The Comic Bloc Forums

Go Back   The Comic Bloc Forums > General Talk > DC Comics > Green Lantern

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 17th, 2005   Hol is offline   #1
Hol's Avatar
Hol
persona non grata

 
joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,087

Default Is Hal a difficult character to write?

I was just thinking. With all the, IMO, bad or boring Hal stories over the years...is Hal a difficult character to write properly? And if so...is that because he isn't the tortured or insecure just starting out type or types of character(s)? Are most readers more interested in characters who (while heroic) are more flawed? Like the Peter Parkers, Kyle Rayners...etc. Or characters dark (like Batman, Punisher) I'm just wondering if this is the case because Geoff is an amazing writer IMO who takes the time to really get to know the characters he writes and I worry about Hal in any other writers hands that he will be doomed to the same fate as before. Is it a certain kind of writer who should write Hal? Is he tougher to write than the majority of other comic book characters? Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?
 
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   gothamite is offline   #2
gothamite's Avatar
gothamite
Beware my power!

 
joined: Nov 2004
Location: New York City, natch.
Posts: 1,533

Default

I think you're absolutely correct.

He's a tough character to write in the same way that Superman is a tough character to write. It's easier to write a character like Batman, dark and cynical.

I don't think this is a choice between "flawed" and "not flawed" characters. All characters have flaws, or they don't last very long. The difference is how they react to their flaws. Characters who get bogged down in the flaws, who have long tortured interior monologues about their flaws, those characters are easier to write. Characters who rise above their flaws, less so. The conflict's not as natural.
 
"I don't want to read about anyone NOT wanting (the power ring), unless it's because he has two. Period." -EVS
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   ConnorFan is offline   #3
ConnorFan's Avatar
ConnorFan
aka Alex Violette

 
joined: Mar 2004
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 6,370

Default

Actually Hal is an extremely easy character to write imo, and thats the problem... its so easy to just scratch the surface with him and not delve deep. Hal's the pro, the greatest, and one of the most experienced GL's out there. Slap on a pretty girl and there is 2/3rds of a hal story, throw in a villian and there ya go. The problem is that is only a surface look, its only the tiniest fraction of the character, but dam if it isnt easy to write. Same thing with superman, only exchange the girl for Lois and possibly Jimmy.

The basis behind the stories is much harder, making it a good Hal story its alot harder because as gothamite said, the conflicts that Hal and Clark face are not natural. A scant few of us, some of the time have the same internal will to be like them, and I dont mean this ask a knock but writers typically arent the type to experience what that is like, so thats hard.
 
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   gothamite is offline   #4
gothamite's Avatar
gothamite
Beware my power!

 
joined: Nov 2004
Location: New York City, natch.
Posts: 1,533

Default

Same thing with superman, only exchange the girl for Lois and possibly Jimmy.
ddf
ConnorFan
LOL!!!

Sounds like something from Superdickery....
 
"I don't want to read about anyone NOT wanting (the power ring), unless it's because he has two. Period." -EVS
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   Can1 is offline   #5
Can1's Avatar
Can1
Supporters

 
joined: Apr 2004
Location: New York City
Posts: 6,803

Default

Well .. for me the problem with a lot of characters i the past is that they haven't so much as had writers that wanted to write stories about them as they have had writers assigned to them.

The best stories are the ones written with love for the character .. when the writer really has a story he or she wants to tell .. and not just one they think will work.

To write a modern Hal I think you have to start exactly where Darwyn Cooke and Geoff have started ... with Hal's love of being a test pilot .. why he loves to fly jets and how the simple fact defines so much of what the character is about. When other writers have missed that point about Hal .. they have missed Hal completely.
 
Buy what you like and you will never be disappointed!!
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   PeterCool is offline   #6
PeterCool's Avatar
PeterCool
Pete DiMitri

 
joined: Mar 2004
Location: Staten Island, New York
Posts: 2,556

Default

I think it's partly an indication of the times and society. We are a lot more cynical as a culture now than we were 40 years ago. And creators are often (not always) part of the cynicism.

Basically, the reason why Batman overtook Superman is because the culture became more cyncal and goth. You even see it in the way Superman is being written. Apparently, the idea of him being decent is so alien that in order to be decent, he must be... well, simple-minded. And that's partially why Superman is being portrayed as a fairly dumb farm boy these days.

Hal Jordan is very much an alpha male, and that became a taboo by the 90s. I mean... I've seen posters say that Hal is too conservative and even O'Neil's take on the character kinda cast him as a fairly rigid and stupid conservative (because after all, conservatives are by definition rigid and stupid, right? ), but Hal wasn't necessarily like that before O'Neil. I kinda think O'Neil got caught up in the concept of him being a cop... and that's where he got the conception of him.

