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#1 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

Alright, for those of you who do not know, I am an archery nut. I've had all kinds of toy bows since I was seven when I first saw Disney's Robin Hood (the one where he is a fox). I finally got a real bow when I was nineteen as a Christmas present from my parents. It was a compound bow and I've been hooked since.

Now there are plenty of errors rookies make in terms of proper technique and I am most certainly not exempt from that. I am no where near the greatest archer but I have at least corrected my improper style and use of it and no longer make mistakes in terms of my form.

That is what I am going to discuss in this thread, the incorrect form of the characters in comics who are supposed to be among the best of their respective universes. I'll compare and contrast what they are doing wrong with images and explanations of how their simple mistakes , which as superheroes they should be able to measure to.

First up, arrow placement!

This is the most basic thing to learn, which side of the bow the arrow goes on before firing. If you are a right handed archer you will you draw the bow string with your right hand. The arrow rest of the right handed bow will be on the left side of the bow above where you hold the actual bow with your left hand. It is the opposite for a left handed person using a left handed bow obviously. The arrow rest usually looks like this,

This is how it looks done right,

Now lets see how the archers of comics do it,

Sorry Mister Barton, but that arrow will not fly straight.
Green Arrow! Not you too!

Now I should probably explain why the arrow rest being on the correct side for you hand orientation. You see when you loose the arrow the arrow actually warps around your bow and continues to in the air. When you hold the bow in your left hand and pull the bow string with the right, which would be the only option left I assume unless you have an extra arm growing out of your chest and are a member of the Adams family.... and I have that awful Adams Family Values theme song stuck in my head now so I have to hate you, you fictional three armed mutant construct of my own imagination. Anyway, where was I? Oh right, the importance of arrow placement in correlation to how the arrow will fly. When the string is released the arrow is flung forward by the string and it is pushing the arrow from the back which causes the rear of the arrow to actually be traveling faster then the front at first. This causes it to warp even before it has completely left the string and when released by the right hand the back of the arrow is pushed to the left, and like I said the back is moving faster than the front at this point so the arrow bends even when it is still nocked on the string. The way in which the arrow bends makes it so the front of the arrow is actually pushed to the right which allows for a more accurate shot. The opposite happens when you are shooting with the left hand, the back will veer right and front goes left so a left handed bows' arrow rest is on the right

This is because your right hand and left hand are not lined up evenly. If you are right handed where the arrow is nocked to the string will be slightly to the right of the arrows tip, and that is why the arrow being on the correct side of the bow is so important. If you are right handed and the arrow is on the right side of the bow the rear of the arrow is still pushed left and the front still goes right because of the way the arrow bends, so doing this makes your shot veer way right.

Now for another simple mistake, String Grip!

The word grip is a bit miss leading in how a bow string is held at tension when drawn back. You are really just using the tips of three fingers on your shooting hand not passing the first knuckles of each like so,

Look! It's my hand!

As you see, the fingers you use are your ring, middle, and index. One finger above the arrow the other two below. Some people manage to pull the the with just the index and middle, but not me.

So you've seen how someone who is so not a pro does it. Lets see how the comic pros do it!

Look, a can see your basically a corpse Oli but that arrow isn't going to have tons of power when you grip the string like that and why exactly are you twisting the string?
Dammit Clint! Just pinching the nock and the arrow on the wrong side! You're killing me Clint, you're killing me!

Ok I think what they are doing wrong is pretty self explanatory, I will comment the if Hawkeye was using a string release he sort of has the right type of grip... sort of.

Now onto... EPIC POSES!

So sometimes there is embellishment in the type of stances an archer would take or how they aim the bow, lets take a look shall we!

Nice! Side shot! Wont have as much power though, can't pull the string all the way back like that Clint, hope you're not shooting things with tough skin or armor.
Nice! Another side shot! Same problem though and uh pst Oli, Arrows on the wrong side again.
Multiple arrows! Sweet! You do know that you can turn it vertical, right Oli?
Uh, Cool....
Now that's just silly. Good flexibility feat though I'd say.

Now some of these pictures raise another topic I'd like to discuss,

Multiple arrows shot at once.

It's actually doable. I watched a guy do it at a Renaissance fair. He was able to shoot three arrows at once all hitting something slightly larger than the size a softball together. And there is where the actual multiple arrows at once differs from the fictional. You can totally fire up to three arrows at once and hit a target accurately with enough practice, it's the idea of hitting multiple targets with multiple arrows at once that becomes fiction. When shooting more than one arrow at a time it's damn near (if not completely) impossible to accurately hit your three separate marks that are in separate places. This is because you are going to have three arrows at different points on the string and only one of those points is at the optimum spot for an accurate shot. Obviously the string is farthest back at one point, which is where you nock your arrow, and that spot will give the arrow placed there more power than anywhere else on the string, this spot is also at the center of the string at the center of the bow and it is that sweet spot on the bow string that gives the best shot. Having other arrows on the string complicates things, when practicing multiple shots the goal is not actually to hit different points on the target but to get them to hit together at the same spot.

Most of these things are simple rookie mistakes that these expert archers are making. Now they have been depicted in comics with correct form, the current Hawkeye, as well as the current Green Arrow titles have many examples of proper form within their pages.

Still given most of the images I've seen of these two famously skilled comic archers, I'd say that they need to go back and train more with the casual level classes. However they do seem to almost always hit their marks... hmm maybe I should start going by their shooting stances and style.... I'll let you know how it goes!

#2 Posted by dccomicsrule2011 (26967 posts) - - Show Bio

lol great thread,it is very informing.

#3 Edited by MrDirector786 (43647 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting. But like I said in the other thread, this is probably the case with a lot of characters who handle weapons - their technique in handling the weapon would probably be very ineffective in real life. A lot of hand to hand fighters techniques are also probably not so effective in real life as well.

#4 Posted by cameron83 (7643 posts) - - Show Bio

you do know that this mainly depends on how the artists draw the characters.This doesn't mean that the archers in comics have bad form,or that they are bad at what they do in any way,just that some people draw them in an inaccurate position in relation to archery positions.And besides,I don't think Ollie became the greatest archer in the world with the poses that some artists give him!

#5 Edited by XImpossibruX (5261 posts) - - Show Bio

Ha nice thread, debunking the famous archers. Thought this was gonna be a rant, but actually very informative.

#6 Edited by AweSam (7376 posts) - - Show Bio

They're the best archers in the world, so everyone else must be doing it wrong.

#7 Edited by Xwraith (21549 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13 said:

Now that's just silly. Good flexibility feat though I'd say.

Human anatomy? What's that?

(I don't know why my words are showing up in the quote box).

#8 Edited by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@cameron83: Indeed I do, this article is mostly meant for at the very least my own amusement lol.

#9 Posted by cameron83 (7643 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13 said:

@cameron83: Indeed I do, this article is mostly meant for at the very least my own amusement lol.

Ok,just saying....and great article btw :)

#10 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@cameron83: Thanks =).

lol great thread,it is very informing.

Thank you as well.

Interesting. But like I said in the other thread, this is probably the case with a lot of characters who handle weapons - their technique in handling the weapon would probably be very ineffective in real life. A lot of hand to hand fighters techniques are also probably not so effective in real life as well.

I know, and when I take the medieval weaponry technique course later this year I'll let you know how that holds up lol.

#11 Posted by Guardiandevil83 (6109 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool thread man!

#12 Edited by joshmightbe (24764 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: Also every swordsman that's considered great in fiction is actually doing it wrong. Unless you happen to be fencing proper form in sword fighting requires you to try to avoid having swords make contact with each other since it dulls and weakens the blade. Simply put using a sword to block is pretty much only good for getting you a broken sword.

#13 Posted by ARMIV2 (8853 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll be taking notes on this.

#14 Edited by batmannflash (6226 posts) - - Show Bio

this is awesome! good job!

#15 Edited by tg1982 (2712 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

What you don't know, however, is that both Hawkeye and Green Arrow have special arrows equipped with miniature gyroscopic compensators that's how they're able to get away with the arrow being on the same side of the bow rest, rather than the opposite side, and not be inaccurate. They also have microscopic solar powered rocket propelled arrows to compensate for their grip. I'm surprised you didn't know this, it's all the rage in archery right now ;-P LOL.

But seriously, a good post and informative. I do have a question, though. Have you ever tried the (Mongolian) thumb draw when shooting?

#16 Posted by ShadowX (1207 posts) - - Show Bio

Great post. Really enjoyed it. I guess in the end it boils down to real life physics vs comic physics lol

#17 Edited by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10130 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm gonna go with it's a comic. Written and Drawn by people who by in large are not archers, scientist, martial artists, criminologist or doctors so they are gonna get things wrong :D

No offense meant, Great Write up none the less.

#18 Edited by Nova`Prime` (4165 posts) - - Show Bio

I am gonna go with Clint and Ollie aren't exactly Bullseye or Deadshot, but they don't need good form to hit their target.

#19 Posted by ccraft (5594 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: Nice thread, but its not the characters fault it's the artists!

#20 Posted by Glitch_Spawn (17132 posts) - - Show Bio

Vortex. Love you man.

#21 Posted by linsanel_Doctor (1344 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam said:

They're the best archers in the world, so everyone else must be doing it wrong.

#22 Posted by DH69 (4193 posts) - - Show Bio

But they get laid more, soooo...

#23 Posted by superior_prime_maybe (531 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

I wonder what u have to say on Armstrong and archer series...

And you have a point.

