I had a very hard time letting go of Green Arrow. I allowed my nostalgia and love for the character from TV shows to cloud my judgment and hope I would see what he used to be. But you know, things change. Change is often for the better, even with comic book characters as cultures change, the environment changes, and social awareness changes. As different authors and artists take the pens and pencils, their viewpoints will enter into the story, even if they say they aren’t trying to. It’s part of human nature.
It’s also part of human nature to long for the past, especially if one perceives the past as a good thing. This is why I stuck with Green Arrow for the 10 issues I did. I kept remembering how much I liked him in the past, and I longed for that character to return to this series.
Well folks, he ain’t. This isn’t the Green Arrow I loved, and he never will be. Ordinarily, that’s fine, because seriously, Nightwing isn’t the same character he used to be either. But I couldn’t get behind this Green Arrow, because I couldn’t take the comic’s constant insults toward one subset of people. If they want Green Arrow to really be the social justice warrior he claims he is, they need to learn to do so far more subtly than they have been. And they need to do it without insults.
Take a look at the image above, which is the panel I read aloud in the latest podcast episode. The situation that Green Arrow and Emiko stumbled upon were disgruntled loggers taking their frustrations out on Seattle’s Environmental Department. They’ve shut down all logging companies and put thousands of people out of work to save the endangered spotted owl. Yes, the loggers are pissed they lost their jobs, because who wouldn’t be. It’s hard to tell from these few pages if the loggers were given severance pay or offered new jobs. If that is true, then maybe they shouldn’t be so angry. But if they were shut down and sent on their way high and dry, then that’s just as ridiculous. Anyone would be angry about that.
Regardless of what really happened, when Oliver showed up at the scene, were all those insults really necessary? Not to mention, how are any of these loggers being fascist? Ollie, how in the world do you think you can talk people down off the ledge if you tell them they’re stupid for being up there?
This wasn’t even the first time he’s insulted people for thinking differently or emphasized that he doesn’t care about one subset of people. You know what that tells your readers who may be rednecks and/or conservative? You’re telling them this comic isn’t for you. We’re not writing this for you. In fact, we think you’re too dumb to read this.
That’s exactly what Benjamin Percy and DC Comics are saying. Before anyone asks, I would be just as upset over blanket-bashing liberals, black people, or Muslims. Stereotyping and lumping an entire group of people into any stereotype is never, ever a good idea. It alienates your audience, and despite what you may think, it makes your comic exclusionary, the exact opposite of what a social justice warrior should be doing.
With that, I say sayonara to the Green Arrow. May he find happiness in his pursuits of stereotyping and constantly telling readers about his agenda.
For the record, Mr. Arrow sir, WE GET IT.