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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Lucia Von Bardas

Lucia von Bardas is a character that I don't think I ever would've heard about if it weren't for this blog. She first appeared in the miniseries Secret War (issue 1, February 2004), where she was the prime minister of Latveria. Although publicly she was devoted to mending the relationship between Latveria and the United States, she secretly funded supervillains. SHIELD found out about and tried to kill her, which led to her becoming a cyborg.

Lucia von Bardas later appeared in the animated series Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the episode "Breakout, part 1" (2010) as an android assistant to Dr. Doom. This character had a much simpler appearance than her comic counterpart.

But when she suddenly reappeared in comics in Invincible Iron Man #6 (April 2017), she was sporting her animated appearance.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Character Spotlight: Angela Chen

I'm glad I get to share this one because I've always thought Superman: The Animated Series was kind of the black sheep of the DC Animated Universe. Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League get raved about all the time, but "Superman" is barely talked about at all, and most people think it's only ok. As such, whereas the Batman shows have their DNA all over the comics, Superman's show is just kind of forgotten.

And that's why Angela Chen surprised me so much.

Angela Chen is a reporter for the Daily Planet who first appeared in the "Superman" episode, "The Last Son of Krypton, Part II" (1996). She wrote a gossip column and hosted Metropolis Today, and she appeared in about half of the show's episodes.

Over twenty years later, Angela appeared in Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (January 2017) as the host of what seems to be a gotcha journalism talk show called "Impossible But True with Angela Chen". In a scene that happens years ago, she calls Mari McCabe, aka Vixen, on not being as active in her charity work as she says.

Justice League of America #8 (June 2017) has her appear to interview The Man From Monster Valley, a story that seems to better fit her show's title. And the same month, she appeared in Mother Panic of all places (issue #8 as well). The Mother Panic appearance is a good sign, I think. If she had only appeared in the two Justice League of America issues, I might assume she was just a pet character of that writer. But showing up in a book by a different writer, and one so off the beaten path as Mother Panic, makes me think they're setting her up to be the go-to commentator on the goings-on of the DC Universe. Not bad for a minor character on a neglected show!

(Thanks to reader austinpopdan for the suggestion!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Character Spotlight: Dr. Knowles

I hesitate to call this a character spotlight, because the character in question had a bit part without many distinguishing features or even a name. It's more of a scene recreation, but for all I know, there could be big plans for this character down the road (probably, but who can say).

In this month's Batman #26 (July 2017), we get the following scene:

In case it's not familiar to you, this is a beat-for-beat recreation of a scene in the movie Batman (1989):

...with a twist. See, this issue is part of the crossover "The War of Jokes and Riddles", so instead of the Joker being in the operating chair, it's the Riddler. The operation has saved his life but left him with a question mark shaped scar.

Like last week, I'm not a huge fan of this development. But like last week, this entry is part of what seems to be a growing trend of deriving influence from the Tim Burton Batman films (another example of which is Catwoman's new origin).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Penguin's Background (And Appearance)

The 2014 television series Gotham is set in the city's past when Bruce Wayne is just a kid. Although Bruce is a main character, most of the show is about James Gordon's attempts to clean up the city. This means there are plenty of criminal characters, including a young Oswald Cobblepot - not yet The Penguin - who first starts off as a lackey for a show-original mob character before moving to work for the more familiar Carmine Falcone.

The current Batman storyline, "War of Jokes and Riddles", is set primarily in the past, so it's fitting that in Batman #26 (July 2017), we see a young Oswald Cobblepot performing a similar role. Although instead of working for Falcone, both he and Falcone work for the Joker. (For the record, I think this is a dumb development, but whatever.)

As a bonus, you may notice that he doesn't look much like Robin Lord Taylor, but he DOES look pretty close to Danny DeVito's portrayal in Batman Returns (1992) - mainly the long, curly hair.

Tim Burton's Batman movies seem to be having more and more of an effect on Batman comics lately. Is it just the right age, where people who grew up with it are entering the industry now (cf. Geoff Johns and Superman: The Movie)? I don't know, but it happened with Catwoman's new origin, and we'll see another example of it next week!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mad Hatter Mind Control

This one is iffy enough that I almost don't want to include it, but I will.

The Mad Hatter was a very minor Batman villain for a long time. His first appearance, all the way back in 1948, was pretty much just as a generic thief with a gas gun. He appeared two more times - once in the 50s, once in the 60s - with a different appearance and a modus operandi that fit his name: he stole hats, and the hat he wanted most of all was Batman's cowl. 

