26 September 2011

Happy 70th BIrthday, Green Arrow!

What kid didn't grab a bow and arrow and pretend to be Robin Hood?  
That's the hook to the best Batman knock-off ever: Green Arrow!
A Silver Age MEGO Party for the big 7-0!

70 years ago today, Mort Weisinger needed more Batman success.  Rich Playboy Bruce Wayne Oliver Queen and his ward Dick Grayson Roy Harper fought crime with the scientific marvels in the Batcave Arrowcave, with his high-powered Batmobile Arrowcar and a utility belt quiver filled with gadgets, most notably the batarang boxing glove arrow!  It was the Batman Green Arrow and Robin Speedy Adventure hour!

Ed Hannigan channeled classic ARROW artist
Lee Elias for this 2006 commission!

Sadly, Mort failed to capture the true zest of Bat-mania, as Green Arrow really had no meaningful rogues gallery, or raison d'etre for that matter.  His costume was simple and could have been taken from any ROBIN HOOD book cover.  

My first Green Arrow comic?  In the big SUPER FRIENDS Treasury comic, Alex Toth illustrated beats in between Justice League reprints, including one in which every League member dressed up as Green Arrow, including Wonder Woman!  That sort of thing scars leaves an impression, and I was hooked.  It also helped that he made a guest appearance on SUPER FRIENDS, even if he had another costume by then.

In another Treasury volume, Green Arrow magically lost his arms and had to fire his bow using his feet and teeth!  Yup, I tried that in the backyard a couple of times with the Suction Cup bow and arrow set...

Mike Grell has to be the best GA artist of all time!
Green Arrow made his most significant mark in my most favorite comic, BRAVE AND THE BOLD.  Creator team Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams had Oliver Queen losing his fortune, chucking the sidekick, getting new fighting togs, and growing a beard!  Green Arrow than went on to befriend Green Lantern, court Black Canary, and argue with Hawkman.  He became the first member to quit the Justice League over political differences.

My favorite Green Arrow comics were by Mike Grell, who took the Emerald Archer to Seattle, kicked off the goofy trick arrows and flashy super buddies and became a force of social justice.  In the late Eighties, when comics were supposed to be focused on "dark realism", Mike Grell's work focused on a middle-aged man coming to grips with idealism, mortality, and justice.  The term "Green Arrow" was never used in the book. 

Happy Birthday, Green Arrow! 


1 comment:

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