DC Comics lets journalist/filmmaker Nocenti write rebooted ‘Green Arrow’

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 13, 2011 

WASHINGTON — Filmmaker and journalist Ann Nocenti has joined the DC Comics stable of writers.

In late August, DC Comics rebooted its entire comic line, all 52 titles, renumbering them from No. 1. This has opened up a new world for characters such as “Batman,” “Superman,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Justice League” and, of course, “Green Arrow.”

Nocenti, an old-time comics writer, worked extensively at Marvel Comics in the 1980s and with DC in the 1990s on its “Kid Eternity” issue. She left to do journalism and film, which she continues to teach.

“I always really missed comics,” Nocenti says from New York. “It’s a really friendly, fun, intimate medium that I missed a lot. I traveled the world, and made documentaries and features, did a lot of journalism, ran magazines. I never forgot about comics. They were always in the back of my head as something endearing like a lost beloved pet or something.”

“Over the years I’d run into a comic here and there, and I would try and read it. It was like multiple characters, lots of characters squashed onto a page. A story you couldn’t really get into. You had no idea of what was going on, and I thought, ‘They kinda lost their way, they’re not telling single stories anymore.’”

She was pulled back in comics by old friends, including DC Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and co-Pulisher Dan DiDio. She wondered about herself, “Let’s see if I could still have some ideas of this medium.”

She takes over as the regular writer of “Green Arrow” as of issue seven.

“Green Arrow,” aka Oliver Green, is a rich billionaire based in Star City, which is apparently based on Seattle. “He’s modeled after Robin Hood, so I guess his origin story is ‘steal from the rich and give to the poor,’” she says.

Nocenti didn’t know anything about the character until she read Wikipedia. “The thing that struck me the most was the phrase that kept coming up over and over — ‘thrill-seeking activist.’ Which I can get behind because I’m kinda a thrill-seeking activist.”

“I’m kinda one of those people who gets restless when not being challenged. Somebody called me up and said, “Hey, let’s sneak into Pakistan and make a film about the insurgents and the tribal zone. I go, ‘Sure,’ and then I went and I did it. I rode around with the warlords and had the time of my life, and I felt completely awake. Then you come back home and you almost like fall asleep again.”

“I really relate to Green Arrow. He would get restless and antsy and he would impulsively go after something because it wakes him up. And he has this hero impulse that guides him, his moral compass is somewhere in his gut, his solar plexus.

She starts her tenure with a trilogy where “I automatically throw him out of his comfort zone. His world changes radically because, on an impulse, he flies some place. I tangle him up with a woman right away. And it’s complicated.”

“He’s not a kid. He’s working at much higher level. I see him partly as an adventurer, a thrill seeker … so his stories are going to be very international. Very global. A good model would be James Bond with a conscience.”

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