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Thursday, November 12, 2015

GREEN ARROW targets the UK

I never thought I'd see a British comic starring B-lister superhero Green Arrow, but then I never thought there'd ever be a successful TV series about him either. Titan Comics' new Green Arrow No.1 launched last week and the cover makes it clear that it's hoping to pull in viewers of the Arrow TV show.

If any of those TV viewers are discovering the comic version for the first time they'll notice quite a few differences between the print and screen versions. The comic came first of course, as Green Arrow the comics character dates back to 1941. Titan's comic reprints the more contemporary strips from 2011, but there are still considerable differences to the TV show. (Personally I was never a fan of the character in the comics and I prefer to TV version far more.)

Nevertheless, the basics remain the same: millionaire Oliver Queen, lost on a remote distant island, has to train to survive, then when he returns home he brings his new skills with a bow and arrow to fight crime in the city. One major difference is the comic version uses more trick arrows than his TV counterpart, which some readers may find a bit silly.

Green Arrow No.1 is a chunky 100 page issue, featuring GA's origin from Secret Origins and the first three issues of his current American series. There's also a back up strip featuring his protegĂ© Arsenal, reprinted from DC Comics Presents No.17. Plenty to read for £3.99.

Issue 2 is advertised in the back of the comic but there's no release date. I'm presuming Green Arrow is a bi-monthly title, like Titan's other 100 page DC comics, but time will tell. You'll find the comic displayed in WH Smith alongside the other Titan Comics, Panini Comics, and SF media mags. It's also available from Forbidden Planet and other comics stores.


James Spiring said...

He's basically DC's version of Marvel's Hawkeye - and the original. So Hawkeye's fans should enjoy Green Arrow.

Richard Williams said...

I picked up my copy on tuesday along with Dr Who Comic No.2. I don't usually buy the US version of Green Arrow but I like to support UK comics whenever I can & Titan seem to be putting out some great stuff (Johhny Red in particular). Distribution is a bit slow up my end in Anglesey and though we are lucky to have a small WHSmith's in the ferry port down the road, comics don't always arrive when they should. Saying that, they have all the Titan UK comics together neatly in a row on the middle shelf. Not a single Marvel Panini title in sight, however! Flash No.2 from Titan is meant to be out today so might pop out later!!!

Stephen Parry said...

I apologize for the negativity in advance.

Titan Magazines, unlike Panini Comics' Marvel titles, seem to just churn out superhero titles with little thought. Didn't we have an Arrow comic previously in the UK? Can they not be bothered to even announce a next issue date?

Panini Comics puts so much effort, thought and passion into their superhero range. To Titan, it just seems like "another job on a production line". They struggle to maintain an identity for their titles. Wasn't there a Superman title that became an A4-sized publication, but which was scrapped after two issues and became a Superman/Batman title? Why do they keep rebooting/reinventing the titles?

Panini Comics' titles may have had the occasional renumbering (i.e. Astonishing Spider-Man) but their titles have a consistency to them with the same editors having edited them for years and a consistent identity. I lose count of whether Titan Magazines' superhero titles are monthly, bi-monthly, in existence or not, etc. The previous Arrow title and the A4-sized Superman title just disappeared without any sort of explanation for a while before returning.

I liked it when Panini Comics briefly held the licence (they did a Batman title from 2003 until 2006). I am sorry to be negative, but Titan Magazines obviously treats its superhero range as just an afterthought with none of the passion, consistency or effort that Panini shows with its Marvel range.


Lew Stringer said...

I agree with some of what you're saying, Stephen, but we don't know what goes on behind the scenes. It's never plain sailing doing a licensed comic.

Yes, they did previous comics for Arrow and Superman that were A4 format, and were mistakenly displayed alongside the younger comics, where they bombed. They seem to have learned their lesson there. As to why they reboot titles; because they're trying to make them work, basically.

