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Old 06-27-2007, 06:38 AM   #1
Andrew NDB
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Default The definitive anti-Hal post

Not my own, but from N.T. Platypus. I'll repost for discussion :

------------------------------------------

Hello all,

I know that I'll get accused of flooding the boards since this will be the second "anti-Hal" post I'll have on the board simultaneously, but I felt I had to post it.

Before beginning, I'd like to make a few things clear. One, if you don't like the Hal/Kyle debate, or posts about it, than you don't have to read this one. I happen to like the Hal/Kyle debate, because I enjoy debating things comic related and GL fans are passionate. If you don't want to read this..don't. I'm sure there are plenty of posts on each message board that you check that you don't read from disinterest...simply make this one of them.

Two, I don't consider this post trolling or flame bait. I consider trolling when you say things JUST to start a fight. These are actually my feelings on the subject and someone not agreeing with them doesn't make them flame bait. It just makes them different than yours.

Three, I'm going to avoid using the word "hate" because even though I know when I say I "hate" Hal I mean it more as an expression, but apparently some MB posters only speak literally and feel the need to post how it's stupid to hate a fictional character, and I literally loathe those responses.

Finally...just to avoid a lot of the over used insults I get here...I'm 34 and married, and prior to marriage I always had girlfriends.

That said, let me say that the reason I felt the need to write this (aside from being bored at work ) was because after over a year of posting my various feeling on the Hal/Kyle debates (actually over 10 years) I'm still often told I "just" dislike the character Hal Jordan.

This isn't true. I didn't put a bunch of superhero names in a hat and decide whoever I pulled out I would dislike. I dislike Hal as a fictional character because of legitimate reasons that I've developed over decades of reading the character (including collect his book through a HUGE chunk of the 80's).

They may not be your feelings about the character, but that alone doesn't negate my opinions.

It is these opinions, and my knowledge of Hal's past sales, that have caused me to come up with this theory:

"Hal doesn't sell well over long periods. His numbers will drop to the point of cancellation within the next few years."

That's my theory. Are Hal's sales great now? Awesome! But...his return was heavily hyped and he has a writer (Geoff Johns) who could put "Brother Power the Geek" in the Top 10 for at least one issue.

However, this won't last. It is like many characters that go through a period of major hype. Iron Man and Fantastic Four sold well for awhile after the "Heroes Reborn" saga, but both books dropped back to their regular numbers after the hype was over.

Ka-zar sold really well...when mark Waid and Andy Kubert were on it, and then what? His numbers dropped to the numbers a Ka-zar book would normally generate.

And even with both these advantages, Hal has already lost something like 54% of the books readers in a year. That's not a leveling off. That's a drop. Granted the first issue posted high enough numbers that the book is still doing really well, but that is a BIG drop off. It lost over 2,000 readers this month alone...a year in.

Why?

Again, my theory is "Hal doesn't sell". His return, the hype, the creative team, it's made people forget that for now, but that will die down eventually, and he'll be back on the verge of cancellation or having to undergo a major re-direction.

Why?

Because that's what always happens with Hal.

Now as for why this is constantly happening to Hal...I have my theories on this too.

Now before I begin posting those, you may ask why I want to post these opinions/theories on Hal. Good question. I dislike several superheroes, why post about Hal.

I'll admit...it's because Hal replaced my boy Kyle as the main DCU GL. That's why I'm arguing about Hal and not Wolverine, Silver Surfer, or any of the other heroes I don't like.

BUT that doesn't mean I'm JUST picking on Hal. I have legitimate reasons I don't like Hal that date back to before Kyle was created. Hal is just getting my attention because he is in my boy's seat. However I'm not making up reasons just because I like Kyle better.

Anyway, as for why I feel Hal doesn't sell...I think it has to do with the fact he has no personality besides that of a generic superhero personality.

To better explain this, I'm going to quote something said about Hawkman's powers from a website called seanbaby.com:

"If you're a Super Friend, being able to fly is like being able to break a graham cracker along the line...Don't get me wrong. Flying is pretty cool. But if you're a super hero, it might as well be the ability to read."

