Saturday, December 31, 2022

A Wing and a Prayer

Geoff Johns wants you to think this is Wing.


I'm here to tell you it isn't.

Oh, I don't mean that it's a fake-out or a shapeshifter or anything.

What I mean is that this is the revised version of Wing that Johns is shilling. Not the Real Original Wing.

This is real original Wing.

The real original Wing is 20-something (MAYBE he's 18).  He's a professional valet and chauffeur for a living, so he's not underage.  He's your basic bad-ass super-competent trustworthy Asian valet/chauffeur; he's "Kato".

Kato, as portrayed by Some Chinese Actor.

The reason that Wing was Kato is that the Crimson Avenger was the Green Hornet. That's certainly nothing DC talks about, but nothing could be more obvious. The Green Hornet was created in 1936 and the Crimson Avenger, a nearly identical character, in 1938.  I mean: he was a wealthy newspaper publisher with a Asian valet/chaffeur, his color-named alter ego wore a suit, fedora, and domino mask, used a gas gun and huge honking limo, and was suspected of being a criminal by the authorities. Really, now. They might as well have named him "Rhett Breed".  

Wing wasn't an action-star like Bruce Lee; he's really more of an "Alfred" than a "Robin". 

I would NOT mind being taken under his Wing.

But he was an invaluable partner, with useful talents and contacts.  

"A friend of Wing's is mine also." Even Tong officials respect Wing.

This was how the Crimson Avenger and the Wing were originally portrayed in the Golden Age, one of the comics features where Chinese characters were consistently portrayed with dignity and respect. 

Until. Detective Comics #44, Oct. 1940 (which you probably remember better as the "Speed Saunders versus the exploding bowling balls" issue).


Note, for later, two things about Wing.
He's a big hulking MAN.
His English is imperfect but not intended to be comedically or offensively so.

We can blame Batman & Superman (et al.) for this absurdity. By 1940, it was clear that pulp-style slouch-hatted avengers were OUT and costumed crimefighters were IN.

This is NOT going to be oomphy.

The Crimson Avenger, now authored by people other than his creator, leapt on the bandwagon so as not to get left behind.

Marty's late for school again.

The Crimson Avenger did not make the transition gracefully.

That's got to be embarrassing.

The Crimson Avenger didn't do anything gracefully, in fact.

I think the fin helps the aerodynamics of the frequent falls.

His letterer seemed to have a drinking problem.

I mean, I'd drink, too.

The Crimson clearly wanted to be Starman.

In the previous panel the lion has gorilla hands.  Check if you don't believe me.

His stories became lurid, even by Golden Age standards.


Almost as if to emphasize how badly the transition was being made, his costume sported a stylized bullet-hole symbol at exactly the same time that he switched from carrying actual pistols to gas-guns.

Just how MUCH gas can be in that gun?

Yet, somehow, all this pales to how badly they messed up WING.

They re-made Wing over as a kid sidekick so that C.A. would fit in better with the Soldiers of Victory (yet ANOTHER strike against the SoV).  The costumed version of Wing debuted in World's Finest Comics #4 (Dec. 1941).

December 1941 was not a good time to be an Asian character in comics. Even if you were a Chinese good guy.

This guy:

Handsome, dignified, and well-spoken.

Adult, huge, and manly.

was now THIS guy:

It's...bad.  Even for 1941, it's bad.

This is the guy Geoff Johns is trying to bring back. Or, more accurately, to fix.  

I sympathize with what he's trying to do. But doing so overwrites what we should be remembering, which is the real original Wing, rather than this painful embarrassment that GJ is trying to redeem.  Who knows, Johns being Johns, he may have the Real Original Wing in mind as Costumed Wing's older brother; I wouldn't put it past him.  No one know how to have his cake and eat it too like Geoff Johns.

But the other problem is: Real Original Wing debuted in 1938, but this Costumed Wing in 1941.  Real Original Wing pre-dates ROBIN, the Sensational Character Find of 1940, and the Costumed Wing does NOT.  I don't want Johns retrofitting Costumed Wing in a way that backdates him into being a costumed kid sidekick before Robin, The Boy Wonder, who actually IS the original costumed kid sidekick. Because that sort of thing can take on an inaccurate life of its own, and my fervent prayer is that it does NOT.

Anyway, just so YOU know, no matter what Johns does with it: Wing did not start out as a costumed kid sidekick.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Green Arrow is ... Batman?!?!?!???!?!?!?!?!

My family bred Dachshunds. Land sharks. Hate-snakes.  Alley-gators.  Teeth-tubes.  

It's not for the weak.

Anyway, my mother had many sayings about this.

"Tired dogs are good dogs.  And the only good Dachshund is a tired Dachshund."

"Never worry that your dog doesn't love you. Worry that it doesn't respect you. Unless it's a Dachshund, then you know it doesn't."

"At the end of the day, you can recover from anything your dog did. Unless it's a Dachshund and you don't make it until the end of the day."

"There are two kinds of dogs in the world: those that look where you're pointing and those that just smell your finger."

It's that last one that I have found most applicable to humans as well.  And I thought of it again today when I read this by Screen Rant (cousin site to Comic Book Rant):

"DC Finally Admits Want Every Arrowverse Fan Already Knows".

