Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Not-So-Secret Origins of the JLA - Green Arrow

Much like Aquaman, Green Arrow spent most of his early career as a back-up feature. In fact, Green Arrow (and Speedy) debuted in the very same issue of More Fun Comics as Aquaman. Later,Green Arrow moved to Adventure Comics, followed shortly by Aquaman. Hey, us ruggedly-handsome blonde guys have to stick together.

In Justice League of America #4, Green Arrow became the first new member of the JLA since their first appearance in Brave and the Bold #28.

Green Arrow already had an origin (it involved Speedy, a lost plateau and an old Indian dude) , but it seems that 1959 was a good year for re-writes. From Adventure Comics #256, January 1959 here's "Green Arrow's First Case" by Ed Herron, drawn by Jack Kirby.


  1. How long do you suppose he carried around that fake-uranium arrow waiting for just the right moment to unleash it?

  2. Aaron--how come you dislike Kirby's version? Are you telling me you prefer George Papp, or whoever else did the strip in the 40's and 50's? I've always been partial to this particular GA story, apart from the Adams transformation.

  3. Dave: GA has a lot of arrows that make one ask the same question. I often wonder how he plans what to put in his quiver.

    Anonymous: Actually, this particular story is pretty well drawn. I had forgotten. I LOVE Jack Kirby. However, his work on Green Arrow is not my favorite. A lot of his run on GA have very iffy inks (done by Roz Kirby!)that leave the characters flat and weird-looking. In most of the Kirby-drawn stories, GA looks pretty homely. In this one, he looks kinda like Captain America!

    I don't care for the way Kirby draws GA's mask, either. It looks like he's wearing horn-rimmed glasses.

    Apart from Neal Adams' GA from 1969-, I prefer Lee Elias.

  4. I love Jack Kirby's work. Do we know who his inker was here? Whoever it was, I like this, because it respects the force of the King's line without muddying up either the lines or the rendering with blacks that are too heavy. That makes it perfect for the bright colors and breezy atmosphere of the island setting. With all that said, I've been doing some Green Arrow research lately and have come to really like George Papps' work. I think I like him best of all the regular Green Arrow artists . . . though I have to give Lee Elias due respect; I *thought* I didn't like him, any of his work, at all. One particular Batman story he did, once, set me against him forever. But now, in my greater maturity, I look back at his deft Silver Age renderings of the Arrow and Speedy, and they fill me with nostalgic joy. I think I like Elias, on Green Arrow at least, after all.