Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Secret Origins: Green Arrow and Black Canary

During the Groovy Age, Green Arrow and Black Canary were about as close to top bananas as second bananas could get. They were extremely popular members of the JLA, co-starred with Green Lantern in Green Lantern/Green Arrow (imagine that!), bounced around as back-up features for Superman in Action Comics and Batman in Detective Comics, and finally got regular gigs as co-features in World's Finest Comics when it went to the "80 all-new pages" Dollar Comic format (issues 244-284, January 1977-June 1982). During the height of their popularity, they both got the special Secret Origins treatment, GA in DC Super-Stars #17 (August 1977) and the Canary in DC Special Series #10 (Winter 1978), and those are the delights we're gonna dig on dis day, dude!

First up, here's Green Arrow's origin by his regular GL/GA creative team of Denny O'Neil, Mike Grell along with inker Bruce Patterson...

Next is the untold origin of Black Canary "The Canary is a Bird of Prey" as related by Gerry Conway (who at the time was the Canary's regular World's Finest scribe), Mike Vosburg, and Terry Austin...

Don't that just clutch ya? Of course, GA and BC's origins have been revised, rewritten, revoked, regurgitated, and repealed many times over since the Groovy Age, but... How can I say this without sounding like an old fogey? I can't, so I'll just say it! ...They've never been improved upon!


  1. Always loved that GA short, since reading it as a kid in a DC digest, and thought Grell's art (regularly ruined by bad inkers elsewhere) seldom looked better than on this occasion.

  2. Patterson, Joe Rubenstein (on Warlord) and Terry Austin (on the Green Arrow in Action) were excellent over Grell. Then there's Vinnie Colletta--why in the name of Joe Sinnott was he ever allowed to ink even one Grell comic--much less almost all of his later Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Warlord work?

  3. I know I'm very late to the party, but wanted to comment on Vince Colletta. He got work as I understand it because he was fast and could meet a deadline. He was fast, according to several sources, because he cut corners by erasing backgrounds and removing figures or turning them into silhouettes. This worked well enough on penciled work like Kirby's that didn't rely so much on delicate detailed line work. On most artists, he committed atrocities. Joe Sinnott is reported to have said Colletta "wrecked" what he did. Len Wein said in an interview that Colletta ruined George Tuska's work on Luke Cage. Steve Ditko wouldn't look at anything Colletta did.

    There are a lot of artists I didn't appreciate as a youngster during the era you cover: Dick Dillin, Mike Sekowsky, Frank Robbins (not just a writer). I've since educated myself (Commercial Art degree) and come to appreciate their work. I even respect Don Heck's earlier work.

    I've never appreciated Vince Colletta on Neal Adams, Mike Netzer, or Mike Grell.

  4. The Green Arrow story is missing the 2nd page. It's pretty important to the story because the thug tells GA the satchel he wants to jump overboard with contains papers that will clear Ollie Queen's name and restore his fortune.



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