The Stark Brilliance of O’Neil and Adams’ GREEN LANTERN #85

EXCLUSIVE INSIDE LOOK: The upcoming Facsimile Edition is a reminder of sheer artistic greatness…

I was putting together this SNEAK PEEK at DC’s Green Lantern #85 Facsimile Edition — due Nov. 20 — when I was stopped cold by the sheer brilliance of the opening sequence of this landmark comic.

See, most people take it for granted that this is the “Speedy’s a heroin addict” issue, a comic that broke new ground in political relevance. On that front, its historic value and impact is undeniable, despite some of its more dated qualities.

But you tend to forget just how spectacularly writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams executed Snowbirds Don’t Fly (aka Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85). The first six pages, which you’ll find below, are a doctorate-level class in storytelling: atmosphere, tension and drama, sometimes silent, filled with brutal panic.

Take a look:

As much as I love Englehart & Rogers and Miller & Mazzucchelli (and Marvelites praise Stan & Jack), to me O’Neil and Adams are comics’ Lennon and McCartney.

Now, of course there’s more to Facsimile Editions than genius-level, four-color dramatics. There’s the ads and the letters and whatnot.

Let’s take a look at some of what’s hiding in this particular issue:

That Aurora ad is a killer. “Don’t worry. This is New York. No one will help her.” I was always enticed by that nuclear sub, by the way. But at $6.98, even Young Dan knew that deal was too good to be true.

Anyway, dig the letters column, which I’ve blown up to make easier to read. The letterhacks are discussing Green Lantern #83 and it’s always a blast to see how certain issues were viewed when they came out:

So, as I noted above, the Green Lantern #85 Facsimile Edition, priced at $3.99, is out Nov. 20.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why DC picked now to put out the issue, I’m thinking it’s because the Arsenal of Earth-43 shows up in Flash Foward #3 this week:

That outfit he’s wearing looks too cool for a one-off, so hey, who knows, maybe he’ll replace the Roy Harper who was killed in Heroes in Crisis.

Either way, it’ll be a kick Wednesday to walk into the shop — mine’s in New York (gasp!) — and grab GL #85 off the shelf as if it were 1971.


— O’Neil and Adams’ BATMAN #251: Towering Evidence the Bronze Age Is the True Golden Age. Click here.

— Silver Age GREEN LANTERN #1 Gets Facsimile Edition Treatment. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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