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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Character Spotlight: Selena

I love when I'm surprised by a canon immigrant. This one is one of the more surprising ones I've seen.

Selena first appeared as the villain of Supergirl (1984). She started out as a would-be witch working with a warlock named Nigel, but she developed real powers when she discovered an object called the Omegahedron. The movie was not well received, so it didn't have much impact on the comics (though it also didn't have NO impact, as seen here).

That is, until now. Thanks - I'm guessing - to the new cachet all things Supergirl has because of the show, Supergirl #10 (June 2017) featured the debut of a new version of Selena. This one seems to have always had powers, and has ties to Limbo Town (where Klarion the Witch Boy is from). She appears as part of a new Fatal Five, which - despite the name - seems more like a Supergirl Revenge Squad. This is a revealing choice in my eyes, because it instantly ranks her as one of Supergirl's greatest threats.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Location Spotlight: Hall of Doom

The Hall of Doom was formerly featured in the "Super Friends Super Post", where I said this:

Hall of Doom

The Hall of Doom first appeared in 1978's Challenge of the Super Friends as the headquarters of the Legion of Doom.  It made its first comics appearance in Justice Society of America #6 (July 2007) as a former base of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. It has since had a handful of appearances in such books as Justice League of AmericaFinal Crisis, and Superman/Batman.

More recently, it has popped up in Dark Nights: Metal #2 (September 2017). As with some previous entries, Rebirth is somewhat nebulously a continuation of both the New 52 and pre-New 52 DC universes, so I've decided to treat it as a first appearance just to be safe. Strangely, this Hall of Doom is in the lava pits of Antarctica instead of a swamp.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Who Designed Captain America's Shield?

In the comics, Captain America's circular shield was designed by Myron Maclain. Surprisingly, we don't learn this until Avengers #66 (May 1969).

In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), we learn that Howard Stark - Iron Man's father - was a key member of the Super Soldier Program and designed the shield himself.

In Captain America: White #3 (2015), however, Cap mentions he believes Howard Stark invented it.

This is an interesting canon immigrant because it's not concrete. We don't see Howard Stark working on it; it doesn't even say for sure that he did invent it. All we know is that Steve heard he invented it. This allows writers going forward to keep it Myron Maclain or change it to Howard Stark and pretty much be right either way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Character Spotlight: Gustav Fiers (aka The Gentleman)

Gustav Fiers is a rare case of a canon foreigner appearing in another adaptation before appearing in comics.

He first appeared in a novel called Spider-Man: The Gathering of the Sinister Six (1999) as the brother of Karl Fiers, an established character who was responsible for the death of Spider-Man's parents, Richard and Mary Parker. As the Gentleman, he became a man behind the scenes in the criminal underworld and was responsible for the creation of the Sinister Six, a team-up of some of Spider-Man's greatest foes. He went on to appear in Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six and Spider-Man: Secret of the Sinister Six, where he was killed off.

He later appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), where he was only credited as "The Man in the Shadows". He also appeared in the sequel, called Gustav Fiers this time, where he talks with Harry Osborn about forming the Sinister Six.

Fiers received a cameo in Civil War II: Kingpin #4 (October 2016), where he was one of several villains who supported Janus as the new Kingpin.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Costume Spotlight: Mr. Freeze's Goggles

I'm a little behind this week because of work, but better late than never.

Mr. Freeze is no stranger to this blog. From his name to his origin to his costume, plus more, nearly everything about him has come from non-comics sources at one time or another.

One thing that's never appeared in comics is his goggles. In Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Mr. Freeze had very distinctive red goggles that strongly contrasted with the cool colors of the rest of his outfit.

Even in Batman: Mr. Freeze (1997), which introduced a lot of changes based on the animated series, it didn't include the goggles. 

Unfortunately, one of those changes was walked back in the New 52. Freeze's origin was basically the same, only now Nora Fries was Nora Fields and Freeze only THOUGHT he was married to her. Surprisingly, he was given his iconic red goggles in the same issue (Red Hood and the Outlaws #9, May 2012).

It's's like DC can't help themselves. Even when they distance themselves a bit from one instance of canon immigration, they introduce another one!

(Note: while finding pictures for this piece, I discovered the red goggles had shown up before, in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #190-191 [April/May 2005]. In fact, an entire Animated Series-accurate outfit appeared. Many stories in this series are of uncertain continuity so I don't know if this counts, but I've included them below for thoroughness.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Cyborg

Cyborg has had many different looks over the years. When he first debuted, he looked like this:

By the New 52 (November 2011), he had a much bulkier, less humanoid look with red highlights. I don't like this style as much because, as a cyborg, I think his human parts should be about equal to his mechanical parts.

In the movie Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (2013), Cyborg has the below look for the beginning of the movie. I like it a lot because it makes him look athletic - which he is - and shows that's he's mostly human with some modification. Unfortunately, he has an appearance similar to the one above for most of the movie.

