Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Face-Off: To Trick Arrow, or Not to Trick Arrow?
Doug: Welcome back to another two-sided coin where we ask you to chime in with your preferences and/or opinions. Today we look at two of our favorite heroes -- stalwarts on the Avengers and the JLA, respectively -- Hawkeye and Green Arrow. And today we'd like to examine whether you prefer your archer with trick arrows or just plain old hunting projectiles.
Doug: I found the image at right on several websites. Some sites had listed a previous site as the origination point, but I didn't see any credits as to who actually spent the time to make all of these cool arrows. But at any rate, this picture is worth a thousand words toward summarizing what Green Arrow and Hawkeye were all about in the Bronze Age. Blast arrows, grappling arrows, auger arrows, acid arrows, handcuff arrows, bola arrows, and of course everyone's favorite -- the boxing glove arrow! It seemed that whenever one of these guys needed a certain weapon, he had only to reach into his quiver and viola -- there it was. Just check out the image of Hawkeye's quiver below, from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Was there anything these guys couldn't do?
Doug: But, if you recall the Mike Grell prestige format series Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, GA went back to using regular hunting arrows. No gimmicks, not a single one in the quiver. Instead, he would be a hunter of criminals. But I think this raised an issue -- there's really only one thing you can do with an arrow like that, and it's shoot it directly at your prey/target. It's not like a blast arrow that could be fired to miss wide, but intentionally detonating so as to knock a perp off balance. As was quite typical of the 1980's (and I'm one who will argue that whenever the Bronze Age ended, very shortly thereafter began what I'd call the Dark Age of Comics), violence ruled and many who had been heroes were now crossing the line and becoming anti-heroes. Rules were broken, morals were blurred, and comics took a turn back to the Golden Age roots of the Batman -- when the Dark Knight carried a gun and was known to toss criminals off roofs. Not hold them out, as Michael Keaton did ("I want you to tell all your friends..."), but out and over = splat!
Doug: I think the trick arrows also injected a bit of humor into the magazines. Let's face it (no pun intended here) -- a guy getting whacked across the chops by a boxing glove arrow is akin to watching a Three Stooges short. And I guess I'd also posit that all of the gimmick arrows, while one could argue that a quiver is just a big bag of deus ex machina, made the stories fun. It's that suspension of disbelief, the idea that "there's no way I could do that", that transports us to the world of four-color fun.
Doug: One other point of consideration: Has Clint Barton ever been revealed to be a scientific/physics/mechanics genius? Because to have devised all of those arrows and not only get them fly correctly but to do all their magic at just the appropriate time seems a definite improbability given his personality. Anyone have information here?