‘Arrow’s’ John Barrowman To Write DC Comics Origin Story To The Dark Archer’s Malcolm Merlyn

It looks like the CW’s Arrow actor John Barrowman, along with his sister Carole Barrowman, are delving into the world of digital media through DC Comics by writing Arrow: The Dark Archer. He got together with Geoff Johns, chief creative officer at DC Comics, to pitch him the idea. Johns was already familiar with their writing history, according to TV Insider.


As some fans may recall, Stephen Amell’s character first encountered the Dark Archer, the suspect wanted by Starling City Police for the killing of Adam Hunt, in season 1. They duked it out with arrows and hand-to-hand combat. Oliver Queen got banged up and got out of dodge. The fascinating costume that Malcolm Merlyn wore looked similar to a Dark Ages executioner’s outfit.

Not much of the Arrow‘s antagonist’s backstory is given in the CW TV series, and this can allow for a lot of wiggle room for the creative juices of the sibling Barrowmans. Without giving away much, under the order of brother John, Carole mentioned that Merlyn does have “one other identity.”

“Let’s just say that Malcolm has had at least one other identity and his slightly vague and sinister past gave us lots of creative room to play around in.”

Arrow executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg were in league with the idea just so that the digital comic ran properly in the canon of the TV show. That being said, John has done a lot of begging, according to his sister, to be a writer for DC Comics. He even talks about how he helps Geoff, Marc, and Andrew with their coffees on the set of Arrow as a likely means of staying on their good side.

“I also now carry all their coffees when they’re on set…”

As with the Arrow TV series where Oliver Queen tends to flash back quite frequently to his five-year stay on the island, each piece of Queen’s backstory is told little by little from the sabotaged sinking of the family yacht to his survival with newly found compatriot Yao Fei. So it looks like the Dark Archer will have his “flash back” moments told in story form via digital comic book download. John says that it specifically takes place and ties into Arrow‘s third and fourth seasons.

“It’s Malcolm’s backstory. It opens between Seasons 3 and 4 of the TV show and then we flashback. Readers will learn about a younger Malcolm and how his past is… well, killing him.”

Just like in the Arrow TV show, there are two locations mentioned by Carole in regard to what’s already familiar to DC Comics fans. One being Corto Maltese, a fictional island in the DC universe referenced in Smallville and also in the 1989 Batman film starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale. The other venue is the city of Nanda Parbat.

It was also mentioned by John that questions still remain about the mysterious Malcom and on how he achieved his wealth among other things, which, according to Barrowman, “shapes the main narrative in the story.”

On Arrow, John always had a backstory in mind for Malcom ever since the show started. It was mentioned that a lot of what was being delved into the mind of the writer John Barrowman has made it into the DC comic book.


“I thought that one of the reasons Malcolm has such an affection for Oliver and his team is because Malcolm is actually Thea’s father. Sometimes when I’m on screen and any of the other characters are in the background, I like to think I’m sharing a kind of “nod and a wink” with the audience, that they know some things about Malcolm that the rest of the team do not.”

The DC Comics Arrow: The Dark Archer will be available Jan. 13 via digital download on Comixology.com, Google Play, the DC Comics App, ReadDCEntertainment.com, Kindle Store, iBooks, iVerse Comics Plus, and the Nook Store, according to Hypable.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment]