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Joshua Williamson And Sean Izaakse Talk New Green Arrow Series - Exclusive Interview

Green Arrow is getting a starring role in the DC Universe once again, as a brand-new miniseries from Joshua Williamson, Sean Izaakse, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. will put the hero and the Arrow family back in the spotlight. 

Following the death of Green Arrow in the recent "Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths" event and the Justice League disbanding and the Titans stepping up in their place, a new normal is being established in the DC Universe. The upcoming "Green Arrow" series will focus on Black Canary, Roy Harper, Connor Hawke, and the rest of the Arrow family dealing with the loss of the hero. However, in the comic, part of DC's "Dawn of DC" initiative, Oliver Queen's death isn't what it seems — as he will be revealed to be lost, with a dangerous force keeping him apart from those closest to him. Green Arrow's closest loved ones will search for him while discovering the truth about his recent disappearance.

We spoke with Williamson and Izaakse about spearheading a new "Green Arrow" book for DC Comics after the character hasn't had his own title for a few years, the importance of the Arrow family in the upcoming title, the villains who will play a part in the series, and what readers can expect in Oliver Queen's newest adventure.

How Dark Crisis led to Green Arrow

How did this project come to be? I know it's spinning under the events of "Dark Crisis." And what made Sean the perfect artist for this?

Joshua Williamson: When I was working on "Dark Crisis," we knew Green Arrow played a major part of it. You can see the way he was in "Death of the Justice League," in "Justice League" 75. I had this plan for the Green Arrow family to have a reunion during "Dark Crisis." As I was working on it, the more and more I realized I was running out of room. The first few issues of "Dark Crisis" breathe a certain way, and I know there's some room to it. But I started realizing after I got to around 4 or 5, "Oh, man, this is a 12-issue story that I'm shoving into seven issues. Some things have to move." 

One of them was Green Arrow. I was like, "I can resolve all this Green Arrow stuff and have him come back in two panels and then everybody's hugging." It's one panel of him back and one panel of them hugging, and that would've been it. But as I talked to editorial about it, it was clear that was not going to work. Clearly, that was a bad move. I started talking to editorial about some different options of, "Well, do we do a one-shot? [Do] we do backups? What do we do?"

I'm very passionate about Green Arrow. He's one of my favorite characters. I had been wanting to write Green Arrow for a long time. I had tried pitching Green Arrow books for the last 20 years and it would never work out. [With] this one, I wasn't even pitching a Green Arrow series — I was just like, "We have to do something."

One day I was talking with [DC Editor] Ben Abernathy and he was like, "What if we did it as a new series? We do a mini-series and you write it." It was shocking in that moment because I wasn't expecting it. I was already doing a lot of stuff for DC, but there was no way I could say no because I love the characters so much ...

Sean had just done "Thunderbolts" and you could tell he knew ... Obviously, Sean's a very good artist. Also because Hawkeye's in there, we were like, "Hey, that guy can draw a bow and arrow." It sounds silly, but I've talked to a lot of artists, and they hate drawing bows and arrows. I'm like, "This guy knows how to do it." Ben right there emailed Sean.

Sean, how exciting was it to get "Green Arrow"?

Sean Izaakse: The email that Ben sent was, because of the time difference ... You guys in the States are probably eight or nine hours behind us, so I don't know what time it was there for you guys. It was between one and three [for me]. I was up finishing ... a "Thunderbolts" page that day and winding down, sitting there on my PlayStation. Usually before bed, I always go to check my emails in case there's something urgent. I checked it and it was two emails or something — Ben's like, "Hello, there's something I have to have for you. I don't know if you'd be interested." I'm like, "Yeah, I'm interested. What is it?" He's like, "What do you think about Green Arrow?" I'm like, "I love Green Arrow. Are you kidding me?"

