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CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – Green Arrow Copying Batman

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today we look at five ways that the Golden Age Green Arrow copied Batman…

Enjoy!

Right off the bat, in More Fun Comics #73, Green Arrow copies Batman with having a sidekick, Speedy (they even somewhat imply that Green Arrow and Speedy have a legal guardian/ward relationship (as they have different last names).

Now the car in that issue, the Arrowplane, is just different enough from the Batmobile that I will give them leeway and say that they are not copying the Batmobile.

Now, when they re-name the Arrowplane the Arrow-Car, yeah, it seems a bit too much like the Batmobile…

Soon afterwards, we also are introduced to the Arrow-Signal…

Then the Arrow-Plane…

And, the final indignity, the Arrow-Cave…

Yikes.

If you have suggestions for future installments, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

33 Comments

Was Ollie too cheap for a butler?

I think Kevin Smith addressed these similarities during his run on Green Arrow, with Batman making a remark like “Oliver, did you have any original ideas of your own?” Nice.
You may recall that Batman had his ‘Batmen of the World’ where a group of masked crimefighters from all over the world [English Batman, French Batman, Italian Batman etc] all got together to have a party and fight evil. Featured in recent years during Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and now as the basis of ‘Batman Inc’.
Well in 1958, Jack Kirby gave Green Arrow his own ‘Green Arrows of the World’. Adventure 250 introduced us to a colourful bunch, and perhaps even slightly more imaginative than Batman’s iteration; Swiss Arrow, Malayan Arrow, Mexican Arrow, Indian Arrow, Arabian Arrow, Polynesian Arrow, Argentine Arrow, the British Bowman and Ace Archer of Japan. And, bien sur, Ze ztereotypical one who comes all ze way from, ‘ow you zay, France, n’est-ce pas? Zut alors!
Today what we would call a ripoff, back in the 1950s, just the done thing. Recycle ideas and stories every couple of years as your audience grows up and new readers come, who would be unaware of the originals. Like the comic equivalent of a cover version I guess..

Question is, will there now be a ‘Green Arrow LLC’…?

“Right off the bat…”

Really? you had to go there? ;-)

At least “Arrow-Plane” had the defense that it was a pun, unlike Bat-Plane; Arrow-Car is clearly just a ripoff. GA didn’t stop there — well, his writer’s didin’t — Ollie’s mos frequent Golden Age villain, Blll’s-Eye, was an evil clown.

What goes around comes around, though: Much later, Batman’s enemy the Signalman was put in jail with Bull’s-Eye, and after the two swapped stories about their foes, Signalman decided to rip *Green Arrow* off by becoming “the Blue Bowman” and attacking Batman with trick arrows! Batman countered with trick Batarangs, however, and all was soon put right again.

Today what we would call a ripoff, back in the 1950s, just the done thing. Recycle ideas and stories every couple of years as your audience grows up and new readers come, who would be unaware of the originals

Well yeah, but titles usually used to only rip off their OWN old stories over and over again, like how every 4-5 years the Fantastic Four would have another Thing vs. Hulk story. Ripping off a whole other character’s shtick to the extent Green Arrow did to Batman on the other hand was bad even for the era.

Ehh, i think it should be just accepted and we should move on from it as there are plenty of difference between the two that could be used to make arrow a cool character.

That first example, with GA getting propelled up and crashing through the window – I just can’t stop shaking my head.

I keep seeing him bouncing off the reinforced glass and plummeting back down the 3+ stories to land on top of Speedy, killing both instantly. Or, as he successfully breaks through, severing several arteries on shards of glass and bleeding out on the History Club’s lush cyan carpet.

At the very least, I would love it if the first panel on the next page had one of the History Club members asking, “Why can’t you just use the damn door?”

Ah, the Silver Age.

Ehh, i think it should be just accepted and we should move on from it as there are plenty of difference between the two that could be used to make arrow a cool character.

Nothing wrong with pointing it out. Sure it’s ultimately harmless, but it’s still so egregious and blatant that it’s funny and worth pointing out. And there really isn’t plenty of difference until later on when later writers and artists made an effort to differentiate the two.

You kinda see how that whole “Seduction of the Innocent” thing got traction. The older guy living with the tween boy. And look at the shape of that car. Yikes.

In a weird way, Silver Age stuff like this is more realistic than modern comics.

In the business world, folks that are “borrowing” successful strategies from each other all the time. You can expect going to baseball game in Seattle will feature a lot of the same amenities as a ball game in NYC. For example, you would probably get upset if there was wasn’t a hot dog or the national anthem. Those mandatory features were “ripped off” from somewhere a long, long time ago.

“Trying to keep up with Batman” might be a fun element to add back into Green Arrow.

I do love, though, the cleverness of Arrow-plane.

I thought the same thing about busting through that glass. Then, when they encountered that woman, I thought that it was kind of her to at least leave her window open. I wonder if that was something people in that city often had to deal with.

In a weird way, Silver Age stuff like this is more realistic than modern comics.

In the business world, folks that are “borrowing” successful strategies from each other all the time. You can expect going to baseball game in Seattle will feature a lot of the same amenities as a ball game in NYC. For example, you would probably get upset if there was wasn’t a hot dog or the national anthem. Those mandatory features were “ripped off” from somewhere a long, long time ago.

“Trying to keep up with Batman” might be a fun element to add back into Green Arrow.

I can agree. i don’t think anyone here is really bashing Green Arrow so much as having a good-natured laugh at how blatant it was. I think it was so blatant it was virtually an open secret. Also, didn’t Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger write a lot of 1940s Green Arrow as well?

I agree with your idea of reintroducing the “trying to keep up with Batman” element, but even funnier would be if they kept having Green Arrow deny it whenever his ripoffs are pointed out to him.

