Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanging The Green #0 - The Brave And The Bold!
Without doubt one of the most significant series of comics in the history of the medium are those featuring the team of Green Arrow and Green Lantern as written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Neal Adams. These stories famously brought a new sense of realism and relevance to a form which was then as always looking for new ways to connect with an ever-diminishing audience.
I want to take some time and take a closer look at these important and finely crafted stories over the course of the next few weeks. But as with many a story, the beginning is not always where you expect, and that's the case here.
Green Arrow, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp debuted in the Golden Age pages of More Fun Comics. And for many years following the team of Green Arrow and Speedy battled crime with bows and quips with a nod to the classic heroics of the legendary Robin Hood. They were a somewhat lackluster duo who nonetheless managed to stay in print throughout the years, something only Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman accomplished. They even were part of the Seven Soldiers of Victory along with other DC small-timers.
For a time the great Jack Kirby took over the series and gave powerful sci-fi juice to the feature which ambled around from More Fun Comics to Adventure Comics to World's Finest Comics.
There were efforts to keep Green Arrow in the public eye with membership in the Justice League of America and later shots at team-ups in The Brave and the Bold.
But nothing seemed to make the Emerald Archer step out.
That is until budding superstar Neal Adams got his mitts on the character in The Brave and the Bold #85. In a story scripted by the always reliable but often peculiar Bob Haney, Oliver Queen dons a new costume and grows his famous beard for the first time.
Immediately he goes from a drab Robin Hood wannabe to a slick modern hero who is as potent as his arrows if not more so.
The story is a typically offbeat Haney affair with both Batman and Green Arrow revealing their secret identities to the same psychiatrist. Both heroes are torn between their costumed responsibilities and the seemingly greater good they can do as their rich high-profile roles as Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen. Wayne has been made a stand-in Senator who has a crucial vote for a necessary crime bill and Queen has a development which is crucial to the welfare of countless down and out citizens. Both are blocked by a villainous tycoon. Ultimately both manage to fulfill both roles successfully and realize that they can best help the world as both citizens and heroes. The psychiatrist conveniently uses hypnosis to wipe his memory.
Later in Justice League of America #75, Denny O'Neil plays with the personality of Green Arrow, making him much more irascible and committed to the needs of the common man and woman.
This is in no small part to the fact that Oliver Queen has lost his fortune.
More lean green adventuring next time as Hal Jordan hits a rough spot.