INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
It’s been a week. How’d everyone do this time?
We had twelve entrants in all. As always, I was impressed and delighted by everyone’s honesty. Most of our entries came with some sort of disclaimer, like “Well, this one I looked on an encyclopedia site, but no Google or Wikipedia.” Which is totally fine. I don’t object to looking things up– I just can’t see awarding a prize for typing terms into a search engine over and over, that’s all. I try to design these so that won’t work but you can’t really Google-proof anything any more, you have to depend on the honor system. So I appreciate everyone being so honorable. That rules.
And several of our entrants thanked me for giving them the excuse to dig through their old books. (Which, quite honestly, is the same kind of fun I have putting the quiz together and writing the answer post in the first place, so I’m totally on the same page with you there.)
Anyway, congratulations to Gábor Szüdi, Ed Bosnar, John Trumbull, Trey Conrad, Ryan Bates, Peter Sanchez, Michael Haire, Gil Duiny, Reuben DeBord, Philip Trostler, John E. Petty, and Sean McLaughlin. Good on all of you for being so ethical! Gold stars for all!
There were seventeen questions in all, but some were in multiple parts. I awarded one point for each correct part answered, which gives you a total of forty-three points possible.
So here are — the ANSWERS!!
1. According to What If #4, how many people served as Captain America? Who were they?
This was kind of an interesting issue of What If? because it was — as far as I know — not actually a parallel world story. Instead, it was Roy Thomas taking a swing at reconciling a contradictory bit of Marvel Universe history, that Steve Englehart had already tried to figure out a couple of years previously.
The ‘problem’ was that according to Stan Lee, Steve Rogers had gone missing at the end of World War II until the Avengers found him floating in a block of ice and revived him. Most Marvel fans know this part by heart.
The difficulty for Marvel historians is that Captain America continued to have adventures after World War II, throughout the 1940s and well into the 1950s. So during his run on Captain America, Steve Englehart brought us William Burnside, the Captain America of the 1950s, who’d become so extreme in his views that Steve Rogers had to take him down.
However, Englehart ignored the late 1940s Cap comics. For Roy Thomas, that meant Englehart hadn’t finished the job, so Roy undertook to deal with that 1940s era in What If? #4. First he posited that, when Steve Rogers went missing, Truman appointed a successor, former Crusader William Naslund, who gave up his then-current costumed persona Spirit of ’76 to serve as the new Captain America.
But Naslund didn’t last long. By the end of What If #4, he’d been killed in action and replaced by Jeff Mace, the former Patriot.
So — according to What If? #4, remember, further additions to the Cap mythology published AFTERWARDS don’t count — the total number of Captains is four. Steve Rogers, then Naslund and Mace, and then Burnside in the 1950s.
Most of the people who got this forgot William Burnside, and some may protest that he’s not mentioned in What If? #4 — but he is, in the lengthy prose piece Roy Thomas put at the end of the comic explaining why he couldn’t leave the discrepancy alone.
How about according to #5?
That’s much easier. Steve Rogers, then Bucky Barnes, and then– it’s strongly implied– Rick Jones. The folks who left out Rick Jones always mentioned that it was only implied so I gave them the point anyway.
2. Lord knows DC has given us a bunch of characters using the name Supergirl, and even quite a few Superwomen. We’ve had Linda Danvers, Matrix, Cir-El, Kristin Wells, Lucy Lane, the villainess from Earth-3, and so on. But in addition to them, we’ve had quite a few IMAGINARY super-ladies that either met or in some instances replaced Kal-El, as well. Who were Supermaid and Krypton Girl?
Both of them are… Lois Lane.
Truthfully, you could have guessed on this and had a pretty good shot, because giving Lois super powers happens a LOT.
The tricky part is just narrowing down the imaginary times from the temporary ones. Supermaid was the name Lois took when she grew to super-adulthood on Krypton, in Superman #159.
Several people answered that Supermaid was actually Lola Kent, the daughter of Superman and Lois Lane from Jimmy Olsen #56.
She’s not the one I was thinking of but it still counts, it’s a perfectly legitimate answer from an Imaginary Story, and everyone who said that still got the point. Interestingly, no one said Supermaid could have been EITHER Lois Lane or Lola Kent, they were firmly committed to one answer or the other.
And Krypton Girl was the identity Lois took in the imaginary tale from Lois Lane #47.
Sadly, even with powers, Silver Age Lois still comes off kind of damaged.
