Arrow

More than a year after Smallville soared off into the sunset, The CW gets back in the superhero game Wednesday with Arrow, a gritty take on the classic DC Comics avenger Green Arrow. That same day, DC is launching a companion digital comic book to expand the show's mythology.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, a spoiled rich kid whose life changes when he's shipwrecked on a mysterious island for five years. He returns home with killer archery skills and a mission to clean up his native Starling City as the vigilante Arrow. "Like the Dark Knight movies, this is a very grounded take on a superhero," says exec producer Marc Guggenheim. "There's action and mystery, but at the heart of the show is emotion. It's about a hero, but not a superhero in the sense that he doesn't have superpowers. He's got challenges and obstacles to overcome and an emotional journey to go on. He'll make mistakes, he'll fall in love, he'll have his heart broken — all the things that make for great television."

And also for great comics. "Part of the impetus for doing the comic book is that this is just really cool — we're fans, we're geeks, we like this stuff," says Guggenheim, who is writing the comic book with fellow showrunner Andrew Kreisberg. "And the other part is that episodes are only 42 minutes apiece, and there's a lot of backstory and scenes that we worked out in the writers room that just never get to make it into an episode. So we thought it would be fun for comic book fans to read chapters that spoke specifically to the episodes that are airing that week."

Chapters will be released each Wednesday (available at readdcentertainment.com and the DC Comics app for 99 cents each; print collections will be on sale in comic book stores starting next month). "The very first digital comic will give you a nice sneak peek of upcoming episodes," Guggenheim says. "It's designed to be a little bit of a tease, but it's also an example of how well plotted out the show is and how far in advance we're thinking."

The first two covers of the digital comic were drawn by Mike Grell, a writer and artist whose take on Green Arrow in the 1980s heavily influenced Arrow's producers. Click here for an exclusive first look at the cover and pages from the first chapter, in which Oliver talks to his father's grave in both flashback and present day.

Arrow premieres Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8/7c on The CW.

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