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

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)

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.