What 'seanbaby' is saying about Hawkman's main superpower is exactly how I see Hal's personality in a world of superheroes.

To be a superhero a character must have certain traits: sense of justice, willingness to put ones self at risk, etc. After that, it is the traits the characters have BESIDES those that makes then interesting as individuals. Hal doesn't have any of these. He's a throwback to the pre-Lee/Kirby days of big chinned grinning cardboard cutout superheroes distinguishable only by their costumes and hair coloring.

Nowhere is this better shown than in the much ballyhooed speech Hal gives in 'Rebirth' where he describes why he's different from the other GL's.

In the speech he says how you can tell the ring constructs of the other GL's (Kyle, John, and Guy) are affected by their personalities, but not Hal's. Why? Because Hal does "just what needs to done".

EXACTLY! Hal only does what a generic superhero would do BEFORE you added an actual personality to him. His ring isn't affected by his personality because there is nothing about his personality that isn't covered in the list of generic superhero traits.

Oh...and then he punches Batman.

That's the new way to do characterization for Hal. First over-explain things he does that all other superheroes do, than have him punch someone to stress how macho he is, despite the fact it's out of character.

Look the new JLA #1 with Roy talking about Hal. First Roy says only one person taught him to be fearless...Hal! This makes no sense. Roy grew up surrounded by superheroes, all of whom acted as brave as Hal. Second..it literally makes no sense. You can't teach someone to be fearless. You can teach them to overcome fear, sure, but teach them how to never experience it? Huh? That makes no sense. Plus, Hal was born without fear. It wasn't something he picked up.

Oh, and then he threatens to fight Roy.

And speaking of the born without fear thing, it embodies another problem with Hal as a character. He's too perfect. And by that I mean he's literally a character who is already at the end of his arc. He has nothing to achieve. He is the best GL, he is confident, he is a respected hero, he's fearless, etc. Individually, these traits can be fine, but together, and in a character who was born with them, where is Hal's arc? Where is his internal drive or conflict? Easy...he has none. He's already at the stage that usually comes at the end of a character arc.

Due to this a lot of dopey things have to be done to Hal to try and make him have a personality, as perfect characters can't drive stories with their personality (or as Denny O'Neil said about Hal, he's a character that needs to write around, not written about).


Currently those things are things like Hal having to deal with the judgments of his fellow heroes (i.e. Batman) and the recently found GL's for his time as Parallax...which could actually be interesting except for one thing: Hal was never Parallax. Parallax was giant yellow cockroach controlling Hal. Hal actually did NOTHING wrong (how could he? He's perfect) so it's actually those other people (Batman and the not-dead-GL's) that have something to overcome (i.e their prejudice towards Hal) and hence the ones with the actual character arcs in this tale.

This is just one example of the balancing act of how to make Hal interesting without infringing upon the perfection inherent in the character, which is dealt with by him having to occasionally act uncharacteristically, like punching people out of nowhere, or acting uncharacteristically stupid as in his POW storyline.

I mean, if you want to play Hal as someone who wouldn't take his ring on a test flight because it kills his buzz, fine, but not taking it on a mission where it could come in handy with helping his OTHER soldiers, that's just stupid, which is not a trait of Hal's. But again, they have to decide what they want to do with Hal first, than decide how to get him there (even if it is uncharacteristic) because perfect, flawless, fearless characters don't really drive stories.

I mean, they could if they didn't have a magic wishing ring that would do whatever they want as then the conflict would be between this hero and finding a way to accomplish his goals (ala Indiana Jones), but the ring negates that, so we're left with a character with no shortcomings as a character and giant deus ex machina wrapped around his finger to negate any outer conflicts he may face.

Which brings me to the mantra Geoff Jones is repeating through all his interviews about Hal...that the great thing about Hal is (unlike Batman) he doesn't plan...he just jumps right into things and then thinks his way out of it. This too could be interesting if not for, again, the fact has the power ring, so when he does think of what to do...voila...it's right there, and two...it's not true. Like the teaching Roy to be fearless thing, and the Rebirth "My personality is my lack of personality" speech, this is all smoke and mirrors. Nicely written but essentially meaningless.

