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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #316

Welcome to the three hundredth and sixteenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn the amazing tale of when Jack Kirby met Paul McCartney! Plus, discover the truth behind Will Eisner’s testimony in the Wonder Man/Superman copyright infringement case and marvel at DC’s late-90s determination that Green Arrow had superpowers!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and fifteen.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Jack Kirby had a special meeting with Paul McCartney in 1975.

STATUS: True

In case you were unfamiliar with the tune, on Paul McCartney’s 1975 Wings’ album, Venus and Mars…

there is a song called “Magneto and Titanium Man.”

It is a cute, fun song where three Marvel villains from the 60s commit a robbery.

Magneto…

Crimson Dynamo…

and Titanium Man…

The inspiration for the song came from the fact that while McCartney on vacation in Jamaica, he had to keep his kids entertained. So he and his wife Linda would buy them a bunch of comic books every Saturday. McCartney had been a comic book fan as a kid and now he found himself interested in these modern comic books (it is probably a bit of a stretch to say that McCartney was a “fan,” though) and they inspired him to write the above song when he got back to recording the album.

Later in 1975, Wings went on an international tour to support the new album. In June 1976, they made their way to California. Gary Sherman, brother to Jack Kirby assistant Steve Sherman (and therefore, friend to the Kirby family) thought that Kirby and McCartney should meet, so he came up with the story that Kirby had a drawing that he wanted to give to McCartney. Eventually, McCartney’s people agreed and Gary then, of course, had to tell Jack that he had to now do a drawing for McCartney!

Kirby being his typical awesomeness, he whipped up a great drawing of Magneto, Paul, Linda and the band in less than an hour.

Paul thanked Kirby for the drawing and thanked him for helping to entertain his kids during the vacation. He gave Jack, Gary and Jack’s daughter Lisa tickets to the show that night.

At the concert, McCartney introduced Kirby, “In the audience tonight we have the creator of Magneto and lots of other comic characters, and I’d like to dedicate this song to Jack Kirby” and then played “Magneto and Titanium Man.”

What’s awesome is that the Jack Kirby Museum actually has the drawing AND photographs of the meeting!

Here, courtesy of Rand Hoppe’s blog, is the actual drawing…

And here, courtesy of Rand Hoppe’s blog (via Lisa Kirby) is a photograph of Paul and Linda with Kirby….

Go the Kirby Museum here to see two more photographs!

Thanks to Steve Sherman for the scoop on the meeting (which he relayed in Jack Kirby Collector #8) and thanks to Rand Hoppe and the Kirby Museum (and Lisa Kirby) for the drawing and photos. I was planning on doing this bit for a couple of months now, but I should note that commenter mrclam suggested I do it a few weeks ago.

And thanks, of course, to Gary Sherman, who passed away a couple of years ago, for making the whole thing possible!
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Check out the latest Movie Legends Revealed to learn the story about the major film release that actually threw a horse off of a cliff, changing the way films used animals forever! Plus, was Satanist Anton LaVey really in Rosemary’s Baby? Also, marvel at why Spaceballs actually DIDN’T have any merchandising!
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COMIC LEGEND: Will Eisner testified that he was hired by Victor Fox to do a Superman knock-off called Wonderman.

STATUS: False

This is a really interesting one for me because I got it wrong in my book, Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed. I mean, it is not a major point in the story, but still, I repeated the same story that Will Eisner said for years – that when it came time for him to testify in the case against Victor Fox and Wonder Comics for copyright infringement for the similarities between Wonderman and Superman, that Eisner refused to follow Fox’s orders and lie and say that he was not hired by Fox to specifically do a knock-off of Superman.

Eisner had told this story repeatedly over the years. He even included it in one of his graphic novels, The Dreamer.

And for years, no one had ever disputed his take on the situation, so I was comfortable with the truth of the matter, as you’d figure SOMEone would have noted if he was off base in his recollections.

However, last year, the excellent comic book historian Ken Quattro was approached by someone who had the actual transcript of Eisner’s testimony.

