Tales of My Green Lantern: The Back of The Flash Years (1972-76), Part 4

A column article by: Jim Kingman


Green Lantern is my favorite superhero, and he got around the DC Universe more during 1972-76 (particularly in 1974) than I’ve been giving him credit for in past editions of this column. GL appeared in a large number of the 40 issues of Justice League of America (#s 100-139) that were published while the Emerald Crusader’s adventures were chronicled in The Flash. He also popped up in a few DC superhero titles during this time--notably Adventure Comics #423; Supergirl #8; Wonder Woman #214; Action Comics #437, 443 and 444; Secret Society of Super-Villains #2-5; and Jimmy Olsen #151.

GL’s origin from Showcase #22 was reprinted in Secret Origins #2 in early 1973. Two Green Lantern Silver Age appearances were reprinted in Wanted, The World’s Most Dangerous Villains, another in Superman #272, and still another in Detective Comics when it became a 100-page book in September 1973. However, GL did not team with Batman in The Brave and the Bold during this period, while Green Arrow co-starred with the Caped Crusader three times.

Fellow Green Lantern Tomar Re made a failed-but-valiant attempt to save the doomed planet Krypton, as revealed in Superman #257 (Oct., 1972), while Carol Ferris, as Star Sapphire, played a more prominent role in Superman #261 (Feb., 1973) than she did in her brief appearance in The Flash #235 (she even shared the cover with the Man of Steel!).

The Flash was a bi-monthly comic book from mid-1972 through 1974, reflecting the declining sales DC was experiencing for many of their superhero titles. It did allow me the time, however, to read the same Green Lantern story over and over for eight weeks (plus any appearances GL made in the bimonthly Justice League of America), to the point where the tales are pretty well ingrained in my memory.

The book was also a victim of spotty distribution; I doubt I ever picked up two or three issues of The Flash in a row at the same local convenience store or newsstand. I never knew exactly where The Flash would appear (come to think of it, that went for every comic book I collected), but I was always pleased to see a new issue crammed with assorted others in the spinner racks or sandwiched in-between two other titles in a 3-in-1 comics bag.

When The Flash returned to an eight-times-a-year schedule in 1975, it seemed easier to locate somehow--with the exception of a distributors’ strike during the summer of 1976, which played mighty havoc with my acquiring comics.

Don’t get me wrong, though, my adventures in buying comic books as a child and teenager are as memorable to me as the stories themselves. Nowadays, it’s just too easy with a one-stop-for-all at the local comics shop on Wednesdays over my lunch hour; the drive over merely a pleasantly consistent outing rather than an adventure.

On the other hand, my favorite superhero is sure a lot more popular now and appears much more often, sometimes more in a month than he did during all of 1974!

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