The Biggest Superhero Films That Didn't Happen, Part 2
Comic Books, Film
Well, it’s been a week. How did everyone do?
Really well, I think. After a couple that everyone complained were too hard, I think we finally hit that sweet spot where the quiz was hard enough that contestants were challenged, but not so difficult they were frightened off trying. We had more participation than we’ve had in a while and it seemed everyone was playing by the rules– in fact, I’m certain of it, because there were a couple in there where Googling for it would have given you the wrong answer.
Of those who did enter, largely everyone did VERY well. So a hearty well-done and a gold star to all our players: Travis Pelkie, Edo Bosnar, Mark Calise, Michael Doty, Erik Henry, JK Carrier, Nicolo Yu, Reuben DeBord, Sam Hurwitt, and John Trumbull. “Heroes all!” as Stan Lee used to say. Your nerd-fu is mighty indeed!
Most answers were worth two points, except for the multi-parters where each correct component part of the answer was worth one point.
And here are those answers right now!
PART ONE: LOYAL COMPANIONS
1. Alfred Pennyworth’s last name, in his Golden Age incarnation, was not actually Pennyworth. What was it originally?
Originally, he was was Alfred Beagle. It was made clear in later years that on Earth-2, Alfred was still fat and named Beagle. He actually met ‘our’ Batman and Robin during Zero Hour, in a story by Alan Grant and Bret Blevins.
This is a really cool story… one of the better Zero Hour tie-ins, actually.
2. You all know the Lone Ranger’s partner Tonto is a native American– it’s right there in the opening narration of the radio show, he’s the Ranger’s “faithful Indian companion.” But to what TRIBE does Tonto actually belong?
Tonto is a Potawatomi, from Kansas.
3. How did the Punisher first meet his tech-savvy friend Microchip?
When Microchip was investigating the murder of his nephew. Turns out it was the Kingpin that killed him. During Micro’s investigation, he crossed paths with the Punisher and they figured out that they were much better off working together.
And for a bonus point can you tell us Micro’s real name?
David Linus Lieberman.
4. In the forties, a lot of superheroes partnered with goofball civilians, such as Plastic Man did with Woozy Winks. Who was the slightly dunderheaded partner of…
Wildcat’s partner was Stretch Skinner, introduced in Sensation Comics #4.
That was Percival Popp.
Green Lantern’s pal was Doiby Dickles.
…and Captain Triumph?
This is my favorite. Believe it or not, for a while there Captain Triumph hung out with Biff Banks, known also as Biff the Clown.
Biff lasted, I think, five issues, and the clown outfit didn’t even last THAT long. (One often wonders if there was a reason they called it CRACK comics…)
5. Where did Doc Savage first meet his five aides?
In a prison camp during World War I… they broke out together and swore to always remain friends thereafter.
(Bonus points if you can tell us where each of the TWO versions of this same story appeared.)
Philip Jose Farmer wrote it up as a novel, Escape from Loki, the first of Bantam Books’ new Doc novels in the 1990s. But before that, Mike Barr did it as a DC Annual in 1989.
(Despite the swastika on the DC cover, it really was a World War ONE story.) Mr. Farmer was kind of annoyed since he’d been planning his for a while– he mentions wanting to write the story back in his Doc Savage biography that he published in the seventies– but Barr did get there first. They’re both good stories.
PART TWO: BOY (AND GIRL) WONDERS!
6. At one point in his career, the Dick Grayson Robin actually had a fan club… both in real life and in the comics. What was its name?
Clearly, this was one of those you-had-to-be-there questions, because almost no one got it; only Sam Hurwitt and John Trumbull could name The Robin-Rooters. And John was the only one to get the next part…
And what did those fans clamor for more than anything else in the letter columns of the time?
The Robin-Rooters DESPERATELY wanted Robin to get a new costume. At one point Bob Rozakis and Don Newton built a story around the idea.
And they used costume designs the REAL Robin-Rooters had submitted to DC.
The Robin-Rooters also often lobbied for Dick Grayson to grow a mustache…. they were really obsessed with the idea of Dick Grayson growing up. Eventually DC relented and let Dick become Nightwing after teasing fans with the idea all through the 1970s, but Robin getting a new look didn’t really happen until Tim Drake assumed the Robin identity in 1991.
7. There have been a lot of Robins, for sure. But how many BUCKYS have fought alongside Captain America? Name as many as you can.
