Sunday, October 12, 2008

Green Arrow - finally

So, I've finally managed to get round to putting up Green Arrow stuff. My
main thoughts on these issues now center round the gorgeousness of the covers from the Mike Grell run. Have a look:
(I"m having a bit of trouble with the layout of this thing, and can't seem to get the pictures to sit on the right next to my text)

So, apart from the covers, what else did I take from this run? The Mike Grell issues had the most intelligent letters column I've ever seen. This was quite obviously inspired by the adult way in which the comics were written, practically every story arc dealt with one social issue or another. There were no crazy shape shifting aliens, no superpowers, just a normal guy looking after his family and city. The series had a mature readers tag until issue 63 and as such had some pretty heavy themes running through it. The stories treated the readers like adults. there was sex, but it wasn't gratuitous. There was honesty and the characters were all treated like real people - no gimmicks.
Back to the letters column, nearly all the letters on Grell's run were well thought out, debates over a specific views would last for months. Arguments, disagreements were conducted in a civil way. These weren't debates over characterisation or minor petty trifling things, these were debates about wars, animal rights, marriage, the environment, everything that the comics themselves looked at.

Dinah didn't get a lot of screen time unfortunately, not even as Black Canary. Now while I can see the argument that it's a GA book, not a BC one, you'd expect their costumed lives to intersect somewhat more often than they did. given the constant flood of letters urging that we see more of BC I can't help but wonder why she wasn't given more time. And was this Grell's choice or the DC editors? The editor of the letters page certainly seemed to be supportive of more BC.

But again, the issues featuring Dinah dealt with her very well - her recovery from her ordeal in The Longbow Hunters, finding out Ollie had a child with Shado and her then catching him cheating on her again with their lodger.
When Dinah met Shado she thought Ollie had consented, and with this knowledge she realised where the fault lay - i.e. with Ollie. She could have been portrayed as a screaming harpy but Grell didn't do that.
Having said that, Shado did rape Ollie and it's really creepy reading her rationale for doing this. This rape wasn't acknowledged until very recently, in a conversation between Dinah and Babs, before Dinah and Ollie got married. It should have been dealt before, by Mr Grell.

There was no gratuitous cheesecake in this run. All the women with panel time were there for a reason, and had a part of the story. Compare this to when Mike Grell left and pretty darn near immediately you have women in cheesecakey poses and with no real role in the story. Just there as background material for the readers to leer at. You also got aliens and weird baddies and the feel changed immediately to a more cartoony story. I preferred the grown up, mature readers feel myself.

Ollie got himself killed because he couldn't bear to lose an arm and not be able to shoot. So his pride killed him. Idiot.

I loved the introduction of Connor, but his GA was not as good or important to me as Ollie's GA. That's a personal thing. I enjoyed watching all the women Connor met eye him up, whilst he was oblivious. Entertaining. And creates an entirely different dynamic - for once the women aren't passive. That's good to see. I've read some views that Connor may bi, but from this reading, I don't see that. I just reckon he doesn't want to sleep around.

Now I've got to get hold of the Green Lantern/Green arrow run. But first, I'm working my way through the Connor Superboy books. And reading Beauty by Sherri S Teppler - really really good. A reworking of the Sleeping Beauty story and it's wonderful.

I also read The Boy In The Striped Pajamas last week. It's about Auschwitz and is told from the point of view of a 9 yr old German boy who's totally innocent of what's going on. His dad runs Auschwitz and the whole family has moved there and the kid thinks that people living in the camp have cafes and restaurants and he can't understand why they don't wear jumpers when it gets cold.
This could have been a trite terrible book but it wasn't. I didn't get too emotional reading it but that's because I didn't let myself - last time I read Primo Levi books I had nightmares. The book has just been made into a film, and I would recommend picking it up (the book not the movie, books are always better).

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