Tagged: Arrow

John Ostrander: Going Walkabout

GrimJackThey grow up so fast.

I’ve worked on/created a number of characters in my writing career, trying to define them through my writing. They exist first in my head and then become incarnated through my words and stories and the depictions by the artists. In some ways, they are like my kids – my murderous, nasty kids.

In the movie Stranger Than Fiction (one of my Mary’s fave films and the most atypical Will Farrell movie ever), the writer of a novel finds that her lead character – who she was planning to kill off – is a real person and comes face to face with him. I don’t think I’d ever want to do that for the main reason that I tend to make the lives of my protagonists pretty miserable. If I’m their creator, I’m a pretty asshole god. I have very good reasons for doing these terrible things – it reveals character and makes a better story. At the same time, I’d never want to meet any of them face to face. I’ve given them cause to do really nasty things back to me.

This is not a situation likely to come up… except that every now and then one of the characters goes walkabout. They slip away from my stories and show up elsewhere, doing and saying things that I never gave them to do or say.

With Jan Duursema I’ve created lots of characters for Star Wars in the Dark Horse comics I did for almost a decade. Two of them – Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos – have shown up elsewhere. Both of them have shown up on the animated series, The Clone Wars, and Aayla went live-action in Episodes II and III of the Prequel Trilogy. In the animated series they gave her a French accent which threw me a bit – I never heard her that way in my head when I wrote her. In Episode III she was gunned down by her own troops who continued to fire shots into her back when she was down. That was harsh to watch. My baby!

Even my character GrimJack has done walkabout a bit. I was – and am – a big fan of Roger Zelazny’s Amber series of novels. Evidently, Zelazny was also a fan of GrimJack. In one of the later books, he introdued a character called Old John. Oh, you might have been using an assumed name but I knew it was you, Gaunt! Zelazny described him to a tee and caught his personality perfectly. We later got Mr. Zelazny to do an introduction to a GrimJack graphic novel. That was so cool!

The character that I created who has done the most walking about has to be Amanda Waller, the leader of the Suicide Squad. She has had the most incarnations in a variety of looks of anyone that I’ve created. Amanda has shown up in animated features on both TV and in films, video games, and television shows. On Smallville she was played by Pam Grier – which is beyond cool – and in Arrow she is considerably younger and more svelte. Hey, it’s the CW.

She’s also been in movies. Angela Basset played her in the Green Lantern movie. Okay, I know mostly no one liked the GL movie but – Angela Basset?! That’s amazing right there.

And, of course, there’s the Suicide Squad movie that starts filming any day now where she will be played by Academy Award nominated, Tony award winning star of How to Get Away With Murder actress Viola Davis. Boo-yah!

Amanda also sends home money. Every time she appears outside of the comics, I get what they call “participation”. If they reprint my work with her in TPBs, I get money. My Star Wars kids? Not so much. GrimJack? He would but so far he hasn’t. But the Wall? Oh yeah. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money – you bet. I love that Amanda.

It is interesting to see characters that you created or defined show up elsewhere (for example, I defined Deadshot although I didn’t create him). Sometimes it feels a little surreal. As I said, they started up in my head and then to see them and hear them walking around doing and saying things that I never wrote can be weird. It’s also nice. My kids are out in the world with their own lives. That’s interesting to experience.

Of course, would it kill them to call home now and then? Well, maybe not Gaunt.

 

Dennis O’Neil: Arrow and Bat

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice • Robert Frost

All you climate change doubters may now put on your dunce caps and leave. Don’t forget to shovel the walk on your way out.

…But where were we? Ah yes, where we often are, on opposite sides of a time gap. I’m writing here, you’re reading there. I suppose we can deal with it.

We’re looking ahead, you and I, to the forthcoming Daredevil television presentation, to be streamed on the increasingly diverse and interesting Netflix. Might be interesting. Might surpass the Ben Affleck movie Daredevil of a few years back, which may not have been everyone’s favorite entertainment. (I don’t have an opinion about it. Really, I don’t!) I see that Vincent D’Onofrio has gotten the job of being veteran DD baddie, The Kingpin, which seems to be good casting; let us not forget that Mr. D’Onofrio played a giant bug in the first Men in Black flick, so a corpulent gangster shouldn’t be a stretch for him.

