Secret Origins #49: Bouncing Boy, Cadmus DNA Project, and Silent Knight

Ryan Daly opens the borders to Siskoid, Shotgun, and DJ Nath for the two-page origin of Bouncing Boy in Secret Origins #49. Then, artist Howard Simpson joins Ryan for a story about the Newsboy Legion and the DNA Project. Finally, Gene Hendricks takes Ryan on a quest to discover the Silent Knight.

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“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music: “Hot In Herre” by Nelly; “Playground” by Another Bad Creation; “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode; “Ces Soirées Là” by Yannick.

Thanks for listening!

32 responses to “Secret Origins #49: Bouncing Boy, Cadmus DNA Project, and Silent Knight

  1. Great episode with a really fantastic cast of co-hosts. Really great way to get me excited over these lesser characters.

    Bouncing Boy is one of those Legionnaires who people use to make fun of Legion. But he has his charm. What always bothers me is that he seems invulnerable in his ball form. Nothing seems to effect him in that form making him, possibly, one of the most powerful members. But his origin! Ludicrous.

    I have never been a fan of the Guardian or the Newsboy Legion. None of their stories have really grabbed me.

    The winner here is the Silent Knight. I first encountered him in the Brave and Bold Digest. Back then I only knew B&B as a Batman team-up book. And trust me, Batman being displayed prominently on the digest cover is what made me buy it. But I loved the Silent Knight and the Viking Prince stories in the digest. I think the concept (seeming weakling becomes powerful hero) is well traveled. There is a sort of Prince Adam/He-Man vibe here. But the environment of Arthur’s court should be mined in the comics. Why not here?

    I do want to pick Gene’s brain a bit. While Percival is of noble birth, he was raised in the wild. He would be considered a landless peasant. And yet, he is knighted. Gene mentioned that courtly ways would have made it impossible for him to be considered for knighthood. Did the court know his noble background before? I always thought (although I am no expert) that it was Percival’s skills that led to his being thought worthy of being knighted.

    Thought all the music would be rap songs as a sort of ‘that’s a wrap’ pun heading into the last episode. And with Space Museum being in the last issue, I will again nominate ‘Sugar Walls’ as the music intro for a story about a building.

    1. “I do want to pick Gene’s brain a bit. While Percival is of noble birth, he was raised in the wild. He would be considered a landless peasant. And yet, he is knighted. Gene mentioned that courtly ways would have made it impossible for him to be considered for knighthood. Did the court know his noble background before? I always thought (although I am no expert) that it was Percival’s skills that led to his being thought worthy of being knighted.”

      I wasn’t unheard of for peasants to be knighted, it was just extremely uncommon. Also, both the nobles and the peasants would have looked at him as jumping above his station, so he wouldn’t have had the respect normally give to a knight. Basically, he was knighted because he showed all the qualities of knighthood, but he wasn’t fully accepted until his true parentage was known.

      Think of it like the character of Sharpe. He was a sergeant that was given a field commission as a Lieutenant for his bravery, but the men thought he was putting on airs and the other officers thought he was crude and unintelligent. Once he proved himself, though, most people managed to respect his abilities.

    2. “And with Space Museum being in the last issue, I will again nominate ‘Sugar Walls’ as the music intro for a story about a building.”

      Why not? I know whenever I think about Sheena Easton singing Prince’s song, it’s the secret origin of some kind of erection that’s going to take place. But I think referring to it as a Space Museum would get you slapped so hard you’d be the bouncing boy.

  2. Love the Bouncing Boy story. Short and sweet, and (once again) Templeton proves the perfect artist for the material. That long panel of Chuck Foster Taine bouncing all about is the character portrayed at his most essential and loveable. By a lesser creator, the humor would’ve been perhaps too cruel or mocking, yet with Templeton it absolutely works for a hearty laugh that doesn’t hurt Chuck in the slightest.

    And yes, Bouncing Boy’s real full name is a Citizen Kane reference – how ’bout them apples.