Quattro posted the transcript on his website here and, well, it was basically the opposite of what Eisner had said that he said for years.

Here’s a snippet of Eisner’s testimony (the full transcript goes on for over 20 pages)….

Q: At the time that you made the drawing marked with a capital X had you in any way known or heard of the plaintiff’s character “Superman”?

A: No, sir

Q: And at the time you thought of the phrase or words “The Wonderman,” had you at that time ever heard or had you ever known of “The Superman,” which is the plaintiff’s character?

A: No, sir.

Q: And until you heard of this lawsuit you, the creator of “Wonderman,” never read the strip “Superman,” is that right?

A: That is true.

Despite Eisner’s testimony, DC/National Comics still won their case and Fox had to stop making Wonderman comics.

It is fascinating that such an ingrained part of comic book history was shown to be false. Thanks to Ken Quattro for the excellent work illuminating this fascinating part of comic book history. Be sure to click that above link to the testimony, as Quattro has tons more interesting information about the trial.
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Check out the latest Music Legends Revealed for a special “Baseball Music” edition of the feature to learn just why is it that the Boston Red play “Sweet Caroline,” discover the Hall of Famer centerfielder who helped to name a critically acclaimed rock band and see the baseball song that pre-dated the Civil War!!
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COMIC LEGEND: DC had an editorial mandate in the late 90s/early 00s that Green Arrow had superpowers.

STATUS: Essentially True

Back in 2000, a reader wrote in to Andrew “Captain Comics” Smith asking if it was true that Green Arrow was a metahuman (DC’s term for people with super powers).

This was due to a recent issue of Robin that said as much…

Smith found that Chuck Dixon noted at the time:

Connor inherited some of his father’s metahuman abilities. Ollie’s took the form of remarkable (and near infallible) marksmanship. Connor’s took the form of his talents in martial arts. The metahuman deal for Ollie and Connor was editorially driven. I was told to hype this in the ‘Year One’ annual I did for GA. … Love it or hate it, DC’s idea was to make both GAs more like superheroes and less like one-trick ponies. There is an unstated fear at DC (unstated until now) that their heroes are irrelevant because their powers are antiquated. … I think their fears are unfounded. Characterization is the key and DC’s superheroes have that. The powers are secondary.

Here is the Year One Annual that Dixon is referring to, when a young Ollie Queen is a brilliant marksman right off the bat…

and when he picks up the bow and arrow as an adult…

Wow, isn’t that bizarre?

Luckily, DC no longer has such a take on Green Arrow.

Thanks to Andrew and Chuck for the information! Thanks to Loquacious Lad for asking the question!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

70 Comments

Re: Victor Fox…if he were French, he would be called La Reynard and put on trial with only his cunning to protect him.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I want Kirby’s jacket. And not in any sort of ironic way. That thing is cool.

So is the art.

The whole Kirby/McCartney story is great!

That Kirby drawing is amazing. Wow.

Pity the song’s a total stinker though.

It is a throwaway song, true, but I don’t think it is a bad song.

That Green Arrow thing must have happened during one of the periods where I had temporarily stopped following the character. And thank god I missed it, because that is one of the dumbest things I have seen in a long time.

That Magneto looks absolutely diabolical. Awesome.

What to think about Eisner, though. I feel so betrayed!

Man, I’m glad I missed the “magic archer” era of Green Arrow. One thing I’ve always liked about the original version of his origin was that he couldn’t shoot worth a damn at first and only got that good over days and days of practice on a desert island for survival’s sake.

Yeah I am glad the everyone with talent is a meta thing didn’t last

Luckily, DC no longer has such a take on Green Arrow.

I don’t know, I don’t think the idea was all bad. I mean, I do think the aim as a metahuman ability makes a little more sense than a grown ass man picking up a bow and arrow for the first time as an adult and immediately becoming the world’s greatest archer. People train all their lives with bows and arrows, so someone starting that late and becoming the best in the world at it really is a clunker of an origin story.

And man, was Connor Hawke a Mary Sue/pet character/whatever you want to call it or what? Especially when written by Dixon. His obnoxious perfection and superiority to other proven established characters was nauseating.