Specifically? "he wants to be like the Dark Knight."

Well, I'm glad I was sitting down for that newsflash of insight. I read that comic book panel and got this.  Screenrant read it and got "hey, Green Arrow wants to be Batman."

Thank god they never watched "Brave and the Bold", I think their heads would have exploded.  

I've often made fun of Green Arrow for not being a detective.  Well, compared to Screen Rant...

Green Arrow is Batman.

P.S. The Arrowcave first appeared in 1952 (World's Finest #59).

Because "Arrow-Finished-Basement" just doesn't sound cool.

Ollie didn't really commit to the bit until 1960, when he appears to have had contractors install an ACTUAL cave.

World's Finest #112, 1960

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Newsflash: CBR Wrong Again


Oh, those poor idiot writers of 1965!  Let's look back and smugly congratulate ourselves on correcting the errors...

...that they didn't make at all.

Which CBR (Comic Book Rant) doesn't know because...they didn't already know or bother to read the Key's original story. 

Note to Comic Book Rant: the Internet is not a test. It is not school. You are not required to give answers to questions you don't know or to talk about things you don't understand.  So, please stop doing so.

P.S. If the Internet WERE a test, it would be VERY easy to cheat, because all the answers are there, if you aren't too lazy or sloppy to look them up first, Amer Sawan. If you'd done your research, you'd have learned that


the "unlocked the unused potential of his brain" was an addition to the Key's powers made by...

Grant Morrison in 1997 when he modernized the Key as a foe during his JLA run, over thirty years after the character was introduced.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

How I May Come to Love Green Arrow

 THIS is all that matters this week:

Possibly this decade.

It's from Geoff Johns' latest retconshriftfest, Courtney & the Golden Age Sidekicks That Never Existed #2. It's a perfect example of why I am happy to indulge any of GJ's flaws or stumbles as a writer or just choices I don't care for (one of which we'll be discussing later this week).  I can forget or ignore details of stories I didn't care for; and he makes large-scale sweeping changes so casually that please me so deeply that All Is Forgiven, like a sitcom husband at the end of a 30-minute episode. And this one?  Oh, I can forgive A LOT for the sake of canonizing:


It was suggested before, but here it is, loud, bold and unretractable: at some point in his contemporary career, Ollie Queen (AND ROY HARPER) went back in time and were STRANDED in the 1940s for a good chunk of time, where they operated as THE GOLDEN AGE GREEN ARROW AND SPEEDY.  Ollie SHAVED his goatee to do this, as a disguise.  


For one thing, this it just plain HILARIOUS. 

It means IT ALL HAPPENED "for real" to "our Ollie", the one who used to run about raving about 'fat-cats'. All of it. Gayland. Bull's-Eye. The Black Raider. The car-catapult.  The Octopus. OSCAR AND ALEXANDER THE GREAT

I'm gonna assume that in some Noodle Incident that I hope is never, ever explained ,Oscar and/or Alexander the Great is responsible for Ollie & Roy traveling to and getting stuck in the '40s. Or maybe it was Per Degaton's doing because--YES. Because Per Degaton needed Ollie to join the Soldiers of Victory so he could affect Alexander the Great's life, so that Per Degaton could defeat him at the Battle of Arbela. Yes; Roy Thomas would approve.

Now, we know already there is an Earth-2 where all this stuff ALSO happened. So this is completely gratuitous. GLORIOUSLY, DELICIOUSLY gratuitous.  Geoff Johns has gone OUT OF HIS WAY to do this. And, meanwhile, ONE PERSON is missing after the "Dark Crisis" hoo-haa: Ollie Queen, who will be sought for by His Family and found, of course.  

But why?

Here is my hope. Golden Age Green Arrow (let's deem him "Oliver") was introduced in 1941

I love that the first thing we see Oliver do is set out on a vacation.
I love that Speedy is called The Cyclone Kid ONCE, and never again.
I love that in his first panel (and in many of his early stories), they refer to previous cases we never hear any more about.
Golden Age Green Arrow may be stupid, but it's stupid FUN.

He was reinvented some thirty years later by Denny O'Neil in 1970 as a more "Robin Hood", anti-establishment type (whom we will label as "Ollie").

And a self-righteous, hypocritical, judgemental, loudmouthed jerk. But that's neither here nor there.  Because you could be an anti-establishment type WITHOUT being any of those.
Like Robin Hood.

Well... that was over FIFTY years ago now. It ain't 1970 any more. Like a lot of the DCU, Green Arrow is twenty years overdue for a refresh.  And who is more likely to fix a broken character with a refreshed view of their origins than Geoff Johns?

There have been some very successful templates that could be followed.

"Batman: Brave & The Bold" did an excellent job of figuring out who Green Arrow would have to be and what his relationship with Batman would be like.

Everyone remembers how GRIM AND VIOLENT CW's Green Arrow was.  Me? What impressed ME was how HILARIOUS Steven Amell's Oliver Queen was when appropriate. His Oliver Queen was a masterpiece of comedy entirely due to the strength of his performance.  CW Flash was Vaudeville but CW Arrow was the Frasier of superhero shows.

