Now that Arrow has concluded an incredible eight-season run, I couldn’t help reflecting on more than what happened on the show itself during that timespan. It wasn’t just enough to reminisce on what happened to the Emerald Archer on the small screen, but also to look back on what transpired in my own life over that period.
The more I got to thinking, this game-changing TV series was running parallel to my career as a writer. Although Arrow got things started by premiering in October 2012, I wasn’t lagging too far behind when I began as a volunteer contributor at Comic Book Movie in July 2013. As the show grew, I did likewise as a person and a writer – and there was more than a little overlap.
From this point on, I’ll sum up the finer points of my journey so that you can see the affect an inspiring work of fiction such as Arrow can have on a real person. I hope you all enjoy this piece, and you’re more than welcome to share your own stories in the comments section. Our own Damian Fasciani recently wrote a retrospective of his own, so click here if you would like to check out that as well.
My Name Is Oliver Queen, I Mean, Eric Joseph
Like I said, my time as a writer pretty much ran parallel to Arrow as it grew from a standalone superhero show/crime drama into something that birthed an entire universe of comic book adaptations on television. I didn’t stick around at the aforementioned CBM for too long, later making my way to Dark Knight News (2014-17) and We Got This Covered (2015-19).
Along the way, I had the chance to meet various cast members at different points during the series’ lifespan, thereby lending multiple perspectives on the tale as it grew. Some of them them I merely met at conventions, while others I actually got to interview.
Motor City Comic Con (you’re going to see that one referenced a lot) was often the means I had of making this all possible. In 2014 alone, I was able to shake hands with Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance), John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn) and Robert Knepper (Clock King). Cool as that was, it prepared me for the interview opportunity I’d get with Michael Rowe (Deadshot) in 2015.
2016 was a mixed bag, as I met – but didn’t interview – Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul), though I did get to speak with Echo Kellum (Mister Terrific) over the phone. I won’t forget either of those experiences, but I’m holding out hope that Kellum will roll through Detroit as some point so that I may actually meet him face-to-face.
If you’re keeping track, these encounters went down near the conclusions of seasons 2, 3 and 4, respectively, with the Echo Kellum phoner happening right before the “Invasion!” crossover. Dedicated fans of Arrow shouldn’t have to strain themselves remembering what each of these characters were going through at those times, and what it must’ve been like to hear, say, Katie Cassidy tease the inevitable Black Canary reveal, or how Kellum’s Curtis Holt may deal with Dominators.
It’s at this time I’ll discuss the cosplay element. This is a field to which I’m certainly no stranger, and I always wanted to own an awesome-looking superhero costume. Seeing as how Batman is my favorite character, he’d be a no-brainer, right?
Well, if you’ve looked around at gear online, then you know how Batman costumes that don’t look like crap are quite expensive. This was key in my motivation for instead laying down money on a replica of the Green Arrow suit worn by Stephen Amell in seasons 5-7. For an affordable price, I felt every bit as badass as my onscreen hero, and the compliments from fellow convention attendees never cease whenever I choose to suit up. Heck, I’ve even worn that thing to a cosplay beach party!
Although I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at the Dark Knight at some point, there’s something inherently altruistic I’ve noticed about guys cosplaying as Batman that I don’t think I share. But Oliver Queen (at least The CW’s version) is flawed. He’s made mistakes unlike those of Bruce Wayne’s. He’s done stuff he’s not particularly proud of – but he never stops trying to better himself. That, I found relatable, and it occurs to me when I flip up that hood.
All that said, you couldn’t believe how elated I was when Stephen Amell himself shared a DC group cosplay photo taken at Youmacon 2017 (above) on his Facebook page for one of his “Fan Art Fridays.” Yes, I was the one who submitted it, but to see the man himself deeming myself and the accompanying DC enthusiasts worthy of sharing with his fanbase at large was truly touching.
Which brings me to…
The Main Event
If I have to single out my favorite event ever attended, that honor will probably go to Motor City Comic Con 2018. Should you have been there as well, then you’ll recall how that particular show was an embarrassment of riches when it came to booking actors from superhero shows – and where I finally met Stephen Amell himself.
Hey, he may have not been doing interviews for that weekend, but getting a photo with him and attending his panel meant the world to me. Despite him being only a few years older in age, that doesn’t mean I can’t look to him as a positive example. I mean, the guy is known for having an incredible connection with his fans, doing charity work, and has even appeared on American Ninja Warrior.
Speaking of which, a lot of praise could be thrown Kirk Acevedo’s way as well. The man responsible for bringing the inhumane Ricardo Diaz to life is actually an awesome person himself. I actually did get to interview him during that weekend, as we discussed what was next for “The Dragon” in season 6.
Before I move on, I’d like to give an honorable mention to one Cress Williams. Black Lightning may have not been part of the Arrowverse at the time, but it sure is now. I likewise interviewed him on behalf of WGTC, as he was just cooling off after a spectacular debut season.
If there’s any impression I’d like this article to leave on you, the reader, it’s that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you it’s silly to say a TV show can impact you. Arrow, The Flash, Black Lightning and countless others can be a driving force in inspiring ourselves to become better people. To Stephen Amell, his co-stars and crew, I thank you all for eight years of phenomenal storytelling – and I hope to once again meet the people mentioned above.
You helped me become someone else…something else.