More Fun Comics #73
November 2nd, 2015
Green Arrow and his super-defenestration powers!
Linkara: Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. And welcome back, my friends, to another month of the first stories of beloved heroes: "Secret Origins Month"!
("Secret Origins Month" plays with Avengers theme)
Linkara: I don't have regular TV anymore, but we got a lot of characters who have gotten some live-action success outside of comics, and I think people would like to know more about them. As such, let's start with the Emerald Archer, (points to camera) Green Arrow.
(A shot of Green Arrow is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, there's not much information I can give you on the creation of the character.
(Cut to a shot of Green Arrow's creator, Mort Weisinger)
Linkara (v/o): He was made by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, and unfortunately, most interviews with Weisinger I found focused more on his work on Superman than anything to do with Green Arrow.
(More shots of Green Arrow are shown)
Linkara (v/o): There is, of course, fairly common information out there, the first and foremost being that one of the inspirations for the character was of course Robin Hood, but also from a serial called "The Green Archer". While many have decried Green Arrow's tendency to rip off Batman in many superficial qualities, Weisinger denies any such inspiration there, that he was simply a law-abiding version of Robin Hood. One of these criticisms is naming various objects, like an Arrow-Cave and an Arrow-mobile.
Linkara: Although I'm going to have to call (points to camera) bullcrap on that one for his first appearance. Spoilers, but it is not called the Arrow-mobile here. Albeit, the actual name is pretty bizarre, I'll give it that.
Linkara (v/o): In fact, the actual inspirations for the character are based on, well, the concept of cowboys and Indians.
(Cut to shots of another comic book character called The Vigilante)
Linkara (v/o): Weisinger also created the character, The Vigilante, which there would be a few characters with that name.
(One shot of the Vigilante has his back twisted out really bad, accompanied by a note reading "OH GOD THAT SPINE")
Linkara (v/o): But in this case, Vigilante was basically a modern cowboy in a handkerchief who shot guns and stuff.
(Cut back to Green Arrow)
Linkara (v/o): Thus, the two characters were supposed to be cowboys and Indians in a modern urban setting, with even Green Arrow's origin story being tied into Native Americans... in some rather problematic manners, but we'll get to that. And because some people were confused about this, yes, this comic also features the debut of Aquaman, but we won't be covering him this month. Not that I wouldn't be up for it, but I've got a lot on my plate this week, and I want to keep the focus to the aforementioned successful characters outside of comics, and so far, Aquaman's prominent live-action appearances have been in...
(Cut to shots of Aquaman in such live-action shows as...)
Linkara (v/o): ...Smallville; an unaired pilot that's essentially Smallville, but in the water; and a movie that hasn't appeared yet where he's probably going to appear for, like, five seconds.
Linkara: So let's dig into "More Fun Comics #73" and see the first appearance of (points to camera) the Green Arrow! (beat) Also, Roy Harper.
(AT4W title theme plays, and the title card has "Gay Activity" by Clive Richardson playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): There's no point in looking at the cover since Green Arrow isn't even mentioned on it. You'd think Dr. Fate was the only character in the book at all. And as was common at the time, nearly half of this cover is taken up by the logo. I love how small "More" is, like they were afraid that if they made it any larger, that'd take away from the fun that's the biggest of all.
Linkara: (dramatically) This comic is fun because we told you so! Now buy our fun comic! Or buy this other one; it's even more fun!
Linkara (v/o): Green Arrow's debut is right here, with a logo that's... okay in theory, but execution is meh. I'm not really fond of the font, and you'd think the logo would be, you know, green. Maybe that was the compromise with Speedy: "We'll make the logo red, but your arrows have to be green, too." Seriously, Speedy's arrows are painted green as well. What the hell? Could he just not afford red paint? But yeah, this is our first introduction to Roy Harper.
Linkara: Man, is your life gonna be full of unnecessary garbage seventy years later! (beat) Also, China Cat.
Narrator: The Green Arrow and Speedy, wizard archers of the century...
Linkara: Oh, neat, they're dual classic.
Narrator: ...crush a cavalcade of crime when murder visits the History Club and a mystery killer bequeaths strange dooms to the namesakes of famous men!!
Linkara: (as teen) Dammit, Mom, why did you name me Archduke Ferdinand?!
