Welcome to Opening Panel, a series where we tell you the best place to start with franchise comics. Arrow is back with its sixth season. If you want to flashback to the comics that inspired the show, look no further.
Comics Based on the Show
There are several series created as tie-ins to the show. During season one, there was the aptly titled Arrow. The first story was written by DC CCO Geoff Johns and the producers, two of whom outlined stories for the series. Available in two volumes.
Later came Arrow Season 2.5, written by series producer Marc Guggenheim. This series took place between seasons two and three. It’s much better than its companion series, The Flash Season Zero.
Lastly, Arrow: The Dark Archer delves into the untold history of Malcolm Merlyn. Written by Merlyn, John Barrowman, and his sister Carole E Barrowman, who have written novels together before. The most interesting of the three series, it actually adds to the Arrow mythos as opposed to just telling stories that are *kind of* in the universe.
Green Arrow Year One
Year One is a good entry point into the DC Universe version of Oliver Queen. Rich playboy Oliver Queen is betrayed by his only friend and abandoned on a seemingly deserted island. Freeing himself from the trappings of his past life, he learns how to use a bow and becomes truly happy. He then finds the island is inhabited and its people are enslaved by a drug lord, China White.
From Lein-yu to China White, to the design of the flashbacks, artist Jock and writer Andy Diggle’s fingers can be seen all over the series. The show’s John Diggle is named after the series writer, Andy Diggle who along with artist Jock, also did the acclaimed series, The Losers. Available in paperback and digitally.
Mike Grell’s Green Arrow
Mike Grell’s Longbow Hunters is a more serious take on the Emerald Archer. This dark and gritty tale had Oliver Queen leave the high concept adventures of the Justice League to take on street crime.
With him is his partner in life and crime fighting, Dinah Lance, the Black Canary. They move to Seattle and take on a serial killer, the Yakuza as well as drug lords.
Grell launched an ongoing series, which is available in paperback and digitally. The series is a huge influence on the show, with elements such as Ollie killing, not being called the Green Arrow, and fighting street thugs introduced here.
While a great series, it should be mentioned that Dinah is sexually assaulted in Longbow Hunters and the impact of it is felt through the ongoing series. If that’s something you’d rather avoid, there are lots of other Green Arrow books to read.
In the New 52 reboot, Green Arrow barely resembled the Oliver Queen fans knew. Despite runs by superstars Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Swamp Thing), Andrea Sorrentino (Old Man Logan, Secret Empire), and Arrow producer Andrew Kreisberg, it was overall, a very mixed series.
When DC launched their Rebirth initiative, Green Arrow got a jolt of life. Once more quippy and politically motivated, Oliver Queen reunited with his great love – his goatee. Also, he and Black Canary get back together again for the first time (in this universe). All in time to face the death of Oliver Queen.
Writer Ben Percy (Teen Titans) brings Oliver back to his roots but keeps him moving forward with the collaboration of Otto Schmidt. Bringing in elements of Arrow, the New 52, and classic Green Arrow, the team has made the definitive Green Arrow for this era. Available in paperback and digital. Percy also wrote volumes 8 and 9 of the New 52 series, but those are independent to this series.