The villain Kite Man is much more than a one-note Batman villain with a memorable catchphrase: "Kite Man, Hell Yeah!" A simple utterance that took the comic world by storm when writer Tom King reintroduced the lesser-known villain in the early pages of his Batman run. Just why were fans to enamored with what appeared to be a simple cameo? Because it was absolutely hilarious--and a reminder of the time when Batman's long and diverse history was filled with villains like Condiment King, Crazy Quilt. Or their king flying high above... Kite Man.
Batman's Rogues Gallery can definitely feel like it was created more than half a century before the world of modern comics, or the current DC Universe. And never more than when a kite (a normal, park-loving kite) is supposed to seem threatening,or useful, in any way, shape, or form. So King did the only thing that made sense: he embraced the absurd nature of the character and costume, and used it to his benefit. Crafting a sorrowful story that turned the brief appearance of an old Batman adversary into a sweet tragedy, more than worthy of the pages of Batman. Though Kite Man is currently riding the biggest popularity wave of his existence thanks to this latest interpretation, he's actually been creeping in comic pages for over 50 years.
Kite Man's Comic Origin Story
Charles "Chuck" Brown first stepped into his Kite Man costume in Batman #133. The issue debuted in August of 1960 and was written by none other than Batman co-creator Bill Finger and famed artist Dick Sprang. In the story, Kite Man is an elusive criminal who aids the dastardly in and around Gotham City by way his ingenious kites. While Batman's faced some of the most complicated villains in comic mythology, Kite Man certainly isn't one of them. And he was dealt a taste of his own medicine in that issue when Batman unsurprisingly used his very own kite to win the day!
Kite Man didn't quite catch on the way other villains did, making a few other appearances throughout the series before being relegated to the D-list of Batman villains. He then decided to change rivals by terrorizing Hawkman in his 1986 title (which makes slightly more sense). However, it wasn't until that series that fans would uncover the mischievous, horrendous truth about Chuck. The reason why he wields the mighty kite? He was obsessed with them as a kid. Hawkman and Hawkgirl handily defeated Kite Man after the reveal in Hawkman #2, which was aptly entitled, "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite." Though he's made a few other memorable moments in DC history, it wasn't until Tom King's Batman that Kite Man ceased being a joke.
His tragic story was that of a divorcee trying to survive as a deadbeat Dad. After hearing his own son proclaim an excited "Hell yeah" when playing with a Kite, Chuck decides to make it a part of his mission. Unfortunately, his mission was still that of a criminal. He became a pawn for real supervillains in The War of Jokes and Riddles. Only joining the fight after that very son was murdered by the Riddler in nothing more than an overly complicated attempt to get the Joker to laugh.
Kite Man's Comic Powers Explained
Kite Man's power depends on how effective a kite can be at any given moment. When it comes to the story and characteristics of "Kite Man," it's all in the name. Chuck Brown's most significant attribute or power is that he wields a kite. Not necessarily as a weapon so much as a means of transportation. Much like the previously mentioned Condiment King and Crazy Quilt, Kite Man is the product of a different era. A funny foe from an age when comics were equal parts ridiculous and action-packed. While the Caped Crusader was quick with a grappling hook, he wasn't always soaring through the skies. So when Kite Man took advantage of his aerial prowess, Batman needed to make a kite of his own to defeat his foe.
Don't count Kite Man out just yet. His next appearance, in Batman #315, featured one of the greatest equipment upgrades in comic history. After learning a lesson or two, Kite Man knew exactly what he needed to defeat the Dark Knight: a visor! Unfortunately for Brown, the visor did little to affect anything but his decision-making skills. Batman equipped his "Bat-Kite" and saved the day, and had Kite Man back in Commissioner Gordon's custody by the end of the issue.
Kite Man in Other Media
Despite having his limitations, Kite Man has managed to make his way around the DC Universe. After those notable appearances in Batman and Hawkman, Kite Man has been continuously referenced in various DC titles such as Infinite Crisis and 52. Kite Man eventually made his way to the small screen when he appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold Cartoon Network series. In an unique spin on his origin, Brown was obsessed with Benjamin Franklin as a child. While flying a kite he suffered a shock that altered his personality. He then became hell-bent on becoming the most famous kite-related person in history, even if it meant becoming a criminal. Not to take things too seriously, Kite Man also appeared in the Joker's Roast episode of the series. Though he wasn't integral to the plot, Kite Man also made a cameo appearance in The Lego Batman Movie and several of the LEGO/DC video games.
Unfortunately for Chuck Brown, his legacy is more of a joke than a memorable or infamous Batman villain. A remnant of a time when any ridiculous idea was becoming possible in comic book pages, so long as it was memorable. Characters were traveling through dimensions, gaining powers of invisibility and super-strength, and Chuck decided to make his own way by sticking to what he knew best. Kite Man. Hell yeah.