Back when I first decided that I wanted to write comics, the first instructional book I picked up was a copy of Lurene Haines's Writer's Guide to the Business of Comics: Everything a Comic Book Writer Needs to Make It in the Business. I don't particularly remember much about this book. Much of what she said was the standard fare, nothing too awe inspiring or disheartening. Just practical information.
What I did keep in my grey matter was she worked on Green Arrow. He wasn't always my favorite second rate Justice League member (that will ALWAYS be Aquaman) but much like Batman, he was a relatable character. Sure, he was another rich playboy, but armed with a bow and handful of arrows, he was out to make a difference.
Let's be honest with one another though, the trick arrows were lame sauce. As a kid I had a shabby little bow, a few arrows, and yes, a boxing glove. I am not ashamed to admit that I duct taped one glove to one arrow, notched it, and let it fly. Being a boy, I let it fly at a friend.
If it had worked, I would have most likely been invited to thereapy sessions instead of a crime fighting supergroup. Luckily, it was junk. Despite my decent marksmenship, my friend didn't have to worry one bit. Not even close. And while I can believe that a man can fly, I cannot stand behind a boxing glove arrow.
Green Arrow needed a makeover.
Enter Mike Grell.
With one Eisner nominated mini-series, The Longbow Hunters, he made Oliver Queen a serious threat once again. Gone were the Arrowcars, Arrowcaves, and the aforementioned trick arrows. In his place, a serious minded man, in a real city, attempting to do some good.
I loved the series. I knew he followed up those three issues with a long run, and reading them was something I really wanted to do. Only I couldn't. To my knowledge, DC Comics has never reprinted a single issue in a trade. Not sure why. Green Arrow are both popular enough to sell at least one volume I would hope. I could have spent the past few years accumulating a run, issue by issue. Digging through back issue bins at shops and conventions. Really didn't want to do that. I wasn't going to wait any longer.
After a year of checking , a fairly lengthy set, issues #1-106, went up on the auction block. To my amazement, I was the only bidder. (Maybe I am the only guy who wants to read these.) Had I been writing this blog the day I won, every word would have been filled with joy and excitement. Rainbows would have filled the screen and your computer would have smelled like girl scout cookies. Seriously, it would have. I was that happy. Waiting for it to arrive was going to be like an arrow in the eye. Couldn't resist.
I was able to keep both eyes. The seller shipped the box off in no time, and the box arrived just the other day. Ripped into it as soon as I could, didn't even wait until I was out of work.
Damn, this series starts out DARK. I even bolded those letters to make them more dark. Dark like a goth kids soul, or at least as dark as he thinks he is.
But within those first two issues, a tone was set. There is a man, not a super criminal, who is a kidnapper and murderer of children. He's been in jail for years, but recently released. Sequestered to his family home, he is still capable of toying with the police, as someone has been threatening the one girl who got away from him. Green Arrow takes it upon himself to protect her, at any cost. Two issues and I got a complete story, well told, with important consequences.
I plan on reading an issue a day until I'm done. Hopefully the rest of the stories will live up to the expectations raised in these two issues.
*It should also be noted, that Green Arrow is not ever identified as Green Arrow. It's always Ollie, or Mr. Queen. Just a small touch that brings a bit of realism to a once fantastical character.