Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bob Haney!

When I first started reading comics back in the early-mid Seventies two of my favorite books were THE BRAVE & THE BOLD and MARVEL TEAM-UP, published by DC and Marvel, respectively. Both featured their "star" characters, Batman and Spider-Man, teaming-up with different co-stars every month.  To a new fan as I was these books served as wonderful introductions to dozens of characters I had never heard or seen before. Or, sometimes, they featured characters that I had seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE or AVENGERS and wanted to see more of.
At that time the writer of B&B (as it was called) was a gentleman named Bob Haney. He was also the main writer of WORLD'S FINEST, which featured Batman teamed with Superman. I read both of these books regularly and after awhile began to recognize Mr. Haney's rather unique writing style. He would create his own sense of "reality" (if I can use that term when talking about super-heroes, haha) and ignore what had gone before. His most famous example was creating The Super Sons, the sons of Superman and Batman. These characters appeared only in the pages of WORLD'S FINEST, and were basically created to represent the Counter-Culture or Youth Culture that was strong in the early Seventies. Obviously, Batman and Superman were not married and didn't have any children, but that didn't bother Bob Haney! Their wives, the sons' mothers, were only shown in silhouette and never addressed by name.

I later learned that Bob Haney had much to do with two of my favorites: Aquaman and The Teen Titans. He added such famous characters to the AQUAMAN world as Ocean Master, Black Manta, Dr. Vulko, and Tula. He did even more for the Teen Titans: he helped create them! He put Aqualad, Robin, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl together in their first adventures. The rest is history.

Sure, Bob Haney created his share of stupid characters (Mad Mod, anyone?). But he also created Metamorpho, the Element Man (co-created with artist extraordinaire Ramona Fradon). So that should count for something.

For all the Bronze Age goodness that Bob Haney gave us, I want to celebrate his life. March 15 would have been his 87th birthday. Unfortunately, Bob Haney passed on in 2004.

Happy Birthday, Bob Haney! 
The first appearance of Aquaman's Arch Enemy, Black Manta
created by Bob Haney & Nick Cardy

Originally Speedy was not a Teen Titan and Aqualad was. 
When Bob Haney left, they switched. :-(  

Metamorpho, the reluctant hero
I came to appreciate this unique character after I was older 

The first issue of B&B I can remember buying...
note the Teen Titans reprint on the upper right!  

One of Haney's "controversial" Super-Sons stories. 
This one features a guest appearance by Robin, 
the semi-grown up Wonder! 

One of my favorite B&B issues...
I had never seen The Metal Men before, 
but I liked them after reading this story

Another "controversial" Haney story: 
Plastic Man is an alcoholic bum, and Batman 
needs both Plas and Metamorpho to solve a 
simple murder mystery. 
Still, somehow it works...

I just didn't understand WTH the Super Sons were. 
Several years later, I found I wasn't alone, haha! 

Bob Haney in his later years perusing 
a TEEN TITANS Archive edition

1 comment:

  1. Bob Haney was a genius who never let continuity get in the way of a good, fun story! :)