    I was again reminded while reading the Shining Knight story that this was not a Roy Thomas history lesson – Thomas’ handling of historical tales has been admirable, but really wears on you when reading on a most than monthly basis. Instead this was an actual comic origin story, by Jan Strnad no less, whose wonderful Sword of the Atom I just read a few years ago and thus made this an extra pleasant read. In particular with this story, John Koch’s energetic artwork was a great sight, primarily to a pair of eyes so trained on seeing tales of Prince Valiant illustrated by John Cullen Murphy dominate the “Sunday funnies” straight through my youth. It’s always refreshing to see a medieval tale such as this drawn by someone more geared to deliver to a superhero comics audience.

    And I’ll guess this Newsboy Legion story is where Karl Kesel first got to show the world his love for the Cadmus world, which he’d later bring back while introducing the new Superboy and then delve into greatly in the Boy of Steel’s solo series for 7 more years after that. When handled by others, Cadmus and the Newsboys are rather hit and miss with me; even Kirby’s Jimmy Olson era stories seemed a bit too wild and ungraspable (but then, that was most of the fun of Kirby). However Kesel found a way – both here and beyond – to reign it all in for the mainstream audience yet still embrace & display the Kirby pop of it all. And with the right artist (his SUPERBOY collaborator Tom Grummett being tops, though this story certainly displays Kesel’s own artistic prowess) gave us controlled bursts of that dynamic madness that one can only hope Kirby himself, somewhere out there in the great beyond, could approve of.

  3. Great episode, especially considering the line-up of characters.

    Thom Zahler, my fellow JKS almuni, had a great line about Bouncing Boy: he’s an obese, kinda nerdy guy who got to become a superhero and marry a woman who split herself into three women. If that’s not a motivational story, then I don’t know what it is.

    Having Howard Simpson on the show was really cool. I think he was the first and only guest to do a synopsis who added his own sound effects. His story of how he got into reading comics and then into the biz deserved its own Secret Origins story.

    Great needle drop for Shining Knight!

  4. Ryan, this show demonstrates how wonderful this limited series of yours is and why I’m going to miss it so damn much.

    Wonderful, wonderful episode with a fantastic interview.

    So glad I got to be a small part of this whole project.

  5. I haven’t made it all the way through the Silent Knight origin yet, but I love what I’ve heard so far (and I know Gene will bring the goods).

    Great to hear two of “the Girls” outside of oHOTmu or Not. I really can’t add much to the Bouncing Boy origin. It’s ridiculous, but great. Ty Templeton can make anything work.

    Howard Simpson’s Secrets and Origins were a welcome surprise to this episode! I appreciate his love for the Newsboy and the Guardian. I’ve always had a soft spot for them. I have this issue, but forgot Dragorin appeared here. Thanks for the Super Mates plug, Ryan!

    I first met Silent Knight in that same Brave and the Bold digest Anj mentioned above. It made quite an impression on me, especially the Robin Hood tale! I get the He-Man/Prince Adam angle as well.


    1. Okay, I haven’t re-read this issue in a long time, and it didn’t register that they fundamentally changed the Silent Knight’s origin. If there is one nagging aspect about this series it’s the tendency to muck with things that should have just been left alone. With no Silent Knight appearances on the docket, why make this change? Bah.

      Oh, and Gene did bring the goods of course!


  6. Regarding the Newsboy Legion mark 2 and the intro of Flippa Dippa — three years before JO #133, there was an off-broadway sex comedy about a black scuba diver, written by Bruce Jay Freidman and featuring Cleavon Little of future Blazing Saddles fame.

    The name of the show was Scuba Duba.

  7. Hot or Not? … all I can say is Secret Origins was a hot idea well executed! Congratulations Ryan!

    Plus, great interview with Howard Simpson! A definite highlight of the series.


  8. Ruth and I are big fans of heroes such as Robin Hood, Zorro, and King Arthur and thoroughly enjoyed your coverage of Silent Knight and having Gene Hendricks along was the perfect decision. He is definitely an authority on those types of stories.

    I have very little familiarity with the character, but after hearing the great discussion I really want to read those stories. It’s a shame they aren’t collected and I really wish that the current comics industry had room for more variety, because this would be a series I would read every month.

    Another great episode and now only one remains.


  9. If we ever get that “Reunion Tour” you alluded to in an earlier episode, Ryan, I suggest switching up the guests on different segments. That way, Diabolu Frank could cover Ambush Bug next time, and maybe Howard Simpson would cover issues he has worked on. This was a great episode with great guests!