Linkara (v/o): Just look at this panel, and it illustrates a bit of a problem. Sure, Green Arrow manages to knock the gun out of one guy's hand, but the other one has already fired. Look at how close they are. It'd be really hard to miss like that, or at least do some damage. Anyway, a purple murderer in a cowboy hat assassinates various people who share the last names of other people who were killed, like George Lincoln here, assassinated by gun; John Hale, killed by hanging; and Anthony Caesar, by knife.
Assassin: Julius Caesar died by the knife---the same to you!
Linkara: Well, yeah, but he was also killed by, like, the entire Senate or whatever. You should have, like, forty other people to help you if you want it to match.
Linkara (v/o): You are a very rude cowboy, sir.
(Cut to a shot of Johnny West)
Linkara (v/o): You should be giving boots to children to solve their problems, not murdering people.
(Cut back to the Green Arrow comic)
Linkara (v/o): So apparently, Green Arrow and Speedy are the Hardy Boys, as indicated by this dialogue.
Oliver Queen: Happy vacation days ahead, eh, Roy?
Roy Harper: And boy, we can use one! The case of the Golden Mummy sure had us busy!
Linkara: (confused) Why the hell aren't we reading about the case of the Golden Mummy? We're reading about a cowboy with a really weird murder gimmick when we could reading about (holds up two fingers) two superheroes fighting (holds up fist and clenches teeth) ANCIENT EGYPT!
(Cut to the obligatory shot of the Egyptian pyramids while John Williams' "Imperial March" plays in the background. Then back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): However, the radio is turned to Plot Convenience News, wherein it starts talking despite no indication it was on before.
Radio announcer: News flash&nash;The police are still baffled by the mysterious murders of three members of the famous History Club last night!
Linkara: (as announcer) It's apparently a news flash that there has been no change in the police's attitude! (beat) It's a slow news days.
Radio announcer: No clues...etc...etc...
Linkara: Wow, that news was so boring, even the radio didn't care anymore.
Linkara (v/o): Also, according to this narrative caption, Speedy is referred to as "The Cyclone Kid"
Linkara: Because if bows and arrows are known for anything, it's their ability to start a tornado.
Linkara (v/o): Deciding to investigate, the two change outfits and head to their underground lair.
Narrator: A secret garage that harbors the fastest car on wheels – the Arrowplane – a super-streamlined racer capable of amazing speed!
Linkara: (confused) If you're gonna call it that, why not just make it an airplane?
Linkara (v/o): They drive over to the History Club, where we see one of the capabilities of the Arrowplane: an ejector seat that launches Green Arrow through the window of the club. So many questions! One, how the hell did he know which window it was? Two, how did he know they were meeting today after a bunch of them had already been murdered? Three, he says he did it because it's "faster than using the stairs!" Yeah, but the stairs have about a hundred percent less broken glass embedded in your face. Four, how did they get it at just the right angle so he didn't just smack into a wall instead of the window? Five, what would he have done if the window was stronger than the force from the ejection seat? Dude would've hit that window like a bird! Six, if stairs are too much for Green Arrow, why not just take an elevator? Seven, this thing is activated by Speedy "gently pressing a trigger below the dashboard". What the hell happens when you make a sudden stop and Speedy accidentally hit the buttons with his knee? Eight, why would you ever need that?! Nine, who's paying for that window?! Ten, does Speedy have one of those, too?!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Batman: The Animated Series)
Joker: Sorry, kiddo, I can only afford one!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Eleven, as referenced with that clip, isn't this something the Joker would have in his car, not Green friggin' Arrow?! Twelve, why is everyone so nonchalant about this in the next panel? And finally, number thirteen... is this covered by the car's insurance?
Linkara: These are not the questions I thought I'd be asking myself today.
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, in the next panel, everyone just kinda shrugs this off.
Ezra Samson: I suppose you're familiar with our organization. Each member has a famous namesake.
Linkara: (confused) Why?
Linkara (v/o): I mean, is that, like, a by-law for this group? Is this just a massive coincidence? If you don't have one, do you have to change your name? One member, Leonard Achilles, received a note in the mail saying he would die like his namesake, so he took the precaution of wearing metal boots.
Green Arrow: Perhaps that's what he wanted you to do! Take them off!
