Back a ways, I wrote a piece for Cracked, 9 Iconic Superheroes Based on Real People in which I said Howard Chaykin had designed the uniform of my favorite superhero, Guy Gardner. That’s the way it was always told to me, and that’s the way I even recall reading it in an article or two. Well, thereafter, a friend directed my attention to Backissue! magazine #91, in which Joe Staton talked about designing the whole affair.
I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Staton at Five Points convention last year, and he confirmed it, so consider me in the wrong, but also delighted to meet an art hero of mine, and hear that the definitive artist on the character also designed his (for me, at least) iconic costume. Staton was a delightful fellow, and I bought a beautiful sketch of Yellow Ring Guy from him to send to the aforementioned friend as a surprise gift.
What’s more, the interview revealed another real-life basis I would have included in the article, which mentioned a character actor referenced by Gil Kane. Never knew there was a different one:
“I did have somebody in mind when I drew the new Guy,” says Staton. “At the time we were creating him I was following a PBS series called The Jewel in the Crown set in Colonial India. A central character was a Major Ronald Merrick played by Tim Pigott-Smith. He was a tough officer who felt he’d been denied his entitlements. I related his resentment to Guy’s and I kept him in mind for Guy’s look. Sometime, Google ‘Major Merrick’ and you’ll find shots of him face-to-face with somebody and he’ll have this nasty sneer. That’s Guy.