These days, Green Arrow is experiencing a wave of popularity that the character has arguably never even gotten close to in previous decades. Of course, key to this newfound rise in popularity is The CW’s Stephen Amell-headlined Arrow. And with the success of the show, the comic book GA has been thrust into the spotlight like never before -- and rightly so, for this is someone who has unfortunately been overlooked by many for so many years.
Created by Mortimer Weisinger and George Papp, the Emerald Archer actually debuted back in 1941’s More Fun Comics #73. Pulling obvious inspiration from several other pop culture figures, not to mention the movie serial The Green Archer, itself based on an Edgar Wallace novel, the Green Arrow joined the world of DC’s finest. Fighting crime with his trusty bow and arrow, Oliver Queen took to the streets of Star City and Seattle to fight the good fight and put down the bad guys.
Like all comic book heroes and villains, the Master Bowman has had his fair share of ups and downs, and there are those dirty little secrets that the powers that be at DC Comics would rather we all forget about. But forget what they say. Here are 15 Green Arrow facts that DC would prefer you conveniently let slip from your memory.
One of the common comments made about Green Arrow is that Oliver Queen is nothing more than a Bruce Wayne/Batman rip-off.
After all, both Ollie and Bruce are millionaires who have quite the eye for the ladies. Add to that, both of them have suffered the loss of their parents, which, in turn, ultimately pointed them in the direction of becoming a hero looking to protect their respective cities. Even more similarly, both Messrs. Queen and Wayne have no actual superpowers to report of. Instead, they're both simply at their physical and mental peaks rather than relying on heat vision, ice breath, super-strength, and other God-like abilities.
Even The CW’s Arrow has brought in various Batman villains for the Master Bowman to battle. Regardless of how much we all love Ollie, the Bruce/Bats comparison is undeniable.
Created As A Bat-Clone
To elaborate the point of Green Arrow being Batman-lite even further, the Emerald Archer was actually created as an alternative to the Caped Crusader. To hammer the point home so that casual comic book fans can appreciate just how much of a Batman rip-off Ollie is, the original depiction of the Green Arrow had an Arrowcar, an Arrowplane, and an Arrowcave and was summoned into action by the Arrowsignal.
So yeah, clearly that’s not copying the Batmobile, the Batplane, the Batcave, and the Batsignal in any way whatsoever, right?
Then you add Speedy into the mix as Ollie’s version of Robin, and even one of his earliest villains, Bull’s Eye, was a carbon copy of The Joker. So, for those of us who would love to dispute that Green Arrow was created as a Batman clone, again, it’s hard to ignore the blatant facts.
Roy’s Drug Problems
“My ward is a JUNKIE!”
Those are the words of the Green Arrow himself upon famously catching Roy Harper injecting himself with drugs in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85 back in 1971. To make things even worse, the Emerald Archer was in the middle of a war on drugs as he looked to clean up the streets from the no-good sorts who were peddling the junk out.
This huge moment was seen as a pivotal turning point in comic books tackling more ‘real’ and serious issues, and it really was a groundbreaking move from DC, so much so that DC Comics should be proud of addressing such a subject matter. But for Green Arrow as a character, he’d obviously prefer that you forget that his sidekick and ward had somehow become a down-and-out drug addict.
Not Worthy Of His Own Title
Green Arrow -- along with Speedy -- first appeared way back in 1941’s More Fun Comics #73, but it took until 1983 before he got any sort of a solo book. And even then, that solo title was merely a four-issue miniseries that saw him pitted against Count Vertigo.
Before that, the Emerald Archer was always used (and viewed!) as a background player, filling out pages in supporting stories in books of the day or appearing to help out other bigger-name heroes at times. Of course, the legendary duo of Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams did wonders with the character with their work on the Green Lantern/Green Arrow title, but even then, that was obviously a book shared with another hero.
After that ’83 miniseries, it took another 4 years before Ollie would get his own book again with 1987’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters… again reiterating how little faith DC had in Green Arrow as a character for a long period of time.
Once Green Arrow was really fully fleshed out as his own character in the 1960s and 1970s, one of the darker elements of his tales throughout the years was his trusty sidekick Roy Harper. As Roy progressed from Speedy to Arsenal to Red Arrow and from boy to man, it always felt as if something terrible was only around the corner where Roy was concerned.
