DC Comics' "Rebirth" Character Designs for Batman, Wonder Woman and More
Welcome to the three hundredth and fifty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, has the creator of the Crow been trying to do a Batman comic for over a decade? What is the shocking history of Black Adam? And who or what is Starhawk, and why has he never appeared in a Marvel comic outside of a tiny ad?!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and fifty-four.
COMIC LEGEND: The creator of the Crow, James O’Barr, tried to do a Batman story for DC Comics for years.
James O’Barr, writer and artist of the Crow, one of the most successful independent comic books of all-time…
is a well-known Batman fan. Heck, a quick search of the web will find you practically TONS of O’Barr Batman drawings.
Daniel Best has a bunch at his site, including this one (which was the first one that showed up on a Google Image search)…
Reader The Outsider wrote in to ask:
What can you tell us about the James O’Barr Batman story? I’ve heard he wrote and drew one, but DC rejected it at the last minute for being too violent.
It wasn’t quite as far as that, Outsider.
O’Barr told the whole story to Rich Johnston for his Lying in the Gutters column back in 2006:
In the mid ’90s I did a script treatment and some paintings for a Batman Elseworlds book which Denny O’Neill thought were marvellous enough to ask only ‘When can you start?’ Unfortunately, shortly after that the Batman film was released and the parameters for what you could now do with Batman were chokingly narrowed and a bevy of new editors were employed to handle the flood of new Bat titles. I was dumped from one editor to another as some hot or diseased potato, no one willing to step out of the box with who or what Batman is or represents and the book just got pushed back further and further while I worked on new projects waiting for someone to come to their senses. Which still has not occurred. As Daniel Brereton was over heard to say “OBarr doing Batman – that would fucking rock!!!What a no-brainer! NO ONE does atmosphere and shadows like OBarr.” So, the chance for a talented artist and fan (if I do puff my ego a bit here) to take the next step in the Dark Knight stairwell just rots in the cellar. And the material where Batman is concerned is honestly not much more extreme than Paul Popes 100 Years Batman series (in fact a great deal of it is very similar….great minds think alike, I guess). It is graphic but not extreme. Violent, but not exploitive. And adult, without pandering.
He went on to note that now (2006), ten years later, it didn’t seem to be any closer to happening and that the whole thing was quite frustrating. You can read O’Barr’s full message here.
So there ya go, Outsider! It sure would be nice if this project ever came about! DC has been releasing a lot of projects that you never thought they would (like Elseworld’s Finest), so why not this one?
Thanks to the Outsider for the question and thanks to Rich Johnston and James O’Barr for the info!
COMIC LEGEND: Black Adam died in his first appearance and then never made another appearance in a Fawcett comic book.
Reader John R. asked me about this one, and amazingly enough, it is true.
You see, Black Adam first appeared in 1945’s Marvel Family #1 (the first team-up of all the Marvels!)…
Here was his origin…
And here is the climax of the fight (the issue was written by Otto Binder and drawn by CC Beck)…
Yep, he just dies!
And that was IT for him for the rest of the history of Captain Marvel at Fawcett! As we’ve noted in the past, the Joker was originally killed at the end of the issue containing his first appearance, but an editor changed it. Well, as we see here, when you have a cool enough villain, you CAN actually kill him and he’ll STILL become the most famous villain your hero has!
Black Adam finally returned over thirty years later in the pages of Shazam! #28 by DC Comics…
Thanks to John R. for the question!
COMIC LEGEND: Starhawk of the Guardians of the Galaxy originally was going to appear in the pages of Marvel Super-Heroes.
Reader Mark H. wrote in to ask if the Starhawk who was advertised in the pages of Marvel Super-Heroes #20 but never actually debuted was, in any way, a precursor to the Starhawk who showed up in as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Simply put, nope.
The character, who was originally advertised in the back of 1969’s Marvel Super-Heroes #20…
only appeared in the pages of Marvel Mania #3, Marvel’s fan magazine.
Written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Dan Adkins…
the character had nothing to do with the Starhawk who appeared in 1975’s Defenders #28.
Here are some pages from Marvel Mania #3, courtesy of Rip Jagger’s Dojo…
Check out Rip Jagger’s Dojo for more pages!
Thanks to Mark H. for the suggestion and thanks to Rip Jagger’s Dojo for the scans!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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See you all next week!
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