What else am I looking forward to? (For you, it’s already past.)

Well, for one thin, the fate of poor Oliver Queen – other-named Arrow – last seen kneeling before the sinister Ras Al Ghul, a helpless captive. Ras stabbed him with a sword and kicked him off a mountain a while back, so is Ollie doomed to suffer a similar fate, perhaps again administered by a Ras who may have gotten a bit better at hero slaying? Nope. Ras is trying to recruit him into Ras’s criminal organization, The League of Assassins. (Good pay? Good benefits?)

This is not the first time Ras has gone hero-trolling. In the long ago when he was a mere comic book character, before being incarnated as a mega-movie star and a continuing presence in Arrow Ras made a similar move on Batman, sweetening the deal by suggesting that Bats and Ras’s daughter Talia might become an item and, yes indeedy, Talia would make a splendid trophy wife if she could just get past her daddy issues. Bats refused both job and lady and lived to fight another day but who knows what Ollie will do? (Well, actually, at this point, a lot of people. All those writers and actors and technicians…)

I like how our TV brethren are adapting some Batman tropes for Arrow. It’s a good match of characters: both the bat and the arrow are human-scaled, depending on skill and perseverance and motivation rather than some acquired superpower, and both are burdened with a tragic past. Since I prefer such characters I’ve always liked working on these two when I was a laboring scripter. Consider that an admission of bias.

Ras al Ghul, as some of you know, is a twisted idealist who wants to save the world – on his own terms, using his own methods, which are, to put it mildly, draconian. Pure fiction. But I look out at the snow and remember the savage winter which is not yet gone, and learn of the escalating barbarity in the middle east, and I wonder: Could there be a Ras?

But no, the reality is simpler and sadder, well expressed by Pogo the Possum: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 

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?

 

Mike Gold: Who Needs Comic Books?

disney-marvel-mickeyAre you reading more comics now but enjoying them less? Worse still – if you happen to be a comics publisher – are you reading fewer comics now and still enjoying them less?

If the Internet is any indication, plenty of people are cutting back, bailing out, and getting highly more selective about their purchases. I realize the Internet has but three purposes: 1) as a medium for obtaining free porn, 2) as a platform for spirited anonymous bitching, and 3) to prove to the world that your cat is cuter than everybody else’s. Only #2 is relevant here, but you can’t use the Internet’s bitchy overtones to dismiss everything you don’t like. I think there’s a real problem here.

Part of this response is due to the fact that Marvel and DC have been making it exceptionally easy to rocket out of their universes by rebooting, refurbishing, and retconning their family jewels. Good lord, if you’ve been reading any of their major product lines for more than a decade and you know what’s going on and what was going on and look forward to what will be going on – those are three separate things – then William Shatner was correct: get a life.

Donate some of the money you’re spending on comics you don’t like to the CBLDF.

I think there’s another contributing factor, a big one. Forget about the plethora of superhero movies; your “television entertainment media” systems have been invaded by latex costumed nano-bedbugs. Right now, this week, there are at least five original broadcast series based upon Marvel and DC superheroes, six if you think Agent Carter is a separate program. In two months we’ll be getting another show, this time on Netflix, and they’ve got at least four more in active production. Powers, published but not owned by Marvel, will be appearing on Sony’s entertainment network pretty soon. And next season, which is only about seven months away, we may see several more as the broadcast nets are churning out superhero pilots as if they have no other ideas with commercial potential.

Here’s the rub. Of the five weekly series currently on broadcast teevee, people seem to like at least four of them. Constantine may or may not make it. I’ll bet, based on 100% presumption, that those who do like it include a hell of a lot of comics readers.