Now that I’m reading more of the comments, it shocks me that people think Green Arrow as a meta is dumb, but the original origin of him totally sucking with a bow and arrow but becoming a world-class superhero archer by practicing alone for a few days with no professional instruction is a much better idea. I think that’s actually dumber. People only say its better because it’s established and part of our nostalgia.

People need to lighten up. It’s actually a really kickass song. Just fun. And this is a great story.

Going by Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, if you practiced archery for 5 hours a day it’d take you 5.5 years to reach elite status.

That’s a lot of arrows.

Russellmania XXV

June 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

Off the top of my head, I believe that the Venus and Mars sessions took place in New Orleans and not Jamaica as indicated. It was 1978′s London Town that was recorded aboard a yacht in the Caribbean (ironic considering the title). I agree that it was not a bad song for mid to late 70′s Wings. If you want bad, check out “Morse Moose and the Grey Goose” from London Town. Excellent column as always Brian!

“How do we know you’re a good de-programmer?”
“I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings”
“You idiot! He was the most talented one!”

Wow, that Eisner story is amazing! It’s quite interesting and a little sad. Eisner was one of the more interesting voices about comics history and one I had always viewed as credible. Not that I now disbelieve him, but it’s a good reminder to take everything with a grain of salt.

I encourage everybody to go to Quattro’s website linked in the article to read up on it. He’s got a lot more about the trial than what is excerpted here.

Scott Rowland

June 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

I think the Kirby Green Arrow origin of him being stuck on an island and becoming a great marksman is a better story because a) it shows GA’s character and determination better and b) it works better as a wish fulfillment story.

Off the top of my head, I believe that the Venus and Mars sessions took place in New Orleans and not Jamaica as indicated. It was 1978?s London Town that was recorded aboard a yacht in the Caribbean (ironic considering the title). I agree that it was not a bad song for mid to late 70?s Wings. If you want bad, check out “Morse Moose and the Grey Goose” from London Town. Excellent column as always Brian!

Thanks for that, you’re totally correct. They were in Jamaica on vacation, not to record. My bad. I fixed that. Thanks again!

Mike Loughlin

June 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

Green Arrow’s origin works for me. I don’t remember reading that he was not a decent archer before. I’ve read the Kirby, Dixon, & Grell versions of the origin; has it changed?

Metahuman powers take away from Ollie being a self-made man. He fought to survive, and won. Learning archery on an island is a little ridiculous, but not that’s only one skill. Batman & Mr. Terrific ended up mastering every skill known to man. Lady Shiva & others are masters of several different martial arts systems. Moon Knight can function in society and as a super-hero despite having Dissociative Identity Disorder. Iron Fist is good enough to beat a dragon. Etc.

T., I know you think Connor is a Mary Sue, but he got his ass handed to him and felt like he was in way over his head more than once during Dixon’s run. I agree that he was perhaps too skilled in martial arts. I’ll always prefer Ollie, but I thought Connor was a decent character.

That Green Arrow Annual was not very good. The serial-killer guy was just plain unnecessary.

From 2000-2001 I wrote reviews for Andrew’s Captain Comics website. I really enjoyed it, and he was a very helpful and encouraging editor. I’ll have to look him up.

I seem to recall an issue of the Defenders dedicated to Paul McCartney & Wings.
Can anyone can confirm this?
=)

Brian from Canada

June 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

Russel beat me to it.

Venus & Mars was recorded in New Orleans in 1975 because Paul felt recharged creatively by the jazz sounds of Mardi Gras. (Coming off the collapsed One Hand Clapping film, it’s not hard to see why.) He must have liked “Magneto And Titanium Man,” though, since he set it as the B-side to the third single. A live version also appears on 1976′s Wings Over America.

BUT London Town was not recorded in Jamaica in 1978 — it was recorded in the international waters of the Caribbean in 1977. The idea at the time was that some countries were taxing artists by the place of creation, and recording it in international waters would bypass the taxes.

