Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Arrow: DC's Bastard Child

Things have been tight the past few months, and I've dropped a few titles that I usually pick up pretty regularly. Teen Titans lost me with its increased "too-old-to-be-teen-get-the-hell-out-of-my-teen-book" Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven presence. (They couldn't carry Titans -- what makes DC think they would improve Teen Titans?) Doom Patrol lost me when I started to realize that, with each new issue, I could no longer remember what happened in the previous issue because it was just that boring and/or confusing. That makes me sad, because it was once so enjoyable and had such potential! Secret Six hasn't completely lost me because I normally enjoy it a lot, though this most recent storyline left me a little cold. I'm giving it another storyline worth of chance before cutting it, though I admit to putting it off for a week or so recently -- it stopped being a "must-have-right-now". Brightest Day is sort of in the same boat. I'm interested in where the whole thing's going, interested in most of the characters, but when money's tight I just flip through it really quick and sometimes buy it right away, or sometimes put it back on the shelf until next week. As happy as I was to see Birds of Prey come back (after not needing to be cancelled in the first place, FU Batman!), it's touch and go with me right now, particularly after the most recent issue, where, while cementing Calculator's reputation as a badass with villains not in the know, pretty much just ruined him as a credible threat to the readers who are in the know. (Call me crazy -- I LIKE Calculator. A lot.)

My only absolute must-have-must-buy titles right now are the three Green Lantern books, and Generation Lost (which I have a love/hate relationship with -- currently at love just because of Bea/Gavril).

But no matter how much time passes, and how many books I get interested in, lose interest in, pick up and drop, there's always one that, no matter how bad it sucks (and it DOES suck quite a lot from time to time), no matter how annoyed it makes me, I always buy.

Green Arrow.

I'm not sure what it is about it. I'm not the only person with this problem, judging by the conversations I've had with my fellow fans, Overly-Friendly Gay Comic Shop Owner (whom I like) and Less Familiar Comic Shop Dude Across Town Who Insulted My Intelligence By Asking Me If I Bought my Zoom T-Shirt Because I Thought It Was Just A Yellow Flash Shirt (whom I don't much like). Green Arrow has a troubled history when it comes to having and supporting his own comic, and recently things have been worse than usual.

Let me break down how the history of how Green Arrow as a publication tends to go (roughly):

Green Arrow has own comic!
Green Arrow sucks, gets cancelled, possibly dies.
Green Arrow gets re-imagined, possibly gritty, possibly with team-up, gets new comic.
Green Arrow sucks, gets cancelled, possibly dies.
Rinse, repeat.

And yet... and yet...

No matter how bad it sucks when it sucks, I can't ever drop it completely. No matter what happens, or how angry it makes me, I always stick around, hoping for it to improve, hoping for it to get better, hoping for it to become the comic that I know it can be. I can't let go. Ever.

And I think a lot of Ollie fans struggle the same way. I think DC itself seems to struggle the same way. They have the Big Three: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Then they have their satellite titles that round out the five big DC "families": Green Lantern, which is on a clear high right now, and Flash, which is traditionally lower-performing than the rest but always stable, always respectable, with a solid fanbase of its own. Flash is on the rise right now.

Green Arrow should be the sixth big property. It has all the hallmarks of the rest of the biggies: a recognizeable character with a distinct personality, a readily-available cast of characters who clearly fit into the "family" and nowhere else, a long history to draw from, and its own city, which is pretty much a requirement for being a big name in the DCU.

Yet DC constantly drops the ball. Green Arrow floats around, directionless, without purpose, attracting writers who by and large either don't love the characters enough (all of them, not just Ollie), don't know what to do with them (likely and understandable given the circumstances), or would apparently rather be working on something else. I can't recall the last time I read an interview where a Green Arrow writer spoke passionately about Ollie and his mythos the way that, for instance, Geoff Johns speaks about Green Lantern and Flash. And while I realize that not everyone can be like Uberfanboy Geoff "I don't know if I want to be Hal or have Hal's baby" Johns, it saddens and disappoints me that the most enthusiastic Arrow fan at DC seems to be Judd "Build something up and tear it right back down for the LOLz" Winick!

Like the old Earth saying goes, I guess (thank you, Sinestro, for paying attention to stuff Earthpeople say even though I can't really imagine you doing so): if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

So, in my attempt to start being timely about my ranting/blogging, the next week or so is going to be "Fix Green Arrow" week. I've given this a lot of thought, and I have a plan: what's wrong with Green Arrow, piece by piece, and what I'd like to do to fix it -- to bring Ollie up into the spotlight where he belongs, next to his DC brothers Hal and Barry.

I'm very interested in thoughts on the matter from GA fans and haters alike.


SallyP said...

Oh heaven's yes. Poor Ollie, he gets no love it seems. I LIKE Ollie, but I don't usually like what is being done with him. And I actually bought the Green Arrow/Black Canary book for far far too long, because I love the characters, but still, it was just SO bad after a while.

And I'm buying his current book, which hasn't been quite as terrible as it could be. Not great, but not terrible.

Frankly, something needs to be done with Oliver. Maybe put him in the Birds of Prey or something. Don't let him do any crime-fighting, but let him get the pizza and pick up their dry-cleaning or something. IF the Hawks some back, as I imagine they are going to, he and Carter can do stupid things together. Or Ollie and Barry can fight over who thinks that Hal is the dreamiest.

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