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Saturday’s Trivia Contest – Street Heroes Edition

Hey, it’s another contest!

Why a contest? Because I wanted to do something fun.

See, I’ve been feeling a bit grumpy about the comics industry for the last couple of weeks. What with the court judgement against Gary Friedrich, and the flap over Before Watchmen (and the fact that in both cases there was an inexplicable amount of nerdrage directed at the creators rather than the corporations that screwed them)… and then all the deeply insane responses to our own Kelly Thompson pointing out things so blatantly obvious they shouldn’t even need pointing out… and then there was this I-give-up article where I found almost nothing to disagree with… then there’s the whole Comic Book Men squabble about “making us look bad” where the elephant in the room is that a lot of us really are that bad…it had reached the point where I thought this week’s column would be an angry screed along the lines of, “What the hell is WRONG with so many of you?” It would have been an easy column to write and God knows, after over a decade moderating over at the CBR forums, I’ve got a bunch of fandom horror stories of my own to add to all the ones in the press the last couple of weeks.

Here’s the problem, though. Sure, columns like that are controversial and they get a lot of traffic, but I don’t particularly enjoy writing them. And they’re a waste of time. After all, it’s not as though the fans that need to grow up ever actually do it just because someone tells them that they need to. Show of hands– how many of you out there reading this have wasted more than an hour of your life trying to correct someone’s thinking on the internet? More than three hours? How many have wasted a day? And here’s the key question– did it work? Did you actually get the other guy to concede the point?

Yeah, that’s what I figured. The prosecution rests.

So I thought, “Instead of bitching for 2500 words and accomplishing nothing, I should lighten up. A column about something amusing, trivial and fun–” and the word trivial did it. A trivia contest. I haven’t done one of these in a while and they’re always a good time.


This time out, I decided that the theme would be non-powered, street-level heroics. The hard-boiled detectives, vigilantes, and pulp avengers that have kept the urban jungle safe for the rest of us, from the Golden Age to the present day.

The Rules:

Don’t put your answers in the Comments section! If you do that, I will delete them and make cruel fun of you. Email them to me at ghatcher79 (at) gmail.com.

In the case of a tie, the winner will be the email with the earliest timestamp. Decisions made by me are final.

Deadline for entries is Thursday March 1st, midnight, Pacific Standard Time.

As always, Google is frowned upon. Anybody can enter a phrase into a search engine. Feel free to look things up but do it by actually reading your real comics.

Also, don’t put your answers in the Comments section. Seriously.

And what are they playing for, Johnny?

The second season of Columbo.

Featuring A STITCH IN TIME, with Evil Surgeon Spock trying to kill Grandpa Walton. Good times.

Yes, the entire season on region 1 DVD. (I know, it’s not comics-related at all, but it’s a cool set. Somehow we ended up with two of them, and this is a lot more fun than just giving it away to a friend at work or something.) Anyway, this is all eight of the Season 2 TV-movies, brand-new, still in the shrinkwrap. Shipped free to wherever you are.

Okay? Everybody ready? Here we go.

1. How did Misty Knight lose her arm? And who replaced it with a bionic one?

2. Who teamed up with hard-hitting private eye Slam Bradley in his first POST-Golden Age appearance in DC Comics, in the early 1980s?

3. What’s the name of the show hosted by TV detective Roy Raymond?

4. Name Ms. Tree’s colleagues at the Tree Detective Agency.

5. How did Shang-Chi, master of kung fu, first meet Black Jack Tarr?

Story continues below

6. The Shadow teamed up with Batman, twice. Who was the villain of the piece the first time? And the second?

7. What was the name of the cop in the bowler hat that often worked with the original White Tiger?

8. Which of the original Avenger pulps were adapted for comics?

9. According to Denny O’Neil, how did Vic Sage meet Aristotle Rodor?

10. Why were so many Modesty Blaise fans angry about the final story in the book collection Cobra Trap?

11. Who was the comely redheaded girl that befriended Val Armorr in 20th-century New York, back when he was starring in his short-lived 1970s solo title?

12. What’s Jigsaw’s real name, and who teamed up with Frank Castle to beat him in his first appearance?

13. Why did patrolman Jim Harper originally decide just being a policeman wasn’t enough, so he would have to become the Guardian?

14. Mark Valley wasn’t the first actor to portray Chistopher Chance, the Human Target. Who was?

15. What’s the name of the adulterous husband whose angry wife hires Nathaniel Dusk to get divorce evidence on, in the first issue of his miniseries?


There you go. That should keep you busy for a while. Remember, using Google is for sissies!

Back next week with the answers and a winner.


