With the advent of the Sinestro Corps special, and now Green Lantern #21, it is apparent that DC is planning to turn the men and women that wear the ring topsy turvy enroute to a new definition of “no fear”. While I am sure the ride will be interesting, I have a great deal of trepidation in my gut.
Because what is happening makes me worry that the bad days of HEAT versus Kyle fans will come back with a vengeance.
Did any of you live through the DC/AOL message board wars? I did. It was through my hubby and through my own experiences and perceptions that a great deal of my feelings about the Green Lantern character were built. Here’s the back story.
When I first started reading comic books in 1974, Hal Jordan was the Green Lantern of note. I would see Alan Scott during the JLA/JSA team ups, but it was mainly Hal that was featured in the books I read. John Stewart’s character was still in the process of evolution, so he didn’t register quite so much either.
My main perception of Hal was that he was a ladies man, and a bit of an egomaniac. I enjoyed his team ups with Green Arrow and Black Canary, but I was more enamored of them then Hal. When I would watch Hal interact with Carol, it irritated me, so as I continued my evolution into DC’s past, present, and future, he was never in the forefront.
Fast forward to the destruction of Coast City and the Emerald Twilight saga and once again Hal was pushed to the starring role. He was completely in shock with grief, and turned into Parallax. Under this guise, he decimated the corps and was declared bad guy number one. In the meantime, Kyle Rayner was given the ring and a new era began.
Interestingly, I had just started picking up the Green Lantern series with issue #45, so I was in the right place at the right time. It was 1994, and I was really heavy into DC books. Having a new Green Lantern in place gave me an opportunity to grow with the character. I was sad for Hal, but quite frankly, he wasn’t my favorite, so I didn’t experience the remorse that other fans did. I figured he would be back sooner or later, so it didn’t enter my mind that there would be a group that would rise from the ashes to be the most vocal fan group I have ever seen.
They were called HEAT, which stood originally for Hal’s Emerald Attack Team and was later changed to Hal’s Emerald Advancement Team, and they were not going to go away quietly.
I first went online in December 1996 and when I got there, I was shocked to see the amount of dissention between Hal and Kyle fans. The AOL DC Message boards were a hot bed of controversy, and sometimes the arguments would get so ugly that there was a definite sense of a gang fight rumbling under the surface. What fascinated me more then anything else was the fact that many of the Kyle fans were a bit like I was- they were either younger so they were not familiar with Hal, or they weren’t big fans back in the day. It wasn’t that the non-Heat guys hated Hal at first; in fact I think they just didn’t have an awareness of the impact of the rich history that the character carried.
The kicker that always bothered me was that the HEAT members did not or could not just leave the Kyle fans to their own devices. At one point, the Kyle fans fled to another message board, only to have the HEAT members show up and point out everything that was wrong with writer Ron Marz, Editor Kevin Dooley, and the character Kyle. It got to be such a mess that I actively began to feel a cold blooded hatred towards the Hal character that I haven’t fully recovered from.
I never had any personal rancor for the HEAT members despite the irritation they made me feel. I just didn’t understand why they couldn’t wait for the natural progression of the Green Lantern characters. As anyone who has read comic books for a long time knows, there is no bigger constant then change. As a big Wonder Woman fan, I had lived through a total reboot of her character, for God’s sake. Surely that was hard to deal with on its own merit! Steve Trevor was lost as her love interest, and DC treated her like she had never before existed, yet I managed to make it through the day! What was different about these fans? It was incredible to see them band together so tightly.
The biggest axe to grind that the HEAT members had was that Hal had been very unceremoniously turned into a villain. They felt that his history wasn’t treated with respect and that the wet-behind-the-ears Kyle Rayner could never begin to fill his boots. One noted HEAT member even called Ron Marz a misogynist. Marz and Dooley both received threats of bodily harm from some Hal Jordan fans, although none have ever been associated with a member of HEAT. It got really over the top to say the least.
The pinnacle of the HEAT attack was the full page ad they took in Wizard asking for Hal’s return. That was a proud day for the members, to be sure. Looking back on it, I have to give the members props. It was an idea ahead of it’s time. What I still don’t like about HEAT are the members who were extreme in their behavior. I would love to know what some of these fellas are up to now. Is all forgiven, or is the battle just over?
At any rate, when Hal returned to glory, it seems that HEAT went dormant. I am glad for them that they got their heart’s desire, as they really worked for it. I am greatly saddened that two members, Rich and Harry, never got to see their work come to fruition, and I hope that they are smiling in heaven now. This I mean sincerely.
What I worry about in the future is what happens now that Kyle has been infected with the Parralax entity. Does this mean that the Hal fans will come back to rub it in, or will they be gracious? Will Kyle fans take up the banner where HEAT left off and form their own organization? Will it be a replay of the hell that was HEAT versus KEWL? Am I going to have to declare a permanent embargo on visiting message boards? I am scared to even go to the DC boards today for fear of reprisals.Kyle fans out there:
where are your heads at? Do you think it is temporary? What would you do if Kyle died? Would you start your own organization?Hal fans:
what is your take on things? Do you feel like life has come full circle? Do you feel vindicated? What is the pulse?Green Lantern fans in general:
What is your take on the Sinestro Corps storyline? Who is your favorite GL and why?
After living through the original flame wars, I am curious if they are going to come back or if things will be different now. I went to the old HEAT website, and could only find the application
page. Are members still active? I really am curious.
In interests of not starting a flame war here, let me just state that I am more curious to know “where are you now” and how you feel rather then starting a fight. If a fight starts, I am just going to delete the post, so I want to be upfront about this. I care about both sides and want to know how you feel, so don’t come in guns blazing!