Arrow: TV vs. Comics – Similarities and Differences

This is a comprehensive list of all the similarities and differences between the CW television show Arrow and the Green Arrow comics upon which the show is based. These are all the correlations I’m aware of, let me know in the comments if I missed any.



Green Arrow

greenarrow2In the comics: Oliver Queen lost both his parents on a safari trip as a child. Later, as a reckless billionaire playboy, he fell off his yacht and was stranded on an island. With only his replica Robin Hood bow, Oliver taught himself to survive. When he returned to Star City, Oliver had new-found purpose and devoted himself to fighting crime, taking on the mantle of Green Arrow. Oliver doesn’t generally believe in killing, but has done it a number of times both on purpose and by accident.

In the show: Oliver’s father is on a yacht with Ollie when it goes down. Oliver’s dad sacrifices himself to save his son, but only after bequeathing to Oliver a book of names. Oliver lands on the Island and learns archery and other skills from the islands’s inhabitants. When he eventually returns home, Oliver uses the book of names as a hit list as a vigilante dubbed by the media as “the Hood.” Oliver sees killing as a necessary evil and generally racks up a substantial bodycount every week.


Star City

starcityIn the comics: Star City is well known as Green Arrow’s base of operationsIts actual location in the United States has changed a number of times, but it is often considered to be in the vicinity of California.

In the show: The city is renamed Starling City, but the general geography is similar, including docks and an impoverished neighborhood known as ”The Glades.”


Dinah Laurel Lance

dinahIn the comics: Dinah Lance is the costumed vigilante Black Canary and is romantically involved with Green Arrow for many years. She has the power of debilitating sonic screams.

In the show: Dinah goes by her middle name, Laurel. She has advanced self defense training, but otherwise she hasn’t gone in the direction of becoming a costumed hero. So far, no super powers.



speedyIn the comics: Speedy is the code name for Green Arrow’s sidekick. It has been held by Roy Harper, and later by  Mia Dearden

In the show: Speedy is Oliver’s nickname for his sister Thea. She would be ill-suited to be a costumed sidekick at this point in the show.




merlynIn the comics: Tommy Merlyn is Oliver’s childhood friend who would eventually become his greatest nemesis as The Dark Archer.

In the show: Tommy is still a childhood friend of Oliver, but it’s his father who is an adversary to Oliver. Tommy may yet take over his father’s spot, but currently he and Oliver remain on good terms.


Felicity Smoak(e)

felicityIn the comics: Felicity is the manager of a computer software firm in New York. Her step-son is Firestorm, but she is otherwise just a normal computer expert and business manager.

In the show: Felicity works in the IT department at Queen Industries and has recently joined Team Arrow as a fighter of crime.


Walter Steele

walterIn the comics: Walter took over as CEO  of Queen Industries after Oliver disappeared.

In the show: Walter is still CEO, but now he’s married to Moira Queen, who was eaten by a lion in the comics. He is kidnapped by Merlyn after he starts snooping aroun about ‘the list.’



huntressIn the comics: Helena Bertinelli is a costumed vigilante who seeks vengeance against the mob for the death of her family. At some point she is killed and the mantle is taken over by Helena Wayne, a Bruce Wayne sibling from an alternate reality.

In the show: Helena seeks vengeance against her father for the death of her fiance. She and Oliver have a brief romantic interlude, but she is too wild and reckless to join Team Arrow.


John Diggle

diggIn the comics: John Diggle does not appear in the comics; he was created specifically for the television show.

In the show: John is a bodyguard who later teams up with Oliver to fight crime. His brother was killed by Deadshot.



Roy Harper

royharperIn the comics: Roy Harper is Green Arrow’s original sidekick. Originally known as “Speedy,” he would later use the aliases “Red Arrow” and “Arsenal.” He has, at times, had to deal with substance abuse issues.

