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.
In 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.
In the comics: Star City is well known as Green Arrow’s base of operations. Its 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
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.
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.
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.
In the show: Felicity works in the IT department at Queen Industries and has recently joined Team Arrow as a fighter of crime.
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.’
In 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.
In the show: John is a bodyguard who later teams up with Oliver to fight crime. His brother was killed by Deadshot.
In 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.
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
In the show: The Royal Flush Gang is a family of bank robbers who wear masks that reflect playing cards.
In the show: China White is the leader of the triads in Starling City.
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.
In the show: Detective Quinten Lance is Laurel’s father and a police detective with a vendetta against The Hood.
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.
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.
In the show: Gaynor is Diggle’s former commander and uses his private military firm, Blackhawk, to rob armoured cars in Starling city.
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.”
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.
In the show: Fyers is the leader of a band of mercenaries on the island with Oliver. Who he works for is currently unknown.
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.
In 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.