Book - Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow

With the new season of Arrow starting tomorrow evening on Sky One, Steve Taylor-Bryant did some background research and read Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow by Richard Gray...

“For 75 years, Green Arrow has been a part of the DC Comics world, working his way up from a supporting player to the star of a flagship television series. Yet for much of his career, he was a hero without a home, separate from his contemporaries, or unfavourably compared with a certain Dark Knight.

Whether it is the “cowboys and Indians” influences of the 1940s and 1950s, the rebellious realism of the 1970s, the darker edge of the 1980s, or the melodrama of his TV personas, Green Arrow has remained the conscience of the comics world, and perhaps an even better representative than Batman of what one person can do.

This collection is the definitive analysis of the Emerald Archer, from his Golden Age origins to his small screen adventures and beyond. Exploring overlooked chapters of Green Arrow’s life, and those of alter ego Oliver Queen, this book shows that Green Arrow has never been just one thing, but rather a perpetually moving target.”

I must offer my hearty congratulations to Richard Gray on an astonishingly in-depth and yet thoroughly entertaining book. To be this educational on a subject, almost doctoral thesis deep, and yet still leave me with a smile of satisfaction is a skill as a writer that I sorely wished I possessed.

I’ve always known I liked Green Arrow. Long before the television show made him popular, I actually spent my pocket money on issues of the comic. I was about 7 when I started reading, not sure who the writer and artist was at the time, what with me being 7 and it being 1982, I just lapped up whichever book I found him in. I fell out of love with comics in my teens and rarely bought any big two titles for the last three decades, but I did buy Green Arrow and, it appears from reading Moving Target, I bought all the significant ones.

Moving Target covers Green Arrow from conception in The Golden Age right through some trying political times both in the world and at DC, through to the television show and this modern time for comics and, if you are a comics history nut, you are going to love all the rich detail, behind the scenes commentary, and glorious art reproduced. If, like me, your knowledge on comics in general is basically ‘I know what I like’ you are still going to love Moving Target. Knowing the love, trials and tribulations, and passion that each team brought to their version of the Bowman was essential learning. Seeing how the character, at first just thought of as a hybrid of Robin Hood and Batman, was developed over many years to be a man of family, the political consciousness of the Justice League, but more surprising to those of us not steeped in comic lore, a secondary character was a great learning curve and the deeper I went into his story as it expanded over the years, the more I loved him.

It’s one thing having a rich history explained to you by an obviously passionate author but to gain first-hand knowledge of what writing or drawing the character was like, that’s where the gold is and Gray includes interviews that give unparalleled access to knowledge of the process. Chats with such luminaries as Phil Hester, Neal Adams, the incredible Mike Grell, Chuck Dixon, Jeff Lemire, and my favourite author Brad Meltzer are worth the cover price alone but, added to the history lesson you get from Gray, they complement what Gray is trying to achieve and help Moving Target become the essential comic history that it is. Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow is a must own for fans of Green Arrow, comic fans in general, or just people who want to know a little more behind the evolution of characters.

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