The Arrow, on the cover of Funny Pages vol. 4, #1 (January 1940). Art by Paul Gustavson.
|First appearance||Funny Pages #21 (September 1938)|
|Created by||Paul Gustavson|
|Alter ego||Ralph Payne (Centaur Comics)
Rick Parker (Malibu Comics)
|Team affiliations||The Protectors (Malibu Comics)|
|Abilities||Highly skilled archer|
The Arrow is a fictional character, a superhero originally published by Centaur Publications. The character first appeared in 1938 in Funny Pages #21 (numbered vol. 2, #10; dated September 1938). After Centaur Publications went out of business, the Arrow, along with most other company properties, lapsed into public domain. The Arrow was briefly revived by Malibu Comics, appearing as part of their Protectors/Genesis imprint. He starred in the Protectors series and the Arrow one-shot. The character has been dormant after Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics, although some of his Golden Age adventures were reprinted by AC Comics.
The original Arrow is Ralph Payne, a member of the US intelligence agency. Feeling that he could not effectively fight crime in his civilian guise, he turns to costumed crime fighting, becoming the Arrow. His primary weapon is his skill with bow and arrow, though he is good at fighting even without his weapons. Like many heroes of his era, he fights criminals, Nazi spies, and saboteurs.
In Malibu Comics' Protectors/Genesis universe, the Arrow is a former intelligence agent named Rick Palmer. Born somewhere in Texas, he grew up to become an avid hunter. His weapon of choice is the bow and arrow, because he feels that said weapons represent the greatest challenge and give the prey the fairest chance. Following a stint with the military, Rick is recruited into one of the intelligence branches of the US government. He is posted in a small, struggling Latin American country caught in the throes of civil war. While there, he witnesses the massacre of an entire village by the modernized forces loyal to that country's government. He eventually learns the country is being funded by the US government. Sickened by what he learned, Rick resigns. He decides to use his archery skills to fight for justice, adopting the crime-fighting identity of the Arrow, the hunter of men.
The Arrow primarily operates alone. At one point, he teams up with a number of heroes during a battle in Brinkston — an event whose ultimate outcome convinces him to retire. When the members of the Protectors are asked to face Mr. Monday and re-form the superhero team, the Arrow requests to join his former comrades, but is refused due to his violent approach.
The Arrow is one of the many public domain Golden Age characters appearing in Project Superpowers, a 2008 miniseries released by Dynamite Entertainment. He made a short appearance in issue #5 of the series.
- According to Alex Ross, the costume of the Red Arrow, a minor character from Kingdom Come, was at least partially based on the original Arrow.
- The Arrow at the Comic Book DB
- The Arrow at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Eye-n-Apple's Golden Age Gallery entry on the Arrow
- Golden Age Super Heroes Directory by Jess Nevins
- The Arrow at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012.