Thursday, January 25, 2018

Further (or Furthur) Misadventures of a Battlin' Bowman

By 1964 and the age of 21, Clint Barton, the orphaned son of the original Green Arrow, had been a carnival performer, a criminal, and a superhero. Now he wasn’t feeling so super. What was a guy who was good with a bow and arrow compared to a thunder god or the living symbol of America? The drugs didn’t help. It was marijuana, mostly, but some Dexedrine, too (ironic that it was his older brother with the heroin habit who would use the name “Speedy” for a time). At the Peppermint Lounge, he met a go-go dancer and sometime model with similar hobbies. She called herself Athena Tremor and claimed to be the daughter of Wonder Woman. Given Barton’s experiences, that seemed vaguely plausible, thought he didn't much care.

Around the time of the World’s Fair, the two met Ken Kesey and Merry Pranksters out from California. In that group was Merryman, Myron Victor, who claimed to be the illegitimate son of the Patriot, but may actually have been the child of the 50s Captain America, William Burnside. In any case, Merryman was the leader of a Situationist superhero performance art troupe. Barton and Tremor joined in as "White Feather" and "Dumb Bunny," respectively, and the group began calling themselves the Inferior Five.

The two followed the Pranksters back to California. The Inferior Five were San Francisco’s unofficial and ineffectual protectors for a few years, but they were done before the Summer of Love.

Barton was on his own again. He looked up his old flame Natasha Romanov but found her living with another man—another superhero. He headed out into the Arizona desert with a young Native American named Eagle Free and a whole lot of mescaline to find the Miracle Mesa. Later, he would claim to have astrally projected to the Old West and met Two-Gun Kid and other famous gunslingers. Back to California.

Stoned out of his mind on a sail boat to Catalina Island, he fell overboard. Waking up the next morning on some small island, he ironically and unknowingly almost recapitulated one of the comics' fictional origins for his father. Using an improvised bow, he subdued a small group of fairly intoxicated drug smugglers who had otherwise refused to help him get off the island and threatened him with violence. He commandeered their boat (and a bit of their stash) and returned to the mainland, where he alerted the authorities to their location.

Then he got a haircut and called the lawyers for his father's estate. The island interlude and slapdash heroics was just what he needed to get him back in the game.

A new Green Arrow, sporting a van dyke and a new attitude would soon emerge.


Scott Martin said...

We all need to be in one campaign. Maybe running up to 2020 if we live that long . . . trey causey weren't there green or golden "bowmen" going back to the battle of the somme?

trey causey said...

If we can believe Arthur Machen--and why wouldn't we? There is also a mysterious Green Archer, "The Ghost of Bellamy Castle" in Edgar Wallace's eponymous novel

Scott Martin said...

love it