It looks like George Pérez won’t be the only revered DC artist contributing a police sketch to the season 5 premiere of “Arrow.” Neal Adams, who is best known for his pencils on “Batman” and “Detective Comics” in the 1970s, will also be providing a sketch, but of the Emerald Archer himself.
The show’s producer Marc Guggenheim posted the Adams image to his official Twitter account, along with the message “New Arrow costume means new police sketch. @nealadamsdotcom was kind enough to hook us up. Look for it in Arrow’s 5th season premiere.”
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) October 3, 2016
The tweet and the assignment are very much a tribute to the artist, as Adams redesigned the archer’s comic book costume in 1969, and gave him his trademark goatee in “The Brave and the Bold” #85.
The redesign was not his sole contribution to the legacy of the character. Adams then went on to work with writer Denny O’Neill on an award-winning “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” run that had the Emerald Archer and the Emerald Crusader road-tripping across America with Black Canary.
A former journalist, O’Neill was hired by DC to help revive the flagging “Green Lantern” title. He took over with the April 1970 issue (number 76) and the book was temporarily renamed “Green Lantern/Green Arrow.” O’Neil wanted to use comics to tackle topical issues, and the result was the bi-monthly title that covered a range of social and environmental concerns that included racism, abusive labor practices, and pollution.
The most famous of these stories, the two-part “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” appeared in issues 85 and 86, and revealed that Speedy, the archer’s young ward, was addicted to heroin.
The lurid cover, which is often played for laughs these days, showed a shocked Green Arrow proclaiming, “My ward is a junkie!” But the contents of the two issues were anything but funny, and the pair won the “Best Individual Story” award at the 1972 Shazam Awards (presented by the now-defunct Academy of Comic Book Arts).
Adams’ cover was initially rejected by DC editor Julius Schwartz for its depiction of drug paraphernalia, but an “Amazing Spider-Man” story about Harry Osbourne’s drug addiction forced a retooling of the industry’s self-enforced Comics Code Authority — which had previously forbidden the depiction of drug use in any form, even when being critical — and the image was finally allowed.
The Season 5 premiere of “Arrow” airs Wednesday, October 5 at 8pm ET on CW.
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