Sunday, September 28, 2014

I'm a Bee-liever

I just learned something:

The Red Bee is in the public domain.

This character:

Opened fire with WHAT?  It looks like a martial aid.  Must be a sex pistol.

believe it or not, belongs to all of us, belongs to the WORLD.

And yet there is no Red Bee film in development.  No Red Bee The Animated Series.  No Red Bee comics.  In fact, I can't even find Red Bee fan fic.  Meanwhile, there's a Ant-Man movie being planned.  

This shows what happens when you don't have an agent (or anyone who owns you as intellectual property).  All those of you so ardent for preventing copyright law extensions on such characters, let the fate of the Red Bee warn you all!

Thus, the legacy of the Red Bee languishes.  Truly, the state of the Red Bee is a tragedy much like global warming, is which something for which everyone is responsible is something for which no one feels sufficient responsibility.  

As do your descendants, Rick.  I mean your spiritual descendants, of course.

What would you do to bring back the Rick Raleigh version of the Red Bee? Would you give mutant bee-controlling powers, like Yellowjacket?  Would you include his much-maligned, but incomprehensibly well-trained, sidekick, Michael?  With his outré couture and poofy diaphanous sleeves would he be a would-be fashion designer out for justice? Given the fact that, in 24 issues, he was hit on the head and knocked-unconscious 14 times, would you make him a sidekick for Hal Jordan (truly, the Red Bee put the "hit' in Hit Comics)?  Or for Green Arrow, considering how ridiculous he is?  Would you sign your masterpiece "B.H. (for Bee hive, one assumes) Apiary", out of shame?  Is he really any more ridiculous than, say, the Green Hornet? Would you have him fight all the sort of crime Golden Age heroes used to tackle that's no longer on the radar of big-time Justice Leaguers, such as milk racketeering, jilted lovers, and medical supply-jackers?

I believe something wonderful can be done with this character (again).  I'm a Red Bee-liever.

Prove me right!


Bryan L said...

I kinda liked that Red Bee revamp from Freedom Fighters a couple of years back, where the new Red Bee (female) was infected with space bee DNA or something and was mutating into the Queen of the Space Bees. Sort of evoked the old Queen Bee, who was alien. But that only really works for females, because male bees lack personal initiative.

Hmm. If I had to reboot the male Bee, I'd go with something like Swarm, where you've got a disembodied consciousness inhabiting a hive. Kind of an apiary Swamp Thing.

Or the fashion designer. That's probably more fun.

Anonymous said...

Tie his origin to that of the Blue Beetle, where Michael is alien technology whose serial number is My-Khel.

John said...

...Ant-Man isn't Red Bee fanfic? Wow. That changes everything.

As for any pitfalls of the public domain, the counter-examples include the Flying Dutchman of Time, the Sino-Supermen, and DC's pirate and teen characters. DC has exclusive rights and the Red Bee has gotten more face-time than them.

As for reinventing the Red Bee, "Quality in modern times" has surprisingly been on my mind, lately. I'm torn between a 1950s-style hero with trick bees (semi-trained, wearing tiny rocket-packs and gimmick warheads/stingers) or a vigilante with a "stinger-gun" and a gadget that summons (but doesn't control) bees to scare people and cover his escapes.

In his civilian identity, Michael Raleigh is clearly a maverick Congressman (legislators have a lot of free time in Quality-world) dedicated to getting to the bottom of Colony Collapse Disorder, based loosely on Waxman's tobacco hearings.

Bryan's works, too, though.

Joshua Roots said...

Why isn't this already in my pull box?!


SallyP said...

I do love those sleeves.

John said...

Apparently, it's open enrollment season for the Avengers ( - not for resale!), maybe the new Red Bee can get in there.

Hoosier X said...

Here's an essay about the Freedom Fighters. If you stick with it to the end, there's a section about the fact that the Red Bee doesn't have an origin. Several suggestions for this startling omission are put forward.

John said...

Back again, with (basically) Red Bee fan fiction, courtesy Blockade Boy. Jeremy appears to have since gone offline, sadly.

Anonymous said...

"In his civilian identity, Michael Raleigh is clearly a maverick Congressman"

Michael is the bee, so I'm not sure how to take this. Are you saying that some congressional district sent a bee to Congress? Or do you mean that, in whatever hive Michael came from, he was a legislator in that hive's Congress? Either way, does Michael have a little briefcase?

John said...

Anonymous, I was thinking that the modern Red Bee would be Rick's grandson, named for the bee.

Though the idea of a bee getting elected to Congress works, too.

Flip West said...

Ugh. Now I've come up with a modern origin (his lover created nanotech he shaped into the form of bees and was killed without giving up its secrets) and a rationale for that fugly costume (it was a costume his deceased lover was to wear at a gala and thus is precious toRick...

John said...

Failing a better way of getting this to you, Scipio, I missed this article when it was first published, but seems right up your alley.

Unknown said...

Why sugar-coat the Bee? He wears the outfit because it's something no one else could wear and get away with it. He wears it because it just screams "Red Bee, Drone for Justice". He's that cool.

tad said...

Sorry, that was me, but I pushed the wrong button.