Friday, March 7, 2014

Pretty Bird: "Stickum Shaft"

I didn't have the time this week to do a full review of a Black Canary and Green Arrow story for Pretty Bird Friday, but I wanted to give my readers and fans something to think about.  Below you'll see a panel from Justice League of America #75, dated October 1969.  The panel popped up on my giggle-radar because Ollie uses a "stickum-shaft" on Black Canary, and the innuendo laden in that concept makes the little boy in me fall down in fits of laughter.

From Justice League of America #74, art by Dick Dillin.

But this moment in the characters' history is more than an example of visual irony and juvenile sexual humor.  This is basically the first time the characters ever interact.  They both appeared previously in the pages of Justice League of America #21 and #22, but they never had any dialogue or action together.  They stood beside each other in one panel in #22 but that's all.

For all intents and purposes, this "stickum-shaft" scene is the first meeting of Green Arrow and Black Canary.  And it's almost uncannily perfect as a predictor of their relationship.  Take the innuendo of the Ollie's word choice and the visual imagery of the arrow together as sexual implicit; Ollie and Dinah do become lovers within a year or so of this meeting.

And the consequence of this scene: Black Canary is pinned down by the, um, stickum, and unable to escape the path of Aquarius' deadly energy ball.  (That sentence makes sense if you've read the issue.)  It is Dinah's husband, Larry Lance, who leaps in front of the energy ball and dies saving her life.  Black Canary's husband dies as a direct result of her first interaction with Green Arrow.  In essence, Ollie kills her husband in order to take his place as her lover.

The "stickum-shaft" panel, while silly in its verbiage, is symbolic of this superhero couple as it represents their sexual connection and the fact that Ollie will always hurt Dinah.


  1. Heh ...
    So interesting. I doubt Fox and Dillin anticipated the relationship.

    But stick-um shaft!


  2. Actually, Dennis O'Neill wrote this issue and he did develop their relationship in JLA and GL/GA, so it's possible he knew that as soon as Black Canary came to Earth 1 that she would be a love-interest for Ollie.