Monday, March 8, 2010

Some of Green Arrow's Arrows are Dumb, All of Arrowette's Arrows are Obnoxious

In 1956, DC comics set a weird sort of precedent with the debut of The Batwoman. That precedent was this: When a woman turns to fighting crime, no matter what her costumed persona or crime-fighting theme, all of her gadgets will have to do with being a woman.

Miss Arrowette is a steadfast example of this philosophy. An archer of the first order, and a spunky young woman who wants to fight crime and help her hero- Green Arrow, she has a quiver of ingenious, homemade trick arrows. All of which have to do with cosmetics.

Is she a beautician in her alter-ego of Bonnie King? A cosmetologist? We don't know. But what we do know is, when you let a girl fight crime, she inevitably invents things like a hairpin arrow, a hair tint arrow, a hairnet arrow (a lot of hair things), and a lotion arrow.

Of course, the plot revolves around Miss Arrowette trying to help the Battling Bowmen, who feel that "This isn't a game for girls!" (because only full-grown men should dress up like Robin Hood and prance around the streets lobbing phallic symbols at baddies). Of course, GA and Speedy get captured by some crooks (after slipping on one of Miss Arrowette's lotion arrows) and have to be rescued by the girl. But don't worry, once Miss Arrowette finds the heroes, it's Green Arrow who does the rescuing, taking away Miss Arrowette's bow and arrows and using them himself. Wouldn't want to leave that sort of thing to a girl.

Miss Arrowette agrees to retire, but she returns at least once.


  1. Miss Arrowette appeared twice more (WF #118 and WF #134), and might have become a regular if Green Arrow himself hadn't effectively been cancelled in favor of a reprint backup in World's Finest when Weisinger took over the title in 1964. BTW, Arrowette (not Miss Arrowette) is a different character (Bonnie's daughter) who appeared starting in the late 1980s.

  2. Pat: I was unaware of the Arrowette who was Miss Arrowette's daughter! I have edited the above post so that I consistantly say "MISS" Arrowette.

  3. Perhaps off the subject, but I think Rick Veitch had a very good take on this type of thing in his miniseries "Bratpack" (Midnight Mink's vibrator style mini-missiles and the entire concept of Moon Mistress as a second-string sex object to the rest of the "heroes", yet she remained a goddess in her own mind.)

    Yeah, you're right about the powder puff gadgetry and accoutrements. I've also observed that superheroines are typically just low rent versions of their sugar daddies, in the same league as superpets. Wonder Woman is an exception to this rule, and I know there are others, especially as progression marches on, but it remains difficult to think of them removed from the context of a male superhero accompanying them in some way or other. Even in the case of Catwoman--as independent as they made her otherwise--she exists in a duality with Batman and is largely consumed by her feelings for him (but who can really blame her?)

    Keep up the good work, player.

  4. Yes, back in the day, any superhero who wasn't white and had a penis would have their powers defined by their cultural or social status.

    I'm surprised she didn't a vacuum cleaner on her utility belt.

    Loving the blog, man. Keep up the good work.

    Kevin Patrick

  5. Lonewolf: You're right, these ladies are simply pale, little sisters of the male heroes they emulate. Wonder Woman, on the other hand was conceived from the ground up as an equivolent of Superman, not a female duplicate, thus the difference. There were actually quite a few independent female characters in the Golden Age, like the Blonde Phantom or Black Canary. Most of them used their sexuality as a weapon against the thugs they battled, but that sort of thing was clearly outlawed by the Comics Code.

    K-Pat: I believe that would have been a vacuum-cleaner arrow.