Posted by Don MacPherson on November 22nd, 2010
The Canadian channel that carries Batman: The Brave and the Bold seems to boast an erratic schedule for the show is far behind when it comes airing newer episodes. As a result, I watch episodes of the show online, as I quite enjoy the campiness and the spotlight on the diverse and weird array of characters in the DC stable. Recently, I was watching an episode in which I had a particular interest: “The Mask of Matches Malone!” The reason I was so interested in this Batman/Birds of Prey episode (which has yet to air in the U.S.) was that it was penned by long-time Birds of Prey comic scribe Gail Simone.
The concept and execution were a lot of fun, and aside from a somewhat forced and pained musical number, I enjoyed it a great deal. But the aspect of the episode that I found most intriguing was a nugget of information that flashed on the screen through the credits:
We’ve seen creator credits, both in DC comics and other-media adaptations of its super-hero properties, for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Batman creator Bob Kane for years. More recently, credits have shown up for Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston and for Jack Kirby for his Fourth World characters. But as a character and a contribution to DC’s super-hero mythos, the Huntress really isn’t in the same league as those other characters, and Levitz, while a long-time presence and influence in the comics industry, certainly hasn’t achieved the same level of noteworthiness as Siegel, Shuster, Kane or Kirby.
I wondered if this was representative of a new creator-credit policy developed either (a) specifically for Levitz, as he recently stepped down as the president of DC Comics, or (b) as part of a wider-reaching approach to character creator credits by DC Entertainment.
I checked out the credits from the most recent issue of Birds of Prey, the only ongoing DC title to feature the Huntress prominently month after month. There’s no mention of Levitz there.
So with this information about the inconsistently applied Huntress creator credit in hand, I emailed a couple of DC Comics’ public-relations officials about the issue, informing them I was planning to write a piece for this website about it.
DC spokesman Alex Segura originally told me company officials were looking into the issue and that he’d have some answers for me after a few days. When I checked back in with him after those few days, I learned no answers would be forthcoming.
“Hey Don, We’re declining comment. Thanks for checking with us,” Segura wrote in a Nov. 19 email.
After reaching that PR dead end, I contacted the man himself. Levitz referred inquiries to DC Comics.
Another aspect of the Huntress creator credit from the Brave and the Bold cartoon that’s a bit puzzling is that it only lists Levitz. The Huntress debuted in two comic books the same week All-Star Comics #69 and DC Super-Stars #17 (both cover dated November-December 1977). While Levitz was the writer on both, the All-Star issue and the Huntress origin story in Super-Stars were illustrated by artist Joe Staton. He’s generally considered the co-creator of the Huntress.
I reached Staton online, and he said that he was unaware of Levitz’s creator credit on The Brave and the Bold, though he didn’t seem put out by his exclusion.
“I didn’t even know that there were creator credits on B&B. At the time of the Huntress’s creation, the rule was that whoever did the first six appearances of a character was considered ‘vested’ in the character and was considered (co-) creator, so officially, Paul [Levitz], Bob Layton and I are listed as the creators of the Huntress,” he wrote.
“In any event, I get royalties, which is cool.”
When contacted for comment, Batman: The Brave and the Bold series producer Michael Jelenic said he and the other producers of The Brave and the Bold don’t know why Levitz was singled out for this new creator credit.
“DC determines which creators we give onscreen credits to. Don’t know what their criteria is though. I don’t think it’s an exact science,” he said.
Unfortunately, I’m left with just as many questions after making my inquiries as I did before, if not more.
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