Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Green Arrow (1960 - 1964: the Silver Age)


By Deejay Dayton
May 24, 2017 - 23:08

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Green Arrow saw both of his ongoing series, in Adventure Comics and World’s Finest Comics, come to an end during the period 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age. It was lucky for him that he had joined the Justice League of America, or he wouldn’t have been appearing at all by the end of this period. His stories were not the best at this time, though they did include the introduction of Clock King, as well as the brief career of Miss Arrowette.

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Green Arrow began the period with the end of his long run in Adventure Comics, with issue 269. The story has him and Speedy re-enacting feats from a comic book, the Wizard Archer, that the editor thinks are impossible and unbelievable. Wizard Archer is published by All-Star Comics, which had been the home of the Justice Society of America in the 1940s. 

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And just in case the reader was too young to catch the in-house reference, it is made even more obvious that this comic company is meant to be DC. Although I usually like Lee Elias’ art on this strip, this one seems sub-par to me.  Maybe he didn't care for the story.

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The Clock King made his debut in World’s Finest Comics 111.  It’s clear that he was intended as another one-shot villain.  We do not ever learn his real name, or what gave him his clock motivation.  His costume is staggeringly garish, but memorable.  And his hourglass deathtrap is the real kicker. The Clock King’s crime spree grabs the interest of Green Arrow and Speedy, who pursue him, only to fall (literally) into his trap. It’s a shame that the story is only 6 pages long. 

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The trap dominates the last couple of pages, but even so it’s not that hard for Green Arrow to escape, thanks to a suction cup arrow. Clock King returns a year down the road in an early issue of Justice League of America, although he is called King Clock in that story. This story was adapted for the Batman tv series. It retained the name of the villain, though not his costume, and the hourglass deathtrap.

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World’s Finest 113 introduces champion archer Bonnie King, who adopts the identity of Miss Arrowette in this story.  She apparently feels no need for a mask, or any form of disguise, and later continuity would ascribe this to her lust for fame. She is cut from much the same cloth as Batwoman. She has a quiver of trick arrows, largely with a feminine “bent,” like a handkerchief arrow, and a needle and thread arrow.

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At the climax of the action she sits back, as Green Arrow commands.  But he does use her hairnet arrow to capture the bad guys.  She insists that she will not become Miss Arrowette again, agreeing with Green Arrow that it is too dangerous.  He has his doubts about her sincerity.

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Those doubts were merited, as Miss Arrowette is back in World’s Finest 118.  After noticing that Green Arrow does not respond to an arrow-signal, she gets her bow and quiver and heads back out as Miss Arrowette.  or as Bonnie King.  With no costume, there isn’t much difference. Despite the help that she is providing, Green Arrow, Speedy and even the police are pissed off at her.  Bonnie believes the archers are ill, and not on their game, and decides to be their “guardian angel” until they recover. A good motivation, if the wrong logic. 

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In fact, the heroes are trying to let the villains escape, to tail them back to their boss.  Miss Arrowette keeps messing the plans up.  All becomes clear in the end, and the bad guy gets caught.  Green Arrow ends the tale insisting that Bonnie stop being Miss Arrowette. On the other hand, he apparently also starts dating her, as Oliver Queen, as they are shown going to an amusement park together in her next appearance, in Justice League of America.

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Bonnie King, Miss Arrowette, returns in World’s Finest Comics 134, making her third and final appearance in the Green Arrow series.  The story has to do with two kidnapped inventors.  Green Arrow goes through the tale making disparaging remarks about Bonnie’s crime fighting skills, but she is the one to figure out that the people that Green Arrow and Speedy “rescued” are really part of the criminal gang.

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And, as has happened in every one of Miss Arrowette’s stories, it’s one of her special arrows that is used to save the day.  In this case, a mascara arrow. Bonnie King retires at this point.  Much later we learn that she married, and had a daughter. 

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The first of the super hero team ups in the Brave and the Bold appeared in issue 50, and paired Green Arrow with the Martian Manhunter.  It seems oddly random, until one considers that these are the only two members of the Justice League who do not have their own books.  So likely this was also viewed in terms of solo try-outs for both of them. If so, it didn’t help Green Arrow’s career any. It's also not a very good story. 

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It opens on Green Arrow and Speedy, called in to help out with three escaped criminals, who use super-powers to get away from the heroes.  Green Arrow notes a resemblance between them and the Martian Manhunter, and suspects they may be aliens. Green Arrow meets with the Manhunter, and discovers that he is correct.  The heroes face off against the villains, but with no luck.  Green Arrow even gets captured, and subliminally mind controlled to fight against the Manhunter. 

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The heroes figure out that the villains are gathering pieces of a deadly weapon, and the Manhunter takes preparations against Green Arrow still being a victim of mind control, by disguising himself as the hero. Looking like Green Arrow, the Manhunter is able to approach Vulkor and his gang and take them down.

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Green Arrow’s series in World’s Finest, which began back in 1941, comes to an end with issue 140. The story is a variation on the old saw about a land where those who enter are trapped, but live forever. There are two meteors that are the cause of this.

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They make the people who are near them happy, but also cause a rivalry between the hill and valley people, as both groups want to possess both meteors. Plus there is a monster. Green Arrow and Speedy use both meteors to kill the monster, which also causes the gateway to vanish, freeing the people. It’s Elias’ art that makes it a treat for the eye.

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And as the story ends, Green Arrow finds his only home is in the pages of Justice League of America. Speedy was worse off, appearing, at first, only occasionally in Teen Titans.

Green Arrow returns in the next period, 1964 – 1967: the New Look.

Green Arrow: World’s Finest Comics 107 – 134, 136, 138, 140 (Feb 60 - June 63, Sep 63, Dec 63, March 64)

Adventure Comics 269 (Feb 60)

Brave and the Bold 50 (Oct/Nov 63)

Next up – Aquaman!

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Last Updated: May 24, 2017 - 23:14

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