Review by C.J. Bunce
Oliver Queen was dead, to begin with.
The average superhero fan today probably wouldn’t know Oliver Queen today but for three events: (1) the modernization of the character by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams in the 1970s, (2) his update to urban longbow hunter by writer/artist Mike Grell in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and (3) the literal resurrection of Oliver Queen in the early 2000s by the partnership of writer Kevin Smith, penciller Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks. No TV series would have arrived without the survival of the character thanks to these stories–reprinted and available in a deluxe hardcover for the O’Neil/Adams stories here, and in paperback reprinted only recently for Mike Grell’s stories here, here, and here. In light of Green Arrow/Arrow’s popularity today being greater than ever before in his 73 year history, it’s only fitting that DC Comics is releasing the third great chapter in the character’s history with Absolute Green Arrow this month.
Absolute Green Arrow, available here from Amazon.com, reprints Issues #1-15 of Green Arrow, Volume 3, in a matte black with gloss hardcover with slipcase in a sharp, over-sized, 9.6 inch X 15 inch format. It includes all of Matt Wagner’s stylish painted covers, previously released introduction by Smith and afterword by Hester, and original artwork in an appendix by Hester. If you ever wonder how much work the inker must conquer, just take a look at Hester’s pencil work and you’ll have a great appreciation for Parks’ inks.
Hester and Parks did shading and shadows like nobody else. Original art seen in full color as published in Absolute Green Arrow.
The first ten chapters form the “Quiver” story arc, and the last five the “Sounds of Violence” arc. This is the entire run of Kevin Smith’s stories for Green Arrow. Phil Hester took over writing and artistic duties for the next several issues with even better stories than found in these early chapters. But these Smith stories present a Green Arrow in a way a bit like Frank Miller played with Batman’s mythology in The Dark Knight Returns. Smith’s Green Arrow is not as innovative as the seminal Miller work, but it’s plenty fun, and each new chapter feels like Smith saw this opportunity to play with DC Universe characters like a kid in a toy store. You’ll encounter the Justice League, memorable encounters with Aquaman and Hawkman, and even a quirky adventure featuring Stanley and his Monster. Former sidekicks Roy Harper and Connor Hawke are here, too, but most importantly Oliver Queen rebuilds his relationship with long-time love interest Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. Difficult to come back from after being presumed dead.
This August thousands of sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero fans will attend the inaugural Kansas City Comic Con, a new comic book and pop culture convention to be held at the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall. Four months away and the show has already booked some great movie and TV guests as well as the very best comic book and fiction writers and artists in the U.S.
Headlining the show will be none other than Jackie Brown herself, actress Pam Grier. Not only is Ms. Grier known for her leading role in Quentin Tarentino’s hit film, but she has also starred in the classic 1970s films Coffy and Foxy Brown, as well as Fort Apache The Bronx, Something Wicked This Way Comes, John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. and Ghosts of Mars, and TV series including Night Court, Crime Story, Knots Landing, Miami Vice, Bones, The L Word, and Smallville.
Many Doctor Who fans will get their first chance to meet Colin Baker, who played the fan-favorite Sixth Doctor on BBC’s original series from 1984 to 1986. Known for his bright patchwork jacket, you may have seen him most recently in the funny film The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, discussed earlier at borg.com here.
In this big year of Star Wars, Kansas City Comic Con attendees will get an opportunity to meet two actresses known for their roles as Jedi Knights in the Star Wars prequels. Nalini Krishan played Barriss Offee, a Jedi Knight and General in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Also scheduled to appear is Orli Shoshan, who played Jedi Knight Shaak Ti, also in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (as well as deleted scenes in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith).
In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like Black Widow artist Phil Noto (as we mentioned here at borg.com yesterday), the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living. Planet Comicon 2015 was no different.
Take for instance Des Moines artist Ant Lucia (pictured above). Three years ago Ant was just beginning to put together great genre characters like DC superheroes and Star Wars characters in a unique retro style of poster art. Flash forward to 2014 and an entire month of cover art at DC Comics was devoted to his creations, and statues based on his DC Bombshell designs are selling off the shelves in every town across the country. Ant’s beautiful designs are second to none, and there’s not a more deserving guy to achieve such success from his ideas.
Other creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who had his own rock star sized line of fans getting his new Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Legendary Starlord series, among other works.
Pictured above are artists Damont Jordan and Bryan Fyffe. Damont had a new “spirit fox” print available that blew us away, and he churned out sketches for fans all weekend long. And we noticed other artists at the Con were coming to Bryan’s booth to buy his framed art for their own homes. Bryan has the best eye for design of anyone we know, and creates a variety of inspired multi-media works. His most recent commercial illustration was for some major franchise properties, as well as the cover of John Renehan’s new novel The Valley. Check out some of his work at his website here.
The biggest pop culture and comic book convention ever in the region begins today. It’s the third annual Planet Comicon to be held in its new venue–the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall. This year is even bigger than last year’s show, with more vendor space and more creators in Artists Alley. Set-up began yesterday morning and continued until late last night.
We discussed some of the media guests previously here at borg.com. You can get a current line-up at the Con’s website here.