All heroes jump into things and then figure their way out. Even Batman. Does Bats make plans? Sure...when he knows what's going to hit him, which is only like 5% of the time, or if the story has to do with the fact Batman is a control freak (ala Waid's "Tower of Babel" storyline in JLA), but mostly he, like most superheroes, await for the threats to reveal themselves, then jumps into battle.

Like most superheroes. Like Hal.

Now I know a lot of you will say Hal isn't perfect, and use his often rebelling against the Guardians as proof, but it isn't. Hal only rebels when the Guardians are wrong, making him perfect again. Am I saying he should not rebel when the Guardians are wrong? No. I'm just saying it doesn't prove he's not perfect, and also...it's something every superhero would have, hence backing up the generic superhero personality thing. The one time he was wrong with his rebellion, it wasn't him...it was the big bug. The other time, he was drunk...and now that's retconned away.

Also, I know many will argue I'm someone who only likes brooding characters, but that's not the case and would only be something said to try and blow off my actual arguments.

I like all kinds of character, funny, brooding, flirty, mysterious, daring, whiny, obnoxious... whatever. I'm not saying Hal isn't "dark" enough or "reflective" enough...I'm saying he isn't ANYTHING enough and that affects the character.

It makes him uninteresting.

It causes his books to fail numerous times.

And it will rear its head again, and the books sales will reflect that...again.

Hal is nothing but a cardboard cutout superhero with no internal conflict to drive the story personally and too much power to get into any situations he can't get out of.

In a world full of superheroes, he's generic, and that makes him dull, and as the hype dies down and nostalgia gives way people will remember why they didn't collect Hal in the past and his books numbers will drop, and in a few short years he will be on the verge of cancellation or needing to be revamped. Big events like the Sinestro Corps War will get people excited about Green Lantern....but not do a thing for Hal. He merely attends these events and any additional attention he receives is only residual, and otherwise only serve as delightful (temporary) distractions to take our eyes off the ball.

I know it like I know at that point Wizard will stop sucking up and do an article on whether or not DC made a mistake bringing back Hal as GL.

That is my theory.

Sincerely,
N.T. Platypus
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:41 AM   #2
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Here we go... I'll prepare my rebuttal.
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:50 AM   #3
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So what if Hal isn't a paranoid, anal-retentive asshole like Batman? What some might deem as recklessness is merely confidence that he will find a way to prevail against all odds. I happen to like that.
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:52 AM   #4
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I like how he showed Batman what he does everytime he uses the ring...
Batman found a whole new respect for him after that.

Anyway... my rebuttal will be posted tomorrow, methinks.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrylakks View Post
I like how he showed Batman what he does everytime he uses the ring...
Batman found a whole new respect for him after that.

Anyway... my rebuttal will be posted tomorrow, methinks.
I take it you refer to the Vol. 4 issue with Batman. I like the issue, but it's never sat right with me... every time a rookie GL puts on the ring, they have some kind of feargasm?

If so, it's a retcon.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:26 PM   #6
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I guess whatever floats your boat. I'm not gonna spend 15-20 minutes creating a long rebuttal for this. I just know that something about Hal appeals to me more than any other GL or comic super hero for that matter.

Just like cinnamon toast crunch...I read what I like.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:19 PM   #7
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Every time I read this, I just want to go out and punch someone in the back of the head.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:48 PM   #8
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I love how the most common arguments against Hal tend to be similar to the reasons I can't stand Kyle (despite multiple attempts to read his book and enjoy his general existence). Except I don't feel that Kyle is "empty", I feel that he's stuffed full of "pastde on yayz!" characteristics that never, ever ring true to me.

In conclusion, GL fans are all arguing the same thing so we should just live in peace and trust that all Lanterns are going to get screen time except for John and Ch'p (who is still dead. D:)
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:26 AM   #9
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The real fact of the matter is that people's opinions on this matter are swayed by their personality, whetehr they know it or not. You connect with one character or the other and then defend it in multiple ways. All arguments are as legitimate as all others (aside from flame posts which have no supporting information for the opinions presented).

