Mike Grell is a legendary comic artist and writer who is a popular guest at comic conventions throughout the nation. But it’s been a while since he has been to a convention in Florida. However, its official that Mike Grell will be appearing at St. Pete Comic Con 2022 on January 6-7 at the Coliseum in historic St Pete.
His graphic novel series Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters is arguably the best ever portrayal of the character. And The Warlord, which he wrote and illustrated, is among the best tales ever about a journey to the center of the earth. Often underrated is Grell’s work on Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, which is considered the high point of the comic that other artists and writers have butchered. Moreover, Grell fans adore Jon Sable Freelance, a character heavily influenced by James Bond and pulp fiction crime stories of that time. In addition, Grell’s work on Green Lantern Green Arrow led a revival of the characters’ partnership.
In honor of his return to Florida, we decided to share our 4 favorite Grell comics.
Favorite comic # 1: Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters
DC’s Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters, a 1987 graphic novel miniseries written and drawn by Grell, is the inspiration for the highly popular Arrow TV series that ran for eight seasons on the CW Network. And Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters is widely considered one of the most important pieces of work of the character.
Prior to Grell’s comic miniseries, the character wore tights and used trick arrows, such as his famous boxing glove arrow. Grell’s Green Arrow donned a new, darker costume and abandoned his trademark trick arrows for more deadly, traditional equipment (an arrow through the skull, anyone?). This is a refreshingly gritty take on a character best known for his association with the Justice League of America. In addition, the miniseries, decades ahead of its time, meaningfully addresses real world problems like drug addiction and racism.
In some ways, Grell’s Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters did for Green Arrow what Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns did for Batman: The characters transition from Justice League characters in tights who often defend earth from aliens to real life people with regular problems in realistic costumes who bleed and make others bleed, a lot.
Favorite comic # 2: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes
While DC’s Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes never rose to blockbuster status, the series has for decades had a loyal following. And many agree its high point was Mike Grell, who began with the series in 1973. The series, which began in 1958, is about a team of superheroes from various planets in the universe, each with a power from their planet of origin. Superboy travels in time from Smallville to future Metropolis to lead his superhero team.
For those not familiar with the Legion, images below top row: Lightning Lad and Shadow Lass; and issue # 231 with Karate Kid and Princess Projectra. And images in middle row: Legionnaires Superboy, Mon-el, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl face the Fatal Five; Shadow Lass and Night Girl. In addition, the bottom image is the full cover of a giant-size issue, showing many characters.
Favorite comic # 3: The Warlord
The Warlord was created in 1976 by Grell and ran 133 issues before ending in 1989. He served as both writer and artist on the series during its most popular time period. The comic series is an epic tale of American pilot Travis Morgan, who accidentally landed in the magical world of Skartaris at the center of the world.
Favorite comic # 4: Green Lantern / Green Arrow
Mike Grell led the revival of Green Lantern Green Arrow series, which many believed to be a forced partnership for the characters. He and writer Denny O’Neil collaborated to prove the critics wrong with a series that focuses on science fiction (lots of action in space) and super-heroics.
Don’t forget Iron Man
While most of Grell’s work is with DC Comics, he also worked on some Marvel characters. For instance, during a short stint with Iron Man from 2002 to 2003, Grell wrote the issue where Tony Stark revealed his secret identity to the world.
But what about Jon Sable Freelance?
Many avid Grell fans believe the comic series Jon Sable Freelance to be Grell’s best work (sorry it’s not included in our top 4 of all time.) But there is more Jon Sable Freelance to come. Grell’s appearance at St. Pete Comic Con 2022 includes a panel discussion, which is sure to feature Jon Sabre Freelance. And Florida Comic Cons is interviewing Grell at the con (and we promise to ask about Jon Sable Freelance!)
Mike Grell is at St. Pete Comic Con 2023 comic guest
Grell will be at St. Pete Comic Con on January 7-8, 2022, at the historic Coliseum located in downtown St. Petersburg. St. Pete Comic Con 2023 is a two-day, multi-genre comic convention in St. Petersburg that features comics, anime, science fiction and fantasy talent, along with a guest roster of Florida’s top cosplayers.
Editors note: Grell is an idol to Florida Comic Cons co-founder Dewey Caruthers
Florida Comic Cons co-founder Dewey Caruthers is a enthusiastic fan of Mike Grell. In fact, Grell is his favorite artist of all time. As a little nerd with a bad haircut, Caruthers came into comics through the four Grell masterpieces listed above.
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