And as for Paul’s interest in comics, check out 1965′s Help!, where Paul has comic books up where the sheet music should be for his piano.

I guess it never occurred to DC editorial that making Green Arrow a metahuman marksman essentially made him a Bullseye knockoff…?

Russellmania XXV

June 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

I’m sure only a Beatles geek like myself would have caught that. I read that Paul liked American comics and considered some of them to be “mini-Picassos”. It is also worthy to note that in the movie “Help!”, he had some Jimmy Olsen comics propped up on his piano like sheet music and that John Romita Sr. did some costume/design concepts for Linda McCartney’s “band” Suzy and the Red Stripes. I’ve never seen those backstage pictures of Kirby and the McCartneys before though. If scientists could have harnessed the creative energy in the room that night, they could have powered a small city for years!

That Eisner thing is very disappointing but a reminder that we are all fallible.

Kirby’s drawing is cool, but I’d rather see Maxwell vs. Thor in a hammer duel.

The big question is who is the un-named female villain in “Magneto and Titanium Man.”

Yoko, of course.

Juicy one this week!

Probably Yoko.

Who drew those little Oliver Queen pages? They’re beautiful…

@T. : “Practicing alone for a few days?” Now that you mention it, I don’t think Kirby’s GA origin story said exactly how long Ollie was stranded on Starfish Island, but I’ve always assumed he was there for years. After four or five years with nothing else to do but practice archery, I can see someone becoming pretty good at it. And after getting that good with handmade archery equipment, he’d be brilliant once he got home and started using precision-made hardware.

Brian, you still need to update this sentence:
Paul thanked Kirby for the drawing and thanked him for helping to entertain his kids during the recording sessions.

Nemo,

From the looks of the Little Green Arrow artwork, it looks like Rick Burchett to me

random surfer

June 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm

1965?s Help!, where Paul has comic books up where the sheet music should be for his piano.

It is also worthy to note that in the movie “Help!”, he had some Jimmy Olsen comics propped up on his piano like sheet music

What else is he going to put there? Paul is well known to be a person who can’t read sheet music.

By the way, Brian, as someone who griped about it in the past, I want to thank you (belatedly, you’ve been doing it for two months now) for putting something about the contents of each column in the header. Makes it much easier to scroll through the index to look up a recent post. Cheers!

For those interested, the most recent issue of Alter Ego (#101) contains an in depth examination of the whole Wonder Man affair, including a sizable amount of the transcripts. It’s pretty fascinating reading. Comics were in their infancy, and must have appeared pretty darn juvenile, but here in the sobriety of court Superman and the gang were serious business.

John Trumbull

June 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

When The Jack Kirby Collector told the Kirby/McCartney story, they said that Paul initially mangled Kirby’s name into “Jack Colby” during his onstage dedication, but Linda corrected Paul with a shout of “Kirby!”

I don’t want to besmirch Eisner’s name, but given the the two/three different accounts, his insistence on his account of it, and the subtext of the comic pages, it looks like the possible truth is that Fox severely pressured Eisner to the point where he was forced to lie about it on the stands. I hate to suggest that he purgered himself, really hate it, but that seems to be a more reasonable explanation. It would explain his vehement explanations of the story and why the court transcript conflicts with his black and white explanations. It’s not a black and white world, it’s a gray one, and this more easily explains why he insisted on his version. He would rather stick closely to a gray version of the events that occur and lie to the public about what exactly happened instead of admitting that he lied under oath. This is speculation, but so is what is written above on the topic.

When The Jack Kirby Collector told the Kirby/McCartney story, they said that Paul initially mangled Kirby’s name into “Jack Colby” during his onstage dedication, but Linda corrected Paul with a shout of “Kirby!

Yeah, I thought I recalled that, as well, but Sherman said it in #8 that he said Kirby. Maybe he just skipped the part of the initial error?

This is speculation, but so is what is written above on the topic.

You mean in the comments, right? I don’t believe I’m speculating at all, no?

Who drew those little Oliver Queen pages? They’re beautiful…

Yeah, it’s Burchett. And yes, they’re beautiful. Burchett is amazing.

