Sunday, May 31, 2009

Golden Age Idol--Golden Arrow!

I know what you're going to say...there are already too damn many bow & arrow characters--why should we revive yet another one? Marvel has Hawkeye (along with faux-Hawkeye Bullseye) and the Squadron Supreme's Golden Archer. DC has Green Arrow and two Speedy's and Merlyn and The Spider and heaven knows who else. And Image has Shaft. And don't forget Robin Hood, and William Tell.

Damn, there are a lot of archers out there. Why do we find them so fascinating?

Anyway, you're now saying, it's clear that we don't need yet another bow & arrow character. So why should we revive a really obscure one from the Golden Age that nobody remembers??

First of all, as near as I can tell, Golden Arrow was the very first comic book archer hero, debuting in Whiz Comics #2 (really #1...don't ask) back in February 1940. He beat Green Arrow by a year and a half. He beat the Spider by six months (and why, exactly, you have a characters whose main skill is archery call himself the Spider is beyond me). He beat Hawkeye by 20 some years. Golden Arrow is the pioneer of the genre, but he's sadly forgotten today.

The second reason is--Golden Arrow has the greatest damn origin story of any of them. Hands down. No "stranded on a desert island and had to learn archery." No "I was a carny." Nope, we've got an honest-to-gosh, actual nutsy Golden Age origin.

So sit back, relax, and see why the world needs:

Theme song by ABCIt starts, as it always does, with Golden Age Science:

Non-inflammable is technically correct, actuallyAnd the best part of Golden Age Science, as always, are the controlled experiments:

The beginning of the military industrial complexAnd not only has he developed fizzy lifting drinks, but conveniently:

SPOILER ALERT--we never find out what the secret maneuvering device is. Sorry.Ah, yes, the secret steering device. Of course.

Famous last words:

Nothing could possibly go wrong!!Seriously, what could be the risk of a highly publicized outdoors test of a secret formula worth millions??

Dude, I seriously question that appraisal...That's a lot of detail for one small caption. "Outlaw ex-munitions maker?" "$3,000,000, ranch house?!?" Maybe he needs to evil, to pay off the mortgage on that place...

Oh, and PRO-TIP: don't carry the secret formula with you during the experiment, because...

Science rustlers!!Of course, the parents die...but not baby Roger!

Protected by the power of cuteBut he's far from safe, as he immediately launches into his second-season-24-Kim Bauer impression:

Someday, his descendant will menace Kim Bauer
A dingo took the baby!!Fortunately, we've got a grizzled old prospector nearby, dagnabit!

Uh...he doesn't look dead...
I can write off his expenses against my gold find!! Yippee!!So, Nugget Ned of course decides to raise the tyke for his own. And of course, we soon discover the secret to rearing children--let 'em play with wildlife, unsupervised!!

Now exposed to swine flu, bird flu, deer flu, bear flu, lyme disease, and trichinosisOh, and he gets really good at the bow, too.

Kaa!! Noooooooooooo!
World's stupidest prospector"Nugget Ned has little need for the gold he finds?!?!?!" What, this is a hobby for him?? This is a world where gold has no value?? What the hell?? would make a fairly lousy arrow head. I'm just sayin'...

And, if that weren't already cool enough, Roger finds and tames the greatest stallion in the West.

The horse names him 'Shooter of expensive arrows'Well, we get the inevitable deathbed confession...

There is another...And Roger takes off for revenge, just as Braddock is about to hand off the formula to his twin sons:

So he didn't sell it for twenty years because?!?Bronk and Brute?!? BRONK and BRUTE?!?! What the...?

I show you this next panel, for one reason only:

Coolest villain hidden switch ever--COWBOY HENCHMEN?!?How cool is it to have a secret button to summon cowboy henchmen?!?

Sadly for said henchmen, there is a reason why chaps are a bad idea at a superhero rumble:

Ah, clown cowboy henchmen!Golden Arrow retrieves the formula, gets away without killing anybody (!), rides off into the sunset (seriously), and anonymously donates the formula to the U.S. government:

Shouldn't the sub-headline be 'Derigibles useless against the Luftwaffe'???Of course, the development of the modern air force made your pappy's invention completely obsolete, but thanks anyway...

So what do we have here? A crazy mash-up of comic origin cliches...except this was early 1940, so they weren't cliches yet!! The murdered parents, the grizzled prospector, the deathbed revelation of his true parentage, the evil millionaire, the secret scientific formula, the hangin' out with's a delightful fully-stuffed origin, isn't it?