So, let me ask you this: how much time do you have to spend on spandex adventurers? Teevee, movies, comic books, e-books, trade paperbacks… the whole enchilada. Personally, I enjoy Arrow, Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Constantine, The Flash, and Gotham and I’m looking forward to Daredevil. Add four superhero movies this year and I’d be spending at least 120 hours in the next twelve months watching comic books. Is it any wonder why I bought a new TiVo?

Comic book teevee shows used to be pretty stupid, shallower than the pretty stupid shows that surrounded them. A great many baby boomers were greatly embarrassed by the 1960s Batman show. I know one major comics writer/editor/producer who wanted to kill Lorenzo Semple Junior, who developed and wrote or story edited the show. I don’t quite share that feeling: Semple also wrote The Parallax View and Papillon.

But I digress (hi, Peter!). Today’s superhero shows are much, much better. Not Citizen Kane better, but they’re entertaining and they don’t condescend.

In a good year comics do not make enough money to impress the stockholders of Time Warner and Disney. Comic book movies make those same stockholders giggle like piggies (hi, George!).

So, I ask you: who needs superhero comic books? Well, honestly, not the conglomerates who own DC Comics and Marvel.

 

Martha Thomases: Superhero Salespeople

Girls like superheroes. I can prove it, because a major media division has done the market research for me.

You can learn a lot about what people think of you by what they try to sell you. I don’t mean this personally. It’s not like some guy you meet at a conference who sizes you up and either offers you one of his room keys or life insurance, depending on his evaluation of your sex appeal.

No, I mean this on a more macro level. I mean the multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to discovering what you like and using that data to sell you crap.

For example, when I watch the network news in the evenings, I see a lot of ads for prescription medicines for diabetes, arthritis, and erectile dysfunction. From this, I understand that the advertisers think the people who watch the news are old, infirm, or both.

This is in stark contrast to the ads on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where the ads are all new movies, new video games, beer and Doritos. This is where Millennials get their news.

If I have Maury Povich on while I do my morning chores, I see ads for payday loans, attorneys who specialize in personal injury lawsuits, and for-profit colleges that offer two-year (or less) degrees. From this, I understand that the advertisers think I am an unemployed idiot.

When we get into prime-time television on the major networks, the stakes are higher. The audiences are larger, and the advertising rates more expensive. The networks don’t compete to attract fringe audiences. They want the mainstream.

Not just mainstream, but young, unattached, 18 – 29 mainstream. People who are just starting their independent lives … and forming their brand allegiances.

And to television networks, mainstream means both men and women. Some shows may skew more male or more female, and we can tell which is which by the advertising on the program. We see beer and Doritos when the target is the bros. We see make-up and fashion when the target is female.

When I watch the current crop of shows based on superhero comics – Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – I see a lot of Revlon commercials.

Doesn’t the conventional wisdom maintain that women don’t like superheroes? Why are women watching these shows?

I have theories, none of which I can prove without procuring the services of expensive market research firms. However, in the absence of evidence, here is what I think:

  • These shows feature a variety of attractive young people, many of whom are in great shape but none of whom are so over-endowed that we wonder how they can stand up. I mean that for the actors as well as the actresses. They are better-looking versions of people the audience might know in their real lives.
  • A substantial number of the writing teams include women. I don’t have the percentages, but, while I would guess it to be less than half, I think it’s more than a third. This means that there are women creating dialogue that, to them, sounds like something a woman would say if she found herself in a situation with, maybe, Valkyries.
  • The emphasis is on action, not violence. This might seem like hair-splitting (but watch long enough and there will be a commercial for a shampoo that will fix that), but there is surprisingly little gore on most of these shows. There are fights, but they aren’t bloody. Major characters rarely get killed, and not for the sole purpose of motivating the male hero. There aren’t a lot of women in refrigerators.
  • The female cast members often have their own storylines that are not dependent on the male cast members to be interesting. This is most true on S.H.I.E.L.D. and absolutely true on the spin-off mini-series, Agent Carter, least true of Constantine (at least so far), but even then it is more true than it is in the current version of the comic on which it is based.

None of these traits seems to be turning off male viewers. If it does, the advertisers have decided that the women in the audience will spend enough money to be worth the loss.

