During his brief run on the “Green Arrow” back-up feature in Adventure Comics during the late 1950s, Jack Kirby let his imagination run wild, producing some characteristically bizarre tales, such as “The Mystery of the Giant Arrows” from issue #252 (September 1958).
This is a symbolic splash, fortunately, and we need not worry about Green Arrow and Speedy perishing in the vacuum of space. This also accounts for G.A.’s apparent optimism in the face of impending death as they are whisked above Earth’s atmosphere. Kirby just liked to get things rolling with a spectacular image.
The story actually begins with a quiet street scene in an unidentified city, where the crowds are amazed by a giant arrow which suddenly lands in their midst. Drawn to the scene by a TV news bulletin, Green Arrow and Speedy secure the giant arrow, only to face a new menace!
Pursuing the big red missile in their golden Arrowcar, G.A. muffles its thunderous sonic vibrations with a “cocoon arrow,” then uses a “jet arrow” to deflect it from its collision course with a freighter just offshore! Speedy relinquishes the driver’s seat to Green Arrow as they race to their secret headquarters to fetch their awesome aeroplane the Arrowplane!
Intercepting a third giant arrow, our heroes are surprised when it suddenly explodes into hundred of blazing fragments! Luckily the titanic toxophilites have enough “firecracker arrows” to render the burning shrapnel harmless!
Suddenly, they receive an urgent radio message instructing them to meet Professor Riggles at his observatory! Knowing Prof. Riggles often helps the police, the arch archers speed to the scene, where Professor Riggles shows them what his fantastic wall of Kirbyesque machinery has discovered! Good old Professor Riggles!
The weird figure on the screen is seen shooting a “cable-arrow,” which lands near the observatory! Green Arrow and Speedy race into the sylvan glade to investigate!
After climbing atop the gargantuan arrow (which, curiously, has the cable coming out of the tip of its head), they find themselves suddenly hauled into a brightly-shining light -- the doorway into a strange new dimension! One mystery is solved, but our battling bowmen’s problems have just begun!
The breakneck pace never lets up for a minute as our heroes try to contend with Kirby’s patented brand of pseudoscience in this whirlwind tale. It certainly sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the more staid affairs that DC was publishing in this and its other titles of the time. Kirby was a jagged peg in a smooth hole at DC, and this contributed to his decision to leave the giant publisher to find more creative freedom at one of its struggling competitors -- the then-nameless comic book division of Martin Goodman’s publishing empire, run by the equally frenetic-minded Stan Lee.