Of course, the most famous incident involving Harper was when Ollie and Hal Jordan caught Harper injecting himself with drugs. One of the other more shocking moments that haunt the Green Arrow character is when Roy had his arm chopped off by Prometheus.
Sure, Roy had become his own hero by that point in time, but he was still closely associated with Oliver, and, as such, the shocking ramifications reflected on Harper’s longtime mentor.
Fans of The CW’s Arrow will be well aware that Oliver Queen can have a dark and brutal side to him, as shown in the earlier days of the series as he left bodies strewn across Starling City. Similarly, the comic book Ollie has occasionally crossed the line at times in the comics.
The most shocking of these moments was when the Emerald Archer clinically executed Prometheus. Granted, there’s an argument to be made that the supervillain deserved it, but that’s where the truly great heroes are supposed to rise above.
With Prometheus responsible for lopping off Roy Harper’s arm and also having ordered an explosion that killed Roy’s young daughter, Lian, Oliver took some semblance of revenge for his former ward by hunting down and putting an arrow between the eyes of Prometheus.
Robin Hood Knock-Off
One of the most obvious and glaring issues that many rightly have with the Green Arrow is that he's often seen as nothing more than a Robin Hood knock-off.
Just from a visual standpoint, the Emerald Archer’s initial and longtime appearance has clearly mirrored that of Robin Hood. So, many have sadly instantly disregarded Oliver Queen as nothing more than a Robin Hood wannabe in the mold of the campy goodness seen by Errol Flynn and the like back in the golden age of Hollywood.
As such, that kinda made it hard for many to take DC’s Master Bowman seriously, and again, this was another chance for the doubters to point out how much of a copycat of an established character Green Arrow was.
The Hawkeye Comparisons
Rightly or wrongly, some people believe that Hawkeye and the Green Arrow are basically the same character. In fact, it’s even been known for non-comic book readers to think that both characters are actually the same person, just put in a different setting.
Clearly, Hawkeye and Green Arrow are indeed totally separate individuals, with Clint Barton an Avenger over at Marvel, while Oliver Queen is a Justice Leaguer at DC. Sure, the pair do have similar attitudes and are never afraid to speak their mind amongst their more superpowered pals, but their backstories are vastly different, and Ollie is marked out as a little bit more of a loner, even though he does team up with fellow heroes at times.
Regardless, DC Comics would quite happily have you forget that Hawkeye even exists due to the confusion he causes amongst some slack non-comics fans when thinking of Green Arrow.
The Near-R--e Of Black Canary
Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters was a major move in trying to put a grittier, darker take on the Green Arrow character and his world.
The darkest element of this story centers on Black Canary, though. While Ollie was off on the hunt for a serial killer, Dinah was on the lookout for a no-good, stinkin’ drug cartel peddling cocaine. Unfortunately for her, she ran into more than she bargained for and was soon stripped and tortured. Taking the shocking action to a whole new level, the chief goon then offered his pal the chance to have sex with Canary before he sliced her face off. Yes, this was all as grim and brutal as it sounds.
Just before the situation could escalate any further, though, Oliver would arrive to put a halt to proceedings. In fact, he’d even kill the main beast responsible for this -- with this being one of the most notable kills that Green Arrow has notched up. And yes, the deceased most definitely deserved it!
Too Many Arrow-Driven Villains
Certain heroes, unfortunately, have the problem that their powers and skill sets ultimately end up with them having a whole bunch of similarly powered opponents. For instance, Superman is often matched up with similarly powered sorts such as General Zod, while Hulk has similarly monstrous villains, The Flash has a whole gallery of speedster-based bad guys, and Spider-Man sees symbiotes come into play so that he has rogues with abilities that match up to his.
Where Green Arrow is concerned, sadly, he’s got far too many bad guys whose main talents are that they're handy with a bow and arrow. And let’s face it: when that matches up to God-like powers, monstrous strength and rage, the notion of super speed, or being able to climb up walls and swing from buildings, the trusty bow and arrow don't exactly match up.
There’s Merlyn, Cupid, Komodo, Constantine Drakon, Red Dart, and even Artemis as just a few who come to mind for having similar abilities and weapons as the Emerald Archer, which can often get tiresome at times.
Oliver Queen Was R--d
Similar to the moment of Tarantula raping Nightwing, Oliver Queen is someone else who had sex without consent. Well, kind of. Ollie did indeed consent to the horizontal hustle, just not with whom he was actually having sex.