I hope that the success of these shows encourages editors to hire more women to create mainstream comics. I hope the success of these shows encourages publishers to offer comics that will appeal more to female readers.

But mostly, I want to see a Felicity Smoak / Melinda May team-up.

 

Dennis O’Neil: The Bigger Picture

RushdieI thought maybe I’d write about that humdinger of a cliffhanger the creative folk at the Arrow television show left us with a few weeks ago. I also mulled doing a brief piece on Leslie Thompkins who, in the person of Morena Baccarin, popped up in another show, Gotham. The Batman mythos’s resident and, I’m afraid, token pacifist might be worth a few hundred words and maybe will be somewhere down the line.

But now, this week, Monday. . . Je suis Charlie. It is somehow pleasing to type those words.

Certainly, you know the story by now. No need for a rehash here. And my fellow Mixers have weighed in on it and you can see what they had to say someplace near where you’re reading this. I have neither facts nor speculation to add to what’s already been given wherever you go for news.

I was shocked when, in 1988, Salman Rushdie was condemned to death by the Ayatollah Khomeini because the clergyman and his followers were offended by Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, and spent the next several years under police protection. The ayatollah’s fatwa seemed to threaten not only Rushdie, but all of us tale spinners who are just doing our jobs, which happen to be making up stories and drawing pictures. Those massacred at the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo were mostly cartoonists and we all know people like them – some of us are people like them. They are our tribe and slaughtering them was a deep and personal insult to us.

There’s little point in hating the murderers. They are ignorant and – cruel irony – they are doing what they deem virtuous. And look beneath the surface, beneath the unfamiliar rhetoric and alien ideology, and you can find men and women of our own kind who share the murderers’ attitudes and solutions. Anyone who wants to stipulate what others must believe and who wants to dictate what we can read and see and listen to and how we should dress and worship and love is not so very far from the barbarians and given the opportunity and a few assault rifles, who knows?

So, even as we grieve for our fallen brothers and sisters, we should not hate our attackers. You might remember the advice supplied by the Bible: “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you. . . ” I think that if you plumb them deeply enough you will find fear and we all know about that.

But we cannot tolerate their actions, either. We have to stop them. Let’s hope it can be done with no further suffering. Let’s hope that we can finally abandon what is obviously not working and find creative and merciful means to bring peace to the barbarians and to ourselves.

 

Dennis O’Neil: Of History And Time Travel

Okay, pay attention now because this won’t be easy to understand.

First, a couple of news items:

A time capsule buried near the State House in Boston in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was unearthed last week during some repair work.

And scientists have actually seen some dark matter. They’ve been speculating about it for quite a while, but last week a team of stargazers at the Keck observatory in Hawaii actually glimpsed it a long, long way off.

Some of you are probably giving a so what shrug. What has this to do with the midseason finale of the Arrow television show and why am I not writing about that? Because, yeah, that was a hell of a final scene. Well, maybe we’ll get to it next week, if we’re not distracted by holiday matters. Because, you know, the season to be jolly can be a drag and some of us have never figured out how to handle it with elegance and grace.

Anyway, what must have happened back in 1795 was that someone came into Paul Revere’s shop and maybe introduced himself as a friend of Ben Franklin’s – easy to believe because Ben got around – and in the course of some colonial chit chat suggested that Paul might get together with Sam and the two of them might want to bury a time capsule. I mean, why not? Then Ben’s ”friend” might have said that he just happened to have a time capsule in his carriage, parked right outside, and Paul was welcome to it.

Of course, by now you realize that the “friend” was really an alien and what he was offering Mr. Revere was, in fact, a time capsule, but not the kind Paul was thinking of. No, this alien artifact was a cunningly disguised time collector. What a time collector does, as you must surely know, is collect the bits and pieces of time that nobody is using – a nanosecond here, a fortnight there – and just kind of store them until they’re needed, a bit like a Christmas lay away plan. And that’s what the container that Paul and Sam buried has been doing for the past 219 years: collecting.