I don’t know if I’ve ever changed anyone’s mind, but I’ve posted a lot of the arguments online as educational tools. Myriads of people can learn something from them–if only how to argue more effectively. ;-)

I know 1! Considering my 0-for-however-many record on cover theme games, I count this as a major victory.

Enjoyed and agreed with the “I give up” article too. Gonna repost it on my Blue Corn Comics page on Facebook.

nice diversion from all the things that have been happening in the industry of late. though so far i can only answer three of the questions .myabe for

I know a big fat ZERO of these. But I am looking forward to finding out the answers. Good call on going with a trivia column instead of an angry column.

Not going to officially enter, but got five right. (I wonder myself why I remember the name of Karate Kid’s 20th Century gal pal.)

[…] they’re soliciting has got me questioning that decision. Greg Hatcher touched upon this on his latest column. And while I’m not willing to give up the weekly comics habit yet as Tom McLean did, […]

I think I know 4 of these, which is better than any other trivia challenge Greg has ever posted.

Hmp. Apparently the monkeyspit address isn’t working, so I edited in the gmail one instead. Apologies to anyone who sent to the other one; you’ll have to send it again, I’m afraid.

And go ahead and send in those four and five-answer entries! Remember, to win you don’t need ALL the correct answers, just the MOST correct answers.

“Here’s the problem, though. Sure, columns like that are controversial and they get a lot of traffic, but I don’t particularly enjoy writing them. And they’re a waste of time.”

Well, I don’t entirely agree that it’s a waste of time, if it brings your own tension level down and gets whatever’s eating at you out of your system. Sometimes the columns are therapeutic for the writer, eh?

The issue is whether you can let it go once you’ve said your peace, and not get caught up in the melodrama that is the idiocracy of comics fandom.

Definitely agree with you about the frustrating nature online arguments – that’s why I never bothered to chime in on any of the recent Friedrich threads, or in Kelly’s recent column (although I now kind of regret not sending her a note of encouragement…)
As for the quiz – yay! I’m looking forward to next week’s answers; I’m pretty sure I know about 2-3 of these, maybe four (and why I remember something as obscure as the Roy Raymond answer is beyond me), so maybe I’ll actually give a shot at submitting some answers.

Nice idea for a contest. Considering your prize, I was wondering who some of your favorite tv detectives were and why. (Might make a column for you.) I have always been fascinated with the tv detectives and like you have bought and read a lot of the tv tie in books. Some of my favorites from when I was younger were from the Mystery movie series that NBC used to do (where I discovered Columbo – one of the best.) I have a bizarre fascination with Banacek. Love the puzzle concept of the show and find the character repellant and interesting at the same time. Definitely a product of it’s time, but I was extremely happy they put it on DVD.

I know one for sure and third of an answer for another one. [geek] I know something Greg Hatcher knows! So proud of myself right now. [/geek]

(No, seriously. I always learn something new from your columns.)

Is the blonde’s remark in the Roy Raymond piece meant to be ironic? Because it makes me wish the parrot would peck out her eyes?

The Crazed Spruce

February 26, 2012 at 2:35 am

Well, I actually know two of ‘em off the top of my head, I can easily look up two more without googling (or even wikiing), and can make a fair guess at a couple more. I might just enter this one….

Sometimes the columns are therapeutic for the writer, eh?

The trivia contest IS the therapy. It lets me go through a bunch of older books I like a lot and remind myself why I fell in love with the things in the first place.

Nice idea for a contest. Considering your prize, I was wondering who some of your favorite TV detectives were and why. (Might make a column for you.)

Ah, that WOULD be a fun one to write– I’m as big a mystery fan as a comics fan, maybe more– but I can’t see doing it as a column. The trouble is that there’s really no way to include comics in there. I try to be conscientious about doing that since it’s really the ONLY restriction, and not much of one. (Brian and Jonah pretty much let us do whatever we want.) And the comics based on TV detectives have been uniformly pretty awful… usually tepid short-run books from Gold Key.

Even mystery comics– I mean ones that are clearly working in the genre, done AS MYSTERIES– it’s a pretty short list. There have been a couple of swings at Sherlock Holmes. Dick Tracy. Nero Wolfe had a short-lived newspaper strip. Johnny Dynamite. The fifties detectives from DC with guys like Roy Raymond and Pow Wow Smith and so on. MAZE Agency. Most of Max Allan Collins’ books, like Ms. Tree and Mike Danger.

But to answer your original question, I’m a child of the 1970s so that stuff resonates with me. The NBC Mystery Movie, of course… and I mean pretty much all of them. (I’ll see your BANACEK and raise you HEC RAMSEY and COOL MILLION.) Bill Bixby in THE MAGICIAN. The usual suspects like Rockford and Harry O and so on. SWITCH, a forgotten gem starring Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner. And I even have a soft spot for the old MOD SQUAD.

What else? All the spy shows, UNCLE and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and AVENGERS. Been watching I SPY off and on here for a couple of weeks and am astonished all over again how good it was, especially the ones Culp wrote himself. The original Roger Moore SAINT and Ian Ogilvy’s RETURN OF THE SAINT. REMINGTON STEELE. HBO’s take on Philip Marlowe with Powers Boothe. PETER GUNN but only in small doses, it was a pretty repetitive show. Stacy Keach in MIKE HAMMER — the first time out, when actual mystery writers like Joe Gores were writing it, although only the second, lighter run is on DVD; buyer beware, it’s entertaining but it’s NOT the good one. Darren McGavin as Mike Hammer is a fun show but has almost nothing to do with Spillane, it’s not Hammer at all, but I kind of like it. HUSTLE on the BBC was a great crime/caper show that was structured very much like a mystery, except it was about getting away with a crime and not solving one.

Julie likes MIAMI VICE and MAGNUM P.I. and I have warmed to them somewhat, though I was not a fan when they originally aired. And we even like junk food detective shows like RIPTIDE and CHARLIE’S ANGELS. We both love the Jim Hutton ELLERY QUEEN, but never cared for its illegitimate child MURDER, SHE WROTE.

Procedurals bore me to tears, so no CRIMINAL MINDS or CSI or LAW & ORDER here. I really liked CHASE on NBC a couple of years back. And the original DRAGNET in black-and-white where Joe Friday actually shot people. That’s about it.

Right now we are all about CASTLE, despite the fact that you can almost always guess the killer just by noting the big-name actor in the first act who has almost nothing to do. Also LEVERAGE and BURN NOTICE, though that’s getting rather far afield from mystery and detective shows.

…Jesus, that answer almost WAS a column. Well, you asked.

Well, I actually know two of ‘em off the top of my head, I can easily look up two more without googling (or even wikiing), and can make a fair guess at a couple more. I might just enter this one….

If you sent that entry in, you’d be leading right now. Just saying.

Holy cow! I remember Switch – that show was really cool. Also, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I used to love Magnum when it originally aired – followed it religiously, the way most other kids at the time were following Miami Vice, which I never liked.
By the way, I kind of liked the re-make of Dragnet from the early 2000s starring the Al Bundy guy…

I dunno nothin’ with this contest. Even using the internet it’s not getting me more than one or 2, and other ones I might know (Ms Tree, Nathaniel Dusk), the comics are buried somewhere. (Ok, there was one that I remembered/knew/double checked, but that’s only because I had kept checking Human Target on the imdb when it was still on the air.)

Not sure that it’d count with the other shows you’re discussing, but it is comics related — did you ever see the original Spirit TV pilot/movie from the late ’80s, with the guy that had been Flash (ah-AH!) Gordon in that ’80s movie? If so, was it any good?

My favorite “mystery” show is Mystery Science Theater 3000. Oh, wait…

Still a couple of days to enter… right now our leader has around seven, so it’s anybody’s game.

Mr. Hatcher, your column and the responses reminded me how ironic that at the same time Frank Miller wanted to infuse the feel of the hard-boiled private eye genre into adventure comic books in Daredevil*, moving away from Flash Gordon inspired reveries, private eye movies largely disappeared from theaters (and later on they have largely disappeared from broadcast television).

What replaced private eye movies then? High-concept films such as cosmic epic Star Wars-Star Wars, which bluntly derives from Flash Gordon! (Police movies have also started to disappear from theaters.)

(Max Allan Collins, as I have noted in other, did not anticipate this trend. You will note that he predicted that unless they did the 1989 Michael Keaton Caped Crusader film in they style of Adam West, it would turn out as a huge embarrassment.)

Unfortunately, films and television now largely aim at the teen audience more. Bill Mesce’s book Overkill: The Rise and Fall of the Thriller explores this trend.

*A litter earlier Denny O’Neil depowered Superman and Denny O’Neil also had Green Lantern face social problems instead of cosmic epics for a while.

Tim Rifenburg

March 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thanks for answering my question Greg. Sounds like we grew up on a lot of the same shows. I thought I was the only one who remembered Cool Million. (For that matter Chase, Search, Snoop Sisters and tons of others.) I was amazed that Banacek came to dvd and hope some of the others get there. Yes they are dated a bit but they hold up fairly well (especially the puzzle type shows like Columbo, Banacek and Ellery Queen.) Thanks for the trip dpwn memory lane. I have read some of the tv tie in novelizations for some of the 60’s and 70’s shows but I rarely see them today. When I do I snap them up on the cheap. Another reason i love reading your book scouting forays. Reminds me what is out there. Thanks again for responding to and answering my question.

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