Friday, November 16, 2007

Trick Arrow of the Week: Boxing Glove Arrow

I plan for this to be a weekly feature here at the Arrowcave, so check back every Friday for a spotlight an another of GA's famous trick arrows!

So, to start the feature off, let's talk about GA's most famous (and probably most mocked) trick arrow: The Boxing Glove Arrow!

On the face of it, this is probably one of the most ludicrous ideas ever concocted. How would you even fire it? Boxing gloves are really heavy (they use them to hit people, after all)! In fact, this very arrow is probably one of the reasons the powers-the-be at DC briefly claimed that Ollie was a metahhuman. After all, if you can fire an arrow with 99% of its weight on the front end and NOT have it fall on your foot, then there's gotta be SOMETHING going on! Of course, that's not even considering the storage issue. That quiver only has so much room, and the head of that arrow is HUGE (JLU neatly sidestepped this issue by having the boxing glove deploy AFTER the arrow was drawn.)

So why use such a preposterous weapon? I suppose the easy answer is that comic books, at least at the time the boxing glove arrow was big, were generally considered a kids game. So, you have a guy who fires extremely sharp projectiles at people for a living, and there's going to be blood. Since the Comics Code Authority frowned on impalement, that's not going to work out really well (this is why Wolverine fought so many robots!). Enter the boxing glove arrow! Now, instead of shooting people full of holes and killing them, you just sock them in the jaw like the other clean cut superheroes (but, you know, from far away).

Now, why would Green Arrow, the character, equip himself this way? Well, for mostly the same reasons. Ollie is a superhero, he doesn't kill people, and well, arrows do. So, on those occasions when you're not fighting the latest superpowered menace to the Justice League (who probably just beat up Martian Manhunter to prove how bad ass he is!) you gotta have a way to take people down without filling them full of holes; deadly holes. Boxing glove arrow to the face and he's down.

Of course, that's not to say that our featured trick arrow is useless against superpowered foes. After all, when Ollie's son Conner joined the Justice League (JLA #8) to replace his deceased dad (he got better) he used that arrow to distract The Key at a critical moment, single handedly saving the day (although even Conner commented on how utterly ridiculous the boxing glove arrow was.)

So come on, have a little fun and suspend a little disbelief! You know that if you could punch people in the face with a bow and arrow, you'd bloody well do it!

PS: This is by far the longest Trick Arrow feature, so don't fret!


Luke said...

You know the funny thing about trick arrows, and Green Arrow in particular? A lot of fans know about them, and presume that he used them all the time, which even this GA-novice knows is not true. Grell pretty much expelled most of them in Longbow Hunters and Ollie was a regular arrow kinda guy for man years, like he is now.

No, I think the real neat thing about the trick arrows is that it allows Ollie to be nonlethal in more creative ways. I mean, Hawkeye's main trick arrow (blast arrow) was essentially created so Jack Kirby could draw more explosions -- a noble motive if there ever was one. But like how the early Silver Age Aquaman stories usually relied on some creative way of Arthur using his finny friends to save the day, the concept of a trick arrow means that Ollie can use his head to solve a problem instead of just firing shaft after shaft.

And yes, JLU did an AWESOME job with the boxing glove arrow!

Diabolu Frank said...

"who probably just beat up Martian Manhunter to prove how bad ass he is!)"

Except, of course, every third villain beats up Martian Manhunter in a team book, so someone like Green Arrow can keep firing arrows while exclaiming, "My God! Martian Manhunter is as powerful as SUPERMAN! What are WE going to do against THAT!" At which point they use their noggins, or the actual Superman shows up to disprove the previous assertion, and then scrape J'Onn J'Onzz up off the ground.

JLU did an awesome job with Green Arrow, period. One of their best adaptations to animation, though somewhere behind Question and the Huntress.

Hamster said...

On the point of how effective a boxing glove arrow is, i am in a group where we fire arrows from 30-35 pound bows at people. these arrows are heavily padded and weigh about as much as a boxing glove and i have to say, it is not difficult at all to be accurate with them at the 60 foot range. we use a softer padding than a boxing glove but if we used a glove i can guess that the arrow would knock someone out.

Richie Rands said...

There's a good couple of nods to this in the Quiver storyline below. Ollie returns to his trick arrows for a while (having lost a lot of years worth of memory, and forgetting he used them).
After recovering his full memory and more (trying not to spoil this for any who haven't read it) the only arrow left in his quiver is the good old BG arrow. Its clear how embarrassed he is to use it and hopes 'the kid' Connor doesn't see.

Shortly after, in Archers Quest, Kyle Rayner asks what the deal is with the boxing gloves showing a picture of Ollie with the BGA and Hal Jordan creating a huge boxing glove with his power ring. Ollie's explanation for using the arrow is a fondness for watching the boxing - "ringside seats" that influenced their style design.

I've recently taken up archery and a leaf through the catalogues reveal arrows with large rubber stoppers at the end instead of piles (pointy pits). I imagine it wouldn't be too hard be easy for an expert archer like Ollie is supposed to be craft a non lethal tip in the style of a boxing glove if only to amuse himself.

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