I don't think I even slept properly that night. I was so excited because my brain was going a mile a minute there, getting to draw Green Arrow. As Josh says, I'm a big fan of the character. I do archery. I haven't been to archery for a while — my poor bow and arrow has dust on it because I haven't had time to have much of a social life, but I love archery in general. One of my favorite movies of all time is "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

Drawing the Green Arrow family

Izaakse [continued]:  Green Arrow was so awesome in all these other media. I've got a bunch of the comics here and graphic novels that I'm recollecting because I'm trying to get rid of issues. But he's definitely in the top characters in DC that I want to work with, and I'm such a huge fan. I can't tell you how happy I am to work every day ... I get up, and sometimes you'll get to draw pages and you're like, "Ah." I just work through a page. Every day in the morning, I think about what I'm going to draw for the day, and every day, I get to have so much fun because also Josh gives me such great scripts to work from.

You've seen it online — in Issue 1, there's a double-page spread where I get to draw classic Ollie. Also, every script now has given me something extra that I didn't see coming. I messaged him the other day about something in Issue 3 that I was like, "Oh my God, the internet is going to lose its mind when they see this, because I didn't expect to see this happen." It really is a dream gig for me right now.

What was it like to draw the entire Green Arrow family?

Izaakse: I'm getting to draw. When I was at Marvel, I was drawing a lot of new characters that I never grew up with. There were a whole lot of champions. Miles wasn't there when I was a kid. I [even] got to do a "Fantastic Four," which was great. Even [in] "Thunderbolts," Hawkeye was there, but most of the other characters weren't around when I was younger.

With Oliver and the rest of the Arrow family, they are the characters I grew up with. I read ... Every single one of the Arrow family characters, I can tell you my favorite stories with each one of them. That brings a little something different to the table when I'm drawing them, because these are characters that have this long legacy since I was a kid, and I get to add to it. I finally get to draw the characters I wanted to since I was a wee boy reading those comics.

When I was reading "Teen Titans" and the first time I saw Roy as Speedy fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, [I was] thinking, "Oh my goodness, he's up against these guys, and he is by himself and he was a fool." Robin was getting a bit jealous because he was putting moves on Kory ... I can point out those, and the time Connor was on a boat with Wally and Kyle ... My favorite Black Canary stories are that very first miniseries of "Birds of Prey."

I can point out these stories of these characters that I have loved my whole life, and I get to add to that now and put my own little stamp on them. We're not completely rewriting stuff, but adding to them, making them game to grow and be part of their heroes' journeys.

Bringing back the family dynamic

This book is definitively a Green Arrow book, but it's also very much a family book about the relationships between the different heroes. How important was it to connect or reconnect basically all of these characters? What was it like to reestablish those relationships?

Williamson: When I started back when "Infinite Frontier" was starting — because I'm a fan of Green Arrow, but also the Green Arrow family and all his mythology — I started bringing people back. I had Roy come back in "Infinite Frontier," and I had Hawke came back, and Robin, and then it was like, "I have Black Canary and Deathstroke." What's funny about all of those pieces is that the endgame of that was not for me to write a "Green Arrow" book. The endgame of that was, because I'm such a fan of these characters that I wanted them back together, I just wanted all these characters to be back. When I started working on it, I felt like it was so long overdue to have this reunion, to have these characters back together. It had been so long that it felt like it was a missing piece of not only "Green Arrow" but a missing piece of the DCU.

Even before we decided I was going to do this book, it was like I was actively trying to get these characters back on the table with the hope that it would mean something, and then maybe somebody else would be able to pick it up and then do this book, and then it worked out. But it was incredibly important to me to get these characters back. We started off with Roy coming back, and then with Connor, I wanted to get the Green Arrow family back together because it had been so long since all of them had been together.

During "Rebirth," they started getting Ollie and Black Canary back together, and they introduced a couple new pieces of the family. But even with these new pieces that were getting added, it was so much other stuff was being left behind. I was like, "No, no, it has to be all of it." It was a priority for me to do that. I love this mythology. I felt like there were pieces that were missing from it, and as a fan of the character and a fan of this family of characters, I felt like I had to do it ... It felt like I had a moment at DC where I was able to push certain things through, and I was going to push this one through. It was getting Roy back, getting Hawke back, getting the family back together. That was something that if I had an opportunity to push for, I was going to push for it.

