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Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013
This week wraps "To Be Continued's…" look at would-be classic '90s jokester the Heckler, and it's the wildest ride yet…

If you haven’t read the first two installments of “To Be Continued…” in which we chronicled the strange world of DC’s short lived superhero The Heckler, consult your physician and read them forthwith and with forethought. We were just discussing the approach that writers/ co-creators Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Keith Giffen (who also pencilled) took in their introduction of their would-be classic comedic character.
 
Now let’s talk about what killed him.
 
One tried and true method for introducing a new character to an existing universe is to have said newbie fight one of the universe’s more popular mainstays. Win or lose, established fans will be interested in the new foe turned (faux?) friend. Wolverine first appeared not in X-Men, but The Incredible Hulk and fought that title monster for a memorable intro. Azrael was introduced as a Batman enemy before becoming one of his most trusted allies (though that didn’t exactly turn out great).


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Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013
Previously on To Be Continued..., we explored the skullduggery and hijinks of DC's unstoppable showman, The Heckler. Well. unstoppable until his “ongoing monthly” series was cancelled at issue #6…

Previously on To Be Continued…, we explored the skullduggery, hijinks, monkeyshines and skylarking shenanigans of DC’s unstoppable surreal showman, The Heckler. Well. unstoppable until his “ongoing monthly” series was cancelled at issue #6. DC had longer lasting “Limited Mini-Series”.


This lack of success could be related to The Heckler’s accessibility. The Heckler inhabited a corner of the DC Universe where a specific brand of surreal insanity reigned. Neon signs point the way toward criminal hideouts when they’re not advertising places like “YOUR Lady of Perpetual Suffering Hospital”, “Ig-Pay Atin-Lay Otel-hay”, “REPENT or I’ll kill you!”, “Unca Andy’s Putty Palace”, “Home of the world’s largest CYST” or even reading “Just another *#@ Sign”. Yes, it took a special kind of mind to click with The Heckler.


So who was this title Heckler? The first issue speculates on this for us, calling him everything from “The Duke of Disdain” to the “Founder of the European Coal and Steel Union and First Chancellor of the German Republic.” On the same page, the writers make the observation “We’ve never seen YOU and The Heckler together at the same time, have we?”


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Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013
Debuting this week, Next Reel columnist J. C. Maçek III casts an eye on all things comics, To Be Continued…. This week -- DC's flirtation with the absurd in 1992's The Heckler

Do you remember The Heckler?


Of course you don’t. Nobody does! The absurdist DC Comics hero’s “ongoing monthly series” lasted a mere six issues, has never been reprinted or anthologized and wasn’t even an afterthought in DC’s company-wide reboot The New 52. And that’s too bad because The Heckler was an absolute gem and deserved to be remembered and to outlast like any of the best periodicals sold under that familiar “Hey!! Kids Comics!” tin sign.


The Heckler’s main asset was insanity. Complete and total abject, surreal, absurd insanity, from the stories themselves to the page layouts to the splash pages to the very letter columns. There wasn’t a full three inches inside of a Heckler comic that wasn’t funnier than Dan Rather dressed in Rocky’s boxing trunks with a clown nose on.


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