What is it about Guy Gardner that makes him so appealing to some Green Lantern fans? Maybe it’s his devil may care attitude, or his abrasive and overbearing personality. Whatever it is, it’s made Gardner the favorite Green Lantern of some, and for these readers the more Guy makes himself hated by everyone around him, the better.
Since he was introduced as Hal Jordan’s back up, way back in 1968 (was it really that long ago?), Guy has angered almost every character he interacts with in the DCU. Originally introduced only as Hal Jordan’s potential replacement, Guy Gardner eventually earned his own ring and a place on the Green Lantern Corps. Guy is even considered a better fighter than Hal Jordan or the other GL’s of earth (John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, etc) since his ferocious will power and unwillingness to back down from a fight (read: any fight) makes him a fierce opponent. Popular in the DCU since his introduction, Guy has been a member of the Justice League and the JL International, revealed to be an alien (?) and has recently –since 2008- become a Red Lantern.
“Earth’s Other Green Lantern!” is the story featured in this comic. The hot headed ginger GL first appears here, courtesy of the original team that gave us the modern (Silver Age) Green Lantern reboot: John Broome and Gil Kane. When DC relaunched and re-branded Green Lantern in the early sixties, they gave it a sci-fi twist. Early issues of Green Lantern, subsequently, featured space opera style stories and were readable enough, but by the late sixties the book needed a shake-up and we got it with the introduction of Guy as the backup GL of Sector 2814. Apparently, in this hypothetical tale facilitated by a plot device known as ‘the Memory Machine’, all the memories of all GLs are recorded and kept by the Guardians on the planet Oa. When Hal Jordan views the memories of his successor Abin Sur (the original owner of the power ring who crash landed on earth in Showcase #22 and selected Jordan to take his place), he learns that he was not the only choice to become GL. Hal was chosen, in effect, because he was closer to the crash site of Abin Sur’s spacecraft, however Guy Gardner in East City could also have been chosen and is therefore a potential GL. The rest of the comic gives us a ‘what if’ story showing what Gardner would have done if he and not Jordan had been chosen to be the GL of earth. This comic is a Bronze Age key that has maintained its value through the years. Currently returns are excellent, especially on 9.4 copies (%170.05!).
Gardner’s second appearance features him suffering the first, of many, injuries. After he gets hit by a bus, the third Green Lantern- John Stewart- is introduced, since the Guardians determine that Jordan must always have a replacement. Other than his getting injured, Gardner does very little in this story but it is his second full appearance and the first appearance of John Stewart is what makes this a valuable comic. Best returns have been on 9.8 copies which have seen a %117 rise in value over the last few years.
Gardner wasn’t always an overbearing jerk. Originally, he overcame a terrible childhood to become a teacher for disabled children. After suffering brain damage (mostly as a result of prolonged time in ‘the Phantom Zone’, where he was tortured by General Zod), Guy’s personality changed. Upon returning to earth he became the arrogant bellicose Gardner he still is today. Gardner’s tragic disappearance to the Phantom Zone takes place at the end of this issue. The story starts with Guy finally becoming the Green Lantern of earth after Jordan leaves for a trip to Oa. Unfortunately, Gardner’s first shift doesn’t end well. Although he does manage to save the day by defeating a robot created by the League of Assassins, the reason Jordan had to leave earth in the first place was because his power battery was acting up. Although the Guardians manage to provide him with a new battery, before Jordan can get back to Earth Gardner vanishes after an explosion results in his trying to recharge his ring on Jordan’s old (defective) power battery. Best returns on this Gardner key has been on 8.5 grades (up %57.9 over the last four years), prices are actually down on higher grades, so now would be a great time to buy a comic that will almost certainly spike in value if (or, perhaps, when) Guy Gardner makes a big screen appearance.