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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    Default What If... Grell Era Green Arrow Became a Vertigo Title?

    When DC's pre-Vertigo suggested for mature readers titles come up, the common narrative is that the "mature readers" label was used for characters who did not fit within the confines of the superhero genre. John Constantine. Swamp Thing. Shade the Changing Man. Morrison's Doom Patrol. All of these properties were subsequently folded into the Vertigo label. However there were more super-heroic franchises which also fancied themselves "mature readers" which did not graduate to Vertigo for whatever reason. These consisted of, The Question, Deadman, and you guess it: Green Arrow.

    Now the reasons for the Green Arrow monthly not transitioning into the Vertigo imprint is evident. Some might say that Green Arrow was too rooted in superhero trappings to be a Vertigo title, but this is a faulty hypothesis, as the Animal Man ongoing had never been considered to be "mature readers" and was more unabashedly a part of the superhero genre than Grell's Green Arrow ever was, happened to be one of the select few titles that turned Vertigo.

    I suspect a more plausible reason for Green Arrow not getting the Vertigo treatment was because Mike Grell was in the midst of ending his run on the character, and DC editorial had more plans of making Oliver Queen drift away from Grell's gritty and restrained interpretation into something more mainstream.

    However, it really is interesting to think about alternate scenarios in Green Arrow became a Vertigo exclusive character. There are so many possibilities for how it could have turned out and the questions that come with it:

    Who would be the creative team?
    Would other Vertigo characters cross over?
    Would it not have been cancelled due to lower standards for sales for vertigo?
    What changes would be made?
    Would Queen still have died and replaced by Connor?

  2. #2
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Hunter View Post
    When DC's pre-Vertigo suggested for mature readers titles come up, the common narrative is that the "mature readers" label was used for characters who did not fit within the confines of the superhero genre. John Constantine. Swamp Thing. Shade the Changing Man. Morrison's Doom Patrol. All of these properties were subsequently folded into the Vertigo label. However there were more super-heroic franchises which also fancied themselves "mature readers" which did not graduate to Vertigo for whatever reason. These consisted of, The Question, Deadman, and you guess it: Green Arrow.

    Now the reasons for the Green Arrow monthly not transitioning into the Vertigo imprint is evident. Some might say that Green Arrow was too rooted in superhero trappings to be a Vertigo title, but this is a faulty hypothesis, as the Animal Man ongoing had never been considered to be "mature readers" and was more unabashedly a part of the superhero genre than Grell's Green Arrow ever was, happened to be one of the select few titles that turned Vertigo.

    I suspect a more plausible reason for Green Arrow not getting the Vertigo treatment was because Mike Grell was in the midst of ending his run on the character, and DC editorial had more plans of making Oliver Queen drift away from Grell's gritty and restrained interpretation into something more mainstream.

    However, it really is interesting to think about alternate scenarios in Green Arrow became a Vertigo exclusive character. There are so many possibilities for how it could have turned out and the questions that come with it:

    Who would be the creative team?
    Would other Vertigo characters cross over?
    Would it not have been cancelled due to lower standards for sales for vertigo?
    What changes would be made?
    Would Queen still have died and replaced by Connor?
    If they could have put Grell on Green Arrow in the late 80s/early 90s under Vertigo? It would've been been Brain Blasting!

  3. #3
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    I think the reason is much simpler. If GREEN ARROW had moved to Vertigo, then Karen Berger would be in control. They wanted to keep Mike Gold on GREEN ARROW--who had been Mike Grell's editor at First Comics--so they slapped a Mature Readers label on it to cover themselves in case a little kid picked up the book. But it was still part of that mainstream DC world.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I think the reason is much simpler. If GREEN ARROW had moved to Vertigo, then Karen Berger would be in control. They wanted to keep Mike Gold on GREEN ARROW--who had been Mike Grell's editor at First Comics--so they slapped a Mature Readers label on it to cover themselves in case a little kid picked up the book. But it was still part of that mainstream DC world.
    Hrmm. You have a point.

  5. #5
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I think the reason is much simpler. If GREEN ARROW had moved to Vertigo, then Karen Berger would be in control. They wanted to keep Mike Gold on GREEN ARROW--who had been Mike Grell's editor at First Comics--so they slapped a Mature Readers label on it to cover themselves in case a little kid picked up the book. But it was still part of that mainstream DC world.
    VERY loosely part of the mainstream DCU.
    Black Canary, Warlord and Hal Jordan were the only DCU characters to appear (and Travis Morgan is a stretch being called an mainstream DCU character!).
    NOBODY even called Ollie Green Arrow during Mike Grell's run. He did his absolute best to keep Ollie away from the costumed crowd.
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  6. #6
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by married guy View Post
    VERY loosely part of the mainstream DCU.
    Black Canary, Warlord and Hal Jordan were the only DCU characters to appear (and Travis Morgan is a stretch being called an mainstream DCU character!).
    NOBODY even called Ollie Green Arrow during Mike Grell's run. He did his absolute best to keep Ollie away from the costumed crowd.
    Don't forget the annual crossovers with Batman and Question.

    I personally don't think Green Arrow would've fit in Vertigo. At least not how Berger was visualizing it at the time.
    Spectre and Dr. Fate had bigger chances of being included but weren't.
    Green Arrow was more crime drama. I think Marvel's Heavyhitters line would be something it would've fit in, if DC had a line like it.
    I actually think it was a missed opportunity to not form a line of books with Green Arrow and Question.
    And I think the first Huntress series would've done better if it was mixed with them instead of JLI.

    However, less than a year after Vertigo started, Grell was off the book, it stopped being a Mature Readers title and it went to Standard format paper like the rest of the main DCU titles.
    So it's possible that when Vertigo was being set up they knew Grell would be leaving and had already made plans to reintegrate GA into the DCU. Especially since Question had already been cancelled.
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  7. #7
    Mighty Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    It would have made sense for Dennis O'Neil to be taking over writing duties from Mike Grell. He already wrote an iconic "mainstream" take on the character, while the grittyness of some of his work would have made him fit in quite perfectly at Veryigo. I could easily see him emphasize a more spiritual aspect to the character as he did with the Question.

  8. #8
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Don't forget the annual crossovers with Batman and Question.

    I personally don't think Green Arrow would've fit in Vertigo. At least not how Berger was visualizing it at the time.
    Spectre and Dr. Fate had bigger chances of being included but weren't.
    Green Arrow was more crime drama. I think Marvel's Heavyhitters line would be something it would've fit in, if DC had a line like it.
    I actually think it was a missed opportunity to not form a line of books with Green Arrow and Question.
    And I think the first Huntress series would've done better if it was mixed with them instead of JLI.

    However, less than a year after Vertigo started, Grell was off the book, it stopped being a Mature Readers title and it went to Standard format paper like the rest of the main DCU titles.
    So it's possible that when Vertigo was being set up they knew Grell would be leaving and had already made plans to reintegrate GA into the DCU. Especially since Question had already been cancelled.
    I can't believe I forgot the annuals!! Those were what made me a fan of the Question in the first place!
    "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive!"
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

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