To clarify, Green Arrow had been blackmailed into tracking down Shado. Upon finding her, the Emerald Archer was accidentally shot in the chest with an arrow. As Shado took care of Ollie and nursed him back to health, she actually took advantage of him. Delirious due to medication and infection, Oliver believed that Shado was actually Dinah Lance, and so had sex with her. Only, of course, in reality, it was Shado all along whom Oliver was getting up close and personal with. Even worse, Shado became pregnant after all of this.
Yeah, we’re pretty sure DC is happy to sweep this little incident under the carpet…
The Scrapped Movie
Stephen Amell has wowed us all as The CW’s Arrow, with the Canadian actor now at a point where he wears the role of Oliver Queen as a second skin. The first half of the debut season was maybe a little bit of a mixed bag for Amell, but once he clicked in the role, he became the absolute blueprint for what the live-action Emerald Archer should be.
Before Arrow, though, we so nearly got a different live-action take on Green Arrow as there were plans in place for a big-screen movie for the Master Bowman. Titled Super Max, the filmed was being developed by David S. Goyer and Justin Marks back in 2008. Plot-wise, only the first 10 minutes would see Ollie as Green Arrow before he was framed for murder and sent to the titular super-prison. From there, the film would see Oliver having to work with some notorious villains to try and break out of jail.
Ultimately, DC again didn’t have enough faith in the Green Arrow character to reach out and grab an audience’s attention.
Not Using Stephen Amell In The DCEU
Yep, we all feel your pain. Why, oh why, didn’t Warner Brothers look to utilize the excellent work of all involved in Arrow in the greater DC Extended Universe. To the hopeful out there, yes, it could feasibly still happen at some point down the line, but in reality, The WB has moved at several points to reiterate that The CW’s DC-verse will not tie in any shape or form to the cinematic DCEU.
To further prove their point, Warners insisted that both Deadshot and Amanda Waller be killed off in the small screen world due to their inclusion in Suicide Squad. And then, of course, there’s the fact that Ezra Miller is playing the big-screen Barry Allen, Grant Gustin not portraying the Sultan of Speed.
Given how well Arrow had done to flesh out its world, it seemed -- and still does seem -- ridiculous for the DCEU to ignore Amell’s Emerald Archer and his world.
The Move Away From Mike Grell’s Work
All great comic book characters have that period when they find a writer or writers who just get them, who dish out stories that resonate on an entirely different level as what readers have been accustomed to by that point. For Daredevil, there was Frank Miller; for Thor, there was Walt Simonson; for the X-Men, there was Chris Claremont; and for Green Arrow, there’s Mike Grell’s run in the 1980s and into the ‘90s.
With 1987’s The Longbow Hunters, Grell changed the tone of the character, setting the action in a world of drugs, gangsters, Yakuza, and street-level action rather than superpowered bad guys and godlike heroes. Even the stories themselves never once referred to Oliver as “Green Arrow,” bar the title on the cover. This change was welcomed with open arms by comic book fans, and this made for a hugely refreshing change in the world of superheroes and supervillains. Then, Grell moved on from the Emerald Archer, and DC quickly scrapped everything and added back the regular comic-book superhero gloss and over-the-top characters.
Given how Grell’s work is so revered to this day and that many fans are now championing for Green Arrow tales in that vein, DC Comics must be a little embarrassed for trying to do so much to erase the work done by Grell to establish genuine interest in the Master Bowman.
His Longtime Reputation As A C-Lister
Sadly, like so many other comic book characters, it feels as if Oliver Queen has spent far too long of his history positioned as a C-list player in the grand spectrum.
Whereas Superman and Batman were so often the focus of the 1930s and beyond in the DC comic-book realm, Wonder Woman was soon positioned as the third wheel of DC’s Holy Trinity. Then, you have the likes of The Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman as more notable names to be included in the Justice League and to get their own times in the DC spotlight. For poor Ollie, however, the Emerald Archer so often found himself left in the shadows.
As touched upon earlier in this article, Green Arrow was outright created as a slight alternative to Batman, with him pulling plenty of characteristics and physical elements from the Caped Crusader and Robin Hood. Add to that the fact that he didn’t even get trusted with his own title until the ‘80s, and you can see why so many people, unfortunately, saw him as nothing more than a C-list character at best for so long.
Sources: DC Comics, Wikipedia