Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

Where, Oh Where
Has My Green Arrow Gone…?

A Brief History of A Long Wait

by Matt Morrison

 Two years ago this month, writer Chuck Dixon announced that he would be leaving the Green Arrow book so that he could begin work upon a new monthly series called “Birds of Prey.” A search immediately began to find someone who could take over the book — and one was found. One called Kevin Smith

    Smith had no experience as a comic writer. He had, however, made a couple of movies: all of which had a popular following among comic readers. His first film, Clerks, a comedy that showed a day in the life of a convenience store clerk, was widely regarded as the most financially successful independent film of all time. At least until Blair Witch. He made the cult hit Mallrats, which is probably the first movie ever to feature a comic-geek hero. His film Chasing Amy featured four characters who were self-published comic writers and made many critics' Top Ten Best Films lists that year. However, Smith did have two things that made him an obvious choice for the job. One was his obvious popularity among comic fans. The second, DC Editor Darren Vincenzo discovered, was a love for the character of Oliver Queen and a life long dream of writing the Emerald Archer.

    Six months later, Green Arrow closed with issue #137 and a special One Million issue, where Connor Hawke (the new Green Arrow and Oliver Queen’s son) had a vision while meditating that long-believed-dead Oliver Queen was still alive. This set the series up to start anew with a new #1 issue, its new writer and the return of Oliver Queen.

    One small problem: a-year-and-a-half later, Green Arrow #1 has yet to be released, leaving many fans disappointed. Many blame Smith for the delays, citing numerous other projects that he has chosen to put ahead of writing Green Arrow. While this has been a factor, there are many other problems Smith had no control over that have delayed the new book.

    The first big problem was Smith’s now infamous problems with finding a new distributor for his latest film Dogma. The film, a religious comedy, began drawing fire from some religious groups even before shooting was finished, much less a finished film suitable for viewing was made. Despite this, Miramax opted to sell the film to a smaller distributor, rather than have thousands of angry zealots boycotting all things Disney (Miramax’s parent company).

    Another cause of delays was Smith’s signing on to write an eight-issue arc of Daredevil. The book, while hailed by critics and fans alike as the best Daredevil written in the last ten years, was also notoriously late. So late that at one point there was a three-month gap between issues. The delays on this book were also caused by a variety of factors, most notably series artist Joe Quesada having a death in the family and Smith’s aforementioned problems with finding his new film baby a home.

    Speaking of babies, Smith also had to take some time off to take care of his newlywed wife during her pregnancy. The baby, a beautiful young girl is named Harley Quinn Smith, after… you guessed it! Joker’s favorite (and only sidekick).

    Joe Quesada also unintentionally caused a little bit of a delay when Smith asked him to do the art honors on the Green Arrow book. The problem was that Quesada had just signed on to do another year as editor of Marvel Comics "Knights" series, of which Daredevil was a part. Not one to back out of a done deal, Quesada said he couldn’t leave his editor job. Smith, a deep believer in giving work to friends who helped him get where he is today (Quesada has as much to do with Smith’s entry into the comic field as Vincenzo), spent a month trying to talk him into reconsidering. It wasn’t all for naught though. Quesada is still signed on to do a few covers for the book once it stars.

    Still, the fault lies not in Smith’s busy shifting schedule but also in an editorial rearrangement at DC Comics. Darren Vincenzo left his editorial position at DC Comics in late 1999. There was a brief time when the fate of Green Arrow was in doubt, due to there being no editor. Thankfully, the task eventually fell in the lap of Bob Shreck, DC’s newest editor. Shreck, a former editor with ONI Press, had worked with Smith before, having been the editor on the Clerks comics Smith wrote.

    So where does that leave us now? Well, Dogma is coming out on tape this month, its distribution problems settled. Mrs. Smith and Lil’ Harley are doing just fine. And Bob Shreck and Mike Carlin have approved Smith’s outline for the first few issues of the series. Shreck has made it clear that the infamous delays of Daredevil will not be a factor if he can help it. Smith too has said there will be no serious delays and the two have agreed to have six issues written before they look for an artist and at least nine issues done and ready before they release the book. The current release date on the book is late 2000/early 2001…. Just in time for the new millennium.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This column is © 2000 by Matt Morrison.
 
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