Thursday, February 26, 2009

1993 Who's Who in the DC Universe Update #2 Bloodwynd Profile

Featuring text by Mark Waid and art by Dan Jurgens and Rick Burchett, this Bloodwynd profile page can be enlarged, front and back, with the click of a mouse. That's a good thing, as the Loose-Leaf Edition of Who's Who sold far less than its predecessor, and this Update is downright scarce. I'd estimate there were only about 13,000 printed, many of which having been ripped apart and kept in 3-ring binders (like mine!) Who knew Bloodwynd had his own logo, even if the font is fairly generic? The information here is sparse, as is common with all things Bloodwynd. Do note that this is the second extraordinarily powerful African-American super-hero I've profiled this week to have vanished from DC Comics for half a decade and counting...


DamonO said...

Another character with a lot of potential yet to be realized.

Diabolu Frank said...

Honestly? I've never seen it. Terrible name... Vague, entirely derivative powers... Dubious, confusing introduction... Offensive origin... No personality or presence... All he's got is a great costume I'd like to see refitted for Dr. Mist.

Did you read the Kishana Lewis article from earlier in the week? Now that's a promising, interesting, extraordinarily powerful heroine I'd like to see something done with. I don't recall if you liked Chris Claremont though...

DamonO said...

Bloodwynd is yet another character that needs someone with the right vision for him to take the reigns.
Some of today's most intriguing characters started out pretty lame.

Speaking of Dr. Mist, have you ever done an entry on him. I'm looking for a good picture of him to use as reference, a full body shot and a head shot. I'm also trying to learn more about his abilities and exactly what his schtick is. Any idea?

Diabolu Frank said...

I've been holding off on a Dr. Mist entry until I get Showcase Presents: Super Friends in a couple months. I want to read the comic where he punched out Superman. I'm more familiar with the Post-Crisis version, which saw Mist depowered and made out to be a fraud. I think the character deserves redemption. Why don't you shoot me an email from my profile link, and I'll forward scans and more info next week?

Richard Evans said...

Bloodwynd wasn't African American.

He was the Martian Manhunter under an alias.

Jeremy said...

If anyone thinks Bloodwynd is intriguing or had great potnetial as a character, they did not read any of the stories he appeared in. He sucked. Pure, 90's Kewl awfulness.

Also, for most of his appearance,s he was actually Martian Manhunter impersonating him.

Diabolu Frank said...

Jeremy's right on the money. I'm writing synopsis for each of Bloodwynd's appearances for my Martian Manhunter blog. Bloodwynd is terrible in all his stories and from the ground up in his conception. Also, Bloodwynd exists separately from the Martian Manhunter. It was actually a demon named Rott using Martian Manhunter's body to impersonate Bloodwynd for most of the character's appearances. I just wrote that, and I still don't understand it, but that's how it was.

DamonO said...


"If anyone thinks Bloodwynd is intriguing or had great potnetial as a character, they did not read any of the stories he appeared in. He sucked. Pure, 90's Kewl awfulness."

The problem with this observation is that its based on a reasoning which assumes that just because a character has a poorly written past that he/she can't be rehabilitated into an interesting character. That's been pretty well debunked numerous times.

Some years ago, Gail Simone took a lame, uninteresting Batman villain named Catman and turned him into an intriguing, complex character in the VILLAINS UNITED limited series. Bullseye was just a generic hitman type character in DAREDEVIL for years before Frank Miller came along and helped make the character multi-dimensional and now he's one of Marvel's most popular villains. Grant Morrison took a forgettable, obscure character like the Human Flame that no one had touched in years and made him a prominent character in FINAL CRISIS, and now the character is starring in his own spinoff limited series.

Bloodwynd is no "lamer" than any of those characters were, he just lacks someone with the right vision for him as a character. That's unfortunate, since it really would be nice to have at least one black mystical character that's on the same level as a Dr. Fate or a Dr. Strange. The only one I can think of is Brother Voodoo, and he can't even cast a spell. Maybe the new Spectre, a black character whose skin is chalk white.

Diabolu Frank said...

Damon, you're coming at this from the Mark Gruenwald school. After he slaughtered all those C-list villains in the Scourge of the Underworld arc in Captain America, Gruenwald was convinced by another creator (John Byrne?) that no character was so beyond redemption as to be cast off so cavalierly. In the years that followed, Gruenwald went from Cap's promising new scripter to the guy who trotted out one lousy villain and plot after another for twelve years, strangling the life out of the book.