These two stories were adapted into episodes of Batman (1966). But the adaptation of the second story, "The Thirteenth Hat"/"Batman Stands Pat", adds a device that wasn't in the original: the Super Instant Mesmerizer, a device built into his hat that can hypnotize people.

The Mad Hatter made a couple more appearances in comics here and there, but hats were still his main focus. Then, almost twenty years later, the Mad Hatter appeared in Detective Comics #510 (November 1982), with a twist: apparently the Mad Hatter we had seen since the 50s, the one obsessed with hats, was NOT the one who stole the yacht club trophy in the 40s. But that original Mad Hatter was now back, and this time had an MO of his own: using technology to turn people into mindless zombies.

After that, mind control became a pretty regular part of Mad Hatter's repertoire, as seen in such examples as all of his appearances in Batman: The Animated Series and the Arkham games. And all (seemingly) because of that one change in the 60s!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Character Spotlight: Charlie, Chief, and Sameer

Last Friday, I finally got around to seeing Wonder Woman. The movie was good - I had some issues with it but overall it was very enjoyable - but all of the characters were great (ESPECIALLY Wonder Woman herself, who I hope gets positioned as the center of DC's movie universe).

Three of those great characters were created for the movie. They're a ragtag group of soldiers for hire that Steve Trevor puts together. There's Sameer, the would-be-actor that uses his skills as a spy and master of disguise since his skin color prevents him from getting any good roles; Chief, a Native American smuggler who works for both sides of the war; and Charlie, an Irishman with PTSD.

Though on the surface they feel like a low-rent Howling Commandos, they had a good bit of depth and were believable as a group of people who fell into being mercenaries since they don't fit in anywhere else. So I'm happy to announce that they recently made the transition to comics in Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor #1 (June 2017).

I hope they stick around the DCU in some capacity, and thanks to reader shadzane for this hot tip!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jimmy Olsen, Photographer

Follow the link to CBR's "When We First Met" to discover how it only took Jimmy Olsen (almost) two decades to appear as a photographer in the comics after doing so in Superman: The Movie (1975)!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Group Spotlight: League of Shadows

An odd quirk of many comic book adaptations is that sometimes a character or group will sometimes appear in the adaptation with their name changed for seemingly no reason. Sometimes it's for rights reasons, like when Black Manta was renamed "Devil Ray" in Justice League because Black Manta was set aside for an Aquaman show that never happened. Sometimes it's because of story reasons, such as the latina Gotham detective not being named Montoya in The Dark Knight (because she turned out to be a traitor), and sometimes it's because the adaptation wants to avoid certain words (which is why the Sinister Six was called The Insidious Six in Spider-Man: The Animated Series). It can also be any number of other reasons, but I think it's the last one that's important here today.

Before we get to that, let's talk about the League of Assassins.

The League of Assassins are an organization of killer ninjas that work for Ra's al-Ghul. They first appeared in Detective Comics #405 (September 1970), and have gone on to become a major part of the DC Universe.

But for some reason, the League of Assassins is almost never called that when it shows up in other media. Most famously, in Batman Begins (2005), it's called the League of Shadows. I assume that's because Nolan didn't want Batman to be so blatantly associated with killers. Or maybe "Shadows" just fit the themes of the movie more. Who can say. Regardless, until more recent works like Arrow and Arkham City, if Ra's al-Ghul's gang of ninjas showed up beyond the comics, they were called the League of Shadows, the Society of Shadows, or other names along those lines.

In the comics, the League of Assassins was always the League of Assassins. There was no reason to change it, and they didn't. That is, until Detective Comics #952 (March 2017) (although the storyline, called "League of Shadows", began in the previous issue).

In this story, we learn the League of Shadows not only exists, but it's a sub-group of the League of Assassins created by Ra's al-Ghul that was considered a myth by most until Lady Shiva discovered it. But then Shiva co-opted it (of course) and had it break away from the League of Assassins to accomplish her own goals. The storyline is still ongoing as of this writing, so I don't know what impact or longevity this group will have, but it's interesting to see them introduced!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Magpie

This is a pretty surprising one to me, but it's a good example of how an adaptation doesn't need to be successful to have canon immigrants.

