Monday, May 19, 2008

Whatever Happened to...?

When last we saw lovely lady lawyer Jean Loring, she was plummeting into the deep ocean from a great height, where a shark zoomed in to attack her.

An unconscious Jean Loring versus nature's perfect killing machine. That poor, poor shark.Now that Jean's free of the Black Diamond, there's nothing to hold back her crazy-evil. Funny; it's all sort of familiar, too. Oh, yeah, that's right...


Anyway, this, and our recent commentary about disappearing supporting cast members and "supporting castastrophes" makes me want to ask you the question....

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Harold the Hunchback

You remember him, right? The mute hunchback, who was a Denominated Henchman (tm) of the Penguin, then became a Batman wage slave. Well, food slave, really, since Harold never left the Batcave to spend any money. Bruce is a shrewd one: supplying cave-and-board in exchange for a mechanical genius to repair all your bat-paraphernalia is a pretty good deal. "Alfred, whatever time you've gained from Harold's being with us, I want you to spend clipping coupons." Who says billionaires can't be frugal?

The last I saw of Harold, I think, was before the Gotham Earthquake, wherein he (and Ace the Bat-Bernard) presumably died. Or did Hush The World's Greatest Neurosurgeon (copyright Polite Dissent) make him over one afternoon into a Demosthenetian Abercrombie & Fitch model? I may have nightmared that; the whole Hush story is just a muddled, blurry mess in my mind. And outside of my mind, too.

Hoppi (sp?)

No, not the Marvel Bunny. I mean Wonder Woman's Indian co-worker at Taco Whiz; I really liked her. I was terribly amused that Gail Simone recently had Etta Candy refer to Wonder Woman's working at Taco Whiz pre-Zero Hour. I think that should be one of Etta Candy's literary functions: to repeatedly refer to every stupid, embarrassing thing Wonder Woman's ever done or been party to, in any medium. The courtship of Darkseid; marching against milk companies, fighting Dr. Domino; the dress shop. There should never be any other evidence that such things every happened; just Etta, acting as Meta-Candy.

Anyway, it's probably best that we've not heard from Hoppi again, because if she came back we'd probably discover that she's now the Ambassador to/from India, or the U.S. Secretary of Nutrition or something. Kind of like how Jeff Pierce became Secretary of Education and Linda Park became the World Expert on Hyperspeed Physiology (tm).

Woozy Winks

I didn't read Kyle Baker's Plastic Man (because, like most other modern versions, it missed Jack Cole's central concept that Plastic Man was the Straight Man in his own comic), so the last I saw of Woozy Winks was his origin story, the one where he was a crackerjack fighting-machine secret agent (the Green Dragon!), until he got trapped with a bleeding Plastic Man, and went permanently loopy from the glue-sniffing effects of Plaz's plasma. I love that story.

Since which, Plastic Man has become a Marvel character, ruined by soap suds, and saddled with an illegitimate son due to an insanely slavish devotion to Mark Waid's elseworld of "Kingdom Come", which to me is just about as stupid as continually referring to Alfred's "Batman II" or Bob Haney's Super-Sons. I couldn't care less about "Offspring" (and, apparently, neither does anyone else); let's get back to Woozy.

Wally's Mom
I adored that woman. Unimpressed by her son's superhero/superstar status, she was an inveterate nag whose sometimes-dead husband, Rudy, was a species-traitor and longtime louse. The last I remember of her, she'd given up on trying to turn Wally into a decent human being, married David Niven, and adopted a life of international adventure, all of which was highly uncharacteristic of her. Since Wally's mom was one of the few superhero parents ever to become a recurring castmember, and one with such a strong and memorable personality, I find the blackout of information on her very disturbing; Wally has not once mentioned her since she got married. Did she contract a rare, fatal fever plague after handling pirate treasure on a Caribbean cruise? Is she working for Checkmate? Did she and David go scuba diving in the South Pacific and get eaten by Jean Loring? We may never know.

Oh, and it's not just her. Mason Trollbridge. Chester Runk, the fifth most dangerous man in the world. Connie. The McGees. Chuck Cunningham. Detectives Scylla & Charybdis, or whoever those guys were. I swear, "The Flash" is the Diff'rent Strokes of comic books: once you're seen in it, you're never heard from again. Perhaps they're all just lost somewhere, wandering purposelessly along one of the vast boulevards of the sprawling madness that is Central City, pestering passers-by: "Can you tell me who I am? Have you seen my Dynastic Centerpiece? Are you my mommy?"


