December 6, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #294: The Heckler

A hero fights evil by annoying it.

You know, I was on a minor roll a few weeks ago with these short-lived DC series that were at least partially creator-owned, and I fully intended to cover the Heckler.  Then, well, I guess I forgot.  That or I found some other character I wanted to cover more.  Point is, I forgot about the Heckler, a character whose series ran for a grand total of six issues even though the seventh was actually solicited in the back of the last issue.

Yes, it was that sort of series.

DC, as I recall, really wanted the Heckler, in his self-titled series, to do well.  There were a lot of in-house ads for the series.  And it isn’t hard to see why:  this was Keith Giffen’s immediate follow-up to his popular run on various Justice League books.  Those had famously mixed humor with superheroes in a way that really hadn’t been done before or, arguably, since.

So, really, Giffen’s follow-up was clearly something DC had high hopes for.  Then the series didn’t sell and Giffen asked DC to cancel it after six.  The seventh issue was never completed.  And that was that.

So, who was the Heckler?

In short, he was a character inspired by Bugs Bunny.  Diner co-owner Stu Moseley didn’t really have any superpowers.  He just put on a gaudy costume and went around fighting criminals, many of them superpowered and working for the local flamboyant crime boss Boss Glitter.  His technique for fighting evil was to basically be as annoying as possible, slinging insults left and right as the bad guys got so enraged they more or less defeated themselves.  He had a friend named Ledge who kept a dossier for criminals and an old greaser named Dude more or less knew everything and was a consultant to, well, everybody it seems.  The Heckler then went around fighting crime in Delta City.

For those keeping score at home, Delta City is the same city Vext called home in a completely different short-lived Keith Giffen series.

And, quite frankly, the Heckler might have been the least interesting character in his own series.  This is a guy who fought mole men, a French scarecrow named C’est Hay, the Four Mopeds of the Apocalypse (the Horsemen’s kid sidekicks), and the Cosmic Clown.

Yeah, that’s a Cosmic Clown alright. I’ve seen one before.

That Bugs Bunny comparison carried through to a villainous hitman called Buskwack’r.  He, like Wile E. Coyote, built various death traps that were both highly elaborate and tended to hit Bushwack’r instead, but the Heckler spent the entire issue completely unaware of Bushwack’r presence.

The sixth issue ended with Heckler preventing an apocalypse, as one does, but unlike other DC creator-owned characters that are still ostensibly set in the DC Universe, the Heckler had a handful of background appearances here and there.

Like this one with Ambush Bug and Plastic Man.  Apparently, they were getting ready for a kegger.

And that was that.  Will the Heckler return to bother more bad guys?  Maybe, but probably not.

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