How Green Are My Graphics

It's said that on St. Patrick's Day, everybody's Irish. A large number of folks back in Wildwood, NJ, were Irish year-round. I went to Hebrew School with kids named MacDonald.

Peppermint Patty was created by Charles M. Schulz
and is the property of King Features Syndicate.

At one corner of Pacific & Lincoln was Shamrock Café, which was only a café in the sense that it was a pub that served coffee with Irish whiskey. Shamrock was owned by a family whose two youngest daughters, twins, I walked with to and from Crest Memorial Elementary in 1st grade. Their house was on the way to mine, and often I'd linger for milk, cookies, and an episode of
Ultraman. No idea if the Wards still own Shamrock, but now the place has a typically sense-assaulting MySpace page, with 195 friends.

The Dragon House, the best Chinese restaurant in town — I can't think of any others, actually, but it would still be the best — was across Lincoln from the Shamrock. My grandparents were friendly with the owners, and I'd always get extra paper placemats to turn over and draw upon. Across Pacific from the Shamrock was one of my many spinner-rack stops.

Left to right: Marvel's Banshee, DC's first Jack O' Lantern, and Marvel's Shamrock

There have of course been Irish comic-book characters, including a superhero named Shamrock, who first popped up along with a bunch of other never-before-seen international do-gooders in Marvel's
Contest of Champions miniseries, and... well, a Web search turns up a few other appearances, but I've never read 'em. DC's main Irish superhero, Jack O' Lantern, was introduced in the pages of Super Friends and remained a bench player before returning with The Global Guardians in Justice League International. Marvel's X-Men brought us Banshee — civilian name: Sean Cassidy, long before his namesake popped up on The Hardy Boys — and incorporated him into the melting-pot version of the mutant team that became a creative and financial sensation. We could be here all day if we delved into Irish-American comic-book characters, so let's move on.

Cover to the original Incredible Hulk #5 © 1963 Marvel. Click on title for credits.

On St. Patrick's Day, even if we don't wear four-leaf clover pins or "Kiss Me, I'm Irish Today!" buttons, we do wear green, just as we wear red on Valentine's Day, the colors of our flag on Independence Day, and taupe on Rusty Drainpipe Water Day. Hulk obvious, but there are plenty of other comic-book characters who wear, or are, green:

Clockwise from top left: Covers to Green Lama #1, © 1944 Spark; The Green
Hornet #3, © 1967 Greenway Productions, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Television, Inc.,
& The Green Hornet, Inc.; the latest Green Lantern #2, © 2005 DC; and Green Arrow #4,
© 1983 DC. Click on titles for credits and more, or covers for larger images.

Green Lantern, of course — on tap to be a major motion picture, and actually the name of many interstellar protectors belonging to the GL Corps. Green Arrow. The obscure Green Lama. The Skrulls, featured in Marvel's recent Secret Invasion stories. Emerald Empress, foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes. LSH wannabe Chlorophyll Kid. Beast Boy, a.k.a. Changeling. Rubberduck of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. Mole Man, antagonist in The Fantastic Four's debut. Spider-Man's arch-enemy The Green Goblin. A pair of Flash rogues called The Weather Wizard and The Pied Piper. Superman villains Brainiac and The Kryptonite Kid. The Dragon, to make a relatively newer pick. The Martian Manhunter. The Impossible Man, zany alien mischief-maker. Ambush Bug, zany metafictional mischief-maker. Bruce Banner's cousin, Jennifer Walters, alias the sometimes metafictional She-Hulk. The Green Team, stars of an issue of the tryout series First Issue Special. One of Jack O'Lantern's fellow international crimefighters from The Super Friends, Green Fury, who became The Green Flame, who became Fire, losing more of her dignity each time. And Peanuts' Peppermint Patty, who's perched atop this post, to venture into comic-strip territory.

Clockwise from top left: Covers to 1st Issue Special #2, © 1975 DC; Fantastic
Four #176, © 1976 Marvel; The Amazing Spider-Man #39, © 1963 Marvel; and The Super
Friends #47, © 1981 DC. Click on titles for credits and more, or covers for larger images.

That's without doing a methodical mental search, let alone a physical one. If
you're green with envy that your humble blogger can pull all those names out of his foliage and not even furrow his brow, just remember that we all have our areas of expertise. It's easy to forget that not everybody has a lifetime's catalog of comic-book culture swimming around in their heads, and sometimes it leaves me a bit... jaded.

All cover scans courtesy The Grand Comics Database at
Characters and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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Arben said...
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