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Tag Archive: Andrew Kreisberg


cw-superhero-fight-flash-arrow-legends

Where DC Entertainment has been limping along in its efforts to bring superheroes to the big screen in recent years, it has ruled the airwaves on network television thanks to the CW Network and the creative team of Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg.  What Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have failed to capture–the same interesting, exciting, rich stories, character development, action, and fun of comic books–these guys have delivered, tapping into what fanboys and fangirls want most.

Are their shows perfect?  Definitely not.  The budget for television series doesn’t allow the freedom of big budget movies.  The stories adapted to the small screen have also changed many things from the comics and when the characters themselves have fans of multiple versions of each character… well, you can’t be all things to all people.  Yet, DC on TV has fared better than on film.  We’d all rather see the relationships build between superheroes, even if they are the B-team superheroes, than costly explosion-filled disaster movies posing as superhero stories.  Yes, we’re talking about you, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises.

The CW Network has cornered the market on the best of DC on TV.  And this Fall with the addition of Supergirl from ABC, we now will have a superhero series every night from DC and Warner Bros.  If DC really had its act together it would see that Fox’s Gotham switched from Monday nights to Fridays, for a full weekday schedule, but that doesn’t look like it will happen.

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This past week, to preview the new season and what characters we can look forward to, including–at last–Martian Manhunter (the last remaining key Justice League character to make it to the modern live-action DC Universe) the CW released a follow-up to last year’s Superhero Fight Club video.  Check it out:

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dc-comics-flash-season-zero-tpb-1

CW’s The Flash TV series is what superhero shows should all strive to be.  Mainly, it’s about fun, with a young actor (Grant Gustin) playing a fresh version of a classic character trying to get his footing with his strange, new powers.  Like the original 1980s version of the series, this series is about Barry Allen working with a small group of friends to do good in his smaller world of Central City.  Unlike the edgier, groundbreaking Arrow TV series, The Flash doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As with Arrow, DC Comics and the CW partnered, as it should, to bridge the TV series with the comic books that the series was derived from.  It’s here, in the print and digital pages of The Flash: Season Zero, available this week in a trade edition, that we are introduced to one of the most vibrant and fun versions of The Flash to be published by DC Comics in years.  Again, not taking the stories and characters too seriously, the writers of the TV series have written the further adventures of Barry Allen that both amplify the humor and camaraderie found in the TV show, but this incarnation also informs the TV superhero–filling in gaps that don’t make it to the TV scripts.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

In the pages of The Flash: Season Zero we see what would be more difficult to translate to the moving image, like King Shark, that villainous land shark.  This is done beautifully and in his unique superhero world style by artist Phil Hester, who returns to the realm he illustrated for several years in the pages of Green Arrow (and even returns to his roots by including a cameo of Oliver Queen in one story).  Hester’s pencils and Eric Gapstur’s inks along with some great color work by Kelsey and Nick Filardi provide a visually interesting read for audiences of all ages.

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Arrow Volume 1 trade

This week Stephen Amell, star of CW’s Arrow, again expressed his interest in being part of the movie version of the DC Universe, and that he could stand up against Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and fans would be good with it.  We agree, and in fact, we think Season Two has so far exceeded our expectations, and Amell’s performance as Oliver Queen far surpassed what Cavill did with Superman this summer in Man of Steel, that the producers would be wise to consider including Green Arrow in the Batman vs. Superman movie.  Much of Amell’s success in his role comes from his visible belief in his character, his physical skill and acting ability, all which comes through on the small screen. The rest of the series’ success is the good writing, and fans of the TV series who can’t get enough each Wednesday have had another option this year via a weekly comic book digital tie-in series that was reprinted in twelve monthly issues.