Supply answer if you can, but also tell us,

who are your favorite missing supporting cast members?

45 comments:

SallyP said...

All very worthy characters indeed. However, the mention of Wally's mother made me think of my favorite superhero Mom, who is ALSO missing in action.

I speak of course, of Peggy Louise Gardner. Last seen sponging off of Guy, and living upstairs at his bar Warriors. Then in "Rebirth" Guy's Vuldarian powers went wonky, and he accidentally blew the place up. No mention has been made since of what happened to his mother. In character, she could of course, take on both Wally's Mom AND Jean Loring, and spit them out.

buttler said...

I always loved Woozy Winks as well, but my feeling is that if they're going to introduce Baby Plas to the comics, they should at least bring Cowgirl and Hula-Hula in along with him.

Scipio said...

Heh; hear, hear on Hula-Hula.

Sea_of_Green said...

Good points! Add to that list Anarky (the supposed son of the Joker), and Helen Jordan (Hal Jordan's niece and sole surviving family member from Hal's brother Jack).

H said...

Meta-Candy may be the greatest idea you have ever had.

Scipio said...

I think I read on someone else's blog that Helen Jordan got retconned into non-existence....

Citizen Scribbler said...

Does Bibbo show up in the Superman titles anymore? I liked him.

And the JLI had some great supporting characters we haven't seen for a while. Like Inspector Camus or L-Ron.

And where oh where is Oberon?

-Citizen Scribbler

suedenim said...

I have to speak up for one of my favorite supporting characters, who disappeared some time after shredding one of Clark Kent's shirts to pieces.

I'm speaking, of course, of Elroy, Lois Lane's kitty cat. Or, as the title of the miniseries he never got calls him, Superman's Girlfriend's Cat, Elroy!

Brushwood said...

With all the recent attention on Jimmy Olsen, whatever happened to Lucy Lane?

Scipio said...

OH!
Or GANGBUSTER!!!!
Hispanic social worker, gets crippled, fights crime, throws away winning lottery ticket Gangbuster?!?!?

Scipio said...

Not long after that shirt incident, Elroy passed away with cancer, inexplicably contracted from an overdose of X-rays.

buttler said...

I think you answered your own question, Brushwood. Now that Mister Action's getting so much action, Lucy's strictly on the back burner.

Anonymous said...

Helen Jordan may or may not have been retconned out of existence. For decades now, relatives of Hal's have been popping into and out of existence, such that you'd need a 12-issue miniseries just to reconcile all the discrepancies.

Helen Jordan has the distinction of being the first of Hal's relatives who was around enough that you'd actually give a damn about her. However, something interesting happened recently: Hal's brother Jim (previously dead but now alive), who had been shown recently to have two sons, currently has a son and a daughter. The daughter isn't named Helen, but looks just like her -- and has had a prophetic dream about her uncle Hal, which is a Heleny thing to do.

My conclusion: there is reality to Helen Jordan from the "Spectre" series, though a bunch of the details were off. Just so long as she hasn't been retconned entirely into oblivion, I'm happy. Geoff Johns seems to be building on Hal's family so that we'll finally have a definitive (by which I mean memorable) family tree, so this should be resolved once and for all pretty soon.

totaltoyz said...

Speaking of Wally West series characters who've never been seen again: Anyone else remember the story where Joar Makent(the original, deceased Icicle)'s relatives contested his will (which left most of his money to the Flash)? And one of them became a new Icicle and fought Wally? That story seemed to utterly ignore the new Icicle, who had previously appeared in Infinity Inc (although that Icicle had not by that point been explicitly stated to be the original's son); and in its turn has been utterly ignored since Icicle Jr's return to prominence. Are we to assume the Makent-family story is another casualty of Newsarama-Boy Prime's reality-punching?

Nick said...

Yeah Chunk....I remember him back from the ole school days, when Wally kept eating massive amounts of food to make up for all the fat he thought he was burning while running...ah the days before the "Speed Force" concept...I miss them a smidge.

