Brian Cronin has already kindly explained to the world the crowded field of Arrow-named characters into which Ollie Queen was born. Author Paul Gustavson's "The Arrow" was the most comparable to Green Arrow; unlike the others he was a contemporary, urban, wealthy, archery-based vigilante in a hood. As Jon Berk put it,
"The Arrow was a little hard to warm up to. He was a sullen and taciturn character that dealt with wrong-doers in a straightforward and, often, deadly fashion. When he did speak, his words were as cold as his shafts of steel: “Don’t anyone move or I’ll seal your doom forever” "I hope CW is sending Gustavson's estate a weekly check.
But "The Arrow" was too dour a character to be popular with the comics readers of the day. On the "Little Audrey/The Spectre" scale of grimness, he was nearly a solid "The Shadow". How did Green Arrow survive instead of him? The Green Arrow did the smart thing: aped Batman in every possible way. Let's take a look at his first story!
Before I make fun of Green Arrow -- and I'll be doing a lot of that -- I must assert strongly and with no irony that this is a kick-ass logo and should be brought back exactly as in (except in green).
|That narration panel contains the entire story.|
It's like a solicit, only less spoilery.
That's GA's first splash panel. In case you're too young to know what a "splash panel" is, it's like a miniature 'cover' for a comic book story, but one that's inside the comic book. They were all the rage when comics included more than one story. Like covers, they weren't part of the story or even something that necessarily was going to happen IN the story. They were representations, sometimes highly symbolic, of what the story was about.
When you see this panel you can assume that:
- Green Arrow and his sidekick are absurdly costumed vigilantes who bring quivers to a gunfight;
- bad guys still can't shoot to save their lives:
- crooks LOVE their hats.
So, our story begins with some unusual murders in Manhattan:
|Golden Age efficiency in storytelling! |
Three panels = three murders, with theme clearly established by talking out loud.
Note that Green Arrow doesn't live in a vague "the City" nor in a fictionopolis; he lives in Manhattan. Man-hat-tan. The next time you are in Manhattan, you think about that. Think about Ollie tooling around 1940s' Manhattan in his giant-ass Arrowcar that's the length of a NYC block and the width of a subway train.
|First and last time you will ever read |
"Speedy, the Cyclone Kid"
It's not just that Green Arrow and Speedy do their justice thing in Manhattan; they LIVE there. Together. In an apartment. Which is, um, not at all odd, Child Services Representative, why do you ask?
In an early start to a GA tradition, Ollie is desperate to avoid fighting crime and to indulge in sybaritic leisure. With Roy and what appears to be some kind of stringed paddle. Which is not at all odd.
|et cetera, et cetera is the most honest thing I have ever read in any comic book.|
Patrol is for other heroes. Ollie only dons his fighting togs when something newsworthy becomes unavoidable. And what togs they are!
|"No, you don't get your OWN costume. |
You get MY costume, resized and recolored by photoshop, because BRANDING.
Who do you think you are, kid, the Sensational Character Find of 1940?`"
Red&Green+Yellow was THE go-to heroic color combo in the Golden Age. I have always assumed that most comics creators were Jamaicans.
Note (particularly if you are a film-maker) that there is no hint of an origin story here. Quite the opposite. We enter Green Arrow's career in medias res, like you would any epic. If you want to fill in his backstory later, you have years to do that.
|Five, if you use a wig.|
When we meet him, Ollie is already Green Arrow, already known throughout the world (*snort*), already has a sidekick (who is already living with him), already is naming his adventures and taking time off from them, and already (improbably) has a tunnel underneath his apartment building that already leads to...
|"Super-streamlined"? That monstrosity is less aerodynamic than a Borg cube.|
THE MOST VISIBLE VEHICLE IMAGINABLE.
Next: we get the jump on Ollie.