Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, March 25, 2017


If you want a Golden Age comic book western hero who is really golden, you don't have to look any further than Roger Parsons, a.k.a. Golden Arrow.  Shortly before World Was I, Dr. Paul Parsons developed a new gas that would revolutionize balloon travel.  (In some way that I cannot fathom, this gas could revolutionize aviation and provide a needed boost for the American military.)  In order to test the gas, Dr. Parsons embarked on a cross-county balloon voyage with his wife and infant son.  While traveling near the town of Prairie gulch, Parsons balloon was shot down on the orders of evil Brand Braddock, who wants the formula for the gas for himself.  (Remember that this was before WWI and we learn that Braddock's ranch house alone cost $3,000,000!  Clearly, the fruits of evil pay off big time!)  Parsons and his wife were killed, but out from the wreckage crawled the infant -- Roger Parsons.  Unfortunately, a mountain lion spotted the infant, clamped him in its jaws, and strolled away to enjoy a tasty meal.

Will the saga of Golden Arrow be ended before it even began?

No!  Because the old prospector Nugget Ned happen on the scene and shot the mountain lion.  With the infant in his arms, Nugget Ned backtracked the mountain lion's trail to the crash site where, hidden, he saw Braddock's men raiding the wreckage.  Instantly nugget Ned knew that Braddock was responsible for the crash and that the infant's life would be worth less than a pig's patootie if he knew the child was alive.  So Nugget Ned did what every respectable old prospector would do:  he vowed to raise the baby himself, in secret.

And so the infant grew up.  And how!  The "healthy outdoors" allowed the boy to gain a great physique.  By age five, he could wrestle and pin a bear cub.  At age seven, he could outrun an antelope.  At ten, his eyesight was better than an eagle's.  The boy became a master of the bow and arrow, able to sever a rattlesnake's head at 100 yards.  At eighteen, he tamed the leader of a pack of wild horses, training him to become the fastest and mightiest horse in the west -- White Wind.  Because Nugget Ned was (I guess) a bit contrary, he had no real use for the gold he dug up; so he let the boy coat his arrowheads with gold.  And Golden Arrow was born!

Because the boy had finally grown up, Bill Parker (the editor/creator/writer of the comic book) gave the old prospector a heart attack, but before dying, Nugget Ned told the boy that his name was Roger Parsons and that Brand Braddock had killed his parents and stolen the valuable gas formula.  And so Golden Arrow goes to reclaim his heritage and face Braddock and his two (equally evil) sons -- Bronk and Brute.

And so we have Golden Arrow's origin story as told in Fawcett's Whiz Comics #2 in February 1940 (the same issue that introduced comic book heroes Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher, Ibis the Invincible, and the somewhat forgotten Lance O'Casey, seafarer).

The original artist for the series was Greg Duncan.  Later artists and writers included Bernie Krigstein and Pete Costanza.  

Golden Arrow had his own erratically scheduled comic book (6 issues spanning seven years) and a few miniature-sized comics, but spent most of his Fawcett career at Whiz Comics, ending with the April 1953 issue (#153).  Fawcett sold its superheroes to DC Comics, leading to speculation that DC's Green Arrow was in part inspired by Golden Arrow.  And that may be true.  Who knows?

The archive linked below carries Golden Arrow's adventures through Whiz Comics #8.  


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