Monday, February 11, 2008

Bat Boy: Vermonter or West Virginian?

The original World Weekly News cover from 1992 introducing Bat Boy to the world!

Since the move, I've had limited access to my collection, most of which is still in boxes. Alas, this means I've been unable to answer the question: was Bat Boy a Vermonter?

I recall at least one of the Bat Boy stories -- which I bought off the newsstands and held on to -- placing him in a cave in Vermont, somewhere outside of Rutland. However, the 'official' continuity now places Bat Boy firmly in West Virginia.

C'mon, Bat Boy experts, help me out here!

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Blogger dogboy443 said...

From Wikipedia:

Bat Boy has made several appearances in the defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. The Weekly World News published patently fabricated stories which were purported to be factual. Within the pages of the paper, Bat Boy is described as a creature who is 'half human and half bat'. His pursuers, according to Weekly World News are scientists and United States government officials; he is frequently captured, then later makes a daring escape.
Bat Boy debuted as a cover story on June 23, 1992. The original front-page photo of Bat Boy, showing a creature with a grotesque screaming face, was the second-best selling issue in the tabloid's history, and he has since evolved into a pop-culture icon. The story of Bat Boy was turned into an acclaimed off-Broadway musical, Bat Boy: The Musical.

According to Weekly World News, Bat Boy has a chaotic sense of morality. He has been said to steal cars but also to come to the aid of the needy. According to the mythos, the only person who cares about the chiropteran child is Dr. Ron Dillon, who discovered him in a West Virginia cave. At the time of capture, he was two feet tall and weighed nineteen pounds. By February 2001, he was 2' 6". In 2004, he was five feet tall and his weight was unknown.
He sheds his wings every three years, and regenerates a new pair.
On 27 February 2001, he allegedly attacked a fifth-grader in an Orlando, Florida park. The girl was nearly ripped to shreds. The next day, he endorsed presidential candidate Al Gore.
On 14 August 2003, he announced he was running in the California gubernatorial election.
In October 2005, it was revealed that a boy was saving his money for plastic surgery such that he would then resemble Bat Boy.
In October 2006, Bat Boy was captured on film riding on top of a New York City subway car. Bat Boy was said to be living in the Subway's tunnels during this time. This story was converted into a "documentary" video on the Weekly World News web site.

Blogger SRBissette said...

Ya, ya, ya, Wikipedia -- saw that, thanks, Mark. Wiki reflects the current collective agreed-upon view, not necessarily what was actually published. As for the history Wiki runs on the Bat Boy, that's the party line now, now that WWN has had reason to construct a coherent continuity, and Bat Boy fans follow suit.

BUT -- before anyone gave a shit, when there were just the weird one-shot stories -- I KNOW there was a Vermont connection; it's the only reason I bought that issue!

Some online verification of that:

More interesting still:

Note the latter tries to weave the existing, actual WWN stories into a coherent narrative -- "... From my research done on the internet, I have learned that Batboy was first found in Packasnatch, Oklahoma and then later migrated to Vermont...." -- nothing on West Virginia there at all!

Part of what's fascinating here is, like the early 1960s attempts to make sense of scattered comicbook stories, written/drawn by different hands for indifferent editors over a span of time, to weave them into a coherent continuity, the same applies here to Bat Boy. Amazing!

C'mon, Myranters, I'm seeking help here -- dig deeper! Anyone actually have a stash of WWN with the Bat Boy stories to confirm or correct the Vermont connection?

Blogger dogboy443 said...

I found this on the stage play, but so far nothing relating to his first appearance or origin:

Blogger Hypersonic said...

In actual fact, bat bot or " O Menino Morcego" originated here in Brazil, in the mountainous, dry interior of the Northeastern State of Pernambuco. Stories of the 'Bat Boy' have abounded for decades and it seems that he was forced from his native territories up through South America, across central America until fetching up amongst the pines and maples of Vermont.

Blogger SRBissette said...

NOW we're getting somewhere! Thanks, 'hypersonic' -- can you provide any further info, and sources?

Note the Mexican monster movie ADVENTURE AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and its bat-humanoid monsters, predating THE DESCENT's bat boys by over four decades. This suggests the South American legends were known in Central America and Mexico, but this is extrapolation at best, but interesting nonetheless.

Much appreciated!

Blogger James Robert Smith said...

Where was he living when he was sniffing after Jenna's bush?


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