Millions of Oliver Queen fans tune in to watch the Hood come to life each Wednesday on the small screen, but if you’re only watching the show, you’re only getting half the story. Every Wednesday also marks the release of a brand new chapter of the digital first comic book.
Yeah, we know what many of you are thinking. The comic’s just another television adaptation full of inconsequential stories that don’t have any real impact on the series.
We understand where that sentiment comes from, but when it comes to Arrow, it couldn’t be more off target. The weekly comic book series was designed from the very start to go hand in hand with what’s happening onscreen each week. Unlike most television adaptations, the Arrow comic is actually written by the same team working on the show, ensuring that the universe stays unified and allowing for an unprecedented level of crossover between the show and the comic book.
“For the past 22 weeks, I think we've been giving Arrow fans some very compelling short stories that really add to the mythos of the series,” says Alex Antone, the editor of the Arrow comic book. “The writers—who are also staff writers on the show—have put a lot of effort into making sure that what you see in the comic is seamlessly integrated into what you see on the screen. Whether it’s Diggle talking about his time in Afghanistan [in Chapter 4] or Detective Lance's drinking problem [in Chapter 18]—this comic gives fans a unique opportunity to REALLY get inside the heads of the characters they watch every week on Arrow.”
Sometimes the comic book’s connection to the series is more background in nature—giving us an exciting look at Ollie in action as he fulfills the promise he made to his father. Other times, it’s very closely tied to the series, filling in details that are crucial to the onscreen story. Frequently, this involves giving the villains more time in the spotlight than a weekly hour-long program allows.
Next Wednesday’s Chapter 22, “Back from the Deadshot,” follows in this tradition with a story that bridges Deadshot’s first appearance in the series (way back in episode 3) with his return in last night’s episode, “Dead to Rights.”
“It's great to finally see Arrow's Deadshot make his first appearance in comic book form—and boy did the creative team nail it!” Antone expands. “Like we did with China White in Chapter 3, Huntress in Chapter 9 and 11, and Deathstroke in Chapter 19, we love using the digital comic to tell the ‘untold’ villain backstories.”
The excitement at bringing Deadshot to the Arrow comic is echoed by Chapter 22’s creative team.
“I think fans of the show are really going to appreciate seeing how Floyd Lawton gets his groove back after his defeat at the hands of the Arrow in ‘Lone Gunmen,’” says Ben Sokolowski, co-writer of the installment. “Deadshot is death incarnate...someone I think our fans will love to hate. He is becoming such a cornerstone to our mythos, especially with Diggle, that missing this chapter should get you on Oliver’s list.”
Another benefit to reading the comic is the thrill of seeing the residents of Starling City drawn in the distinct style of some truly amazing artists. Bringing the Deadshot tale to life is Sergio Sandoval, who’s become a regular to the world of Oliver Queen.
“This chapter has two things going for it. Deadshot and the super talented Sergio Sandoval,” says Wendy Mericle, the chapter’s other co-writer. “As a writer, I really couldn't ask for anything more to work with.”
Pencil art from "Back from the Deadshot" by Sergio Sandoval
“It's been really cool bringing back such a dark and evil character,” explains Sandoval. “Now I feel responsible for what happens to him! Deadshot needs his own spin-off!”
“Back from the Deadshot” is available digitally on March 6th, but what adventures can Arrow fans look forward to after that? Well, since the comic intertwines so closely with the television series, the folks involved with both projects are loath to reveal too much. However, Antone did offer up a few tantalizing hints…
“In addition to the usual Arrow butt-kicking, we've got a special Tommy and Laurel chapter, appearances by Detective McKenna Hall and Felicity Smoak, and a shocking flashback to the island featuring Deathstoke, Yao-Fei, and the comic debut of Shado as drawn by creator Mike Grell!”
So…where is Walter? Which other villains will be coming to Starling City before the season’s over? And what will happen between Oliver and Slade Wilson on the island?!
The team isn’t about to give up those green-hued goods, but with a steady stream of adventures on both the small screen and the comic page one thing’s for certain—Oliver Queen’s arrows won’t run out anytime soon.
Look for new digital first installments of the Arrow comic every Wednesday in the DC Comics Digital Store!