Brian, you still need to update this sentence:
Paul thanked Kirby for the drawing and thanked him for helping to entertain his kids during the recording sessions.

Thanks, Paulo!

Well, you gotta accept a certain amount of absurdity in Marvel/DC. It’s how their universes work. That an adult can go from idle playboy to the world’s greatest archer after a traumatic experience isn’t that far-fetched for DC standards.

And at least Green Arrow is insanely good in a single skill.

Travis Pelkie

June 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Actually, couldn’t the GA thing be that he is a metahuman, but didn’t discover it until he had to use that skill on the island? The way that Dixon depicts it above goes against that, but wouldn’t it make it more plausible (um, in the DCU sense, anyway) that a guy who becomes the best archer ever had something in him (the meta gene, in the DCU) that allowed him to get that skilled?

I’ve heard of the Wings song for years, geeked out about it, but STILL haven’t heard it.

Eisner — it’s a bit disappointing to have found this out just recently (in the Schumacher Eisner bio, which I’m still reading)(and is the book that had info that got Joe Kubert pissed at me when I talked to him), but it’s understandable. DC won the case, so Will’s testimony didn’t sway the trial, plus he could have, for a time (not sure the statute of limitations) been charged with perjury. I can’t remember now if he worked with Fox after that, but I imagine relations would have soured when Fox lost, no matter how Eisner testified.

What’s fascinating about the bit that you excerpt here — Will was one of the people who turned down Superman, sent Siegel and Shuster a rejection letter. So it was definitely a lie about not ever having read or heard of Superman (even beyond that, he was in the business and never heard of the biggest character around?)

All of this isn’t to say that Eisner is somehow a bad person or something. Still a giant of a creator, and was, from everything I’ve read, thoroughly decent and kindhearted to everyone he met in the business.

Connor Hawke. My Green Arrow, then some stupid hack filmmaker had to come in and ruin it all.

Kevin Smith really isn’t the guy to balme; he kept Connor as an active hero and even gave Ollie some family moments with the kid. It was Judd Winick and whoever succeeded him on the horrible Green Arrow/Black Canary series that quite literally had Connor lose his skills, memories, and personality.

Ethan Shuster

June 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Anyone else think Dixon was making a reference to A Christmas Story with that young Ollie Queen Christmas scene?

I love the story about McCartney and Kirby. I’ve always thought of Lee/Kirby as the comic book version of Lennon/McCartney. Both teams revolutionized their respective artforms in the 1960s with an astonishing level of quality and quantity of output. And then, both teams broke up in 1970, never achieving the same level of success apart as they did when they were together.

It was Judd Winick and whoever succeeded him on the horrible Green Arrow/Black Canary series that quite literally had Connor lose his skills, memories, and personality.

Which is why despite not liking most of his stuff, Winick’s Green Arrow will always have a special place to me. He reduced Connor into a jobber, which was good.

Ten years ago or so, DC did an event called “Silver Age” – it was a mini-series with tie in one-shots and do forth – in which the high concept was that it was an “untold story” from the Silver Age, using Silver Age sensibilities and so forth. A bunch of villains got together Legion of Doom style and took on the Justice League – I think their endgame involve making a knock off Green Lantern power ring for each of the villains (and each got a different color one, years before the “emotional spectrum” gave significance to different colored rings) – and at once point each of the villains swapped minds with a member of the Justice League.

Whichever villain ended up in Green Arrow’s body (I think it was Felix Faust but I could be wrong) commented on how he not only found himself able to throw with unnatural accuracy, but also always seemed to intuitively know exactly where to hit things to do the most damage. The obvious implication being that those were innate abilities that came with Ollie’s body, independent of his training.

(They didn’t totally downplay Ollie’s training, by the way. At one point the League is trapped in a cage in the villain’s bodies and Ollie gets them out by making a bow out of the Penguin’s umbrella and shooting a release button, all the while complaining about how bad his borrowed villain’s body’s eyesight was compared to what he was used to in his own body.)