Last I remember seeing Chunk was after he got shot with a white dwarf star bullet or some such thing....I get the feeling the character is never gonna get brought back after that.

brisey said...

I miss Kari Limbo-Guy Gardener and Hal Jordan's psychic girlfriend.

Just dissappeared

I am willing to be corrected

brian

Anonymous said...

Kari Limbo was apparently in Coast City when it went blooey. So much for clairvoyance.

Jason said...

I remembered during Cataclysm there was a story about Harold escaping hte Batcave''s ruins to become a wandering "fixer" around Gotham.

I think he was later killed by Hush after leaking Batman's secret identity to him. Then again, whenever I try to think about Hush, I get the urge to drink.

Jack Norris said...

Favourite missing cast member? I'm using his name right now.

Chance said...

Woozy Winks and Doiby Dickles! Oh, and Talky Tawny.

Chance said...

But NOT Uncle Marvel. Even as a young kid, I hated that guy.

Jeff R. said...

Steve Lombard, people. Steve Lombard.


(Has he even appeared at all, post-crisis? Outside of All-Star, that is...)

Mallet said...

Currently Harrold is dead to my knowledge.

Since I have some sort of super resistance to bad stories (It's what happens when you force feed yourself a diet of Witchblade Manga and Original Youngblood) I can remember "Hush" pretty well.

But hey Hush is coming back in Detective! Who knows, he may bring Harrold with him!

Omar Karindu said...

The Icicle from Roy Thomas's Infinity, Inc. mentioned the Flash story in passing in Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant #1, the same story that established him as the original's son: "My dad never gave me anything. Even all the money from his estate went to Flash and my relatives."

Aside from that, however, there's been no word on James Christie, who tried using the Icicle's equipment to kill the other heirs, or of his sister Doyle, who briefly became a heroic version.

Lucy Lane became pregnant by Planet reporter Ron Troupe shortly after the Lois-and-Clark wedding, and eventually married him. She was recently mentioned in the "Up, Up, and Away" arc when Ron put in a short appearance.

Steve Lombard, on the other hand, was a running joke Post-Crisis, a WGBS anchor who was never actually seen but often mentioned. He has made a few brief appearances in the current Super-books as a sportswriter for the Planet, but these are more on the order of nostalgic cameos than anything.

rlsims said...

I think that Kurt Busiek has indicated that Gangbuster may be returning this year in Trinity...

Xanadude28@yahoo.com said...

My Two Fave Supporting Sisters MIA:

Sharon Tracy, Wonder Girls's slutty roomate who basically threw herself at any man in the room.

Cathy Perkins, Diana Prince's assistant at the dress shop who read her to FILTH in the "Special Women's Lib" issue!

Matthew E said...

I haven't been reading Booster Gold, but his secretary from the '80s Trixie Collins hasn't shown up recently, has she?

totaltoyz said...

But NOT Uncle Marvel. Even as a young kid, I hated that guy.

Oh, come on! This guy defeated Black Adam! Twice!!

Aridawnia said...

Woozy appeared (along with Plas) in a Very Special Xmas issue of Impulse.

Gustavo said...

DC, who are allegedly all gun-ho about female led books, should give Mary West, Jean Loring and Etta Candy their own team book, Think a perverted "Charlie's Angels".
Give the book to Gail and let her run with it. She can even bring Hoppi as the team's Bosley. Think about it... it has to work!

BTW, all those Bill Messner Loebs Flash supporting characters... I never understood the love for Waid's run, with this wonderful jewel right before it

Scipio said...

I agree, Waid's run on Flash was bland and unspectacular.

Patrick C said...

Steve Lombard was in the Superman/Ultraman issue of Brave & the Bold. He was seen spreading a thin layer of limburger cheese under Clark's chair, before the Ultraman version of Clark Kent caught him and broke his hand.

Anyone seen Doctor Mist? The immortal leader of the short-lived Primal Force.

Phillip said...

"Jean Loring IV: The Revenge" This time, it's personal.

plok said...

I miss Tina.

TrannyGetYourGun said...

Chunk was alive and well, last I saw him in Impulse. I really liked him, and am a bit perturbed that he's fallen by the wayside.

