Prolific Batman writer and comic book creator and the creator of Bane, Chuck Dixon, responded to Kevin Smith to set the record straight on the death of Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow.
Dixon took to his YouTube channel to state, “I’m about to set the record straight again. I keep getting called on to do these kinds of videos because people talking smack about my work.”
Dixon explains, “Last night apparently Kevin Smith appeared on some after show, show talking about the DC Universe. Kevin was asked how Oliver Queen died in the comics back in the ’90s.”
He continues, “And he incorrectly, well not fully correctly answered that I did it, Chuck Dixon did it, Chuck Dixon killed him. And then he went on to describe how that happened. Again not entirely accurate in reality or in comics continuity.”
Dixon is referring to Smith’s appearance on the Crisis of Infinite Earths Aftermath show, where he acted as host.
During a game show portion of the show, Smith is asked, “How did Oliver Queen die in the 1990s comic version?”
“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.”
Dixon would respond to this answer from Smith:
“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.”
“The thought was at DC, they gotta get Ollie out of the way. Now, initially the editors, it was Denny O’Neill and Scott Peterson. They came up with the idea that Ollie would lose an arm. And just to be different he wouldn’t lose the same arm that he had lost in Return of the Dark Knight. So that Kevin Smith is incorrect. This was not to harbinge or make canon Frank Miller’s version of Batman. It was to in fact to do quite the opposite. Ollie would not be missing the same arm in regular DCU continuity as he was in Frank Miller’s universe. So that was the idea.”
Dixon elaborates on how Queen dies in the comics:
“Oliver Queen is in a trap, he can’t escape and Superman can’t help. This was literally the toughest challenge I’d ever had in my comics writing career…because this consumed days and days of my time simply thinking over a trap that would cost Ollie his arm that Superman, though present, cannot save him from.”
“So I came up with this contraption that would sever Ollie’s arm and it was attached to a bomb, which was aboard an unmanned aircraft, which was being aimed at some target that the villain wanted to destroy. The idea there was is that Superman could not tinker with the device or it would set the bomb off. He couldn’t change the course of the plane or it would set the bomb off. He couldn’t remove Ollie and the trap from the plane or the bomb would go off. So Ollie was dead no matter what.”
“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.”
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.”
He then concludes:
“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.”
What do you make of Chuck Dixon’s response to Kevin Smith?