Did Green Arrow and Batman ever meet or interact with each other at all before the Silver Age? I have a feeling that they first met in the early days of the JLA, but I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

why the hell is Speedy called ‘Speedy the cyclone kid’?

He was doing a lot of street-grade “cyclone” at the time to keep his energy up.

I kind of looks like they’re holding hands as they’re being ejected from the Arrow-car. Just saying.

Dean: I agree, I mean look at facebook, myspace and Google+ all pretty much the same idea just done slightly differently. Or all the fast food restaurants or Pizza delivery etc. If something works, it’s going to be copied.

Mike Loughlin

July 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

buttler; well-done, sir!

I love that GA & Speedy had no code-names when they started out. in their first adventure, some crook said (& I’m paraphrasing):

“Look out! He shoots a mean GREEN ARROW!” “And the other one sure is SPEEDY!”

I can picture the pre-crime fighting prep:

“So, Oliver, what should we call ourselves?”
*Shrug* “Beats me.Wait, I got it, Roy… Arrowman & Sp-Arrow!”
“uh… let’s put those in the ‘maybe’ column.”

This is the exact kinda thing the Batman: Brave & the Bold guys play off of.

Dean: I agree, I mean look at facebook, myspace and Google+ all pretty much the same idea just done slightly differently. Or all the fast food restaurants or Pizza delivery etc. If something works, it’s going to be copied.

Here’s a good test of whether there are not enough differences and the copying is too much: If another company besides DC created Green Arrow instead and with that same level of similarity, would they sue or not? I think personally DC would have definitely sued the hell out of another company for the exact same Green Arrow stories and designs. They’ve sued for far less similarity, like with Captain Marvel/Shazam!

Batman, Inc. would sue the he’ll out of Green Arrow, LLC.

I love that GA & Speedy had no code-names when they started out. in their first adventure, some crook said (& I’m paraphrasing):

“Look out! He shoots a mean GREEN ARROW!” “And the other one sure is SPEEDY!”

I can picture the pre-crime fighting prep:

“So, Oliver, what should we call ourselves?”
*Shrug* “Beats me.Wait, I got it, Roy… Arrowman & Sp-Arrow!”
“uh… let’s put those in the ‘maybe’ column.”

When did that happen? In their first appearance, they’re using the Green Arrow and Speedy codenames already. Did they do a flashback in a later story?

When did that happen? In their first appearance, they’re using the Green Arrow and Speedy codenames already. Did they do a flashback in a later story?

More Fun #89. You can see it here:

http://www.comics101.com/archives/comics101/91.php

Holy shit, I just got the pun in Arrow-Plane.

Wow.

Holy shit, I just got the pun in Arrow-Plane.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that was totally unintentional.

Oops! Yeah, the Green Arrow no-name flashback was from a later issue, and I got my wires crossed. Thanks, T.

On a related note, I liked how Mike Grell had Ollie get annoyed when the press dubbed him “Green Arrow” in Green Arrow: The Wonder Year. He kept getting cut off before he could reveal what he wanted to call himself.

So who created Green Arrow, Brian? Do you know who wrote and drew those early issues you’re referencing? Did Jack Kirby and Bill Finger really have much to do with him?

Oops! Yeah, the Green Arrow no-name flashback was from a later issue, and I got my wires crossed. Thanks, T.

Know what’s funny? I didn’t even realize you made a mistake. I just assumed you meant their origin story when you said their first adventure, which is what More Fun #89 was, and not their literal first published adventure. My post wasn’t even meant to be a correction.

Rebis:

Mort Weisinger created Green Arrow. He also created Aquaman. Both often get accused of being derivative of Batman and Namor. During his time on Superman, he oversaw the creation of loads of derivative characters there as well (Supergirl, Supercat, Superdog, etc). Bill Finger just wrote some stories I believe (don’t know how many) and Jack Kirby had a run that’s been recently collected.

“Trying to keep up with Batman” might be a fun element to add back into Green Arrow.

I’d prefer they keep the characters separate. That said, Vol. 3 of GA’s title (Started with Smith in ’01, was written mostly by Winick, ended at issue 75) got a lot of mileage out of the idea. Ollie’s frequently accused of ripping off Batman, up to the point that he adopted Roy in order to have a sidekick.

Every now and then, of course, Ollie went a little overboard with the Batman imitations…

http://fortycakes.spohali.com/unusual.png

Has Batman ever let Robin drive the Batmanmobile? I think that alone makes Speedy a better sidekick. And since when has the Batamacar frickin’ FIRED ITS PASSENGERS LIKE ORDINANCE?! Advantage: Oliver.

These guys aren’t the sharpest arrows in the quiver though. Just as he’s launched by catapult through a window, Ollie is baffled how a thief could scale the wall below. Tell Speedy that there’s a storm coming and his first explanation isn’t “must be nature doing its thing” but “must be a villain”.

So it’s just as well they don’t set their sights very high. An EMBEZZLER? A gambler injuring athletes to win bets? No wonder GA is never on the front lines of a Crisis. “Oliver, there’s a transdimensional entity erasing the walls between realities using antimagic singularities! Can you run and get us some doughnuts?”

“why the hell is Speedy called ‘Speedy the cyclone kid’?”
I always wondered that myself. More just the “speedy” part, since this is the first time I’d seen him referred to as the cyclone kid. I mean their code names typically have something to do with their powers. Green Arrow, obvious. But Speedy and especially “Speedy the Cyclone Kid” makes it sound like he’s Flash’s sidekick or at least has speedy or cyclone like powers. You’d think they’d call him something like Little Arrow (okay I know that’s stupid) or something similar. Or Green Arrow and Bolt.

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