Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Villain Profile: Count Vertigo

Count Werner Vertigo first appeared in World's Finest #251 (July 1978)in a Black Canary story "the Vertigo Version" by Gerry Conway with art by Trevor Von Eeden and Vince Colletta.

Count Vertigo suffers from an hereditary, congenital birth defect- a problem of the inner ear causing a loss of equilibrium or feeling of vertigo. To counteract this, a special, medical prosthetic was developed for him which sends sonic pulses to his brain, restoring his sense of balance.

Before taking up a career as a super criminal, Vertigo tinkered with his implant, modifying it so that, by pressing the device (located in his right temple) it sends signals out instead of in and creates-rather than negates- a sense of vertigo.

In his first appearance, Count Vertigo uses his powers in an attempt to steal back his family jewels,which were sold off after his family fled the Soviet occupation of their homeland at the end of WWII.

He is foiled by Black Canary:

In his next appearance, World's Finest #252 (September 1978), Vertigo has cast in his lot with Green Arrow and Black Canary's foe the Stinger. Stinger has hired Vertigo to capture Green Arrow while stinger's men round up Black Canary. When Stinger reveals his plan to exterminate his foes, Count Vertigo proves squeamish:

The Stinger's death trap (which involves sharks!) fails and Vertigo and Stinger are rounded up by Green Arrow and Black Canary who are now wearing earplugs and thus are immune to the Count's power.

The Count surfaces again in Green Arrow #2 (1983). He seems to have overcome his squeamishness about killing as he is now a hired assassin.

After a stint in the Suicide Squad, Count Vertigo once again crosses paths with the Emerald Archer in Green Arrow #22.

Vertigo, now a government operative, is obsessed with Green Arrow. Unable to perform his job until he confronts his old foe once more, Vertigo calls in some favors and tracks Green Arrow to Starfish Island, the place where he learned the skills that he would later use as Green Arrow.

When Vertigo finds his arch-enemy, Green Arrow is hallucinating from large quantities of jellyfish toxin he was envenomed with on his swim to the island. A fight breaks out:

Vertigo is defeated in a hand-to hand fight and is dragged to shore. Feeling he at last has closure, Vertigo treats Green Arrow's infection and departs to resume his work for the Suicide Squad.

While never an "A-list" villain like the Joker or Lex Luthor, Count Vertigo has stepped outside the bounds of the printed page on occasion, making a modified guest appearance on Batman: The Animated Series:

Oddly, he was dressed in all gray and used an eyepatch, but hey, Count Vertigo!

More recently, Count Vertigo appeared more true to model in DC Showcase Presents: Green Arrow:

Personally, I view Count Vertigo as Green Arrow's arch-nemesis. Apart from the Clock King, he was (apart from Merlyn the Archer) the only recurring costumed villain created entirely for Green Arrow until the last decade. There have been newer villains like Onomatopoeia and the Brick, but most of Green Arrow's rogues gallery seem to be loaners from other heroes (Riddler, Catman, etc.).

I will say this though: No offense to Trevor Von Eeden; I know that the concentric circles on Count Vertigo's chest are supposed to represent the sonic waves emanating from him, but it just seems like a bad idea to confront Green Arrow with a huge bullseye on your chest. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trick Arrow Tuesday #5

The Mummy Arrow

I think it was probably the last try-out for it as well. I mean, they already had Net Arrows, Bolas Arrows... A lot of arrows meant to entangle and incapacitate. The Mummy Arrow seems like it would not only be redundant, but expensive to make and time-consuming to load. Still, I have to admit, that little, green sarcophagus is adorable!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Won't Wear Out Your Green Crayon With This One...

I noticed my 6-year-old had left this out after doing some coloring. I vaguely remember snatching this up at a KayBee Toys closeout sale, but whatever initial thrill I had experienced about finding it had waned sufficiently that I let the kids have it.

Anyway, I flipped through it on the off chance there might be a little Green Arrow action and behold! G.A. appears on at least 6 interior pages! Of course, this was published in 1998, during the period when Oliver Queen was dead and his son, Connor Hawke was the new Green Arrow. Like most DC Licensed products, it's a little Superman/Batman heavy. For instance, we first see the "other" heroes on the monitor in the Batcave:

"I'll take center square to block, Peter."

