First appearing in More Fun Comics #73 in November of 1941, Green Arrow is one of DC Comics’ longest-lasting superheroes. In fact, Oliver Queen was one of only five superheroes to see continuous publication of their adventures in the dull days between the end of World War II and the superhero renaissance that kicked off The Silver Age. The other four were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Fine company, yet somehow mainstream fame eluded The Emerald Archer for most of his lifespan. Despite being a popular character, his adventures were relegated to anthology series collecting several superheroes’ stories like Detective Comics and team books like Justice League of America. He did not get his own solo comic book until 1988, and then only after his 1987 mini-series The Longbow Hunters proved a surprising smash hit! He only appeared on the Superfriends cartoon once and was only granted a reoccurring role on the series Smallville because Batman was legally unavailable.
It was not until 2012 and the release of Arrow that Oliver Queen became a household name. Despite this, after over 75 years and numerous stories across multiple universes by writers more concerned with building hype than being true to the character, many people remain ignorant of several key facts regarding The Emerald Archer.
With that in mind, here are 16 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Green Arrow.
16. He was an only child until Arrow
Oliver Queen’s relationship with his sister, Thea, is one of the rocks upon which he rebuilds his life after returning to civilization. In Arrow‘s early seasons, Thea provided Oliver with a connection to his more naive days and the was the only family he could truly trust. Later, she became his partner in crime-fighting as Speedy and a vital part of his support staff after he became Mayor of Star City.
It’s an odd thing to consider how vital the character of Thea Queen has become in the Arroverse. Until Arrow, Oliver Queen had always been portrayed as an only child. It was not until shortly after Thea was introduced on Arrow and proved popular that the comics introduced the character of Emiko Queen, who would eventually come to fight crime with her half-brother as Red Arrow.
15. He had survival training before being shipwrecked
If it seems unlikely to you that a billionaire playboy could survive unaided after being stranded on a deserted island, you’re not alone. The flashbacks that were a major part of Arrow‘s first season showed just how woefully unprepared the spoiled Oliver Queen was for life in the wilderness and it was only though the teachings of his fellow castaways on Lian Yu that he acquired the skills he needed to survive.
While it could be presumed back in the 1950s that an All-American businessman like Oliver Queen had been a Boy Scout and learned the basics of wilderness lore in his youth, such a thing seemed unlikely in modern times.
The 2007 Green Arrow: Year One mini-series addressed this by giving Oliver Queen a background as an extreme athlete and survivalist who had used his fortune to finance adventures such as an expedition to the North Pole.
14. He’s not a metahuman
Given the prominent role of metahumans on Arrow‘s sister show The Flash, it may seem astonishing to those who only watch the television series that there was a brief time when Oliver Queen was considered a metahuman in the comics.
In the mid-1990s, DC Comics’ editorial policy was such that all those heroes who appeared to be well-trained humans rather than super-powered people should be considered to have subtler metagenes that gave them powers such as enhanced deductive reasoning capability or an impeccable aim with ranged weapons.
The only nod toward this was a flashback in Green Arrow Annual #7, which depicted a young Oliver Queen being given a bow and arrow set for Christmas and managing to kill a rabbit with his very first shot. However, the matter was quickly forgotten in the wake of Oliver Queen’s death.
13. He wasn’t the father of Young Justice’s Arrowette
A former Olympic athlete, Bonnie King sought to reclaim her lost fame by becoming an archery-themed crime-fighter and sidekick to Green Arrow as Miss Arrowette. Though the two dated briefly, Oliver Queen talked Bonnie into giving up heroism after discovering King was only in it for the glory. Later, in typical stage-mother fashion, Bonnie projected her failed dreams onto her daughter, Suzanne “Cissie” King-Jones, who became the superhero Arrowette.
Given Cissie’s natural talent for the bow that far exceeded her mother’s, many wondered if Oliver Queen was Cissie’s father. Writer Scott McCullar (who ran the Unofficial Green Arrow Fansite with fellow Arrow-head Jayme Lynn Blaschke) once suggested a method, based on existing stories, through which Oliver might be Arrowette’s father, Sadly, nothing ever came of the theory and Arrowette vanished into comic book limbo following DC Comics’ 2011 New 52 reboot.
