights to Fred's cartoons belong to DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Fred Hembeck where appropriate. Proud Robot Productions graphics, site design, cartoon re-coloring and commentary copyrights belong to Neil Polowin and Proud Robot Productions.

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