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I’d Have Kept Hardback Bock in the Bat-Books

One of the things that has always puzzled me was the decision to promote Hardback Bock OUT of the Bat-Books, and then replace him with Crispus Allen, who, while a good character himself, really did not present much more, character-wise, than Bock ever did.

Bock was a good character, and a nice tie to the “before No Man’s Land” Gotham, and a man who managed to get THROUGH No Man’s Land…and his reward is character limbo?

I think Bock deserved better, I think he deserved a role in Gotham Central.


Hardback was awesome! I miss him. And Bullock, and Kitch, and Montoya before she became Angst Woman.

Though I will say that Allan brought something that was missing to the table, in that he was the one good cop who seemed to dislike Batman (this being long after Bullock mellowed out).

Matt Lazorwitz

March 15, 2008 at 7:41 am

I’m completely with you. Bock was a great character, as were a lot of the pre-NML cops, like Kitch and Caz, and the creepy old coroner, Mortimer Gunt. The whole pre-NML period had some excellent supporting characters, and it’s a shame that they all just faded away.

I kept expecting Bock to show up in Gotham Central, after he was name-checked early on as having been promoted to the Gotham City Chief of Police. But after that promotion, he was never heard from again.

Absolutely. I find it hilarious that we’re all so used to the token black guy concept that nobody’s thought they could’ve kept Bock *and* introduced Allen.

Oh, it’s not just that, Mecha-Shiva, when I say Bock was replaced by Allen, I mean he was literally replaced by Allen.

Bock was Montoya’s partner (after Bullock), and then Allen was made her partner.

Remember, after he got rid of Bock, Rucka introduced a new black character as Commissioner, too. I think it was more a matter of Rucka wanting his own characters more than anything.

Yeah, I liked Hardback and all the other cops from that Bat-era. Now all the cool ones are dead or superpowered or something.

Gotham Central had a great cast, though, despite the absence of familiar Gotham cops– I’d like to see guys like Driver and Sarge again.

Being a good cop in Gotham just doesn’t pay.

Bullock – In limbo, with retconned past of being a dirty cop (morally) instead of just a dirty cop (hygienically).

Bock – In seemingly permanent limbo.

Montoya – Superhero or something, I guess.

Allan – Dead.

Kitch – Dead. (Right? I think)

Essen – Dead.

Akins – Retconned into a corrupt official.

Sawyer – In limbo. Redundant now that Gordon’s back.

Gordon – Not even allowed to enjoy retirement after a near-fatal shooting.

They CAN’T get paid enough for that shit.

Bullock’s definitely back on the force; he was a pretty big part of that first OYL arc by James Robinson.

Kitch was namechecked in one of Rucka’s stories as having moved on to being a criminal defense attorney. Now word on where and when he got his law degree, mind you.

And Sawyer, of course, was the payback the Bat-books got after Loeb et al. hijacked Talia without editorial consultation. (Lord, the Jeph Loeb era of Superman, looking back, was pretty awful.)

I must not have been reading the Batbooks durign this era, as I’ve never heard of the guy. Hardback? The guy was named… Hardback? I must say that’s the dippiest-sounding character name I’ve heard in a long time.

And Bullock was always a bit grey, morals-wise. He was working for the evil Mayor Hamilton Hill when he was introduced in the early 80s.

Bullock’s definitely back on the force; he was a pretty big part of that first OYL arc by James Robinson.

Right, but since then, not a peep. I’m surprised Dini, of all people, hasn’t used him for anything yet.

I hadn’t heard that about Kitch, though. Why’d I think he was dead?

“Hardback” was just a nickname, based on his love of books. His real name was Mackenzie Bock.

OK, that’s a little better, then. But “Mackensie Bock” is a much cooler-sounding name to my ear than “Hardback Bock” (And oooohh, I just got that pun. GROAN.)

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