Washed overboard on an ocean cruise, the wealthy Oliver Queen lived like Robinson Crusoe on a desert island, hunting with a bow. When criminals came to the island, he captured them and returned to civilization. Like Bruce Wayne, Queen was a wealthy playboy and guardian to a young boy, Roy Harper, who served as his sidekick, (Speedy), and the Battling Bowmen fought crime in Star City using arrows with various specialized functions.
This character, being obviously an archer version of Batman, had an undistinguished publishing history although it was one of the few DC characters keep going after the Golden Age of Comic Books. The main exception in this period was a short run by Jack Kirby who tried some different stories with the character.
This dramatically changed in the late 1960s when artist Neal Adams decided to change this character to be a kind of superhero cross between Robin Hood and Abbie Hoffman. This revision included giving him a goatee beard, losing his fortune and becoming an outspoken and strident advocate of the underprivileged in society and the political left wing.
In the early 1970s, he was teamed up with Green Lantern in an acclaimed, but shortlived series of stories that dealt with various social and political issues in which Green Arrow spoke for the left wing argument and Green Lantern was a half hearted conservative advocate. When the Green Lantern series was revived, the pair would put aside politics for more standard adventures. In addition, the Green Arrow began a long running romantic relationship with The Black Canary. As a member of the Justice League, he became an argumentative figure who tended to get on the others' nerves.
In 1987, the character was changed again in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell where he decided to abandon his gadget arrows in favour of exclusively regular ones and grimly fought crime in Seattle, Washington. This lead to a long running regular series that would eventually have Oliver Queen killed off and replaced by his son.
In 2000, Oliver Queen was revived in a new series written by Kevin Smith which returned the character to his pre Mike Grell period.