The Surprising British TV Drama That Inspired the Modern Guy Gardner

This is Foggy Ruins of Time, a feature that provides the cultural context behind certain comic book characters/behaviors. You know, the sort of then-topical references that have faded into the “foggy ruins of time.” To wit, twenty years from now, a college senior watching episodes of "Seinfeld" will likely miss a lot of the then-topical pop culture humor (like the very specific references in “The Understudy” to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding scandal).

Today, we look at the surprising influence on Joe Staton's re-design of Guy Gardner.

Guy Gardner debuted in Green Lantern #59 with the following look, designed by Gil Kane...

In that issue, we learned that Guy Gardner had basically a 50/50 chance of being chosen as Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan. It was just a simple twist of fate that Hal got the nod over Guy. Later, Hal had Guy fill in for him but a tragic accident led to Guy suffering major brain trauma and ending up in a coma.

Fast forward a number of years and it is Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Guardians are losing it. They think they have to make some drastic moves and one of their drastic moves is to revive Guy from his coma and give him a ring...

In Green Lantern #195 (by Steve Englehart, Joe Staton and Bruce Patterson), Guy gets his ring and a brand-new militaristic costume designed by Staton...

Howard Chaykin did the cover for the next issue, the first one featuring Guy in costume and it really stood out (it also confused people into thinking that Chaykin designed Guy's costume)...

In the next issue, with Guy now a Green Lantern of Earth, he heads back to his home in Baltimore and expresses his disgust for the area. Guy was from a "low" upbringing and he always seemed to think that people were looking down on him...

Sadly, when asked about Guy in Back Issue magazine, Englehart now regrets the revamp because DC doesn't consider revamps, even complete revamps like this one, as new characters. As Englehart notes, "I decided to resurrect the lost GL, Guy Gardner, who had been terminally bland and then brain-damaged—a completely useless character, as things stood. I was being a good soldier, trying to help my friend Dick Giordano sell the book, and it turned out to be the second biggest mistake of my entire career because ever since, DC has claimed that since Joe and I didn't create the original Guy Gardner, our completely new take counts for nothing. If I had called the new guy Joe Smith we would have earned major royalties, but as it is, we get nothing, and we get dissed by the people we helped. So adding it all up, I wish I hadn't done it."

That IS a shame.

In any event, Staton based Guy's look on a then-popular British TV drama. Can you guess what it is?

Page 2: What show?

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