Monday, October 29, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: Anthony Lupus, Part One

In "Detective Comics" #505 (August, 1981) Batman is asked by a woman to track down her brother, as he is the only viable bone marrow donor for her sick daughter. The complication: the brother is Anthony Lupus. Who is a werewolf.


Lupus is (to my knowledge) the only monster on my list to have made the transition into television; he appeared on the Batman cartoon in 1992. The story was based on his first comics appearance. Except they changed his last name to "Romulus", since that's vaguely less stupid. Vaguely. Fun fact: his voice was provided by Harry Hamlin, who always looks like he's about two lap-dissolves away from completely turning into a werewolf, anyway.

But back in 1981, Lupus was just another dead one-shot villain.

Or was he? Commissioner Gordon just happens to have a newspaper clipping about a hunter named "Anthony Lupus" who is in hot water with the EPA for slaughtering "a rare species of Alaskan timber wolf." The species is especially rare, because the writer (Seasoned Professional Gerry Conway) just made it up!


Ah, the Wonderful World of Gerry Conway, where nobody does anything, until they absolutely have to. I'm picturing the scene now: "Has a bloodthirsty monster possibly resurfaced after being presumed dead?" Gordon pondered. As he puffed thoughtfully on his pipe, his gaze wandered down the page to the night's television listings. A-ha! KGC-TV was re-airing a "Fantasy Island" episode he'd missed once before. "And I'll miss it again if I have to sit on the roof with the Bat-Signal all night long, waiting for that long-eared galoot to show up." thought Gordon. "If he ever does. Supposedly he has "monitor duty" on the Justice League satellite on certain nights, but I'll be damned if I can ever get his schedule pinned down. 'Monitor duty--!' Batman and his super-pals probably just play poker or have wild sex parties up there, and I'm stuck down here like a jerk-off. All because of a "lead" -- which may or may not even be legit! The hell with it! Besides, it's all the way up in Alaska, for fuck's sake! Let the pipeline workers and the lesbians sort it all out."


"Of course, now it can't go on..." I mean, before, it was merely illegal and harmful to the environment. But now there's that damn kid and her leukemia in the mix. What a pain in the ass. That's motivation in a Seasoned Professional Gerry Conway story for you: imposed on the character by an outside source, and heartily resented.

The brown-suited guy all the way down there is not Batman's Biggest Fan Ever. Far from it, actually. It's mayoral candidate Arthur Reeves, and he's running on an anti-Batman platform (which is also how Jacques Chirac and Hugo Chavez got elected).


Reeves is a black belt in Taunt-Fu! Here he demonstrates the "praying mantis" style. It's a good thing Batman smacked him down, because Reeve's follow-up move is a wedgie. And since Batman's undies are on the outside of his tights, he's pretty much asking for it.

But the bitch, he is slapped, and so Batman must lam it out of town. He heads for Alaska -- not in the Batplane, but in a commercial liner... that looks suspiciously like my old living room.


Well, hello, Bruce Wayne! You're simply slathered in purple, and you're reading the Gotham Gazette's fashion section? I'm definitely intrigued! Just grow some kick-ass facial hair, and then we'll talk. Also, you might want to adjust your pose a tad. It's looking a mite prim. C'mon! Sprawl out a little bit. Spread those legs wide. Find something to scratch. And would it kill ya to grunt randomly?

Sorry. I seem to have gone off on a tangent. It's just that I can't stop thinking about how I'd "improve" Bruce Wayne, i.e. make him more like myself. Oh, well.

Tomorrow: Bruce and a handsome, rugged, bearded fellow make plans to spend the night alone in some other dude's cabin. You're getting there, Bruce! You're getting there!

But today, I'd like to close things out by showing you how the "cool kids" dressed in 1981:


...Well, of course, they had to wear baggy, voluminous clothing! How else do you expect them to cover up all the tattoos?


Phillip said...

Did they really dress like that? There must not have been many cool kids at my school, then. Of course, all the kids at my school were in kindergarten, same as me, so...

Jayunderscorezero said...

Watch out for Captain Crotch-grabber on the right, there.

Anonymous said...

That's Conway for you, I guess: Just one long "You Didn't Ask" joke.

That and voluminous research on scant facts. I guess "find the family history of this char-broiled man-dog" is an actual event for the title of World's Greatest Detective. He could get a job on CSI: Miami with that kind of dumb luck.

Oh, speaking of which, please tell me that they're not even in Gordon's office. It'd be great if he was just carrying that article around, not seeing any point in telling anybody about it.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

WHat are the chances of a man with the last name of Lupus becoming a werewolf?

And when he was struck by lightning, did Batman take a moment to check it out or did he just dump it down a smokestack or something?

Jeremy Rizza said...

Phillip: Yes, and the beauty part is, contemporaneous high school and college kids dressed pretty much the same way. It was a virtual army of feathered hair and flared trouser legs.

Jayunderscorezero: That kid's parents are legally obligated to inform a neighborhood of his presence whenever they move someplace new.

Anonymous: I'm pleased to report this scene takes place at the hospital, with Gordon smoking up a storm (as per societal norms back then).

Jon: In the DC Universe, the odds are pretty good! And if it was Conway Batman in the original story (I have no idea) he probably just glanced at the charred body, shrugged his shoulders, muttered "Screw it..." and walked away.

Caballeros De Montevideo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaGnUs said...

I'm pretty sure we didn't wear BELL BOTTOMS in 1981... Osh Kosh Bigosh overalls, a Lacoste shirt and bowlcut was what my mom dorkily made me wear.