Beware the Batman was a 2013 animated series, the first strictly Batman-related series since The Batman ended in 2008. (Batman: The Brave and the Bold aired from 2008 to 2011, but it was a team-up show and the spotlight usually wasn't on Batman himself.) It was a decent series, and its mission statement of only using villains who had never been on tv before was an admirable, but for whatever reason, it never caught on. I suspect that had a lot to do with the CG animation, which left Gotham looking barren due to the cost and time limits of production.

Regardless, one of the villains it used was Magpie, whose first appearance was in Man of Steel #3 (September 1986). Her shtick was trying to create perfect crimes by replacing what she stole with exact copies, but she's probably more well known for her...unique appearance.

In Beware the Batman, where she debuted in the episode "Secrets" (July 2013), she's more of a generic thief, and she has a much different appearance.

She didn't appear in DC's sort-of-rebooted continuity until Batman Eternal #15 (July 2014), and only then as the Arkham Asylum receptionist. But you can see she's sporting a haircut more similar to her animated appearance.

And when she later appears as Magpie - seen here on the cover of Batgirl #8 (February 2017) - you can see a look that's definitely based on her animated appearance.

Note that the first appearance of this costume was in Batman #14 (January 2017), which I unfortunately couldn't get an image from. Also note that the issue discussed her original look, so this is simply a new style for her and not a new version of the character (although I'd count it either way).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Character Spotlight: Wyrm

Last summer I spent 30 days addressing all the canon immigrants in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles world. You wouldn't think an independent comic that doesn't think too highly of most of its adaptations would have many immigrants, but it does - especially since the current IDW run is trying to distill every previous run into something new that all works together. And from what I've seen, they've been doing a pretty good job of it.

Of course, as the series is still running, it can still introduce new canon immigrants, and that brings me to Wyrm!

Wyrm is a mutant that originated as a group of worms that came across a broken canister of mutagen (the same canister as the Turtles? Who can say) and developed a hive mind and the ability to form into a body. You can't quite tell from the picture, but Wyrm is an updated version of this character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #10 (May 1990):

This Wyrm is a mutant leech who wants to drain the Turtles of their mutated blood. But it's not so strange that he looks different, because he also looked very different when he became an action figure in 1991:

Of course, the action figure's backstory is different too, as he started out as a garbage man who was mutated into a leech, or worm, or something. He doesn't really look like either one.

Anyway, the yellow one later revealed he could break into individual worms as well, so the IDW Wyrm is following from that. The hive mind is new, though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Character Spotlight: Curaré (Prime Earth)

Batman Beyond is no stranger to this blog, as long time readers well know. And Batman Beyond has well been a source of headaches for this blog. But last July, I sorted out the brand's sordid history in DC comics and figured out there are three separate versions: the pre-New 52 future of New Earth, Earth-12 (and Earth-50), and the post-New 52 future of Prime Earth.

Curaré has had a character spotlight before, so I almost don't want to give her another one. But I don't know how else to proceed, and I lay the confusion at DC's feet.

You can get the rundown of her New Earth and Earth-12 selves at the link above, but the important thing to know is that she's an assassin who first appeared in the Batman Beyond episode, "A Touch of Curaré" (1999).

She hadn't appeared in the future of Prime Earth when I made my posts last July, but she finally showed up in Batman Beyond #6 (March 2017):

Her past comic appearances revealed that her Earth-12 version is the brother of Kai-Ro, aka Green Lantern Beyond. Only time will tell if that holds true for this version.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Character Spotlight: Dana Tan (Prime Earth, especially)

Batman Beyond is no stranger to this blog, as long time readers well know. And Batman Beyond has well been a source of headaches for this blog. But last July, I sorted out the brand's sordid history in DC comics and figured out there are three separate versions: the pre-New 52 future of New Earth, Earth-12 (and Earth-50), and the post-New 52 future of Prime Earth.

As a main character on Batman Beyond, Dana Tan is present in each of these...although that's only a recent development. Before I get to that recent development, I'll walk you through the versions that have already been documented on this blog.

The first one appeared all the way back in my Batman Beyond Super-Post, where I said this:

 Dana Tan

Dana Tan first appeared in the Batman Beyond episode "Rebirth" (1999) as Terry McGinnis's girlfriend.  Her first appearance in comics is Batman Beyond [miniseries] #3 (October 2010).

 She was from the future of New Earth. This next one is from Earth-12:

Dana Tan, Terry's girlfriend, first appeared in "Rebirth" (1999), and also first appears in Batman Beyond 2.0 #1 (August 2013).

