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Snark Free Corner for 3/31

Welcome to the latest installment of your breath of snark free air!



Green Arrow – Superhero or Mike Grell version?

The Mike Grell version of Green Arrow was notable in that it took Oliver Queen basically out of the standard superhero format, and made him more of an urban vigilante.

The kind of guy who would shoot an arrow through the arm of a gun-toting crook, but wouldn’t hop aboard a teleporter to shoot handcuff arrows at Kanjar Ro.

Which version do you like better?

Pros of Grell:

A guy whose only power is shooting arrows does not always fit in with the Justice League.
The Urban Vigilante route allowed for more realistic stories.

Pros of Superhero Green Arrow:

Grell’s stories aren’t even all that out of place with modern “superhero” comics, so there doesn’t even need to be a change to tell some of Grell’s stories.
Yes, shooting arrows is not much, but it is part of the suspension of disbelief that goes with superhero comics – you just have to presume that it makes sense for a guy shooting arrows to be around.

What do you folks think?


As always, here is the game. I show three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three characters share, locale, creator, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these comics. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond just the covers.

A cool point to the first person to figure it out!

Good luck!








Who is more acrobatic – Catwoman or Tim Drake?


This week’s game is as follows…

Find me a Justice League comic cover (either Justice League of America, Justice League America or Justice League) that only features J’onn J’onnz on the cover.

Here is an example (which you can’t use!)….


Remember, only one cover per commenter!

I’d say good luck, but this is the easiest cover game I’ve had in months, so I dunno…;)…


Remember, tell me who it is and what number clue gave it away!

1. This character was created by Gerry Conway.
2. This character is a DC character.
3. This character has been a member of the Justice League.
4. This character started his or her own business.
5. The character has a cat

Who is it?

Well, that’s it for this installment of Snark Free Corner.

Hope you had fun!


Cover theme game-
They all feature DC characters interacting with characters/properties who came to DC through other companies?


I really liked Grell’s version of Green Arrow….very gritty and seemed to fit the character more. More realistic …for a overall pretty realistic character.

I still collect Green Arrow…one of the few books I still buy….but he does seem out of place at times in a super-hero setting unless the writer forces the other super-heroes in the story to play on Ollie’s home turf.

Emerassed to say I never read Grell’s stuff until Kevin Smith relaunched Green Arrow….I got addicted to the character during that time and on whim picked up Grell’s Long Bow Hunters…..and I was hooked.

Ha, I was going to say the covers all feature a character who has turned evil during a crossover for no discernible reason – but I guess that would have been too obvious.

Who is it? I’m guessing it’s Power Girl.

Power Girl

Clue #4

I was guessing Firestorm up through #4, then #5 made me realize you meant Power Girl.

tom fitzpatrick

April 1, 2008 at 5:15 am

Mike Grell’s the definitive Green Arrow of all time.
No doubt.

I was going to guess Firestorm for who is it, but I think Dinah of Black Canary is more likely.

Yeah, Grell’s Green Arrow is te one for me.

And he was on that title forever, wasn’t he? 80-some issues?

Mike Loughlin

April 1, 2008 at 5:47 am

Grell made me a fan of Green Arrow, so I’ll take his work over anyone else who’s written the character.

As for the approach, however, I like seeing Ollie integrated into the DCU, being the League’s “conscience” and a social activist super-hero (although not handled as ham-fistedly as he was in the ’70s). I thought the writers of Justice League Unlimited understood how to write Green Arrow in the context of a shared universe, and still make him stand out. I hope James Robinson can do the same.

bad link, cesarvp

Green Arrow was a cypher until he turned hippie, and that characterization works best playing off of a group. I rarely bought any GA solo comics, but he was a favorite in the JLA. I also think that playing up the Robin Hood street-level thing in his solo title is the way to go. Best of both worlds.

But in general, the fewer trick arrows the better.

Even though I was a fan of the Silver Age GA, I never took him seriously. OTOH, I could see criminals being afraid of the Mike Grell Green Arrow. Afraid long enough to lose the advantage of having a gun.