12. He was not a dead-beat dad
The 2002 Archer’s Quest storyline ended with the revelation that Oliver Queen was aware of his illegitimate son, Connor Hawke, before Connor first encountered him as an adult. Later stories by Judd Winick built off of this revelation, showing a cruel young Oliver Queen brutally dismissing Connor’s mother when she approached him about her pregnancy. This contradicted The Archer Quest‘s depiction of a young Oliver Queen fearful of becoming a father so young. Winnick also suggested that Connor knew about Oliver’s deception, but never called him on it.
All of these stories ignore the reality of the earlier comics, which made it clear that the free-spirited Sandra “Moonday” Hawke never felt the need to inform Oliver Queen that he was a father. It also ignored that Oliver was first told the news of Connor’s parentage by a then-omniscient Hal Jordan, who would have known if Oliver was lying.
11. He doesn’t like teen girls
One of the more disturbing running gags to emerge repeatedly throughout the post-Infinite Crisis era of DC Comics was a suggestion that Oliver Queen had a romantic interest in teenage girls. This featured most prominently in the “Lords of Luck” storyline from the 2007 The Brave And The Bold series, where Green Lantern Hal Jordan teamed with Supergirl and chided himself for having impure thoughts about the flirtatious 17-year-old girl, at one point thinking “Who are you, Ollie?”
This may have originally stemmed from a significant age difference between Oliver Queen and long-time girlfriend Dinah Lance in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics history. There, Oliver Queen was in his mid-30s when he first became Green Arrow whereas Dinah Lance became Black Canary at the age of 19. The two began dating when Dinah was in her early 20s and he was pushing 40 – creepy, perhaps, but not illegal.
10. He was an orphan until Arrow
The first season of Arrow saw Oliver Queen trying to atone for the sins of his father, Robert Queen, who had become involved in a villainous project dubbed “The Undertaking.” In time, Oliver discovered that his mother, Moira Queen, was also involved in the sinister plot.
For all the emphasis Arrow placed on the influence Oliver Queen’s parents had on his life, they were virtual non-entities in the comic books. For most of his life, Oliver Queen was depicted as an orphan whose parents died when he was young, with no other details being given.
Oliver’s parents weren’t given proper names or developed personalities until “The Mantle” – a story by Scott McCullar in Green Arrow Secret Files & Origins in 2002. This story also revealed that Oliver’s parents were killed by lions while on safari.
9. He did not have an affair with Shado
The odd relationship forged between Oliver Queen and the assassin Shado was a major part of Mike Grell’s Green Arrow. Over the course of the series, Shado would have a son, whose origins she kept silent about beyond saying that the father did not know of the boy’s existence. Eventually, Shado confessed the truth to Dinah Lance – that she had taken advantage of Oliver Queen while he was delirious with fever as she was nursing him back to health.
Many future Green Arrow writers treated the assault as an affair. Whether it was because the attitudes of the time dictated that men could not be assaulted by women in that way or confusion over Oliver Queen’s status as a womanizer before becoming Green Arrow, it did a tremendous disservice to one of the earliest attempts in American comics to address a serious and rarely discussed issue.
8. He originally designed most of his trick arrows
Recent retellings of Green Arrow’s origins have depicted Oliver Queen having other people build his infamous trick arrows for him. The New 52 saw Oliver Queen employing a man named Jax as his in-house weapon’s designer. The DC Rebirth Green Arrow series suggested that Roy “Arsenal” Harper was responsible for designing all of the trick arrows, most of which do seem like something that might be created by a teenager with too much imagination and an unlimited bank account.
While it may be more realistic for a billionaire superhero like Bruce Wayne to pay a Lucius Fox figure to develop his toys rather than doing everything himself, the idea does a disservice to the Oliver Queen of the Silver Age. This version of Oliver Queen was able to construct rudimentary trick arrows (including net arrows, rope arrows, and even a drill arrow) out of materials he scavenged while shipwrecked.
7. He did not constantly cheat on Black Canary
Oliver Queen’s womanizing is the stuff of legends. As is the case with most legends, however, the truth is something different. While Oliver was quite the player before becoming Green Arrow, he was steadfast in his devotion to “his Pretty Bird” once he and Black Canary began dating. Indeed, he got into trouble with Dinah Lance for his possessive attitude more than anything else.
Chalk this one up to poor research on the part of later writers. While Dinah did dump Oliver shortly after walking in on him locking lips with her employee, Marianne (a kiss Marianne facilitated which Oliver was trying to break as Dinah walked-in), it was for reasons other than Oliver’s alleged infidelity with Marianne and Shado.
