Not About the Answers
Is that thouroughly badass "klump" panel from the old Ditko Question stories?

Nope! It’s from Vic’s appearance in Len Wein and Paris Cullins’ post-crisis Blue Beetle! He was in issues #4-7, the last one being just a few months before the O’Neil series debuted. It’s a really great team-up between him and Ted and I definitely recommend tracking it down if you can!

It was a reblog, so I couldn’t say exactly which issue it was, but I think it may have been #5?



Oh Vic, you’re so punny!

Puns are what the man does.




Oh, I loved these issues. Really ought to post more from them some time.

[Blue Beetle v6 #6]


Also, the green-checkered jacket! I don’t know why, it’s only actually happened a few times, but every time I think of Vic outside the mask, I always see him in a green-checkered jacket. I just love that thing.

This is the end of our Vic collection. But stay tuned, our Renee Montoya collection begins in just a few moments!

[Question v2 #1, Mysterious Suspense #1, Blue Beetle v6 #5]



This is what I typically call “the leisure suit”. It isn’t actually a leisure suit, it’s more of a jumpsuit, but it’s still goofy-looking.
Ditko gave him this number in his story in Blue Beetle v5 #2. It was designed to give Vic better mobility, a greater range of movement, and ditch the big heavy coat while he was on the case of a flying thief.

Len Wein and Paris Cullins later revisited the leisure suit in Blue Beetle v6 #6 & #7 when they introduced him the the DCU. Because if Ditko did it in the original Q? stories, they found ways of doing it better.


Though he didn’t appear himself, he was name-dropped in Vic’s suiting-up scene as the creator of the no-face and Vic’s other gear.
Naturally, when Len Wein and Paris Cullins paid homage to that scene in Blue Beetle v6 #5, the name-drop was repeated.
The same panel was also referenced in Question v1 #1, though without any mention of Rodor since he was present in the scene.

So, the Question/Rorschach connection. Let’s talk about it.

The thing that really fascinates me is the timing, and what effect internal politics might have had on it.

If you know about Watchmen, perhaps you’re already savvy to the fact that each character was based off of an equivalent from the Charlton Action Heroes line that DC had recently acquired at the time. Well, in fact, the original proposal intended to use the actual Charlton characters, but Dick Giordano was a little apprehensive of that part. Given Giordano was the Charlton EIC at the time the Action Heroes line first rolled, they were practically his babies, it’s understandable he wouldn’t want to see them put in a position they couldn’t really be used anymore. You can read more about that and the Charlton connection to Watchmen (as well as some discussion of Ditko’s Question) here, in an interview Alan Moore did for Comic Book Artist #9 back in 2000 (an issue i should prolly track down, as it’s apparently centered on the history of Charlton Comics)

Anyway, long story short, Rorschach was Moore’s take on The Question. That’s isn’t to say that’s all he was, since much like Dr. Manhattan, while being an expy of Captain Atom, also provided a wealth of commentary on Superman, or like the Silk Spectres were more Phantom Lady and the Black Canaries than they were Nightshade, I’ve always felt Nite Owl and Rorscach were almost like two different sides of Batman. But at his foundation, Walter was Vic. And again, the timing of this fascinates me, because while Moore looked at Ditko’s Question and thought “This is interesting, let’s take this further” Denny O’Neil looked at it and thought “Let’s…not do that.” But what was Denny looking at? Was it the same Ditko stories Moore was examining, or was it, perhaps, that he was looking at Rorschach?

As Moore puts it in that interview, Giordano was still shopping around for ideas about the Charltons when Watchmen first started coming together. Denny and Giordano had quite a working relationship by that point, Denny having gotten his start writing for Giordano’s Charlton, then jumping ship to DC together. Giordano inked Neal Adams art on Denny’s landmark Green Lantern/Green Arrow run. Not to mention that Denny was the group editor on the Bat-books at the time. It isn’t at all inconceivable that Giordano had given him a peek at what was going on with Watchmen after he’d expressed interest in handling The Question.

But that isn’t the only funny thing about timing with Vic-related things and Watchmen. During the same months that the first four issues of Watchmen, the new Blue Beetle series had a special guest-star.

As a friend reminded me a while back, Len Wein, the writer on Blue Beetle, was also the editor on Watchmen. So it’s less likely that this is just a coincidence, and they might have had this team-up because of the friendship between Roschach and Nite Owl, to lend the homage more canonical weight. Still a great few issues, though.

But then, a few months later, you have these two comics coming out in the same month.

If you’ll recall, Watchmen #6, “The Abyss Gazes Also”, centers on Walter’s sessions with Dr. Malcolm Long and presents his backstory, where we find out he’s an orphan. Before Question #1 is even halfway through, we find out the same thing about Vic. Coincidence, or foreknowledge?

The question becomes not “was Rorschach inspired by The Question?”, the fact of that is a foregone conclusion, but the more interesting “was The Question inspired by Rorschach?” Was Vic’s ultimate outcome effected by the mere act of Moore’s observation?

These are only the earlier, more ambiguous parallels. As Q?v1 went on, other more deliberate ones arose. We’ll get into those tomorrow, we’ve raised enough questions for one night.

Unless you have others regarding the subject I might’ve missed?


To celebrate my 200th post, I made a collage of 25 moments of faceless humor, going all the way from 1986 to 2009! Hope you enjoy it, and make sure to check it out in high-res! (hurm, tumblr’s high-res cuts it to about a third of the size, try this one)

i’ll have to make a key later, i am way too burnt out to source all of these right now
aaaaaa it is so off-balance