Adventure Comics #176, "The Rogue of 1,000 Ropes!"
Art: George Papp
On their morning patrol through the city, Green Arrow and Speedy see a
man attempting to flee over a stone wall, but the young archer manages
to pin the man's purple pants leg to the wall with an arrow! G.A.
identifies the suspect as Steve Bogardus -- wanted for murder! Weeks
pass, and Bogardus is about to be hanged... but the rope snaps!
According to the laws of the state, Bogardus will receive a reprieve
until tomorrow morning! (Holy Ingersoll, Batman! I've heard of hung
juries, but this is ridiculous!) When he is alone in his cell...
Bogardus knows that his life was saved by a rope for 24 hours! Perhaps
he can use a rope to save it... permanently! Looking at his mattress, he
has an idea...
The following morning, as the prisoner goes again to meet his fate...
Bogardus hurls the rope he fashioned out of horsehair from his mattress,
and lassos a tree on the other side of the prison wall! The lawmen are
surprised by Bogardus' unexpected move and their shots goe wild... He
makes it over the wall and plunges into the river! Days pass, and in a
deserted barn... Bogardus finds that his stolen money is safe and sound
beneath the floorboards, but a candle's flame catches onto the rope he's
carrying... In seconds, his rope has caught fire, and now he is
trapped! Bogardus gathers his loot and stumbles through the flaming
barn... Badly burned, he escapes with his life, and finds a plastic
surgeon to treat him! Months pass, and a new man steps out of the
sanitarium... Wanted posters of Steve Bogardus have been posted all over
the country... but they do not match the new features which the wanted
murderer now has, thanks to plastic surgery! Figuring that rope has
saved his life again, Bogardus plans to follow his luck wherever it
leads him... by using ropes for crime... using rope as Green Arrow uses
arrows! He can't fail!
In the same city where he almost lost his life... Bogardus adopts the
identity of Stephen Gard, wealthy philanthropist! While Green Arrow has
his secret Arrow-Cave, Bogardus will have his Rope-Cave! He must learn
everything he can about ropes! Considered the oldest of arts, primitive
people braided ropes of animal hair... rope can be made of hemp (Holy
Harrellson, Batman!), jute, sisal, asbestos, flax... all kinds of plant
fibres! Bogardus studies... and then, he practices for months and
months...The "butterfly loop," the "over the spoke," and the "big loop"
enable him to lasso a pencil from a glass jar! Soon, it is The Roper --
the master of an old lore with a new twist... using his rope-mastery to
lasso pearls from a unwitting victim, deprive a guard of his gun, and
land atop an armored car from the air!
At the home of Oliver Queen and Roy Harper... the millionaire has found a
definite pattern to the Roper's crimes! Not only does he use ropes, but
every one of his robberies has a relation with ropes! The money stolen
from Evans Hemp Importers, the Rope of Pearls he snared, while leaving
other gems behind... The warehouse on Jute Street which was looted! The
Roper is half-sane and dangerous! If only they could find out his secret
identity! Roy reminds him that Green Arrow and Speedy are due at the
charity bazaar! It is there where they meet another guest of honor...
Stephen Guard, a man who has been generous to all of their charities!
Days later, Green Arrow and Speedy are out on patrol... They see the
Roper stealing from the Rodeo theatre box-office! As their arrows head
for their target, the Roper protects himself behind a barricade of
hissing hemp... (Holy Cheech and Chong, Batman!) Now, it is the
villain's turn to lasso the duo, as his thrown rope flies over the
Hanging helplessly in the air, Green Arrow tells the Roper that he might
be interested in the discarded arrow, and the villain agrees! Speedy
wonders what could possibly be interesting about an arrow with a piece
of rope tied to it! After the duo manage to free themselves from the
rope... G.A. tells his young ward that he has a plan, but he'll keep it a
secret until he's sure it'll work! At the El Fumos Cigar Factory, the
ace archers see the Roper fleeing past the giant rooftop display! Speedy
realizes that cigars are nicknamed "ropes" and suggests that they use
their telescoping arrows! The shafts cleave the air -- and strike their
target... The steel arrows telescope... trapping the Roper in an
arrow-cage! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) Now, Green Arrow and Speedy fire a
couple of arrowlines into the wall above the villain so that they can
climb up! But as they climb upwards, a rope makes its way through the
cage... It lashes around their lines, and the Roper reminds them that
the arrowlines are made of cord... and rope is lucky for him!
