字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント “Kite Man! Hell yeah.” Those four words would turn small-time criminal Charles Brown into a legendary fan favorite. Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, Kite Man was originally a one-off supervillain, first introduced in 1960's Batman #133. Like most villains of that era, Kite Man just kind of showed up one day to take on the Caped Crusader. Armed with his arsenal of kite-themed weapons, he did just that! And then subsequently failed. Now, I'd love to tell you that, like the Joker, this unlikely one-off criminal turned into an iconic supervillain after his first defeat at the hands of Batman, but that's not the case. I mean, look at this guy, he's no clown prince of crime, he's Charlie Brown, kite king of… well, kites. There's really not much to him, he's one of many “joke villains” that Batman's rogues gallery has accrued over the years: Calendar Man, Condiment King, Kite Man. You get it. So, why then, is Kite Man so important? Because of this guy. No, he's not playing Kite Man in any adaptation of the character or anything. This is Tom King, current writer of Batman and one of my personal favorite humans. Remember that phrase from earlier, “Kite Man! Hell yeah.”? King actually coined that with his reintroduction of the character in 2016's Batman #6. This is where Brown started to pick up some more traction, it's at the very least the first I had seen of him. See, after Kite Man's first appearance, he faded into obscurity, eventually dying in 2006's 52 #25. With only a handful of comics featuring the villain, it was a strange experience to see him grace the pages of a modern comic and fit right in. He felt like he had been around Gotham forever, even though this was the first time he had showed up in a decade. It's not unlike Snyder's introduction of the Court of Owls back during the New 52 in this way. In the issue, he's seen robbing a house, only to be intercepted by Gotham Girl and handed over to the police. After this he does show up a few more times, but is treated as the punching bag, D-Tier joke of a supervillain that he is. Not much was made of Kite Man, he clearly kept showing up and getting panel-time because Tom King thought he was funny — an easy way to inject some levity into an otherwise dark comic. But, that's not the whole story, King had bigger plans for our Kite King, starting with a story arc called The War of Jokes and Riddles. CHARLIE, JR. Daddy, can I tell you something? KITE MAN Sure, Charlie. What's up? CHARLIE, JR. Mommy was talking on the phone, I don't know to who. And she said… well, mommy said you're a joke. KITE MAN She said that in front of you? That I'm a joke. CHARLIE, JR. She said it before too, she says it lots. KITE MAN Your mother didn't mean that like it sounded. It's fine. CHARLIE, JR. It sounded like you're a joke. Is mommy a liar? KITE MAN I mean, she didn't — I mean, maybe… She's not a liar, no. CHARLIE, JR. You are a joke, daddy? KITE MAN Yeah, fine, I'm a joke. I mean, look, buddy, here's the thing. I try a lot of things, and I'm not always good at them. And when I fail, people laugh. I get it, it's funny to watch. But, what am I supposed to do, you know? Am I supposed to just quit? So they stop laughing? The thing is, you gotta laugh too, it's the only way. You gotta laugh with them. 'I'm a joke and I'm funny!' Then you're laughing with them. And if you're laughing with them, then at least you're laughing. Being a flashback story, The War of Jokes and Riddles takes place before Charles Brown became Kite Man. In fact, this is where we see his origin. Two interlude comics during this story, titled The Ballad of Kite Man, reveal a lot about this 'joke character.' For one, he was the father in a dysfunctional family — a petty criminal who occasionally helped out the Joker and other villains, sure, but he loved his son above anything else. “Hell yeah,” Charlie, Jr. would say as the father and son flew kites together. They had a pretty good life. This was, of course, interrupted when Joker and Riddler struck up a civil war among the villains of Gotham. Brown was caught in the middle, being used as a pawn to pass information between Batman and the two sides. Riddler was fed up with this and, as a power play, tragically killed Brown's son. This sent him into a fury, creating the Kite Man costume and identity so he could join Joker's side and end the war. As ambitious and ridiculous of a plan that this was for a dude with a kite strapped to his back, Kite Man actually did have an essential role to play in Batman's takedown of the two titular supervillains. He basically engineered a way to get Batman's team of supervillains up to the Joker's lair to allow the final showdown to take place. The plan involved a lot of kites, because of course, which allowed the team to fly up to the 73rd floor of a Gotham skyscraper, where Joker was hiding. One huge battle ensues, and the story arc comes to a close. It's hard for me to describe how much character development King gave Kite Man in these few issues, so just go read them yourself, you won't be disappointed. The point here is that King was able to turn this one-off joke of a character into a deep, three-dimensional antihero. He doesn't care if people laugh at him, all he has to do is embrace it and laugh along, because at that point at least you're laughing, and what's wrong with that? And I'm not just praising Tom King like he's the second coming or anything here, either, I think there's a greater lesson in writing to be learned from Kite Man. Some of my personal favorite characters follow this “sad clown” archetype. Characters that are introduced, and are largely used as comedic relief, but have a lot more to them, sometimes left unspoken. It's an incredibly relatable facet and can truly turn a fictional 'thing' into a tangible, well-written character. A tragic backstory or interesting origin can turn a one-dimensional, forgettable character into a fan favorite with a cult following. Basically, what I'm trying to say here is; Kite Man. Hell yeah. CHARLIE, JR. Daddy, you know how I don't like to fly kites, 'cause I can't get them to fly? KITE MAN Yeah. Y'know, I can show you — CHARLIE, JR. You wanna go outside and do the kites? Like now? KITE MAN Really? Charlie, you want to go fly them? With me? CHARLIE, JR. I never get it up. It'll fall, I know. But, if it falls, then I'm a joke. And I can laugh! We can laugh, right? Me and you, Daddy. It'll be funny? KITE MAN Yeah, Charlie. It'll be hilarious.