Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The King's Arrow!
The Green Arrow was the brainchild of longtime DC editor and infamous bully Mort Weisinger who introduced the lackluster Batman wannabe into More Fun Comics where he held sway for many years even for a time being the cover feature. He was moved over to Adventure Comics where he disappeared into the back pages behind the Superboy feature which was drawn by the same artist - George Papp. Hidden in plain sight, the feature survived the downsizing in superheroes of the late 40's and likely thanks to having an editor as his daddy tumbled along right into the burgeoning Silver Age. But when the Justice League of America was created by Julie Schwartz the Green Archer didn't make the cut immediately. But he did eventually, and it was as part of the the League and later a partner with Green Lantern that Ollie Queen eventually made his bones.
But there was a time briefly in 1957 when Jack Kirby with writer Dave Wood brought a new aesthetic to the world of the Green Arrow, giving the feature a shiny sci-fi polish with some really bizarre concepts. Green Arrow also got his origin spruced up in what became the definitive rendition for many years to come. (To read it go here.) But as quick as it came, the Green Arrow returned to relative obscurity when Kirby left and the reliable Lee Elias took the helm.
The Kirby material has been collected several times by DC over the years. My first encounter was seeing the origin story in various venues, but the whole run got reprinted way back 2001 in a delightful slender reprint which I highly recommend to one and all.
For more money you can have those stories and more in The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One which focuses on Kirby's 50's work.
And for the Green Arrow lover the stories are gathered along with many many others in Showcase Presents Green Arrow from 2006.
I have all three, and I enjoy these yarns almost as much as any the King has ever drawn. He seemed to be really having fun with the Green Arrow feature, giving it an injection of imagination it woefully lacked for most of its time. Green Arrow for a very long time was less than sum of his inspirations of Batman, Robin Hood, and such. When Kirby got hold of him, he caught fire, though briefly.