Is This The Most Important Comic Of All Time?

Fear and Loathing with Green Lantern/Green Arrow.

Green Lantern Green Arrow
DC Comics/Neal Adams

When an industry experiences as many seismic shifts as the comics one, it's only natural that commentators will point towards a multitude of different moments that fermented that change. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen - all have been optioned on the shortlist comprising the medium's most important - and influential - comic books.

And yes, while those books are all influential in their own way (Lee and Kirby's for reinventing the superhero genre, Miller and Moore's for ushering in the Modern Age of comics), there is another that revolutionised DC Comics. Published during the early 1970s, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams' Green Lantern/Green Arrow was politically salient, socially conscious and galvanised a once-complacent comic book publisher to look to the real world in their storytelling.

It was genre-defining for its time, and built upon the work the pair had done shortly before in Batman, where they - not Miller - first returned the character to his darker, Golden Age roots. There are few creative teams as revered as O'Neil and Adams', and in taking on Nixon's America with a pair of green-clad characters, the pair found their true calling.

Casting Green Lantern as a typical establishment figure (the embodiment of Nixon's 'Silent Majority', and the exemplification of the perfect 'Law and Order' candidate), and Green Arrow as a left-wing symbol of sixties counterculture, O'Neil and Adams took the pair on a Fear and Loathing-style road-trip across the United States in a quest to find the country's real self. It was bold, challenging and brutal in parts, and while its commentary might feel outdated in some respects, Green Lantern/Green Arrow will ultimately go down as a watershed moment, not just in the superhero genre, but for the medium as whole as well...

Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Rants about stuff @EwanRuinsThings

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