The DC Comic That Saved Green Arrow

And how it made everyone love a hated superhero trope...

Green Arrow Archers Quest Cover
DC Comics

Green Arrow might not be as famous or as revered as DC's holy trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman), but make no mistake, he is a legendary character. The interesting thing about Arrow, though, is that his identity was never as clear cut as it is today - at least in the comics.

When Oliver Queen first graced the pages of More Fun Comics in 1941, he wasn't exactly what you'd call unique. Sure, Queen sported a green outfit and used a bow-and-arrow, but the Robin Hood motif never influenced the character beyond an aesthetic level. For much of those early years, Queen was pretty much just a Green Batman, replete with an Arrowcave, an Arrowcar, and an uppity young ward, called Speedy.

It wasn't until the 1970s, when Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams transformed the character into a Hard-Travelling Hero, that Green Arrow truly found renewal. He had a Van Dyke beard, a firebrand attitude to social justice, and a personality that would persist throughout the following decades. That is, until he was killed in Green Arrow #101, diffusing a bomb planted by eco-terrorists, which seemingly heralded that the character's time was at a close.

Comics fans won't need reminding that death is something of a revolving door in the superhero genre (unless your name is Thomas or Martha), and Queen wasn't the exception. However, what threatened to be yet another example of comics diminishing the value of death was saved by two books, the first being Quiver - written by Kevin Smith - and the second (and most salient) being Brad Meltzer and Phil Hester's The Archer's Quest.

It is the latter comic that concerns this article, as even though Quiver was the book that brought Oli back, Meltzer's did something altogether different with the character, and turned a tiresome trope into something genuinely compelling.

Content Producer/Presenter
Content Producer/Presenter

Resident movie guy at WhatCulture who used to be Comics Editor. Thinks John Carpenter is the best. Likes Hellboy a lot. Can usually be found talking about Dad Movies on his Twitter at @EwanRuinsThings.