Now, for who-knows-what reason, the alien has returned. To do that – this is a matter of celestial mechanics – he’s had to reveal a bit of his dark matter home, (He was probably hoping that the folks at Keck were looking the other way.) Why come back now? My best guess is that one of his pals who lives here on Earth communicated across the void and told the pseudo Ben friend that the capsule is to be opened this week. Then? The collected time whooshes out, a mighty tidal wave of chronology, and carries us through the rest of the century, a span full of dangers, some of which could obliterate us. Finis. Kaput. The End. But the time wave will deposit us safely in 2100 and all will be well.

And think of all the Christmases we won’t have to celebrate.

 

John Ostrander: TV Midterm Report Card

Well, we’re now in the Christmas doldrums for TV. The regular series are on hiatus until January or later. A couple of columns ago I discussed which shows I was anticipating or not (So How Was It For You?) and this seems a good time to revisit them and give my evaluations.

Warning: there may be spoilers sprinkled here and there. You have been warned.

The Flash – my favorite in this group. Grant Gustin is doing good work as Barry Allen/The Flash and the supporting cast is good. The writing is also first rate and they keep adding little nods to DC continuity that pleases the Old Fan in me.

Grade: A

The Blacklist – The show has kept my attention and James Spader as main character/anti-hero Red Reddington is worth watching all by himself. I thought the premise would get old fast but I find it holding up.

Grade: A-

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The show has gotten a lot more complicated and more imbedded in Marvel continuity. Is that a good thing? Depends on your own taste. More characters have been added but a few were killed off in the finale. They’re taking a hiatus until March and, in its place they’re bringing in Agent Carter. It’ll pick up Captain America’s “best girl,” Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell in a series about the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. It takes place after the events of the first Captain America film. The two series appear to have ties to one another and I think it’s an interesting experiment.

Grade: B+

Arrow – There’s some interesting stuff going on here and they’re capable of taking twists and turns and surprising me. They also take a lot of characters and ideas from DC continuity. My problem with it is that it wants to be Batman and I don’t think that’s who Green Arrow ever was. Still, it’s worth watching and, every so often, Amanda Waller shows up. A skinny Waller, true, but she still puts change in my pocket.

Grade: B

Gotham – This may be my most controversial judgment. Lots of people love the show but I’m not one of them. I don’t hate it but it’s not must see for me. I’m not really interested in any of the characters. Frankly, it needs Batman but Bruce Wayne is a kid at this point and Bats won’t show up for ten years and I doubt the show will go that long.

Grade: C

Constantine – The show is creepy enough at times but it isn’t really setting me afire. I like it okay (although some folks – and critics – hate it) but it, too, is not must see viewing for me. The title character just isn’t snarky enough to suit me. He needs to borrow some of James Spader’s attitude from The Blacklist. Matt Ryan is okay as Constantine but they’ve made the character a little more haunted by his past. They want us to like him. Spader doesn’t give a damn if you like Red Reddington or not and thus is a more compelling character. Charles Halford is good as Chas and I’d like to see more of him but Angélica Celaya is vapid as Zed.

There’s a lot pf questions as to whether or not the series will be back for a second season. NBC isn’t commissioning anything beyond the first 13 episodes so it’s doesn’t look great although everyone connected with the show keep making positive noises. I guess we’ll find out in January.

Grade: C-

Castle – sadly, once my favorite show is now running on fumes. The characters don’t have the same life and sparkle that they once did and some of the plots have just stunk. If ABC announced the show’s cancellation, I wouldn’t be too sad. Or surprised.

Grade: D

So that’s my scorecard at half time for the season. Your mileage may vary.

 

Dennis O’Neil: Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

Well, I guess I was wrong and I guess I’ll take whatever heat there is, unless I can think of somebody else to blame. We refer to last week’s column in which I predicted that the CW televised enterprises, Flash and Arrow, were about to commit Crossover: that is, begin a story in one show and end it in the other. I jumped to a conclusion. What the programs in question really committed was Guest Star; each hero appeared in the other’s venue but the problems to be solved and the adventures to be had and the bad guys to be vanquished were unrelated.

