Sunday, July 6, 2014

Researching RLSH Finds More "Early Prototypes"

Knight-Hood Writes About El Murcielago

Hello, my friends! It's been awhile since I've posted here, but I've been VERY busy wrapping up travel, research, and writing for my next book. It's about the lives of paranormal investigators and will be out in 2015 from Chicago Review Press.

Knight-Hood is an RLSH from Saint Petersburg, Florida (you can read an interview I did for him for Pop Mythology HERE) who has done a lot of research into early comic book history, as well as the history of the RLSH movement. Recently, he has written on Clayton Moore, the actor who portrayed the Lone Ranger and who wore the costume and did good deeds off camera. He also wrote on luchador El Santo and wrote the following on El Murcielago, the bat themed luchador that was stepping into the ring a year before Batman was created.

Here is Knight-Hood's write up on this interesting character:


El Murcielago, which translates as "The Bat" was a Mexican wrestler whose debut match was April 3rd, 1938, a full year before Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman in Detective Comics #27 and also before Norman Daniels aka G. Wyman Jones introduced his pulp fiction hero the Black Bat in July of 1939. 

Bob Kane maintained until his death that the only Bat character he knew of prior to creating Batman was the villain in the 1930 film "The Bat Whispers", but what of Bill Finger? Could Finger perhaps have seen a photo of El Murcielago prior to drawing Batman? As you can see in the photo the full length cape, black boots and trunks are all there but as an artist myself, I was particularly struck by El Murcialago's thigh muscles which bear a strong resemblance to those drawn by Finger of Batman's in Detective #27. A coincidence? It's possible. After all Batman and the Black Bat only came one month apart in 1939 and were created independently. 

Even though his influence on American comic books is debatable, El Murcialago aka Jesus Valazquez was one of the original wrestlers who helped create the world of lucha libre or "free wrestling" as it translates. He was one of the first, if not the first to wear a mask in the ring and would be followed by thousands to come. These masked characters were far more to their Mexican fans than mere wrestlers, but are considered true folk heroes. Many like the famous "El Santo" appeared in comics, and multiple films in character as well as personal appearances.
This culminated in 1996 with Super Barrio, one of the first of the RLSH community, who uses his image to organize labor rallies, protests and file petitions for better living conditions for the poor. Super Barrio is joined by other luchadors who battle corruption, animal rights, pollution and poverty. So there is little doubt that El Murcielago, "The Bat" is definitely one of the precursors to the real life superhero movement.

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