I don't think he's all that tough to write though... it just takes a certain outlook. Certainly, Steve Englehart, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Darwyn Cooke and Kurt Busiek have had interesting takes on the character. And... looking at that list, maybe it's just a matter of being a really GOOD writer. I'm not sure.

But there's a lot of sublety to a character like Hal Jordan. His reactions are more toned-down and less extreme than many modern characters, and that can cause people to kinda quickly say that there's nothing there.
 
"You've got to be smart if you're fooling yourself"

-- Aimee Mann
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   The Kid Lantern is offline   #7
The Kid Lantern's Avatar
The Kid Lantern
They call me Mason....

 
joined: Dec 2004
Location: Training on Oa
Posts: 2,003

Default

Short answer: No.

All it really takes for any writer is an effort to get to know the character from his origins to his current situation. Anybody with a little Air Force knowledge could have written a great Hal during those periods where he held every job imaginable.

~KL~
 
I turned myself into a monster to fight against the monsters of the world....
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   Hol is offline   #8
Hol's Avatar
Hol
persona non grata

 
joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,087

Default

Some really good points here guys.
 
Reply With Quote
Old August 17th, 2005   Hari Seldon is offline   #9
Hari Seldon's Avatar
Hari Seldon
The Silent Cartographer

 
joined: Sep 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 945

Default

Is it a certain kind of writer who should write Hal? Is he tougher to write than the majority of other comic book characters? Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?
ddf
Keith Tarnowski
Keith, I think these are very valid questions. At base, I think Green Lantern is like Superman, in the sense that it takes the right writer and the right story setting to make the characters shine. Specific to Hal, it has to be someone that can write both sci fi / space opera and superheroism. Also, someone who understands how to write action / adventure characters (Indiana Jones and Captain Kirk being good examples) in a sci fi setting.

It's really not like any other superhero concept - so it's probably a pretty tall order. But when done right, it's unique, and fanastic. But very few writers tap the potential in the character or his mythos.

Hal was created by a science fiction writer (and editor). Most of the best stories written later were done by folks also steeped in sci fi. It's probably no accident that Mike W. Barr did such a great job in his short stint on Green Lantern, and is also regarded as one of the best Star Trek comic writers. He "got" both Hal, and James T. Kirk.

I think Green Lantern is a big challenge to write well, especially because his mythos has a life of its own. Aliens, anti-matter universes, time travel to the 58th Century, a universal police force, omnipotent wise leaders, futuristic airplanes and runways, the Justice League...it's a lot. Different writers focus on different aspects, probably to their strengths. Also, there are version control issues - Broome's Hal Jordan vs. Denny O'Neil's Hal Jordan. The character with more potential for great stories, in my view, is Broome's.

Which is probably why only Broome (and Gardner Fox) have done GL well over a prolonged period, during the simpler storytelling days of the Silver Age.

The good news is that Geoff is modernizing the Broome version, not the O'Neil version (a la Emerald Dawn). More good news: There are other good writers out there that get that version too - Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, Neil Gaiman, Darwyn Cooke, etc.
 
listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go

E.E. Cummings
Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2005   J-Liv is offline   #10
J-Liv's Avatar
J-Liv
Frappuccino Jedi

 
joined: Feb 2004
Location: Henderson, Nevada
Posts: 3,522

Default

I could see Hal being a hard character to write back in the day, because he was so darned flawless. As much as it sucked that he was killed, it now makes him an easier character to work with because he has been through an ordeal that took him down a notch or two, and he has to rebuild his life. Thats not to say that he's now "easy" to write, just easier. However, his new baggage also presents the danger of making him one of those oh-so-wonderful "edgier" characters we all loved so much in the mid-90's. I'm just happy that Geoff seems able to pull in what Hal has recently gone through without losing Hal's original personality in the process. A lesser writer could have easily butchered the character by doing just that.

-Jason
 
Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2005   gothamite is offline   #11
gothamite's Avatar
gothamite
Beware my power!

 
joined: Nov 2004
Location: New York City, natch.
Posts: 1,533

Default

Um, when exactly was Hal "flawless?" That's one of those urban myths that doesn't seem to ever die out.
 
"I don't want to read about anyone NOT wanting (the power ring), unless it's because he has two. Period." -EVS
Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2005   raw power72 is offline   #12
raw power72's Avatar
raw power72
Socialist Security

 
joined: Nov 2004
Location: jonestown guyana
Posts: 4,156

Default

I think it's difficult to follow the previous writer.
 
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
©2000-2008 Comic Bloc All characters and titles are © by their respective owners.