April 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #423: The Green Team

Sadly, not the story of a group of environmentalists. The Green Team were kid millionaires.

DC Comics has, for some reason, a number of boy hero or adventurer teams.  These were groups of boys, somewhere between four to six in number with ages that seemed to run between 10 and 14, who had adventures of their own, often with an adult guardian watching over them.  Oddly enough, most seem to have been the creation of Captain America co-creators Jack Kirby and/or Joe Simon.  Kirby was responsible for the Dingbats of Danger Street while both men co-created the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos.

No, I have no plans to cover the Boy Commandos.  The name alone reminds me of the really bad idea that was the Kid Guerrillas of Unit 3.

That said, there’s also the Green Team, created by Joe Simon without Jack Kirby.  They were rich.

Yes, the Green Team were a quartet of boys that wore matching green jumpsuits with pouches full of money.  Membership required each boy to be worth at minimum a million dollars, and the pouches were full of money so they could pay people willing to offer them a bit of fun or a worthy adventure.  In their first appearance in 1st Issue Special #2 in May of 1975, they managed, using a roller coaster that gave people great pleasure, to somehow drive the villain of the issue insane.  A later adventure had them foiling a guy called the Paperhanger whose wallpaper grew plants and trees, but the Paperhanger looked like Hitler, so he must have sucked.

Anyway, the roster for the Green Team were:

  • Commodore Murphy, a shipping magnate
  • J.P. Houston, an oil tycoon
  • Cecil “Starmaker” Sunbeam, a movie director
  • Abdul Smith, an African American shoeshine boy who got half a million dollars from a bank error, multiplied it through various means, and then paid the bank the original half million back with the rest making himself rich

This had to be aimed at kids.  I would love to know in what world would any adults follow orders from a group of pleasure-seeking kids no matter how much money they had for very long.

So, they first appeared in the aforementioned 1st Issue Special.  The idea there was it was basically a preview of a future ongoing.  Said ongoing never actually happened.  DC had something generally referred to as the “DC Implosion” where the company was forced to suddenly cancel a number of titles, including the unpublished Green Team ongoing that did have two completed issues.  Those were eventually published in a title called Cancelled Comics Cavalcade.  That would be where they met the Paperhanger.

So, that’s it for them?  Well, not quite.  Grant Morrison’s Animal Man did visit “limbo” where forgotten DC characters went, and he did meet the Green Team down there.  They tried to pay Animal Man to get them out of there.

They were likewise called upon to help end a gang war between the Newsboy Legion and the Dingbats of Danger Street as a favor to Superman in an issue of Adventures of Superman, and that would be the last appearance of the original, benevolent version of the Green Team.

See, a New 52 line-up shook things up a bit.  For one thing, it was no longer an all-boy group, and they were a bit older and far, far wealthier.  The New 52 line-up included:

  • Commodore “64” Murphy, who got his money from electronics and would be worth 64 trillion dollars when he turned 18 thanks to a trust fund, and not as an easy reference to a home computer the characters in the book would be too young to remember, no sir
  • J.P. Houston, now an old money Latino, who usually brought along his sister L.L.
  • Cecilia Sunbeam, a famous actress
  • Mohammad Qahtanii, the youngest and an actual prince

Now, that series doesn’t seem to have lasted too long either, but since that series actually saw publication, it did one better than Joe Simon’s original.

That said, right now there’s the Danger Street Black Label mini-series, one using many of the characters that appeared in the 1st Issue Specials, and here, well, they seem to be the bad guys.

This Green Team owns a Fox News like media empire and is looking to do…something, I’m not sure, but it’s basically nothing good, and in a nice twist, Abdul Smith is now a sneaker magnate and not just a shoeshine boy with a lot of hustle.  Why are they the villains?  My guess is because the idea of the benevolent billionaire has become increasingly less believable for a lot of people.  But regardless, that’s the Green Team.  Their superpower is they are all very, very rich.