I'll be the first to admit that great characters have been born out of shoddy beginnings. My love for the Martian Manhunter came out of his handling from 1987 onward, where for most of the previous thirty years he was a poorly written Superman clone. However, Martian Manhunter was one of the first Silver Age heroes, a founding member of the JLA, and was continuously published for thirteen years worth of adventures. His visibility and success, modest as it was, gave the character value enough to rate renovation.

Bloodwynd is an awful character, top-to-bottom. His continuity is more convoluted than Hawkman's, his powers and motivations are ill-defined, he has no discernible personality, his creator treated him as a throwaway gimmick, and his very name recalls hemorrhaging flatulence. The considerable effort it would take to redeem Bloodwynd would better serve an entirely new creation, or the rehabilitation of a pre-existing one that is remotely good. That's why I brought up Dr. Mist before-- if for no other reason than Dr. Mist at least has a decent name.

P.S. I always wanted John Stewart (Mosaic era) to become the new Dr. Fate.

DamonO said...

"Dr. Mist," a decent name? Sounds more like the name of a soft drink.
But I agree that he's a character that can be rehabilitated, as you say.

As for Mark Gruenwald, I don't think it was his use of lame villains that caused his run to limp to a finish in the end. After all, "Cap Wolf" was hardly a pre-existing villain.

And there are those to this day who would consider Martian Manhunter to be a lame character (not that I'm one of them). As you say, we're talking about a character who has existed since the Silver Age, yet hasn't managed to SUCCESSFULLY carry his own title during all this time. And what exactly are his motivations? And come on, isn't his costume pretty lame? Trunks, suspenders, and buccaneer boots?

But that doesn't mean I don't think they should keep trying to make the character appealing.

Diabolu Frank said...

Martian Manhunter continues to be used because...

a) he's been merchandised since 1985
b) he's a JLA founder
c) artists like to draw the funky brow
d) hard core geek writers like him

I agree that in itself doesn't make the character a success, but it is enough to limp through the DC universe perpetually. "Martian Manhunter" is a problematic name, his costume is pretty lousy, he's been confused with the Hulk at times, and he just plain needs work. But I love the guy, and think he's earned consideration by future talents.

Bloodwynd? There's nothing there but JLA membership and tenuous mystical ties. He's the kind of guy you only dig up to kill off or turn traitor. He's just an awful character from a terrible period best consigned to the garbage heap. I can think of a half dozen New Bloods with more worth!

How about this: take his origin, even his costume, and just give it to somebody else. New name, a personality, defined powers, and as little mention of the previous bearer as possible. A relatively blank would be better than Bloodwynd himself.

DamonO said...

Obviously, the Bloodwynd debate is not one in which we'll just have to agree to disagree. However, I would like to make one final point as to why I'm not as willing to throw Bloodwynd under the bus as you and the rest of our fellow fans are.

The whole Bloodwynd situation is just one of numerous ones I've observed over the years regarding heroes of color. It usually goes something like this: 1) Superhero of color is introduced; 2)Superhero of color fails to be accepted by the comic-reading audience; 3) Superhero of color is killed off or never seen again.

Take Orpheus, the first African-American superhero introduced into the Batman family. He fits the pattern perfectly. After failing to build a substantial fan base, the character was killed off during the "War Games" crossover of Batman titles -- and since black heroes rarely return from the dead, I doubt we'll ever see him again. Note that in the same crossover, a character named the Spoiler was also killed off, and yet has seemingly returned from the dead while Orpheus remains dead. Instead of trying to make Orpheus a more appealing and interesting character, they decided to just kill him.

Same pattern exists with Muhammad X. The character was introduced, vastly disliked, and as a result he's never been seen since. Lather, rinse, repeat.

During Marvel's CIVIL WAR storyline, they killed off both Night Thrasher and (Black) Goliath.
Both characters remain dead. And even though Captain America was also killed during the crossover, I doubt anyone here would be willing to bet that he isn't eventually going to come back.

