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Exclusive interview: Jeff Lemire takes aim at his Green Arrow run

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 12/26/2013 - 12:12am, updated 12/26/2013 - 12:16am

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One of the best and most consistently entertaining (and different) books in the relaunch of DC’s New 52 has been Jeff Lemire’s interpretation of Green Arrow. (Even a TV series was spawned from the character.)

To get to the bottom of the writer’s psyche and future plans, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer caught up exclusively during the holiday shopping season with the scribe and logged this yuletide report.

Cosmic Book News: Jeff, you have said many times you consider Green Arrow a crime book rather than a superhero book. Explain.

Jeff Lemire: I approach it as more of a NOIR than a straight superhero story. Darker, grittier, like Bendis' Daredevil or Dennis O'Neil's Question. So the threats and adventures Oliver would get into would be much more grounded and street level as opposed to cosmic/costumed threats. Having said that, it has evolved a bit to become more of an international action/adventure/mystery.

CBN: What is it you have against Ollie? He has been pushed to the limits physically, emotionally and spiritually thanks to face-to-face encounters with a madman (Komodo), a super-powered mercenary (Count Vertigo), a blind mystery man (Magus) and a dangerous woman (Shado).

Jeff Lemire: I'm putting Ollie through a crucible. I'm stripping him down to the bone so he can rise up and become the true hero he was destined to be. That time is coming close. "Outsiders War" will strip him down and the following arc "Green Arrow Broken" will ... well, it will finally break him. It's what he does next that I'm excited about.

CBN: What can you tell us about the origins for the current “Outsiders War” arc?

Jeff Lemire: It originally came about as a conversation with Katana writer Ann Noccenti. We were interested in exploring the various weapon clans in the DCU and building a mythology around them. To do some world building. So Ann also had a hand in developing the back story and even though Katana has been cancelled, the character will also appear in Green Arrow as part of the arc.

The idea is that there were seven ancient clans built around seven totem weapons. Originally they were supposed to stand outside any empire or government and act as a counter-measure to keep them from becoming corrupt. But over the centuries many of these clans became the very thing they were meant to fight against, while others were wiped out. Now the rogue clans are assembling and a war between the clans is about to break out.

And Green Arrow's Father, Robert Queen, was in search of the Totem Arrow to control the Arrow Clan but Komodo killed him. And, as we saw in issue #26, Shado claims the Totem Arrow is on the island where Ollie was stranded. 

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CBN: By the solicits, I see you have some new characters coming. Can you tell us about a few?

Jeff Lemire: Some of the weapon clans are headed by new characters like Golgotha (Spear Clan), Kodiak (Shield Clan) and Komodo (Arrow Clan). While others are headed up by re-imagined versions of old DC characters like Butcher (Axe Clan) and Onyx (Fist Clan).

CBN: What is up with John Diggle in Seattle?

Jeff Lemire: Arrow has left Seattle as Richard Dragon, a new crime lord, is taking over. And Diggle has come back to stop him. He and Green Arrow have a history with Dragon. This will lead to the next arc, "Green Arrow Broken."

CBN: Tell us what Andrea Sorrentino brings to this book? Are you a fan?

Jeff Lemire: I'm a massive fan of his. He is an equal collaborator in every way. His layouts enhance my ideas and he is truly a co-storyteller in every way. His art is so dark and distinct it really gives us a "voice" and helps us stand out from other superhero comics.

CBN: Will we ever see Roy Harper in the pages of Green Arrow under your pen?

Jeff Lemire: Yes. Roy will be featured in "Green Arrow Broken" as the history between Arrow, Diggle and Arsenal is finally revealed.

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CBN: Jeff, tell us of any current or future projects you may like to mention.

Jeff Lemire: I'm currently writing and drawing an 8-issue sci-fi series for Vertigo called Trillium. In addition, I'm writing a new weekly comic with Brian Azzarello, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen called The New 52: Future's End and a new Justice League series as well.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Jeff Lemire for taking time out of his holiday schedule to answer our nosy M.E. We also thank Alex Nagorski who helped make this interview possible.

“Green Arrow” #27 hits stores January 8th!

 
 

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