I have two comments on the above picture: First, I refuse to believe that that's how Batman sits. Second, it really is pretty impressive that this coloring book includes not only a Green Arrow, but Docotr Fate and Impulse. IMPULSE fer cryin' out loud. I should note that it's a little insulting that Auqaman couldn't seem to get one flipper in this thing, but that's par for the course in '98.

Okay, this is the single biggest image of G.A. in the whole book. Get a good look, because you are gonna need your jeweler's loop to see the rest of his appearances...

Yep, there he is on the lower left, just behind Wonder Woman's thigh.

And there he is again as a floating head, just to the left of Nightwing's anachronistic mullet. Almost like an afterthought.

And finally, he gets a decent, central placement, although still pretty small. At least he's recognizable.

So this was a fun little post. check back next week for even More Fun (hint, hint)!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Arrow Wants You To Put Down This Comic and Read a Book!

So, funny thing about the 1950's. It seems that if you were reading comic books, no matter what your age or reading level, no matter what the reading level or sophistication of the comic book, you were somehow illiterate. At best you were sub-literate. You were probably also a juvenile delinquent. Comic strips in the newspaper, for reasons that have never made clear, were fine.

So, in order to keep parents groups, the Comics Code Authority and Congress off their backs, DC Comics ran a series of Public Service Announcements about literacy. Once again, people who were apparently able to read the comics these were published in were somehow a group that needed to be sold on the benefits of reading.

To be fair, the above PSA does suggest that if you like certain types of comics, certain genres of fiction might be right up your alley.

So, if for example, you thrill to the fast-paced, superhero-esque, often ludicrously anachronistic adventures of Tomahawk, you may also enjoy the ponderously long, painfully slow, woefully over-written Last of the Mohicans by inexplicably popular butcher of literature, James Fennimore Cooper.

If you like the Chivalrous (but largely fantasy-oriented and suspiciously Prince Valiant-like) exploits of the Shining Knight, you may very well enjoy reading... wait, that's not even a specific book like La Mort D'Artur or Ivanhoe or something. Just the "Story of King Arthur and his Knights" by no-one in particular. If I had gone to my school librarian with that I'd have been met with all kinds of scorn and gotten a lecture on the card catalog.

And frankly, Green Arrow can't be bothered to recommend anything specific either:

Sure. "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Do you mean the Errol Flynn movie or the TV Show with Richard Greene? Did the guys who put together this PSA read books? Or were they just able to remember who wrote Last of the Mohicans between cigarettes and slugs of scotch while thinking about how much better comics sold if they had purple covers with gorillas on them??

Where was I? Oh, right. Look, in today's world it takes like 10 seconds to find a list of likely books by typing something vague about King Arthur or Robin Hood into a search engine. In the 1950's, using only the Dewey Decimal system, these poor kids never stood a chance.

Thanks, Green Arrow!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons!

Here's a fun series of Green Arrow animated appearances I found on YouTube. I especially enjoyed the origin story as shown on The Batman. I found that show a little, well, not for me so I never made it as far as season 5 and had no idea Green Arrow had been on.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A little Alex Toth

Even though Green Arrow made only one appearance on the Super Friends, he still gets to appear in this nifty Super Friends comic (long with several other JLA-ers who never made Saturday Morning) By Alex Toth and E. Nelson Bridwell (The E. is for exposition).

Unfortunately, G.A. is mostly hidden behind Black Canary, who takes up a big chunk of the foreground. On the plus side, Black Canary takes up a big chunk of the foreground.

Not surprisingly, Marvin is into cosplay.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Green Arrow is the MAC #3

As you can see, Black Canary is not the only lady who can't keep her hands off of the Emerald Archer.

In fact, even though it turns out that this young lady is simply playing our hero to accomplish her own, nefarious scheme, she still has to admit it wasn't all an act:

Si, senorita! Es verdad!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trick Arrow Tuesday #4 (Plus Green Arrow being the MAC!)

The Feedback Arrow

At first glance, the Feedback arrow may appear to be one of those instances where we have a device that seems like a weird thing to put on the end of an arrow (like, for instance, the Fountain Pen arrow). However, if you shoot it at an electronically-based baddie like, say, Count Vertigo, this happens...

And Speaking of FEEDBACK...

Please visit the new poll on the upper right to let me know which of the current features you are enjoying. You can vote for multiple features. Additionally, I'd love for anyone who has suggestions for other features or types of features to comment on this post, or e-mail me directly. Thanks, folks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Arrow Car: Gone But Not Forgotten

I want to set the record straight, here, folks. Despite conventional wisdom and (admittedly entertaining) smart-ass jokes by Kevin Smith and Scott Beatty, Green Arrow probably did not rip off Batman's Batmobile by having an Arrow-car.

