A Tribute to the of






Blow up the balloons and pass the punch! It’s the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Green Arrow, who made his debut in More Fun Comics #73 back in November of 1941. The co-creation ofMort Weisinger and George Papp, the emerald archer has been with us ever since.

Just for fun, I thought I’d do a Jack Kirby repeat this time with a backup GA story from Adventure Comics #255, with a publication date of December 1958. “The War That Never Ended!” was written by Dave Wood with art by the King (and some background inking by none other than his bride, Rosalind Kirby) and a slew of editors for this book, including Whitney Ellsworth, Jack Schiff as managing editor, Mort Weisinger and George Kashdan as story editors. Let’s see what’s cooking with Oliver Queen and Roy Harper or Green Arrow and Speedy.

The opening half splash gives us the gist as GA and Speedy are disembarking from a rubber raft onto an island that is inhabited with World War II era Japanese soldiers. How did they get there and what’s going on? Let’s keep reading…

As it happens, Green Arrow and Speedy are flying to Tokyo, Japan to attend the international crime convention. Unfortunately, 24 hours into the 36-hour flight, the aircraft is experiencing engine trouble requiring ditching. Wouldn’t you know our heroes end up in a raft lacking a paddle? At the mercy of the ocean currents, they drift helplessly away from the aircraft and other passengers into the darkness.

The next morning when the inevitable sharks arrive, the pair of bowmen fire arrows with pieces of driftwood attached to block the jaws of the predators open. First problem solved.

The next day, the raft washes up onto an island and moments later, they’re surrounded by Japanese soldiers. Before they can fire upon the duo, they notch and fire their own arrow weapons, starting with a makeshift barrier. Taking advantage of the confusion in the soldiers’ ranks, GA tells them they are not their enemy, but only castaways. The Major is having none of it, though, accusing them of being invaders of Tongi island and demanding their surrender. He declares they’ve been waiting 13 years and are now going to strike. Green Arrow tells Speedy to engage the riot-smashing arrows, the first of which are equipped with tear gas. The second volley provides a smoke screen and the pair use it as cover to escape.

Unfortunately, GA stumbles in his escape attempt and is captured. The emerald archer again pleads with the Major to listen to reason, telling him that Japan officially lost the war in August of 1945. The officer scoffs, telling our hero that their last orders, received 13 years ago, were to hold Tongi island and that is their unalterable mission. Incredulous that they’ve been out of contact with their HQ for so long, the Major says that their communication radio was destroyed in June of ’45 by a typhoon. Major Tayako says they’re advance scouts for the fleet off the eastern point. Green Arrow’s protests that they’re not an invasion fleet, but likely on maneuvers, falls on deaf ears.

Tayako then says that due to the typhoon and an ammo explosion in 1950, they have no functional big guns left. He informs GA that he will build new weapons to attack the fleet, including mines, aerial bombs and torpedoes. When GA initially refuses, the Major pulls a Katana as a persuader, further explaining that the archer will create giant arrows and use them in the catapult to attack the ships.

Later that night, Speedy circles back and is dumbfounded to see the activities of his partner. Soon the weapons are being launched in a large group. Once they’re airborne, Speedy uses an arrow of his own to release a stockpile of coconuts to deter the soldiers. Green Arrow shouts to his comrade that he’s doing great work, but the arrows he’d fired were merely decoys that broke open on contact with the sea, revealing a large green arrow as a signal to the ships. The mine, in particular, was made of a soft metal that released a red dye, indicating danger. Furthermore, the arrow bomb was a three-stage rocket that released three short arrows, three long and three short, or, in Morse Code, SOS.

So, the friendlies arrive and the humbled Major Tayako apologizes for not believing Green Arrow about the status of the war and insists on a formal surrender, passing along his sword and ending this adventure of Green Arrow and Speedy.

Jack’s artwork in the 50s hadn’t quite evolved into what we often think of as classic Kirby, but his storytelling was as good then as in later years.

While Green Arrow had often been a second-stringer back in the day, he still managed to maintain enough popularity to hang in there, wherever his stories happened to be published and of course he was an early choice for the Justice League of America. No powers? No problem. The array of arrow gimmicks and superior archer’s skills always left him in good stead and as a guy you’d be glad to have with you in a scrap.

Carry on, Green Arrow! And congratulations on 80 years!

Don’t forget to make your way back on the 15th of November for another installment. It will be time to mark another character’s longevity then and you won’t want to miss it. In the interim, your comments and questions are welcomed and will be entertained. Just send an email to my handy address at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you soon and…

Long live the Silver Age!



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This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

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