He’s a young, playboy billionaire who spends his days running a company that employs a large number of the citizens he spends his evenings protecting whilst dressed in a costume and wearing a mask. He has an aversion to guns but is adept at using several fighting techniques and employing weapons that have long gone out of favor while often fighting alongside a teenaged sidekick.
Sound familiar? Obviously we’re talking about Green Arrow, the vigilante protector of Star City (or Seattle, depending on the continuity). Enjoying a renewed popularity that is unparalleled in his 75-year existence, we’re going to run through some of the best collectibles devoted to the Emerald Archer.
Green Arrow, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, made his comic debut in 1941 on the pages of More Fun Comics #73, two years after the similarly themed Batman. Armed with bow and arrow, Oliver Queen spends his nights fighting crime with the assistance of a crack team of tech masterminds. Although a popular character within the DC Universe, it took many years for Green Arrow to break into the consciousness of pop culture. However, since his appearance in the Superman-based Smallville series, he has enjoyed a great deal of popularity with television fans.
As DC expands its television universe, expect to see Oliver Queen and his archer alter ego grow in popularity and for his collectibles to mature in value. With an ever-growing cast of characters and spinoff shows, Green Arrow is poised to be the cornerstone of the televised continuity and, coupled with a well-written comic series, should remain in the public consciousness for years to come. With that in mind, peruse the many key Green Arrow collectibles using the tabs above.
Green Arrow Comics
Green Arrow has appeared in DC publications in one form or another since 1941 but never had a title of his own until the 1980s. Prior to having a self-titled series, Green Arrow was included in comic books throughout the DCU. Collectors may enjoy tracking down every issue Green Arrow appeared in but, realistically, you will be sifting through 40 years worth of comics from dozens of titles including More Fun Comics, Adventure Comics, World’s Finest Comics, and Superboy.
In the early 1970s, a series of stories ran in the issues of Green Lantern which teamed up the two heroes as they drove across America. The story wasn’t finished before the series was cancelled and was ultimately concluded in two issues of Flash. Until 1983, Green Arrow was relegated to back-up stories on several titles released by DC.
Green Arrow (Volume 1) was released in May of 1983 and served as a four-issue series. Volume 2, released four years later, covered 139 issues and Volume 3 totaled 75 more. Given the relatively low number of Green Arrow titles, the character is one of the more accessible options of his generation to collect. Hoever, as stated above, there are hundreds of other books featuring his stories under different monikers.
As a comic book character, Green Arrow has never appeared in a solo trading card collection, although he has appeared in several DC-based sets. As a television character, though, there have been a few sets released, with more inevitable and some highly collectible cards already available.
Green Arrow Trading Cards
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The DC Universe has been the subject of dozens of trading card sets dating back to the 1940s with the original Superman set. Having been treated as an ancillary character for much of his history, Green Arrow has not been afforded a dedicated set of trading cards (that distinction is truly saved for Batman and Superman) but, as an early hero in the DC lineup, he has appeared in card sets throughout the decades.
Green Arrow cards can be found in the Impel Cosmic Cards (as Speedy), DC vs. Marvel, DC Master Series, Firepower, DC Legacy, Justice League of America Archives, Epic Battles, and Bloodline. He is also a prominent fixture on chase sets and recent card sets from Rittenhouse and Cryptozoic have sketch cards of Green Arrow mixed into their sets.
As a television star, Green Arrow has made his way into several sets by Inkworks and Cryptozoic. Appearing first in Smallville sets, these cards include relics and autographs from Justin Hartley. There are also sets released for both of the first two seasons of Arrow, the television show based on the comic hero, with tons of autograph and relic cards to collect. Although, in this case, there are no actual Arrow autographs as Stephen Amell has not yet participated.
Despite being a relatively unknown hero outside of the comic-reading community for the first two decades of his existence, Green Arrow was popular enough in the 1970s to get the action-figure treatment and he has been a regular among DC action figures ever since. If you’re looking to collect Green Arrow action figures, these are some of the highlights you should hit in your quest for a complete collection.
Green Arrow Figures
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Mego Toys had several lines of action figures devoted to DC and Marvel characters. In 1975, as part of their Worlds Greatest Super Heroes line, Mego introduced an 8” Green Arrow figure that is now regarded among collectors as the best figure of the entire series thanks in large part to the excellent detail work. There are several variations both in costuming and packaging for this figure but even without packaging this is still a highly sought-after collectible. Be cautious of reissues of his figure, though.
Kenner included Green Arrow in the second wave of their Super Powers collection in 1984. The figures were repackaged several times and remained on store shelves well into the 1990s. In 1997, a completely redesigned Green Arrow figure was released in the Total Justice line and, in 1998, another redesign appeared in the JLA series. The value of Kenner action figures varies wildly but it is always a safe bet to go with the original if you find it in good condition and still in the packaging.
DC Direct, and later DC Collectibles, have released several 7”-8” action figures since 1998. Series options include JLA, Comics Icons, Brightest Day, Hard Traveling Heroes, Identity Crisis, and The New 52, among others. Figures are sometimes issued to coincide with direct-to-video releases by the DC Animation studios. Figures associated with the popular television show Arrow are also released by DC Collectibles. Again, values on these figures vary a great deal so collectors are advised to keep an eye out for a deal. Also, be on the lookout for the Mad Magazine Green Arrow that has Alfred E. Neuman wearing the legendary green hood.
If you’re bound to large retail toy stores to build your collection, you will no doubt find multiple Mattel figures from several different sets in various configurations. Green Arrow appears in many of these sets, including the Batman Collection, Infinite Heroes, and Justice League Unlimited. Figures from Mattel show up on online auctions fairly regularly and can be obtained, mint in box, for slightly above original retail value in many cases.
If you’re anxious to have Green Arrow represented on your bookshelf but prefer your figures with a little less action, there are two great alternatives for you to collect. On the high-end side of things there are collectible statues and on the low-end side there are Funko figures designed with a more playful likeness. Below are highlights from each collection.
Green Arrow Statues and Funko Figures
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DC Direct has released several high-end statues portraying the Green Arrow in various poses. These statues are limited in release but are fairly easy to find on the aftermarket. Because of their limited availability, prices almost never dip below retail and typically mature pretty quickly. Since Green Arrow is not the most popular action hero, there are fewer options to choose from than, say, Superman or Wonder Woman and the pieces that are available are of high quality and, sometimes, feature more than one character.
Kotobukiya figures, which are also limited, are typically a less expensive entry into action statue collecting and there are Green Arrow options at this price point as well.
For significantly less of an investment but, possibly, significantly more fun, you may consider Funko as a great way to collect and decorate all in one shot. The Funko Pop! line includes figures designed in the style of the comic book as well as the CW television series. As is often the case, there are retail exclusives and variations to hunt down as you complete your collection. Because of the growing roster of characters on the Arrow show, you will find Funko figures of Black Canary, Deathstroke, and Felicity.
Funko also has a series of action figures — their ReAction line — designed around the television show characters. One would assume that the mass production of these figures, coupled with the fact that you can purchase them in many department or toy stores, would make them virtually worthless on the secondary market. However, those two factors actually contribute to their value and retired Green Arrow figures have sold on online auctions for over $300 on a regular basis. Do not dismiss these as simple toys and pick up some Arrow Funko today!