Pictures say it all

I used to think Green Arrow was one of the sillier characters of the DC Major Arcana, with his King Of Hearts beard and his arsenal of quirky arrows. But it turns out (and thank you, arrowheads anonymous who brought me up to speed) that over the past 80 years some great stories were made featuring the Emerald Archer (there’s no word in A that can replace “Green”, apparently). The recent 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular (gotta love these superlative blancmanges) has quite a few, covering all kinds of aspects and interpretations of the character that you don’t seem to get in Batman or Superman anthologies that seem to be limited to a growing codification of their main character.

The best story in the book, however, only features Green Lantern in a very cursory way. In Tap, Tap, Tap, writer Larry O’Neil pays homage to his father Denny, one of the geniuses that essentially made the DC universe the way we know it today. It’s a very fragmented story, focusing on key moments in O’Neil’s life (beautifully rendered by Jorge Fornés, slowly but surely my favorite artist of the moment). What makes it very special  is that the only language it uses, is the “Tap, tap, tap” of typewriters of various kinds.

All dialogue balloons contain visual references to comic characters that played an important part in O’Neil’s life, as well as important milestones (and sometimes both). But the best part is that the shape of the balloons mirrors the message, making the story essentially six pages of just gripping visuals. The irony of which, as it is the life story of a man who made his living writing words, should not be lost on anybody.

Even if you rarely buy superhero comics, get this book. It’s not grand in its aspirations, but it has some mighty great stories, and not in the least this moving send-off of one of the truly greats by his own son.

(Illustrations from the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular, © 2021 DC Comics)

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