Dennis O’Neil: How Green Is My Arrow?
Green Arrow was never really a loner. When he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 he already had a young partner whose nom de arrow was Speedy and whose other name was Roy Harper. As GA – other-named Oliver Queen – sauntered through the years, he formed alliances with another greenish hero, Green Lantern, and, maintaining the color-motif, Black Canary, with whom he had a full-out, bells-and-whistles romance. And he was a member in good standing of the Justice League of America, comics’ first…what? – superhero club, I guess.
So no, Ollie, as we are pleased to call him, was never a loner, but I never thought of him as a clubman, either. He was this guy who did what he did and had occasional friends and associates.
Now he is enjoying what are undoubtedly the largest audiences of his life as the title character of a network television series. For whatever (corporate?) reason he’s lost an adjective and is now known as plain old Arrow. And Roy Harper – you remember Speedy – is still in the picture and so, sometimes, is Black Canary and then there’s John Diggle and a cop friend and the lovely computer whiz Felicity and, recently, a guest superhero in the person of The Flash and…Golly! It must be getting crowded in the Arrow’s subterranean headquarters, there in Starling City.
Well, what did we expect? It’s television and television drama, with no current exception that I can think of, is built around families. These are not necessarily biological families – in fact, they are seldom that. But they have a clear family dynamic.
Cop shows are good examples: There’s the father/mother figure – often a bit grumpy, and usually bearing an elevated rank – and sometimes an aunt/uncle avatar – those cadaver-cutting medical folk, for instance – and occasionally the young guy/gal who, while lovable, is not yet fully formed professionally – and don’t we adore the youngsters in the house? – and finally, and most important, the brother-sister combos, the heavy lifters who get the jobs done.
You could find a family on the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise and in the streets of Dodge City, and in the corridors of the Jeffersonian, whatever that is. I’m not a fan of sitcoms, but there are probably some in laughtrack land, too.
Way, way back in the early 1940s, the producers of the daily Superman radio program added young Jimmy Olsen to regulars Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Perry White and he’s been a part of the – yes! – family ever since. Those loner private eyes that were in vogue back then didn’t know that their days were numbered.
Now, we have Arrow and his cadre of virtuous ass-kickers saving Starling City. Literally: in a recent episode, that’s what they said they did – saved the city.
But do they pose for group photos at Christmas?