For me making Ollie a meta takes away so much from the character. Certainly both Mike Grell’s ‘real world’ take or even Kevin Smith’s Quiver with the scene’s of Ollie teaching Roy patience takes would loose much of what makes them so good if Green Arrow is just another superhero rather than a man with a self taught skill. And if you think its unrealistic that someone could reach that level. Simply look up the archer ‘Howard Hill’ He’s name dropped in both the above stories, and there an excellent short film demonstrating his shooting on the extras of Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood

I’ve read that George Harrison was the real comic book lover in the Beatles, and that when the Beatles came to America, Harrison bought up “every comic book he could find.” I’d be interested in knowing how extensive his collection was, and whatever happened to his comic books.

And does anybody know what comic book that was on the piano in “Help!” ?

@Dave Elliot,

what makes it funnier is that Paul is totally Smilin’ Stan Lee in that comparison… I’m surprised Macka and the King didn’t come to blows just via proxy.

Geena Davis reached Olympics level proficiency in archery having taken it up at a late age for a movie role.

Sorry to hear the Eisner story. Maybe he believed it to be the truth after a while.

Makes me wonder about the insiders I’ve talked to who’ve mentioned a certain legendary creator who use to get into inappropriate situations with the girls at the office…

Why doesn’t someone (Brian Cronin?) ask McCartney about this? Contact his rep in New York and see if you can get a 5 or 10 minute interview? Or ask him questions by email? Cronin could ask him about this, about whether he ever collected comics, whether he still has any, or if that was George Harrison’s thing, etc., etc. … I hadn’t heard Paul’s Magneto song before but I just watched it live on Youtube. It’s a nifty little rocker.

The Eisner Legend is sad but more than balanced by the inclusion of the McCartney/Kirby story. It boils down to nothing significant by itself but it IS a great showing of some of our idols as the nice people we hoped them to be. Thanks for including it, Brian! (And wasn’t Kirby incredibly fast? I wonder how much many current-day artists would whine when told to whip up something like that on short notice! ;) )

Re: Green Arrow, there was one Justice League story (Pre-Crisis, but still) where a villain who could copy superpowers -”Paragon”, I think- also copied Ollie’s ENGINEERING TALENTS (which I guess he uses for making the trick arrows) suggesting that it might have been some kind of latent power as well. But overall, I wouldn’t care so much if they did give him a ‘meta’ origin, it’s the character himself that I liked (before they decided he HAD to be Grimmer and Grittier.)

And DC has had some really dumb mandates; remember when they ordered that Superman could be the ONLY surviving Kryptonian, because otherwise he would not be “The Last Son of Krypton” -as if that were his major appeal- and thus even Supergirl had to be erased from continuity (then reinvented via all sort of twisted gimmicks?) Sheesh.

Paragon’s power caused him to copy other peoples’ ordinary skills and even knowledge at a level beyond those of the people in question; it was stated that he had multiple doctorates because he duplicated the knowledge of his professors plus a little bit of extra brains. His powers worked on non-metas, so that he was able to out-judo Black Canary and, when he ran into Firestorm, was able to outdo Martin Stein at physics.

Count me in with the Connor Hawke Green Arrow fans, even as an older reader who liked Ollie Queen. Chuck Dixon and Rudolfo Damaggio had a nice run with Connor and Eddie Fyers. I liked Th Green arrow book too when it featured Ollie, Roy Harper/Arsenal, Connor, Mia/Speedy, and occasional drop ins from the Black Canary. It had a nice “family” feel to it like the pre-crisis Batman Family. Curse Judd Winnick for having ruined so many perfectly good titles.

…Brian, Jack himself used to tell how McCartney mangled “Kirby” into “Colby”. As much as I respect Steve Sherman, I’d trust The King over him as The Valid Source for accuracy in this case.

I’ve also heard rumors that Richard (“Peace & Love!”) Starkey was a comic book fan, but he only read “The Ringo Kid.”

