web stats

CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #31

One month down. Eleven to go.

I think we’ll finish up our look at supporting characters with today’s column. I feel we’re all getting a little burned out by them. Remember, though; just because your favorite hasn’t shown up yet doesn’t mean they won’t. The year won’t be over for a while…

Today! Everyone’s favorite Quasimodo-esque repairman!

1/31/07

31. Harold Allnut

Harold 1.jpg

Harold never gets any respect. Google tells me even the internet has (mostly) forgotten about him! Shameful. Harold was an awesome 90’s-era supporting character in the Batbooks.

He apparently first appeared, briefly, in The Question before moving to the Batbooks, which Denny O’Neil was overseeing at the time. The Penguin found out that the mute, hunchback Harold was a technological wizard and basically kidnapped him, forcing to help with one of his schemes. Batman managed to save Harold and he went back to the streets.

In Batman 458, Harold was about to get lynched because some parents thought he was up to something with one of the neighborhood kids, though Harold was just a friendly guy. Bats rescued him again and hired him to do all the tech work and repair stuff in the Batcave.

Harold 2.jpg

For a few years there, Harold was living in the Batcave with his dog, Ace– that’s right, the Bat-Hound. He lived mostly off chocolate bars, if I remember correctly. When Bruce had his back broken and AzBats came in, Harold got kicked out, but was still living in a hidden room in the Cave, tinkering away, helping out Robin and Nightwing when needed.

Detective Comics #650 was a Harold spotlight story, though he didn’t appear on the cover. In it, he discovers that the Batcave leads to the subway whilst daydreaming about dragons and stuff. It’s not bad.

Eventually, Harold just sort of disappeared. At least, I don’t know of any farewell issue. He returned, briefly, in the insipid Hush storyline, perfectly cured and able to talk, and then died. Or something. If it was up to me, it would be purged from the continuum, and ignored. And apparently, Loeb made his last name “Allnut.” Really? C’mon.

Harold may seem like a character worth pitying, but I don’t think so; his existence in the Batcave was mostly a happy one, and he was a cool genius and a rare pal to Batman. If only he could’ve been kept around… but I guess writers and editorial didn’t know what to do with him.

Anybody else dig the character of Harold?

18 Comments

I remember one of my favourite scenes from the Cataclysm/No Man’s Land arc was Bruce telling Harold that he wouldn’t be needed for a while, followed by Harold going out into the world and seeing an entire Gotham in need of his technical expertise.

That was awesome.

Harold was an excellent character; those days were when they were actually trying to build up Batman’s supporting cast. When he showed up in “Hush” only to betray Batman and get killed, it made me want to kick Loeb in the groin.

Oh, and people wonder why Loeb has a bad reputation. He can write some good stuff, but killing Harold is one of the reasons why.

I’ve never heard of Harold.

I didn’t mind Hush so much, but the latter chapters…well, let’s just say they left something to be desired.

Unfortunately, that’s the only story featuring Harold that I’ve ever been exposed to. Wasn’t there a B:tAS story that involved him? If so, I’m sure I saw it.

I like the reveal during one issue when Jean-Paul Valley was Batman for a while that Harold was hiding in a separate room and just decided to build a new Batmobile that could ride on the subway rails. I don’t think I was used all that much but I was impressed that the guy decidd to build a Bat-train in his spare time, even after the guy pretending to be Batman kicked him out.

Harold was great, when reading Hush I wanted to spit on the issue in question, but it wasn’t mine, and my friend who’d lent to me had never even heard of Harold, which I thought was criminal.

Damn, I miss those mid-80s Batman comics.

If editorial didn’t know what to do with him they could’ve at least gave a gracful bow before his exit.

I liked the character well enough when he first appeared (in The Question IIRC) but I really didn’t like having him live in the Batcave. It was just a bit too cosy

I had completely repressed that part of Hush from my memory. Thanks for giving me more reason to hate it.

Harold was a great character. Like Superman, Batman seems to have gone through an editorially-decreed razing of any supporting chracter created after the 40’s.

I guess they’ve kept Lucius Fox, but how often does he show up?

Anyway, this column has been awesome.

Reason #934 why “Hush” was a pile of steaming manure.

Damn. After reading the description, I thought today’s character was Kilowog. Instead, I have to be reminded of this loser.

Harold was an idiotic character who is best left forgotten. Not only was he a bad retread of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I never understood why Batman even needed the guy. Since when was Bruce Wayne not smart enough to design and build his own gizmos? Harold was the worst kind of supporting character: someone who diluted the main character instead of complimenting him.

Harold was an idiotic character who is best left forgotten. Not only was he a bad retread of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I never understood why Batman even needed the guy. Since when was Bruce Wayne not smart enough to design and build his own gizmos? Harold was the worst kind of supporting character: someone who diluted the main character instead of complimenting him.

I largely agree, but I’ve never been under the impression that Bruce builds his own gadgets. Maybe the odd one here and there, but mostly he has them built for him by companies he owns, but where ownership would be very hard to trace. At least that’s how I’ve always understood it

Dan

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Wow!
You do dig up the good stuff buddy!
I too had forgetten about Harold!
The Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle was the last great and long run on the character. I pretty much stop reading Batman after that.

After their run we got the whole KnightFall/KnightQuest/KnightEnd mess (Knightmare?) which I skipped completely. (I fell back on Puckett/Parobeck/Burchett’s Batman Adventures for the only worthwhile Batstories of that dark period)

There was a nice shorter Doug Moench/Kelley (more detective type of stories) run that followed the multi-crossovers that is also well worth the read.

But Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle is certainly among the few definitive Batman. Even Ace the Bat-Hound made sense the way it was written by Grant. Penguin was an interesting villain for the first time. New iconic villains like the Ventriloquist were introduced.

Greg Burgas: “Harold was an excellent character; those days were when they were actually trying to build up Batman’s supporting cast. When he showed up in “Hush” only to betray Batman and get killed, it made me want to kick Loeb in the groin.”

Boy! Am I glad I didn’t pick up the whole ‘Hush’ storyline. Jeff Loeb wrote that? I usually like what he does. Bad Loeb! Bad, bad Loeb!

Well one good thing about ‘Hush’ was that it is not in the DC universe continuity. At least I am pretty certain that’s what I read in the introduction. So, yeah, we can ignore that they butchered the character like that.

I did like in ‘Hush’ that it was argued that Perry White had to know that Clark was Superman but was smart enough to keep it to himself. I thought that was a nice touch.

“Well one good thing about ‘Hush’ was that it is not in the DC universe continuity. At least I am pretty certain that’s what I read in the introduction. So, yeah, we can ignore that they butchered the character like that.”

hush was not only in the continuity but it was in the monthly title.
And as much as i like harold i d’ont agree about hush being that bad it has great art ( jim lee ) ,and a scenario with a lot of suspense, the batman catwoman couple is fun ,and all the backround reveald is great ( tommy and all ) .

this was created from a real life man whom worked for william case the name was changed with the revirsal of two letters

I’m not terribly familiar with Harold, but as a vintage movie fan, I can’t help thinking Loeb’s choice of last name for Harold might allude to Charlie Allnut, Humphrey Bogart’s character in “The African Queen.”

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives