Adventure Comics #256: "The Green Arrow's First Case"

Adventure Comics #256
"The Green Arrow's First Case"
January, 1959

Writer: Ed Herron
Artist: Jack Kirby

Have you ever wondered how Green Arrow came to be? Were you ever curious about how he became such a skilled archer -- and how he invented his various trick arrows? If so, then join Oliver Queen and Roy Harper in a surprise adventure that has to do with "The Green Arrow's First Case!" The Green Arrow of today has flare arrows to light up the streets of Star City, but during his first case, the Ace Archer had to try out his trick arrows against a shipload of mutineers! As Oliver Queen and Roy Harper are watching an early morning television newscast, when they learn about an expedition sailing to Starfish Island to explore it! As an aerial shot of the island appears on the television screen, Oliver tells Roy to get into costume, and they must get to Starfish Island before the expedition does! If they do not, his secret identity will be exposed!

In moments, Green Arrow and Speedy are soaring away in their Arrowplane... on their way to Starfish Island, where the Ace Archer was born! Wealthy playboy Oliver Queen was on a voyage to the South Seas when he accidentally fell off the ship, and his cries for help went unheard. In the morning, he had drifted off course, and spotted an island! After crawling ashore and sleeping for several hours, he began to explore the island. There was not much chance of a ship anchoring here, especially because of the shoals which would prevent it from sailing in! After finding a cavern for shelter, and starting a fire by striking two stones together, Oliver still needed to find food! He fashioned arrows by chipping stone for arrowheads and tying them to shafts with thin, strong vines. Before losing his first arrow, Oliver would need some practice!

After drawing a target on the hillside -- TWANG Oliver overshot the mark! Days of practice taught him that the farther away a target was, the higher you needed to aim -- and he began to allow for windage... He soon shot his first fish -- but it swam away with his only arrow! Oliver then improvised a fishing line by attaching a strong vine to the arrow's shaft -- and this was the first rope arrow. Oliver soon came up with a better way to catch more fish! He made a net from vines and placed it inside an arrow shaft, which had been hollowed out. When fired, the net should be released from the arrow! The arrow opens and the net falls as planned!

Oliver makes a fine catch! Encouraged by his success with the trick shafts, he continues to invent new ones, and a shaft with a revolving arrowhead to get coconuts became the first drill arrow! TWANG!

Oliver covered himself with a green-leaf suit to camouflage himself while hunting small game, and this was the first Green Arrow costume. Each day, he would enter the cavern, and chiseled a record of his activity on the stone wall. One night, his Robinson Crusoe existence was interrupted by a single shot! A commercial freighter fired off one of their deck guns to see if anyone was ashore! Since the freighter was anchored, Oliver did not start a fire -- which would have been his sole means of signalling them in the dark -- but he began swimming out to them... After making his way up the anchor chain -- he discovered that part of the crew had mutinied! The mutineers had planned to unload the cargo and to sell it! Oliver Queen decided to stop the mutiny! After rubbing anchor-chain grease on his face to prevent the deck lights from reflecting against his face -- the first time he ever wore a mask... he made his move!

The deck watch had spotted him and sounded an alarm. His drill arrow causes a jagged hole to appear in the thin metal of an oil barrel, and floods the deck with slippery oil! The mutineers are unable to keep their footing! As the net arrow is brought into play, Oliver Queen realizes that his time on the island could serve a useful purpose! Upon his return to civilization, he would use his trick arrows to fight crime as the Green Arrow! If the expedition to Starfish Island finds what he has written on the cavern wall, they will learn his secret identity! As the Arrowplane soars over Starfish Island, they see the expedition going ashore! They are about to enter the cavern! Seeing them carrying a geiger counter -- to check for radiation, Green Arrow realizes the island might have been sprayed by nuclear fall-out! This gives him an idea!

Firing their fake-uranium arrow into the ground, it gives off waves that simulate uranium deposits! Within the cavern, the geiger counter jumps, and the expedition clears out of there! Judging by the arrows found in the cavern, a primitive people must have lived there at one time or another. Aside from some radiation, there was nothing left, and the expedition takes its leave! As they prepare to destroy the cavern diary, Green Arrow thought for a moment that his own career would end on Starfish Island -- where it began! His dual identity is safe!

This story was reprinted in The Green Arrow By Jack Kirby (2001).

The Justice League of America first teamed up to battle Starro the Conqueror.

Steve Englehart referred to this story in Justice League of America #144: "The Origin Of The Justice League -- Minus One!" (July, 1977).

Oliver Queen's origin is similiar to "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell.

As drawn by Jack Kirby, Oliver resembles Steve Rogers in appearance.

Don Blake entered a hidden chamber within a cavern, finding a gnarled walking stick, and was transformed into the Mighty Thor.

Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen used other means to conceal his identity before finally resorting to wearing a mask as the Arrow.

Gamma radiation played a crucial role in Robert Bruce Banner becoming the Incredible Hulk, and forcing the nuclear physicist to hide out in a specially-prepared cell within a cavern when his transformations originally occurred at sundown.

Steve Chung
"The Green Arrow's First Review!"