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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
GREEN ARROW #50
(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Javi Fernandez (CA) Kevin
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