Welcome to the four hundred and sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and five. This week, it is a special theme week! Another edition devoted to the 1960s Batman TV series! Learn whether Frank Miller’s Carrie Kelley was inspired by a minor character from the first episode of the Batman series! Discover whether Batgirl nearly had her own series before joining the cast of Batman in Season 3! Finally, marvel at the bizarre episode of Batman that worked in references to all of the sponsors of the series!
COMIC LEGEND: Frank Miller was inspired by the character of Molly from the first Batman episode in creating Carrie Kelley.
STATUS: I’m Going with False
Reader David G. wrote in with a question that I know many other fans have wondered over the years, namely, did the character of Molly from the very first episode of the Batman TV series…
influence the creation of Frank Miller’s Carrie Kelley, from the Dark Knight Returns?
Jill St. John’s Molly was an assistant to the Riddler in the first episode. She got a rare “Special Guest” credit in that episode (typically just the villain got a guest credit)…
Honestly, I was going to discount this possibility based on the simple fact that Frank Miller has been extremely vocal over the years about his distaste for the 1960s Batman TV series, so I highly doubt that he’d ever homage the series like that. However, as it turns out, we actually know where Miller got the idea to do a female Robin!
In a 1982 issue of the Comics Journal, Jaime Hernandez drew his character Maggie (from Love and Rockets) as Robin…
A few years later, Miller was beginning work on what would become the Dark Knight Returns when fellow superstar artist John Byrne told Miller that he HAD to have a female Robin in the series.
Miller later recalled that conversation:
At 30,000 feet. I talk to cartoonist John Byrne about Batman. John talks to me about Robin. “Robin must be a girl,” he says. He mentions a drawing by Love & Rockets artist Jaime Hernandwz of a female Robin. To prove his point, John provides me with a pencil sketch of his own.
Miller went for it. Here are his first designs for Carrie Kelley….
Pretty cool stuff. But no, no connection to the Batman TV series.
Thanks for the question, David! Thanks to SuperHeroHype poster theMan-Bat for the scans!
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