For today’s trade were going to step into the DC Universe and look at one of the 75th anniversary celebration books. They’ve done quite a few of these lately for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Catwoman, The Joker, Justice Society and the list goes on. But I’m looking at the one for Green Arrow for a few different reasons.. but I’ll get to those later.
Let’s look inside the hardcover tome. The 500 page book features a variety of stories from different parts of the Emerald Archer’s printed past. 18 reprinted stories broken into five different section. The first being called Emerald Archer and covers the early days of the character when he was pretty much a Batman clone dressing up like Robin Hood. It starts with his first appearance in More Fun Comics #73 (1941) by Mort Weisinger and George Papp in a story called Case Of The Namesake Murders. Weisinger and Papp would return with Mort Meskin to do two stories: Blueprint for Crime and Death Valley from Leading Comics #1 in 1941. The section ends with what might be the most important moment in his early career… when Green Arrow joined the Justice League in Justice League of America #4 (1961) by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.
The second section of the book is called Hard Traveling Hero and focuses on the Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams influence on the character. This is the more liberal, social just warrior Oliver Queen with the goatee. There are four comics here including a Brave and the Bold By Bob Haney and Adams and three Green Lantern / Green Arrow issues by O’Neil with Adams on the first two and with Mike Grell on the last. Grell would become an even bigger influence on GA in the 80’s. Which is what the third second is about, Long Bow Hunter. This section includes stories from Alan Moore, Klaus Jansen, Grell, Doug Moench, Gene Colan, Dan Jurgens, Chuck Dixon, Jim Aparo and Rodolfo Damaggia. This also leads to the death of Oliver Queen.
The fourth section of the book is Return of the Archer and starts up with works by Kevin Smith and Phil Hester and then Brad Meltzer who took over for Smith. It has part of the Green Arrow: Year One series by Andy Diggle and Jock and the marriage of GA and Black Canary by Judd Winick and Amanda Conner. It finished off with the final section called Fresh Start which shows us the New 52 Green Arrow as he tries to join the Justice League by Geoff Johns and Carlos D’Anda and then an issue from his own series by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino.
The book is a cool look at the history of the character. Shows how he moved from being a Batman clone to a character that can carry his own television series for five years and counting. Ollie has been through a lot, from losing his fortune to losing his life to coming back and building his world again.
This book would appeal to the regular comic fan, the Green Arrow fan and potentially fans of Arrow who don’t know the source material well. It’s also a collection of great creators… you get a single book with Alan Moore, Denny O’Neil, Kevin Smith, Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, Mike Grell, Neal Adams and more… and it shows that the character is a draw from some great talent.
And that Gary Frank cover looks really damn cool.
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