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Moving Target

The History and Evolution of Green Arrow

[Sequart Organization]

By Richard Gray

Reviewed by Chris Auman

Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow

Last year (2016) Green Arrow celebrated 75 years of an existence that has seen a lot of changes. Not just costume changes and new facial hair configurations, but changes to personality, attitude and a few leaps onto new platforms as well. Over three quarters of a century, DC Comics has reinvented, repurposed and rebooted Green Arrow across several different media, including the television show, Arrow on the CW Network.

The Green Arrow/Oliver Queen character, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, debuted in 1941. This was the same year Weisinger would have a hand in the creation of Aquaman and Johnny Quick. It was several years after Batman made his first appearance. Although Weisinger would deny any similarity to Bruce Wayne, wealthy playboy Oliver Queen’s secret superhero identity, and young ward/sidekick Speedy, bared more than a passing resemblance to the Caped Crusader.

In the early days, The Emerald Archer popped up in titles here and there, was added as a card-carrying member of the Justice League and at one point in the late 60s got made over into a cranky liberal, pissed off at urban blight and income inequality. The Archer also grew a goatee, some muscles and his costume tightened up considerably. In 1983 the Green Hornet earned his first solo title.

None of this has gone unnoticed by the Sequart Organization who, according to their website, “is committed to bridging the gap between academia and fandom.” They do so here with Richard Gray’s 338-page book Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow.

With a foreword by Phil Hester, whose own run on the comic (along with writers Kevin Smith and Judd Winick), saw the creation of the Mia Dearden, Onomatopoeia and Constantine Drakon characters. The book provides a thorough history of this modern-day Robin Hood through Gray’s well-researched work. It also has plenty of interviews with creators and artists, such as Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Chuck Dixon, Phil Hester, Brad Meltzer and Jeff Lemire.

If you're a diehard comics fan, looking to dive deep into the history and execution of a comic with a long and colorful history, and you're a fan of the Green Arrow in particular, notch this book in your desktop, mobile, device, or your lap and learn a thing or two about a dude who's been around awhile by a guy who knows a whole lot of about this stuff.

Recommended Reading

Green Arrow: A Celebration of 75 Years

After you've finished Moving Targets, the scholarly research of the Green Arrow, get a graphic overview of his long career from the Golden Age of Comics through the current Golden Age of Superheroes in movies, television and...everything else. This full-color book is a celebration of Green Arrow's 75 years and it captures all the eras and many transformations of the Emerald Archer. Each chapter provides some insight into the character's development from Robin Hood “man in tights” to muscley man in tight fitting green.

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