The Dark Archer

The Dark Archer
The comic book history of the Dark Archer, who's neither dressed in dark clothing nor an archer, from Thrilling Comics.

As we all know, children practice archery in the city all the time. It's a huge problem. You'll have your window open in New York or Chicago or LA and the next thing you know, an arrow flies through and stabs a person in the heart. At least, if you're Hale of the Herald, daring young reporter who can also turn invisible for some reason, that seems like the most logical answer.

An Arch(er) Enemy

In fact, when a bank executive is killed in his penthouse, George Hale laughs in the face of the police. Murder! Blooie! He says. This was obviously a child practicing archery and shooting arrows into open windows. One of those arrows happened to end up in the heart of a banker. The police tried to tell him that wasn't a thing. You know, wait at all for their investigation to proceed, but Hale of the Herald wasn't going to wait for annoying things like facts. He ran with the child shooting arrows into windows accidentally killing rich guys story...and was quickly proven wrong with the toxicology report came back indicating that the arrow had been poisoned. Unless children were practicing with poisoned arrows now, this reeked of murder.

At the scene of a murder, the police are saying a black arrow killed the man. Hale replies "SIMPLE! THE WINDOW WAS OPEN, SOME KID WAS PRACTICING ARCHERY -- AND BLOOIE! MURDER? DONIT MAKE ME LAUGH!"

His reputation and career on the line, Hale shoved his hands in his pockets and uttered a sentence that takes its place in the phrasing hall of fame when he said he, quote, pulled a boner, which, according to Merriam-Webster can also mean a "clumsy or stupid mistake." His editor likely trying to keep a straight face, Hale said he would get the real story...or quit. It's no more boners for him.

Pulling a real boner.

Anyway, we've talked enough about the hero of this story being objectively terrible at his job. We should talk about the Dark Archer.

So, when you hear "Archer" you think one of two things. The origin of the phrasing joke I made earlier, or, once again referencing Merriam-Webster, someone who uses a bow AND arrow. Emphasis on and. The Dark Archer...didn't use a bow. He just took arrows and...stabbed guys.

Stay on Target

I'm in my 30s now, and I've had to accept some things. Like, that the ship has sailed on me following my dream of becoming a circus acrobat that also robs people. If you think about it, it's a pretty solid strategy. You get into town, do your performances, case mansions by day and then rob them on the final night. When the people realize it, you've already moved along to the next town.

If you think this would lead to people thinking, hey, whenever such-and-such circus comes to town, people get robbed, you'd be right. That's exactly what happened. Thought they couldn't figure out who exactly was robbing people, they knew it was the circus and boycotted it. The circus went belly up, and their assets were repossessed by the bank who did their own investigation, revealing that it was the acrobat named Henderson. He begged them for another chance, but instead of being an accessory after the fact, they turned him into the police.

Henderson, though, wasn't going to let this go. He was going to get revenge. For the consequences of his own actions.

And he did. He went down a list of the bank executives, killing each one by throwing or stabbing them with an arrow. Even the mobsters in his employ thought the killing was a bit excessive, but the Dark Archer, once again, not an archer, wouldn't be placated.

A bank exec with an arrow in his throat, dying, while the Dark Archer (who is neither dark nor an archer) laughs behind him saying "Ha-ha! Die you vermin...DIE!!!"
The Dark Archer goes hard.

Outsmarting the police by, yes, hiding behind curtains and jumping in windows, the Dark Archer's reign of destruction continued. But it was his own acrobatics that led to his undoing. Hale of the Herald, our investigative reporter that apparently needs the story laid out in front of him, learned of the executive's theories, smelled a rope, and tracked down the Dark Archer who had already been tracked down by Vickie, Hale's fellow reporter and colleague.

The Dark Archer jumping onto a rooftop saying the caption.
Death...Terror...and still I go on!

The Vanishing Act

I should say that Hale also had invisibility pills. Apparently he rescued a scientist, though Hale and I have different definitions of rescue because the guy died in his arms. Before the scientist for the US department of war could die, though, he gave George Hale his greatest invention: invisibility pills that, according to one wiki, last as long as was convenient for the plot.

And that's true. In this instance, they lasted long enough for Hale to knock out the Dark Archer's mobster goons but still reappear to be in danger against the Dark Archer. Apparently he also knew jiujitsu, because after dodging a thrown poison arrow, Hale flipped the Dark Archer against a wall, knocking him out and calling the police.

Despite her being a few steps ahead of him and only getting caught because she didn't have dead scientist invisibility pills, Hale showed absolutely no professional courtesy when he scooped Vickie and claimed all the credit for the Dark Archer story. Even though, remember, his first instincts were absolutely terrible, and he published that ridiculous, kid practicing archery in the city kills a bank exec. But, you know, he wasn't going to get caught with a boner again.

The final panel, where Vicky is saying that Hale rescued her and delivered the scoop while Hale shakes the editor's hand.
She totally deserved the scoop. Just saying.

Want to hear more?