Grell Arrow art panels

Consisting of 37 chapters that read like short stories, Arrow the comic book was created by writers from the TV series including Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg as well as guest writers, and drawn by classic Green Arrow artist Mike Grell and a host of other DC Comics artists including Sergio Sandoval and Eric Nguyen, and photo covers and new art covers by Mike Grell, Phil Hester, and others.  The book expanded the series by giving fans insight into each week’s TV episode.  One week you could find backstory on Helena Bertinelli, the next a flashback of John Diggle’s experience as a soldier, and some weeks featured Oliver’s encounters back on the island.  With so many opportunities to touch on Oliver Queen and the series supporting characters, the title turned into an anthology series with plenty of potential.

Grell interior art Arrow series

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Arrow logo Season 2

Last month we learned that Summer Glau had joined the Season Two cast of CW Network’s Arrow series, slated to play Oliver Queen’s business rival Isabel Rochev in a recurring role.  Since then Arrow’s creators have revealed even more about Season Two.

Enter The Flash

First, the big news is bringing in fellow Justice Leaguer Dr. Barry Allan aka The Flash in at least three episodes next season, with the possibility of a spinoff series of his own (although we wonder how you can possibly beat the original The Flash TV series, which remains not only at the top of the superhero TV efforts but also qualifies as one of the best appearances of a superhero in any medium).  According to series executive producer Andrew Kreisberg at a press briefing when The Flash reveal was announced, “When you first meet Barry Allen, he’s just a forensic scientist working for the Starling City Police Department so, he’s just an ordinary man when we meet him.”  We won’t see The Flash until the 8th episode of Season Two, and no actor has yet been announced for the role.

New Black Canary

A new Black Canary

Wait a second.  Laurel Lance is Black Canary, right?  Or at least Dinah Lance was Black Canary for decades in the comic book history of the character.  Turns out CW revealed actress Caity Lotz (Mad Men) has been tapped to play Black Canary on the series.  So what gives?  Kreisberg has been interviewed and he seems to be sidestepping the question while seeming to reveal that Laurel Lance will be Black Canary, but somehow after Lotz fills the role.  Sounds to us like Laurel may take the mantle from Lotz down the road, much like Laurel took the Black Canary title from her mother in the historic DC Universe.  The Arrow writers can juggle the DCU characters but won’t move too far off the mark.  We think fans will not be happy if they don’t get to see Katie Cassidy as Black Canary.

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JLA 1 cover by Finch courtesy of DC Entertainment

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was way back in August that we first previewed the very first images of the new Justice League of America here at borg.com.  DC Comics has had a big month with big changes–first we reviewed Jeff Lemire beginning a new Green Arrow story in the monthly series, then we were introduced last week to Tatsu, a new recruit in a new Justice League whose superhero name is that of her sword, Katana.  And if you’re not keeping up we chatted a few days ago about DC Comics’ two trade editions available for the plain ol’ Justice League of the New 52.  And that’s not even getting into the cancelled Justice League International monthly title and the awesome Justice League Dark we’ve raved about here earlier.

Today DC Comics put the America back in the Justice League.  Sure, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg)–the League with all the egos–will continue as a monthly series, but the rest of the original JLA superheroes we all know and love are back in their own separate league.  They may not be the World’s Finest but writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch have launched a new story, “World’s Most Dangerous.”  And if Issue #1 is any indication I think we’re in for a better league with the new JLA.

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Arrow Issue 1 regular cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

We were ecstatic to see the the cover artist on the giveaway comic book at the CW Network booth this summer at San Diego Comic-Con following the panel for the new TV series, Arrow.  None other than Mike Grell, who not only worked on the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run from the early 1970s that rebooted Green Arrow into his modern incarnation, but also spent more time with the character as writer and artist than any single person in Oliver Queen’s 71 years as DC Comics superhero.  But now Mike Grell is back as artist on the Arrow tie-in comic book, which is being released every Wednesday in digital comic form for 99 cents, and then sold as a combined print comic with the three stories from the month for $3.99.  Grell drew Chapter 1 of 3 of Issue #1, released this past week, and will also draw Chapter 6 to be printed in Issue #2 in four weeks.

