The Origin of Hal Jordan

December 3rd, 2006 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this here before, but it’s a tale from the halcyon days of yore–

No, wait, let me start over.

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this story before. I might’ve told Gavin or Thomas, I think, but not the entire internet as a whole. Read on as I tell you the Origin of Hal Jordan. If you’ve read it before, pardon me.

When I was a kid, I liked comics. Marvel Comics, mostly, because Spider-Man was and is the bomb. DC Comics were wiggedy-wack, in the parlance of the day (Kris-Kross will make you…). I liked them in theory, but they were straight up Dad Comics. Stuffy old guys doing stuffy old guy things.

My real entry to the DCU was either Batman: Knightfall or the Death and Return of Superman. I’m not 100% sure which it was because it was a while back. Thing was, comics cost money and I was maybe ten years old at most. Ten year olds do not really have any way to make money and I had no access to the monstrous stash of coke that I’ve been peddling to make paper nowadays.

So, like a lot of other little kids, I traded comics with friends. X-Force #1 for that issue of Spidey were Juggernaut almost gets his eye poked out. An extra copy of X-Men #3 for the latest Venom appearance. And so on. I bought the comics that featured cool characters that I could afford.

I think I first saw news of Superman’s death on CNN. I don’t think I could’ve afforded all the crazy variant comics, so I grabbed the novelization later on. I loved it. Roger Stern did a bang-up job and it remains one of my most loved novels to this day. I bought the recent reissue and everything.

Later, I managed to acquire most of the single issues, or maybe it was a TPB. In fact, it was probably a TPB. I still have a well-worn first printing of the World Without A Superman, so let’s say TPB so I don’t have to stretch my memory.

I read Death of Superman. It was good. I read World Without A Superman. It was good. I read Reign of the Superman. It was goo– wait. Something’s not right. The Central City portion of the story has some new jack in the proceedings.

Who the heck is this nerd in the green tights with the magic ring? What is he doing in a story about Superman dying and coming back? I want to read about Superman in that awesome robot, not some jerk with fancy jewelry.

Oh, oh hold on. Is this that annoying guy from the Super Friends cartoons? The one who got less face time than Aquaman? Why would they put this guy in such an awesome story? This was so much better in the novel!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my introduction to Hal Jordan. I finished the series and promptly put him out of my mind until I picked up Morrison’s JLA close to a decade later.

This is probably why I don’t “get” him to this day. He’s just another generic Superman-styled hero in my mind. Gavok has a pretty awesome explanation on how he’s the second generation of the Superman archetype, but Hal himself? I don’t like him near as much as I like Kyle or John. I read the new GL series briefly, but I soon lost interest I think around the time when Mongul (Mongul II?) showed up?

There you go.

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4 comments to “The Origin of Hal Jordan”

  1. You know, this was exactly my introduction to Hal Jordan, too.

    And to this day, I feel the same way as you do about him. As much as I love gobs and gobs of bizarre old DC lore that’s older than I am, I have no damned use for Hal Jordan to this very day. Nothing Geoff Johns writes will ever change my mind.

    (Darwyn Cooke got close, but mostly I left New Frontier feeling the same way I had before: Hal Jordan was a product of his time, and the effort required to wring good stories out of him now makes hinging monthly books on him a rather poor idea.)

  2. I can’t remember if I got into Hal Jordan or if I simply got into the idea of the Green Lantern Corps. The magic idea of having a ring that is powered by your willpower is essentially what drew me to Green Lantern, not Hal in particular. So, when Kyle got the ring, I viewed it as another change in the DCU. But I found I enjoyed it.

    I loved Hal as Parallax, though, make no mistake about it. I loved the idea of a “villain” whose only real flaw was that he tried to do everything, save everyone, and snapped.

    I still read the recent GL comics, but frankly, I’m more interested in Ion (despite the name evoking bad memories).

  3. You know, this was exactly my introduction to Hal Jordan, too.

    I am so glad that I’m not alone here 🙂

    Mark: I like the idea of the Green Lantern Corps. Space cops are pretty cool. I’ve been meaning to read Ion. I skimmed the first issue and it didn’t grab me, but I should probably give it a second chance.

  4. Just chipping in to say *yes*, The Death And Life Of Superman was awesome. Better than the comics, really.