Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Doug:  Today we're talking character names, and the characters who've been assigned those monikers.  Specifically, we want your thoughts on suits like the Flash -- in one way or another worn by Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West (and others -- call me dumb for not knowing any more for certain).  Or what of Robin?  Geez...  Over at Marvel, many of us are fond of both Captains Marvel (Karen asked you to discuss Monica Rambeau last week), but not so much when it comes to a Captain America with someone other than Steve Rogers under the big white "A".  Green Goblins, Power Mans, Human Torches, etc. -- it's a long list!

Doug:  Sound off today on your favorite characters who've borne the name of another man (or in some cases woman).  Who do you like better?  Who simply did not work for you?  In some cases, such as the Black Knight, did you think the bad one was better than the good?  Is (was) there room in your heart for two characters with the same name (as in the Torch example below) appearing in print at the same time?


Anonymous said...

Wow I'm first up today - a rarity!

Well on this topic I'll really go old school and mention the first ever costumed comic book hero. Superman? Hell no - the Phantom! You can never have too many Kit Walkers! On the DC side, to me Green Lantern was always Hal Jordan and Flash was Barry Allen. Other characters added depth to their respective series but nothing beats the original personas.

Over at Marvel, the Ben Reilly clone saga still irks me up to this day. I remember there was a storyline wherein Gwen Stacy was cloned too but you don't need to do that with Peter Parker. Cloning stories work best when used sparingly.

I loved when they introduced the Immortal Iron Fist series a few years back. Having the Iron Fist as a legacy power was a stroke of genius. I loved when they introduced other Iron Fists (even a female one!) which gave the series more richness and depth. Come on, do you really think Danny Rand was the only Iron Fist in K'un L'un's history?

Power Man? I think of Luke Cage when I hear that name. Who else? The Human Torch? Johnny Storm, although the original android version had some interesting storylines. As for Captain Marvel, I agree that Monica Rambeau was an underutilized character, but the new rebooted (formerly Ms Marvel)version looks promising.

- Mike 'only one of me' from Trinidad & TObago.

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts:

Given the fecundity of the English language, it always seems incredible to me that names either need to be duplicated or we end up with the likes of Matter Eater Lad or Bouncing Boy.

I like it when character have the same name so an issue can be made of it. Dane Whitman rehabilitating the Black Knight name, Power Man fighting Luke Cage, the two Torches, etc.

What was the Man-Bat? Wasn’t he just some freakish thing that they invented to riff off Bat-man?

When I say ‘Fury’ do you think of the DC heroines or do you go to the cigar-chomping, eye-patch place?

Ironically, I think both Marvel and DC have a hero called ‘Copycat’.

So Hank Pym is Ant Man, Giant Man, Goliath, and Yellow jacket. He is married to the Wasp, but later becomes the 2nd Wasp after her death. Bill Foster is a colleague of Hank Pym and becomes Black Goliath. And later Giant Man. And later still Goliath again. Clint Barton is Hawkeye, but takes over as Goliath, but the Hawkeye persona is also used by the Golden Archer (who is also called the Black Archer and is basically a pastiche of the Green Arrow). Conversely, the Golden Archer persona is used by Hawkeye. Then years later there’s another Hawkeye who is a young girl. And Hawkeye later takes on the identity of Ronin, from someone now called Echo. Hawkeye (Clint) loved the Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), but there is also another Black Widow (Yelena Belova). She (Natasha) seduced him (Clint) into fighting Iron Man (Tony Stark), but there is another Iron Man (James Rhodes) who later assumes the identity of War Machine.... can actually sit for quite a while doing that......!

I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘random’.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I missed a loop there, didn't I? Because Power Man, to whom I'd already referred, also became Goliath, right?

Still, you have to stop somewhere.


david_b said...

Richard, I had to sit down, you were making me quite dizzy.

I didn't think much of DC making Wally more 'adult' with the first few issues of his 'Flash' run after 'Crisis'... It was too dark and I just couldn't handle the 'tryin'-to-be-gritty' writing style. I agree with 'my Flash' being Barry, 'my Lantern' being Hal.

Let the younger folk have theirs..

I did like DC's attempt to add new GLs back in the Silver/Bronze Ages with Guy and John. This opened the door to have the title feature different characters as 'Green Lantern', yet still keep the title as is, being arguably the first of that concept unlike someone like Happy Hogan or James Rhodes 'posing' as Iron Man.

Part of the issue here is 'the reason' why the uniform changed wearers..:

First off, you have the 'Batman-Robin' relationship kept alive by the likes of Jason Todd, etc..; then you have the name changes, like all the Goliaths, the Flash's, Marvell's (or Monica's Marvel, however way you slice or spell it..), where the intent is simply a 'hero update' for legal or otherwise 'cool-concept-to-keep-around' idea, such as USAgent or Golden Archer.

As I commented last week for Monica, I understand the legal rationale for giving her the Marvel moniker, but it didn't work for me. Mar-Vell will always be Walter Lawson to me.

Garett said...

Love your "Flash through the decades" image--you can tell a lot about the changes in comics just by these different Flashes. The early Flashes, simply drawn and smiling (Jay Garrick on roller skates for some reason!), more sophisticated anatomy through the next decades, then the smile disappears and we get grim and serious in the '80s, then the special effects overdose of the '90s, and finally our current Flash who isn't running!

What is the best Phantom comic to read? I saw the '90s movie, and one or two Aparo Phantom comics. I like the character, but haven't found the knockout artist/writer to really get into it.

William said...

I personally dislike the huge trend of taking old male character identities and reintroducing them as females. And I'm not even talking about knock-off characters like She-Hulk, Bat Woman, Spider Woman, etc. I'm talking about females actually taking over the identity of the formerly male character. Writers seem to think this makes them somehow edgy and innovative, or something. Here are a few off the top of my head.

Captain Marvel
White Tiger
The Question
Dr. Light
Doctor Octopus

And the list goes on. I'm sure I missed a ton of them.

I think it's a just another cheap gimmick that is more insulting to women than flattering. Give the women their own identities like Black Canary, Invisible Woman, Wonder Women, etc.

david_b said...

"Female characters taken over male roles..?" I'm still ticked about the reimaged Galactica's Starbuck getting a gender change.

'Doc Octopus' now a female..?

Oh, mercy..

Anonymous said...

I guess the "best" Phantom comic depends on your own personal taste. As I recall, the Gold Key/Western comics were pretty good, and the King and Charlton issues were not bad. But that's probably nostalgia rather than objective judgment. Fans of Jim Aparo might like seeing his earlier work in the Charlton issues. I'm not really familiar with later versions. BTW, IIRC, Archie/Red Circle may have "borrowed" the premise of a super hero line of succession for one version of the Black Hood.

Anonymous said...

"My" super heroes will always be the Silver Age versions, but I remember even back then there were the annual JLA-JSA team-ups, and sometimes reprints of older stuff, so I also recognize the Golden Age versions. Thus, Alan Scott and Jay Garrick are as valid as Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. The first Captain Marvel comic I ever saw was the M-F version from around 1966. It didn't make much of an impression on me (or, evidently, on anybody). I never got into Mar-Vell, either. To me, Captain Marvel will always be Billy Batson by Binder and Beck. The original Power Man always seemed to be more of a henchman than an independent villain, so he never really impressed me, and I had no objection to Luke Cage taking the name. BTW, I seem to remember the Avengers issue where Henry Pym became Yellow Jacket and Hawkeye became the new Goliath. There was a recap of Pym's incarnations as Ant Man, Giant Man, and Goliath. Hawkeye quipped, "Yeah, you've had more names than Zsa Zsa Gabor."

ChrisPV said...

I am the only living Barry Allen fanboy under the age of 30, but I do loves me some Wally West. Granted, the first batch of issues after he took over were not...conventionally good. But once William Messner-Loebs and (especially) Mark Waid took over? Priceless. At its best, the Wally Flash book managed to be about both him and Barry simultaneously, just based on how Wally approached the memory of his mentor.

For me, I really liked that we had a half dozen GLs back in the day. I loved the GL Corps book that Englehart did around Crisis, because I got to follow a bunch of different Lanterns at once, and each was totally valid. The GL concept allows for that without stretching, and I think that was a stroke of genius.

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