A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hawkeye: Lousy archer?

Ever since I dissected that Teen Titans Go cover (and by the way, would you all leave Todd Nauck alone about that? He didn't draw it), I have people asking me about archery in comics. I'm working on an exhaustive "dumb archery mistakes" page so I don't keep pointing out the same things, but meanwhile, I've been directed to these two images with the question "MaQuarrie, either of these right? As far as archery goes:" So here is my analysis of these two Hawkeye images....

The second one is better than the first. Barely.

The first one has the arrow on the wrong side of the bow and Hawkeye drawing with only two fingers (most archers use three for recurve, four for longbow). He also doesn't seem to believe in an anchor (string hand in contact with the face to provide a firm aim). Oh, and his "shooting glove" covers everything EXCEPT what it's supposed to, the fingertips. Shoot half a dozen arrows with bare fingers and you'll understand the idiocy of those gloves. And he apparently has his arm guard on the wrong arm, assuming those big ol' honkin' buckle/strap things on his right forearm are part of an armguard and not just a Liefeldesque affectation. The chest protector is a nice touch, but it seems to be attached to his quiver somehow. Weird. Also, I have no idea how he can aim consistently while thrusting his head forward like that, but I'll allow it as artistic license.

The second one at least has the arrow on the correct side. The four-finger draw would be okay because he's using a traditional bow, which takes more strength, but he's got the string all the way down into the second joint of the fingers. It should be in the first. He's also pinching the nock in a big way, which will make the arrow jump sideways off the bow. And he needs to get that thumb the hell out of the way if he ever intends to release that string (the thumb is kept back from the drawing fingers). Again, no anchor. And again, useless gloves, armguard on the wrong arm (it's supposed to protect the bow arm from getting hit by the string), and this time he has his quiver on backwards. The arrows should be sticking up over his right shoulder so he can reach them with his right hand. At least the fletchings are correct. You can only see the one that's pointing down, meaning that the index fletch is pointing toward Hawkeye and away from the bow, which is correct. Hawkeye is shooting "off the shelf" (without an arrow rest) and is wearing a glove, which is correct for a traditional bow. His posture is more suited to a recurve, but that's not a biggie.

As a coach, I'd point out to him that the bend at the wrist on his draw hand indicates that he's not using his back muscles properly and not getting maximum power out of his bow; he's using his forearm muscles too much.

The armor on his left arm seems to have some sort of ridges, which is silly. The secondary purpose of the arm guard is to provide a smooth surface upon which the string will slide if the archer's form causes the string to hit the arm. Ridged armor would do the opposite.

Somebody remarked that the second picture was clearly done from photo reference; if so, it's a photo of somebody who doesn't know how to shoot a bow.

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