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Up until this week 13 confirmed DC Comics characters had been announced for the CW Network’s new TV series, Arrow, premiering October 10, 2012: Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), his girlfriend Dinah Laurel Lance/Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), colleague in crime fighting The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw), the villain Deathstroke (not yet released), Speedy (formerly an alias of multiple characters but now Oliver’s sister Thea, played now by Willa Holland and referred to in the pilot episode by this nickname), the DCU villain Deadshot (Michael Rowe), Green Arrow Year One’s China White (Kelly Hu), Merlyn now Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), Queen Industries CEO Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), Judd Winick and Phil Hester’s Constantine Drakon (Darren Shahlavi)–a former nemesis of Oliver’s son Connor in more recent GA stories, Firestorm series character Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), and Mike Grell’s creation Moira Queen, Oliver’s mother (Susanna Thompson).

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What better way to celebrate borg.com’s 100,000th site visit than share some news about one of our favorite superheroes?  Hollywood writer Jason McClain alerted me to this news item, as it’s no secret I’m one of the biggest Green Arrow fans around.  The news?

The CW Network has ordered a TV series pilot featuring Green Arrow that will, happily, not be related to the Smallville series’ spin on the character.  The producer/writers tapped to create the pilot are Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, the two writers responsible for last year’s Green Lantern movie, and ex-writer for the Green Arrow/Black Canary comic book series, Andrew Kreisberg.

Kreisberg took over the comic book series after Judd Winick moved off the GA/BC title.  He teamed with artist Mike Norton after Cliff Chiang left the series.  I have read Kreisberg’s take on Green Arrow and Black Canary, and I liked it.  Kreisberg wrote some good modern stories featuring the trio in both a lighthearted and action-packed way.  He clearly knows the roots of these characters and their strong relationships with each other, and hopefully he can convey that into the script for the pilot and get it onto the small screen.  He also once acknowledged that there is no other superhero team out there that is a married couple, that that IS Green Arrow’s story.  Right on!

Here are some unsolicited recommendations for Kreisberg, Berlanti and Guggenheim to make the series get off the ground right:

(1)  You might view your TV show as an ensemble show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  An ensemble genre work usually is better than a solo character-focused show (think about the failed series The Cape and why it didn’t work, for example) because although we all loved the title character of Buffy Summers, we loved supporting characters Willow and Xander even more.  And like the best Batman stories, letting the lead hero take the back seat once in a while is a good thing.  At the same time, I didn’t watch Smallville because Clark never donned the supersuit.  Show Green Arrow in action with the bow once in a while, but just not in every scene.

(2)  Take the best of the Green Arrow canon and it will easily translate to today.  The “Hard Traveling Heroes” storyline that put both Green Arrow and Green Lantern on the map and made us want to know more about these characters was a road trip across America.  Something like the Winchester boys moving across country with every new episode in Supernatural.  You might laugh, but On the Road with Charles Kuralt, the CBS segment where he took an off-the-beaten path tour of America, lasted decades for a reason.  Viewers liked to see where he would go next.  You’ll have an unlimited number of settings for your story, too, if you keep the team moving, assuming they let you work with all three characters.

The Kid, Etta, and Butch--archetype for Ollie, Dinah, and Hal

(3)  Everyone likes a good “buddy picture.”  I have mentioned before how the “Hard Traveling Heroes” storyline reflected the 1969 world view, and 1969 entertainment.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid came out in 1969 and was still in theaters when Denny O’Neil wrote the classic Green Arrow and Green Lantern crossover.  Did some of the hit movie rub off on O’Neil?  Who knows.  If you pay attention, you’ll see that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a buddy picture with three buddies, almost a “love triangle,” including some brotherly love between Butch and Ross’s character Etta Place.  That’s right, Katherine Ross’s role as the Kid’s girlfriend, and Butch’s pal, was as important to the film as each of the title characters.  Black Canary/Dinah Lance could have that same crucial role in a TV series about Ollie and Hal.