3. Who was the Master of the Future?
That was Alexandre LeRoi, in the Elseworlds book Batman: Master of the Future. Some folks suggested the answer to this is actually Batman himself, you know, in terms of the THEME of the story — but they mentioned LeRoi so I gave them the point anyway. Despite being an English major, I’m not that subtle. LeRoi’s name was all I was looking for here.
4. What was the NAME of the young lady who helped Conan the Barbarian when he Walked the Earth Today in What If #13?
That was Danette.
As you can see, she is very helpful.
And what was her parting gift to the Cimmerian?
She gave him her beret. Surprisingly, no one added, “….and possibly the clap.” I’d probably have awarded an extra point for that.
5. Lex Luthor reformed when he was adopted by the Kents in Superman #175.
He really did. The interesting thing was, this was AFTER Luthor had embarked on his vendetta against Superboy for…. well, for causing his hair to fall out. Newly-bald and embittered young Lex had originally engineered the adoption in order to prove Clark Kent was actually Superboy.
But Jonathan and Martha Kent are SO AWESOME that Lex just can’t stay mad about the whole Superboy-caused-my-baldness thing.
But who turned EVIL?
Ah, that would be Pete Ross.
Pete doesn’t deal well with Superboy getting all the good press and turns to a life of crime to get even. Because, duh, that’s what you do when your feelings are hurt.
Clearly Pete has issues. (Or, rather, the editor did. Mort Weisinger’s head was undoubtedly a very frightening place.)
In fact, Pete nearly succeeds in killing Superman but adopted brother Lex gives himself super-powers and saves the day. BUT AT GREAT COST!!
Ouch. Truthfully, the world of silver-age Superman is not very nice, despite its vaunted ‘innocence,’ and the Imaginary Stories really tended to ramp up the tragedy.
6. Who joined forces — sort of — to break up Peter Parker’s wedding to Gwen Stacy?
That was from What If #24, “What If Gwen Stacy Had Lived?” The Green Goblin, in a last-ditch effort to destroy Spider-Man, mails evidence of Peter Parker’s double identity to Jonah Jameson. Later, Osborn is shocked out of the Goblin identity and reforms, but forgets to tell Peter about this. Oops.
So Jameson gleefully leads police on a raid to the Parker-Stacy nuptials. I was looking for the answer “Jonah Jameson and the Green Goblin,” or some combination thereof. One respondent said “Jameson and the police,” which was technically correct so I awarded the point anyway.
7. You’ve all heard of Superboy… but who was Batboy, and what was his connection to the Boy of Steel?
I was surprised more people didn’t get this one. This was from World’s Finest #172, reprinted in the first volume of DC’s Greatest Imaginary Stories.
Batboy is of course young Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent’s adopted brother.
8. Another Superboy Bat-question. When Superboy met the embittered young Bruce Wayne in Superboy #182, he was already well on his way to becoming the Batman. But Bruce wasn’t going to call himself Batman at first, but instead planned to adopt another costumed persona that was even nastier. What was it?
The Executioner. This was also reprinted fairly recently, in The Greatest Superboy Team-Ups Ever Told.
9. Who was Kitty Grimalkin, and what role did she play in Batman’s life during World War II?
That’s from Howard Chaykin’s Batman Elseworlds, Dark Allegiances.
Kitty Grimalkin was the secret identity of the Catwoman. After discovering Bruce Wayne is Batman, she helps him foil a plot to kill Franklin Roosevelt.
10. According to Valeria, how many members were predicted to be in the Fantastic Four by THE END?
Sixteen. Yes, really.
Got all that? Reed, Ben, Sue, Johnny, Franklin, Valeria, Daniel, Jacob, Yancy, and then Johnny and Crystal’s SEVEN children. Maybe the logo could change to “4×4.”
11. The idea that the entire El family made it to Earth after Krypton exploded isn’t a new one.
It sure isn’t. Say hello to Superboy #95, which hit the stands in early 1962.
Only in the Weisinger-era version, the Kents did not adopt Kal-El. Indeed, in that version, a different person entirely is destined to eventually assume the role of Superman. Who is it?
NO ONE got this, and it’s been blogged about a few times here and there which is how I know no one used Google for it. Quite a few people guessed “Jor-El,” but it wasn’t. It was actually…Clark Kent.
This will take some explaining. See, the El family tried to settle in Smallville, but they were too freaky and weird for the townspeople to cope with them.
So they moved on up, to a — I can’t resist — DEEE-LUXE APARTMENT IN THE SKY. No, really, it was in the sky. Once the Els are established there, things settle down and eventually young Kal-El adopts the identity of Superboy.