Well of course there’s the original, Bucky Barnes. That’s one.
After that it gets tricky, because not all of them actually used the NAME “Bucky.” But here are the ones I think actually count.
There’s Fred Davis, the Bucky who fought alongside first William Naslund’s and then Jeff Mace’s Captain America.
That’s two. Then there’s Jack Monroe, the unbalanced Bucky of the 1950s that Steve Englehart first revived in Captain America #153.
Monroe got better, eventually took the identity of Nomad and traveled the country with his daughter…. that he called Bucky. So there’s three and four.
Now, technically, toddler Bucky shouldn’t count– she never fought alongside Captain America– but I gave credit for the answer anyway.
I also think you have to count Rick Jones’ brief tenure as Captain America’s sidekick; though he never took the name Bucky, he did wear the outfit. So that’s five.
When Steve Rogers was ousted as Captain America and replaced by John Walker, Walker’s partner was Lemar Hoskins, who briefly assumed the name and uniform of Bucky.
Hoskins was hastily re-christened Battlestar and given a new outfit… but he WAS a Bucky. That brings the count up to six.
And finally, there’s Rikki Barnes, the Bucky of Heroes Reborn.
I know we’d all like to forget Heroes Reborn but Rikki is still fighting the good fight on Counter-Earth as a member of the Young Allies, having taken the name Nomad, so I think we have to count her too. That makes seven Buckys in all. That’s more than the Robins, actually.
8. Which DC teenage companion made it to television BEFORE his or her mentor?
Speedy showed up on Filmation’s Teen Titans shorts in 1967.
That’s several years ahead of Green Arrow, who didn’t make it to television until Super Friends in the early 1970s.
You can also make the case for Wonder Girl, who was ahead of Wonder Woman by a couple of years as well… but only in terms of broadcast.
There was a Wonder Woman pilot with Linda Harrison (who was later to play Nova on Planet of the Apes) that was made earlier than the Filmation Titans even though it never broadcast, so technically Wonder Girl’s out. But that’s doctorate-level DC trivia, so I gave half-credit for anyone who answered Wonder Girl instead of Speedy.
9. Speaking of television, you probably know Lynda Carter was TV’s Wonder Woman in the seventies. But who was that show’s Wonder GIRL? (Bonus points if you can tell us her civilian name on the show– it was NOT Donna Troy.)
That was a young Debra Winger as Wonder Girl.
On the television show, Wonder Girl was actually Diana’s younger sister Drusilla, and while in her civvies she used the name Drusilla Prince. Dru took to Man’s World right away and, to her older sister’s dismay, immediately started investigating American culture, especially boys and ice cream.
10. When Jack Kirby revamped JIMMY OLSEN in the 1970s, he added a member to the Newsboy Legion in his first issue, as well. Who was it?
Who inexplicably remained in his wetsuit all the time. For years. But, you know, Kirby, so we all just let it go.
11. As long as we’re on the subject of Jimmy Olsen, how many different actors can you name that have played him in live action on movies and television?
The first was Tommy Bond, who played Jimmy in the serials with Kirk Alyn.
Then there was Jack Larson, in the television show with George Reeves.
Next up was Marc McClure, in the four Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and also with Helen Slater in Supergirl.
In the 1990s, the TV show Lois and Clark gave us TWO Jimmys– Michael Landes and Justin Whalin.
Then on Smallville, he was played by Aaron Ashmore.
(I went ahead and counted him in spite of the show’s “Henry James Olsen” dodge, but several respondents noted that and added that the Jimmy at Henry’s funeral was played by Ryan Harder.)
And in Superman Returns, we had Sam Huntington… seen here posing with Jack Larson.
I love that picture.
I left out animation and radio Jimmys because, jeez, that’s just getting ridiculous, but several mentioned those as well, notably Jack Kelk from the old radio show, and David Kaufman from the Bruce Timm animated series.
12. Who was the Creature in the Velvet Cage and what became of him?
That was Sandy Hawkins, better known as Sandy the Golden Boy, one-time partner to the Sandman. He was horribly mutated during a weapons test (through, it has to be said, a combination of the Sandman’s recklessness and his own idiocy.)
Eventually Sandy got better and after Wesley’s death took his place in the Justice Society, using the name Sand.
13. During Rick Jones’ brief and embarrassing career as a rock singer… who was his MANAGER?
That was Mordecai P. Boggs.
You don’t really need to see both of these pages to see that, but I couldn’t deprive you of Rick’s rendition of “Champagne People.”
PART THREE: MAIN SQUEEZES!
14. According to Walter Gibson, where did the Shadow first meet “friend and companion” Margo Lane?
Margo actually was a creation of the radio show, because in radio the hero needs to have someone to talk to. The original plan was to have the Shadow’s agent Harry Vincent teamed with the Shadow, but the feeling was that two men talking would not be enough of a vocal contrast. So the part was rewritten for a woman and that became Margo Lane.
When the radio show took off, Gibson was instructed to put her in the pulp stories. He didn’t love it and at first wrote Margo as a sort of cute nuisance. She was a socialite who met Lamont Cranston on a cruise and agreed to hook up with him in New York. However, when she went looking for Cranston later in Manhattan, she found the Shadow instead, borrowing Cranston’s identity as he did from time to time, and she decided she liked him better than the real Cranston. Eventually Margo became one of the Shadow’s agents.
And according to DC Comics?
When DC was publishing The Shadow Strikes! Gerard Jones pretty much stuck to that… but he gave Margo a vastly more interesting backstory.
In this version Margo was a girl with a dark past, who’d gotten snarled up with some crooks and fled to Manhattan for a fresh start.
15. We all know that Mary Jane Watson’s first words to Peter Parker were, “Face it, tiger… you just hit the jackpot!” But what were his first words to HER?
One assumes there were mumbled greetings of some kind between meeting MJ on the last page of Amazing Spider-Man #42 and the dinner in #43. But the first words we SEE on the comics page are in Spider-Man #43, at the dinner table: “It’s a deal, Mary Jane!”
16. Lois Lane is a reporter for the DAILY PLANET… but what did her sister LUCY originally do for a living?
Originally, she was an airline stewardess.
…and what was her profession post-Crisis?
She was an air traffic controller who had been blinded in some kind of accident. Now, technically, this got contradicted a couple of times (as was traditional in post-crisis DC– NOBODY knew exactly what the status quo was, including the people writing the books.) So anyone who answered “flight attendant” or “worked for an airline” got credit.
She did eventually get her sight back and started dating Ron Troupe, but I’m not sure if she went back to the airline thing or not.
…and what was it during the New Krypton arc?
She was a major in the Army, and kind of unpleasant.
…and on TV’s SMALLVILLE?
Mostly just really unpleasant. Ne’er-do-well, thieving, little bit on the slutty side. I believe at one point it was said she was in school, so I gave credit for ‘student’ and also for ‘con artist.’
17. Name the two women that at one point or another the Earth-2 Batman was engaged to marry.
Bruce Wayne dated a lot in the Golden Age, but it only really got serious a couple of times. The first was Julie Madison… but she broke it off because she thought Bruce was a worthless playboy.
The second was Selina Kyle…. who he actually did marry.
18. Modesty Blaise is not romantically involved with her partner Willie Garvin and never has been, but Willie does have a girlfriend. What’s her name?
That’s Lady Janet Gillam. She was introduced in the short story “I Had A Date With Lady Janet” in the collection Pieces of Modesty, and played a major role in The Silver Mistress.
Willie also had an occasional thing with Maude Tiller, one of the agents working for Sir Gerald Tarrant. I think that was more of a friends-with-benefits situation, but I accepted either answer– however, only Eric Henry gave us both names. And Nicolo Yu reminded us that Annie the Bang (yes, I know; look, I didn’t write it, okay?) was the lady to whom Willie gave his virginity, though I didn’t count that answer.
So there you go! Who were our winners?
There were fifty possible points in all, and it was a real squeaker– only eight points separated our top five contestants!
Honorable mention goes to John Trumbull who scored thirty-eight out of fifty. Coming in at a very respectable forty-one points each, Sam Hurwitt and Nicolo Yu tied for third. I didn’t actually award prizes to these gentlemen but I was so impressed that I thought they deserved to have their names posted, at least.
Second place goes to Michael Doty with forty-three points. So he takes the Defenders and Green Arrow collections.
And first place goes to Eric Henry, with a staggering forty-six out of a possible fifty. So he gets the Sandman and John Dunning books.
I hope you all had as much fun with this as I did; I always enjoy doing these and I’d like to think you do too. Congratulations to our winners and all our other players! Prizes are going out to the winners as soon as I get addresses for you– check your email, gentlemen– and everyone else, I’ll see you next week.
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