Do u think the new green lantern series and Hawkeye looking into this??

#24 Posted by JediWaffles (746 posts) - - Show Bio

Great post, 10/10. I've been thinking of getting into archery meself.

#25 Posted by TheManInTheShoe (3878 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I'm an archer too and this really bugs me, you can't hold the arrow like that when you use a barebow like most of them do. What I've learned is that you should know where you hold the string compared to were you're aiming, I'm a beginner so therefore I hold it about two fingers down. By the way, really? You have a "wheelchair"? If you know what I mean ;) Nice article or whatever you call it.

This bugs me very much, David Aja has put down a lot of work on drawing an instruction of how you should shoot the arrow in the right way. But I can't really relate this to anything I've learned, I don't even understand the instructions.

#26 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: Also every swordsman that's considered great in fiction is actually doing it wrong. Unless you happen to be fencing proper form in sword fighting requires you to try to avoid having swords make contact with each other since it dulls and weakens the blade. Simply put using a sword to block is pretty much only good for getting you a broken sword.

Oh that I do know. It's pretty funny how, like you said, in every form of fiction swordsmen are always blocking other sword strikes with edge on edge which will chip and dull the blade. When sword strikes are blocked they use the flat of the blade and they aren't exactly blocked in real life, it's more like deflecting the strike.

@tg1982 said:

@vortex13:

What you don't know, however, is that both Hawkeye and Green Arrow have special arrows equipped with miniature gyroscopic compensators that's how they're able to get away with the arrow being on the same side of the bow rest, rather than the opposite side, and not be inaccurate. They also have microscopic solar powered rocket propelled arrows to compensate for their grip. I'm surprised you didn't know this, it's all the rage in archery right now ;-P LOL.

But seriously, a good post and informative. I do have a question, though. Have you ever tried the (Mongolian) thumb draw when shooting?

I need to get those kinds of arrows! lol. As for the thumb draw question, no I have not. I'm not all that interested in getting one either, however I am very interested in getting a horse bow which was famously used by the Mongolian forces during the days of the Hun's. They sort of invented them too, it's kind of a dream of mine to learn how to fire a bow on horse back. They have competitions for it in places like Hungry.

It just looks like so much fun lol.

#27 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6540 posts) - - Show Bio

Damn. Now It's going to take longer to read comics due to me looking out for correct and incorrect archery techniques. :/

#28 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

Or how about how superheroes with flight have bad form. Were forgrtting that too. Look, believe me when I tell you, that's not at all how people REALLY fly. I should know, Im an expert.

#29 Posted by JonSmith (4010 posts) - - Show Bio

In Ollie's defense, he learned to shoot on an island, fighting for survival. He learned to shoot in a way that seemed natural with the type of bow he could make from parts on the island. And that served him pretty well, considering he survived. So that would explain why he doesn't shoot like a professional: He uses what's worked for him.

#30 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@extremis: lol. I never said I was an expert though.

@jonsmith said:

In Ollie's defense, he learned to shoot on an island, fighting for survival. He learned to shoot in a way that seemed natural with the type of bow he could make from parts on the island. And that served him pretty well, considering he survived. So that would explain why he doesn't shoot like a professional: He uses what's worked for him.

Granted but with the arrow on the wrong side of the bow he really wouldn't be able to hit anything accurately.

Damn. Now It's going to take longer to read comics due to me looking out for correct and incorrect archery techniques. :/

Hey now, like @tg1982 said, they have arrows with special gyroscopic compensaters.

#31 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6540 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: Maybe, but I'm still going to notice if it's wrong now.

I had a quick flick though some TPBs, and I saw a pretty ridiculous looking picture of Hawkeye. I'll maybe put it up here to get your opinion.

#32 Posted by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio
#33 Posted by joshmightbe (24764 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: Samurai considered it terrible form, kitana aren't built to withstand regular use for deflection and are only really useful for slashing and stabbing meaning in the first Highlander movie when the Kurgan clashed swords with Connor the kitana would have snapped like a twig after around the 3rd hit.

#34 Edited by Dratini1331 (7040 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13: I've been considering doing this with most of the martial arts in comics as well XD Nice thread to you sir, shame on the artists drawing things so inaccurately ^.^

#35 Edited by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio
#36 Edited by tg1982 (2712 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13 said:

@tg1982 said:

@vortex13:

What you don't know, however, is that both Hawkeye and Green Arrow have special arrows equipped with miniature gyroscopic compensators that's how they're able to get away with the arrow being on the same side of the bow rest, rather than the opposite side, and not be inaccurate. They also have microscopic solar powered rocket propelled arrows to compensate for their grip. I'm surprised you didn't know this, it's all the rage in archery right now ;-P LOL.

But seriously, a good post and informative. I do have a question, though. Have you ever tried the (Mongolian) thumb draw when shooting?