Linkara: (as Green Arrow) Don't question me! I'm dressed like Robin Hood and launch myself through windows for no good reason! I'm the smart one!
Linkara (v/o): The guy refuses, and because Green Arrow is the hero, he turns out to be right. The guy stepped on a rug that's electrified... and I guess the metal boots, that look suspiciously like loafers and blue socks, don't even have any rubber soles covering them, so the guy is electrocuted. So naturally, Green Arrow then just picks up the rug. I guess Green Arrow's gloves are actually rubber kitchen gloves after all. Actually, what's funny to me is that if you take out the little lightning bolts indicating the electrocution, it looks like Green Arrow pulled the rug out from under this guy. Apparently, that wasn't enough for the assassin, though, since he starts firing a gun into the window Green Arrow smashed. And he apparently decides to haul ass when Green Arrow looks out the window since he doesn't take the easy shot and shoot him down. No, instead, Green Arrow decides to fight a tightrope arrow that he walks across. And apparently, the shooter is waiting for that to be made into a movie, since he's just standing there.
Linkara: You are a terrible villain. This is why "Green Arrow" keeps having to steal villains from everybody else.
Linkara (v/o): Speedy catapults himself up, although it's not made clear if his own seat had one or if he just scooted over into Green Arrow's. They manage to arrow the guy's clothes to a wall, and it turns out it's a hired goon named Muggsy Smith.
Linkara: How exactly does one get a nickname like (makes "air quotes") "Muggsy"?
Linkara (v/o): His boss always wears a mask, so he doesn't know who he is, but he spills the bean about a meeting later that night. They hand the guy over to the cops, and Green Arrow disguises himself as Muggsy. Definitely one up on Batman here. In one of the old Batman serials, he tried the same trick, but Green Arrow actually goes to the trouble of USING MAKEUP TO LOOK LIKE MUGGSY, as opposed to Bruce...
(Cut to a clip of the Batman serial in question, as watched by the Rifftrax gang)
Linkara (v/o): ...who just slapped a bandage over his eye.
Riffer: (as one of the gangsters) Come to think of it, we did accept you as Mack, despite the evidence of every single one of our senses.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): While Cowboy Curtis does reveal their next target, he exposes Green Arrow right away, since Muggsy only had four fingers on his right hand. There's also the fact that, according to this panel, he was wearing a Domino mask this whole time. Buuut he could just be trying to create a new fashion.
(Cut to a clip of The Princess Bride showing Fezzik trying to punch the Man In Black, who easily dodges his punches)
Man In Black: It's just that masks are terribly comfortable – I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, I'm sorry. According to the dialogue, it's grease paint. Yeah, that makes all the difference. They capture Speedy outside the place and tie him up as well.
Masked killer: And now, my friends, goodbye. But before we leave, I shall turn the gas on so...
Linkara (v/o): So... what? Or did you mean "like so"? Man, you are a failure even at sentence structure, dude.
Masked killer: ...and when I return, the Green Arrow will be as dead as William Tell!
(Cut to a clip of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery)
Dr. Evil: I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
(Cut back to the comic)
Green Arrow: We prefer the gas to your company.
Linkara: (as Green Arrow) The smell is infinitely better, for one thing.
Linkara (v/o): They finally manage to escape by Green Arrow tossing his shoe out a window and getting rid of all the carbon monoxide... or... whatever it is.
Linkara: And thus Green Arrow defeated Vapora before Daredevil.
Linkara (v/o): Also, Oliver Queen wears purple socks. "Harriet the Spy" headcanon confirmed! After he changes into his costume, Green Arrow figures that D'Arcy's historical connection is Joan d'Arc, and thus, he'll be burned at the stake. A bit of a stretch to connect the names, but then again, our villain is nothing if not really stupid. They're able to save the guy from a fire, even pulling out some neat tricks with some arrows for climbing down the walls of the guy's house.
Green Arrow: This is what they mean by the straight and ARROW path!
Linkara (v/o): D'Arcy tells them that Ezra Samson was also threatened that day, and Biblical Samson died with a building collapsing on him.
Linkara: Okay, some quick searches revealed that there might have been an historical basis for Samson, but (holds up finger warningly) Cowboy, you're really pushing it when you're equating mythological figures with historical ones, and I would've hoped someone working at a historical society would know that.