There's also the question of time-period. Some dialogue clearly places the story between WWI & WWII...but he's gallivanting around an Old West with Indians and prospectors, with no sign of electricity and telephones, and a press that's still amazed by dirigible technology. Things are further confused by a later team-up with Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher...Let's just say it takes place in its own special era, shall we?

Bill Parker's script is richer than many in the day, more complex and fuller, chock full of little details that many contemporary writers would never have thought to put in. A prospector with little need for gold? Wild...Greg Duncan's art, while cruder and more rushed than what we're used to today, was pretty impressive for the times...he's great on faces, and is almost impressionistic in some of the backgrounds and scenery.

Golden Arrow hung around in Whiz Comics for more than 13 years, and even had his own book for about 5 seconds. Yet even since the DC Borg Collective assimilated the Fawcett characters, there hasn't been a single sighting of Golden Arrow. Not a background appearance in an All-Star Squadron luncheon, not a glimpse during an Earth-S crossover, nothing. And let's face it--if you were a WWII-era hero and Roy Thomas didn't find a way to use you for even a cameo, that's serious comic book limbo.

So here's the pitch. This dude was orphaned, kidnapped by a mountain lion, raised by a playboy prospector, rides around on the best horse ever and shoots arrows made of gold (take that, Hal Jordan!), is the son of a scientific genius, and is in the Old West during WWII. That's gotta be worth at least a 6-issue mini-series, right? Hey, DC, if it helps, have him turn out to be Roy Harper's long-lost great-uncle or something...

Yeah, we've got too many damn archers already. But Golden Arrow was the first, and in lots of ways, the best and most imaginative. I don't need Simon or Paula for this one--DC, bring back Golden Arrow!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hollywood Shuffle

Just asking:

If all Bendis characters essentially "sound" the same in their dialogue (and they do)...

...And if Bendis can write characters of Canadian, Russian, East European, Greek, and gosh-knows-where-else origins without having to phonetically spell out their accents in the word balloons...

...Then why, exactly, is it that when a non-Caucasian person shows up...

...we're suddenly in cartoon stereotype dialect country? What is this, Jive Time Jimmy's Revenge?

Once more, with feeling:

Oh, dear...Perhaps Jericho Drumm has been attending Black Acting School...

Sweet Christmas, that panel comes from this week's New Avengers #53.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Fights--Idioth Style!!


So Spacebooger is actually going to make us work this round of Friday Night Fights, huh? It's G7, bitches, which means the fights have got to be musicified.

Well, I predict that by Round 12, we'll be straining our songbooks a bit.

But for this initial round, well, watch out...because we've got Hulk vs. The Abomination in a face-smashing brawl, brought to you by The Arabian Rap Sensation (their description, not mine)--GROUP X!! Groove along to their face-smashing hit, Idioth!! Rock out, boys:

Here's a couponette for a Punch To The Face

I hate you so much I take your mother on a date
and telling her she's paying and I'm eating five steaks
Come and get a Punch To The Face

Time for to get a Punch To The Face

Oh, look, a Punch To The Face

Come to get a Punch To Your Face

Guess what? It's time for a Punch To The Face

So, please take a letter for a Punch To The Face
Nothing could be better than a Punch To The Face

Have another Punch To You Face


Face-smashing from Bruce Jones and Mike Deodato Jr. in Incredible Hulk #54 (2003). Check out below for the full lyrics and "video" to Idioth.

Lyrics | Group X - Idioth lyrics

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tales From The Quarter Bin--I Am A Mighty Hunter/Gatherer

What did I find today, trolling the depths of the voluminous quarter bins at my local comics shoppe??

Why, nothing much....

...just a complete run of Jon Sable Freelance...

...a complete run of Manhunter...

...and one of my most-lusted after comics EVER:

It's good to be alive, is all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring Has Sprung, And Love Is In The Air

Two characters who certainly should have gotten together:

Bentley Wittman, a.k.a. the Wingless Wizard...

...and Agatha Harkness.

I mean, just look at those's a match made in heaven!!

Let's take one more look:

And just think of the lovely children they would have!!

Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" was inspired by these drawings from Fantastic Four #94 (1970), by Kirby and Sinnott.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Fourth Member--Poor Background Check

Oh, you wacky Frightful Four.

