(1940s Green Arrow enemy)
One of the recurrent foes of Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) during the late Golden AgeSuper-hero comics from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. was, err, an evil clown named Bull’s-Eye.
Look, it took decades for the Green Arrow concept to land in a satisfying place. Though 1940s kids were apparently happy with “Robin Hood in a super-hero costume”, bless their hearts.
Most of the material was done by George Papp, Steve Brodie and/or Don Cameron.
Bull’s-Eye was a “Golden Age near miss”, a bit like the original Crime Doctor. There was something there that might have made him a classic villain, but the rest was off and he never gelled.
- Real Name: Unrevealed.
- Other Aliases: Bulls-Eye, Bull’s-Eye and other variants.
- Former Aliases: Leapo.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Leads his own crews.
- Base of Operations: New York City.
- Height: 5’10” (1.78m). Weight: 170 lbs. (77 Kg.).
- Eyes: Unrevealed. Hair: Brown.
Powers & Abilities
Bull’s Eye is one of ’em master criminals. He can :
- Recruit underworld gunmen and specialists.
- Plan successful heists.
- Prepare escape routes.
- Deploy extraordinary means (such as a dirigible) to rob from an unexpected angle.
- Find reliable accomplices in prison.
He’s a formidable acrobat, advertising himself as the “master of movement”.
His main acrobatic schtick is to dodge anything he can see coming. Even Green Arrow and Speedy find him impossible to hit… unless Bull’s Eye cannot focus on dodging.
He’s an excellent driver, and has B&E and safecracking skills.
He could also ride a bull. Perhaps he worked as a rodeo clown at some point ?
Generally speaking, he was competent. He could semi-reliably escape from Green Arrow, and usually escaped from prison within days.
Bull’s-Eye sometimes packed an indistinct, compact, semi-auto pistol. Let’s assume something like a .32 ACP Colt Pocket Hammerless.
He sometimes carried a blackjack.
He drove a powerful 1940s car. It looked like a second-gen Mercury Eight , with that then-famous Ford V8 Flathead block.
- There was a mount on the roof that could be used for a searchlight (below) or a P.A. system.
- He once added what seems to have been a self-destruct system, though the explosives weren’t that powerful.
- He later added a smoke dispenser at the rear.
He also built a number of gadgets :
- His parasuit. A discreet gliding suit (aka “flying squirrel suit”) modification to his costume, that functions as a nimble parachute.
- A searchlight with a bullseye motif. That was used at night, to blind the driver of an incoming truck.
- Bootjets that could propel him into the sky, faster than an arrow. He could then come down with his parasuit.
Once, in 1949, he built a selection of clown-themed gadgets. These were closer to the M.O. of the Jester (Jonathan Powers) than Bull’s-Eye.
If you want some chronologically correct atmosphere, here’s a big hit from late 1947.
Continuity, right on target
Bull’s Eye’s appearances take place on pre-Crisis Earth-2.
This isn’t super-important to the character. But if you’re not familiar with that you can read our article about the ages of DC Comics.
Earth-2 had a version of Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) that began his career in 1941 (More Fun Comics #73). He was reminiscent of Batman, with a utility quiver instead of a utility belt.
So I guess that Bull’s-Eye kinda was his Joker.
This is different from later versions of the DC Universe, where Green Arrow was a modern hero rather than a 1940s one.
History (1947 appearances)
During the 1940s, famous circus acrobat Leapo also had a career as a successful criminal.
His arrest was front-page material – as was his cunning 1947 escape. The latter triggered a national manhunt.
For a while, Leapo hid – disguised as a small-time circus clown called Bull’s-Eye. His schtick was that people would pay a dime to hit him with an arrow – which he always dodged.
During this time, he also assembled a mob.
Once G-men found him, he escaped and launched a crime wave. He kept the Bull’s-Eye name and costume. He also took to painting bull’s-eye motifs (or leaving behind a bull’s-eye target) at crime scenes.
Even Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and Speedy (Roy Harper) couldn’t nail him.
They also failed to prevent the murder of the D.A. who had condemned Leapo. The criminal had tied the man behind a large target, at a shooting club for wealthy blokes.
While robbing the Washington Monument from a dirigible (!), Bull’s-Eye nearly escaped. But Speedy managed to engage him in a brawl long enough for Green Arrow to get a clear shot.
Pinned to a wall, the evil clown was arrested at last.
Revenge is his aim
Bull’s-Eye promptly escaped. He then proceeded to have his revenge against Green Arrow by framing him :
- By committing crimes disguised as Green Arrow.
- By using error-inducing green arrows to commit crimes and cause mayhem. For instance by tinkering with road signs, or vehicular dashboards’ needles.
His goal was to have people end up renaming his foe “the Green Error”. Yes, I know.
However, Green Arrow found a shop that had received an order for a hundred green “One Way” signs. He and Speedy laid a successful ambush there. Bull’s-Eye escaped, but had to rebuild a gang.
Green Arrow and Speedy prevented Bull’s-Eye from robbing a plane in flight. But the criminal easily escaped with his parasuit.
He then proceeded to :
- Steal all notable arrows in the city – from compasses, from weather vanes, from rooftop gimmick advertisements, from museums, etc..
- Discreetly booby-trap them.
- Leave them with a random street vendor, thus allowing the police to find and return the stolen arrows.
- Remotely trigger the re-installed but trapped arrows, allowing for easy robberies.
- Deterred police pursuit using mini-flamethrowers hidden in stolen-then-returned “one way” street signs.
However, Green Arrow used a booby-trapped arrow on a giant advert to destroy Bull’s-Eye getaway car. Yet the criminal stole another car, then escaped atop a passing train.
A random dart on his Crime Target (see below) later resulted in a crime-wave against sellers of then-cutting-edge electrical home appliances.
Bull’s-Eye and his men even used some of these as impromptu weapons, as did Green Arrow and Speedy.
Bull’s-Eye was successful, but his new gimmick of announcing his targets in advance by painting a bullseye on the building was his downfall. It gave the owner and Green Arrow time to trap the building.
The traps led to the arrest of Bull’s-Eye and his henchmen. But he soon escaped.
Around the world around the world
Jealous of G.A.’s rep, Bull’s-Eye challenged him to stop his new crime wave.
This time, the theme was “travel around the world without leaving the city”. Bull’s-Eye robbed :
- A film set about Spanish toreadores.
- A Turkish café.
- A bank in Chinatown. There was a street festival going on, and Bull’s-Eye and his men approached hidden within a parade dragon.
Bull’s-Eye was arrested during this one. He had boasted that his next crime would take place “in China”, which allowed Green Arrow to lay a trap along his getaway route.
However, the evil clown escaped on the next day.
History (1948/49 appearances)
Reading something about eyes in his horoscope, Bull’s-Eye thought it fitting to launch a new crime wave involving eyes. Such as ophthalmologists, cat’s eye agates, etc..
Green Arrow deduced that he would then switch the theme to bulls.
He and Speedy thus intercepted Bull’s-Eye at the opera, during Carmen – an opera with a bullfighting arena scene. It’s in the fourth act between Carmen and José, and… okay, just listen.
History (1948/49 appearances, resumed)
G.A. foiled Bull’s-Eye using his matador arrow (what else ?). He then laid a trap around an exotic statue with a giant jewel for an eye.
This worked – Bull’s-Eye was taken down by a blunt arrow gun hidden in the eye.
Green Arrow also once stopped Bull’s-Eye and his men from escaping in a hot air balloon. He used a boomerang arrow to catch the balloon’s ropes, then towed it with the Arrow-Plane into the waiting arms of the police.
(When this flashback takes place is unspecified.)
During a car chase, Bull’s-Eye tricked the Arrow-Car into crashing into his trapped sedan. Green Arrow and Speedy had to be hospitalised, and the doctors couldn’t rule out some permanent damage.
This inspired Bull’s-Eye. He paid the owner of a target-shooting event to sabotage the archers’ quivers. Any arrow stored in there would be weakened by acid.
Suddenly, they couldn’t hit anything anymore, and failed to prevent Bull’s-Eye from robbing a toy store. They assumed that they had suffered nerve damage during the car crash.
But G.A. compensated by building arrow guns, and they returned to action.
After learning the truth, they engaged Bull’s-Eye. He still could dodge their fire – but as he leapt from sign to sign, he was distracted by an advertisement and captured.
Bull’s-Eye then robbed… the annual police benefit target shooting contest. Green Arrow and Speedy couldn’t stop him.
This inspired Bull’s-Eye to launch a crime wave themed after targets.
- He rigged an Army Aviation aerial target to dispense leaflets, advertising a nylons giveaway. As women flocked in to get stockings (which had been unavailable for years due to war restrictions), Bull’s-Eye and his mob used the cover of this crowd to rob a store.
- He had accomplices flock to a shooting gallery truck near a bank. As they all fired on and on, this made enough noise to cover for the sound of a drill chewing through the vault’s lock.
Green Arrow set an ambush at a harpooning contest, involving a floating rubber whale with a target painted on it. This worked, but Bull’s-Eye escaped underwater.
Bull’s-Eye then stumbled upon a local lowlife who was an extraordinary archer.
He hired him to fight Green Arrow – unaware that this man was, because of reasons, a disguised Green Arrow.
The plan failed. As Bull’s-Eye stepped into the hollow of a large i-beam for cover against incoming arrows, he was trapped by “rivet arrows” self-welding into the steel.
Escaping within days, Bull’s-Eye prepared challenges to humiliate Green Arrow.
The archers attempted to stop him from robbing a fur warehouse, but he repelled them with an arsenal of new gadgets.
He then warned Green Arrow that he would rob a club. While the archers were waiting among the clientele, Bull’s-Eye sneaked into the checkroom. He replaced their quivers with fakes holding rubber arrows.
