Top Green Arrow Comics You Can’t Miss: A Must-Read Selection for Fans

July 11, 2023

Image courtesy of DC Comics/FB. The best Green Arrow comics feature Queen’s street justice.

The 2011 comic book film Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds was supposed to be the original starting point for the DCEU cinematic universe. It bombed so hard that comic book movie fans, especially those who favor DC over Marvel, pretend it never happened. Such fans now pretend that 2013’s Man of Steel was the planned starting point. The failure of the Green Lantern film was so radioactive in the cultural zeitgeist that the TV show for the CW’s Green Arrow starring Stephen Amell, which ran from 2012 to 2020, dropped the “Green” from its title so it would not be connected to the film. If the only thing you know about Green Arrow is Stephen Amell, then you need to learn more about the best Green Arrow comics.

Green Arrow is a superhero created in 1941 and was based on the Robin Hood archetype. Green Arrow was never popular as a comic book character until recent decades. 

Long ago, before 2008’s Iron Man created the comic book film boom, there were actual plans for a Green Arrow film to be released. It was going to be called Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max, and would have been about a framed Queen being sent to prison and having to bust out. But the film was never made.

Still, there are many classic storylines about the Emerald Archer that you may find interesting as a comic book fan or collectibles investor. In this article, you will learn about two of the best Green Arrow comics that you should know about.

The Best Green Arrow Comics (Green Arrow 101)

In CW’s Arrow, Stephen Amell’s Arrow is basically Batman with a bow and arrow – the corporate owners of the character don’t know how to introduce the character to a wider audience.

Before we tell you about three of the best Green Arrow comics, let’s first talk about the origins and history of the character.

First appearance of Green Arrow

The DC Comics character Green Arrow made his first appearance in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. Aquaman also made his first appearance in this issue. 

This is an extremely rare and valuable comic book – a 4.0 CGC-certified copy is worth $23,000. A copy of this issue with a CGC rating of 6.0 is worth $96,000. A copy of this comic with an 8.0 CGC rating is worth $115,000. If you find a copy with any CGC rating below 4.0, I’d get it.

Its rarity already makes the comic valuable, but there will be a proper Green Arrow film in the future that could add to the value. 

Brief Bio and History: Green Arrow

Green Arrow’s alter ego is billionaire Oliver Queen, protector of Star City and founder of Queen Industries. Green Arrow’s creation was influenced by the Robin Hood character. The aesthetics of Oliver Queen were also based on Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood films of the 1930s and 1940s.

Oliver Queen is basically Robin Hood in an urban setting. The character engaged in simplistic adventures during the Golden and Silver Ages of comic books. But Green Arrow came of age in the 1970s during the Bronze Age of comics. 

During the Bronze Age of comics, comic creators made more grounded stories that mirrored what was going on in society. Green Arrow lost his fortune for a time in the 1970s and teamed up with Green Lantern to deal with societal and political problems in the streets. (More on that below)

Unfortunately, Green Arrow was never very popular outside of comic geek culture, unlike Superman, Batman, or Spider-Man. Green Arrow was killed off in 1995’s Green Arrow #100 – his son Conor took over the role until 2000 when Oliver was resurrected. 

A 9.8 CGC of Green Arrow #100 has a current value of $55.

In current comics continuity. Green Arrow is a street-level vigilante in Star City, is romantically involved with Black Canary, and enjoys cult-like popularity with hardcore comic book fans.

So, now that you have a little backstory, here are two of the best Green Arrow comics and storylines that you should check out as a fan or collectibles investor.

The Two Best Green Arrow Comics

Green Lantern/ Green Arrow #76 (April 1970)

The Green Lantern character was originally Alan Scott in the Silver Age but the character was relaunched in the Silver Age with Hal Jordan. However, Hal Jordan’s popularity waned by the late 1960s, and the comic was in danger of cancellation.

In 1970, writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams added Green Arrow’s name to the title in a bid to boost popularity. The inaugural storyline, “Hard Traveling Heroes,” lasted between issues #76 through #87 and issue #89. This storyline is considered one of the best Green Arrow comics ever created.

The 1970s was the dawn of the Bronze Age of comic books. Before this era, comic books were jingoistic and political in a way that favored American PR, or overly simplistic and fantastical and were heavily censored by the Comics Code Authority. By the 1970s, superhero stories began to creatively mirror more serious real-world issues. 

Green Lantern was a space cop whose adventures usually occurred in space. Oliver Queen was an archer vigilante and billionaire. Queen temporarily lost his fortune and Jordan decided to spend more time on Earth. 

The storyline featured the duo walking America and dealing with street-level problems that were politically roiling the country at the time, like racism, pollution, sexism, drug addiction, poverty, and the myth of the American Dream relative to status.

Jordan was out of touch with the reality of life on Earth while Queen was too myopic in his beliefs and morals to see that the answer to many societal ills doesn’t have easy answers.

A 9.8 CGC copy of this comic is worth $18,000. Any copy of this issue under a CGC rating of 9.0 can be bought for a few hundred and would be a worthwhile investment.

You can the collected issues in trade paperback form on Amazon for $50.

Green Arrow: Year One (September 2007)

You may have heard about “canon events” from the latest Spiderverse film, but the word canon is special to every comic book geek. Canon is basically the traceable narrative history of a comic book character – there are canon events that occurred in X-Men, Superman, or Batman comics decades ago that can be revisited, rewritten, or remixed for a new story.

But the weight of decades of storytelling can restrain character development – Green Arrow is basically an analog of 1930s Errol Flynn Robin Hood films. 

So, in 2007, Green Arrow was given a new origin and superhero purpose – and if you love the CW’s version of Green Arrow as portrayed by Stephen Amell, then you may recognize this story.

Green Arrow: Year One is a six-issue limited series written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Jock. In this reimagining of the series, Oliver Queen is portrayed as a selfish, crass, egotistical one-percenter who cared about his hedonistic needs and nothing else.

After being betrayed by a confidant, Queen is marooned on a deserted island for months. Cut off from his life of excess, Queen makes a rudimentary bow and arrow, teaches himself archery, and learns to live off the meager benefits of the island. 

Queen soon learns that the island is not deserted and becomes embroiled in an international conspiracy. After his rescue, Queen learns to become a better human being, help the disadvantaged, and assumes the Green Arrow alter ego in Star City.

This miniseries does have any appreciable value for collectors, but they are vital for comic book fans. The CWs Arrow starring Stephen Amell would not exist if not for this miniseries. It is undeniably one of the best Green Arrow comics.

You can get the trade paperback collecting all six issues for $14 at Amazon.

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