39 years ago - Guy Gardner is born.
21 years ago - 18-year-old Guy goes to college on a football scholarship.
16 years ago - 23-year-old Guy begins working as a high school football coach.
11 years ago - 28-year-old Guy is activated as Green Lantern when Hal Jordan is injured during Thaal Sinestro's attack of Earth, but is then injured himself and sidelined while John Stewart is selected as the new Green Lantern of Earth.
9 years ago - 30-year-old Guy is chosen by a rogue sect of Guardians of Oa to serve as an honor guard Green Lantern.
8 years ago - 31-year-old Guy's honor guard Green Lanterns are depowered when Thaal Sinestro and the Weaponers of Qward exploit the divide between the Guardians of Oa & stage a massive coordinated assault of Citadel Space. He loses his ring. He joins the Justice League when they are attacked by Dr. Sivanna's Secret Society and steals Sinestro's power ring, remaining a superhero simply as himself.
5 years ago - 34-year-old Guy is depowered when Hal Jordan destroys the Oan Power Battery. He purchases the Blackhawks New York facility, where he recovers Zinda Blake's stasis chamber, and takes her to Doctor Midnite to cure her. He opens the Warriors Bar, where he hires Arisia Rrab & Zinda Blake.
1 years ago - 38-year-old Guy's power ring is recharged when the Oan Power Battery is reignited. He returns to the Green Lantern Corp, and is chosen as the first member of the new Corp's Honor Guard, serving as a fixer across every sector.
While many characters are very visibly a product of their time, Guy is rather uniquely a reflection of whatever time he is being written in. While his early depiction as a tough, no-patience-for-nerds badass Green Lantern is timeless, he's also a character that often thrived when he was made the but of the joke, most notably his infamous one-punch knockout at the hands of Batman in the pages of the Justice League. He was MEANT to be a bit of a buffoon, and he thrived here. Still, we've seen a lot of depth to the character over the years. He's even proven very willing to stand up in support of several female characters, and that's always something we can use more of.
Guy Gardner's Comic History
Guy was created all the way back in 1968, but he didn't really take shape as the character we all know until Steve Engleheart's run on the series. Wikipedia describes the reimagined character as a 'jingoistic parody of an ultra-macho 'red-blooded American male.'" That's taken on different forms over the years, from either being a nearly intolerable blowhard to someone who is actually a really decent person hiding under layers of braggadocio.
He was heavily featured in the classic Keith Giffen and J.M. Demattis Justice League where he provided a foil to many of the more serious characters, going so far as to continue as a member of the team even when he lost his place as a Green Lantern. His characterization became far more nuanced when we saw him start a very sweet romance with the team's ingenue character Tora Olafsdotter, which continued right up until her death.
Of course, like all Green Lantern characters, his story was interrupted by the fall of the Corp in the mid 90's. Guy had a series of adventures as 'Warrior', but when the Corp was reinstated he was one of the first characters to regain his place, now taking on a well-deserved role as a senior operative and fixer.
Our Guy Gardner's Story
Guy's roll in the larger mythology of the Green Lanterns is an interesting one. He's occasionally been 'THE' Green Lantern, but that's never really been his place. Yea, he's a member of a larger organization of Space Cops, but he was always his own character first. The few times he stopped being a Green Lantern and was just Guy Gardner remain some of the highlights of the character's history. Still, while he might not always need the Green Lanterns, they definitely need him. His original role as a replacement for Hal Jordan is firmly a part of our timeline, and we've tried to represent the fact that he seemed to be almost unceremoniously glossed over. The rogue group of Oans that give him his special costume and place within the Corp also play a larger role in the history of the Guardians and the Corp.
One part of his story that we want to make sure is firmly established is the years when the Lantern Corp was inoperable, and he was simply a guy who owned a superhero-themed bar. While in the comics this was the era when he became 'Warrior", we wanted to make sure he got to simply be a bar owner, as he winds up helping a couple of noteworthy female character really find their place. This does a really great job of taking him from a brash unlikeable character into someone who is actually, at his core, a pretty cool guy.
Guy Gardner's Costume
While Guy was originally created having a very normal Green Lantern costume just like Hal Jordan's, he didn't really start to stand out as a character until he got one of his own. The new look was designed by Joe Stanton when he reestablishing the character with Steve Engleheart, and while it has a certain 80's style it has also proven to be pretty timeless. When Guy later was made to be the Lantern Corps fixer, it does a great job of depicting his special status.
That's all well and good, and we're using all of it. What we really need to talk about, however, was the years when Guy lost his place in the Lantern Corp and didn't take it lying down. He got his hand on one Sinestro's rings and just kept right on trucking; he was a member of the Justice League even though he had no superhero title. He wore jeans and a leather jacket with a big letter G on it for his own name. The sheer brass it takes to do that is wildly comical, and one of my favorite things about the character.
We should also talk about his era as "Warrior", a shapeshifting alien-hybrid with full-body warpaint. It wasn't the worst thing ever, although it was definitely a product of the 90's. We're not using that part of his story at all. (There were a few times when Guy was turned into a woman for some reason. Maybe it's just my penchant for imagining functional versions of lousy characters, but I can't help but wonder if there's another character there somehow.)
Guy Gardner's Future
There was a chunk of time when Geoff Johns, future grand pooba of all things DC, was single-handedly repairing all the little inconsistencies in DC's mythology, and watching him do it was a joy. I often say that at some point he started fixing things that weren't broken, and that line really happens most notably when he started redefining the Lantern Corp to be one of many. Before he did that, however, he was the man responsible for bringing back the Corp after a decade of non-existence and introducing the idea that each sector would have several Lanterns, all of a sudden explaining why Earth had so many of them. What he ALSO did, however, was give Gardner a special place in the Corp as a senior officer and 'fixer', heading to any sector that needed a heavy hitter.
This job is SO perfect for Guy. He's a character who's never going to be locked down in one place, and constantly having far-flung adventures all over Space. If there is any character that deserves his own book, It's Guy Gardner.