Monday 27 July 2009

... But sometimes it's an ETERNITY

This is the cover of Green Lantern No. 162, also known as 'the cover with the exploding boy'. I was looking for this image online but could not find, so I thought I'd scan it from my personal collection and post it here for the benefit of future generations.
What I like about this cover is that it accurately shows an aspect of the story inside as it actually happens, rather than offering some crazed hyperbole which is later resolved or was irrelevant to the issue. Yes, in this particular issue a child is ejected into the vacuum of space and yes, Green Lantern can do NOTHING! No, EVERYTHING WILL NOT BE ALRIGHT AND YES, WE EXIST IN A CHAOTIC AND MEANINGLESS UNIVERSE.

"Over here Mr. Lantern! I found a way out!"

Ordinarily, one-sixth of a minute flies by like nothing...


I was a teenager when I first read this and found it to be quite strong stuff. The pacing is brilliant, full of emptiness and culminates with a kid exploding. All the while the hero is completely helpless. The space-aged font countdown is a bonus, a chilling echo of the 'we-have-liftoff' countdown type.

But there's hope. This is, in fact, a fiction. While it may pose a number of existential questions, the truth is (allegedly) that the human body does not explode in the vacuum of space. Among other things some swelling may occur. Also, you will do better out there if you don't hold your breath first. Exhale.

If any of my readers find themselves in this awkward position, I hope I have offered some degree of assistance.

Art by Keith Pollard, written by Mike W. Barr, inked by Rick Hoberg.