DCU Spec – Green Arrow

by Douglas Ohlandt

053023A-1024x536 DCU Spec - Green ArrowWith DCU films and shows coming soon, collectors have been turning their focus to characters who could appear in these productions. Investors are looking at characters whose comic book appearances are poised for a rise in value as a result. With nearly a century of characters to choose from, we’re taking a look at those who should be the focus of your efforts. This time around, the spotlight will be on Green Arrow.

First Appearance

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Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp in 1941, Green Arrow has a long history and significant legacy in DC Comics. While the well-known Arrow TV series likely precludes an appearance by Green Arrow in the Gods & Monster first phase of the DCU (James Gunn probably wants to create some space between the series and whatever shape the character will take in future productions), there is no doubt that we’ll see Oliver Queen at some point in the DCU. For collectors, the definitive first appearance of Green Arrow is in More Fun Comics #73.

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There are only 61 graded copies of More Fun Comics #73 in the CGC census and 37 are in the universal grade. There have been no sales this year but a 6.0 selling for $90,000 in a December 2022 Heritage auction gives us an idea of its present value.

Judging by the reduction in price from a January 2022 sale for $192,00 for a 6.5 to the April 2022 sale for $102,00 for the same grade, I would imagine that the likely selling price for a 6.0 may have dropped somewhat. Still, it’s not an easy book to find and you’ll pay a lot to get one.

First Cover Appearance

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Green Arrow graced a comic book cover for the first time in Leading Comics #1. Leading Comics, in general, is one of the most affordable of DC’s Golden Age superhero series. The only sale so far this year is a 4.0 selling in a February 13 Heritage auction for $2,146.

This is a low price to pay for a first issue with Green Arrow’s first cover appearance. There are only 54 graded copies, though, so it won’t be particularly easy to find.

First Solo Story

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Green Arrow received his first series of solo stories within the pages World’s Finest Comics beginning with World’s Finest Comics #7. There are 131 graded copies of this 1942 comic in the CGC census. Three copies sold in January of this year: a 5.0 on January 2 for $1,225, a 5.5 on January 3 for a slashed $1,850, and a 6.5 on January 18 for $1,607.

The 6.5 had off-white pages as compared to off-white to white pages for the other two, thus the likely reason for the lower price. In any event, these are still affordable prices for a Golden Age DC key.

Green Arrow in the Silver Age

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Green Arrow made his first Silver Age appearance in Adventure Comics #229. Unlike Flash, Green Lantern, and others, there was no change to the character. He was still Oliver Queen and still wore the same costume. In fact, Green Arrow was one of the few DC superheroes who stayed in circulation throughout the Golden Age.

There have been a couple sales of this comic in 2023. In the mid-grade, we have a 6.5 selling for $497 on February 17 and in the lower grades we have a 4.0 selling for a slashed $200 on February 22. These are great prices for a 1956 DC Silver Age minor key.

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The origin of Green Arrow was finally told in the pages of Adventure Comics #256, and the story was drawn by none other than Jack Kirby. Considering the importance of this book and its artist, prices in the low grades are surprising. A 2.0 sold on April 16 for $150, while a 3.0 sold on May 2 for $160.

Even as you get into the higher grades, prices are still relatively low, as evidenced by the sale of an 8.5 on March 28 for $690.

Green Arrow in the JLA

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Green Arrow was the first addition to the Justice League, joining the team in Justice League of America #4. With 366 graded copies, this one shouldn’t be too hard to find, and prices are currently quite low.

A 6.0 sold on April 11 for $192, while a 7.5 went in a Heritage auction on April 4 for $486. On the low end, it’s dirt cheap: a 4.5 sold on eBay on April 2 for just $81.

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Oliver Queen has a long relationship with Black Canary, and he would meet his future wife in Justice League of America #21. This issue also marks the first meeting of the JLA and the JSA. This is a pretty big Silver Age key with 710 graded copies. Prices have been dropping for this book.

Take the 7.0 grade as an example. In September 2022, a 7.0 sold in a fixed price eBay sale for $765. The most recent sale in this grade took place in an April 21 eBay auction with a final price of $295, a 61% reduction in value in just eight months. This strikes me as a buying opportunity.

