6 Bat-themed Heroes and Villains (Other Than Batman)
Welcome to October, everybody! It’s the spookiest month of the year, and Halloween is my favorite holiday! Every year, I like to do some spooky and horror-themed lists, and this week is about one of my favorites: bats! Those flying foxes are my favorite animal. And not just because Batman is one of the most famous superheroes of all time.
Bats are cool. There’s no doubt about it. But what can you do when Batman already looms large over the world of superheroes? How do you introduce any other bat-themed characters without them being overshadowed by Batman? The answer is apparently that you don’t! There aren’t very many out there, and most of them are some kind of parody of Batman! But I searched and found six pretty cool bat-themed heroes and villains that aren’t connected to that one really well known guy!
Honorable Mention: Brick Bat
I just had to mention this guy! I found him in my research. So Brick Bat was a villain who appeared in one issue of Police Comics in the 1940s. He was basically a guy who wore a suit and a Batman cowl and threw bricks at people — bricks that would then break up into poisonous clouds! He had no connection to Batman or DC Comics or anything, so I’m pretty sure that mask is just a total coincidence! I think. I can’t say as how I’m an expert on Brick Bat, I just think he’s hilarious!
Batfink was the star of a metric ton of short, 6-minute cartoons in the mid ’60s created to parody the Batman and Green Hornet television shows that were popular at the time. Kind of like DangerMouse! Batfink was a superhero bat with metallic wings and a sonic scream, who was born in a plutonium mine and lost his natural wings saving his mother’s life from some bad guys — prompting him to go into crime-fighting! Batfink had his own police contact, his own mischievous villains and his own themed car — the Battillac! He also had an oafish sidekick named Karate — seen above — who probably wouldn’t play all that well today.
5. The Black Bat
Back when Batman first debuted in the late 1930s, he had some competition from The Black Bat, a similarly-costumed crime-fighter from an entirely different pulp comic. The Black Bat was former district attorney Tony Quinn, who was blinded when a mob boss threw acid in his face. When he later got a cornea-transplant, Quinn discovered that he could see during the night, plus he had all those enhanced other senses from being blind for so many months. All of these “powers”, combined with a desire for justice after seeing so many criminals fall through the cracks, led to him becoming a vigilante crime fighter! Obviously, since you’ve probably never heard of him, it’s safe to say that Batman won that popularity contest. I think the rights to Black Bat are now owned by Dynamite, since they tried an unsuccessful relaunch of him and some other pulp heroes a couple years ago. More power to them!
Beast Machines is an underrated program. We all loved Beast Wars, the computer-animated, animal-themed Transformers cartoon from the ’90s. But the follow-up series, Beast Machines, was darker and more nuanced, in my opinion. It was damn good! And the one original Maximal they created was Nightscream, the bat! He was annoying and kind of a prick, but he was the only real bat in the Beast Wars universe, so he had some points, in my book. Nightscream was the ‘kid’ character who joined the good guys and mostly just tagged along being a pompous brat.
3. Jungle Fury Bat Ranger
There are a million different Power Rangers these days, and not all of them are based on dinosaurs. Power Rangers: Jungle Fury (one of several animal-themed Rangers) featured a whole ton of animal rangers and zords. The three main Rangers were a tiger, a jaguar and a cheetah, and they were soon joined by a wolf, a rhino, an elephant, a shark and, most importantly right now, a bat ranger! The Jungle Fury Bat Ranger is…hard to explain. A couple of those animals, including the bat, were based on animal spirits that could be summoned in Ranger form to help out in a fight. So I don’t think the Bat Ranger had an actual host hero, but the Ranger could be summoned by the blind Master Swoop, and he taught the power to the Blue Ranger. So…he looks cool, at least!
Wingnut is the alien/mutant bat monster hero/villain from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universes! He was a favorite of mine as a kid, and he usually gets some new variation in whatever rebooted Ninja Turtles cartoon or comic or movie comes along next. Wingnut is usually an alien — though is sometimes a mutant — and is often teamed up with a mosquito named Screwloose. Back in the original cartoon they were villains, but they were heroes in the comics and toyline. Wingnut is often portrayed as a dingus, but sometimes he’s smarter. Usually his natural wings are small and weak so he gets to wear a badass pair of metal wings! Wingnut usually gets rebooted into every cartoon or comic, but there have sadly been no live action Wingnut variations yet!
1. Baron Blood
I looked and looked and looked, and apparently there just aren’t any bat-themed heroes or villains at Marvel Comics! Probably for good measure. You don’t see many spider-heroes over at DC. But one very bat-looking fellow at Marvel is Baron Blood, the vampire villain that Captain America fought in World War II! There have been several Baron Bloods over the years, but the original was a British aristocrat who was transformed into a vampire by Dracula himself! He then went on to join the Nazi super-villains and get his butt whooped by Captain America and his allies. But being a vampire, he’s constantly coming back from the dead and donning that sweet bat gear!