The Roper pulls on the cord... using their weight to snap the arrow bars
on the cage! G.A. tells Speedy to aim a metal arrow at the wall below
them! As the arrow snaps under the weight... the Roper takes anothe
piece of rope from one of the arrows embedded in the wall! Seconds
pass... with Green Arrow and Speedy breaking their fall with the metal
arrow in the wall! In the days to come, the battling bowmen find the
Roper at the Skipper Restaurant... (Holy Little Buddy, Batman!) They had
figured that skipper and rope had something in common... so they were
expecting him! Speedy fires a flame arrow at the ropes being carried by
the criminal, but the Roper had been expecting such an attack, and has a
surprise for them! Donning a gas mask, he tells them that one of his
ropes is made from Raffia Palm... which gives off arid, blinding fumes
when lit! While they are helpless, the Roper makes his escape, but not
before leaving with an arrow with some rope attached to it!
In the Arrow-Cave... Speedy thinks that they are powerless against the
Roper, and Green Arrow is reading the newspaper article concerning the
Welton Coin Collection, but there's no connection with rope! He tells
Speedy to call Mr. Welton and for him to call the papers that he's sold
his collection to a Mr. Wood! (Holy Wally World, Batman!) This is part
of their plan to catch the Roper! The following evening, they are in the
Arrow-Car, and on their way to meet the Roper... G.A. tells Speedy that
wood is measured by the cord, and this is the connection for the
criminal to make his move! As they lie in wait in the dark exhibition
room... the Roper arrives through a window, and blinds them with some
luminous ropes! He ties them up and prepares to finish them off! Before
he tightens a noose around their necks, he sees another piece of rope
tied to an arrow in Green Arrow's quiver! The Roper has now tied all the
pieces of cord into one piece... while G.A. whispers to Speedy to lean
against the button behind him!
A boomerang arrow flies through the doorway -- rigged earlier today by
Green Arrow from a hidden bow! The police alarm sounds and the arrow
circles the room... the rope tangles itself around the Roper! G.A.
explains that the arrow is connected with a powerful electromagnet, and
the rope contains iron filings! As it whirls around him, the rope is
being lured along... trapping him! When the police arrive, Green Arrow
tells Speedy how ancient Malayans used to send messages by rope... the
type of knots and the distance between them revealed messages! Piece by
piece, he had been telling the Roper that he knew his true identity! An
officer wonders why he didn't share the secret with the authorities, and
G.A. points to the slanting burn on the Roper's finger... on the exact
spot where skilled ropers exert the most pressure! He knew it wouldn't
stand up as proof in court... but it did serve as a tip off on how to
trap him! When "Stephen Gard's" fingerprints have shown him to be Steve
Bogardus... Roy compliments Oliver on how the rope forced the Roper to
reveal himself... until he had given him enough rope to hang himself...
even if that man is the Roper!
Steve Bogardus favors purple business suits, and as the Roper, he wears a
black ski mask with goggles, a yellow sleeveless tunic, and brown
shorts with yellow boots. The Roper also carries several strands of rope
on his person.
Examples of villains who are adept at rope-tricks include the Firestorm
foe known as Slipknot, Montana from the Enforcers, Live-Wire (who worked
for the Psycho-Man), and the Hangman (who battled Spider-Woman and
Werewolf By Night).
The name Bogardus has appeared in an issue of Spider-Woman by Chris
Claremont and Steve Leialoha. The story was called "Mission: Impossible"
and had the Poppupian consulting Jessica Drew's detective agency to
search for his missing wife.
In an E.C. Comics story, it is a man's neck which snaps, not the rope, and he is a free man since he has been declared dead!
"An Occurrence At Owl Creek" shows an interesting escape from a hanging.
Another character who received plastic surgery to restore his features was Two-Face.
"The Ropers" was a spin-off of "Three's Company" with Norman Fell and Audra Lindley.
Steve Roper was the partner of Mike Nomad in the comic strip.
"Rope" was the name of a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Just like Green Arrow and Batman, the Roper conceals his real identity
as a wealthy philanthropist! Just like Green Arrow and Batman, he has a
secret Rope-Cave (Huh?!?)
This Review Is Dedicated To Tony Isabella
"The Review of 1,000 Ropes!"