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It’s “Green” Arrow

March 1, 2013


I am a life-long comic book fan. I had the privilege of growing up during the silver age and buying, what are now expensive, high-demand issues of Marvel and DC comics right off of the rack for 12¢. I’m not embarrassed to say that I dig super heroes, especially the ones I grew up with. This blog isn’t typical of what I normally want to post, but regardless— I’m going to use it for a rant. Here goes…

The CW’s rendition of the iconic Superman character in Smallville was a guilty pleasure of mine for many years. Stubbornly, I watched each episode shaking my head in misery as I saw the self-imposed motto “No tights. No Flights” implemented week after week and season after season. Clark ran everywhere at super speed wearing ordinary street clothes that boasted bold primary colors. The CW wasted, in my opinion, one of the best actors to ever portray the man of steel — Tom Welling. Only a few scant inches shorter than the great Christopher Reeve, he nonetheless looked exactly like Clark Kent and would have been amazing to behold in the garb of the Son of Krypton. We’ll never know, as even the series finale never actually gave us a look at Welling in costume. Every shot of Superman was CG and every scene that actually showed the young actor as Superman was shot in a tight close-up.

Justin Hartley played Green Arrow on Smallville, and while he did the best he could with the role, the character was marginalized by playing second bowstring to the title character. I always had the feeling that the producers really wanted Bruce Wayne and Batman to be the supporting character on the show, but that they had to settle for a pretty boy rendition of the emerald archer.

All that crap aside, the CW’s new series Arrow suffers from almost none of Smallville’s obnoxious shortcomings. There is so much about the show that is either right or too cool to be wrong. Stephen Amell is joy to watch in this series. His portrayal of Oliver Queen is layered—melding stoicism, anger, rage, loss, pain and sorrow all wrapped up in a superbly fit body that moves like a martial arts master. Each week, his performances are physical and intense, bringing the emerald archer (or any DC character for that matter) to life as never before.

They get so much right. Yet my biggest gripe is the obvious distain they have for the character’s name “Green Arrow.” While we had to suffer through horridly ridiculous nicknames for Clark’s alter ego in Smallville—the worst being “the red-blue-blur”—this series uses names like “The Vigilante” (not horrible), “The Hood” (just okay) and sometimes “The Archer” (acceptable) and never even uses the series title “Arrow.” In fact, during a dinner scene, John Barrowman’s character, Malcom Merlyn (sigh) suggests the mysterious vigilante be called “Green Arrow.” What is Oliver’s response? He says, “Lame!”

Oh, yeah? “Lame?” May I suggest that comic book fans unite and give the middle-finger salute to the producers who don’t mind making money gleaning plots and concepts from a super hero character’s four-color-paneled adventures, but show contempt for what they deem as embarrassing. And apparently, the producers find referring to the emerald archer by name as repugnant as letting poor Clark Kent wear his famous uniform and sore through the skies like a bird or a plane.

Sure, I’m happy that they chose Mike Grell’s costume concept and eschewed the Robin Hood hat that the Golden and Silver Age archer wore (even the legendary comic book artist Neal Adams’ rendition of Green Arrow’s hat would look ridiculous). But there is nothing wrong with the name “Green Arrow!”

When I talk about the series to other people and suggest that they should check it out, I always refer to the character as Green Arrow. Always. Damn the producers—the character is Green Arrow.

Perhaps it’s an edict from DC comics itself, as I think about how the TV series portrait of the character is decidedly more vicious. This version of Oliver Queen has no problem terminally skewering assassins and killers and leaving their arrow-ridden bodies lying in the streets and gutters. Perhaps DC doesn’t want the name Green Arrow associated with this harder and edgier character. If that is the case, while I can understand them wanting to protect one of their classic heroes, I say, “Hey, DC, we can handle it, okay?

Will someone please grow a pair at the CW and let the character portrayed in the TV series “Arrow” be called by his actual name? Not “The Vigilante.” Not “The Hood.” Not “The Archer.” Not “The Greenish Blur.” Not “That Robin-Hood-Guy.” Not…well, I could go on, but I won’t. Call him Green Arrow. That’s who he is. Other than that, you’re doing a great job of putting Oliver Queen up on the TV screen for us. Keep up the good work.

There, I feel better now.

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  1. sarah permalink

    despite your talk arrow will never reach the results and duration, 10, Smallville! Arrow mediocre show with a mediocre rating: 1.0. 0.9.

  2. Sara, you are the first complete stranger to ever comment on one of my blog posts. Thank you for that! As for Smallville, how can I argue with the longevity of that series? It speaks for itself. Tom Welling, as I said, was awesome. I don’t think they will EVER find an actor who will look more like Clark Kent and Superman than Tom Welling. My problems with the show aside, I got a kick out of seeing their take on numerous DC characters—the wackiest being the Wonder Twins and my favorite being the Legion of Super Heroes. As for ARROW? Well, only time will tell I suppose. Thanks again for your comment.

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