[Characters of DC] Month Three: An Archer’s Tale: The Life and Times of Roy Harper

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Roy Harper was one of the earliest sidekicks to appear on the scene. He has a vast array of stories and he has been a part of many teams including the Teen Titans, Titans, Suicide Squad, Outsiders, Checkmate, Justice League, and the Outlaws. Whether you like him as Speedy, Arsenal or Red Arrow this month’s activities have plenty for everyone. So here we go….

In-depth reading list

What to read and watch

Young Justice:

Questions:

Week One:

  1. Here we have a collection of a few early adventures of Speedy’s . What did you think of these stories in general and of Roy’s portrayal in them specifically?

  2. How would you compare and contrast the early version of Speedy in More Fun Comics with version presented in Adventure Comics? Any major differences between the two characters? Anything you liked better or thought was worse about how the character was handled?

  3. Early Teen Titans Stories: What did you think of the interactions between him and the rest of the team?

  4. How do you feel about the character’s development at this point in his existence?

Week Two:

  1. “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” is a seminal story for both Roy Harper and DC. How do you feel about how the writer handled Roy here and how about Roy’s reasoning for taking drugs in the first place? Was it believable?

  2. In the New Teen Titan issues we learn that Roy has a child with Chesire and that he loves her still despite her line of work. What do you think fatherhood brought to the character at this point in his life? Was it a good thing and what of Cheshire? Is their love wrong?

  3. In the first two Titans issues here a past enemy, Gargoyle AKA Mister Twister, has come to call on the Titans. What did you think of Roy’s involvement here compared to the previous encounter in TT #14?

  4. In issue #27 we see Cheshire return and try to see her daughter and Roy’s reaction to that. What did you think of the interaction and how do you think it affected both Lian and Roy?

Week Three:

  1. And yet another old Titans’ foe, Brother Blood returns. Here one of his sleeper agents shoots Roy at point blank range almost killing him and issue #11 deals with the aftermath of that attack. What did you think of Roy’s reaction to his brush with death? Was it believable?

  2. We also see Lian again here and again later when she is kidnapped by Tanner. What do you think of their father/daughter relationship? Do you think it helps keep Roy on the straight and narrow path insofar as his addiction is concerned?

  3. For those that read Cry for Justice and Rise of Arsenal how does Roy’s depiction in these two stories relate to previous depictions?

  4. In Convergence: Titans Roy is trying to atone for the things he’s done in the aftermath of the previously mentioned stories. What do you think of his atoning for the past? What about the return of his daughter to him? Do you think it will make him “whole” again to have her back?

Week Four:

  1. In reading these issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws do you see any fundamental difference between this version of Roy and the pre-Flashpoint version of the character?

  2. Roy and Green Arrow’s new past is shown in issue #37. What are some of the similarities and differences between their relationship here and their relationship pre-FP? What about between what is depicted in this issue and in “Snowbirds Don’t Fly”?

  3. The last two issues are from the Rebirth era. Do you feel there is a connection between the N52/Rebirth version of Roy and his past versions or are they for all intents and purposes separate characters only having the same name?

  4. In the episodes I selected which is your favorite version of Roy and why? Also can a connection be drawn between these versions of the character and the comic versions?

If you are interested in joining the Characters of DC Club follow the link or questions DM me @JasonTodd428.

Next Month: Huntress Stalks the Night

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JT I’m in, man. Lot of the early stuff I haven’t read so this will be good.

My first encounter with Roy was through his first appearance in the 1960s Teen Titans, which is actually one of the issues here. Its pretty dated these days but I still have a fondness for that era of the Teen Titans and its characters.

In researching the character I came across some material that went back farther than that and that I hadn’t read before so it was a lot of fun for me too. I hope you enjoy reading the older stuff @msgtv

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Made my way through week one’s readings. Boy, those Golden Age stories are just flat with characterization. Roy is relegated to a chirpy Greek chorus generally cheering on Green Arrow.

It’s not till we get to the Adventure Comics backups that we get some amount of personality from Roy. Maybe I’m reading into it, but he seems to have a little attitude about these stupid arrows.

The Teen Titans issues are fun, but Roy’s back to being Robin 2.0 with a bow and arrow. But we do see the beginning of his bad decision making. Maybe don’t drink pond water.

Just what every teen in America wanted in the '60s, a personal note from LBJ. Looking forward to next week when I expect Roy to really step forward.

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It’s a good thing I love Golden Age Batman & Robin stories because…

“Send a cease and desist letter!”

“Sir, we own these characters, too!”