The Grell version was far better as a character.

Cover Game:

JLA Annual #1:


Who is it? – Power Girl, as others have said. Took me until #5. I initially thought “It can’t be Firestorm, right? Too obvious.”

I think the ideal way to go with GA is to go with a mix of Grell-style and big-guns style. There’s nothing inherently wrong with GA in the Justice League, because he plays well off the other characters – but in solo books (or GA/BC), make him more street-level.

Also, less trick arrows. You want regular sharp arrows, and you maybe want explosive arrows and gas arrows, and that’s about it. Boxing-glove arrows and handcuff arrows and glue-bomb arrows are all kind of stupid and don’t offer much beyond nostalgia value.

Cover theme game: a character on each of those covers has changed shape and has been a big blob at some point. Plastic Man, Wonder Woman and Supergirl (when she was Matrix…sigh) all had some sort of story where they couldn’t hold their normal form. And that may be a Durlan on the Wonder Woman cover, too.

I dig superhero Green Arrow because the feasibility of a man shooting arrows as a crime fighter always seemed to lend itself to a grander theatricality of flashy superheroics rather than grim and gritty. Though I could see a cool Arsenal series like that since his marksman and wacky “anything is a weapon” style could be more realistic….for comics.

And I want to use the same cover for the Cover Game since there was originally a different version with the Manhunter’s eye being pecked out by the raven. Good times.


To me, while the Grell version is nice (and elements of that have stuck around), you need to have GA in superhero mode because it’s such a great characterisation when put with the rest of the JLA. Sure, the power set doesn’t really match up with what the JLA faces, but a clever writer can find ways around that (without turning Ollie into the ultra-competent machine Winick went with OYL).

As for the better acrobat question: Catwoman. Tim’s whole deal is that he’s *not* a perfect physical candidate to be Robin like Dick was, but that he’s more likely to take on the detective aspect of Batman. It’s why the supporting cast was so effective post-NML; Dick embodied the crimefighting / adventuring aspect of the Batman character, Batgirl / Cassie was the martial arts part of the character, and Tim was carrying on the detective tradition. You could see a little bit of Batman in each of them, but it highlighted why Batman was so significant because he could do it all.

Cover game: What to choose, what to choose . . .

Let’s say JLA#248:


April 1, 2008 at 9:25 am

Tim is smart enough to sneak up on Catwoman but not the acrobatic match for her or Grayson.

The realistic nitty gritty Green Arrow is awesome. Every writer(as far as I’ve read) who has created for this character starting with Denny all the way to Diggle, I think, have done some of their best work. Unfortunately that’s all I’ve read so far.

Heck, even Wonder Woman kinda-sorta came to DC from another company.

She started off as an All-American Publications character while Batman, for example, was a National Allied Publications character before All-American was bought out by National to form DC Comics. Characters from the two companies crossed over on a fairly regular basis (in the JSA, for instance) even before the 1944 merger, so it’s a subtle distinction.

I like how the three examples in the Cover Theme are from three distinct companies: Charlton, Fawcett and Quality Comics. Heck, if Phantom Lady or the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle were in there, Fox Feature Syndicate could have snuck in as well.

Justice League America #88. Technically it’s J’onn, when he had temporarily assumed another identity:



Andrew Collins

April 1, 2008 at 12:12 pm

The JLA Oliver is fun and all, but I much prefer the urban vigilante of Grell’s run. That was my introduction to the character and how I still envision him. The stories were deftly told by Grell, who made the topical stories compelling and exciting, all while staying true to Oliver’s character. Grell balanced action and drama well, with some romance and comedy (witness the Warlord crossover) mixed in too. It’s a shame that only Long Bow Hunters ever got reprinted. The whole run of Grell deserves to still be around, especially since much of it is still referenced in the most recent GA and current GA/BC series, such as Oliver’s infidelity, Dinah’s assault and her inability to have children, their time together in Seattle, the introduction of Shado, and Eddie Fryar’s involvement in their lives.

The Green Arrow question is a hard one. I like Grell’s Green Arrow a lot, but I prefer Ollie as a grumpy ’70s ultra-liberal rather than a more conservative ’80s vigilante type. Also, I had the misfortune of reading Grell’s Green Arrow very soon after reading the complete run of Jon Sable Freelance and while both series are great, I can’t help thinking Ollie is Jon Sable in Archery drag (I hope that didn’t come off as snark!)

Either approach to Green Arrow can work in the hands of a good writer. Grell wins because his Green Arrow was one of the most interesting DC runs of the period. The more realistic approach went along with the more “adult” tone of the series, which I think was the aspect the Grell really exploited to make the book one of the standouts at the time. I second the motion for a collected edition; it stands the test of time, and more people should read it…

John Trumbull

April 1, 2008 at 5:08 pm

On Green Arrow: Tough call.

Pros of Grell: Grell actually has knowledge of archery, which hardly any of the people who write/draw the character have. That’s a big plus.
Shado, a cool femme fatale antagonist/ally.
That awesome Secret Origins story of Ollie at the costume party & The Green Arrow: The Wonder Year miniseries.
Girlfriend who fights crime in leather.
The Howard Hill connection.
Over 40.
Easier to believe in.
A good costume redesign.
Bitchin’ goatee.

Cons of Grell: “Realistic” super hero stories often don’t use the super hero genre to its best advantage.
The infidelity.
The ditching of the (admitedly flimsy) secret ID.
GA started killing bad guys willynilly, not just in extreme circumstances. And somehow never got arrested.

Pros of Superhero GA: Beams up to an orbiting satellite & hangs with other super heroes.
Best friends with Green Lantern.
Girlfriend who fights crime in a blonde wig & fishnets.
Girlfriend has a sonic canary cry.
Calls Black Canary “Pretty Bird.”
Fights the occasional cool supervillain like Count Vertigo.
Secret ID.
Was drawn by Jack Kirby & Neal Adams.
Trick arrows
Classic costume.
Bitchin’ goatee.

Cons of superhero GA: Killed off & resurrected in overly-convoluted story.
Generally lame supervillains.
Was around for roughly 25 years before gaining any semblance of a personality.
Was a knockoff Batman for most of those 25 years.
Some of those arrows were pretty damn goofy.

Hmmm… After much contemplation, I must give it to… Superhero Green Arrow! Why? Satellite with superheroes & girlfriend with fishnets. That trumps most everything. :)

Cover game: JLA Annual #1… fantastic hard-boiled noir-inspired cover by Gary Gianni featuring J’onn


Power Girl with clue 5.

Personally I think the whole gritty idea fits Green Arrow much better, but I didn’t enjoy any of the Mike Grell stories I read so I’ll go with the Superhero version.

Cover game: JLA #13

I’d have to go with the Grell version of Green Arrow.

Somehow, being over-40, having a social consciousness and being an urban vigilante sort of fit together. Even with the O’Neil-Adams stuff, the pieces never quite fit together for the “super-hero” version. For one thing, the trick arrows are hopelessly dated as a device.

That said, O’Neil and Kevin Smith did a great job with Oliver Queen’s relationships with Dinah and Hal during their respective runs. GA is also always welcome on the Justice League for his unique perspective.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Green Arrow, he’s always come accross as more real than many other non powered Superheroes. Admittedly most of the better traits came with O’neil & Adams revision. ie facial hair, chilli, an eye for the ladies and more seriously a social conscience. Grell’s revison was an extension of that approach with the move to Seattle, Hooded costume, ditching the trick arrows, and keeping the age, which thereby allows you to reference continuity. During that period there were some great crossovers with the Question, which really gave the character the best of both worlds, and even during Grells series for me the highlights were where it keep the street level approach but still tied in to the wider DCU, the standout example would be the Warlord Crossover priceless. I think Kevin Smith did a great job of meshing these two strands of the character together, and I do think its possible to have the best of both worlds so to speak, so after rambling on Grell or Superhero? Yes :)

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