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Wednesday, December 18, 2019 

Kevin Smith's mistaken on how and why Chuck Dixon put Green Arrow in death limbo

Kevin Smith is a decidedly overrated filmmaker, or at least an overrated comics writer, recalling his Black Cat miniseries - which suffered a delay of 2 years to complete - was awful. Recently, on one of the TV shows Smith's been hosting, he got some details awkward - if not completely wrong - about how Chuck Dixon worked on writing Oliver Queen into a corner for the sake of having his illegitimate son Connor Hawke replace him, and Dixon responded on his own video channel recordings. Here's first what Smith originally said, which sounds like he's trying to pin it all on Chuck:
“That’s Chuck Dixon’s fault. Chuck Dixon killed him. Oliver had his hands in a device, an exploding device, and if he removed one of his hands it would have set off the bomb and exploded the plane. Superman was there. And he was like we can do this, and he intimates we have to laser off Oliver’s arm, which then would have made Oliver look like the Dark Knight Returns Oliver Queen who only had one arm. So while we are reading the books the future is here. Instead, Oliver chose to die.”
Umm, I don't think he had both his hands - or arms - in the device. Just one, his left, and it wasn't intended to mirror DKR directly. And here's one more item that appears to be Smith's words:
“At the time, if you don’t know your DC Universe history they were replacing a lot of the second tier characters, Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, with younger alter egos. Hal Jordan, the original Green Lantern, went off to become a villain. And Barry Allen, the original Flash, got killed. And here comes Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son to become the new Green Arrow, but Ollie is still hanging around.”
Say, I wonder what Smith thinks of Hal's revolting fate from yesteryear? And IIRC, Ollie was the one to take him out circa Zero Hour. I've sometimes wondered what would happen if Smith requested to take up writing Green Lantern as much as Green Arrow - would DC editorial have agreed? If the answer were an affirmative, you have to wonder why some pretentious Hollywood filmmaker gets to reverse a bad course of direction, but not a "homegrown" comics writer?

Now, what did Dixon have to say in response:
Even worse was showing Superman as a failure. So, I worked it out that Superman would be the one to sever his arm. He would not fail, and the trap would succeed in severing. Superman would take it off himself, and who better than Superman? Surgical cut, cauterized, and then fly him to right to medical assistance. Superman on the spot was actually the perfect character. So Superman in a way succeeds. He doesn’t save Ollie’s arm, but he saves his life, and he stops this plane from reaching its target all at the same time. So I worked all that out.”
So while he was tasked with an irritating assignment sticking Ollie into a lethal corner, he did want to try and offer a way out, vicious though it was, not unlike Aquaman's fate to have his hand chewed off by piranhas at the time. But the problem was...editorial mandates:
After turning in the script where Queen survives, Dixon details that editor Paul Levitz said “just kill him.”

Dixon explains he followed orders, “I still used the setup, but the plane simply explodes killing Ollie. Superman couldn’t save him. So Superman does fail, which is bad. I didn’t like that.”
Well there we go again. Another sign Levitz was a bad omen for DC as a senior editor, and lacked genuine respect for the stable of characters he was entrusted with. If you want to replace older protagonists with younger ones, that's fine in itself, but the cliched, vile way they went about it as time went by was offensive in the extreme. And it was insulting to turn Superman into that kind of a forced failure. Levitz did pen some entertaining stories for the Legion of Super-Heroes, among other characters, during his early career at DC, but come the 90s and his ascension to an editor, he became a major embarrassment, forcing one to take his earlier writings with a grain of salt.

And as this should make clear, Smith's wrong about Dixon's accountability on the matter. It was the editors who bear the most responsibility for what transpired, and to date, they haven't apologized for it, or admitted their actions contributed to the downfall of

Dixon's conclusion was:
It wasn’t me acting alone. I was under editorial directive to first take an arm off of Ollie and then ultimately to kill him. And then ultimately I set up the situation to return Ollie to life…I set up the scenario that would allow Kevin Smith to make the character return.”
I think I vaguely remember reading the finale to the 1988-98 GA series, which provided a bit of the setup, for which Smith seems ungrateful. Nor was he willing to consider the bigger pictures involved, or lay the blame where it really matters, at the feet of the editorial staff who mandated the move. I guess Smith's so full of himself, he doesn't realize not all professional writers have the clout he does, based in this case on his status within the film industry. This is precisely why, up to a point, scriptwriters like Smith have been given the freedom to decide how they want to write a corporate-owned product. J. Michael Straczynski's another example. Whereas the more homegrown talent's all but shunted aside and not afforded the same privileges Smith and his ilk receive.

As far as Green Arrow's temporary demise at the time is concerned, it may not have been as bad as Green Lantern's, since Oliver Queen wasn't transformed into a villain. But it still feels awfully forced in retrospect, and they were decidedly rushing to get a new character, Connor Hawke, into the role, without giving time to build him up over several years as a co-starring character who could take up the baton later. If the overseers can't wait, and can't take a merit-based approach, they've demonstrated what's wrong with corporate-owned media, to say nothing of jumble-headed editors who have no idea what they want in entertainment, or how.

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Oh, Sweet Rao, THANK YOU!!

I always knew for over a decade how much a lame duck and wuss Paul Levitz is when it came to letting DiDio get away with so much shit the moment he promoted the man into Executive Editor 15 yrs ago but I never knew he was no different from Len Wein far as a massive disregard toward other characters in the DCU.

He's just as guilty as Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada for letting Smith kill Karen Page and have Mysterio be the root behind the mindfuckery when that character had fuck all to do with Daredevil. This isn't Doctor Doom menacing about Shiang Chi; its Mysterio going after another hero he never dealt with one on one outside of Spider-Man for the most moronic and contrived way. Both Kevin Smith and Geoff Johns (plus a blacklisted Ethan Van Sciver) effectively violated the DCU beyond repair nevermind DiDio's pompousness and Levitz being ever the lame duck.

Re: Connor- much as I like him, I kinda wish both he and Cassandra Cain were given the same amount of time (and two title continuity) Tim Drake did between A Lonely Place of Dying and when he officially became Robin after he helped Bruce and Vicki Vale against Scarecrow.

Thanks but no thanks, Levitz! You were a great writer but as President of the company, you were always shit!

Don't @ me for those who'll get offended by this comment. This mind ain't changing for shit!!

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