Tag Archives: Asheville Comic Expo

Jungian Symbolism in “Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters” by Mike Grell


I picked this graphic novel up at last year’s Asheville Comic Expo and got it signed by writer/artist Mike Grell. I have to say that Mike was not the friendliest of the writers and artists I met that day, but whatever. Maybe he was tired or having a rough day. Anyway, it took me a while, but finally got around to reading it and overall I liked the book. I watched the “Arrow” series on TV but had never read any of the graphic novels. I must admit I was happy with this one and would certainly consider reading more in the future.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, the Green Arrow is Oliver Queen, and he is sort of like a cross between Batman and Robin Hood. I actually like that he does not possess any “superhuman” powers and relies on his physical strength and prowess.

In this novel, he is aged and reflecting back on his life. It is during this time that a mysterious female assassin appears who also uses a bow. This woman is systematically killing members of a crime organization who have a shrouded history.

What I found most interesting about the story is that the mysterious woman, known as Shado, is essentially the Jungian shadow aspect of Oliver’s psyche. She is able to kill without remorse, whereas Oliver struggles with moral issues, not wanting to take a life even though doing so is justified.

The hits on the target are only the outward proof of your mastery… like the symbol of the dragon you bear – a symbol of dishonor. Both are meaningless. You have transcended goals. You are the artless art. You are Shado.

(p. 95)

Toward the end, when Oliver faces Shado, it becomes clear that the two are different aspects of the same self, symbolic mirrors of themselves. It is symbolic of Oliver facing that part of himself that he has sought to repress.

Oliver: Why did you bring me here?

Shado: You have been hunting me. At least this way I don’t have to wonder where you are. We are alike, you and I.

Oliver: No. I’m nothing like you.

Shado: No? You want Magnor for what he did to that woman. I want him for what he did to my honor. How is your vengeance different from mine?

(pp. 130 – 131)

I’d like to close this post by talking a little bit about the artwork. It’s very good. Most writers of graphic novels seem to rely on others to create artwork to accompany the story, but Grell handle both the writing and the artwork with equal skill. I was impressed with both, and the fact that Grell did all this on his own is a testament to his artistic talent and versatility.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading cool stuff!


Filed under Literature

The X-Files Season 11: Issue #05


I confess that I was starting to get a little discouraged about the current X-Files comic arc, which is why I didn’t even bother writing about Issue #4. Thankfully, this issue is better.

Let me start by saying that I recently met Matthew Dow Smith, the comic’s artist, at the Asheville Comic Expo. I discussed the comic with him and was honest about my concerns regarding the seeming lack of direction. He shared something interesting with me that shed some light on things. The creative team had a plan on the direction the story would take, but then when the decision was made to move forward on the TV reboot, they were told they had to change the story and the timeframe. That explained a lot. With this in mind, there was a line in this issue that seems to hint at the struggles the creative team were dealing with.

Outside factors have sped up my plans. You’re no stranger to taking decisive action.

This issue also has a theme to it that I feel is both true and powerful—that key events in our lives and how we respond to those events has a significant impact on the course of our life. I can point to key events that have changed the course of my life and contributed to defining who I am as a person. So I want to conclude this post with two quotes that tie into this theme. The first appears early in the issue and the second appears toward the end.

You need to understand, it isn’t any one tragedy—or some single set of events—that makes someone who they are. It’s how we process them, rolling all of our experiences together—that informs the transformation and tests the measure of what we’re truly capable of.


It’s never one tragedy that defines us. We are each the product of myriad experiences—good, bad, and life-altering. While what we’re capable of is something we only learn in our worst moments. And which we save for our finest hour.

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Back to the Future: Issue 1


I picked this up at the Asheville Comic Expo (ACE) about a month ago and finally got around to reading it. As you can tell from the cover, it is a limited edition printed solely for the expo (the bag Marty is holding has ACE logo on it). I figured it was a cool collectible from the expo, but it is also a very well-written and nicely illustrated comic.

The issue actually contains two stories, or the beginnings of two story threads: the first tells the story of how Marty initially meets Dr. Brown, and the second begins a tale of Dr. Brown getting recruited to work with Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project.

I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by how good this first issue is. I was not expecting much. I kind of thought it would be silly and kind of a milking of the films, but there is really something creative happening here that augments the films. I would like to read the subsequent issues, but frankly, I am following more than my share of arcs right now. I can’t in good conscience commit to another series. So I will be content having read this one. That said, if you are a “BTTF” fan, you should check this out. I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did and likely start following the series.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading cool stuff.

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Looney Tunes: Issue #161


Last weekend I attended the Asheville Comic Expo with my daughter. While I was there I met Matthew Manning, who is a contributing writer for this issue. I spoke with him for a while and I picked up this issue, which he graciously signed for me.

Although I loved watching Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny as a kid, I can’t recall ever reading a Bugs Bunny comic. While it was not quite as enjoyable as the cartoon (there is something about Mel Blanc’s voice that just makes you want to laugh), I still enjoyed reading it. It brought back a lot of memories.

The comic is comprised of three short comic vignettes, all of which feature Bugs himself. The stories include some of the other classic Looney Tunes characters: Yosemite Sam (as the pirate High Seas Sam), Elmer Fudd, the Crusher, and a cameo by Daffy Duck. Sitting and reading about their antics on a Saturday morning brought back the feeling of watching Saturday morning cartoons. It is a good feeling.

I have to say, I weawy wiked weading about dat wascawy wabbit. I think I will have to watch some old episodes on YouTube next.


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Black Widow: Issue #10


I decided to read the new issue this morning since Nathan Edmondson, the writer, will be in town this weekend for the Asheville Comic Expo. The issue is good and includes another Marvel hero, Hawkeye. Are we surprised that Natasha has also been romantically involved with Hawkeye? No, this seems to be her modus operandi.

There is a parallel storyline that switches back and forth. In the present, Natasha’s friend and lawyer Isaiah has been kidnapped by someone from Natasha’s past. The parallel story provides the details about what happened in the past and establishes the connection to the current situation. It works well, and I like the way the artist employs different color schemes to differentiate between the two strands.

I am looking forward to the expo this weekend. I plan on attending with my daughter, who is also excited. I’m sure I will be leaving with yet more stuff to read, because that’s my modus operandi.


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