Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1

First Published: January 2006

Contents: Green Arrow stories from Adventure Comics #250 (July 1958) to #269 (February 1960), Green Arrow stories from World’s Finest Comics #95 (July-August 1958) to #134 (June 1963), #136 (September 1963), #138 (October 1963), and #140 (March 1964), Justice League of America #4 (April-May 1961), and The Brave and The Bold #50 (October-November 1963), #71 (April-May 1967), and #85 (August-September 1969),

Key Creator Credits: Jack Schiff, Ed Herron, Gardner Fox, Bob Haney, Jack Kirby, Lee Elias, George Papp, Mike Sekowsky, and Neal Adams

Key First Appearances: William Tockman/Clock King, Bonnie King/Miss Arrowette

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 5

Overview: This Showcase volume collects the Silver Age stories of the Emerald Archer from Star City. Green Arrow was introduced in 1941 in More Fun Comics #73 (Aquaman also debuted in that same issue!). For the next 25 years, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) fought crime in offbeat adventures that are clearly products of their times.

In many ways, Green Arrow was a duplicate version of Batman during this era. Green Arrow was a millionaire playboy who takes on a young ward to share his life fighting crime. Green Arrow had an ArrowCave, an ArrowPlane, and an ArrowCar. The local police would summon Green Arrow by launching a flaming green arrow into the night sky. Green Arrow’s trick arrows, such as the Boxing Glove arrow or the Net Arrow, were the equivalent of Batman’s utility belt. Many stories contained here feel like rewrites of Batman stories. For example, the “Batman of All Nations” story (Detective Comics #215, January 1955) appears to be the inspiration for “The Green Arrows of the World” story (Adventure Comics #250, July 1958).

Also included in this volume is Justice League of America #4, when Green Arrow joins the league, becoming one of the most regular members of the team for the next 25 years. The best highlight of the book is the final issue, The Brave and the Bold #85 when artist Neal Adams redesigned Green Arrow’s costume and introduced Ollie’s trademark goatee.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Green Arrow has always been one of my favorite characters, and I have a certain fondness for his original Silver Age costume. These stories are fun, but not great. Better Green Arrow stories can be found in the Denny O’Neil/Neil Adams run on Green Lantern when Ollie lost his money and found a political voice.

Footnotes: Green Arrow is one of the five DC Comics characters that was continuously published from the Golden Age of Comics to the Silver Age of Comics. The other characters are Superman, Batman (and Robin), Wonder Woman, and Aquaman.

Adventure Comics #250 is considered as the first issue of the “Earth-1” Green Arrow. Anything published before that is considered to be adventures of the “Earth-2” Green Arrow, who served as a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

If you like this volume, try: Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell. Issued in 1987 as a prestige format miniseries, Grell redefined Green Arrow into a more realistic character. The trick arrows were put away, the hooded costume was introduced, and Green Arrow relocated to the Pacific Northwest. While this series gets overshadowed by Moore & Gibbons’ Watchmen or Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, both of those stories took place outside of DC continuity. Longbow Hunters took place in the current DC Universe, and its changes were felt in other books. This miniseries served as a launching pad to give Green Arrow (under the continuing direction of Grell) his own ongoing monthly comic book.

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 1

First Published: December 2005

Contents: The Brave and the Bold #28 (March-April 1960) to #30 (July-August 1960), Justice League of America #1 (October-November 1960) to #16 (December 1962), Mystery Into Space #75 (May 1962)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky

Key First Appearances: Snapper Carr, Starro, Weapons Master, Amazo, Professor Ivo, Despero, Kanjar Ro, Doctor Destiny, Professor Amos Fortune, Appelaxians, Felix Faust, Demons Three, Lord of Time, Doctor Light,

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 2

Overview: The Justice League of America – the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes! From across the DC Universe, the seven heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter) band together to defeat villains too great to be handled individually.

The JLA were introduced in The Brave and the Bold in early 1960. After three issues, they graduated to their own book. Based out of a cave in Happy Harbor, the heroes would protect Earth from alien invaders, magical sorcerers, and diabolical scientists. Many long-lasting villains were introduced during this run, such as Starro, Amazo, Despero, Felix Faust, and Doctor Light. All of their adventures were captured in a journal file by the JLA mascot, Snapper Carr.

When the JLA got their own book, Batman and Superman made very few appearances in the title during this run. Being featured in so many books of their own at that time, they could give the other heroes a chance to shine. If they did appear, they often were absent from the front cover of the comics. To help increase there roster, the JLA added new members in Green Arrow (Issue #4) and the Atom (Issue #14).

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I’m torn on this volume. Historically, this is an important volume. For over 25 years, JLA brought together DC’s biggest stars together in one book. According to urban legend, the success of the Justice League title prompted Timely (Marvel) Comics to react with their own group title, Fantastic Four. Despite its achievements, these stories, especially the ones that feature a minor villain that is never seen again, can be hard to get through. The early days of the JLA have been revisited many times, due to continuity changes, so the origin told here is not the origin being used today. Quite honestly, the dialogue is sexist in the way Wonder Woman is portrayed when the group gets together in their headquarters, expecting Diana to serve as secretary, do the baking, and organize the cleaning. Bottom line, I would not say this has to be on a reading list. There are much better examples of the Justice League done right.

Footnotes: The Mystery in Space #75 issue is also collected in Showcase Presents Adam Strange Vol. 1.

The heroes used in this volume represent a mix of Golden Age heroes (Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow) who all stayed in publication from their first introduction, and the new wave of Silver Age heroes (Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and the Atom) that had been introduced within the previous five years.

If you like this volume, try: JLA: Year One by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, and Barry Kitson. Released as a 12-issue miniseries in 1998, it has been collected twice as a trade paperback. This is one of the aforementioned revisions to the JLA origin to match the story continuity of the late 1990s. The story focused on Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Flash, and Black Canary, who replaced Wonder Woman in the new continuity, banding together to form the league. This is a fun read and the Kitson art is pitch-perfect for this project.