Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Arrow Poll Results: Everybody Loves Denny!

I'm going to close the latest edition of Gutter Talk's "Green Arrow Month" with a quick review of the results of our latest poll.  This time I asked you to vote for your favorite chronicler of Green Arrow's adventures.  Unlike previous polls, you were allowed--nay, encouraged, even--to vote for multiple candidates.  
For the most part, the results were no surprise.  Due to the nature of the question this time, I expected fewer responses, as Green Arrow fans are a small subset of comics readers, and Green Arrow fans who read this blog an even smaller clique.  Thus, I wasn't too disappointed to get only about a third of the number of participants this time out as I did in my last poll about movie Supermen.  
I also expected Dennis O'Neil to be at or near the top of the results when all the votes were in.  What did surprise me, however, is the decisiveness of his victory.   O'Neil ended up with 100% of the vote.  Due to the fact that multiple votes were allowed, a few other candidates, including Bob Haney, Mike W. Barr, Mike Grell and Kevin Smith, got a smattering of votes, but everyone, no matter if they voted for several candidates or just one, registered their affection for O'Neil's version of the Emerald Archer.
I guess this isn't much of a surprise after all.  O'Neil did write the fondly remembered Green Lantern/Green Arrow series of the early 70's.
To some today, those stories seem dated and I've even read comments by some people saying that the only reason to read those stories anymore is for Neal Adams art.  Adams art is stunning, and it is true that those stories, like any work of art, are very much of their time, and they are not without flaws.  They tend to be somewhat heavy handed and often preachy, and Green Lantern often comes off seeming not just hopelessly naive, but just plain stupid.  It seems as if O'Neil didn't really like Hal Jordan and he appears uncomfortable with the space opera aspect of the character, which he plays down, keeping the stories, for the most part, literally down to Earth.  
It's clear, to me at least, that O'Neil was much more interested in writing Green Arrow.  Oliver is the real star of the series during O'Neil's tenure, no matter what the indicia may have stated, and the real reason, in my mind, that these stories continue to be worth reading.  Yet, O'Neil didn't make Ollie perfect.  Witness his reaction to his ward's drug use.  First, he slaps Roy around a little, then throws the kid out on the street, and convinces himself that he, as the boy's parent, was in no way responsible for his adopted child's problems, despite having pretty much abandoned him to travel around the country "looking for America."  Still, Ollie somehow manages to retain our sympathy in that story.   What emerges in O'Neil's stories is a flawed, but still heroic and likable character.  
For my part, while I may have first seen Green Arrow on SuperFriends, it was O'Neil's GL/GA stories that began my life long love for the character.

To put it simply, O'Neil defined the modern version of Green Arrow.  All who've followed him, from Elliot S! Maggin to Mike Grell to Kevin Smith, and even J.T. Krul, have merely been building on the foundation that Dennis O'Neil established. 
That's it for the 2011 version of  "Green Arrow Month."  There was, by the way, one more Green Arrow post I was planning, comparing GA to Daredevil, but it never quite gelled when I sat down to write it.  Perhaps if I can make it work, I'll present it at a later date.  If I have enough ideas for more posts on GA, I might just do yet another "Green Arrow Month."

1 comment:

  1. Take the lowered numbers of this month's poll results as a hint. Among your regular readers, not nearly as many chimed in with opinions about GA as did your other polls. I think this means it's time to give Mr. Queen a rest for awhile. Even though your devotion to the battling bowman is something unique about you, I personally do not want to see this blog turn into just another obsessive fan site. One month a year is more than enough. It's high time for a change of pace.