What's Black Canary's role in the book?

Black Canary is a crucial piece of the series, the voice of reason — a loud voice of reason. She's a member of the Green Arrow family, but still her own person, so not everything can be about them. Things between her and Ollie had finally got to a good place, and now he's gone again. She wants to find him. Years ago, she told Ollie she didn't want to create orphans, and now with Ollie gone, he did that — so she's not letting that stand. She knows he's alive out there, and nothing can stop her from getting him back. Dinah is, to me, one of the greatest heroes in the DC Universe [and] one of the leaders of the DC Universe. There was no way we could do this book without her. Lots of cool moments coming with Black Canary.

Honoring Green Arrow's history with something new

How important was it to draw from Green Arrow's history but also try to forge something new?

Williamson: That's how I am with these books in general with DC. The best DC stories are the ones that honor and embrace what came before, and then you move forward with it. That's been my approach to almost all the characters — to look at all these stories and treat them with respect and then move forward. There's such a rich history for Green Arrow. It's all pieces on the table for us to play with them; we should definitely play with them. But at the same time, we got to tell new stories with these characters. This one is a little weird because it is about us taking all of this history, and we're shining different lights on it, and — you'll see as the story goes — there might be some pieces of stories that we hadn't seen before that are going to play new roles in this story.

I always try to make it so we move the ball forward and tell something fun, exciting ... For me to do that, for me to tell the new stories I wanted to tell, I needed all the pieces on the table, and that meant having a Green Arrow family reunion first. I had to do those pieces first before I could get to the new stuff. But I always want to try to also bring new toys. I want to give all the characters new toys, new set pieces. That's the thing with this — as you can see in the first issue, it's like ...

Like chainsaw arrows?

Williamson: Chainsaw arrows, yeah. But we've seen Oliver wake up on a beach — we've seen it a few times. With this one, I was like, "He's waking up on a beach, but here's a twist," and that's the thing. It's always about taking the familiar and doing something new with it. That's what I was trying to do on this book. Then, you can totally see all the stuff that Sean is bringing to the table, and you can see how much Sean loves the characters. You can see how much he loves Roy and he loves Connor and he loves Black Canary. You can see how much that love is in there because he is doing the same thing.

You look at Roy's costume and Green Arrow's costume — we talked about those two looks, and it was fun. At one point, Sean was working on the Green Arrow design. My first introduction to Green Arrow was a superpowers toy. With the superpowers toy, he had a little G on his belt. I remember Sean and I were going back and forth on the Green Arrow design. Before you could even ask him, I was like, "Oh, we put a little G on the belt," and then you did a redesign of it. You were like, "I put a little G on the belt and I was like, "Oh this is it."

Izaakse: "I have it!"

Building on previous DC events

What can you say about Amanda Waller's role in this book and Peacewrecker?

Williamson: Peacewrecker [is] a character we're introducing into our "Crisis." She's primarily in Issue 3. Amanda Waller, with all the "Dawn of DC" stories, is playing a major role behind the scenes in DCU this year. You're going to see her pop up in different books, and there's a mystery building with her across the year. You see in this issue [that] she's a part of this story in a way that makes another character very angry. You'll get to see that mystery explored a little bit more here than you will in other books.

What do you hope readers get from this title? It's been a while since Green Arrow has had a starring role ... 

Williamson: I hope they see that we love the characters too, and that they pre-order it and they buy Issue 1 at their comp.

Izaakse: I'm hoping that the fans of these characters get a lot of the feels and see the reverence that we have for them and get a lot of the closure they've wanted to see with these characters. Also, [I hope they] see these characters respected and elevated a bit, because Green Arrow and the Green Arrow family have as much history as anyone else in the DCU, yet he always seems to be the substitute character for people. I'm hoping all the fans not just buy Issue 1, but follow through with each issue and know that if they support the book, they can get more of it. That's important.

Readers can see Oliver Queen and his family back in action when "Green Arrow" #1 by Joshua Williamson, Sean Izaakse, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. from DC Comics arrives in comic book stores on April 25, 2023.

This interview has been edited for clarity.