"Arrow" was one of the breakout hits on television last year. Writers Marc Guggenheim and Ben Sokolowski talk about expanding on the Green Arrow world created in the TV show.
Q. The Arrow digital comic builds on the
enormous success of the TV show, which the two of you also have a big hand in.
What was it about the comic book form that appealed to you to expand on
the world of Arrow?
Marc & Ben: Other
than already loving the world of comics, the only restriction for doing Arrow on the page would be our
imagination. Unlike the television series, there are no budget or
production limitations to worry about, so we can tell stories that may be a
little more difficult to film. As well, "expanding the world of Arrow " is really the key.
These chapters allow us to explore backstories that we only hint at on
screen, not to mention the moments in between episodes that help fill in the
blanks for our viewers. In addition to money and production limitations,
we're also limited as to time. These stories allow us to cover
some of the story material and character dynamics that we can't fit into a
42-minute episode. For example, if you wondered how Diggle reacted to
being put in the sleeper hold by Oliver in the Pilot, that's covered in one of
Q. With a general
outline of Season 1 in hand, did you already have a plan of which stories you
wanted to tell in the Arrow digital
guess the honest answer is... somewhat. We had some vague ideas, but they
really crystalized over the course of the season as we realized what material
was getting dropped from the series proper.
Q: What about the
graphic novel do you think would appeal to those are not yet fans of the show?
the graphic novel will serve as a gateway to the series for non-viewers. You
never know, someone may be browsing their local comic shop and come across a
certain green hooded vigilante on the shelf. The graphic novel has so many
different entry points for a non-viewer to jump on board because while half of
our chapters further develop the world of Arrow,
the other half are stand alone stories where you don't need too much backstory
Q: Do you have a
favorite character from the show? Why that character?
second masked kidnapper from the Pilot. Just kidding. We love them
Q: You are both
writing Oliver Queen for both the comic page and for actor Stephen Amell.
What’s the biggest difference for both of you between those two experiences?
Well, in order to make the graphic novel seamless from the show, I imagined
Stephen Amell actually on the comic book page, speaking the dialogue balloons.
If we couldn't see him saying those lines, I rewrote them. Stephen
Amell IS Oliver Queen. My job was to keep the difference as minimal as
Q: Writer/artist Mike
Grell takes art duties for several chapters of volume one. His work on the
character, including the seminal Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, looks to be
a big influence on the show. Has he given you guys any feedback on Arrow?
hasn't, really, except to say that he likes the show. As you point out, Longbow
Hunters was a huge influence on the show's grounded tone.
Accordingly, we name-dropped Mike's name in the pilot -- "Judge
Grell" -- and he graciously provided the police sketch of the Arrow that
has played in many, many episodes of the show.
Q: Was there a
character or story that you would have liked to explore in the graphic novel
but did not get a chance to?
a perfect world, we'd do an entire series about Malcolm Merlyn's transformation
into the Dark Archer. Maybe we'll get a chance to one day. But
there's a big DC character we'd "need access to" in order to do it
justice. Maybe one day...
Q: How do you think
Oliver Queen has grown as a character throughout Season 2? How has he changed
since first arriving in Starling City at the beginning of the Season to the
events of the finale "Sacrifice?"
Oliver first arrived in Starling City, he had a very specific mission: cross
off the names on his father's list. While the byproduct of this was helping the
city, he might have been doing it for more personal reasons. As the
season progressed, we obviously saw Oliver take on crimes that had nothing to
do with the list, but it started only thanks to Dig, acting as our moral
compass. (Episode 6 with the Royal Flush Gang.) Over the year,
Oliver began to slowly transition from Vigilante to Hero... but his journey
isn't complete yet. Far from. Season 2 tells a huge part of that story.
Q: When Oliver first
becomes the Hood, he kills those on the list—and often those that got in his
way—without hesitation. As he meets characters like Huntress and the Dark
Archer, his philosophy begins to change—but is Oliver really that different
from those characters?
we'll really explore in Season 2 is the act of killing, and what that means for
a hero. Is the person who flips the switch on the electric chair a murderer? I
think early Season One Oliver would see no difference between himself and the
executioner. Regardless of how someone else may see that... it still doesn't
make him a sociopathic murderer. Oliver would never kill an innocent
person and at the end of the day, that's the difference.
Q: The final chapter
of the graphic novel takes place AFTER the events of the finale. Why did you
make the decision for a sort of epilogue to the series and how does it set up
events for Season 2?
really wanted the Season 1 finale of the comic to be as epic as the Season 1
finale of the show. To that end, we brainstormed a lot of different ideas
to make those concluding chapters "big." In the end, we felt
that what makes the graphic novel "special," is its ability to show
the audience moments that are important to the lives of our characters, but
weren't covered on television. The TV season finale leaves the audience
with a lot of questions, most particularly, "What now?" The
comic book epilogue begins to answer some of those questions and perfectly sets
up where Oliver is at the start of Season 2.
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