A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Those who can't do, teach.

Ultimate Secret #3
I don't follow the Ultimate line at all, so I have no idea who is supposed to be what, and in fact have not seen any of this issue except this one page that was e-mailed to me by Typo Lad of What WERE They Thinking? fame. So if I guess wrong at one of these character's identities or some such, well, that's to be expected.

Anyway, like I said, Typo sent me this page and asked for my comments....

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There's just so much to say here....

In general, the writer has done a little bit of research, but the artist clearly hasn't.

Panel one: The bow has no arrow rest. Apparently the arrow sits on top of the archer's hand. Of course, here in the real world, you only find that in traditional (longbow).

Moving on, what's with the gloves? Those are biker's or weightlifter's gloves, designed to provide protection for the palms while leaving the fingers free. Archer's gloves are exactly the opposite, covering the fingertips and leaving the rest of the hand free. Fingerless gloves are worse than useless to an archer.

Panel two: the guy actually gives good advice in this panel, but my sense is that neither the writer or artist have any idea what they mean; they are just disjointed snippets of archery instruction devoid of any underlying rationale.

Panel three: The guy's comment is exactly right; most beginning archers do all the work with their arms, and it is the most serious form flaw.

Panel four: Here we get into trouble. Let me dissect the text here a bit at a time:

"It's simple. You and the bow are a single machine."
okay, that's just psychobabble that has nothing to do with anything. It's accurate enough, and something an instructor with zen pretensions might say, but it doesn't address the lady's problem.

"You pull with the muscles across your back."
So far, so good. What he's describing here is that the shoulderblades should push toward each other, it should feel as if you are doing a pushup.

"The power transfers from here into the belly of the bow."
say what? I've never heard anyone refer to "the belly of the bow"; this is the writer making up claptrap to cover the fact that he has no idea why one would draw a bow using the back muscles rather than the arms. More babble.

"Now, this is a compound bow."
Oh no it's not. That thing in no way resembles any compound bow ever made. It's some sort of mutant blend of a recurve's limbs, a longbow's grip, and an extra string stuck in there somehow. I don't know what the hell it is, frankly.

"Listen for the clicker."
uh oh. We have a problem. Compound bows don't use a clicker. They don't need one. A compound bow has a fixed draw length; you draw it back to a certain point and it stops. It "hits the wall" as they say. Recurve bows do not have a fixed draw length. The archer can draw the bow a different distance each time, which affects its accuracy. A clicker is a device that recurve shooters use to tell them when they are at full draw. As the arrow tip passes the clicker, it clicks, telling the archer that the bow is drawn to the distance it's supposed to be.

"It's storing that power--"
Again, say what? The clicker is storing the power? Oh no it's not. It can't. The bow has somewhere between 20 and 60 pounds of power stored up in it, and the clicker is a thin little piece of metal, either a strip of spring steel or a little rod and magnet arrangement; neither of them can store more than an ounce or so of power.

I'll repeat my offer; any comic writer or artist interested in getting archery right can call me, e-mail me or write me (I'm in the Pasadena Phone book), and I will happily assist you for free. If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, I will happily give you free archery lessons.

Just please stop trying to make it up. You're giving me a headache.

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