Add "Shakespeare Trivia" to the list of "1001 Ways to Defeat Green Arrow".

But, as usual, Geoff Johns seems to be forging his own path. And here's what I hope it is, based on the revelation that "Ollie", AS SOON AS HE HAD THE CHANCE, chose to become "Oliver".  

  • He shaved his goatee. 
  • He built an Arrowcave and filled it with trophies and giant statues of friends and foes. 
  • He created a giant yellow Arrowcar with a fin and a catapult.  
  • He invented a host of absurd trick arrows.  
  • He wore a brightly colored Robin Hood outfit, with a little feather in his cap.
  • He got an apartment in the city.
  • He took vacations and played tennis.
  • He had an Arrow Signal that was a flaming green arrow in the sky.

He didn't do this because he '"had to". He didn't do this "to fit in".  "Ollie" is not a conformist.

He did this because he WANTED to. He did this because this is who he always WANTED to be. 

And it is PERFECTLY consistently with his personality.  NO WONDER he is so righteously angry all the time. He WANTS to be the Golden Age Batman. He WANTS to fight crime COLORFULLY. He WANTS it to be fun.

He's both of the De La Vega Brothers, rolled into one.

But too often the world sucks and doesn't cooperate.  And he resents that.  It's the fault of greedy people and vicious villains. They have failed him; they have failed this city, and that ticks him off. He doesn't WANT to be grim and gritty. And the people who force him to be WILL pay.

And THAT is consistent with that guy in Brave&TheBold. AND that guy on CW. "Ollie Who Became Oliver" then had to come back to be Ollie and is angry about it, but who still has flashes of unapologetic Golden Age zest and Robin Hood swashbuckler flair?

THAT is a Green Arrow who is interesting.

THAT is a Green Arrow I could come to love.

P.S.  Is it any wonder Speedy turned to drugs after returning from the fabulous '40s? Now, even THAT finally makes sense.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

A Christmas Wedding for a Pagan Bride

 My Sims versions of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor decided to (finally) get married over the holiday.

How romantic!


At least, in theory.

"THIS is why we don't get invited to more weddings, OLLIE!"

Most guests other than Ollie had the decency to stay in their seats and observe the ceremony.

Well. Stay in their seats, at least.  
Sector 2614's pretty exhausting, you know.

Diana didn't entirely understand some of our wedding traditions, but she tried, bless her heart.

"HAH! Throw as hard as you will, such tiny grains will not stop an Amazon from completing her physical regimen!"

Likewise, Steve had some trouble with some Themysciran traditions.

"HOLA! You think to survive our wedding night with just THOSE fighting techniques and a Y chromosome, man-warrior?!"

Etta Candy seemed to have misinterpreted "festive attire" on the invitation.

"OH! ETTA! You're ... your hairdo is lovely."

Steve found out at the reception what happens when you ask Mr. Terrific "What's your degree in?"

Diana had some wistful memories that would have been better left at her bachelorette party.

I guess some women appreciate a stiff upper lip.

As you would expect, the League Boys hung out together.

"Clark, I swear, if he tells ONE MORE 'Flash Fact' story..."
"Bruce, our Code applies to our friends as well as our enemies."
"...You left the radio on back in your hotel room and are listening to the game, aren't you?"
"You really ARE a detective. Shhh; Martin Baxter's at bat..."

“I too am aware of baseball,  HalJordan and fellow Leaguers! I once employed some of my lesser used powers to alter the outcome of a Flamingos game!”
"Great Guardians, when did YOU arrive, J’onn?
“He’s been invisible.”
“He’s been there the whole time.” 
“Gee, thanks for telling us, Super-Peepers and World’s Greatest Detective.”
“Well, actually, Hal, if you just observed the indentation in the seat cushion—“
“Shut up, Barry.”
“I’m REALLY glad Dinah and I got to come to THIS wedding!"

Because most of the guest's were Diana's, Dinah got stuck at The Groom's Table, which did not entirely thrill her.


Arthur didn't sit with the JL Boys, because as the Officiant he was busy trying to keep Wild Dog and Black Canary from breaking out into their Next Violent Argument.

"Well, René, as long as we're talking about women in the military at THE WEDDING OF THE GREATEST WARRIOR YOU KNOW, let ME give you MY thoughts..."

Lois got stuck at The Bride's Table with the Bride's Gay Brother but was clearly more interested in WWIII about to break about over at The Groom's Table.

Eventually, Arthur extracted RenĂª for sake of his safety, since the last person you want yelling at a wedding or anywhere else is Black Canary.

"Thassit, Lo-lo; I have HAD it with that woman!  She's the reason nobody invites Oliver to weddings."

"Thank you for the vacuum cleaner, Jason; I'm sure Steve will get a lot of use out of it!"

Diana's commitment to truthfulness was put to an awful test.

I only wish Ching had been there to see.
So to speak.

Bruce received some interesting news while he was there.


But the third-happiest person after the Bride and Groom was J'onn, who got to take home all the leftover Super Chocolate Tummers Bomb Cupcakes.


Photo courtesy of Barry Allen.