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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – The Life of Roy Harper

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at some various firsts in the history of Roy Harper, based on a request by Travis Pelkie.

Roy Harper, Speedy, debuted along with Green Arrow in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941.

His name, Roy Harper, is introduced on the next page…

Speedy first met the Teen Titans in 1966′s Teen Titans #3….

He helped them once more as a guest star and then, in 1969′s Teen Titans #19, while he is ostensibly a guest star…

Aqualad leaves in the issue and while Speedy makes it like this is just a temporary thing…

He just never leaves. He stays with the team for the next 24 issues until the series ended at the end of 1972.

Also during 1972, Green Lantern #85 famously shows us the beginning of Speedy’s drug problems…

In 1976, Speedy returns to the Titans in Teen Titans #44…

I still love how pissed Kid Flash is that Speedy is back to get in the way of Wally’s attempts to woo Wonder Girl.

In The Best of DC #18 in 1981, Roy meets the New Teen Titans and we first learn that he is now working for the government…

In 1983′s New Teen Titans #27, Roy meets up with the Titans for the first time in their own book…

In #32, we see more of that government connection…

Also in 1983′s New Teen Titans Annual #2, we meet an assassin named Jade…

who is introduced later in the issue with her codename, Cheshire…

In 1986′s New Teen Titans #20, we get a major reveal…

The next issue explains their connection further…

In the end of the issue, we meet Lian…

In 1988′s Action Comics #618, Roy gets custody of Lian…

In 1993′s New Titans #97, Roy takes on a new identity, Arsenal…

In 1993′s New Titans #100, we finally meet Lian Harper as she was for the rest of her comic book life (you know, actually looking like a half-Asian kid), wwhich sadly ended a few years back with her death (I won’t show you that)…

In 2007′s Justice League of America #7, Roy changes his name from Arsenal to Red Arrow…

In 2010, after his daughter was killed and he lost an arm, he went back to Arsenal…

After the new 52 reboot, he regained his arm and is mostly just going by Roy Harper, although Arsenal is his official codename…

25 Comments

In 1993?s New Titans #100, we finally meet Lian Harper as she was for the rest of her comic book life (which sadly ended a few years back with her death. I won’t show you that)…

By “as she was for the rest of her comic book life” do you mean the first time she appeared looking even semi-Asian? Because I saw some old comics with her (Teen Titans, Action Comics Weekly) and she looked red-headed and Caucasian in all of them and I was wondering when the visual shift happened.

Also, man is that Barretto art great. Why didn’t he become a bigger star? I actually liked his work more than Perez’s. Also, is that Nick Cardy and Carmine Infantino art up there also?

Everyone in the Benes pages looks like a plastic mannequin.

By “as she was for the rest of her comic book life” do you mean the first time she appeared looking even semi-Asian? Because I saw some old comics with her (Teen Titans, Action Comics Weekly) and she looked red-headed and Caucasian in all of them and I was wondering when the visual shift happened.

Yeah, the Asian thing. I edited it to make it clearer.

T: Yep, that’s Cardy (1960s stuff) & Infantino (Best of DC issue). I don’t know who provided the 1976 art: I can’t recognise the style without Googling it (and not to my taste anyway…).

I know there were lots of comic-book archers back in the Golden Age–were they first? I notice the opening story treats using arrows against crime as perfectly routine.

Everyone in the Benes pages looks like a plastic mannequin.

Given how inauthentic the dialogue and emotions feel from the writer, the stiff, lifeless art is strangely appropriate.

know there were lots of comic-book archers back in the Golden Age–were they first? I notice the opening story treats using arrows against crime as perfectly routine.

Nah, Green Arrow didn’t even have that spark of originality going for him when he came out in November 1941. He was preceded by Fawcett’s Golden Arrow (Feb 1940) and Quality Comics’ Alias the Spider (May 1940), both of whom are now also owned by DC. But the first archery-themed comic book superhero was Centaur Publications’ The Arrow, who debuted way back in Sept 1938.

Thanks, buttler.

Cardy did some good work on the original Titans run.

1983…when random characters were being contacted by The Monitor and he seemed to be more of a bad guy, before COIE…

interesting for seeing that roy spent most of his existance with the titans then with green arrow plus always wondered if it was shown on panel that Cheshire told roy about having Lian and then him meeting her for the first time before he was given custody though roy kind of went through the ringer after lian death and thankfuly you did not show any pannel of his swinging a cat around

The original Green Arrow logo was pretty awesome.

I feel like articles like these are a little silly considering the reboot.

I admit I only checked this out to see if you went with “And here is the first time Roy Harper is swinging a dead cat.”

Articles like these show the REBOOT to be silly, not the other way around.

Given the murderer’s MO in that first story, I assume Steve Rasputin’s in for an unpleasant evening.

1976-Don’t remember the penciller, but that is Pablo Marcos on inks.

Close! Marcos on pencils, Bob Smith on inks.

When I get a second to read through all this, I’ll comment more, but damn, Brian’s so good, according to the date and time up top, this post went up BEFORE I sent him the email about it!

HE’S READING MY MIND!!! AHHHH!!!!!

Seeing those old Titans comics really made me long for better days. Especially when you got to the bit where he hasn’t got an arm and Lian’s been stuffed in the fridge (way to stand up against THAT one, Gail Simone). Instead of rebooting, why don’t they just go back and examine comics like THESE to see what they’re doing wrong? That annual with Cheshire in particular left me breathless as a kid. Such good comic-booking.

Incidentally, I’m sure I have that story you say is in “The Best of DC #18″, but I’m equally sure I have no comic book with that title. Was it reprinted somewhere, or something?

Incidentally, I’m sure I have that story you say is in “The Best of DC #18?, but I’m equally sure I have no comic book with that title. Was it reprinted somewhere, or something?

They later reprinted the Best of DC #18 story as well as the DC Comics Presents #26 preview story in an issue of Tales of the New Teen Titans (#59, I believe).

Since they are out of continuity, they are even more imaginary than the New 52 but articles like these remind us of the kind of stories Geoff Johns/Jim Lee/DC editorial are trying to recreate for the next generation of readers/consumers. I agree with Paul that many (but not all!) the Reboot versions are silly in comparison to their predecessors, especially, the Teen Titans characters. Roy Harper isn’t a favorite of mine but the fact that he’s had decades of real published adventures where he was changed in bits and pieces gives him more genuine nuances than a year-old character with 5 years of untold backstory.

Thanks, Brian!! That was it! Wondering about that was driving me crazy.

Finally got around to reading this. Cool stuff. Thanks Brian.

I think the fact they they thought it was a good idea to kill Lian of all characters was probably a sign of where DC was headed, and how badly they would fall.

“Yes, lets make Roy NOTHING but a douchebag….”

I really enjoyed this as an overview. Especially right now with Roy Harper becoming such an integral part on Arrow.
I also agree with many of the fans who have said that this overview shows how sad/silly some of the Reboot Characters are compared to the canon and depth that many of them have had.
Not all, I loved the first New 52 Aquaman book, I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene in the restaurant.

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