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I'm a big fan of the current DC Arrowverse television shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and soon Batwoman). Every comic book series is going to have some variation from the television show, but the comic series of Supergirl I found at the bookstore seems barely related at all.

For fans of the Arrowverse television shows with no exposure to DC comics, what are the best series to start with to understand the background of the shows?

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  • As far as I can remember, the CW shows are not based on any comics. I'm not sure about Black Lightning though (as I haven't watched it)
    – Shreedhar
    May 4 '19 at 18:38
  • I don't believe that Black Lightening has officially been confirmed as being part of the Arrowverse.
    – K Mo
    May 4 '19 at 18:40
  • That may change with the whole "Crisis on Infinite Earths" storyline. With "Arrow" ending, they may fold BL into the mix. May 4 '19 at 19:28
  • I'm curious, as I'm new to the sci-fi stack exchange, is the downvote because I mistakenly included Black Lightning in the Arrowverse, because the question is off-topic, or because it's a bad question for some other reason? Still trying to learn the rules.
    – TMuffin
    May 5 '19 at 14:53
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Green Arrow: Year One

Green Arrow: Year One is a 7-issue limited series that focuses on Oliver’s time stranded on a desert island and how it turned him into a hero. This limited series heavily influenced the early seasons of Arrow, and the character John Diggle was named in honor of the comic’s author, Andy Diggle. Arrow would’ve been a much different show if this series had never been published. It’s highly recommended.

Wild Dog

Wild Dog first appeared in a 5-issue limited series (appropriately titled Wild Dog) which told the story of his origin and lethal mission to stop the underworld. In the comics, Wild Dog’s real name was Jack Wheeler instead of Rene Ramirez, and he was a little wealthier than his television counterpart. Despite these changes, you can clearly see how the comic book version of Wild Dog inspired the Rene TV fans know and love.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Obvious reasons.

Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters

In The Longbow Hunters, an older Green Arrow traded in his trick arrows for more standard equipment and relocated to Seattle, the home of his girlfriend Black Canary, to fight street crime. While tracking down a serial killer, he meets a young woman named Shado, and finds himself caught up in her revenge quest against the men responsible for her father’s death. This was collected as one of DC’s earliest graphic novels, and it brought a new level of maturity to the Emerald Archer. This gritty and visually shocking story also inspired many elements from the first season of Arrow, such as Oliver Queen’s hooded look, his willingness to kill and the inclusion of flashback characters Shado and Edward Fyers.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow

This classic series introduces issues such as Roy Harper’s struggle with addiction, particularly issues 85-86 “ Snowbirds Don't Fly.” Snowbirds Don't Fly tells the story of Green Lantern and Green Arrow, who fight drug dealers, witnessing that Green Arrow's ward Roy "Speedy" Harper is a drug addict and dealing with the fallout of his revelation. Considered a watershed moment in the depiction of mature themes in DC Comics, the tone of this story is set in the tagline on the cover: "DC attacks youth's greatest problem... drugs!"

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