ST. PATRICK NEVER DID THIS!
(A LIST OF GREEN HEROES & VILLAINS)
BY BRADLEY MASON HAMLIN

THE GREEN HORNET: Created by George W. Trendle, the same guy that gave us the Lone Ranger. In fact the Green Hornet and the Lone Ranger are related! First appearance: American radio program from 1936 to 1952. The Green Hornet was one of the most interesting pulp era mystery heroes and certainly a huge influence on the comic book industry. Britt Reid, newspaper publisher by day, masked mystery man by night! The Green Hornet had a really cool green mask with a hornet emblem. He wore a green fedora-style hat and a green trench coat, and primarily used a gas gun to subdue the bad guys. He teamed up with a Japanese-Filipino driver, named Kato, who later helped kick butt ala martial arts. The Green Hornet appeared in two movie serials: the Green Hornet in 1940 and the Green Hornet Strikes Again in 1941. However, the super-cool Green Hornet series of the 1960s, that’s the one that caught my attention. In 1966 one season of the Green Hornet lucked into production by the producers of the Batman TV show. Just 25 episodes. Van Williams played the Green Hornet and Bruce Lee literally kicked-ass as Kato, truly one of the coolest looking shows ever produced. The Green Hornet theme played by Al Hirt is at the top of my list. How about the Green Hornet’s car, the Black Beauty? Dean Jeffries put together a custom 1965 black Chrysler Imperial with green headlights and other secret gizmos, a true sign of a hip show, but too bad somebody couldn’t have hired some better writers to keep scenes rolling along. The show lacked the great over-the-top villains and twisted comedy of the Batman show. Fat cats at Warner Brothers and DC Comics still have no idea just how great the Batman TV show was—ergo, still no DVD set. But come on, how hard would it be to put those 25 episodes of the Green Hornet together? A great bonus feature would be the addition of the crossover episodes where the Green Hornet and Kato appeared on Batman. A new movie of the Green Hornet was supposedly in the works with Kevin Smith directing, but he has bowed out of (or got kicked off) the project—and so it goes. If a script is a problem I know two writers interested in the job, Harlan Ellison and Bradley Mason Hamlin. Give one of us a jingle and we’ll run it up the flagpole.

THE GREEN MASK: The Green Mask first appeared in Mystery Men Comics No 1, August 1939, published by Fox Features Syndicate—the same issue that gave us the first appearance of the Blue Beetle! I don’t know a whole lot about the Green Mask, but he appears to have been a sort of swashbuckling superhero who wore a green bandana-style mask, sort of Zorro without the hat, and for some reason green. Ah, but the fascination with green heroes would continue.

THE GREEN LAMA: Created by Kendall Foster Crossen under the pen name Richard Foster. The Green Lama is a hero from the American pulp magazine era. He first appeared in Double Detective No. 5 in 1940. The Green Lama was an American named Jethro Dumont who traveled to Tibet, learned all the Tibetan tricks by actually becoming an ordained Tibetan Lama, then treks back to the States to battle evil while wearing a green costume. Why did he wear green? That’s his secret. One of the Green Lama’s powers existed in the form of radiated electric shocks after drinking radioactive salts. On one of the covers of the short-lived Green Lama comic book series it states that he: “FIGHTS FOR THE FOUR FREEDOMS.” What four freedoms would those be? Perhaps that was also his secret. Superman only had three: truth, justice, and of course the American way.

GREEN LANTERN: Created by Marty Nodell and Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman) for All-American Publications (another company that amalgamated into DC Comics). First appeared in All-American Comics No. 16, July 1940. Marty Nodell once told me he invented Green Lantern because he was asked to come up with a character as dynamic as Superman. The original “golden age” Green Lantern, Alan Scott, had a magic lantern that charged a magic ring that shot fantastic green beams of power and enabled Alan Scott to pass through walls and do other nifty tricks. Although, the golden age Green Lantern didn’t get as creative with his power ring technique as the later Lanterns did. With the silver age and later Green Lanterns the ring could conjure up anything within the imagination of the user. Green Lantern’s mythology has expanded over the years and many men, women, and aliens have worn the green ring to fight evil. In the early 1970s the team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams teamed Green Lantern up with Green Arrow and ushered in the era of “relevant” comics with themes that dealt with drug addiction, racism, religious mania, and over population. Green Lantern is still published by DC Comics.