New Direction and New Costume

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Neal Adams created a new costume for Green Arrow in The Brave and the Bold #85. This late Silver Age DC key has 294 graded copies in the CGC census. Recent sales include a 6.0 going for a slashed $149 on April 24 and an 8.5 selling for $299 on March 6.

Both sales are above the one-year average, a sign that this book is starting to rise in value.

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Denny O’Neil began to take Green Arrow in a new direction in the early 1970s, shifting the character from a swashbuckler type to one more concerned with the little guy. While this shift began in the pages of Justice League of America, it came to full fruition when Oliver started teaming up with Hal Jordan beginning in Green Lantern #76, the start of a celebrated run on the series that included some of the most amazing artwork of Neal Adams’ illustrious career.

Of note to collectors, this issue is considered by many to be the start of the Bronze Age.

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Green Lantern #76 has always been a popular comic and the 2,688 copies in the CGC census is but one data point confirming its importance in the collecting community. While it hasn’t been immune to recent price corrections, we are seeing a rise in value, as evidenced by the average sales prices in the 6.5 grade, with a 30-day average of $605, 90-day average of $591, and one-year average of $518.

In the 9.0 grade, it reached its highest price on March 28 when a Murphy Anderson file copy sold in a Heritage auction for $2,880. It’s hard to find good deals for this comic – it’s too well-known. So, you’ll likely have to pay a bit for a copy.

Solo Series

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More than forty years after his creation, Green Arrow finally received his own mini-series in 1983’s Green Arrow #1. This one should be relatively easy to find at a low price. While there are only 361 graded copies, the current 90-day average for a 9.8 is $112.

All other grades are below $100. It’s also quite plentiful in cheap boxes if you’re looking for a raw copy.

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Mike Grell took on Green Arrow as part of DC’s post-Crisis renaissance in the late 1980s. With the character sporting the now-famous hood and no longer wielding a bevy of trick arrows, Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1 established the look and feel for the character that has been used ever since.

There are 288 graded copies of this comic in the CGC census, and the value of a 9.8 has dropped as low as $63. This could be a decent spec book if this grittier version of Oliver is the one that shows up in the DCU.

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The success of Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters led to the archer’s first ongoing solo series beginning with 1988’s Green Arrow #1.

While it lacks the creative spark of Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, collectors have placed a higher value on this issue, as evidenced by the 406 graded copies and a 30-day price average for a 9.8 of $117.

Final Analysis

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Green Arrow is coming to the DCU – it’s just a matter of when. While his early Golden Age appearances are likely outside the price range for average collectors, his Silver Age issues and later are all quite affordable outside of the key O’Neil/Adams issues of Green Lantern. If you’re looking for unannounced DCU characters as potential spec targets, Green Arrow should be near the top of your list.

Are you a Green Arrow fan? Do you think he’ll be a part of the DCU? Let us know below.

Upgrade2_Footer DCU Spec - Green Arrow*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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D. Johanesburgh May 30, 2023 - 3:57 pm

I’m curious what rationale was used to mark Adventure 229 as the first Silver Age Green Arrow. There is some argument for it being the first Silver Age Aquaman, but it doesn’t hold up for G.A. who displayed no indication of being a new, Earth-1 character until Adventure 246 and, even more convincingly, Adventure 256, when Jack Kirby gave him the new origin.

Douglas Ohlandt May 30, 2023 - 7:45 pm

D. Johanesburgh – I opted to use Adventure Comics #229 as Green Arrow’s first Silver Age appearance due to the fact that the character didn’t really change from the Golden Age to the Silver Age and this would be his first appearance post the publication of Showcase #4. In fact, it could be argued that Green Arrow’s first Silver Age appearance didn’t really occur until the end of the Silver Age when he received his new costume in The Brave & the Bold #85. It’s all fluid when it comes to characters like Green Arrow. DC opted to leave him, for the most part, the same when they began revamping many of their characters in the late 1950s. It makes for fun discussion and debate, and there’s definitely an argument to be made for either of the issues you mention.


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