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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Wish List (DC's Most Wanted)

Writers use canon immigrants for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes the character or idea is just really popular with the fans, or is remembered fondly from when the writer was a kid. Sometimes it's to fill a niche the comic currently has open, or perhaps (usually, if we're being honest) it's to create synergy between the adaptation and the original work. But whatever the reason, there are certain characters that have never made the jump from screen to page. They may be well known, important to the story, popular with fans, and distinctive looking, but they just never cross over.

This year, I decided to put together a wish list of characters - two, actually - that I really want to become canon immigrants. They're listed in order of how badly I want them and I'll give my reasons for each.

1) The Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network Stable

In the 60s and 70s, Hanna-Barbera made a ton of cartoons, and although the ones we most remember are things like The Flintstones and Droopy, they had their hands in pretty much every genre, but an awfully big number fell into the "superhero" category. In the 90s, Cartoon Network picked up where H-B left off, and again, most of them involved superheroes in one way or another.

This list includes Space Ghost, Birdman, Captain Planet, the Powerpuff Girls, the Justice Friends, and all associated characters, but there are so many more: the Galaxy Trio, the Association of World Super-Men, Sinbad Jr, the Impossibles...they go on and on. Believe me when I say there are enough to believably fill an Earth-48 or whatever, and you could even include some of the cartoons that aren't superheroes, really, but still live in a comic book world: Jonny Quest, Sealab 2020, Space Kidettes, Jana of the Jungle, and so forth. Even Dexter's Lab if they wanted. (I'll put Freakazoid! here too, even though he's technically Warner Bros. Animation.)

I think it's crazy they haven't done this already. TimeWarner owns H-B and CN; all of these properties are just sitting there, begging to be used.

2) Red Lantern Razer

Razer is a main character of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and one of the best parts of an already great show. Forcing a Green Lantern and a Red Lantern to work together was a great idea, and learning more about him and his inner conflicts, as well as seeing how he interacted with Hal and Aya, showed just how interesting of a character he was. A character who tries his best to be a hero despite his rage often getting the better of him would be a breath of fresh air for the villainous, blood-spewing Red Lanterns of the comics. And frankly, it's weird that they had a show which co-starred a character who had never appeared in the comics and still hasn't, and I think they need to rectify that.

3) The 60s Batman TV villains

One of the things the 60s series did well was introduce its own villains. They gave the show a unique identity and the characters themselves generally fit in well with the already established Rogues' Gallery. And it definitely didn't hurt they got the biggest stars of the time to imbue the characters with personality.

A couple of these characters have made it to the comics, albeit in altered or otherwise minor forms. But for the most part, they've been absent, mainly because of a tangled rights situation. That fiasco got sorted out this year, though, so it's time for them to make a mass exodus. Here's the thing, though: I don't want them to be Batman villains. He's got enough. They should be given to Nightwing since he's never really built up his own and he fought them just as much as Batman did.

4) The Ultimen

I am a sucker for the original Super Friends characters. All of them. Ideally, I'd love for them to be in comics as a team called the Super Friends, and as long as they were used to their full potential, I think they'd be really great.

Unfortunately, I've already seen them adapted into the comics (except for El Dorado); at best they get harmless cameos, at worst they become major characters that are darkened and grittified to fit in. And I don't want that. But the Ultimen are basically the same characters but already darker and with costumes that don't need to be changed to fit in. Plus, they're from Justice League instead of Super Friends so they'd probably be treated better.

5) Veritas

I'm going to be honest: I had trouble thinking of a fifth one. That's what happens when DC makes it a point to immigrate as many characters as they can. Veritas isn't even a character, it's an organization. But I think the idea of a secret society built around the arrival of Superman's ship and Kryptonian culture is a good one.

(Honorable Mentions: the villains of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave and the Bold)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Alien Race Spotlight: Chitauri

The Chitauri are an alien race that first appeared in Marvel's The Avengers (2012) as an army that invaded Earth with Loki under the orders of Thanos. They were based on the Chitauri, an alien race that first appeared in The Ultimates #8 (November 2002) as the Ultimate version of Skrulls, but then a few years later an actual Ultimate version of Skrulls showed up, so...I don't know. Anyway, this version, which are neither Skrulls nor the Ultimate Universe version of the Chitauri, first appeared in Nova #4 (July 2013), complete with their weird flying jet skis and dragon ship. This is a very fitting place for them to appear as Nova is also a canon immigrant (from the tv show Ultimate Spider-Man) and the issue also featured the Guardians of the Galaxy, who will be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Character Spotlight: Tommy Merlyn

Tommy Merlyn first appeared in the pilot of Arrow (September 2012) as the party-going best friend of Oliver Queen. It's later revealed that he's the son of Malcolm Merlyn, a business partner of the Queens and also secretly the vigilante/villain known as the Dark Archer, a version of Green Arrow's archenemy Merlyn the Archer (real name: Arthur King).

