'Harley Quinn' Spin-Off Has A Sneaky Connection To 'The Boys' Creator
Speaking at SXSW last weekend, one of the showrunners of HBO Max's Harley Quinn show confirmed they're working on a spin-off starring Kite-Man, the long-time Batman villain/running joke, prompting "Hell yeahs" from his five fans. The show will be called Noonan's, after the seedy bar Kite-Man buys and attempts to run, which becomes "kind of like Cheers for supervillains." (Cheers was a sitcom set in a bar, for our readers who aren't 200 years old.) What's interesting is that the bar has a longer history than the character himself and a connection to another foul-mouthed, gore-filled superhero show: The Boys.
Noonan's first appeared in 1993's The Demon Annual #2, written by The Boys co-creator Garth Ennis. The bar was introduced a hangout spot for criminals of the non-costumed variety and is a real sleazy joint, which you can tell because it says "sleazy" on the front.
During that same issue, one of the bar's regulars, hitman Tommy Monaghan, is attacked by a spine-sucking alien and gains X-ray vision and telepathy -- but instead of putting on tights and fighting crime like most alien attack victims, he just uses his powers to kill people more efficiently. Out of the nearly 30 new super-characters introduced by DC in that alien invasion crossover, Tommy, the one who didn't give a crap about superheroing, was ironically the only one readers gave a crap about. In 1996, he got his own series called Hitman, which featured Noonan's as a recurrent location. This series gave Ennis an excuse to expand the DC mythology by introducing characters like Dogwelder, who welds dogs ...
Or Bueno Excellente, who fights crime by, uh ...
Okay, so you could already tell that Ennis didn't particularly care for the classic concept of superheroes. In fact, Hitman increasingly ignored Tommy's powers and became a series about regular hitmen who hang out at a bar. If superheroes did appear (at DC's insistence), it was mostly to make them look like idiots.
So in many ways, Hitman paved the way for Ennis' The Boys -- which we'll remind you started out at DC before they saw what Ennis did with "Batman" and kicked it over to another company. Even after Hitman ended in a pretty ... definitive way, Noonan's continued showing up in DC Comics, surviving multiple multiversal crises along the way. Making it into yet another universe isn't that weird. And with The Boys recent successful venture into the world of animation, perhaps a completely pointless and shamelessly commercial crossover events with Noonan's wouldn't be that far-fetched -- after all, the whole thing started with one of those events.
Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com.
Top image: HBO, Amazon Studios