I need to get those kinds of arrows! lol. As for the thumb draw question, no I have not. I'm not all that interested in getting one either, however I am very interested in getting a horse bow which was famously used by the Mongolian forces during the days of the Hun's. They sort of invented them too, it's kind of a dream of mine to learn how to fire a bow on horse back. They have competitions for it in places like Hungry.

just looks like so much fun lol.

Oh. I think you misunderstood me. I'm not talking about the piece of equipment called the thumb release (I think that's what it's called), I'm talking about an actual type of grip, like your three fingered grip. The thumb draw, a.k.a the Mongolian draw (fig. 3)...

I remember, IIRC, on the history channel they tested it compared to other grips and it was supposedly pretty efficient. So I was wondering if you've ever tried that technique. Mounted Archery does look pretty cool. I know it's also pretty big in Japan as well, they are called Yabusame...

#37 Edited by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@tg1982: Ah I see. No I have not. The idea of those grips is I believe for nocking the arrow quicker and loosing them faster which is something I am actually going for since I got my recurve bow, so I may end up trying those grips. Problem being my recurve has a 55lb draw weight so I'll have to get used to the higher draw it has compared to my long bow which has just a 45lb draw weight. Still, every day I get a chance I practice and usually for over a couple of hours on those days. Archery is truly my greatest passion, followed right behind by writing, and photography.

#38 Posted by tg1982 (2712 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

Recurve bows are awesome. I actually like those over compound bows despite the advantages the compound bows have. My grandpa goes bow hunting so I got to shoot one once, I also like the historical significance of the recurve. I'm a bit of a history nut, you see.

#39 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@tg1982: They are indeed. I'm actually a big history nut myself lol. Not just the facts about the events that took place, but the cultures and beliefs that ancient societies had. I mean I know a fair amount about ancient warfare, weaponry, politics, significant events, battles, social structures, and sometimes even the typical hygiene and diet of the people in those civilizations lol, but the thing about ancient civilizations that always interested me the most was their beliefs and ideas of how the world worked. So needless to say I'm a bigger nut for folklore and mythology lol.

#40 Edited by tg1982 (2712 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

Me too. But my particular favorite is ancient warfare, I like to learn about the great innovations that have shaped the world. My personal favorite is the Roman Empire.

#41 Edited by Battle_Forum_Junkie (8720 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

I really thought this would turn out to just be a rant thread, but it was actually very informative and fun to read.

Especially sense I was going to draw a picture of Green Arrow soon and post it on Artist Show-Off. Using the wrong form... :P

#42 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

@battle_forum_junkie: Lol, glad I could help.

It isn't just those two. Lets see another person who does it wrong,

Tsk tsk Diana.

Oh and of course this guy gets it right,

#43 Edited by Battle_Forum_Junkie (8720 posts) - - Show Bio
#44 Posted by Kangaxx_54 (306 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for this post! I shoot as well, and it really bugs me when it's drawn the wrong way. Or worse, if it's in games and the implementation is all wrong.

Another thing that's almost always portrayed the wrong way, is the way that they grip the bows. You're not really supposed to grip the bow - it's more a matter of keeping the bow in the right spot between your thumb and the palm, and this happens automatically when you draw the string back. The Deathgrip that's always used in comics would actually mess your stance all up, and hurt your accuracy (but OK, maybe it's those fancy arrows that was mentioned. I need some of those). But this is a minor thing - the arrows on the wrong side of the bow is so much worse.

#45 Edited by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow (1405 posts) - - Show Bio

Very informitive

#46 Posted by Kiltro95 (295 posts) - - Show Bio

A lot of this has to do with the artist, but on the other hand you do bring up some great points that can add a little more realism to the comics.

#47 Posted by handsome_stud (272 posts) - - Show Bio

NNNEEEERRRRRRDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#48 Posted by Vortex13 (12264 posts) - - Show Bio

NNNEEEERRRRRRDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a comic book site. I'm pretty sure this whole sites population is made up predominantly of nerds, geeks, and dorks. Personally I think I fall more in the geek category. I adhere to this line of thinking of those terms,

#49 Posted by lykopis (10746 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13:

Fantastic article, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I got to learn something and you had me laughing -- perfect combo!

Artist, shmartist -- it can't take too much effort to take a moment to determine form. Really. Outside of "cool" shots for the sake of action and "wowness", some attention to detail would be nice. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this, this is part of why I enjoy comics so much. Always something worth discussing.

And hurrah! for Robin Hood! :P

#50 Posted by tg1982 (2712 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13 said:

@battle_forum_junkie: Lol, glad I could help.

It isn't just those two. Lets see another person who does it wrong,

Tsk tsk Diana.

Oh and of course this guy gets it right,

How does Robin Hood have it right? His bow isn't even strung!!!!!!! ;-)