Retro Geek: Out of the BinJune 19, 2014
Welcome to another exciting edition of our Retro Geek series, Out of the Bin! This week I went way back to an important story of my personal favorite hero, Green Arrow.
Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters was a three issue mini-series story arc originally released in 1987. It was written and drawn by famed Green Arrow writer and artist Mike Grell and represented several significant events in the Green Arrow universe.
Through this arc we see Oliver in a new city with familiar girlfriend Dinah Lance (AKA Black Canary), but when a serial killer is reported on the loose, Oliver is back in green looking for the culprit. But instead of his usual Robin Hood-esque attire and fancy trick arrows, Oliver is seen donning (for the first time) a green hood. This represents the first time the character was taken away from the traditional “Robin Hood” look and given a more modern feel. This would be the look he would stick to for some time and the look that we are all now most familiar with. Along with the Peter Pan hat, the trick arrows don’t make an appearance as Oliver feels he relied on them too much and needed to get back to basics. The basics being, of course, a trusty longbow and some very sharp arrows.
The most significant event in this arc is one that would change the character for a very long time. While trying to rescue Dinah from being tortured and killed, Oliver intentionally kills her torturer. This is the first time Oliver had killed someone on purpose and sets the character on a much darker path. In later issues, Oliver reflects that his taking of a life changed his own life and made him unable to find peace. The act caused a ripple effect in his life and it would not be the last we saw Green Arrow killing. In the 2001-2002, ten issue story arc by Kevin Smith, Green Arrow: Quiver, Oliver is resurrected from the dead with no memory of this story line or the dark events that followed, returning him instead to a more peaceful time of his life.
After the success of The Longbow Hunters, DC Comics greenlit (pun intended) the first ever ongoing Green Arrow series, also written by Mike Grell, that ran for eleven years. This series is also a major influence in the CW television series Arrow. The shows version of Green Arrow shows Oliver more willing to using lethal force and of course, the hooded costume he wears. Even some characters such as Shado and Fryers can all be linked back to this series. He’s also never referred to as ‘Green Arrow’ in the show, as Grell was famous for doing as well.
If you are a fan of Green Arrow and not familiar with this series, it’s a must read because it was a definitive time in the Emerald Archers life that set him on a new path and changed the way we saw him. The issues currently value from $4-$6 (according to ComicBookRealm) and may be a bit hard to find due to their age but you may get lucky diving through the bins at your local comic book store or comic book convention. Happy hunting!