Green Arrow #0 (November 2012) introduced Tommy Merlyn to the New 52 in a similar role as the show. Unfortunately, that's the only appearance he's made to date, and it's unclear what role he'll play in the future. Further complicating matters is the fact that the Arthur King version of Merlyn has made appearances elsewhere in the New 52.

Because the appearances are only separated by a few months, I should note that Tommy was in all likelihood created for the comics and then seeded into the show for exposure, like several other immigrants before him. But because he's not the first immigrant I've noted to have done that, and because at this point he's primarily known as a tv character, I still feel comfortable listing him.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Character Spotlight: Persephone

Persephone is an Amazon that first appeared in the Wonder Woman animated movie (March 2009). She made her first appearance in comics in Wonder Woman #33 (August 2009). She's not a major character and at first I chocked it up to coincidence, especially with them coming out so close, but I think it's safe to call her an immigrant because they're both written by Gail Simone.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Character Spotlight: Eve Teschmacher

Eve Teschmacher first appeared in Superman: The Movie (1978) as Lex Luthor's attractive assistant. She hasn't appeared in comics much because that role is filled by the much more capable Mercy Graves - also a canon immigrant - but she has been seen here and there. The first such appearance was in JLA: Earth 2 (2000).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Characters Spotlight: Jay and Raven

Jay and Raven are part of a trio of molls that work for the Penguin; they first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Ultimate Thrill" (1997). They made a few sporadic appearances but were never major characters. They later appeared, along with their partner Lark, as working for the Penguin in Detective Comics #5 (March 2012), also in a non-major role. Although Lark also appeared in the animated series, her first appearance was in a 1990 comic.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Character Spotlight: Protector

Protector (real name: Jason Hart) first appeared in "New Teen Titans Drug Abuse Awareness" #1, a 1983 PSA comic sponsored by Keebler. Protector was a stand-in for Robin, who was licensed by Nabisco at the time. He became a real deal member of the Titans in Team Titans #24 (September 1994), which happened to be the last issue of the series, so he never appeared again. He's made some cameos here and there, such as in the Infinite Crisis hardcover (2006), but never had much of an impact.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bane's New 52 Appearance

DC's "New 52" initiative promised a ton of new stuff, but it seems like the only things that have had any real change is the characters' costumes. With that in mind, Bane's clothing also changed, and it changed to the paramilitary look of the character in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). You know..."new". At least they didn't change the mask. He made his New 52 debut in Batman #23.4 (October 2013).

Left top: Original Bane
Right top: Dark Knight Rises Bane
Bottom: New 52 Bane

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gadget Spotlight: Tumbler

I've mentioned the Tumbler - Batman's pseudo-Batmobile from Batman Begins (2005) and its two sequels - before in a previous post, but that was just as a background element. An inside joke that, while still counting for the purposes of this blog, is pretty unofficial. But it made its full-page, actually-get-to-see-Batman-using-it debut in the pages of Detective Comics #20 (July 2013), which is part of the "Zero Year" storyline, and therefore a fitting appearance.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cross-Universe Immigration: A Rarity

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, sometimes things from an alternate reality gets brought over to the mainstream universe. Maybe it's because the character is popular, or maybe it's a creator's pet, or it could be any of several other reasons. I've touched on this before here. Today, we have three new examples, this time from Marvel (and one from DC).

The first is Monica Chang, who first appeared as the new Black Widow in Ultimate Comics Avengers #3 (December 2009). She later appeared in Avengers AI #1 (September 2013) as a SHIELD agent.

The second is Geldoff, who first appeared as a Latverian mutant villain in Ultimate Spider-Man #40 (July 2003). He later appeared in the 616 universe as an Avengers Initiative trainee named Proton in Avengers Initiative #8 (February 2008).

Number three is Sophia Sanduval, aka Chat, who first appeared in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #53 (September 2009), as a mutant who can talk to animals. She later jumped to the mainstream in Spider-Girl #4 (April 2011).

And finally we have Carrie Kelley, the future Robin from The Dark Knight Returns (1985). She made her debut on Earth-Zero as a student at Gotham Community College who had been giving Damien Wayne acting lessons; her first appearance was Batman and Robin #19 (June 2013).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gadget Spotlight: Thing Rings

Back in the 60s and 70s, adapting comic books into cartoons was really popular, but actually staying true to those comics wasn't. And possibly the best example of this is the late 1979 cartoon "The Thing", one half of the cartoon series Fred and Barney Meet The Thing. In the cartoon, The Thing is a kid named Benjy Grimm who can turn into The Thing when he touches two magic rings together as he says, "Thing Ring, do your thing!" (The jury's still out on whether he needs to say it or if it's just an affectation.)