In the show: Roy Harper is a purse snatching criminal from the Glades. He claims to have a mother who has become  mentally impaired through the use of vertigo, though this may or may not to be true.



deadshotIn the comics: Floyd Lawton is a hired assassin who “never misses.”

In the show: Deadshot is still an assassin, but he misses a lot and Oliver takes him down pretty easily with an arrow to the eye. According to the show’s producers, Deadshot did, in fact, survive the encounter.



Royal Flush Gang

Royal flush gangIn the comics: The Royal Flush Gang is a team of villains who take names from the cards in a deck of playing cards.

In the show: The Royal Flush Gang is a family of bank robbers who wear masks that reflect playing cards.



China White

chinawhiteIn the comics: China White is the leader of a heroin cartel.

In the show: China White is the leader of the triads in Starling City.




Constantine Drakon

constantineIn the comics: Drakon is an assassin of diminutive stature who has been killing since the age of 10.

In the show:  Drakon is Adam Hunt’s head of security, but he’s still pretty short. His hand to hand combat skills are nearly comparable to Oliver’s.



Detective Lance

lanceIn the comics: Larry Lance is a private detective who is married to the original Black Canary. They have a Daughter whom they name Dinah Laurel Lance

In the show: Detective Quinten Lance is Laurel’s father and a police detective with a vendetta against The Hood.



Kate Spencer

katespencerIn the comics: Kate Spencer is a prosecutor who becomes disillusioned with the system and decides to take matters into her own hands, becoming the murdering vigilante Manhunter.

In the show:  Kate Spencer is the prosecutor assigned to Oliver’s case when Detective Lance suspects him of being The Hood. As of yet, she seems disinclined towards becoming a vigilant.



fireflyIn the comics: Garfield Lynns is a special effects and fire expert who resorts to a life of crime as Firefly.

In the show:  Garfield Lynns is a horribly scarred fireman who vows revenge against the crew that left him to burn. He has a tattoo of a firefly.



Ted Gaynor

tedgaynorIn the comics: Gaynor was a Member of the Blackhawks Squadron in WWII, but was kicked out and eventually became an adversary of the Blackhawks.

In the show:  Gaynor is Diggle’s former commander and uses his private military firm, Blackhawk, to rob armoured cars in Starling city.




vertigoIn the comics: Count Vertigo was a member of European royalty who had the ability to induce vertigo in others. He was one of Green Arrow’s main enemies over the years.

In the show:  Vertigo is a drug that Thea ends up using, and it is distributed by a madman from the Glades named “The Count.”




Yao Fei

yaofeiIn the comics: Yao Fei became “The  Accomplished Perfect Physician” after he accidentally killed the monk who was originally slated to fill that role.

In the show:  Yao Fei is living on the island where Oliver is trapped. He is under the thumb of Edward Fyers, who holds his daughter prisoner.



Edward Fyers

fyersIn the comics: Fyers is a CIA assassin (at one point charged with dispatching Shado) who actually teams up with Green Arrow as often as he fights against him.

In the show:  Fyers is the leader of a band of mercenaries on the island with Oliver. Who he works for is currently unknown.




shadoIn the comics: Shado is a Yakuza-trained assassin with a dragon tattoo who fights against, and later teams up with, Green Arrow

In the show:  Shado is Yao Fei’s daughter, and the leverage Fyers uses to keep Yao Fei in check. Still has a tattoo, but it’s much smaller.




deathstrokeIn the comics: Slade Wilson is the ultimate assassin. He fights with swords and guns and is constantly looking to find a fight that he feels is “worthy” of his talents. At one point he had an ally named Billy Wintergreen, but he was forced to kill Wintergreen when his (Slades’s) body was possessed by the ghost of his dead son or something.

In the show:  Slade Wilson is an Australian Special Forces operative who is trapped on the island with Oliver. He is forced to kill his former partner, Billy Wintergreen, who has joined up with Fyers’s band of mercenaries.








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