Arrow Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
A little over a year ago, I asked, “what do we want out of a [superhero] comic-based TV series?”
This season, DC Comics fans have plenty of material to fuel that debate. I still haven’t seen any of Gotham or Constantine, but I’ve really enjoyed the combination of The Flash and Arrow. With both shows taking a break for the holidays, today I want to see what satisfies and what doesn’t.
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It took me a while to warm up to Arrow. After taking most of last season to catch up — and, as it happens, missing the Barry Allen episodes — I seem to have gotten on board just at the right time. Because I am not a fan of superhero shows that de-emphasize the “superhero” part, it was harder for me to accept that Oliver Queen would skulk around the urban jungle in a hood and eyeblack. That sort of intermediate realism (which now reminds me of the short-lived TV show based on Mike Grell’s Jon Sable comics) somehow requires more suspension of disbelief than a full-on costume and codename does.
To help promote tonight’s episode of Arrow, The CW has returned to the series’ roots, with a one-page comic teasing the search for the latest threat to Starling City, Cupid.
Debuting in the closing moments of last week’s episode, where she immediately proved her deadliness, Cupid (aka Carrie Cutter) was introduced in 2009 in DC Comics’ Green Arrow/Black Canary #15, by Andrew Kreisberg and David Baron. Kreisberg of course went on to co-create Arrow and its spinoff The Flash (although he didn’t write tonight’s episode, “Draw Back Your Bow’).
“I thought that the way Warner Bros. announced the slate of DC movies could have been handled better. I think that someone like Grant Gustin, who has just launched an iconic character like The Flash, to record-breaking numbers — numbers that far surpassed Arrow‘s numbers […] I think that he should have been given a wider berth than two episodes before another actor was announced to play his character. […] I thought that it was shitty that all of this stuff got announced the morning that the ratings — the spectacular ratings — of the second episode of The Flash came in.”
(NOTE: I’m happy to acknowledge the hard work and obvious dedication of the blogger Count Drunkula, whose Black Canary fansite Flowers & Fishnets was a great resource in putting together this post.)
Recent developments on The CW’s Arrow have gotten me thinking about the various twists and turns visited over the years upon DC Comics’ Black Canary. The television series has come at the character from a few different directions, even splitting some of her characteristics among three players. It makes sense for an adaptation of Green Arrow to include at least a nod to his longtime love interest, as traditionally they’ve been one of DC’s most prominent super-couples.
However, Black Canary didn’t start out as part of Green Arrow’s supporting cast, and even a cursory glimpse of her past invites some careful examination. Indeed, for a few years in the ‘80s, the history of Black Canary threatened to approach Hawkman levels of continuity complexity. Today we’ll look back at that history, and specifically at how a shared-universe setting can both screw up and enrich a character.
I don’t know if that’s a byproduct of the anonymity there, but when you’re sorta scrolling through looking at Twitter reactions to the show, they exist at the edge of each spectrum. They’re incredibly negative towards some characters. They’re overwhelmingly positive towards others … I don’t think Twitter’s important.
Think of social media like NSYNC. I think that Facebook is Timberlake, OK? And I think that all of the other forums are the other members of the group.
On the Facebook side, connecting with the fans in that way I think holds a lot more value, holds a lot more sway and it’s just been fun. I’m the same person as I was before I got this job, but this job has given me the platform to have fun and do interesting things on Facebook.
I personally haven’t encountered anything negative on Twitter. People I know have. And I think Twitter does a horrendous job of protecting those folks. When they have a better policy, maybe I’ll go back.”
— Arrow star Stephen Amell, who has more than 2.7 million Likes on Facebook, discussing his social media presence and preferences during a set visit
This fall has been particularly exceptional television adaptations: The Walking Dead season premiere pulled in more than 17 million viewers, while more than 8 million watched the first episode Gotham, making it Fox’s best fall drama debut in 14 years. More than 6 million raced to see The Flash pilot, giving The CW its highest ratings ever. About 5 million are regularly tuning in for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and nearly 3 million for the third season of Arrow.
It’s not limited to live-action series, either: 2 million people watch Teen Titans Go!, and more than 1 million tune in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.
On the big screen, all four feature films starring Marvel characters — X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — each grossed more than $700 million each worldwide. So far, comic book movies have generated more than $3.8 billion dollars this year. While it’s unknown how many of those dollars are from repeat viewings, that’s still a lot of people.
The Twitter account for The CW’s Arrow has released a teaser for the upcoming Season 3 premiere — one that draws serious inspiration from the archer’s DC Comics roots.
The new image features a mock-up of a classic-looking issue of Arrow depicting Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen socking it to his hooded alter ego. The image nails the tone and aesthetic of ’60s comics, from the vintage trade dress to the dramatic dialogue. It’s even appropriately distressed, making it appear as if Amell somehow appeared in a comic older than himself.
