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Bat Lash

Bat Lash is a fictional Western character in the DC Universe. Bat Lash's adventures have been published by DC Comics since 1968.

Character origin

In 1968, Carmine Infantino, newly installed Editorial Director of DC Comics, and his editor, Joe Orlando, were looking for something new to bolster sales. Marvel's inroads into DC's market position were being noticed and Infantino reasoned a slate of new books would fill the 'hero gap'. Westerns were popular at the moment, with the spaghetti westerns of Clint Eastwood breathing new life into a genre that had fallen into disrepute. Western heroes were few in comic books at the time, it was felt they could be revived.

Joe Orlando and Carmine Infantino came up with the name and basic premise of the loner whose family had been wiped out by murderous thugs, and then brought in Sheldon Mayer (former DC editor and creator of Sugar and Spike) and Sergio Aragonés to further flesh out the concept. Shelly Mayer would write the first appearance (Showcase #76). Infantino claimed to have greatly rewritten it. The assignment was then handed to Aragonés, with Denny O'Neil doing the dialog over Aragonés' plots, and Nick Cardy providing the art.

They called me and said 'Sergio, we need a western, we need a cowboy, called Bat Lash. Think about it'. So I did, I thought the character. The way I work, things pop in my head pretty fast, so as I was sitting with them in the restaurant, I was describing how the character was. So Bat Lash was born right there, in the restaurant...one of the things they wanted, they wanted to be 'different' a different western, but they didn't know how, so I came up with a guy that had good taste for food, and music, and loved flowers and nature. And was a crack shot.

But he was no clown. The idea when I wrote it was that he was man with a sense of humor, but he was not a clown. He would do things that will (make) other people become the butt of humor, but not him. The humor should be the result of (Bat Lash's') action.
Sergio Aragonés

Publication history

Bat Lash first appeared in 1968, in a house ad running in Superman DC Comics. It featured a gangly figure, in silhouette, stalking toward the reader, with the legend, "Bat Lash. Will he save the West, or RUIN it?".

The character's first published story appeared in Showcase #76. It featured a devil-may-care character, a peaceful, violence hating man who attracted trouble wherever he went. He wanted to be left alone ... with the exception of the many females that crossed his path. Bat Lash the book possessed a sense of humor that has often been compared by fans to the TV series Maverick, starring James Garner.

Bat Lash's own series only lasted eight issues. Even though Editorial Director (later Publisher) Infantino claimed it sold well in Europe, sales in the States were not enough to sustain a run of the title. The character and the series bearing his name have been recognized in the industry, including the 1968 and 1969 Alley Awards for Best Western Titles.

Bat Lash made several other appearances after his cancellation, in issues of Weird Western Tales, and back ups in Action Comics and other titles. He appears in an alternate time-line in Justice League Europe Annual #2, written in 1991. An older Crimson Fox, through a time travel accident, appears in the middle of a card game, allowing Bat Lash the opportunity to save himself (and her) from Bat's own cheating. During the chase, Bat encounters one 'Miss Sally', who is sad that she hasn't seen Bat in months.

In 2006, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray wrote Lash into Jonah Hex #3. For Halloween 2007 Bat Lash rides with Jonah Hex to save Lazarus Lane the host Body of El Diablo in Jonah Hex #24.

In 2008, Bat Lash appeared in a new self-titled, six issue mini-series from DC, written by Sergio, with dialog by acclaimed western novelist Peter Brandvold, art by John Severin and covers by Walt Simonson.

Other media

Bat Lash has appeared in Justice League Unlimited voiced by Ben Browder. In the episode "The Once and Future Thing", he teamed up with Pow Wow Smith, El Diablo, Jonah Hex, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern (John Stewart) to stop Tobias Manning. He is portrayed as easy going and good mannered. He calls Manning a poor cheater when it comes to cheating at cards.

See also

References

Other sources

  • Interview: Sergio Aragonés, Comic Book Artist #1,
  • Bat Lash 1-8,
  • Carmine Infantino, Amazing World of Carmine Infantino
  • Comic Book Awards Almanac

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