6. He’s not dependent on his wealth
For some odd reason, many think that Oliver Queen would be unable to continue as Green Arrow without his family fortune. How this came to be is unclear, given that – in true Robin Hood fashion – virtually every retelling of Green Arrow’s origins involves Oliver Queen losing his wealth and moving on. Even the recent DC Rebirth series is built around this idea.
Even bereft of the support of his friends, Oliver Queen has found a way to keep going as Green Arrow. Mike Grell’s Black Arrow Saga saw Oliver Queen go underground, living among the homeless of Seattle after being wrongly accused of treason and being forced to go on the run. Kevin Smith’s Quiver opened with an amnesic and homeless Green Arrow still fighting the good fight, with trick arrows made of garbage.
5. He’s not dependent on his trick arrows
Oliver Queen is no more dependent on his trick arrows than Batman is on the gadgets in his utility belt. While they do make things easier at times, Oliver Queen is a hunter first and foremost and he’s often expressed a preference for more classic weaponry like the old-fashioned ash wood longbows over modern fiberglass compound bows with all the bells and whistles.
Mike Grell’s legendary Green Arrow run saw Oliver Queen get back to basics, abandoning his trick arrows and fancy collapsible compound bow for cloth-yard shafts and a longbow. Oliver also ditched his stylized Robin Hood costume in favor of a more practical yeoman’s outfit with a hood better suited to Seattle’s rainy climate. This fashion choice later inspired Oliver Queen’s costumes on Arrow and his DC Rebirth costume design.
4. He didn’t get a sidekick because everyone else had one
One rather unfortunate flashback story by Judd Winick suggested that the only reason Oliver Queen adopted Roy Harper – the first Speedy – was because every other hero in the Justice League had a teen sidekick and he wanted to “keep up with the Joneses.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ignoring the precise reasons why Oliver Queen teamed with Roy Harper (which have changed from origin to origin), Oliver Queen was chronologically the first superhero to recruit a teen sidekick in most of DC Comics’ timelines. In JLA: Year One, Speedy was among the heroes interred in a secret prison by the aliens called the Appellaxians as a precursor to an invasion of Earth in the Justice League’s first year of existence.
3. He wasn’t inspired by Robin Hood
In the late 1960s, writer Dennis O’Neil decided to reinvent Green Arrow as a “modern-day Robin Hood.” It was O’Neil who conspired to have Oliver Queen lose his fortune to a corrupt CEO and realize the dangers posed by societal ills and the villains who didn’t have the decency to wear masks and rob banks. Green Arrow became a hero of the common man who targeted crooked cops and corrupt politicians. O’Neil’s revamp proved so popular that few people today remember the original inspiration behind Green Arrow wasn’t Robin Hood, but Native American culture.
When he was first introduced in 1941, Oliver Queen was an archaeologist/adventurer cut from the same cloth as Indiana Jones. His specialty was Native American artifacts and cultures – a focus which led to him practicing archery and Native American hunting techniques as part of his studies.
2. He’s not cold-blooded
The ongoing story of Arrow‘s first five seasons detailed Oliver Queen’s transformation from a pampered playboy to a murderous vigilante to a full-fledged superhero across a span of ten years. Much of the drama of the series has been informed by Oliver Queen’s battle to save his soul in the face of some truly horrific choices.
The Oliver Queen in the comics engaged in similar ethical battles but was never portrayed as a cold-blooded killer. While Green Arrow would not shy away from killing a villain if necessary, it was an action he only took as a last resort. He killed Dinah Lance’s assailant in The Longbow Hunters only because he feared his girlfriend was about to be murdered. He killed the villain Prometheus in Cry For Justice, because the lives of millions were at stake and thousands had already died at the villain’s hands.
1. He isn’t a complete rip-off of Batman
Jokes about Green Arrow being “Batman with a bow” are a dime a dozen. While the two characters have a lot in common, much of that comes down to how many classic comic characters were structured along the same lines back in The Golden Age, with only a few simple gimmicks to differentiate them. As such, there were a lot of independently wealthy men with young wards running around in tights fighting Nazis. Still, Green Arrow gets singled out for having an Arrow-Car, Arrow-Plane, and even an Arrow-Cave!
Ironically enough Green Arrow had an Arrow-Cave before Batman had a Bat-Cave. The Arrow-Cave first appeared along with Green Arrow and Speedy in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. The Bat-Cave didn’t appear until Batman #12 in August 1942. Still, the Harley Quinn of the Injustice reality has a point when she says Green Arrow really should call his base “The Quiver.”
Is there something else about Green Arrow that people get wrong ? Sound off in the comments!
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