It happens again and again. An obscure superhero named Thunderbolt -- a black speedster --was killed off by Marvel years ago and has never returned. Ditto for the original ShadowHawk character. And while such WW II era heroes such as Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Wildcat, and Jay Garrick (Flash) remain hale and hearty, Amazing Man was revealed to have died from cancer. And Marvel's first hispanic superhero the White Tiger? Killed off years ago in an issue of DAREDEVIL.

So yeah, when I see a character like Bloodwynd, I tend to think in terms of how he or she can be made more appealing and interesting, flaws and all. Because if a character like Brother Power the Geek can be revisited (he's slated to appear in an upcoming Brave and the Bold issue), I certainly believe that Bloodwynd can be fixed.

Diabolu Frank said...

Damon, you should know by now I am a friend to the colored super-hero. I like or love a great many of them, and I'm always happy to see one succeed. Bloodwynd, regardless of the shade of his skin, is just that awful of a character. For the love of God, I'm advocating a major revival of Dr. Mist! Bloodwynd may be to Dr. Mist as a bottom rung Marvel UK character is to Death's Head, but that's my point. Regardless of the faults of Marvel UK's only popular character, and how that amounts to the popularity of a lesser Valiant character in the grand scheme of things, at least someone, somewhere cared that Death's Head ever existed.

Damon, you are the only person in the history of time that sees Bloodwynd as having potential. To everyone else, he's a really confusing footnote whose best feature is a Space Ghost knock-off costume.

Also, I read some of Orpheus' comics, and he was pretty lousy too. The guy was part of a touring dance troupe! Orpheus was given a mini-series as a tangential Batman family character, and blew it creatively before race even factored in. Xero or Onyx should have been so lucky.

Muhammad X was not a character, but a story device. Anyone who makes Superman look bad in a Superman comic will be punished by Superman's fans and creators. The whole point of Muhammad X was to do that very thing, and that is why he is doomed until someone revives him. Regardless, I'd rather see someone write Steel again at least half as good as Priest did, which would be four times better than 52.

My argument is that you should pick your battles better. Night Thrasher was a good character that should not have been killed. I never cared for Bill Foster, but he had tons of potential, and the mere fact a Black Goliath series existed in the '70s should have made him untouchable. I believe no villain, woman, or minority who ever held down a series before 1990 should be disrespected like that.

I'm a fan of Amazing Man, especially the extremely powerful '90s version, and am still pissed he was sorta-kinda killed off and replaced by Ving Rhames. I never liked how Shadowhawk became another bullshit "legacy" character, and the concept never recovered from that misstep. What was done to White Tiger was inexcusably stupid.

In general, you're absolutely right about the nature and consistency of abuse visited upon minority super-heroes, and I'm with you in that fight. The problem is, Bloodwynd sucks, and no politicization of the issue changes that. Supporting him is like backing O.J. Simpson for President in 2016, except the Juice accomplished a lot before the murders, and is still a pretty terrifying Parallax-style real life hero-turned-villain. Bloodwynd is a never was and a never should be-- the Kato Kaelin of the super-set.

DamonO said...

Mike, I wasn't in any way saying, suggesting, or implying that you aren't supportive of heroes of color. I was merely expressing my perspective on the matter in order to clarify why I feel a character like Bloodwynd is salvageable.

But you're quite wrong in saying that no one else thinks Bloodwynd has potential. Perhaps you think that's the case because you personally feel that way, and/or you only communicate with other fans who feel likewise. I regularly converse with other fans from around the country, and there are quite a few of us that think Bloodwynd has potential. I don't assume that just because I think that Lobo is one of the most despicable, detestable characters in comics means that everyone feels the same way.

Your reasoning as to why Bloodwynd should be tossed away -- lame costume, ill-defined powers and motivation, vague personality, etc. -- could apply to any one of hundreds of characters. How many revised origins and reboots have we seen of Hawkman, Moon Knight, the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Atom, and dozens of other characters? DC just purchased the rights to Archie/Red Circle heroes.
Talk about lame, weak, ill-defined characters -- even in their heyday they weren't very good or popular, yet no less a writer than J. Michael Straczynski thinks they're worth trying to revamp for a contemporary audience. Look at all the obscure heroes Alex Ross and Jim Krueger are bringing back from the golden age, many of whom are as lame or lamer than Bloodwynd. Regardless how you feel about these revival projects -- and I suspect you don't care for them -- the creators that are doing them are very popular with fans and that will help bring these characters a new audience.

