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What Happens When Your Comic Is Cancelled Three Issues In? Green Arrow #50 Preview

Tomorrow sees the publication of Green Arrow #50 from DC Comics. But it’s not teh comic that was intended – as it is the final issue of the series. Something that seemed to come as a surprise to the new creative team.

Last month co-writer Jackson Lanzing wrote about the experience on Twitter.

As our short run on GREEN ARROW heads to its conclusion – and the last issue of the series – with issue #50, I wanna tell you a story. I’m gonna try to be blunt about process on a superhero book.

Let’s get our thread on and talk about writing in a shared universe.
When @cpkelly and I first stepped onto GREEN ARROW, it was to do a long run. We had a document that outlined fifty issues. The powers that be supported us, editorial helped us shape it. We were building an engine of new, weird ideas shaded by our social and political reality.
One of those ideas: Jayce Riot, a character who could help our story recall the days of Hard Traveling Heroes – by being so far to the left of Oliver Queen that he was forced into the Hal Jordan role. A new hero for the DCU, an American socialist cut from Seattle rebel cloth.
Another was mapping Seattle into a living, breathing city on the DCU scale – a place with its own visual and criminal identity that could stand next to Metropolis, Gotham, Themyscira, and Atlantis. Seriously, we studied economic and topography maps. Our RPG roots were showing.
But before we got into any of OUR particular madness, it was important that we acknowledge the stories that brought us to our first issue. After all, we weren’t starting at #1 – we were starting at issue #48. The stories that came before mattered – to fans and to us.
Dinah and Ollie had been reunited by @Benjamin_Percy, @juaneferreyra, and @OttoSchmidt72. They’d faced a new Vertigo. Ollie had learned how to balance his conscience & his job. @TheJulieBenson, @shawnabenson and @javierfdezart had activated the citizens of Seattle as vigilantes.
Plus, @TomKing and @Clay_Mann_ had altered Ollie & Dinah’s world fundamentally with HEROES IN CRISIS. To ignore that or sweep it under the rug without really interrogating the effects on the tone of their own book felt wrong. Especially because we loved HiC.
Not to mention the box carefully planted by @ScottSnyder, @FrancisManapul and @MarcusTo in NO JUSTICE – given by J’onn to Ollie, containing something capable of stopping the Justice League. A huge secret Ollie kept from Dinah in the Benson/Fernandez run.

We could’ve tried to ignore this context. Blazed ahead on our own trail immediately and without regard. But the truth is:

That stuff matters to us.

See, when @cpkelly and I met, it was because our mutual buddy David Server would drive us all to the comic shop every Wednesday in college. We’d read our books and talk about the effects across the line. We felt like historians of a fictional world.
We had hoped to end a chapter in that history book for the fans, before we went about writing the next one.
In coordination w/ DC, we soon resolved that issues #48 & #49 would be that ending: “This Is Not Normal.” A plot built from a collision of the Percy/Ferreyra/Schmidt run’s take on Vertigo, the Benson/Fernandez take on citizen justice, and the King/Mann embrace of super-humanism.

That way, Issue #50 could be the kick-off of the Hivemind/Fernandez version of the book.

We’d hold onto the Box from Snyder/Manapul/To’s NO JUSTICE for now. The Bensons did a great job setting a secret in place – we’d try and pay that off down the line.

But about halfway through the production of issue #48, the book was cancelled for a myriad of reasons – not the least of which were the needs of the larger universe. To be clear: I don’t begrudge it at all. We consider ourselves lucky to have contributed at all to GREEN ARROW.

Eventually the word came down: Issue #50 would not be the first proper issue of our run. It would be the last.

We’d written these words on page one of #48, when we thought the run would extend indefinitely. I still think it’s wild how appropriate Dinah’s song ended up becoming.

So now we had a new goal: not to launch our own stories, but to properly end the one already in progress. To take every thread we could – from Dinah’s past to Ollie’s future to the mysterious Box – and make them sing in harmony. To make it count.
This meant re-interrogating at how Ollie and Dinah exited issue #49. How the conflict between Ollie and Vertigo resolved. How the tension between our leads was heightened & intensified, so we could bring about the end.
It also meant that Jayce Riot would need to make an impact quickly in a story that perhaps didn’t have enough room for them. I still hope we did them justice. They demanded it.

Point is: It was a hell of a challenge. But I learned something:

Nothing is ever dead, just transformed. Just because one story works doesn’t mean another can’t. Kill your darlings can extend to literally your entire story and you’ll still be okay – it’s just clay.

Reshape it.

Fact is, Issue #49 is a better issue for the changes that were made to it. And try as we might’ve in another universe to launch a new era with issue #50, the one you all get to read in a month is incredibly close to the one that began all the way back in Issue #1.
I don’t know if there’s a universal lesson there. I know there’s a personal one for me: treat every single thing you write like it’s the one time you’ll get to write it. Every time there’s a restriction, turn it into a step on the ladder. Hell, broaden that out:
Treat everything you do as if it had lasting impact. Especially in superhero comics, cuz sometimes it does.

Because these characters, they don’t belong to you. They play in a cosmic orchestra that existed well before you. You get to take them for a brief moment – be it three issues or fifty – and try to play one piece.

The best you can hope it to play those notes true.

In a month, you can tell us how we did, after you read the final issue of GREEN ARROW.


See you then.

It’s out tomorrow. Here’s a preview of Green Lantern #50.

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Javi Fernandez (CA) Kevin Nowlan
Spinning out of the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE and HEROES IN CRISIS! When a black ops organization discovers Green Arrow’s long-held secret-a mysterious weapon in the form of a box, given to him by the Justice League-they’ll deploy their top undercover agent: Black Canary! On opposite sides of this festering secret, Green Arrow and Black Canary will clash as only two lovers can-by aiming straight for the heart! A mystery six months in the making, the box that can destroy the Justice League will be opened…and the Emerald Archer’s world will be forever changed. This extra-sized anniversary issue of Green Arrow’s life isn’t just ending…it’s burning to the ground!In Shops: Mar 06, 2019
SRP: $4.99

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