Luckily, DC Rebirth happened and fixed a lot of the New 52's issues. In Convergence: Crime Syndicate #2 (May 2015), there's a Cyborg backup story where he loses both his arms. Then something happens - I'm not entirely sure what, even though I've read the pages - and he not only regrows his arms, but gets a whole new design more in line with the picture above. Silver and black with blue highlights, exposed upper arms, those blue's not a 1-to-1 transfer (and these things usually aren't), but it's close enough to be noticeable. This backup story was to set up the ongoing series he got as part of Rebirth.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Costume Spotlight: Zizz

This is an interesting one, because Zizz is an original character. She's a Thanagarian who was
 part of a new Suicide Squad along with other mythologically-named villains like Behemoth and Leviathan.

She was first mentioned in Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Boomerang #1 (August 2016), and then appeared for real in Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Killer Croc #4 (November 2016). And when she did, she looked like this:

A good look, but a strange one, because it doesn't really belong to Zizz. It originated with the Justice Lords version of Hawkgirl, as seen in the Justice League episode "A Better World" (2003).

The Justice Lords were a version of the Justice League from an alternate reality where they became totalitarian. Funnily enough, Lord Hawkgirl already exists in the DCU, on Earth-50.

Surprisingly - to me, at least - this isn't the first time someone has used the animated design of an existing character to make a new character. It also happened when Young Justice's Sportsmaster became Mad Dog.

Thanks again to austinpopdan for the accidental heads up! For the others that came from this miniseries he recommended, visit El Dorado and Sin Tzu.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Character Spotlight: Sin Tzu

This is one I never expected to see, and I have to give another shout-out to austinpopdan for (inadvertently) pointing me in the direction of it!

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was a video game that was released for all consoles in 2003. Set in the DC Animated Universe, the game introduced - who else? - Sin Tzu, a yellow peril villain that basically followed the plot of every event villain: he comes to Gotham to challenge Batman and recruits a bunch of Batman villains to soften him up first.

Sin Tzu was a big deal at the time. To my knowledge, an original character had never been created for a video game adaptation before, so DC got Jim Lee to design him and hyped him up to be the next Harley Quinn. That...didn't happen.

In fact, he didn't appear in comics at all (a pretty major step if you want a character to be the next Harley Quinn) until almost fifteen years later in Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Killer Croc #3 (October 2016).

I don't know why this second-rate Ra's al-Ghul, himself a second-rate Fu Manchu, exists. But he does, and he finally achieved his goal of becoming a canon immigrant. Join us next week for the final immigrant from Suicide Squad Most Wanted!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Character Spotlight: El Dorado

I have been waiting to add this dude for so long, and thanks to user austinpopdan, I finally can!

El Dorado is one of the lesser known Super Friends, which may be part of the reason he's taken so long to make it into the comics. He first appeared in the Super Friends segment, "The Alien Mummy" (1981), and became a full-time member the next season.

Although he's appeared here and there in various adaptations, most notably in Young Justice: Invasion, he never appeared in DC Comics proper until last year in Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller #5 (December 2016).

El Dorado is positioned as the leader of ¡Justicia!, a Mexico-based superteam. I was also surprised to see the other members of the team, since they've previousl appeared in only one issue, way back in 2000.

And these weren't the only surprises. In researching this series, I discovered two other canon immigrants in other issues, so stay tuned for those over the next two weeks!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Character Spotlight: Raza (plus bonus content related to Iron Man's origin)

I've been waiting for the chance to post this one for a long time. I've known about it since 2012, but I could never find any proof online, and I could never find the issue in person to verify it myself. Luckily, a friend of mine finally convinced me to get Marvel Unlimited and it was right there. Took me like two seconds to find.

In Iron Man (2008), Tony Stark is captured in Afghanistan by a terrorist cell called the Ten Rings. The leader of the cell is a man named Raza. Many people were disappointed that the Ten Rings wasn't led by the Mandarin, but Raza is conspicuously shown fiddling with a large ring on multiple occasions, and the Mandarin has been known to lend his rings to underlings on certain occasions.

Two years later, Invincible Iron Man Annual 2010 goes through the Mandarin's history, which includes a retelling of Iron Man's origin. This is the first time the Mandarin has been tied to this story in the comics, and more importantly, Raza shows up as his right hand man, looking just like he does in the movie.

On the next page, we see his name is indeed Raza:

As a bonus, here's how Tony's escape is depicted:

Although the movie's Mark I armor is very similar to the Mark I armor in the comics (way closer than I expected it to look), it has a much more segmented, jury-rigged appearance as is depicted here. The armor in Iron Man's first appearance also didn't have flamethrowers. For comparison, here's the original Mark I armor from the comics and the relevant scene from the movie.

Tales of Suspense #39 (1963)

Iron Man (2008)