Linkara (v/o): With all the murder and mayhem and references to things, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out this was the Silent Hill Historical Society. They manage to save Samson from a bomb, and later, Speedy speculates that the killer must be Amos Socrates, since he's the only one left.
Linkara: Or, you know, it could be someone who was denied entry into the society because his name wasn't a reference to an historical figure.
Linkara (v/o): Green Arrow says the deactivated bomb has a clue to the killer's identity, and they decide to check out Socrates, who's currently being confronted by the (Spanish accent) Violet Vaquero.
Green Arrow: He's forcing Socrates to drink poison from a cup---that's the way Socrates, the philosopher, died!
(Cut to a clip of Real Genius)
Chris Knight (Val Kilmer): I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, when he said... "I drank what?"
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Our heroes get inside, and the cowboy... uh, drops his gun when he sees them.
Linkara: Okay, I know I already used this clip two weeks ago, but... screw it.
(He snaps his fingers, and we cut to a clip of None Piece)
Monkey Dee Luffy: You were just comprised to fail, aren't you?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): They catch him and reveal his identity...
(Cut to a shot of Granny Goodness from the ending of "Amazons Attack"!)
Linkara (v/o): GRANNY GOODNESS!
(A dramatic sting is heard)
Linkara (v/o): Nah, just kidding.
(Back to the Green Arrow comic again as we see the real identity of the cowboy)
Linkara (v/o): It's Ezra Samson, who was standing on stilts to make himself look taller. And how does he escape from this when the two heroes are standing right next to him and his clothes are pinned to the wall?
Narrator: The exposed criminal makes a mighty leap and breaks loose, heading for the street!
Linkara: (confused) Off-panel and by jumping... Even when this guy succeeds, he sucks.
Linkara (v/o): He gets to a getaway car, and the two chase after, Green Arrow explaining that when he examined the bomb, he realized it was a phony. It just had harmless powder inside of it.
Linkara: (stroking chin) Harmless powder that Speedy seemed really happy to see for some reason... Weird... (he becomes slightly annoyed as he realizes something) What? Roy was a heroin addict, not cocaine. It was weird that he was happy about it.
Linkara (v/o): Green Arrow fires an arrow at Samson's car... which goes over the edge of the road.
Narrator: Samson's car swerves crazily and then plunges over an embankment. A mess of twisted and tangled steel forms a coffin for the arch criminal!
Linkara: (as Green Arrow) Quick, we need to stop this murderer by murdering him! (beat, then becomes confused) What?
Linkara (v/o): And lest you think that was an accident, Green Arrow specifically says...
Green Arrow: This'll stop him--- for good!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, yeah, Ollie in more modern times is more willing to kill than others, but still, yeesh! So, what was this guy's motive?
Green Arrow: Samson hoped to kill you all and make it seem that Socrates was the real killer. Socrates' death would seem like suicide.
Linkara: Yeah, what with him being killed the same way all the other victims were. (shrugs in confusion)
Green Arrow: Samson was the treasurer of the* club. If you'll check his books, you'll probably find that he had embezzled a small fortune. That's a good enough motive for a man of his caliber!
- NOTE: Green Arrow actually says, "...the treasurer of your club," not "the club".
Linkara: Actually, that's a pretty lame motive, especially since it doesn't explain why he then went to all the extra trouble of killing them like their namesakes!
Linkara (v/o): And so, our story ends with Ollie putting the fake bomb into his trophy case.
Ollie: Another souvenir proving that crime doesn't pay!
Linkara: (as Oliver) Oh, but crime does have a price: (points to camera) YOUR LIFE! (normal) Anyway, this comic... (stops as he hesitates) Yeah, it actually sucks.
Linkara (v/o): Green Arrow himself is fine, despite some leaps in logic, and, you know, the killing thing, but the plot itself is so bizarrely asinine. The cowboy was just some asshole who wanted money from a historical society and killed them in overly theatrical means for no good reason. He was also some kind of an idiot, not helped by the fake bomb that would've been examined right away, so his plan to take away suspicion from himself was just really poorly executed.