My choice would be Max Mercury, the Zen Master of the Speed Force. The most contemplative speedster, and an interesting character with a strange, wonderful backstory. Last we saw, he got sucked into the Speed Force by Rival or somesuch.

How about this: bring back Max and give him Wally's kids to train. Two birds with one stone! Maybe I can get a facsimile of Impulse out of the whole thing.

lonegungirl said...

"I think that should be one of Etta Candy's literary functions: to repeatedly refer to every stupid, embarrassing thing Wonder Woman's ever done or been party to, in any medium."

Unfortunately, I can only see two resolutions to this plan, as entertaining as it would be.

1) Etta Candy would starve to death, as the recitation would take up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2) Our Ambassador of Compassion would eventually get annoyed and twist Etta's head straight off her body, with an audible "SNAP." Preferably in front of a globeful of witnesses.

Either way, it seems bad for Etta.

Anthony Strand said...

I really miss all of those Messner-Loebs Flash characters too. I was disappointed when Wally's mom showed up in "Teen Titans: Year One" and was just a generic mom, and clearly not Mary at all.

I loved Catherine Cobert in JLE. I was happy to see her show up in Booster Gold a couple months ago.

Rob S. said...

Fiona Webb. I've always wanted to see what became of her since Barry died and left her in the nuthouse.

Come to think of it, how's Daphne Dean's movie career going?

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

Not DC, but:

The Beast had a dog named Sassafras for the last few years of New Defenders. New Defenders got canceled, the Beast moved to X-Factor, but Sassafras - who had actually been a significant supporting character! - is never mentioned again.

Scipio said...

OMG, did Fiona Webb go insane? That's fabulously wrong; "Abandoned Woman Goes Insane Without Man". She totally needs to team up with Jean Loring.

Anonymous said...

"OMG, did Fiona Webb go insane? That's fabulously wrong; "Abandoned Woman Goes Insane Without Man". She totally needs to team up with Jean Loring."

Oh, you don't know the half of it. Here's the story of Fiona Webb, told in wide-screen BatesVision:

The issue after the story arc in which Iris Allen died, Barry moved into an apartment, and immediately went mad rutty over his new neighbor, Fiona Webb. Only thing is, she was cold and downright unfriendly to Barry -- who admittedly was being more than a little creepy -- and eventually got to the point of threatening to call the cops on him. At one point, she did in fact accuse Barry of either stalking her or trying to kill her at her job, and if it wasn't for the Flash showing her that Barry was in his apartment, she'd have pressed charges.

We eventually discovered why Fiona was so cold towards Barry: turns out that she was in the witness protection program because of a guy named Ross Malverk, who was Barry's exact lookalike; but Fiona was also hypnotized into forgetting all about Ross Malverk, so her cold shoulder against Barry was a completely subconscious thing. Ross eventually showed up and was defeated, and Fiona and Barry started dating after that.

(By the way, you should have at least a few questions about editorial control at this juncture, namely why the editor was asleep at the wheel. It's possible that Cary Bates was editing his own writing by this point, which would explain much.)

Anyway, Barry and Fiona decided to get married, but when another Barry lookalike tried to kill her (the Reverse Flash), I think that's what drove her 'round the bend. So what I'm saying is, Fiona isn't an example of a woman who needs a man, so much as a woman who needs fewer Barry Allens.

Incidentally, for whatever charges one can level against Mark Waid for his handling of Wally West, his handling of Barry Allen was better than he'd ever received while alive. I'm pretty sure Waid made a point of ignoring Fiona Webb altogether -- look back at "The Return of Barry Allen" and it's said that Thawne tried to kill "a woman", not "Barry's fiancee" -- and to be sure, Barry plays a lot better in our memories as a guy whose heart belonged only to Iris.

JonnyQuest037 said...

You should give the Baker Plas a try, Scip. He had a similiar disdain for Plas' illegitimate son.

I miss Lucius Fox. You'd think he would've gotten a bigger push post-Batman Begins. Does the Wonder Woman book still use Steve Trevor?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Harold start off in Denny O'Neill's run on "The Question?"

buttler said...

Hey, whatever happened to Itty, Hal Jordan's space-anemone pal? Surely he's been used as the Big Bad in some mega-DC crossover event by now.

Doop said...

What issue is that Jean Loring quote from?