Monday, January 02, 2006

Some things are worth ignoring canon for.

So I finally got the Showcase Green Lantern trade for Christmas. I've really enjoyed reading it, both for the history (the origins of major characters, the first time Hal uses a boxing glove construct, etc.) as well as comparing this version of "rookie Hal" to the versions presented in Emerald Dawn and DC: the New Frontier.

But one panel stopped me cold.

I absolutely refuse to believe Hal Jordan went to college. You'll never, ever be able to convince me otherwise. I don't care if it's canon, I don't care if the image of Hal as Idiot Frat Guy works on a certain level. Some things are more important.

I know, deep down, this conviction is all wrapped up in my ideosyncracies that equate Hal Jordan with both Chuck Yeager and my dad, neither of whom graduated from college. But there's more to it.

It is extremely important that not all of the Green Lanterns of Earth have a college degree. They should be as socioeconomically different as possible. To present them any other way is ignoring one of the most profound elements of the whole Green Lantern mythos.

That is: in order to be a Green Lantern, you need to be two things:

  • completely honest
  • totally without fear

That's it. Honesty and fearlessness. It doesn't matter what race you are, or what class you're from, how much money you make or how much education you have.

As long as you're trustworthy and brave, as long as you work hard and believe in justice, you can gain the power to overcome any obstacle -- to do anything you can imagine, as long as you have the willpower to see it through.

The Green Lantern Corps has no officers, save for the symbolic (and now defunct) three-member Honor Guard. Rookie GLs defer to their seniors because of experience, not hierarchy. All Corps members are treated equally, whether they're an Air Force test pilot, an architect from the inner city of Detroit, a gym teacher with a disability, an out-of-work graphic artist... or an over-idealistic lesbian from Middle-of-Nowhere, Michigan.

They each have an equal shot at proving themselves worthy of the ring.

They're not perfect people, of course. They bicker over women and harbor petty grudges. They say dumb things sometimes and get hit on the head a lot. But for all their faults, all their flaws and all their failures, they represent a single, beautiful, absolute truth:

Strive to be the best human being you can be, and someday your rocket ship will come.

I can believe in that.


Blogger kalinara said...

Damn, that really is a good post. And I agree that Hal shouldn't be a frat boy. Unfortunately, if I'm not mistaken, all Air Force pilots have to graduate from college to qualify. (I'm not sure what the exact educational requirements are for a Captain, but a Major, one rank up, actually requires a Graduate Degree).

Kyle's really the only Earth Lantern to not have made it through college. Which is a little ridiculous. (Though not quite as freaky as the fact that Guy Gardner is apparently the most educated, as quite at least one of the positions he's supposed to have had requires Grad School...and he's a damn Wolverine. :-))

I would like to see, at some point, a new Lantern recruit that didn't go to college. As well as a female. Variety is the spice of life. :-)

9:30 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Franny said...

To play devil's advocate, if they represent the whole earth then why are they all American?

The answer is duh, it's an American comic, if it was British he'd be a Briton or French he'd be Parisian. But it's still worth mentioning.

9:30 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Well, all USAF pilots have been officers since they ended the sergeant pilot training program in 1942. There are 3 ways to be a USAF officer. You can have a degree and just go straight through Officer Training School, you can go to the USAF Acamdemy (which requires a letter from your Congressman), and you can go to your recruiter and do an ROTC program. This way, the USAF supports your college while you promise to be an officer for so many years after you get your degree.

A lot of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who don't qualify for other scholarships get money for college this way. I almost did (but I would ahve had to wait an extra year on a waiting list, and I wanted away from home right then). I think it's likely Hal didn't have the savings for college, and couldn't get help from his widowed mother. As a solution, he went ROTC for Aviation, and managed to make it through the extremely tough standards to become a pilot, and later, a test pilot.

And he should never, ever have been in a frat. I totally agree there. Too much privilege. Too many connections.

9:39 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Hmm... Okay, we need a female who didn't go to college who's from a foreign country.

Crap. That's a recipe for character limbo if I ever saw one.

How's 2 out of 3 sound?

9:42 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Diamondrock said...

Strangely enough, I can see Hal Jordan attending college. But I just can't see him as a frat guy. It just doesn't seem right to me. I've known a lot of frat guys in my time (not by choice, certainly) and Hal Jordan doesn't quite fit the mold to me. Something... is... Off about it.

1:06 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Captain Infinity said...

I think the reason he can't find his ring is because he never acutally went to college. He's just trying to make Tom think he's smarter than he actually is.

5:10 PM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger jamawalk said...

and why are there so many from Earth? was Abin Sur the last Green Lantern for this sector that wasn't an American Male? what gives?

Hal Jordan losing his ring is stupid, too. Its prolly supposed to be ironic or something but...

it stupid.

1:40 PM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous quantumcat said...

We don't know much about former Green Lanterns.

We may not know all their origins or backgrounds.

As for the college issue,Hal might have gotten in a fraternity based on nepotism or other considerations.

Plus,there are fraternities and fraternities.

Who's to say that the Jordan (I bet hey pronounced it 'Jerden' back then) family didn't donate a plot of land back when the college was founded?

If you go back that far,are handsome,clever,
personable and athletic,you're apt to have a
well-to-do cousin,Scout leader,choir leader
or local businessman sponsor your frat membership just because he watched you grow up or knew your parents.

That might not apply to a silver spoon frat
at an upscale college but it could for a more
modest setting.

We don't know how long Hal was in his frat, either.

If he were a very diligent student or a real
party boy,he might have disappeared from their ranks before the end of the first semester.

That ring of his might be resting now in the
dresser drawer of some lucky former cheerleader.

1:48 PM, October 08, 2006  

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