Guy Gardner: Where Do I Start?

While he may not be a people pleaser, he gets the job done.

Guy Gardner may not be the most popular Green Lantern like Hal Jordan, but he’s long been one of the Corps’ prized recruits and in some ways its backbone through hard times. Short on patience and hard on crime, Gardner is the interstellar equivalent of a hard-nosed cop who knows that to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. For Guy though, he enjoys breaking the eggs as much as he enjoys eating the omelet. An omelet of crime-fighting. Which might taste good.

Anyway, Guy Gardner. Guy was created way back in the late 60s by John Broome and Gil Kane for an alt-reality story that reveals that Hal Jordan wasn’t the only option for Abin Sur when he retreated to Earth during his final moments before death; Jordan was merely chosen because he was closer to Sur’s crash site than Gardner. Guy became a back-up for Jordan, and as the years went on became a key part of the Green Lantern Corps, as well as on his own. Even through dark times (*cough* Guy Gardner: Warrior *cough*), Guy’s kept his head held high and even made a decent living in his spare time running a bar. The GLC keep him around as a field leader and also someone who’s unafraid to make the tough choices that people like Hal Jordan might be reticent to do.

And Guy’s not afraid to say so.

For this week’s Where Do I Start?, we pinpoint the key sights in a tour of Guy’s life. Through our research we found that not a single Guy Gardner collection is in print (or has been for some time), but thankfully many of these are available as digital comics, general Green Lantern collections or at low prices in back issue bins.

Green Lantern #59 (Vol. 2): Guy’s official comics debut, and what a beaut courtesy of the aforementioned Broome and Kane.In it, the Guardians show Hal a broader context of his recruitment as a Green Lantern and Guy Gardner vying for his role. Filled with curiosity,  Hal uses a piece of Oa tech to show him what would have happened if Guy was chosen instead of he, showing good deeds similar to what Hal had done but doing it from a slightly different perspective. This would-be story spurs Jordan to seek out Gardner and introduce the P.E. teacher to the GLC and his destiny. This one-off gem has been collected twice, in both 2008′s Green Lantern: In Brightest Day and in the 2005 Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3.

Guy Gardner #11-14: Subtitled both as “Yesterday’s Sins” and “Year One,” this four-issue arc by Chuck Dixon and Joe Staton shows the struggles Gardner faces as a child in an abusive household in the Baltimore inner city. The one-time teen criminal is set straight by his older brother, a cop, and goes to good ol’ University of Michigan for a degree and a life as as a P.E. instructor until Hal Jordan brings him into the GLC fold.

Green Lantern #194-198 (Vol. 2): Before the 1980s, Guy wasn’t the Guy you know now:  more meek, civilized and by the book. But when he was reintroduced as part of these Green Lantern tie-in issues to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Guy worked as part of a rebel sect of Guardians of the Universe with the mission destroying the antimatter universe. Due to some prior brain damage, this new Guy Gardner was more arrogant, more violent and more Guy Gardner than anything had come before. Writer Steve Englehart and Joe Staton really delivered a drastic redesign on Gardner here, one which cemented the character as a big part of the Green Lantern corner of the DCU and later the DCU as a whole.

Green Lantern Corps, Vol. 1: This shows Gardner leading a team of new GL recruits in the uneasy spaceways as a roaming squad of enforcers, and Gardner really shines here as a leader while also being a loose cannon. Dave Gibbons writes this, with him sharing the art duties with Patrick Gleason. Gibbons really excels here bringing a more international idea of space, and Gleason really delivers what I consider the ideal in terms of artistic portrayal of Guy Gardner.

 

Comments

  1. Ragu73 Ragu73 says:

    Can I also suggest Justice League Internation vol 1 TPB by Giffen, Dematteis, and MaGuire. This is where Gardner fully matured into a team player and also has a great interactions with the other characters, including the “Punch heard round the world.”

  2. DoctorDP DoctorDP says:

    Guy Gardner might be DC’s Deadpool.

  3. Guy is without a doubt my favorite GL. And I agree JLI is essential reading if you’re a Guy Gardner fan. I’d like to track down that Chuck Dixon story.

  4. wulfstone wulfstone says:

    I’d also recommend Green Lantern Corps: Recharge set just before Green Lantern Corps Vol 1 written by
    Geoff Johns/Dave Gibbons and drawn by Patrick Gleason.

  5. BradLWoods3 BradLWoods3 says:

    I love Guy as well! I became familiar with him in the 80s via the Kevin Maguire Justice League version.