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.
|DEATH BY DACHSHUND PIT
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.
|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.