A group of five boys with a thirst for adventure, the Rapid Arrows (or Rychlé šípy in the original Czechoslovakian) premiered as an action-packed comics series 80 years ago. Mirek Dušín, Jarka Metelka, Jindra Hojer, Červenáček (aka “Red Cap”), Rychlonožka (aka “Speedy”), and their trusty dog Bublina (aka “Bubble”) were an instant hit with young readers—and remain popular in the Czech Republic and Slovakia today.
Created by the Czech writer Jaroslav Foglar, the Rapid Arrows comic quickly became a household name in families with young children. The group leader’s name, Mirek Dušín, has become a figure of speech for someone who is exemplary in every way—now used in a humorous way. Adapted into audio, film, and stage versions, the Rapid Arrows left a strong impact on pop culture in Eastern Europe and even inspired a wave of real-life youth clubs with many thousands of readers.
The comic ran from 1938 to 1989, with two breaks in production caused by war and political changes. All the original comics were collected into one book in 1998, which has been reprinted several times since. The Rapid Arrows also appear in Foglar’s novel Mystery of the Conundrum, which was adapted into a 1969 TV series and later into a 1993 film.
The boys’ search for the mechanical puzzle known as “Hedgehog in a Cage,” the Tleskač flying bicycle, and the sinister region of Stínadla continue to be loved by generations of readers and viewers.
Doodle illustrated by Czech artist, Marek Rubec