The Battling Bowmen thus found themselves firing limp, ineffective, flaccid shafts in front of everyone. oh no. Other arrows were sabotaged to also be humiliatingly ineffective.
But the archers still prevailed, using their fists, cutlery from the kitchen, and an unpredictable ricochet from one of the rubber arrows.
Taste the rainbow
A later flashback showed Bull’s-Eye piloting a small plane at night. But he was stopped by the bright strobes of G.A.’s rainbow arrow.
Sometimes he’s brown-haired, sometimes he’s blond. Let’s assume that the second is a clown wig.
Bull’s-Eye is oddly enthusiastic about his new identity. He often yells country fair slogans about challenging onlookers to hit him, for 10¢.
He wears his costume (including makeup) as often as he can, even in prison. Every decoration in his hideout is a bullseye motif.
To remain unpredictable and alleviate his boredom, Bull’s-Eye “rolls” crimes at random, by blindly throwing a dart at his “crime target”. He’ll also randomly decide on new “rules” for him to follow, such as painting a bullseye on his target building before robbing it.
A true Golden Age villain, Bull’s-Eye must have a silly theme for any given crime wave. *And* provide clues as to his next crime, at least some of the time.
Bull’s-Eye is often seen practising dodging darts hurled by his henchmen. Sometimes he escalates to special exercises. Such as swinging from trapeze to trapeze whilst dodging machinegun fire.
“Hit the bull’s-eye ! Ha ha ! Only 10¢ !”
“You’re ruffling my temper, Green Arrow !”
“Green Arrow and Speedy ! Again trying to hit the Bull’s-Eye ! Ha, ha ! I thought you’d see my sign ! Careful ! Remember, it costs you a dime if you miss… and everybody misses !”
“We got this money during target shooting ! Know what that means ? I’ll tell you… targets are lucky for me ! Every target has a bull’s-eye, see ? Well, from now on, every job we pull will have a *target* connected with it ! Listen…”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
Bull’s-Eye is very much a 1940s character. But later continuities did not have a 1940s Green Arrow.
The usual substitution is another archer – Alias the Spider (Tom Ludlow Hallaway). Most notably, Hallaway took the Golden Age Green Arrow’s “slot” among the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
We know that there was a Bull’s-Eye on Earth-1 as well. Since he trained Signalman (Phil Cobb) to become the Blue Bowman in a 1961 story.
But this version of Bull’s-Eye might have been more archery-oriented.
We only see Earth-1 Bull’s-Eye for 2½ panels. He’s in a prison uniform (without any makeup) and there’s little indication about his M.O.. Other that he once faced G.A. with trick arrows – and that he knows how to build those.
(This *might* refer to a published Bull’s-Eye story that isn’t in the appearance lists. But this doesn’t seem likely.)
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 07||Str: 03||Bod: 05|
|Int: 06||Wil: 06||Min: 05|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 06|
|Init: 020||HP: 050|
Acrobatics (Athletics, Climbing): 08, Acrobatics (Dodging): 11, Animal handling (Rodeo): 05, Gadgetry: 05, Martial artist: 05, Military science (Demolitions): 05, Thief: 05, Vehicles (Air): 05, Vehicles (Land): 07, Weaponry (Firearms): 07
Familiarity (Car hotwiring), Headquarters (Cramped – a hideout).
Street (High), Underworld (Low).
MIA toward theme crimes.
- Colt Pocket Hammerless [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 08, R#03].
- PARASUIT [BODY 02, Gliding: 01].
- Blackjack [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Miniaturisation: 01, Descriptor: Unarmed].
- Mercury Eight motorcar [STR 05 BODY 06, Bomb (self-destruct): 08, Running: 06, Flash (Stdy illum only, except at night): 04, Fog: 06, Super-ventriloquism (increased volume only): 03, R#02].
- Bootjets [BODY 01, Jumping: 06, Ammo: 01, Limitation: must use full APs when fired]. These are mission-specific equipment – I suspect that the fuel ain’t that stable.
The cigar seemed to have EV 04 (Area of Effect 1 AP), and the tear gas had a good 6 APs of Chemical Attack once the balloon was punctured.
The rest was cosmetic.
I’m *assuming* that the Golden Age Green Arrow had Weaponry (Archery): 10. I haven’t researched him so it’s a guesstimate. Which is unfortunate since this is the key benchmark for Bull’s Eye’s key ability.
EV 04 for a .32 ACP handgun. In period stories, rounds in this class — which we’d now see as low-powered — were considered deadly.
You’re under arrest !
As often with Golden Age villains, Bull’s-Eye seldom tries to fight or escape cops once arrested. Even though he could easily beat up, or escape from, a handful of patrolmen.
This could likely be handled as a Genre-specific Subplot. He does that to refund the Hero Points he expended during the adventure.
Note that this doesn’t apply to shooting random patrol officers as he commits his heists. This, he can do without hindrance.
Source of Character: Adventure Comics and World’s Finest Comics.
Writeup completed on the 1st of June, 2021.