Meanwhile, though, Jonathan and Martha Kent are still childless and want to adopt. So they visit the orphanage and adopt a boy, naming him Clark.
Young Clark befriends Kal-El and eventually, when the El family defeats Brainiac and rescues the city of Kandor, they decide to found a new Kryptonian colony in space with the other Kandorians. Fortunately, Jor-El finds a way to give Clark super-powers, and he takes over for Kal-El as Superboy, and thus eventually, Superman.
Nice touch with the glasses, huh?
A couple of folks thought I must be talking about Knor-El, Superman’s brother, from Superman #200.
I can see the confusion but have to rule against this as being a possible correct answer, sorry. It’s not like the Supermaid thing where either Lois Lane or Lola Kent could be the right answer — Superman #200 has a premise that’s just not close enough to the premise of the current Last Family of Krypton miniseries shown last week as a clue in the original question, a premise which is essentially a straight update of the one used in Superboy #95.
12. On the short-lived SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, why exactly did Peter Parker journey to a parallel Earth? And what was the advantage he gained by changing to a new outfit when he did it?
He went to rescue astronaut John Jameson, and the new duds had whiz-bang nanotechnology anti-symbiote extras that enhanced Spider-Man’s fighting abilities. Most folks got this right — for a show nobody liked, an awful lot of us must have been watching it.
13. Can you name ALL the participants brawling in the initial super-fight that resulted in the death of Frank Castle’s family, that set him on the path to Kill The Marvel Universe?
There were quite a few.
The X-Men, specifically Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, and Kitty Pryde; also Avengers Captain America, Thor, Vision, and Hawkeye; Daredevil; and all of them taking on a group of Brood and Skrulls. Also, in news coverage afterwards it’s mentioned Jubilee was there. I gave one point for each correct superhero named, and one each for “Brood” and “Skrulls,” making this a big question worth 13 possible points… anyone getting this right got a huge push to the front.
With that many super-types knocking each other around and firing death rays and whatnot, no wonder there was collateral damage. And this kind of thing happens in the Marvel Universe three or four times a month. Honestly, it’s a wonder there aren’t a hundred embittered Frank Castle types out there gunning for superpeople because of it.
14. On the TV show LOIS & CLARK, Lois journeys to a parallel world courtesy of H.G. Wells, only to find that that world’s Lois is dead and Clark Kent is not a superhero. Who is Clark’s loved one that objects so strenuously to his going out and helping people with his super abilities?
That was parallel Clark’s fiancee Lana Lang, played by future Miami CSI Emily Procter. This was actually the only time Lana showed up on Lois and Clark.
And for bonus points — at the end of the episode, who’s the former President that shows up to endorse Perry White at his mayoral rally?
Elvis Presley. No, really. Someone actually guessed this without having seen it, just counting on the show’s tendency to always go for the Elvis joke with Perry.
15. Which variety of Kryptonite began as a plot point in a purely Imaginary Superboy story? And who used it on Superboy?
That was Gold Kryptonite, the kind that resulted in PERMANENT loss of super powers for Kryptonians, at least it did back then. The story was Adventure #299’s “The Unwanted Superbaby,” the tale of what horrors would have ensued if young Kal-El had NOT been adopted by the kindly Kents, but instead gone on to be a rogue super-delinquent.
And “who used it” was a trick question, because no one actually used it on him… he accidentally came across a meteor’s worth of the stuff in outer space. Good thing too, because a ruthless European monarch was training the boy to be a weapon of mass destruction.
16. In Evil’s Might, how does the young Kyle Rayner manage to score a date with hot suffragette Carol Ferris? ….And that’s despite her engagement to Inspector Hal Jordan. How does Carol excuse stepping out on her fiance?
Kyle signs Carol’s petition. She agrees to go on a date with Kyle, and when one of her friends chides her, she says, “I’m engaged, not dead.”
17. And finally…WHO exactly does young Tallant have to battle to join the Brotherhood of the Bat?
That would be Ra’s Al Ghul himself in the Demon Batman uniform.
Or, as young Tallant refers to him, “Grandpa.” Tallant doesn’t actually BEAT Ra’s, but he lasts twenty-three seconds in the fight with him and that’s enough for Ra’s to admit the kid’s got some moves.
Those were the answers. And now — the WINNERS!
It was a real squeaker this time out. In THIRD place, with a score of 37 points, we have Trey Conrad. In SECOND place, with a score of 38 points, is John E. Petty.
And our WINNER, with an astonishing 39 out of 43 possible points, is Philip Trostler. Well done!
Congratulations again to all the players and especially our winner!
And me… I’ll see you next week.
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