Someone - Matt Fraction, to be exact - finally found a way to incorporate those into the comics in FF #1 (January 2013) with the introduction of Darla Deering, aka Ms. Thing. Deering uses two decidedly not magical rings created by Reed Richards that release Thing-shaped unstable molecules when she touches them together. She too says "Thing rings, do your thing!" but it is definitely not necessary.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Character Spotlight: Scorn

A long time ago, someone had the idea, "What if there were someone that was exactly like Batman...but EVIL?", and everyone else looked around and said, "That's a GREAT idea! We'll make our own too!" Just off the top of my head, there's Killer Moth and The Wrath and Owlman and Prometheus and Batzarro and Catman and who knows who else. But oddly, not a single one of these characters had an anti-Robin...

...until Scorn came along.

Scorn, aka Andrew Mallory, is a sidekick - and younger brother - of Wrath who first appeared in an episode of The Batman called "The End of the Batman"(February 2008).

He didn't appear in comics until Detective Comics #22 (September 2013), this time as Clyde Anderson, no relation to Wrath (but still his sidekick), and possibly one of several people using the Scorn name. Unfortunately, his costume is ridiculous compared to the original, but that's because the New 52 hates fun.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Character Spotlight: Diggle

The second post today is John Diggle, who first appeared in the Arrow pilot, played by David Ramsey. He was originally presented as Oliver Queen's bodyguard and driver, but has since been brought into the secret and also acts as Arrow's muscle (and his conscience). We've also slowly learned that, being ex-military, he has ties to both ARGUS and the Blackhawks.

As perhaps the only original character in Arrow, it was only a matter of time before he made the jump to comics and he finally did so in Green Arrow #24 (October 2013).

His name is a reference to well-known Green Arrow author Andy Diggle, which is also the name of Diggle's brother.

Character Spotlight: Otis

It's been a while (as always seems to be the case these days), but today I have two entries! First up is Otis.

Otis first appeared in Superman: The Movie (1978), portrayed by Ned Beatty. Otis is Lex Luthor's bumbling, tackily dressed henchman. He also appeared in Superman II (1981), but did not return for any sequels.

Despite appearing in the tv series Young Justice (Episode: "Satisfaction") and the comic book Superman Family Adventures - versions of him, anyway - he didn't make his first mainstream appearance in comics until Forever Evil #2 (October 2013) as one of Lex Luthor's security guards. He looks different, but his personality's pretty much the same.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Team Spotlight: Global Guardians

Before we get started, I should note that I'm not really sure if they count. Although they appeared first in an animated series tie-in comic, they never actually appeared on the show. Still, in the interest of thoroughness, and because of how relatively well-known they are, I'm going to include them. Feel free to object in the comments.

The Global Guardians are an international team of superheroes that first appeared in a three-part storyline in Super Friends #7-9 (Oct. - Dec. 1977), in which they team up with the Super Friends to save the world from an evil villain named Grax who wants to blow it up. They later appeared sporadically throughout the series and gained members several times during the run. The original team line-up was as follows:

Super Friends #9
Tasmanian Devil (Australia) - First Appearance: Super Friends #7 (Oct. 1977)
Owlwoman (USA) - First Appearance: Super Friends #7 (Oct. 1977)
Seraph (Israel) - First Appearance: Super Friends #7 (Oct. 1977)
Godiva (England) - First Appearance: Super Friends #7 (Oct. 1977)
Impala (South Africa) - First Appearance: Super Friends #7 (Oct. 1977)
Jack O'Lantern (Ireland) - First Appearance: Super Friends #8 (Nov. 1977)
Rising Sun (Japan) - First Appearance: Super Friends #8 (Nov. 1977)
Tuatara (New Zealand) - First Appearance: Super Friends #8 (Nov. 1977)
Thunderlord (Taiwan) - First Appearance: Super Friends #8 (Nov. 1977)
The Little Mermaid (Denmark) - First Appearance: Super Friends #9 (Dec. 1977)
Olympian (Greece) - First Appearance: Super Friends #9 (Dec. 1977)
Icemaiden (Norway) - First Appearance: Super Friends #9 (Dec. 1977)

And the following joined later:

Doctor Mist (Africa) - First Appearance: Super Friends #12 (July 1978)
Green Fury (Brazil) - First Appearance: Super Friends #25 (Oct. 1979)
Wild Huntsman (Germany) - First Appearance: Super Friends #45 (June 1981)
Bushmaster (Venezuela) - First Appearance: Super Friends #45 (June 1981)

Super Friends #45
The team would make the jump to regular continuity a year later in DC Comics Presents #46 (June 1982), with a roster consisting of Doctor Mist, Little Mermaid, Rising Sun, Jack O' Lantern, Green Fury (renamed Fire), Seraph, Olympian, Thunderlord, and Bushmaster. The other members would make the transition over time:

Owlwoman and Impala first appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (Mar. 1986), Tasmanian Devil and Icemaiden in Infinity Inc. #32 (November 1986), Godiva and Wild Huntsman in Infinity Inc. #34 (Jan. 1987), and Tuatara in Justice League International #12 (April 1988).

The Global Guardians have disbanded and re-formed several times since their introduction and their roster has significantly expanded and changed over time, but their most lasting contribution to the DC universe is probably as the spiritual precursor (and farm team, in a way) to the Justice League International.