As I said, we're not going to agree on this. Just remember, there are probably those fans who'd just as soon see Martian Manhunter tossed onto a scrap heap and forgotten as well -- and I'd be just as opposed to that as well.

Diabolu Frank said...

When I said no one cared about Bloodwynd but you, I was speaking in hyperbole. It's you and five other guys, but still.

Every character has potential. My feeling is that if you have to massively rework a character in order for them to gain any traction, why should the creator credit forever read "Dan Jurgens" when you can just build a new hero from scratch. Why not "Blood Diamond," a heroine who derives her exceptional mystical power from the souls of those killed for conflict gems? "Created by DamonO, all right reserved?"

As for expending effort on more established b-listers like Hawkman, Moon Knight, the Legion of Super-Heroes or the Atom? It just so happens I have a deep affection for all but one of those properties, and there's so much material in print to work with, the heavy lifting has already been done. Those are instances of crafting stories about characters you already love, not just recrafting lame characters in pursuit of a goal. If you dig Bloodwynd as much as I do Ray Palmer, God bless our sorry selves, and there's no accounting for taste.

I like Golden Age characters in general, so I don't object to a Red Circle revival, just that it's taking place at DC and generally ill-conceived. I also dislike "Project: Superpowers," but only because the execution suggests a love of Bronze Age Marvel more than the actual concepts in play.

DamonO said...

Heh, heh -- "You and five other guys." I think you just perfectly described the Martian Manhunter fan base.

Believe it or not, I actually think Bloodwynd would make a great villain, primarily because you got me thinking in that direction. I could see that gemstone that his powers derive from as having a corrupting influence. Kinda reminds me of Modred the Mystic, a character that started out as a hero and descended to the dark side.

I don't think Bloodwynd is a character that has to be massively reworked. As you yourself have said he's ill-defined and vague as a character. That means there's plenty of room to build a foundation for him as a character without having to reconcile it with what has gone before. Those are actually the best kinds of characters to work with, because you can mold them in your own image without having a lot of backstory to accomodate.

And by the way, just in case you think my affinity for obscure, ill-defined characters extend only to Bloodwynd, my art gallery is filled with commissions of such creations as the old Harvey Comics heroes, the Continuity Comics characters, the THUNDER Agents, the Atlas/Seaboard heroes and plenty of other long gone superhero characters. Gone, but not forgotten by me, and I can see potential in them as well.

Diabolu Frank said...

Heh, heh -- "You and five other guys." I think you just perfectly described the Martian Manhunter fan base.Normally, I'd just laugh this off, but I've got to brag about getting on average 150+ hits every day at my Manhunter blog. Hotter days break well over 200, and peak days have gotten closer to 500. Which is nothing compared to the Aquaman Shrine blog, and it's about, you know, friggin' Aquaman. I'm pretty sure either would do better than a Sub-Mariner blog, though (*zing!*)

Bloodwynd as a villain sits just fine with me. A powerful black mystic to fight guys like Dr. Fate and the Spectre would be a boon to all concerned. Even I can't name a classic Dr. Fate villain off the top of my head, so there's a start. Also, the Blood Gem has always reminded me of an Eclipso diamond, and both started popping up heavily around the same time (hmmmm...)

The one problem with your "fresh angle" take on Bloodwynd is that you inevitably have to explain the connections to Martian Manhunter and Rott, which in itself is hefty baggage. As a villain though, there's more wiggle room. If Martian Manhunter is dead and Bloodwynd is running around being evil, they're obviously(?) not the same character (?!?!)

I love many of the same oddballs you mentioned (especially T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents,) but those were still unique and historied characters if only by virtue of existing separately from DC/Marvel. I love the third option in all things.

DamonO said...

It shouldn't be all that difficult to reconcile the Martian Manhunter/Rott connections. If they found a way to reconcile all that Hawkman history -- one of the most convuluted backstories in all of comics -- they can find a way to reconcile Bloodwynd's.

200 hits a day on a Martian Manhunter blog? I'm guessing those are the same guys responsible for Martian Manhunter's last series selling 200 copies per month.:-)

LA Phil said...

This right here is a great piece of writing that should not just be lost as a 2009 blogspot comment


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