Thoughts and observations on Green Arrow, classical liberalism, freedom, comic books and matters of social justice.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Why Green Arrow?...starting from square Zero Hour

Why Green Arrow?
And now a few thoughts about the “why” of this blog, beginning with a kind of stream of consciousness detail of what attracts me to the Green Arrow character (not in the Biblical sense).
The use of an archaic weapon.  Even though Batman is best known for his “a-rangs” Oliver Queen’s use of the bow and arrow set him apart from other heroes and Hawkeye notwithstanding, still does. It makes for dramatic, if somewhat predictable, comic covers that are exciting and draw you in. There’s just something about the potential, kinetic energy of a tautly drawn bow.  Add to that the Robin Hood motif evolution by Neal Adams in the 60s and you have a visually striking comic book character.

The Van Dyke beard also included by Adams, marked Oliver Queen as somewhat counter-cultural. At the time the Van Dyke (not a goatee strictly speaking) was a symbol of the intellectual thinker. Adams himself sported a Van Dyke at the time and it was a brilliant design addition to the Green Arrow character. It’s a real shame the “goatee” is now sported by every second guy and all NASCAR fans (darn you 1990s!).
A social and political conscience. As I’ve admitted before everything I like most about Green Arrow comes from the rather brief run of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in the pages of Green Lantern (i.e. Green Lantern/Green Arrow) in the late 60’s and early 70s; correct me if I have the exact timeline off. It’s funny to think that the main impetus for the collaboration of these two characters was stemmed from the common color theme of their names and costumes. O’Neil and Adams took full advantage and played straight laced Hal Jordan against pseudo-hippie Oliver Queen. Admittedly the dialogue is a bit ham-fisted in retrospect, it was a shining, first example of the important issues a “funny book” could address.  
It would be easy to simply the book as a Right-wing vs. Left-wing debate, with the left-wing winning more often than not, but I say that’s an over-simplification. I do not see Oliver Queen as a liberal in the modern sense; rather he is an example of “classical liberalism.” Freedom is paramount. Responsibility is shared by all. Do for yourself and for others who CANNOT do for themselves (note the emphasis). I read Ollie as adhering to the Biblical motto, “Let he who does not work, not eat.” If you can, you must. If you cannot, we’re all here to help.

Oliver’s beef with Hal is the blind eye he turned toward the little guy. Green Lantern would be first in a fight against a would-be world despot, magical ring wielding villain, or super-powered terrorist group. Oliver opened his eyes to the comparatively smaller, but no less compelling, crimes of the slum lord, small-time crook, cult leader and tyrannical job boss. Interestingly these same themes are explored to perfection by the Marvel archer Hawkeye in his most recent series (I can’t recommend highly enough). In fact, given the character’s history that series should have been a Green Arrow story.

It is for these reasons most of all that I find myself continually returning to Green Arrow.

DC Nation - Green Arrow - "Cupid" (full)

I may be going a little nutty with these things, but they're pretty fun. Ollie is a little Tony Stark meets Booster Gold in these shorts but it works well. I miss the brash Oliver Queen, as opposed to the....Ok, I'll forgo my usual "Arrow" slam this time. I still plan on going back through some old episodes to give it another try.

Man I wish I was more hopeful.

(that's what Batman v Superman said. Boom.)

DC Showcase: Green Arrow

Knocking the cobwebs out with a few, cool, animation links with Oliver.

DC Nation - Green Arrow - "Onomatopoeiabot" (full)

The talking bow is weird...but fun for a short!

DC Nation - Green Arrow - "Brick" (full)

This is from a couple of years ago but I'm still mourning the loss of the Saturday morning DC Nation shorts. It was a time my youngest son and I could look forward to animation fun once a week just like the old days.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Several years...and a change of heart

It's been several years since I shut down the Green Arrow Guide To Revolutionary Heroism. A lot has changed for me personally. I'm happy to report all for the better. A lot has changed for Oliver Queen's character. I'm looking forward to catching up with him. "Arrow" is still on the air and has since spawned a more successful spin-off "The Flash."

My family loves The Flash, still haven't warmed up to Steve Amell's interpretation of Oliver Queen. I agree with those who have appraised it as a Batman show....without Batman. I might make the time to catch up with "Arrow," Slowly. Episode by episode. It won't help that Marvel's Daredevil has all but written the book on the dark, edgy, street-wise crime-fighter. I don't think Arrow will match, but I'll take another look.

Green Arrow is getting unprecedented love in action figures and other merchandise. Most notably Mezco's upcoming offering.

I also have thoughts about the more political side of this blog.

Time to re-open the guide.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shutting Down the Green Arrow Guide

The idea was that I would actually look at the issues of my day through the lens of the comic book character Green Arrow. In a brief 11-12 issues a ridiculous Batman knock-off was given new life and new purpose; comic book's first social crusader. The series didn't last long and neither do the more current iterations of Oliver Queen. Here is a DC hero plagued by inconsistent writing and bad story ideas.

For a good while there I did attempt to tackle matters of conscience, faith, politics and comic books. Not anymore. My politics are gently shifting to match my faith and those beliefs have little to do with what Green Arrow once represented. I say "once" because anymore Green Arrow is only about shooting arrows at people and things and little else. Guys like me buy his comics because the characters remind us of a great run that happened 30-40 years ago.

Green Arrow is not relevant.

Comic book writers rarely are given the freedom to explore political thought in their comics. The liberal bias in the field is readily apparent though, given the embarrassing Obama covers. And that's fine, it's just shallow. Yeah, Adams and O'Neil used images of MLK and Robert Kennedy but that was in context of their murders.The point is the Green Lantern/Green Arrows capture a moment in time for American culture and comics; one that I do not see reoccurring.

Nostalgia should be a gently used spice of life. Carrying the Green Arrow flag is nothing short of a full body plunge into the deep waters of nostalgia. These characters are ever changing to keep up with the market, make sales and then happen to act as cultural sign posts when reflected upon some time later. Where ever Green Arrow goes from here is uncertain but it will be without me. I've hung up the bow and quiver (literally and metaphorically) and am moving on.

Perhaps I no longer need comic book heroes to define that heroic, inner part of me I desperately hope is real and needs only an avatar to be realized. Perhaps my political views are less aggressive and more "other" focused; as informed by my Church. Perhaps I no longer require the little, plastic totems of my youth.

Regardless, I've spent too long on nostalgia and too long on this very post that I know somewhere deep down, NOBODY will ever read. The Green Arrow Guide to Revolutionary Heroism is closed.

It also didn't help that the new "Arrow" show sucks.