Kyle is cool... I like him... but Hal is my favorite... why? Its actually due to the same thing that many Hal fans hate. His downfall. My favorite time in my favorite chracter's storyline was his journey from frustrated and frightened Green Lantern, to the desperately misguided and powerful Parallax, to his death, and through his search for redemption.

Everything from Emerald Twilight to Rebirth was amazing... and the one thing in all of GL that I truly hate is the Parallax entity. It flawed the great character path that Hal had taken... rather than it being him the whole time, it was an alien entity and I can't express how much I HATE that idea.

Kyle was going through his own journey at the time, and it was unique compared to most anything else in the DCU at the time, which was a large part of his appeal. But even so, I never enjoyed him as much as Hal, and Hal was a bad guy at the time!

My histroy is such... I started reading comics originally during the Death of Superman storyarcs, and was introduced to Green Lantern through that. And Hal's downfall was brilliant to me. I read every Parallax issue made as they made them, meanwhile goign through my uncle's comic book collection and reading old v2 Green Lantern comics. Hal was simply the most facinating character to me. I stopped reading comics after Hal gave his life to save everyone, as a kind of redemption, in Final Night. A few years later I saw Rebirth on the shelf and that sucked me back into comics, and now the rest is history... with this history of Green Lantern in my life, its interesting to see how Hal is more than just my favorite GL, but is my favorite DC character.

With that history its easy to understand why I like Hal, why things that bother other Hal fans are embraced by me, and why I have such a vocal distaste for anything Parallax... and am TOTALLY against this Kylax crap. Still, with they GL mythos, I have been trying to embrace everything written as solid, and so I will defend Geoff Johns in his writting, all the while condemning him for being terrible.

... now it seems I've just been rambling... damn my tendancies...

ANYWAY!

Hal or Kyle... it doesn't matter. But my main argument is ALWAYS the same. I know Andrew and KilowogCK have heard it before, but here it is for the rest of you.

When it coems to the main 4 Green Lanterns related to the Corps (Alan is not included, obviously). Hal is by far the most important. Why? Because everyone else's origins revolve around Hal in some way. Guy and John were both recruited as back ups/replacements for Hal for various reasons, thats simple. But Kyle is the most effected subject because every single thing about his story is in direct response to the actions taken by Hal. Hal destroys the Corps so Ganthet delivers a ring to some kid who happens to be in the right place at the right time and has the potential to defeat Hal (Emerald Twilight)... something he never REALLY did. Hal wants to be a hero again, and in trying to become one Kyle shows him what it really is to be a hero (Parallax View), solidifying himself as Green Lantern. Kyle's first view character defining moments where during face offs with Hal. And there is no denying that.

Basically what I'm saying is that regardless of who your favrotie GL is (unless its Alan), you have to give aknowledgement that Hal is the most important.

Okay anyway... now that I've rambled seemingly senselessly... I think I'll be done.
Did any of this even make sense? I'm tired (have had one hell of a shitty weekend).




<<This is not my prepared rebuttle to this post, this is just a ramble about the subject.>>
<<My actual rebuttle has actually yet to be finished.>>

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Old 07-02-2007, 12:40 AM   #10
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I concur Parrylakks, I know my fav GL is Kyle and it is because he is the most human. I was introduced to GL and comics at a time when I was in very a bad emotional and physical state. The GL mythos appealled to me because Anyone can be chosen to be a Lantern you dont need to be an alien of mutated by some kind of freak accident. and soon after I started reading a kid name Kyle was given the last Power ring and told "You'll do" for that Alley rat to become the iconic hero he is today. So much so that Sinestros main concern is Kyle NOT Hal.

It gives me hope that I and others have this potential in us. To become amazing heroes to make the awful sacrifices Kyle has had to make. To learn to be better. Since Kyles introduction for the most part until Rebirth the Green Lantern Comic was essentially "Watch a hero grow" and I love that

Kyle went from nothing to Everything. Don't get me wrong I like Hal too but Hal was already involved in the protection business in the Air Force. Hal was an all too likely choice for the ring

Imagine for a moment we are in real life. a building is burning down and outside stand two men one is an off duty fireman and the other a broke semi-employeed 20 something year old.