Don’t know where to begin? Start here, with this short list creators and attractions to check out:
- Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations, Booth 812
- Elite Comics, Booth 2214 at the Pillar
- Kansas City Costume Company, Booth 928
- Wildman Drinking Horns, Booth 1017
- Writer Jason Aaron, Booth 153
- Artist Rob Davis, Booth 1036
- Author Kevin Dilmore, Booth 323
- Artist Bryan Fyffe, Booth 2740
- Artist Greg Horn, Booth 2730
- Writer/Artist Phil Hester, Booth 536
- Artist Damont Jordan, Booth 2739
- Artist Ant Lucia, Booth 2745
- Writer Jai Nitz, Booth 540
- Artist Phil Noto, on the wall past Booth 2745
- Writer/Artist Ande Parks, Booth 538
- Writer Seth Peck, Booth 139
- Artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, Booth 1436
- Artist Greg Smallwood, Booth 542
- Author Dayton Ward, Booth 323
- Artist Freddie Williams II, Booth 2776
- Artist Darryl Woods, Cosplay Showcase
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale. Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer. In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.
But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time. In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen. Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:
“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character. We’re going to prove that to you.”
The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.
So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie. But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.
It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap. Where can we go from here? Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow. Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled. Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.
It’s a big Con weekend in the Midwest with annual shows in Iowa (see our earlier preview today here) and Kansas. The eighth annual Free State Comicon will be held this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Lawrence, Kansas. It will be held in Building #21 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds at 2110 Harper Street where it was located in previous years. Admission is $5.00.
After a crazy day of an insane volume of fans storming Bartle Hall in Kansas City Saturday for the biggest Planet Comicon event in more than a dozen years of events, it seemed like everyone came back Sunday for Day Two with aisles jam-packed again. And for fans of all things borg like us, it was a banner day, meeting up with the original Bionic Woman herself, Lindsay Wagner, and the current writer on Dynamite’s Bionic Man series, Aaron Gillespie.
First up–Bionic Man cosplay. The idea was inspired by my own large-sized action figure as a kid. Originally planned by DW and me for SDCC 2012, it seemed a great fit for a borg.com tie-in, too. Always looking for something original for other fans to enjoy, we’d never seen anyone re-create Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, at any convention ever, or posted online anywhere. As the idea developed we decided it needed something more–and we moved from the character to the 1970s action figure itself. With bionic eye, inserted arm circuitry, a pair of classic red and white striped Adidas Dragons, the classic red track suit, and the key identifier–the patch that was used as the official fan club badge and stuck on the chest of every Bionic Man action figure, which makes sense for the toy but would never make sense on the show–we had all but one thing left. Decades ago you could find plastic hair at costume or theatrical shops but go searching and you’ll come up empty. So we searched for full face masks that could be altered and came up with a JFK mask that could be cut and repainted, which seemed to do the trick. Add some spirit gum (which may never ever come off my face) and temporarily lose the goatee, we found contact lenses from a UK retailer, made the patch from transfer paper using Web images and interfacing, and temporary tattoo material, and we have the Six Million Dollar Man large-sized action figure. We got some good reaction to it at the Elite Comics Halloween event last year, and when we saw Lindsay Wagner as a guest of this year’s Planet Comicon it was obvious I was going to wear it to the show.
Planet Comicon announced this weekend that advance tickets for Planet Comicon 2013 are now available for sale. This year Planet Comicon is Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at downtown Kansas City’s giant Bartle Hall, a switch from the show’s home at Overland Park International Trade Center from past years. The relocation was the result of the growing numbers at the event in the past two years requiring an expansion to this larger venue.
Use the below link to purchase a single day or weekend pass. There is no limit to the quantities you may order.
ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE
Advance tickets will be sold until midnight on Sunday, March 17, 2013. After that time, they will only be available for sale at the event.
Weekend passes for adults are being sold at a discounted rate of $35.00. All other prices will be identical to on-site pricing.
Advance tickets are available for sale only through Paypal, which accepts all major credit cards and bank debits.
Advance tickets will also be made available soon through the event facility and certain area retailers, including Elite Comics, located at 11842 Quivira in Overland Park, KS.
As the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan I have seen it all when it comes to the Emerald Archer. My preference has always been for the 1970s Oliver Queen by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, but I soon grew to love Mike Grell’s urban hunter version set in Seattle, and later became a believer in Phil Hester and Ande Parks’ run, especially when joined by Judd Winick’s new spin on Speedy.
I spent the entire night awake waiting in line at San Diego Comic-Con this summer to see the preview of the new CW Network series Arrow, about a younger Oliver Queen. I think it is going to be a successful series that will rival the CW’s Smallville or Supernatural. Admittedly I have not enjoyed the first year of Green Arrow in the New 52 for various reasons I’ve discussed here before. So I was looking forward to seeing the Captain Atom team of Judd Winick and Freddie Williams II taking on Green Arrow in the one-shot Green Arrow #0 released this week.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
The seventh annual Free State Comicon will be held this Saturday, September 8th, 2012, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in Lawrence, Kansas. It will be held in Building #21 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds at 2110 Harper Street where it was located in previous years. Admission is $5.00.
The event created by KC Fancon who used to have the catchy slogan “Get your Freak-on at the Free-con” is well worth the five bucks admission and is a fun event focusing on the Kansas City area comic book scene. Featured creators at this year’s show include penciler/inker/writer Ande Parks (Green Arrow, Antman, Capote in Kansas, Union Station, El Diablo, Kato, Lone Ranger), writer Jai Nitz (Kato, Silver Star, El Diablo, Tron: Betrayal, Blue Beetle), penciler/writer Steve Lightle (Classic X-Men, Legion of Superheroes, The Flash), and writer Seth Peck (Fear Itself: Wolverine, ’76). Get sketches of your favorite characters from artist Damont Jordan, and chat about and purchase copies of the newest Star Trek novels from Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward.