Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Why I Hate The Green Lantern Crab Mask"

Recently I made a post where I had a one-off throwaway line regarding my antipathy for the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern "crab mask."

The public spoke, and spoke loudly: "We love the crab mask!"

Well, after much debate, I have decided to spill the secret origin of why I hate this particular mask.

The story starts some five years ago, when I was an assistant at DC Comics and working for the "JLA office."

We had a big metal art file in the office, and it was crammed to the gills with half-drawn or mostly complete old JLA miniseries & specials that never saw the light of day and the majority of which were started before I was even hired.

When Dan Didio came on board, he inquired as to what was in that big metal art file.

And thus several miniseries that had been started years before but never published were pulled out of the file.

The dictate?

"Get these @&#$@$ books into production!"

But because the books in question were relatively "old," they featured Kyle with the crab mask, not the redesigned Jim Lee costume.

So I was told to go over every page with Post-It notes and find all the crab masks so they could be patched by the inker.

This was a long process, and over time I learned to hate the crab mask.

Ditto later on for Aquaman's harpoon-hand.

No, perhaps it is not a legitimate reason to disdain an admittedly stylish bit of Lantern Corp sartorial flair.

But it's my story & I'm sticking to it.


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  2. Oh gods, poor inker!

    This is a random question, did you have anything to do with iCandy? I was the colorist for the last four issues and was really sad to see it go. Well, mostly cause I lost a gig out of it. But I thought it had potential to do more. Always wondered why it got shit canned so fast.

  3. iCandy was part of two or three really awesome projects editor Mike McAvennie had developed right when Dan Didio came aboard.

    There was a dictate at that time for all the editors to come up with really innovative cool stuff that could also be used to option for TV, movies, and videogames.

    Mike had come up with iCandy (Abnett & Lanning, I think, were the writers?) and Hero (the Will Pfeifer "Dial H for Hero" revival).

    Unfortunately, just as both books were just started, Mike was let go.

    It was a weird time because Mike was seemingly on a roll: he had "Hero," that was getting great buzz, the Ed Benes "Supergirl," and the OLivier Coipel "Legion."

    iCandy was one of Mike's "babies," and when you hand off the book to some other editor who really didn't have that connection with the connection, you're really talking about an "orphan" book.

    And so iCandy sorta quickly faded away.

    It was a cute concept. :-(

  4. I just don't like it because it's ugly :) I was introduced to Kyle from the Superman cartoon though, so I like my Kyle as close to that as possible.

  5. I don't even know why they need masks. Half the Corps (or more) doesn't sport 'em, so what's the point? But in keeping with the spirit of the post—the crab mask is bootleg and an eyesore.

    At least the Sinestro Corps doesn't have any. Though if they all had his creepy 'Oil Can Harry' mustache they might instill even more fear...

  6. Thanks Val.

    I always thought it was a bit abrupt when we were told it was being canceled.

    I guess it's now in the comic graveyard forever, never to be seen. Or collected into a trade. Poop.

  7. See, I am a crab-mask-liker. Or at least thinker-okay-er. The harpoon hand...well...a harpoon hand?!? Seriously, that deserves a little contempt.

  8. I hated that crab mask. WTF? Didn't know Jim Lee did the redesign tho.

  9. I like the "crab mask" design, but hate the term "crab mask." It doesn't look like a crab and that term was originated by people who, at the time, were looking for anything they could think of to slam the character, his creators and his fans. So, the term, IMO, is sort of the GL version of "the N-word."

    I also despised the Jim Lee redesign, too. It looked like nothing more than an S&M X-Men reject design. Seemed like something Cyclops might have worn, if Emma Frost was a member of the team during Jim Lee's run on the book.

    I think the newest design, shown in Countdown #33 is the best design Kyle's had since the ... ugn... "crab mask" unifrom. And an interesting story for you all, that design was never really created by artist Darryl Banks. The editorial folks of that time picked pieces from several designs he submitted and told him to make a costume from those pieces. At least, that's the story as I heard it. Costume by committee. Very interesting.

  10. Wait, they chose a Jim Lee design over the crab mask?

    Sick & wrong.

  11. Is this what 'Crab Mask' means? I assumed it was some kind of icky torture device that was put over the face - possibly having actual live crabs as part of the mechanism, much like that cage full of rats in 1984.
    I suppose this either says a lot about me, or possibly a lot about DC comics these days that this is the kind of thing I'd expect to see.

    Although a superhero whose mask is a cage full of rats is a meme whose time has come, in my opinion.

  12. The one thing I hated about that mask is that most artists (except for Paul Pelletier and some others) didn't draw a nose on it and instead just drew it as a flat mask in that area. That had to be hell on Kyle's nose!

  13. Kyle's power ring made his nose flatten when wearing the mask.