Now if the Fireman runs in and saves a baby sure its a story it will be on the news and the Fireman will say "Just doing my job"

But if the 20 year old goes in and saves a baby it will be EVERYWHERE. He will be hailed as a hero some one ready to die just to save another for no reason he has no duty to proctect no duty to serve and when they interview him he'll say "It seemed like the right thing to do"

That is why my fav is Kyle
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:55 AM   #11
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See, and you know its based on your personality... my feelings for Hal are similar... I was originally just fascinated by the subject of falling from grace, but now I see it and live it, in my own way, and that just makes me feel so much more connected with Hal.

I know it sounds weird, and its not like I'm going around destroying things to make everything else right, but I am in that point where I'm trying to make things right... trying to fix things and trying to find redemption for others... so that fascination that I once had has turned into a connection, like your's with Kyle, and Hal is just that much more my favorite.

It is interesting to me, however, that most other Hal fans seem to hate that which I love about the character most.

Ultimately, I really like Kyle a lot... more than I will usually admit, and for many of the reasons he's your favorite, Jim. But regardless, Hal is the man in my eyes. His path has been a long hard road, more so than any other character in any comic I've ever read... and he will always be that fallen hero to me... regardless of what gets retconned out of v3.
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:37 AM   #12
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Parrylakks, I know what your saying I like Hal too. I never really got why everyone gets into these flaming K Vs H sessions. I understand the fall from grace thing to. Its a good thing to have in Hals past now and I love that some of the Rookies are trying to push Hal around (when are we gonna see Redbull GL Vs Hal .. .you know its coming)

I too have had many falls from grace and have tried to pick myself up and carry on the best way that I know how
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:28 AM   #13
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1. Parrylakks, I love what you said about Hal's downfall and, uh, I'm definitely with you on that one. I'm hoping it'll be less of an unpopular opinion in a few years after the fervour from Rebirth has died down, because, honestly: the fall from grace, the path to redemption- that's all part of the Hal story now. For better or for worse, it's not going to go away.

Although I actually LIKE the idea of Parallax being a "space bug". It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but at least it was congruent with the GL mythos.

What bothered me was the fact that Sinestro INFLUENCED it into choosing Hal. For me, that was taking it a step too far. What made the idea of Hal being at least partially possessed (because he was always extremely self aware, and backed by sincere motivations) a meaningful notion (to me, at least) was the idea that it had found Hal by itself. That it was drawn to him because he seemed so strong. Because he (and everyone around him) was so blind to his faults much of the time, the fear was able to exploit him so easily.

*shrug*BUT Y'KNOW. WE COMIC BOOK FANS PICK AND CHOOSE OUR CANON WHEN IT COMES TO CHARACTER INTERPRETATION LIKE THIS ANYWAYS...

2. The Hal vs. Kyle debate IS ridiculous these days, because those characters are not mutually exclusive. Hal's got his own book, Kyle's maxi-series ended recently and it looks like Countdown may throw him into another title (if Sinestro Corps doesn't give him a permanent place in GL/GLC).

I always joke that a tenant of comic fandom is that Hal fans and Kyle fans can't live in peace (because, oh, has my lunch table at University had the Hal vs. Kyle debate before. With the yelling and everything. Yes, we're losers), but honestly; my dislike of Kyle is completely independent of Hal and all the Kyle hate from Hal fans often makes me feel a little guilty for being such a cliche. T__T (I guess there's the plus that it all makes me want to keep TRYING to like Kyle)

3. Reading your two's respective personal reasoning for adoring your favorite Lanterns is interesting. I think I may discreetly go start a thread on that. *cough cough*
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:53 AM   #14
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http://www.thegreenlanterncorps.com/...read.php?t=122

I'll make it easy that ^ is Cephied Variable's thread
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:56 AM   #15
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NT Platypus claims that his 'theories' are not baiting. But clearly they are. Otherwise why write them? Unless he's trying to outwardly deny his sub-conscoius love affair with Hal.