  10. This bums me out I love this show and am going to miss it. Luckily you have more great shows we can follow keep up the good work

  11. I hear about those poignant Legion stories from the second half of Secret Origins’ run and start reconsidering my blanket condemnation of the Waid issues. Then you cover an issue like this one, and the move to appeal the earlier verdict is denied.

    Bouncing Boy is a pleasant fellow who is a key figure in providing diversity of white people in the Legion of Super-Heroes, which itself has far more varieties of vanilla than is typical in the DC Universe.

    My feelings about the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion is a matter of public record under the heading of DGAF, but I like Howard Simpson’s work in general and especially on Secret Origins and most especially the Manhunters issue. Awesome comic book reading origin story. I wish this podcast existed that year Roy Thomas came to Houston’s Comicpalooza to mostly lounge at a small empty table, unbothered by fans, myself included. I think that was the last year I didn’t do creator interviews on the floor, and was also before I had a Wonder Woman podcast, so I frankly had no use for the dude outside making skunk faces when he badmouthed Obama.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a devoted Silent Knight story, as opposed to stories with passing reference to him, like when Hawkman became Dorian Hawkmoon. Given my unlove for mid-century DC stories (actually, in complete honesty, most DC stories outside the Jennette Kahn years) I don’t feel motivated to correct that. I will say that the old stories sound better than the “new” one from a quarter-century ago.

  12. Thanks for another fine episode. I’m getting emotional…

    Ialways assume the drink Chunk sipped was related to gIngold. Did Bouncing Boy ever prove the Legion’s secret weapon against Lightning Lord? It seems obvious

    I can’t believe you didn’t make a crack about the young Silent Knight’s Guy Gardner pudding bowl. I’m not a fan of the character, whenever I think of the Silent Knight I default to the more interesting Shining Knight (Hi Flanger!), and wind up disappointed. I did love Gene’s insights, even though I couldn’t give a flying horse that a peasant wouldn’t become a knight – its comics! (Although maybe I misheard – in this very comments section Gene says a commoner knight wasn’t unheard of.)

    Frank has depressed me with his Roy Thomas anecdote. No one is perfect, but I doubt any comic creator loves the superhero genre quite so much – he’s a fan, like us, who lived the dream and while his slavish adhesion to old continuity could be a bit frustrating, he’s contributed so much to Comics that I’m bloody glad we had him. (What’s the Obama business?)

    I’ve never liked kid gangs or the Guardian, so the Newsboy Legion does nothing for me as a concept. I do love Karl Kesel’s art though, what a rare treat. And I like the mad cover. Which didn’t stop me loving Howard Simpson’s takedown of it, what a great, unexpected guest!

    Also fab to hear the ladies and the gentlemen, Shotgun, DJ Nath, Gene and Siskoid.

    1. No, Martin, you didn’t mis-hear. I did say that wouldn’t happen in the episode, but I was speaking more along the lines of “It wasn’t done”, so having King Edwin do it would have had a huge amount of backlash, not the least of which from the peasants.

      Of course, the “because, comics” (copyright, Michael Bailey) explanation is always valid.

  13. Another great episode Ryan.

    Bouncing Boy was a good person to have in the Legion and his self-appointed Morale Officer role was quite good. He was quite literally the rebound guy (see what I did there) for Duo Damsel after her crush on Superboy went nowhere. Reading the old Showcase volumes, the writers did a good job of retiring Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel to become leaders of the Academy when they did not have anything for them storywise, as oppose to just killing them off. They did something similar to Matter-Eater LAd by having him become a political leader of his home planet Bismoll.

    My fondness for the Modern day Newboy Legion depended on who was doing their adventures. They appeared a lot in the Louise Simonson/Jon Bogdanove Man of Steel title, which I was not fond of. However, they were a lot more enjoyable when it was the team of Karl Kesel and Tom Grunmmett doing their stories in the Adventures of Superman title.

    Like Paul Hix above, I initially mixed up Shining Knight and Silent Knight. I feel Shining Knight was the better character and Morrisson brought a new perspective to that character in his Seven Soldiers maxiseries. I do remember reading the Silent Knight story in the 2000s Brave and the Bold, but I think it was Mark Waid, not JMS who wrote that story.

    Fun episode and it was great hearing from Howard Simpson, a creator on this series. Looking forward to the big 50 episode.

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