In it's original incarnation, the Arrow-car was dubbed the Arrowplane (not to be confused with Green Arrow's later airplane of the same name)- a pun on the British spelling/pronunciation of airplane- "aeroplane". Presumably, its aerodynamic, streamlined shape allowed it to "plane" the air, making it fast.

As seen, the Arrowplane was equipped with a catapult which could launch the battling bowmen into action, a feature which was retained in all subsequent designs.

I can't find any solid evidence, but I suspect the Arrowplane's original design (and yellow color) owes something to the 1929 Land Speed Record-breaking car the Golden Arrow.

The name Arrow-car first appears in World's Finest #12 (winter 1943) and the car takes on a look it will retain throughout the 1940's and 1950's.

the 1958 Arrow-car by Jack Kirby.

In a 1958 Green Arrow story "The Green Arrows of the World", the Arrow-car was a significant enough piece of G.A.'s arsenal, that his British counterpart had his own (stereotypical) version:

By 1963, the Arrow-car had had another makeover and a more modern version sporting contemporary tail fins appears in The Brave and the Bold #50:

Note that this was three years before George Barris' iconic television version of the Batmobile.

By 1978, that version of the Arrow-car had been shelved (apparently) as evidenced by the re-appearance of the earlier version in World's Finest #254:

After Green Arrow's 1969 make-over, Oliver Queen has lost his fortune, his cave, his plane and his beloved car:

In this story, the Arrow-car resurfaces (now spelled Arrow Car), is purchased at auction by gangsters and is finally blown up by Green Arrow himself who destroys it with a hand grenade arrow rather than let it be used for evil.

Also in the 1970's, the good folks at Mego toys felt G.A. really could use his own ride, so they put together this sporty little number:

It looks awesome, it shoots darts, the only real drawback is that you can't actually put your Green Arrow behind the wheel unless you take off his oh-so-fragile quiver. Still, A+ for effort!

You might think the unfortunate demise of the Arrow Car in World's Finest#254 would settle once and for all the issue of whether the Emerald Archer was going to get his sweet, custom ride back. And you would be dead wrong.

Speaking of Dead- not long after Green Arrow returned from the dead in 2001, Brad Meltzer sent him on a quest to get his house in order. In the Dec, 2002 issue, Ollie and Roy literally go to get their old house in order. While revisiting the remains of the original Arrowcave under the ruins of Queen Manor, the battling bowmen discover that if you don't stop by once every decade or so, you run the risk of an evil zombie problem.

Sleeping (or whatever he does) in a forgotten corner of the Arrowcave, Solomon Grundy wakes up and starts some trouble, including throwing the Arrow Car at G.A.

Seems like Author Brad Meltzer sees conspiracies everywhere, but he didn't see World's Finest#254 where that self-same car was already blown up.

In Green Arrow #33, February 2004, the Arrow Car surfaces once again.

This time, the car is for sale on "dcBay":

Although the cover art shows what is clearly the "second" Arrow-car from the 1940's and 1950's (which was blown up in the 70's and then smashed by an angry zombie two years prior to this issue), the interior art depicts a coupe with three headlights and a weird little fin on the hood.

While Ollie reminisces about how much he loved his car and how he blew it up (this time in a weird, spiteful moment after he falls out with Speedy), Batman buys the car for him.

Turns out the Arrow Car's self-destruct switch was faulty. The explosion Green Arrow witnessed was from the burning building he and Speedy had just crashed the Arrow Car into. The car was recovered by a fireman who restored it and drove it in local parades for several years before putting it up for sale.

When Ollie and Mia go to pick up the car, they get into a scuffle with the Scavenger who wants to add the car to his weapons collection.

After defeating the Scavenger, the car breaks down on the way home and Green Arrow blows it up once and for all with the newly-repaired self-destruct.

Will there be another Arrow Car? Time will tell. Somehow, I just can't see the "New 52" version of Green Arrow tooling around in a big, yellow convertible.


I was so focused on the saga of the returning-only-to-be-destroyed Arrow Cars that I completely let a recent version slip my mind. I would be sadly remiss if I were to overlook the faux-Silver Age (pewter age?) Arrow Car from Batman: the Brave and the Bold!

Now THAT's an Arrow Car! As seen on the cartoon, this snazzy looking Arrow Car (which is logically GREEN) is analogous to the series' Batmobile; capable of transforming into an Arrowplane and, in at least one episode, a spacecraft. In fact, it looks a lot like the formula one concept car BubbaShelby sent me a link to this morning.

The Arrow Car was prominently featured in the car-centric episode "Deathrace to Oblivion"

I have to say, Mattel who manufacture both Hot Wheels and Matchbox really dropped the ball on this one. With source material like this to go on, all they gave us was this:

image heartlessly plundered from the Bat-Blog.

While I am pleased as punch to see G.A. get not only a vehicle but his picture right there on the package, I have to say a green, mid-sized pickup with his picture on the side doesn't really do anything for me. True, it sort of hearkens back to the Green Lantern/Green Arrow road trip of 1970. And yeah, I suppose it's cooler than the period of time when Ollie tooled around in the Sherwood Florist delivery van (The less said about that the better), but dang it! I want a matchbox of the Arrow Car.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday morning Cartoons

DC Showcase Presents: Green Arrow!

Included in the DC Showcase anthology "DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam" along with The Spectre and Jonah Hex was this really fun little G.A. Short feature. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Apparently, that embed code is a dud, so I've had to change it to a link. Sorry folks!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Green Arrow Fan Spotted!

I was checking on some of my Facebook Correspondence yesterday when what should I see but a photo of comics artist Al Bigley sporting a Green Arrow T-shirt and showing off his Green Arrow and Speedy Mego's. If there's one thing yours truly likes as much as Green Arrow, it's Mego's !!

Al also has this nifty Green Arrow print listed for sale:

To see more of Al's snazzy drawings, or to get info on commissioning Al to draw you a pretty picture, visit his site.

Thanks, Al!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trick Arrow Tuesday Update! The Poll Results are In!!

By an overwhelming majority of 20 to 6, the fans have spoken! Trick arrows are preferred to the pointy kind.

No offense to the pointy arrow lobby, but personally, I'm a fan of the Trick Arrows. I mean, I'm no Howard Hill or anything, but I could go out and put on a Robin Hood outfit and shoot people with my bow and arrows-but it wouldn't exactly make me JLA material.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Trick Arrow Tuesday #3

Okay. I have to admit it. I'm stumped. I have no idea what this particular trick arrow is called. Apparently, it's sole purpose is to keep someone from being able to turn a doorknob. Honestly, it's a lot like the things we have on our doorknobs to keep our two-year-old from getting outside unattended. But, you know, on the end of an arrow.

Maybe this trick arrow explains why Ollie is so successful with the ladies?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Villain Profile: Clock King

If there's one area where Green Arrow has been deficient over the years, it's in the Villains department. In his Golden and Silver Age appearances, G.A. seldom faces anyone who fits the description of a Supervillain, and even his more interesting costumed foes don't make comebacks...with one notable exception.

The Clock King fist appears in World's Finest #111 in the Green Arrow story "Crimes of the Clock King" Written by France Herron and drawn by Lee Elias. His name and origin are not given. He commits several clock-themed crimes and is then apprehended and sent to prison on page 6.

And it would have ended right there. But it didn't.

The Clock King struck again (ouch!) in World's Finest #257 in "Time Keeps on Killing" by Paul Kupperberg, drawn by Jose Delbo.

This time it is revealed that the Clock King is a man named William Tockman. Tockman has devoted his adult life to caring for his invalid sister. He made a promise to his now-dead parents that his sister would never have to go to a nursing home. When Tockman was told by a doctor that he only had six months to live, he created the persona of the Clock King and went on a crime spree to raise enough money to support his sister. He assumed if he were caught, he'd be dead in six months anyway.

Unfortunately for the Clock King, the doctor had made a mistake. Now released from prison, years later, the Clock King swears revenge on his doctor and on Green Arrow.

The Clock King would later go on to join the Injustice League and the Suicide Squad.

The Clock King is often mistakenly labeled as a Batman villain. This is due primarily to the Clock King played by Walter Slezak on the 1960's Batman TV show:

Who, in turn, inspired the Clock King episode of Batman: The Animated Series. That clock king, however, was a different man named Temple Fugate (A pun on the Latin tempus fugate- time is fleeting).

Recently, there has been a Clock King character on Batman: The Brave and The Bold. It is unclear however, if he is the Green Arrow villain or one of the two Batman villains as he shares traits of both.