I don't think we can blame Titan if readers don't know the frequency of the comics. With the exception of Green Arrow, the next issue date is always given. Basically; Batman, Batman Arkham, and Flash appear every four weeks. Batman/Superman and Justice League Trinity are bi-monthly.

Stephen Parry said...

Thank you for your comments, Lew. I appreciate that, always online to learn as much as to speak! :)

Yes, I appreciate about the A4-sized formats. It can be hit and miss. If I go into WHSmith, those A4-sized titles were with the other superhero titles; but in the Co-Op or Tesco, they were next to Thomas the Tank Engine or Fireman Sam.

I do wish Titan the best of luck. I just feel there's a lot they could learn from the way Panini Comics handles the Marvel Comics licence. I'd *love* to see the Flash title do well because he's one of my favourite characters and he deservers a consistent UK presence.

Lew Stringer said...

Neither of my two local Co-Op stores stock many comics. They don't have any of the Panini or Titan titles.

I wish them well but the teen comics displays are very crowded now and all of those comics are struggling to be seen in my local Smiths. Still, it never deterred readers when we had spinner racks and the only comic visible was the one at the front, so hopefully they'll do ok.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see more Titan DC titles, hope they do well. The difference I notice between these and the Marvel titles is that Panini have their line quite tight in timescales, all roughly 18 months to 2 years behind - so an event can easily be covered across all titles.But Titan's vary a lot, Batman being virtually up to date, others over a year and the 2 latest ones over 3 years behind. The bi-monthly schedules of some obviously don't help. Still, not an issue if no event to cover, I guess. Just wish they could find room in there for a Green Lantern title !

Stephen Parry said...

I'd like a Green Lantern title, too, Steve. :)

My earlier post, whilst passionate, was one of care and frustration. I wish DC could have the same success on these shores.

I remember 1988 to 1994. A Superman title and a Batman title were published between then by London Editions Magazines. They went through reboots. And I think they became one title (Superman/Batman) before abruptly ending in 1994. Still a good run, though, from 1988 to 1994.

In that time, DC just couldn't seem to get it going on these shores. There was DC Action, initially reprinting New Teen Titans and Animal Man, which lasted six issues; Zones, which covered the more esoteric and darker corners of the DC Universe, lasted around 4 issues; and there was Shockwave, which I think probably lasted around 4-5 issues, too (it covered darker stuff like Hellblazer).

There was also Heroes, launched around 1991. Lasted around seven or eight issues. It featured pre-Crisis stuff like Batman's "The Brave and The Bold" issues and Legion of Super-Heroes. It was also my first experience of Blue Devil.

I used to have regular orders for these titles, but they kept getting cancelled, which was a shame as the likes of Brian M. Clarke (nice guy, met him at a convention once) put so much effort and passion into the titles, but beyond the Superman and Batman titles, nothing took off.

I wonder how different it'd be if the internet had been around then. Not saying the internet is *solely* responsible for Panini Comics' success, but back then, the only people who knew about Heroes, DC Action and Shockwave were probably those already buying them! And newstands were inconsistent around here.

I'm glad there are several DC titles on the shelves now in the UK. It just seems cruel that they can't maintain the momentum that Marvel UK/Panini have had. I wish them luck, though.

Lew Stringer said...

All the current superhero comics published by Panini and Titan in the UK feature characters that have (or will soon have) starred in movies or TV shows. (As a way to convince shops to stock them, and to appeal to new readers familiar with the screen versions.) I think it's unlikely a Green Lantern comic will appear unless there's a new movie or TV show. The early issues of DC Universe Presents (now running the Justice League) DID run some GL stories but I don't think they proved too popular.

American superheroes were never hugely popular in the UK for years. As well as the short run comic you mention, in the sixties there were comics like Fantastic (89 weeks) and Terrific (43 weeks) and Super DC (14 months) which indicated a lack of interest. Many Marvel UK titles came and went too, although Mighty World of Marvel and Spider-Man proved to have endurance.

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