SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for last night’s episode of “Arrow.”
Compared to colorful companion series “The Flash,” “Arrow” is a relatively grounded comic book-based TV show. Yet it still indulges in its source material on a regular basis, and one of the most salient examples arrived in last night’s episode, “Guilty,” with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) unleashing one of the most classic weapons utilized by his DC Comics counterpart: the boxing glove arrow (gif courtesy of the official “Arrow” Tumblr):
Sure, in the context of the episode, it’s a makeshift improvisation in the midst of a fight with Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez), not a pre-planned part of the arsenal as it’s been depicted in the comic books. But for years, the prevailing perception of Green Arrow using a “boxing glove arrow” was that it was a relic of a bygone comic book era — cheesy flash over realistic substance — and not something that really worked in a contemporary context.
Yet it’s not something “Arrow,” despite its somewhat realistic milieu, has ever ruled out. In a February 2013 interview with io9, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns said the boxing glove arrow was a subject of discussion even back in the first season: “I do remember [executive producer Marc Guggenheim] mentioning at some point they gotta figure out how to do the boxing glove arrow. Like, there’s gotta be a way to do it. They think about it all the time. Again, the people on the show love the source material, so they’re going to try everything they can to get it in there. If they can actually pull it off it some way, it’ll be awesome.”
Guggenheim himself gave credit of last night’s scene to “Arrow” writer Keto Shimizu:
– Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) November 13, 2014
And while it may seem like a bizarre diversion in the byzantine halls of comic book history, the boxing glove arrow is nearly as old as Green Arrow itself, first appearing in 1947’s “Adventure Comics” #118 (Brian Cronin wrote about it for COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD), six years after the character’s initial debut.
The boxing glove arrow has popped up multiple times in the interim decades and become likely the most famous of Green Arrow’s trick arrows. It’s appeared in various incarnations of the character, other media platforms — and has often been used in recent years as a punchline.
In 2012, the interstitials on Cartoon Network’s “DC Nation” block even tested the boxing glove arrow’s real-world feasibility:
So what’s the next trick arrow to be seen on “Arrow”? Well, clearly nothing should be ruled out, though it’s probably still an, ahem, long shot that the transdimensional portal-opening Phantom Zone arrow will ever be seen on screen:
“Arrow” airs 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The CW.
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