A forever in-work compendium of Marvel and DC canon immigrants. What's a canon immigrant? Go here to find out!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Nocturna (with bonus vampirism!)

Nocturna, aka Natalia Knight, first appeared in Batman #363 (July 1983). When a radioactive laser accidentally robbed her off her skin pigmentation and made her sensitive to light, she turned to burglary to pay for treatments (and to keep up the luxurious lifestyle she had grown accustomed to).

Paul Dini wanted to use Nocturna in The New Batman Adventures, with plans to make her a straight-up vampire. However, the WB wouldn't allow it. This is what she would've looked like:

A different version of her named Natalie Metternich (or Natalia Mitternacht) appeared Post-Crisis in Robin #100 (March 2002). This take on her could secrete a pheromone that made people around her become emotional and lose their inhibitions. Although she never went by Nocturna in her initial storyline, later appearances in other books had her go by that name. In Salvation Run #4 (February 2008), she's even given a similar look to that of her unused DCAU design. She continues to look like this through later appearances, such as Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive?

In the New 52, a third version of Nocturna debuted. Natalia Mitternacht appeared in Detective Comics #9 (May 2012) as an Arkham inmate who had killed her husbands. By Batwoman #34 (August 2014), she was revealed to be a vampire.

I have not seen this version of her with the DCAU look yet, but I hope she gets it. I do prefer when canon immigrants are wholecloth and not piecemeal. But I'll take what I can get!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Doctor Strange's magic

Recently, Marvel started a new initiative called Marvel Legacy that's basically supposed to get the characters back to their roots. As part of this initiative, they've started releasing brief retellings of characters' origins called Primer Pages, and Doctor Strange's is pretty interesting.

See, when Doctor Strange used his magic in comics, it generally looked like generic blasts of energy, like so:

But in the recent movie Doctor Strange (2016), they decided to make magic in the MCU look more like a mandala:

This was also how magic appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) when it was used by Krugarr:

And what do you know, it's also what magic looks like in the Primer Pages in Doctor Strange #381 (October 2017):

It remains to be seen whether this will become the standard appearance of magic or if it was only used in this story because it's retelling the origin and so did the movie, but surprisingly, it's not the first time magic has appeared like this in the Marvel Universe. Here's an excerpt from a miniseries called Spellbinders (2005):

If it were pretty much any other book, I'd assume Doctor Strange was purposefully referring to it. But Spellbinders was so small and inconsequential that I have a hard time believing it had any such impact. But if someone knows of an interview or something that says otherwise, let me know!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Character Spotlight: La Fantome (aka The Fifth Avenue Phantom)

There's a famous saying: "There are no small parts, only small actors." That seems to go doubly true for canon immigrants. There is no detail too minor for a comics creator to reference if they're geeky enough, and you can never underestimate the geekiness of comics creators. The Fifth Avenue Phantom is a good example.

The Fifth Avenue Phantom is a villain that first appeared in an episode of the same name (November 1967) of the Spider-Man animated series. The Phantom is based on Fifth Avenue - as his name suggests - and has a minor fashion theme. For instance, he attacks Spider-Man with a robotic mannequin. He appeared in one other episode a month later, and then that was it.

However, in Spider-Girl #91 (October 2005), a villain named La Fantome shows up.

Although the name's different (barely), they dress the same and La Fantome's crimes also center around fashion. I'm sure most people reading this issue would have no idea who this character is based on, but that's never stopped a comics creator before!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Name Spotlight: James Wesley

Wesley is not a canon immigrant.

If you don't know who Wesley is, he's Kingpin's right hand man, whose main job is to clean up Kingpin's messes. He first appeared in Daredevil #227 (December 1985), and to be honest, didn't make too many appearances after that. But he was only ever called Wesley.

He later showed up in Daredevil (2003), and they gave him a full name: Wesley Owen Welch. This information is key to the mystery at the heart of the movie...which, incidentally, was almost entirely cut out of the theatrical version.

He appeared again in Daredevil season one (2015), and once again was given a full name. Only this time, he was called James Wesley.

It is with this name that he reappeared in comics recently, in Kingpin #4 (May 2017).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Character Spotlight: Mitchell Ellison

I don't know why it happened, but the stories of Spider-Man and Daredevil are very intertwined. Perhaps it's because they're the two most prominent street-level heroes at Marvel. Whatever the reason, they're very close friends and they share villains (such as Kingpin) and supporting characters (such as Ben Urich).

As you might imagine, this caused a bit of a snag when the movie rights for the two characters were split. It wasn't as much of a headache as, say, the Maximoff twins, but it did cause Ben Urich to no longer work at the Daily Bugle. For Daredevil's Netflix series (2015), the writers decided to have him work at the recently introduced New York Bulletin instead of the longer-established Daily Globe. I can only assume that's because the Bulletin was more of a blank slate. They could introduce characters and ideas surrounding it as they wished.

Enter Mitchell Ellison, the editor.

Ellison is an interesting character because, in the first season, he was a bit of a secondary antagonist. He kept seemingly interfering with Urich's work, and it was implied that he was secretly working for the Kingpin. But after it was revealed he wasn't working for Kingpin, and genuinely had the best interest of the paper at heart, he's been one of the purest forces on the side of good.

Although he hasn't actually appeared in the Marvel Universe yet, he was confirmed to be editor of the Bulletin in Kingpin #4 (May 2017).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spider-Man's Marriage

This is one of those tricky ones where an idea was created for an adaptation, then they decided to introduce the idea in the comics as well, before the idea appeared in the adaptation. What makes this trickier is that they tried to have the two storylines coincide.

Since 1977, Stan Lee has written a daily newspaper strip called The Amazing Spider-Man. At some point he decided Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson should get married in it, and he approached Marvel Comics about them doing the storyline in the comics as well, ideally having them take place the same week.

They didn't happen in the same week, but they did happen close together. In the comic strip, the marriage took place on June 21, 1987:

In the comics, they got married in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (August 1987):

Of course, they're no longer married, which is unfortunate. But it still counts!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nickname Spotlight: The Last Son of Krypton

I've addressed some of the common phrases attached to Superman before, such as "strange visitor from a distant planet," but this is one I'd never even considered might be an immigrant: did you know "Last Son of Krypton" first appeared outside of comics?

According to CBR, Elliot S! Maggin had been trying to get the moniker into comics for a long time, but he was always told he couldn't use it. When Maggin got a gig to write a tie-in novel for the movie, however, no one could stop him. Hence, we got an origin story titled Superman: Last Son of Krypton (1978).

I don't know the exact first time it was used in comics, but I know it definitely appeared by 1993 on the cover of Action Comics #687. And the way it was used, alongside other phrases like "Man of Steel" and "Man of Tomorrow" - each Superman replacement used one of his nicknames - makes me think it was already well-known to comics readers by then.