The Secret Past of Arrow’s Malcolm Merlyn Revealed in New DC Comics Series

Written by Barrowman and his sister Carole, Arrow: The Dark Archer, is set between the third and fourth seasons of the TV series, but also reveals what Malcolm was up to before he became the Dark Archer.

TV Insider got the scoop that DC Comics is launching a digital comic series that explores the past of the charmingly devious character played by John Barrowman on The CW’s superhero saga Arrow.

Written by Barrowman and his sister Carole, Arrow: The Dark Archer, is set between the third and fourth seasons of the TV series, but also reveals what Malcolm was up to before he became the Dark Archer, the nemesis to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) early in the series. Twelve chapters will be released bi-weekly starting Wednesday, Jan. 13 (available via the DC Comics App,, iBooks,, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus). The entire story will later be collected in single print edition.

What is the story you are telling in this series?

John Barroman: 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.

Carole Barrowman: It’s set in places familiar to Arrow and DC fans like Corto Maltese and Nanda Parbat, but readers will see those places from quite different perspectives. Fans will also learn who Malcolm was before he met Rebecca, the love of his life.

John Barrowman: Since the show started, I’ve always been curious how Malcolm made his fortune. Where did his wealth come from? How did he finance his Merlyn Global Group? The answer to those questions shapes the main narrative in the story.

Carole Barrowman: But more personal events shape the secondary arcs.

John Barrowman: And Malcolm has sex!…

Some actors talk about creating their own backstory for their characters in their head, beyond what’s in the script. John, did you ever do that with Malcolm and, if so, does any of that find it’s way into this comic?

 John Barrowman: I’ve had a backstory in my head for Malcolm from the beginning and a lot of it has made its way into our comic and onto the screen. I think it’s always been my job to help the audience relate to Malcolm in some way despite his questionable morals and evil ways.

Carole Barrowman: You’ve always been heavily involved with fleshing out parts of Malcolm’s backstory on screen. Think about Thea.

John Barrowman: That’s right! During a lunch with Andrew before filming Season 2 I mentioned that Scott, my husband, and 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.

Carole Barrowman: I think The Dark Archer honors that relationship with the audience. We’ve also been able to let Malcolm’s snarky sense of humor come through much more in our story.

John Barrowman: And Malcolm has sex!

We here at SciFi Pulse are really looking forward to this exploration of one of our favorite characters by the man who plays him.

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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