And if you think its unrealistic that someone could reach that level. Simply look up the archer ‘Howard Hill’

It’s not that someone can’t reach that level of skill, it’s the idea that someone could reach Howard Hill’s level of skill as a grown man using a homemade bow with no training from a professional in only the span of a few days or a few weeks, months or years depending on which telling of the origin you go by. Howard Hill studied archery his whole life.

I’m not saying Green Arrow’s origin is a big deal to me to the point where I can’t enjoy the stories. I don’t really care, since it’s rarely referenced anyway, plus it’s from the Silver Age so I don’t mind suspending disbelief or going easy on it. I just disagree with the idea that it’s a great origin story and that the metahuman idea ruins it. In my opinion it’s not really all that great an origin and only gets a pass due to nostalgia.

Oh, definitely, any costumed hero origin story requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, regardless of when it was published. I’m only familiar with the 1940s and 1950s versions of Green Arrow’s origin; I’ve never read any of the later retellings.

In the first version, Ollie was wealthy and athletic, and already an accomplished archer, when he was kidnapped by criminals who thought he knew the location of a hidden gold mine. After using his archery skills to defeat them, he got the idea of continuing as a crimefighter.

In the 1950s (Kirby) version, Ollie was shipwrecked on an island for an unspecified period of time and made himself a bow and arrows to survive. He did get good at archery, but as I recall the story, it was his ability to improvise gimmick arrows that enabled him to survive… and to foil a mutiny after he made it aboard a passing ship. It doesn’t bug me that he got good at archery while on the island, but at that time, it was his gimmicks more than his skill that made him a superhero. In fact, I think the biggest problem I had with that story was believing that Ollie invented a drill arrow that could bore through coconut shells by winding up the elastic band from his socks.

I meant “kidnapped BY criminals,” not “kidnapped MY criminals.”

JC LEBOURDAIS

June 7, 2011 at 5:20 am

Re: Green Arrow
Wasn’t that a big plot point during INVASION? The Meta Gene Bom or something.
I seem to remember it triggered ‘latent’ powers, like for Snapper Carr.

I think an early reference to Ollie’s methuman status was in the JLA issue where Connor joined. He arrived at the Watchtower after the League had already been taken down. While scavenging for equipment, he comes across the Boxing Glove Arrow. He made the comment that Ollie was the only person who could make such a ridiculous thing work.

Anthony Durrant

June 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

The Friday character’s name was “Joe Dille.”

Carl, I remember that issue, and I don’t know that it was a meta reference as much as it was just Connor thinking his Dad’s gimmicks were kind of goofy. Not so much “He has the superpower that makes that useful”, but “He is the only person who would ever want to learn how to use such a ridiculous thing”.

Moar Bronze Age Kirby!!! :-)

Green Arrow- I think, with full suspension of comic disbelief (Batman can study for ten years and be a master of…everything. Scientists aren’t masters of one discipline, but a half dozen completely unrelated ones) that the point being missed with guys like GA is that they trained a long time, for sure. But also had an elite, innate talent for what their skill was. I could take shots, dribble, and practice 15 hours a day, and I’d get a lot better at basketball, maybe the best I can be, but I’d still never be Michael Jordan. Because he worked really hard, and had TALENT too. Ollie had worked on it a lot, but obviously was as talented in the ability of archery as anyone on the planet. I think Shado even commented on it, in that she was more skilled, but what he did just came naturally to him. He’s constantly “in the zone”.

The opposite problem was with them hyping Connor (who I actually liked…just as his own character, not Green Arrow) as “the best fighter this side of Shiva”, without having earned any of it. OK, maybe by the above example, he had more talent than anyone else. But monastery training in just his youth didn’t really make you believe he acquired the skill. But it was a time where everyone was claimed to be the best fighter, depending on who was writing them. When all thematic logic for the DC Universe says it should be Batman. I think it was Starlin in the Death in the Family story who wrote it really well that someone like Shiva may be more skilled than Batman, but the fact that he’s 6’2″ with strength and reach and close enough in skill is going to put him on top. It again, is a necessary belief if the character is not only meant to hang with Supermen, but match them.

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