And finally, there's the one from the future of Prime Earth. We hadn't met her yet when I made my posts last July, but she finally shows up in Batman Beyond Rebirth (September 2016). This version, who lives in a future ravaged by Brother Eye (among other things), broke up with Terry a while ago and was under the impression he had died. Now she not only knows that he's alive, but that he's Batman. And she's not happy about it.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Character Spotlight: Baby Groot

He is Groot.

Groot has been killed and regrown before, but in the past, it always happened as a proportionally smaller version of himself. (I believe this is from Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (May 2008), but I could be wrong. Definitely that run, anyway.)

In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), and especially Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017), the new Groot, aka "Baby Groot", has child-like proportions and is considered a new character.

This is also the case in the new series, I Am Groot, out this month.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Aqualad Redux

The new Aqualad, Jackson Hyde, is one of the first Character Spotlights I did on this blog. You can view the original post here.

He got the short end of the stick because he debuted, both in comics and on tv (Young Justice, in case you didn't know), right before The New 52 happened, and then he disappeared. He didn't appear again until DC Universe Rebirth #1 (May 2016), and not as Aqualad.

To be honest, I haven't really known how to handle Rebirth, which is why it's taken me so long to post him. New 52 was easy; it was a new universe, so everything that showed up was new. But Rebirth is kind of a continuation of the previous universe and kind of a continuation of New 52 (of course, New 52 was also kind of a continuation of the previous universe, but that's a different topic), so I didn't know whether I should post him again or leave him alone because he's already represented on the site.

Thankfully, DC did me a solid. See, Jackson recently became Aqualad for real. And unlike his previous, dreadlocked self, Rebirth Aqualad has hair to match his animated counterpart. So even if I can't count this as a character spotlight, it still works as an appearance spotlight.

Of course, his costume and tattoos LESS like the animated version than it used to be, but I can't win them all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Iceman's Jagged Form

Once again I have to think CBR for the assist, and you can read a more detailed background of this entry at their recent post on the subject.

But basically it goes like this: Scott Lobdell thought Iceman should be able to have greater control over his appearance, but the X-Men editors thought that Toy Biz - who owned Marvel at the time - wouldn't go for the idea since they had recently released an Iceman figure and would want the figure to match the comics.

However, Lobdell came up with a storyline that would allow him to play with the appearance temporarily. In Uncanny X-Men #314 (May 1994), the White Queen takes over Iceman's body and shows him he's not using his powers to the fullest extent.

Toy Biz saw this design and was basically like, "Whoa! Do you know how many action figures we could sell with that design?" So in 1995, they released an Iceman figure with a more jagged look and the ability to "grow" different parts of his body.

Iceman was changed in the comics to follow suit, of course, but it didn't happen all at once. In X-Men #50 (January 1996), he still had a smooth look overall, but he also had SOME shape control. His ice form had hair now, and he could turn his arms into spikes:

One month later, in Uncanny X-Men #331 (February 1996), he got the jagged look from the comics.

It didn't stick, but few things do in comics.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Character Spotlight: Farmer Brown

I've mentioned Farmer Brown on this blog before, in the Batman: The Animated Series super post, but the information was not complete until now, so he gets his own page!

Farmer Brown was a one-time villain in The New Batman Adventures. He first appeared in the episode "Critters" (September 1998), and despite his name and appearance, he's a genetic engineer who created mutant farm animals to terrorize Gotham.

Although he hasn't yet had a proper first appearance in comics, his name and likeness HAVE appeared. In Batman: Streets of Gotham #4 (September 2009), his name and likeness appear.

The issue is about a guy named The Broker who acts as a real estate person for supervillains. When Zsasz tells him he's in the market for an abattoir, the Broker sells him Farmer Brown's old pork factory.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Costume Spotlight: Darren Cross as Yellowjacket

A couple things you need to know upfront:

1. In the comics, Yellowjacket was a heroic persona of Hank Pym, but Hank Pym was going through some stuff at the time so he was kind of a dick.

2. Darren Cross died in his second appearance (the second part of a two-part story), but was later brought back to life and had been a recurring part of Ant-Man's recent series. Although he gained Hulk-esque powers in his first story, he's mostly just a businessman.

In the movie Ant-Man (2015), Yellowjacket is a suit Cross designs to sell to governments as a tactical espionage tool that uses Pym particles. He ends up wearing it himself to fight Ant-Man. As you can see, it looks pretty different to the suit from the comics...

...unless you're talking about the suit he finds in Astonishing Ant-Man #12 (September 2016), in which case it's remarkably similar (but not exact by any means).