Chris Franklin "Green Arrow has a beard now?"
My dad asked me this question as he looked over my shoulder at some point, circa 1979 or so. What I was looking at isn't quite clear, but I imagine it was either a World's Finest, or a JLA, or maybe even a Brave and the Bold issue. I of course responded "Yeeeaaaah", and was then given quite the education.
"Back when I was a kid, he was clean-shaven. And he had a boy that ran around with him. He dressed like him, but wore red. I can't think of his name. And they had a car, and a plane...just like Batman and Robin". As my Dad blurted all of this out, I tried to wrap my 4-year old brain around it. Green Arrow was like Batman? Since when?
I believed my Dad, but had no evidence to support his claims. I tucked the knowledge into the back of my brain and went on about my business, impressed that my Dad even knew who GA was. I just assumed my father only knew of the big guns who made it onto TV, Superman, Batman, WW, Captain Marvel, etc.
Boy was I surprised when I picked up a copy of DC Special Series #23, Feb. 1981. That World's Finest Digest contained as story that introduced me to a clean-shaven Green Arrow and his sidekick, Speedy. MY DAD WAS RIGHT!!!
After that, I felt like GA and Speedy were family friends. Old pals of my Dad. I got one of those suction arrow and bow kits and was constantly both Green Arrow and Speedy for awhile. Over the years I would discover that my Dad also knew some of the other Golden Age heroes, like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. I had already encountered those two in the 70s JSA revival in All-Star and Adventure Comics, but knowing my Dad read their adventures as a kid made me appreciate them much more. Its an appreciation that lasts to this day.
I think this is what started my love of the Earth Two characters, and made me a fan of Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron series. My favorite moment of that series came in issue #31, where the full membership of the Squadron finally meets. Therein was assembled almost every DC and Quality mystery man(and woman) of the time. I remember getting that issue on the way home from school. We had been dismissed early due to snow, so I got to pour over the pages for hours after my Mom had brought me home.
When my Dad arrived, I practically assaulted him, begging to know if he remembered Sargon the Sorcerer and The Whip. We went through them one by one. He didn't know most of them beyond the main guys, but the memory of looking at the comic with him still sticks with me today. Its why its still one of my favorite comics of all time.