The New Harley Quinn Spinoff Kind Of Rips Off A YouTube Series
The new season of Harley Quinn comes out this week, and they’ve already announced a spinoff series, starring Kite-Man. If you’re not familiar with the main show, a Kite-Man series sounds like a terrible idea, or even parody of bad ideas—much like it would have sounded if you'd heard a decade ago that there would be a Disney TV series called Hawkeye.
But the new show will not be about Kite-Man having spectacular adventures. It will be about him running a bar, a Cheers-type bar, where supervillains hang out. Now that’s a fun idea. And an idea that’s never been done before!
Well, no. The idea of an animated series starring supervillains in a Cheers-type bar HAS been done before, by the YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended. The web series has been running since 2005. Besides (as the title suggests) mocking up scenes to show imaginary alternative move endings, they also do other sketches, including a bunch showing superheroes meeting up at a café. Evil characters had no convenient place in Superhero Café, so they received their own spinoff, Villain Pub, complete with its own song to the tune of the Cheers theme.
We’re not saying HISHE has a solid plagiarism case against HBO. The only legally copyrightable elements here are the characters, and DC are the ones who own those. It’s a weird similarity, though. Especially since the bar in the Kite-Man series, Noonan’s, does exist in the comics but is not in the comics a Cheers-like pub for supervillains.
If nothing else, this shows how wacky ideas that could once only exist in parody can now be done seriously—or at least in self-parody, in legit shows and movies. In the Villain Pub, Joker interacts with Sauron and the Daleks, something that could never happen in any movie of course. Until 2017, that is, when we got The Lego Batman Movie, which also featured Joker interacting with Sauron and the Daleks.
The Batman in that Lego movie seems to be based more on HISHE's Batman than on any previous incarnation. And really, the HISHE Batman deserves a formal place in Batman pantheon. Today (July 27) marks the anniversary of his first appearance. Daniel Baxter has been doing the character continuously for 16 years, which is a whole lot longer than most Batman actors manage.
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