In every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!
Today, we look at the time that Green Lantern inadvertently turned his best friend into a bird while he was asleep.
In general, Thomas "Pieface" Kalmaku is a fascinating example of what happens when you have a progressive writer writing in decidedly non-progressive times. When Kalmaku was introduced as a mechanic at Ferris Air and Hal Jordan's best friend in 1960's Green Lantern #2, it was a big deal that an Asian character would get such a prominent role in a superhero comic book series. Tom was the only person that Hal Jordan entrusted with his secret identity as Green Lantern. So that was a big deal. However, at the same time, Broome had Tom be nicknamed "Pieface," which was a generic slang term for all Asian people (based on the messed up belief that Asian people's faces were flat and round looking, like a pie). So even though "Pieface" had a great role in the comic and was otherwise treated quite well (although, okay, he was still a BIT too wild-eyed and almost child like in his admiration for Hal Jordan, who was his peer), he still had to deal with the whole "racist nickname" deal.
In any event, in Green Lantern #7 (by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella), Kalmaku also had to deal with the further indignity of being turned into a seagull by accident!
In the early days of the Green Lantern series, John Broome really had not yet come to a complete understanding of exactly what Hal Jordan's powerful Green Lantern ring could or could not do. Broome (and editor Julius Schwartz) seemingly pulled out abilities out of thin air and some of them were really outlandish. Few of them, however, were quite as outlandish as Hal falling asleep and, while dreaming, used his ring to turn Tom into a seagull!
Hal dreamed of his friend asking him to use the ring so that he could fly. Hal ultimately agreed and then his subconscious transformed Tom into a bird...
Can you even imagine just how ridiculously powerful that is and how insanely reckless this whole thing is? Dude's subconscious can turn people into birds!! That's insane!
Something that remained a rather consistent deal in Silver Age comic books of this era is that Tom handles being turned into a bird really rather well, all things considered. I mean, can you even imagine how you would deal with suddenly being in the body of a BIRD?
Despite the initial shock, Tom adjusts shockingly well, right?
Hal then goes to pick up Tom's girlfriend, Terga, who was coming into Coast City.
I love how his ring can do anything, even just teleport Hal's clothes from across town...