GREEN ARROW: Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp for National Periodical Publications (DC Comics). Another golden age comic book character, Green Arrow first appeared in More Fun Comics No. 73, 1941. Green Arrow was basically Robin Hood and Batman blended together. His real name was Oliver Queen and he and his sidekick buddy Roy Harper, known as Speedy, used trick arrows to fight the bad guys. Like Batman, Green Arrow was a rich playboy in his alternate identity. Therefore, Green Arrow and Speedy had the luxury of an Arrow Cave, an Arrow Car, an Arrow Plane, and well, you get the idea. One of the great things about Green Arrow is that, like Green Lantern, many wonderful writers and artists have expanded on the character throughout time, making Green Arrow an important hero in his own right and not just a knock-off of Batman. Jack Kirby drew Green Arrow for a bit back in the golden age and, as I already stated with Green Lantern, the team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams gave Green Arrow a new look in the early 1970s and published some of the best comic stories of all time. Green Arrow is still published by DC Comics.

THE GREEN GOBLIN: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. First appeared in Amazing Spider-Man No. 14, July 1964. The Green Goblin is the definitive villain to Spider-Man, just as the Joker will always be the greatest and most well known foe to fight Batman. Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin, was a corrupt businessman who in his greed participated in an experiment to make him stronger, wiser, and more powerful—and unfortunately for Norman, totally insane. The Green Goblin is a great character because he’s pure comic book, an insane man that decides to wear an insane goblin costume, ride around on a jet-powered metal bat, and throw pumpkin bombs at people. It just doesn’t get much better than that. The Green Goblin killed Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy, a comic book I read in its original run, and I have to say—that was one of the most dramatic and amazing stories I read as a kid, right up there with the death of Arthur, Jr. aka Aquababy. Norman Osborn “accidentally” died in a fight with Spider-Man (right after the death of Gwen) and later Norman’s son, Harry Osborn took up the insane role of the Green Goblin.

THE GREEN TEAM: The Green Team was a one-shot comic published in 1st Issue Special in 1973 by DC Comics. Basically, the Green Team was a bunch of rich kids who financed adventures and helped out people with special problems. It is rumored that Richie Rich bought them out and they were never heard from again.

THE GREEN POWER RANGER: The Power Rangers are based on a live-action Japanese show called Kyoryuu Sentai ZyuRanger (Dinosaur Battle Team Beast Ranger). First appearance of the Green Power Ranger occurred August 28th, 1993 on the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers show premiering on the Fox Kids TV network. The use of different colors for the uniforms of the individual Rangers created easy appeal for kids and a slam-dunk for toy makers. The Rangers use martial arts and science-fiction weapons to fight monsters and evil throuhgout the Universe. The first Green Ranger from Mighty Morphen Power Rangers was Tommy Oliver, but there were many other Green Rangers as the series “morphs” with each new seasons, reinventing itself for a whole new toy line. Although there are girls on the Ranger teams—there has never been a girl Green Power Ranger. The latest incarnation of the Power Rangers for 2006 is called Power Rangers Mystic Force.

THE GREEN GHOST: The Green Ghost is a character created by Bradley Mason Hamlin and drawn by Goggles Pisano for Mystery Island Publications. He will make his first appearance this year in 2006 as a part of the Mysterious Secret Society, currently in development at Mystery Island. The Green Ghost is, well, a classic sheet-like looking ghost, but he’s … green. Why? Shh … it’s a secret.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
from Bradley Mason Hamlin, March 2006.
brad@retrocrush.com 

STILL MORE GREEN GOODNESS!

Since we're in a super cool green mood, here's even more green character goodness for your chlorophylliptic reading pleasure!

Always the rebel, my grandfather got in a lot of trouble for telling people why his hair turned green.  Starring a young Dean Stockwell of Blue Velvet/Quantum Leap fame, The Boy With the Green Hair was a cold war era oddity about a kid who's hair turns green after becoming an orphan!  The townspeople become so disgusted by his green locks that they shave his head!  It's certainly a story for all time.

The Green Giant is famous for growing great tasting fresh vegetables, boiling them in sugary salt water for long amounts of time, and putting them in a can so they can remain somewhat edible for all eternity.   I never understood why he was so jolly, as he sold his vegetable brethren to grocery stores.  Ultimately, a genocidal maniac that must be stopped.

Of course, The Green Giant's legacy of evil needs to continue for all time, so he's recruited (or perhaps grown) a replacement to carry on his horticultural holocaust.  Won't someone please stop the horror?

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

WHY WE DIDN'T INCLUDE THE HULK

We've received a lot of emails asking why we didn't include The Incredible Hulk in our tribute to green super heroes.  There's several reasons, and we hope you'll let us explain our rationale.

1) He's a half breed.  Though The Hulk is a green superhero by all appearances, his mother is white, so he's not a pure green hero.

2) He's a total fucking asshole.  His views are pretty far right of the norm, and he disagrees with a women's right to choose in all circumstances, even what they want to watch on TV.  Fuck that guy.

3) Always leaves the toilet seat up, and his shit smells like somebody boiled shrimp, gravy, and gall bladders.

4) Lou Ferrigno once peed on my shoe in a public restroom.  The creepy part is, I was wearing it on my head.

5) I don't like him when he's angry.

-Robert
rberry@retrocrush.com

 

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