To be honest I don't think his views warrant a response. Its childish, pointless character bashing bought about by his apparent 'boredom' at work. Although I doubt he could get that bored working the drive thru at KFC.

I'm assuming by his name that he's an Aussie and I'm embarressed as a fellow Australian by his Anti-Hal ramblings (no doubt composed prior to typing with a crayon)
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KILLER-CLONE View Post
NT Platypus claims that his 'theories' are not baiting. But clearly they are. Otherwise why write them? Unless he's trying to outwardly deny his sub-conscoius love affair with Hal.

To be honest I don't think his views warrant a response. Its childish, pointless character bashing bought about by his apparent 'boredom' at work. Although I doubt he could get that bored working the drive thru at KFC.

I'm assuming by his name that he's an Aussie and I'm embarressed as a fellow Australian by his Anti-Hal ramblings (no doubt composed prior to typing with a crayon)
Just an FYI here and since NT Platypus is not a member here it's not a big deal but this is as far as we would like to go with personal attacks. A couple of witty remarks are fine but If he shows up this could deteriorate into a bash session. Again just an FYI.... continue.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:17 AM   #17
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I'll allow it!

I'm sure Killer speaks for a lot of folks. But yes, let's try and be civil in the inevitable/unavoidable (as I see it) Hal and Kyle debates/arguments. As long as it doesn't get personal I have no problem with it.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:18 AM   #18
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lol
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:24 AM   #19
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Noted.
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:05 PM   #20
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Yo.

about the notion that Hal loses book due to his lack of character & watever.......wasnt GL doing pretty GOOD when _ET_ came about??

and also, couldnt the current drop off of readers be attributed to the fact that the title was LATE, and possibly a storyline that simply replulsed readers either due to art or the storyarc??

Hal being "too generic" a character is a lazy excuse IMNSHO.





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Old 07-09-2007, 07:29 AM   #21
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To me Hal is truly an amazing character considering that the fans loved him so much that even after 10 years of him being dead they still support him. No matter how bad DC has mismanaged his character and the GL mythos they still support him, no matter how many bad GL stories are told they still support him. If so many people can be so loyal for all of these years and still love a character and mythos that has been pissed on more than one, there must be something to why Hal is as popular as he is.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:47 AM   #22
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Kinda the same for Barry Allen. Barry's been dead for 20 years and there are still plenty of people hoping for his return. I suppose there's something about Barry and Hal that must resonate with readers of a particular age. They really were the two characters that ushered in the Silver Age. And really, Green Lantern and Flash are the two titles that seem to have their lead characters dicked around with the most. Weird.

Maybe its the archetypal nature of characters like Hal and Barry that readers like, rather than the desperately flawed characters of the modern era.

I'm still hoping for Ted Kord's return.....
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:53 AM   #23
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Kinda the same for Barry Allen. Barry's been dead for 20 years and there are still plenty of people hoping for his return. I suppose there's something about Barry and Hal that must resonate with readers of a particular age. They really were the two characters that ushered in the Silver Age. And really, Green Lantern and Flash are the two titles that seem to have their lead characters dicked around with the most. Weird.

Maybe its the archetypal nature of characters like Hal and Barry that readers like, rather than the desperately flawed characters of the modern era.

I'm still hoping for Ted Kord's return.....
I don't quite get the Barry thing myself. I can see how fans want "their" Flash back, b-but- Barry's death and Wally's subsequent rise to heroism? Was one of the rare instances that the hero death/replacement cycle was done *well*. I can't imagine why anyone would want to mess with it. :P


Oh, Ted. T__T The aftermath of HIS death has been handled so much better than the death itself, I've stopped wanting him alive again. Let him rest for at least ten years (or have Booster pick up a wayward Beetle from the multiverse or something. MISMATCHED BLUE AND GOLD, TRAIPSING THROUGHOUT THE MULTIVERSE. HOW WOULD THAT NOT BE BEAUTIFUL?)
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:20 AM   #24
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Hey, I'm no Barry fan. Personally i like Wally better. Only because I got into Flash straight off the back of Legends. I was just making a comparison.
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:22 AM   #25
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Oh man. This thread is like a great substitute for my workout routine.
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