And while we’re on the subject of bad guys… unless I suffered a fairly significant mental glitch somewhere between eight and nine last Tuesday, the Flash and company perpetrated a melodramatist’s sin by catching the villain off-stage and thus depriving we eager onlookers of what would naturally be the story’s (exciting) climax. We hear that the evil dude is at large and then there’s a brief scene in which he’s behind bars and then on to other concerns. I’ve been guilty of giving the antagonist short shrift in a story or two, mainly because I was more interested in other elements of the narrative so, being guilty of the same sin myself, I am throwing no stones. But this sort of thing is questionable technique and maybe we should all avoid it in the future.

Okay, that’s a quibble and on the bright side, the Flash-Arrow guest stunt put Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Arrow’s the charming and comely Felicity Smoak, on my screen twice in one week and that buys forgiveness (and yes, dammit, I know she’s young enough to be my great-grandchild.)

(Regarding Felicity: If she were canonized, would she be holy Smoak? Something for the show’s writers to consider and then immediately forget about.)

Word is that last night’s “winter finale” Arrow episode will feature a Batman baddie and if true this won’t be the first time Arrow’s people have rummaged in the DC Comics line. Are they trying to build a video franchise, as the company’s long-time arch rival, Marvel, is doing successfully in the world of movies? Motivate us watchers to tune into a DC show and not just another adventure of a super guy? That would be a tricky accomplishment, I think, and they’re probably not attempting it. No, they’re probably doing what the rest of us are doing, using what’s available to them and hoping that it works. Making it up as they go along. Okay by me. That’s what we and our various ancestors have been doing for about five million years and counting and, what the hey, it’s gotten us this far.

Dennis O’Neil: Crossovers – And That Ostrander Bozo!

Before we get into this week’s topic, if we ever do… Who does this Ostrander bozo think he is? In a recent Facebook post, he told the world that he was about to start preparing a holiday meal. He was preparing to do this only about a month after undergoing bypass surgery.

Well. It so happens that some 12 years ago I had some bypass action and a month later, was I cooking up a feast? You kidding me? A month later I was mostly lying around catching up on my sloth. Wasn’t in the kitchen, wasn’t taking out the recyclables, wasn’t down here in the office tapping at the keyboard. Nope. Just sprawled on the couch, being torpid.

But Ostrander is being a chef and doing a weekly column and for all I know, writing comic books and for all I know, swimming the Hellespont. I have to admit, I’m a little hurt. I guess I expected better from a fellow midwesterner.

Spoiler alert: completely different subject.

Which is this week’s crossover event. Not in your newest comic book. Crossovers in comics have become so common that they hardly qualify as worthy of notice, however much marketing departments might wish it were otherwise. But crossovers between television programs remain still relatively rare.

Before we soldier on, a bit of clarification: a crossover is not a mere appearance of the lead character from one venue in another lead character’s venue – Batman popping up in an issue of Superman, for example. That’s a guest appearance. A crossover happens when a story is begun in one place and ended in another. Lex Luthor blows up Gotham City in Detective Comics and Superman pastes it back together in Action Comics. As noted, pretty ordinary in panel art but not elsewhere. But not unheard of. A few weeks ago, some evil stuff was done in an episode of the venerable Law and Order SVU and the story wrapped in Chicago PD and if memory serves – and won’t that be the day! – an oldie, Homicide: Life on the Street, once did a similar stunt with the Law and Order franchise.

Now, the crossover trope has, in a way, come full circle. Characters who started life in comics are doing comics-type crossovers on television. On Tuesday, if my TV listing is accurate, Arrow and some compadres will visit the Flash and on Wednesday the Flash will operate on Arrow’s turf.

I leave it to the brainier among you to mine this programming for significance. I will allow myself only this with which to close: I think that our television brethren know, really know, how to do superhero material in their medium. It’s been a bit of a learning curve as they encountered and solved the narrative problems we comics guys have been bumping into for decades. The comics-begotten shows are all honorable entertainments and one of them, Gotham, is, I think, more than that.

The only question left to ask is, does John Ostrander agree? Or is he too busy building a garage?