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When We First Met – The Cast of Arrow

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In this feature 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!

With the premiere of the third season of Arrow tonight, I thought it would be nice to spotlight the debuts of the comic book versions of the characters from the TV series (and later we’ll take a look at some of the characters debuting this season).

First up are Oliver Queen, the star of the show and Roy Harper, who has yet to be named in the series.

They each debuted in 1941’s More Fun Comics #73 by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, including both their superhero identities of Green Arrow and Speedy and their secret identities…




Next up is Laurel Lance/Black Canary/Dinah Lance.

On the TV series, all three of those characters are different people (as the Canary on Arrow is currently Sara Lance, the sister of Laurel Lance and daughter to Dinah Lance).

In the comics, Black Canary debuted in 1947’s Flash Comics #86 (by Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella), in the Johnny Thunder back-up, as a sort of anti-hero…



At the end of the story, Johnny’s Thunderbolt thinks that this is it for Canary…


But the very next issue, she’s back in the book and is more obviously a good guy…


She eventually just flat out takes over for Johnny entirely in Flash Comics #92, where Kanigher, Infantino and Giella reveal her name and introduce her new love interest, private dick, Larry Lance…


When the character was brought back along with her fellow Justice Society of America members during the Silver Age, it is revealed that Dinah married Larry but then he was killed. She then seems to join the Justice League…






Eventually, in a really confusing storyline, we learn that the Justice League Black Canary is actually the DAUGHTER of Dinah Lance.

After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the whole daughter thing is made a lot less confusing as it is simply that the first Dinah Lance was the Black Canary in the Justice Society and then later her daughter was the Dinah Lance in the Justice League. In Secret Origins #50, we also learn the difference in their names, as the daughter is Dinah LAUREL Lance…


On the next page, we learn the origins of Oliver’s crime-fighting allies, including the surprising comic book origins of Felicity Smoak!

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Good work! May I also add…

Yao Fei (Accomplished Perfect Physician), Oliver’s mentor on the island in season, who first appeared in 52 #6.

Eddie Fyers, CIA agent hired to kill Shado in the comics who ended up killing her father on the show, who first appeared in The Longbow Hunters #3.

Correct me if I’m wrong (it’s been a while) but aren’t those panels shown for Deathstroke Grant Wilson not Slade Wilson?

Edit:: Sorry, ignore me, I realise my confusion. You’re right

Great stuff! I love CW’s Arrow. I hope the lesser characters will get the same treatment here.

RE: Deathstroke, the Terminator,

Why did Wolfman give him two names? I mean, it certainly looks as though Wolfman was fonder of Terminator during the character’s early appearances. Of course, I can see why Deathstroke is more common these days, but the whole business seems rather odd.

Worth mentioning that the full name of Laurel’s father on the show is Quentin Larry Lance. So you’ve already covered his comics origin, sort of.

Also, Isabel seems to have been conflated with Rose Wilson, aka Ravager. Maybe she warranted a mention.

Oh, and in the show, Ivo’s freighter ship is named Amazo.

And isn’t the Russian guy in the flashbacks based on KGBeast? Plus we’ve seen versions of Count Vertigo, Clock King, Shrapnel, and others.

Actually the Brother Blood on the TV show (Sebastian ) made his first appearance in the Outsiders # 6 (2003). And Deathstroke The Terminator debuted in 1980 a whole 4 years before the Terminator movies came out.

Some of the easter egg-naming of characters done on Arrow really makes no sense. Sometimes it makes for cool foreshadowing but a lot of the time it’s just using a name from the comic for its own sake, for fans to just geek out over. Diggle’s wife is a perfect example. I highly doubt she’s going to become anything close to Harbinger, so why bother? It’s a minor nitpick though.

Wow there sure is a lot of sexual tension between Firestorm and Felicity.

Stephen Conway

May 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Sonofspam – Precognitive Oedipal complex?

I know you can’t list everyone, but I would have thought Huntress would rate a mention.

And isn’t the Russian guy in the flashbacks based on KGBeast? Plus we’ve seen versions of Count Vertigo, Clock King, Shrapnel, and others.

I considered the Russian guy and Huntress, but with all of the others it would just be nuts, as the show has featured SO many characters, ya know?

@Sonofspam: LIES! I never touched her! Sure, I might have accidentally walked in while she was getting out of the shower, but that was an accident, I swear!

Actually the Brother Blood on the TV show (Sebastian ) made his first appearance in the Outsiders # 6 (2003).

Good point! I’ll throw that in there.

I was reading the description of Ollie’s equipment–aluminum arrows, spun-glass string, etc.–and wondering if that actually represented cutting-edge quality archery equipment at the time. Anyone got an idea?

It’s amazing just how much of Arrow can be tied to foes/supporting cast of the Titans and the Outsiders.

I’ve missed about half the 2nd season (brother with terminal illness, and since he’s returned home in hospice care he literally took over the TV room to live out his days, with our only DVR), but I kept expecting to see a female assassin show up in the Chinese gangs with a baby by Roy.

@T. – I also doubt Lyla Michaels will ever get powers (unless she becomes a prominent character on the Flash spinoff, which will almost certainly feature a lot more powers than Arrow does) but her codename in the Suicide Squad episode was Harbinger, so that’s something.

@ZZZ I’d hope that The Flash will feature more powers than Arrow does, but the history of super-hero television suggests almost only powers that they can link to the hero’s power or origin.

So expect a lot of “Star Lab pulse” villains but few other super villains.

[I hope I’m wrong]

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