Arrow Season 2.5, which debuted Monday, will alternate weeks with The Flash: Season Zero. Set between the second and third seasons of the hit television series, Arrow is penned by executive producer Marc Guggenheim and staff writer Keto Shimizu, and illustrated by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. The Flash: Season Zero, meanwhile, takes place between the events of the pilot and the second episode, and is written by Andrew Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak, with art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur.
The massive Comic-Con International bags are back, and Warner Bros. has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive first look at the Teen Titans Go! bag fans can get at this year’s show in San Diego. The bag features Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven in their chibi-style animated incarnations.
For the fifth year in a row, Warner Bros. Television and TV Guide for a special Comic-Con International edition of the magazine, this time one that’s heavy on DC Comics properties: The set of four flip covers include Batman’s 75th anniversary (drawn by Ivan Reis), Arrow star Stephen Amell, The Flash star Grant Gustin, Constantine star Matt Ryan, and Gotham.
Inside the 88-page issue, there’s even more DC-related content, with the exclusive comic “60 Seconds in the Life of Barry Allen,” written by by Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, a look at Batman’s 75th anniversary, a preview of Grayson #1, previews of the new TV series The Flash, Gotham, Constantine and iZombie, a look at Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! and upcoming DC Nation shorts, and a peek at the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Batman: Assault on Arkham.
This past week (ish), DC Entertainment was so pervasive in the television upfronts, it almost made me forget the company still publishes comics. Joining Arrow on the 2014/2015 TV schedule will be adaptations of The Flash, iZombie and Constantine, as well as the Bat-prequel Gotham. (And hey, that was Caity “Black Canary” Lotz reprising her role as Don’s pregnant-hippie “niece” on Sunday’s Mad Men!) Moreover, we’ve now seen a moody black-and-white photo of Ben Affleck as Batman, standing next to his new Batmobile and ready to dominate the next Superman movie; and The CW has shown us a nifty little clip of the Flash in action.
While I’m prepared to like all of these shows, and certainly willing to give them reasonable opportunities to succeed, once again they remind me that no comic — and certainly no superhero comic — can be adapted to live-action with complete fidelity. Indeed, by taking its cue directly from the comics of the ‘40s and ‘50s, the old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman show was one of the more faithful projects. Likewise, the pilot of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series didn’t go too far from Diana’s earliest adventures in All Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1. However, I don’t think that approach would work these days.
Watching the April 16 episode of Arrow, Dave Jones thought the big fight scene between Slade Wilson and Oliver Queen would look “pretty nifty” as a lightsaber duel. So he transformed the sequence into something straight out of Star Wars, complete with musical score, opening crawl, blasters and cameos by R2-D2, mouse droids and, yes, an Ewok.
The result even received an endorsement from Arrow star Stephen Amell. Watch the video below.
Every year ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman get together to talk about everything in Big Two superhero comics. Watch for Part 2 on Thursday.
Carla: Is it me or was 2013 crazy-busy? There were event comics, new titles, canceled titles, movies (plural for Marvel!), TV shows and video games. It seems like there’s no escape from comics, making it harder and harder to get a general idea of the industry. Some days I kind of envy the indie comic fans as it must be a lot easier to handle comics as they come, as opposed to our gestalt juggernaut that is the Big Two. How much DC business could you comfortably follow before overwhelm set in?
Tom: Well, for starters, I pretty much skipped all of the video game and Cartoon Network developments, because I don’t have time for either area.
What do we want out of a comic-based television series?
At this point in pop-culture history the corporate synergies are so closely aligned, and the fans so plugged in, that we can all come up with various ways to adapt our favorite comics into TV shows or movies. I mean, when I heard about the proposed Gotham drama — lots of Gordon, no Batman, some supervillains — it got me thinking about a half-dozen other DC features that would make passable TV series.
For example …
• Martian Manhunter: that detective’s really an alien shapeshifter with all of Superman’s powers, but he doesn’t know his version of General Zod is also on Earth and looking for him!
• Challengers of the Unknown: living on borrowed time after inexplicably surviving a plane crash, four adventurers solve the world’s weirdest mysteries!
• Adam Strange: it’s Indiana Jones with a jetpack, as an Earth archaeologist finds himself on another planet!
Publishing | This may seem a little inside-baseball, but it’s actually pretty significant: Dark Horse will switch from Diamond Book Distributors to Random House for book-market distribution, effective June 1, 2014. The publisher is sticking with Diamond for comics, but a lot of its line has appeal outside the direct market — the Avatar graphic novels, the Zelda guide — and Dark Horse wants to expand its presence in bookstores. This also makes for an interesting consolidation of manga distribution, as Random House also distributes Kodansha Comics (with which it has a strong business relationship) and Vertical books. [ICv2]
Comics | Superheroes may rule on television and in film, but comics continue to be a niche medium. The Associated Press reporter Melissa Rayworth talks to a comic-shop owner whose customers skulk in on the down low, an opera singer whose friends are surprised she reads comics, and Comics Alliance writer Chris Sims, who does a good job of putting things in perspective. [ABC]