I love comics. I love superheroes. I have loved both for more than 30 years and have amassed a fair sized collection of comic books and collectibles over the years. Yes, I’m a grown man, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be a fan, collector, or aficionado of both the medium and its most popular format. It used to irk me when people made fun of me for being a collector – as if being into comics and toys stunted my growth or made me less of a man. Well, as the years went on I’m still a fan of comics and superheroes and toys; I still have the items I grew up with and I still appreciate them with much fondness. I can’t say the same for all of those naysayers. They are a fading memory.
As the years passed, and as my reading habits matured, many different characters became favorites of mine. I like many comic book characters, superheroes or not, but in this posting I would like to discuss my favorite characters — I’ll describe a little bit about their history and origins, appearances in other mediums, and pinpoint the defining moment in the character’s rich history that made me their…Super-Fan!
I entered the world of avid comics reading in the mid-1980’s, and thus so many of my favorites are from that era. I was also really into DC Comics at the time as well, so many of my influences – favorites – and discoveries came from that special time in the publisher’s history. From the tail end of the 1980’s – thru to the 1990’s – I was essentially a devout Marvellite so we’ll see many of those characters in future installments (as well as characters from other publishers) in subsequent entries. Given that my last Super-Fan entry was Booster Gold, it may seem odd that I would elect to showcase another member of the Justice League International era so soon. Well, would that I could — I would have posted about all three at once. Wait? Did I just say 3? Yes. I did. As far as I am concerned, the JLI era of the Justice League was best represented by the Three League Stooges …Booster Gold, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), and Guy Gardner. Essentially, the comic book superhero equivalent of Curly, Larry, and Moe. So Blue Beetle Ted will be the subject of the next post. But right now, it’s all about the self proclaimed greatest Green Lantern there is…Guy Gardner!
Guy Gardner made his first appearance in Green Lantern (vol.2) #59 in 1968, in a flashback story that revealed that Guy had always been pegged as Green Lantern material and that had he been closer in proximity to Abin Sur when the alien crash landed on Earth — he would have worn the ring instead of Hal Jordan. Feeling self conscious about his abilities now, and wondering if he was in fact the right choice or if he just got the ring because he was closer, Hal set out to meet Guy Gardner in person. Thru the years, Guy made intermittent appearances in Green Lantern and even wound up in the phantom zone for a spell when an explosion had everyone believing that he was dead. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the resources wearing drastically and dramatically thin, the Guardians of the Universe finally appointed Guy a full-fledged member of the Green Lantern Corps. His first mission was to destroy the Planet Qward in the hopes of halting the Anti-Monitor‘s campaign against the multiverse. As his information was incorrect and destroying the planet would have made the Monitor MORE powerful – it put him immediately at odds with active GL from Earth John Stewart and scores of other Lanterns from the Corps. Ultimately, Guy was stopped and shown the error of his ways. A hothead by nature, Gardner rubbed everyone in his presence the wrong way, but once Guy accepted anyone as a friend he would fight with them to the death. He is Incredibly loyal, has a romantic attachment to fellow JLI’er Ice, and often hits opponents first and asks questions later. He has survived being tossed around by Doomsday, went toe-to-toe with the bounty hunter from space Lobo, survived an onslaught by hordes and hordes of undead Black Lanterns and the assimilating automatons of the Third Army. If there’s a battle anywhere near Guy Gardner, it’s a safe bet that he’s in the frontline leading the charge!
IN BRIGHTEST DAY, IN BLACKEST NIGHT…
Guy Gardner had a period of time (particularly during the 1990’s) when the character had a difficult time finding his proper place in the DC Universe. He had been stripped of his Green Lantern ring, stole and began using the villainous Sinestro‘s old yellow power ring, he found out he was part alien (Vuldarian) and could shape his body into weapons (whaaat?!?) and was also an occasional friend and mentor with the sole torchbearer Green Lantern Kyle Raynor. Yeah. They tried reeaaally hard to find a place for Guy. In 2005, Geoff Johns turned the clock back and reinstated Guy as a Green Lantern. Gardner has risen in the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps and wears the title of honor guard with great pride!
MY DEFINING GUY GARDNER MOMENT – WHEN I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CHARACTER
He’s brash. He’s rude. He’s an egotist. He’s headstrong. He’s obnoxious. He’s an Honour Guard in the Green Lantern Corps and is one of that organizations greatest officers. Guy Gardner was selected to be a part of the reformed Justice League by Dr. Fate following the events that unfolded with Darkseid‘s campaign against Earth’s mighty warrior Legends. Gardner started annoying his new teammates immediately, but none more than Batman who found Guy’s approach, attitude, and personality unnerving and vexing. After several confrontations over his behavior, several of the other Leaguers confronted Guy and an argument ensued. When Batman entered the fray, he told Guy what’s what. The hot-headed Green Lantern didn’t take too kindly to the criticism and challenged Batman to a fight. What ensued in the scans below, cemented Guy as one of my favorites and is also some of the most famous comic book panels to come out of the mid-late 1980’s!