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The Complete Green Lama, Volume 2: Featuring the Art of Mac Raboy (Dark Horse Archives) Hardcover – December 23, 2008
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Other features include Lt. Hercules, Rick Masters, Angus MacErc, the Boy Champions and more, written and illustrated by the likes of Horace Gold, Irving Tirman, George Roussos, Jerry Robinson, Mort Lawrence, and more.
Another must have volume to add to the first.
Historically speaking, the Dark Horse mission to reprint the Green Lama, Magicman, Tarzan and the earlier Roy Rogers editions is admirable.
Artwise, the Mac Raboy work is amazing. Modern readers who have not seen golden age art of this quality will be amazed not only by the `standard' art but also the water colour Christmas story in issue #7. George Roussos, Joseph Lawrence, Jerry Robinson, and Mort Meskin contribute solid stories that reflect a different time. In talking with Mr Robinson in New York, he commented that Mort Meskin was the most creative artist he ever associated with.
When you read the stories, you quickly realize that this was a different time. For instance, the first Green Lama tale has the Lama teaching a soldier a lesson in tolerance and democracy (the Four Freedoms). Rick Masters travels back in time only to realize that he is being taken for a ride. The Boy Champions are delightful, and a fun read. Angus MacErc is a stylish set of stories that has an Elf out of water theme. The top borders of the pages make these tales a designers dream.
Overall, there is no topping this book. The art is well cleaned, and the colors are bright, and for us `young' fans who appreciate golden age books, this is a treasure.
You've probably seen Raboy's art in many classic series, from Capt. Marvel Jr. to Flash Gordon to this: A progressive World War II-era series that starred a Buddhist superhero who fought Nazis and intolerance at the same time. Perhaps that's the reason most people have never heard of Green Lama--he tried to help everyone get along at a time when fear and anger toward other cultures was a pretty regular part of life.
In the series, Jethro Dumont (would you be surprised to discover that he is a wealthy playboy?) travels to Tibet to study the ways of the Buddha. He also tinkers somewhat with radioactive salts (well, he had to get his powers somehow). And although the science behind that particular aspect of the comic may be a little suspect, the Buddhist element is surprisingly reverent and fairly accurate.
Green Lama has been reinvented over the years by a couple different writers, but this second volume of Green Lama Archives collects the stories in issues #5 through 8 of Green Lama (published in 1945 and 1946). In its nearly 200 pages, Green Lama Archives, Volume Two combines some of the most charming and engrossing elements of the era's superhero offerings. Since the art already reminds the reader of Raboy's Capt. Marvel Jr. work, it's no stretch that it also has glimpses of Batman and Superman comics of the mixed in. All of those qualities are worth treasuring. If you haven't read these original stories from six (nearly seven) decades ago, you'll find them pleasantly surprising with a wholesome, innocent quality.
-- John Hogan