As some of you may know, I am a fan of Green Arrow. Throughout his long career, the emerald archer has had many different identities, running the gamut from billionaire playboy (Batman knock-off) to bearded liberal and even Mayor of Star City. His popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years but with the premiere of a weekly TV series GA is a household name.
Personally, I just like the hauntingly similar approach that DC and Marvel took in placing a ‘regular guy’ among god-like beings armed with only a bow and (trick) arrow(s). The devil-may-care attitude and quick wit made Green Arrow popular in the 1970’s, but as a crotchety ‘lefty’ rather than the purple-clad ladies’ man (waiting on Hal’s comment on that one) that Hawkeye was. In the New 52-verse, DC has struggled to find a new identity for GA, with two writers taking a turn but have mainly not succeeded in grabbing readers. It looks like they have finally found a good fit in fan favorite Jeff Lemire.
Already having made his mark with Sweet Tooth, Animal Man and the criminally cancelled Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., the announcement of Lemire as new series writer should attract readers (including myself).
Drat… now I’ll have to start collecting another monthly series.
Jeff Lemire: I am a huge DC Comics’ fan and I love a lot of the characters, but Oliver Queen has never really been on my radar. I didn’t read much of his stuff in the past. For whatever reason, he never really resonated with me. When he was offered to me, I did a double take because my initial reaction was, “No interest.” But as soon as I started thinking what I could actually do with it, I became really interested.
I’ve been writing the book now since July, and I’ve really fallen in love with the character. I haven’t felt this good about a project since I started “Animal Man.” It feels very natural and the direction I have for the book has been embraced by editorial. I’m honestly really excited about it.
Oliver Queen is a different cat from the characters you usually write for DC Comics. He’s not a misfit, per se, like Buddy Baker, Frankenstein or even John Constantine.
He’s pretty grounded in a way that, like you say, is different from most of the stuff I’ve done for DC and Vertigo. I am usually working with horror or magic-based characters. But I think that was the point. I really wanted to do something different than what I’ve been doing. I really wanted to flex some different muscles. I’ve been doing books like “Animal Man” and “Sweet Tooth” and my big, fun team book with “Justice League Dark,” and I really wanted to do a book that was, for lack of a better term, a crime book. I really wanted to do a hard-hitting, thriller/action/crime book like the best Batman/Daredevil/Green Arrow books have been in the past. It was something I was interested in trying and I’m having a blast with it.
And getting Andrea Sorrentino on art was a real win for me, because I really wanted to make a really bold new take on the character, as well, give the book a really distinct look and separate it from the rest of the superhero comics that DC and Marvel are putting out. He’s certainly delivering on that.
In the announcement posted on The Source, you teased the series would feature a big, new mythology and new villains. We’ve just gone through the relaunch of the New 52 — is this another relaunch?
It really is a departure from what happened in the first 16 issues of the series. It keeps that same continuity — all those things happened and we’re not rebooting by any means, but it’s definitely a drastic change in direction and tone. Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t writing #17 as a new #1 in a lot of ways so new readers can jump on and get right into it, but at the same time, not throwing out what Ann [Nocenti] and J.T. [Krul] had done in the first 16 issues.
I really wanted to explore Oliver’s past and build this new mythology around him and his… I’m going to spoil stuff, so I better be careful. But it’s going to be a really big, sprawling mythology that reaches into the history of Seattle and the history of the Queen family. Through that, we will see a series of new and old villains — some new ones that I’m creating and some old favorites that I want to bring back. Like I did when I got “Animal Man,” I went back and read as much “Green Arrow” stuff as I could, and Mike Grell’s stuff really stood out for me — tonally and just the way he approached the character. There is definitely some stuff from the Mike Grell run that I really want to mine and some of those characters will come back.
It’s the kind of work that if things go well, I could do for a long, long run. I have pretty big plans.