The Amazing Miss Arrowette
In my previous looks at Jack Kirby’s “Green Arrow” stories of the late 1950s, I noted the glaring similarities between Green Arrow’s crime-fighting modus operandi and that of DC’s more renowned superhero Batman. Like Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen was a millionaire possessed of no superhuman powers, whose teen-aged ward acted as his costumed sidekick. His secret headquarters was located in the “Arrow-Cave,” he drove the customized “Arrowcar” or “Arrowmobile,” and flew around in his unique “Arrowplane.” After Kirby’s departure, Green Arrow imitated Batman in yet another fashion when he acquired an annoying female wannabe who stole his gimmicks and gave them a “feminine” spin. Four years after the debut of the original Batwoman, Green Arrow found he had to contend with… “The Amazing Miss Arrowette!”
In the “Green Arrow” back-up feature in World’s Finest Comics #113, cover-dated November 1960, writer Dave Wood and artist Lee Elias introduce us to Bonnie King, an archery champion who harbors a secret ambition -- to be Green Arrow’s partner in crimefighting.
Note that the girls participated in their archery tournament wearing high-heeled pumps. They may be sporty, but they’re ladies, too! After receiving her crown, Bonnie decides she is now qualified to pursue her life-long dream. Although she forgoes wearing a costume, she dubs herself “Miss Arrowette” and designs a quiverful of decidedly ladylike trick arrows.
The next day, after seeing the police summon Green Arrow and Speedy via the “Arrow-Signal” (of course), Bonnie speeds to the scene of a jewel heist in time to step in and save the day when the Battling Bowmen stumble on a loose manhole cover and are about to be run down by the theives’ getaway car.
Though the crooks try to flee on foot, Miss Arrowette is ready to apprehend them.
Leaving two criminals nailed to the wall of a building (by their jackets), Miss Arrowette slips away, as, having had time to recover their footing, Green Arrow and Speedy have captured the remaining two jewel thieves with their totally masculine “boxing glove” arrows. A day later, Bonnie intervenes again when our heroes try to prevent some heavily-armed burglars from cleaning out a warehouse full of fur coats. Unfortunately, in her haste, she dispatches the wrong arrow.
This blunder allows the gang to capture Green Arrow and Speedy in their purple truck, but as they speed off, Miss Arrowette immediately puts a rescue plan into operation.
She trails them in her white convertible to an abandoned oil refinery, where she engages in some clever reconnaissance using another of her trick arrows.
Amazingly, she is able to see in the reflection of her speeding mirror that Green Arrow and Speedy are being imprisoned inside an empty oil storage tank. Then, trusting that the criminals will not shoot the crimebusting duo dead in the meantime, she decides to return later that night, under cover of darkness. Unfortunately, when she does return, she loses her balance while getting Green Arrow’s attention and falls into the trap herself. Her quick-thinking saves her from serious injury.
Speedy takes their would-be savior to task for her incompetence, but his elder partner remains focused on the matter at hand. Green Arrow has the mysterious Miss Arrowette explain the function of all her remaining trick arrows, so he can use them and her bow (which luckily dropped into the oil tank as well) to effect an escape.
Somehow alerted to their captives’ escape, the gangsters come running up the stairs with guns blazing. However, Green Arrow is ready to put another of Bonnie’s inventions to good use, without feeling in the least bit emasculated.
After the “soft shaft” opens up into a “huge hair net” and ensnares the gunmen, Green Arrow and Speedy apprehend the lawbreakers. More importantly, Bonnie King learns a valuable life lesson.
As Bonnie departs, Green Arrow wonders whether their paths will ever cross again. They certainly would, in a couple of later issues, but then Bonnie King would be consigned to comic-book character limbo for some 35 years. Only in the last decade did she reappear, cast as a superhero “stage mom” pressuring her daughter to follow in her toxophilitic footsteps.
With her powder-puff arrow, hairpin arrow, lotion arrow, hair-tint arrow, mirror arrow, kerchief arrow, needle-and-thread arrow, and hair-net arrow, Bonnie King proved one could be a superhero and remain totally committed to cultural concepts of femininity. I suppose we can only count ourselves lucky that it was not necessary for her to employ her most unnerving weapon -- the tampon arrow.