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Stephen Amell has a wide target audience as Oliver Queen/Arrow.

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Green Arrow hits a bull's-eye with fan base

  • Article by: David Betancourt
  • Washington Post
  • May 1, 2013 - 3:40 PM

If there’s one thing DC Comics has become good at, it’s recycling green.

While the Green Lantern has seen a rise in his rank, DC has seen a rise in the popularity of another of its color-themed heroes: Green Arrow — thanks to the success of the TV show “Arrow,” which airs Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on the CW.

“Arrow” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, who also has written the character for DC Comics, notes that though the show is still new, Oliver Queen/Arrow benefitted from having an audience before Kreisberg became involved with the character.

Green Arrow “had a successful run on ‘Smallville,’ ” he tells Comic Riffs. “It was proof that the character had life to him. We’re so proud of the show and the response that the show has received.”

Fanboys can be the life support — or death — of a superhero property. Stray away too much from the source material, or create something too campy, and digital riots erupt. Many producers, however, don't presume that’s the only audience that they’re writing for.

Kreisberg says the key to “Arrow’s” success is the diversity of its audience.

“When we tested the pilot, there was only one person on the testing that knew that ‘Oliver’ was the same character from ‘Smallville,’ ” Kreisberg says. “One of the things that’s most thrilling for us is that we’ve got 14-year-old kids who say it’s their favorite show and 20-year-old women who are excited by it.

“My wife wouldn't know Green Arrow from the Green Hornet, and she thinks it's the best thing I've done. When you look at the numbers, we've got a diverse audience by sex and age. There aren't too many shows on TV that are like that.”

“Arrow” is a mix of new ideas and the origins that took shape in DC’s Green Arrow comic books. Many elements of the comic books are reflected in the show: Oliver Queen, the billionaire playboy (lots of those in the DC Universe), spent years stranded on an island that might as well have been hell, where he picked up archery.

Yet the show has a 21st-century feel, and Oliver is a lot younger — and a lot less frequent with the jokes.

“I think in the comic book, he’s been a bit more outgoing, funny character for quips,” Kriesberg says. “We designed ‘Oliver’ as a character a little more tortured” than the comic-book character.

New Green Arrow writer Jeff Lemire says that the success of “Arrow” is a blessing and that in no way does it affect how he writes the character for the New 52 comic.

Despite the insistence that the TV and New 52 Arrow entities are not meant to be the same thing, Lemire didn’t absolutely rule out a chance that maybe some familiar faces from Arrow could make it over to the comic book.

“At this point, there aren’t any plans,” Lemire tells Comic Riffs.

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