03 April 2012

Onscreen History of DC Animal Lovers

A number of DC's heroes posses a wildlife connection. In this special edition spotlight, lets take a look at DC's heroes with animal themed powers.


The first of the animal men and women to appear onscreen was Rima, The Jungle Girl. Although the heroine was first  created in the 1904 W. H. Hudson's novel, Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest, she was not adapted by DC comics until 1974.

Rima first appeared onscreen in the All New Super Friends Hour series as a fourth segment guest star where she used her Snow White like powers to command forest creatures. At least she didn't make them clean the dishes. In the end, Rima appeared just three times before falling into obscurity.

B'wana Beast

B'wana Beast joined the Justice League Unlimited to aid in the search for Wonder Pig armed with his unique Doolittlian ability to speak to the animals.

While B'wana was a bit of a joke in JLU, he was treated much more heroically in Batman: The Brave and the Bold which not only portrayed his origin story, but also his ultimate sacrifice. In Brave and the Bold, Beastie had the power to merge animals into strange and useful mutations.


B'wana Beast was not the only animal lover introduced in Justice League Unlimited. Following Hawkgirl's treachery, John Stewart found a new love interest in Vixen. First introduced in 1981's Action Comics #521, Vixen wore a Tantu Totem talisman which allowed her to draw on the abilities of various animals.

In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Vixen returned to the small screen, this time coupled with fellow beastmaster, B'wana.

Although Vixen did not appear in the direct to video film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, her alternate Earth counterpart Vamp did along with fellow alternates of the Justice League Detroit. Not only could Vamp use animalistic abilities, she actually shape-shifted into animal forms.

Animal Man 

After a run in with a downed alien spaceship, Buddy Baker gained the ability to mimic the abilities of animals. Animal Man first debuted in Strange Adventures #180 in 1965, but lay fairly dormant until the 80's when he got his own reboot of sorts. Eventually Buddy worked his way into DC's mature Vertigo line of books but has recently returned to mainstream DC continuity. Animal man is slated to make his onscreen debut this week on a series of DC Nation shorts.

Beast Boy

Last, but certainly not least is perhaps the best known master of beast on the list. While Garfield Logan AKA Beast Boy (AKA Changeling) first appeared in 1965's Doom Patrol #99, he is best known for his inclusion on the animated Teen Titans series. BB appeared not only in the series 5 seasons, but also on the direct to video movie, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo.

Paying homage to Beast Boy's history with the Doom Patrol, a circus poster of Gar appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, The Last Patrol!

In 2011, the Teen Titans along with Beast Boy returned to airwaves via a series of shorts dubbed New Teen Titans which aired during the DC Nation block.

Most recently a young, powerless Garfield Logan was spotted on Young Justice receiving a blood transfusion from Miss Martian. Whether or not Gar will return as Beast Boy remains to be seen.


And don't worry, I didn't forget about Jayna of the Wonder Twins. Her complete history can be found here.

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