(4)  Even if Warner Brothers wants to keep Hal Jordan/Green Lantern out of the series, you must include Black Canary/Dinah Lance.  Don’t botch this by pulling ideas from the Dinah Lance of the short-lived Birds of Prey series.  It was good for what it was.  But you want dark-haired Dinah that sports the blonde wig used to go incognito, not the stilted friend of Oracle.  Green Arrow/Oliver Queen can go solo from time to time, but only when he can return to Dinah is he at his best.

(5)  Stay away from the DC 52 Green Arrow storyline and the obvious idea of having Oliver participate in some form of anti-big business Occupy Wall Street movement.  Sure, in real life, Ollie would be leading up the OWS marches, but I think most viewers don’t want a show about superheroes in current politics and as much as everyone hates greedy corporate America, more personal storylines will appeal to modern viewers.   The current series Leverage does this very well.  Think local.  Don’t have Ollie take on all of the world’s problems, have him take on each human problem bit by bit, maybe town by town.  It worked brilliantly for Adams and O’Neil.

Original Mike Norton art from a story under Kreisberg's turn as writer for Green Arrow/Black Canary

(6)  Oliver Queen is not Bruce Wayne.  He’s much more layered.  Queen is not a billionaire.  He lost all his money, and that allowed him to get interesting.  Don’t even waste time on his backstory as billionaire as it will only emphasize his role as a one-time obvious Batman knockoff.

(7)  Read up on your Mike Grell era of Green Arrow stories.  Grell was an ex-government intelligence guy who ended up writing spy novels and comic books.  He took the Neal Adams/Denny O’Neil Green Arrow and Black Canary and brought them into downtown Seattle and injected the backwoods survival skills and mixed it with street smarts.  He made Ollie the Urban Warrior.  This itself harkened back to the iconic Green Lantern Issue #76’s story whereby Green Arrow first takes on a greedy slumlord that Hal Jordan was unintentionally actually helping.

Personal sketch of Ollie and Dinah by Mike Grell

(8)  We know from past interviews that Andrew Kreisberg likes the role of Green Arrow and Black Canary as Oliver and Dinah–husband and wife.  Consider building on Mike Grell’s series, where they run the Sherwood Florist in Seattle by day.  And what the heck, work in Mia and Connor if you can.  And if you must update costumes, you gotta bring back Ollie’s goatee.  As Mikel Janin proved with his excellent recent update to similarly costumed Zatanna, Dinah’s fishnets can be optional.

(9)  The Flash TV series had a lot going for it.  One was the age of the actor in the lead roll, John Wesley Shipp, former soap actor.  He wasn’t 20-something.  He was 35 and looked like he could be a superhero in real life.  If you’re staying away from Smallville (a great move) then give us heroes who have had time to gain some wisdom, not some newbies who have no way of practically knowing all they would need to know in real life to get through their trials on the show (the TV series Bones is a big example of this glaring absurdity with its only-young cast that has knowledge you could only gain by being twice the age of the cast members).  Look for actors in their 30s or or even early 40s.

(10)  Suggested title?  If you take any of the ideas above, how about Hard Traveling, Hard Traveling Hero, or Hard Traveling Heroes?  Of course there are always other former storyline titles like Quiver.

I have no idea what limitations will be placed on Kreisberg & Co. as they work out the script for the TV series pilot.  Maybe they have no intention of including Hal and Dinah, but if they can, it could be something new and different and very fun.

If you want to see Andrew Kreisberg’s stories while writing for Ollie and Dinah, you can buy compilations, including: Green Arrow/Black Canary: Enemies List, Green Arrow/Black Canary: Big Game, and Green Arrow/Black Canary: Five Stages.

And Andrew, if you need help with story ideas, drop me a line.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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