The 6 Dorkiest Comic Book Archers (Not Named Hawkeye)
The first two episodes of the new Hawkeye TV show landed on Disney+ today and I am just as excited as every other Marvel fan. This show has the potential to be truly wonderful, and I can’t wait to dive in and watch. But before we get to that luxury, how about we celebrate the very idea of superhero archers in the comics? There are a metric ton of them. Heck, Hawkeye is even the first one! He isn’t even the first one with his own TV show!
Ultimately, Hawkeye is a pretty cool guy. And his counterpart at DC Comics, Green Arrow, is also a pretty cool guy. Despite the general absurdity of having costumed heroes and villains wield fancy bows and arrows, a lot of archer characters are pretty cool. Both Hawkeye and Green Arrow have archer villain who are pretty cool. And both of them have archer sidekicks who are pretty cool. Kate Bishop is surely going to be a highlight of the new show.
So in order to have a little more fun this week, how about we look at the dumbest and dorkiest comic book archers who just don’t measure up to the likes of Hawkeye. Join me after the jump to watch these guys miss their targets!
6. Trick Shot
Apparently, the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders was a pretty amazing circus act back in the day, if you ever got the chance to see them. Not only did they feature a young Clint Barton as an up-and-comer, but the legendary Swordsman was a featured attraction, as was the chubby and alcoholic Buck Chisholm, otherwise known as Trick Shot. This was the guy who taught Hawkeye everything there is to know about archery. He was also a drunk and a conman, who also tried to get Clint to become a crook like him in the early days. When that didn’t take, and Clint instead became a costumed archer hero, the best Chisholm could do was become an also-ran costumed archer villain. His drinking and unhealthy lifestyle eventually led him to develop cancer, which ultimately claimed his life.
If you’re the brand new Image Comics and you want to create your own exciting, young superheroes for the 90s, apparently you also need an archery hero. Shaft was the sometimes leader of Youngblood, a hip FBI agent with accomplished archery skills, like one does. He was never developed much as his own character, and mostly just got dragged along in whatever weirdness Image put Youngblood through next. But such were the 90s, and such is the apparent great need to have archery characters everywhere.
Remember City of Heroes? That game was a blast! And they had their own lore and heroes beyond just the player-created ones, so you know they also had an archery hero! This was Manticore, who was not only an archery hero, but also counted as the game’s super rich Batman counterpart. His parents were killed in front him by a villain when he was a child, and he was raised alone in his mansion by his nanny. He was trained to be a great fighter and had an aptitude for archery. He eventually learned that his father was a vigilante before him, so he took up his father’s name and then took on the bad guys with his trick arrows. You’re not a superhero universe without an archery character.
3. Clinton Archer
If I can put an Amalgam Comics character on a list, you know I’m going to go for it! Clinton Archer was the combination of Hawkeye and Green Arrow, and he served as the archer character on the Judgement League Avengers. But he was also not the only combination of Hawkeye and Green Arrow. Clinton was the archer version, and then there was a character named Goliath, who was a combination of Green Arrow and Clint Barton’s Goliath identity. So why not make things even more confusing, huh? Neither one amounted to much of anything, I’m afraid. And even worse, Clinton Archer’s superhero codename was simply “Hawkeye”, so he should actually be disqualified due to the title of this List of Six!
So if he’s disqualified, how about Amalgam’s other, even dorkier archer character? Arrowcaster was a combination of Roy Harper and Spymaster, who was quickly killed in a fight with Speed Demon. The less said about him the better, but he did still exist and was quite dorky.
We’re getting deep and dorky with this one. So Oxbow was a member of First Line, a team of superhero who were active in the Marvel Universe from the 1950s to the 1980s. I don’t mean they had actual comics about them during those real world decades. I mean Marvel came up with a comic called “The Lost Generation” in the year 2000 and just came up with some superheroes to fill out the mid-20th century of Earth 616. It’s perhaps a neat idea, but still quite dorky. Oxbow was Sam Matonabbe, an aboriginal Canadian with general strength and skill who took up archery because why not? Most notably, Oxbow was the friend and lover of Pixie, a member of the Eternals. Yep, those Eternals and, yep, that Pixie. So this guy, Oxbow, is only one character removed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Oh man, I can’t wait to tell you people about Splitshot and the wonderful weirdness around him and his allies. Once upon a time, there existed a comedy comic called The Inferior Five, where the premise was that the five were the children of a world-famous superhero team from the WWII era. All of the heroes from this team coupled off and had kids, and all of these kids were total dorks! There was Awkwardman, Merryman, Dumb Bunny, the Blimp and then White Feather, the archer hero. White Feather was infamous for his extreme cowardice, and I don’t think he was a very good archer either. White Feather would make a great addition to this list.
But oh no, we’re going one level deeper. For you see, The Inferior Five are part of the DC Comics Universe, making them fair game for the brilliant mind of writer Gail Simone. When she was writing the original Secret Six stories as part of the whole Infinite Crisis event back in the day, Gail created legit, bad guy version of the Inferior Five to join Lex Luthor’s Society of Super-Villains. They barely existed in the actual comics, but the Superior Five were Tremor, Jongleur, Lagomorph, Hindenberg and our boy Splitshot.
They would never do much more than that single panel you see there. I think they had a part in Salvation Run? Still, they exist and I love them. My dad had some old Inferior Five comics when I was a kid and I read them a ton. So when Gail created evil, alternate homage characters, it was an inside joke I adored! Splitshot and his pals are the dorkiest of dorky comic book characters and they are amazing.