Thursday, March 17, 2016
RAR #7: STRAIGHT ARROW
An acquaintance put me onto Straight Arrow, who originated as a radio show but is probably best remembered for the comic-book series that followed, if only because the comic lasted a few years longer than the radio program. There was also a Straight Arrow comic strip, but I've no more info on it than I have on the original radio show.
Straight Arrow was a reversal on the familiar trope of the "White Indian," in that he was an orphan from a Comanche tribe raised by a Caucasian family and given the name "Steve Adams." I've read the first six issues of the comic book online, and when the character is in his regular identity of local rancher Adams, he's drawn with Caucasian coloration. When he assumes the identity of Straight Arrow, he dons full Comanche regalia and goes forth to fight injustice with the help of his golden steed Fury and his golden arrows. (I assume someone was making a very conscious attempt to mine the "treasure-tropes" established by the LONE RANGER mythos.) He also seems to "redden up" as Straight Arrow, but the comics-stories I've read so far, mostly written by Gardner Fox, don't specify whether or not he reddens his skin in addition to his war-paint.
The comics-stories are pretty formulaic but one tale gives the hero an "opposite number" in a villain called Black Feather, who shoots black arrows and is actually a white guy masquerading as an Indian.