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When Was The Term ‘Hard-Traveling Heroes’ First Used?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
When Was The Term ‘Hard-Traveling Heroes’ First Used?

In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

With the return of the Hard-Traveling Heroes in Green Arrow, this was very timely for reader Matt O. to write in to ask:

When was the first time “Hard Traveling Heroes” was used to refer to the time they spent on the road during the O’Neil / Adams era?

This is a really tough one. I’m not even positive that I’m right (if not, I’m sure you kind folks will let me know), but after looking over lots and lots and lots and lots of old material about the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” era of Green Lantern/Green Arrow, I believe this is correct.

When the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” point began, it was only announced as a new direction for Green Lantern (remember, the indica never actually changed – this was all officially still in Green Lantern’s title)…

Remember, this wasn’t an ARC, it was just an ongoing series that happened to end sooner than Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams would have wanted. So there was no point to think of it as anything but “Green Lantern/Green Arrow.” And that’s precisely how it was referred to for years.

When O’Neil was asked about in Amazing World of DC Comics a few years after it ended, it was just called “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”…

In 1983, when DC reprinted the run in those nifty Baxter series that they did in the early 1980s, it was called Green Lantern/Green Arrow

There were a bunch of articles by comic book creators in the 1983 series, including an opening essay by Roger Slifer, the editor of the project, and everyone just called it “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”…

So as hard as it seems to believe, it appears that the first time that the term was used was when the stories were finally collected into trade paperbacks in 1992 and 1993….

It’s a reference to this old Woody Guthrie classic…

That seems so hard to believe that it wasn’t a term used for these stories until 22 years after the storyline debuted, but I’m just not seeing any earlier references to it. Crazy.

Well, there you go, Matt! Great question!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that you would like to see featured, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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