Babies are many things. They can be cute, gooey, smelly, and the apple of their parents’ eyes. They also tend to be fragile. Babies are the things that we may want to protect the most in any given situation.
So, what if the baby in question actually somehow becomes a superhero? To answer that question, we come to Baby Wildebeest.
A common theme to many a Misplaced Hero is that many times there’s only a single creator who’s really enamored with the character. Oh, other writers and artists may have a decent run with the character, but often once the original creator moves on, the character is quickly relegated to the background or written out of the book entirely. That is more or less what happened to Snapper Carr. Creators showing favorites is nothing new, such as how Geoff Johns dealt with Black Adam, or Brian Michael Bendis’ clear love for Luke Cage. But sometimes the creator love goes to a new character that doesn’t always stick around long.
One of the most intriguing things DC Comics did after the original Crisis, though technically starting before it with Alan Moore’s phenomenal Swamp Thing run, was the creation of the Vertigo line for mature readers. The initial Vertigo books were ostensibly set in the same universe as the rest of the DC line, so while it was unlikely, it was possible in the early years before it became its own imprint and even sometimes afterwards for DC and Vertigo heroes to meet up. This era is what gave us excellent remakes on classic DC standbys, using old characters as building blocks for more thought-provoking, mature, or even barely related characters appearing in the aforementioned Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and Peter Milligan’s Shade the Changing Man. Most of these new writers were British imports, including a little known at the time Grant Morrison, who would use this line to springboard into mature revamps of Animal Man and The Doom Patrol.
While Morrison’s Animal Man was used as an early opportunity to explore the writer’s ideas on metacommentary in superhero comics and his burgeoning vegetarianism (seriously, in his last Animal Man issue, he appears as himself to tell the readers to consider joining PETA), Morrison’s Doom Patrol is remembered for being just plain weird.
And in the middle of that weirdness, there was Crazy Jane.
Gabbing Geek Jenny has, in the past, stated her belief in Madam Xanadu as an iconic character. I tried one before to to suggest that maybe Phantom Lady had a better claim to that title under her criteria (does not have a male version, has not cameoed in a movie or TV show, has an origin story older than the mid-90s, and has been read by Jenny). Jenny said Phantom Lady’s costume sucked (which, to be fair, it does), but maybe for my weekly “This one died!” column we can try a different character with a better claim than Madam Xanadu.
Let’s talk about Elasti-Girl. And I do not mean the one in The Incredibles. Pixar actually asked DC for permission to use the name, and it was granted so long as the name was never used in the marketing. If you get that action figure from The Incredibles line, her name will be listed as “Mrs. Incredible”.