On top of that, Mort Weisinger writes their first appearance as if the readers have seen previous adventures with this dynamic duo. And let’s be honest: they had. Not that these heroes will stick around much longer if they keep catapulting themselves at the side of buildings…

Arrow catapult

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@msgtv I did like Roy’s sass in that panel you posted. I liked it better than the chirpy Greek chorus version of the panel before. The Roy in Adventure Comics is commonly thought of as the “modern Roy” so I don’t think you’re reading to much into that.

@AlexanderKnox I did find the whole catapulting business rather amusing and from the is car no less. Really put me in mind of some of the wackiness in the Batman '66 show and the gadgets the '66 Batmobile had.

I do like the touch of whimsy in these Golden age stories here even if the characterizations are a bit flat. You can tell that these were written for a different audience then comics are these days. The next batch of stories will have a large and noticable tonal shift and not just because of the content.

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Yes. Me. :stuck_out_tongue:

I enjoyed the Silver Age stories, too (especially the “Aquaman and Arrow trade locales” story). I sorta wish that the Legion of Super-Heroes had thought to nab Speedy and make him feel inadequate as they did with Superboy. :wink:

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Just so I could check all the books as read, I read everything in them not just Speedy. Early LoS are buttholes. :sweat_smile:

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Overall, I was entertained, but I agree that there wasn’t any characterization in those early issues. It’s like you could have just replaced Speedy with Robin and the story would have been the same…waaaiiiit, a minute! Are GA and Speedy just a a knock off of Batman and Robin?!?

“Arrow cave” indeed…

I don’t know that I saw much difference. It seems like it’s not until Teen Titans that there’s a need to give him much personality (and even then there’s not much).

I like that he’s a bit of a smart ass. That checks.

There’s not much there yet outside of “smart ass teenager,” which fits all of them, but what can you do? It was a different time.

Hey, is it me or is Speedy’s pose on the cover of 4 the same exact pose used in the cover of 11? Like it’s just a straight copy, like you dig?

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:stuck_out_tongue:

@msgtv: They sure are.

@ralphsix: I do believe you are correct about the pose on the covers of both those issues. I don’t think I even noticed that before so nice observation.

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I dig cat

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Naturally, I’ve read the GL/GA issues but it’s been a while. As a story goes it’s still remarkable particularly for its time, but it has a pretty big flaw. Why get hooked on smack? Because other jerks call my dad names, or jerks hate me, or my guardian ignores me. And I can’t take advice from you because of war and other bad stuff. That’s some bad 1970s liberal writing. But, the depiction of addiction itself and our reaction to it (though dramatized) is pretty strong. I’m not sure what it says about him or the evolution of comics, but the first time in this month we see Roy with a strong, real personality, he’s strung out.


That’s a nice layout

The strength of the story is shown by Roy’s addiction and his split from Ollie lasting through all those crisis, reboots and rebirths.

I read The New Teen Titans #20 and there was no Roy! What’s going on? Okay, I’m on the wrong book, my bad.
As for The New Teen Titans #20 (1984) I really enjoyed both issues, cuz everyone has got so many issues. Donna and Terry, Garth is mourning, Wally is trying to figure out how to live up to Barry’s memory, and Jason’s just happy to be there. But the center of the story is 100% Roy and Cheshire and this really works. She’s a mercenary willing to kill for a buck, but her motivations sometimes go deeper. He’s torn between duty and love. Suddenly, carbon copy Roy is the most interesting character on the page. Just goes to show, a good writer can work any character.


PS I never liked Terry, he’s always been a jerk and a loser. Now, Donna is expected to forgive him because he’s only a loser? No thanks.

I’d read Titans (1999) up to issue 25 earlier last year, so I was familiar with this two-parter. But, I didn’t love it because everyone is acting like their 12 years-old. Roy, is the only one that vaguely seems his age. He is acting a little like a jerk, but I don’t think he honestly understands how his constant ‘joking’ ceases to be a joke after a while. I had stopped Titans with issue 25 so I hadn’t read 27. This issue I really enjoyed. I like the idea that Cheshire isn’t just Roy’s baby mamma but despite everything she’s done he really cares for her. Can’t explain love. What they’re gonna do to Lian is just…


Put this book back in my read pile

A tad off topic, but how often do we get to see the Robin costume without the red tunic?
Robin sans tunic

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That’s just weird

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That two parter is one of my favorites because of the struggle between duty and love that Roy’s dealing with here. I also like it because we see how complex of a character Cheshire really is.

Also I agree with you that Terry is a jerk. I never liked him.

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Extremely weird.

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