(Cut to a shot of the origin of Green Arrow in "Birth of the Battling Bowman")
Linkara (v/o): However, like Batman's first story, this is not his actual origin story, so let's quickly look at "More Fun Comics #89". And sorry about the quality of the scans here. Hell, the cover at least showed Green Arrow and Speedy on it, and by this point, Ollie has become a blond, as has his bow. Speedy recounts how the two first met, first going into his own origins, that his father's plane crashed on Lost Mesa, along with...
Speedy: (narrating) Old Quoag, my father's Indian servant...
Linkara: (singing) 1940s casual racism!
Linkara (v/o): Roy's father died in the crash, and the two are stuck on the mesa, due to how steep the cliffs are on it. Fortunately, there's a spring and plenty of game for them to live off of. Quoag taught Roy how to use a bow and arrow.
Quoag: Ugh! You learn shoot good, Roy!
Linkara: Why is it that stereotypical Native American speech sounds like Tarzan?
Linkara (v/o): They were stranded there for years until Roy spotted a plane flying overhead, which brings us to Ollie's side of the story. Ollie was rich and had collected a bunch of items for the city museum.
Curator: Queen, you've assembled the finest collection of Indian-lore the world has ever seen!
Ollie: Glad to hear you say so, sir. It's taken me ten years to collect!
Linkara: (as Oliver) It's taken me ten years to rob and pillage these people! (gives a thumbs-up) Good times!
Linkara (v/o): During an attempted robbery at the museum, a fire started that burned down the entire collection.
Ollie: My whole collection... ten years work... destroyed by this thugs! Burned to the ground!
Linkara: Yeah, it must really suck to lose all that stuff because of people that it didn't belong to.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, yeah, he might have obtained it all fairly and on-the-level, but considering how this comic has its single Native person in stereotypical gear and talking like that, do you really think this was on the up-and-up? Anyway, with the shock of all this, the museum curator suggests he head out to the Lost Mesa in search of more ruins in the hopes of finding new artifacts. And the plane that went overhead of Roy... was actually full of criminals going after him, since the museum curator said it's "a gold mine", and they're idiots who spent all that money on a plane and everything instead of just robbing a bank. Roy met up with Ollie, thinking he was another thug.
Linkara: (arms crossed, listlessly) Another superhero team-up starting with the two heroes fighting. (waves dismissively) Ugh! So cliched.
Linkara (v/o): The two escape from the thugs, thanks to Quoag.
Roy: Your clothes are so bright they make a target for those thugs!
Linkara: (incredulously) You're in bright orange, Roy! At least his pants are green!
Roy: Here, rub yourself with this grass!
Linkara: Of course! The perfect camouflage! (beat) Wait, what?
Linkara (v/o): To make a long story short, Quoag is killed in the battle, and the two discover ancient ruins made of gold, fending off the goons with bows and arrows.
Ollie: Shoot straight and fast, boy! And be careful! No killing!
Linkara: Wow! Even back then, Oliver Queen was a hypocritical douchebag!
Linkara (v/o): The thugs are accidentally killed by a falling statue, and the two got their superhero names as nicknames for stuff that happened during the battle. Queen then stole all the gold and used it to make himself a fortune. This origin is... okay, if a little iffy in the respect department, but it gets a lot across, including the skills of the two. And hell, both stories show pretty clearly that while Speedy is a sidekick, he's actually just as skilled as Ollie is, so kudos there. Of course, this origin would get revised in the Silver Age relaunch, much like Flash and Green Lantern had, though without changing his name, to Oliver being isolated on an island and forced to survive there by learning the tools of his trade, but that's another story altogether. The Golden Age version seen here would actually become a recurring presence with the other Golden Age versions of the characters before he was killed in "Crisis on Infinite Earths"... and then wiped from existence in that same tale.
Linkara: And while this version we saw here was not the gritty version that was later put together in 1987's "The Longbow Hunters", next time, we will see the origins of another gritty character... who once fought an evil surgeon.
(End credits roll)
What would Samson have done if a guy was named after someone who died of natural causes?
Admittedly, the arrow could have made Samson drop the gun, but since it leaps UP in his hand, I'm guessing he tossed it away.
(Stinger: The screen is black with only Linkara's voice heard)
Linkara (v/o): You know, there is one thing I have to wonder about in regards to Green Arrow and Speedy's outfits.
(Cut to a clip of Code MENT)
Offscreen voice: What is with these fucking tiny hats?