Here at Slay Monstrobot, we've been examining the efforts of three perpetual losers to find a fourth member who would, in the Wizard's own words, make them an "exact evil counterpart" to the Fantastic Four.

To that purpose, they went out and found Medusa, who had amnesia at the time, and made three separate runs at the FF over a 6 month period. In each case, they used the element of surprise to win initially, but they just couldn't close the deal. In the last showdown, Medusa got away while the others were finally captured.

So, it's now 5 years later (our time). While the Frightful Four were rotting away in prison, the Fantastic Four stepped up their game, whooping on Galactus, taking down a cosmic-powered (stolen, but still) Doctor Doom, fending off Annihilus, dealing with an infant Adam Warlock, and saving the world from Tomazooma. You can't mess with these guys now.

But the Wizard has actually picked a good time to attack: the FF is concerned with family matters, namely, finding child care for Franklin:

Dude, it's not even widescreen!!But where is the Trapster? And whom will they choose for the fourth member this time?!? Both of these questions are answered in the next panel:

What, she left call-forwarding to Attilan??But...but...wait...I mean...

Yes, I know. In the intervening 51 issues, Medusa has clearly joined the side of the angels. She recovered from her amnesia, revealed herself as a member of the Royal Family of Attilan (not to mention being Black Bolt's main squeeze), and a staunch ally of the Fantastic Four. Hell, Johnny Storm is even going out with her sister!!!

So, Wizard, what the hell? It's not like Medusa was exactly low-profile over the past few years. Was super-genius Wizard too busy to actually pay attention to the news? Didn't anyone in the super-villain underworld mention to any of them, "You know that chick with the crazy hair you used to run with? She's good now!"??? Oh, you lovable losers...

So, Reed & Sue & Ben & Johnny trundle "upstate" with infant Franklin to check out Agatha Harkness' daycare center, and spend the night. So it's time for the Frightful ones to strike!!

And the Wizard knew about the secret passages in Agatha's house how?!?
Nice shot!
Well, the anti-grav disc and paste were a good clue...
Really? That's all it takes to knock out the Thing?Well, Ben's down, and pretty easily, too. What about Johnny?

All too easy
These guys are really efficientHe's down quicker than Jose Canseco in a MMA match (hey, I got the topical references!).

That leaves Reed & Sue. And believe it or not, the Trapster will take them both himself!

Reed wears a wife-beater?!?
Ladies and gentleman...the FF beaten by a blocked door
uh, ewwwwww?That last panel, by the way, is the coolest coloring error ever (& kinda gross)!!

Now, as you may have noticed, Medusa didn't lift a follicle during this whole affair. You would think that this would give the bad guys a clue, but noooo...

Which means, of course, that's it's time for the "surprise" betrayal:

Hey, Medusa, why haven't you helped at all?
She was never your ally, dude
Oh, what a cunning planAnd after a teeny bit of gratuitous sexism from Paste-Pot Pete...

Oh, Trapster......Medusa is easily taken down.

Remember when she was supposedly 'the most powerful one of us?' Not so much, anymoreSo much for your master plan, lady. Couldn't you have picked up the phone to warn Reed or something??

It should be noted here that the Frightful Four...or, rather, Three...actually win here! The three of them take down all four of the FF, plus Medusa, and barely work up a sweat!! Geez, guys, maybe you never really needed a fourth member. Game over!!

But, of course, they've made one tragic error. They choose to stage this little ambush in Agatha Harkness' house. Oops.

That's not an LOL CAT...that's an OMG  CAT!!
Yes...becuase the Trapster has never seen people use powers by gesturing...
Insert Dylan reference
Hope he was wearing dependsYup. All three taken down by illusions (or's never terribly clear). Once again, the Frightful Four have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Sigh...beaten by a witch.

(Of course, one has to ask, if she's really so badass, how did the Wizard et al infiltrate her house in the first place? Unless she wanted them to incapacitate the FF, so then she could prove how useful she was by whooping them, as an incentive for Reed and Sue to hire her? Hmmm, Agatha, you crafty old biddy!!)

This was pretty much the height of the Wizard's group's success. From here, it's all we'll see next week, when the Frightful Four find a new fourth member...and are actually taken down by just one member of the FF. But oh, that fourth member...

The Frightful Four get taken out by Endora in Fantastic Four #94, the first issue of the 1970s!! By, of course, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott