When it was revealed in Brad Meltzer's "Justice League" that the Cavalier had been dating "Captain Stingaree" I was shocked. Shocked, I say to you now! Because I just couldn't picture a man as stylish as the Cavalier falling for this guy:
Also I was surprised that anybody would have promoted him to the rank of "Captain." But it turns out I was mistaken. "Captain Stingaree" is actually a completely different DC villain that almost nobody has ever heard of. Instead of a pirate theme, the civilian Stingaree is based on the mischievous "clown of the sea," the sting ray. (Insert "Crocodile Hunter" joke here as soon as it stops being in poor taste.) Also, he was the leader of a "world crime syndicate." No, not the WTO. This one was called "Cyclops."
The very idea that DC had two bad guys with the name of "Stingaree" is seriously effed up... mainly because "Stingaree" has to be one of the dopiest-sounding villain names I've ever heard. I could see using it for a kid sidekick, but not a criminal mastermind. It's too cute! Like, cloyingly, ain't-I-a-stinker cute. It's self-consciously kooky -- just like the "Metamorpho" comic itself! Now, before you start hurling your custom Heroclix at me, hear me out. I know a lot of very intelligent folks love that book. But to me it, it just seems to be trying too hard. And also all the characters look either freakishly deformed or like Charro. I try to read an old issue of "Metamorpho" and I may as well be trying to decode an ancient Mayan tablet. I'm baffled. I can't figure out in the least how it's entertaining. But then I feel the same way about Tejano music, Aaron Sorkin and female strippers. To each his own, I guess. So don't get me wrong. I mean, I don't like "Metamorpho" but it doesn't really rile me or nothin'. But then you take a goofball name like "Stingaree" and pile it on top of the incomprehensible awfulness of a "Metamorpho" story and it all becomes just too much for me. It makes me fly into a rage -- a manic, tear-filled rage where I'm screaming "Why?! Why?!" over and over again until my voice gets all hoarse and I flail my arms and I pound my skull with my mighty fists and I kick over that one table that Jeremy's folks had made from a genuine hibachi and I crumple to the ground in a hairy, muscular heap and Jeremy has to clock me on the noggin with a bottle of Shiner Bock just to shut my ass up. So you can imagine my amazement and consternation when a simple Google search revealed to me that "Stingaree" really is what a lot of perfectly reasonble people call the sting ray, as well as a nightclub, a 1934 musical, and a historical "red light" district in San Diego.
Well, I still think it's a stupid name. *pouts* And thematically it doesn't even jibe with the name of his organization! You'd think the supreme leader of Cyclops would have a monocular laser-blaster or maybe a giant, all-seeing surveilance robot (with a big wooden club). Not our Stingaree, no sir, he's doing his own thing. Even the costume isn't that bad but then he had to go and ruin it with that stupid cape (not that the belt is doing him any favors, either). Why wear a cape if it's just going to get in the way of your ten-foot-long cybernetic tail? (I ask myself that same question all the time.) And the collar seems to be suffering from social anxiety disorder because it's hiding behind Stingaree's neck and it absolutely refuses to come out from there.
According to my research, Stingaree's appearance in "Metamorpho" #10 (January/February 1967) was not only his first but his last. I don't know the cause for his disappearance, but I suspect it may have been the cease-and-desist letter from the lawyer of Max Gargan.
On Monday, we'll get the insider's perspective on Stingaree, from our friend Manny!