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Meta-Messages: A Heartfelt Bat-Tribute to a Legendary Comic Book Editor

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!

This time around, based on a suggestion from reader David B., we take a look at a heartfelt sendoff to one of Batman’s greatest writers and editors…

In 1993’s Batman Adventures #10, writer Kelley Puckett and artists Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett introduced three criminals who would soon team-up. Each of the criminals were based upon one of DC’s senior editors at the time.

First up was Mike Carlin, or “Mastermind”…



Then Denny O’Neil, “The Perfesser”…



and Archie Goodwin, “Mr. Nice”…



Goodwin was, of course, very famous for just how swell a guy he was, on top of being a masterfully creative writer and editor.

They would show up again in The Batman Adventures #20…


and The Batman Adventures #30…


Sadly, in 1998, Archie Goodwin passed away.

In 1999, in the successor series to the Batman Adventures, Batman: Gotham Adventures, specifically issue #13, Puckett and Burchett came together again (along with Terry Beatty) to say farewell to Mr. Nice in an absolutely heartwarming and charming story.

The framing sequence is that Perfesser is reading a story of the last case of his Trio to his granddaughter.

He tells of a boy from a leper colony that shows up and requests Mr. Nice’s help. He agrees to go help them. Mastermind does not take it well…



They undertake this one last plan, fighting against Batman and Nightwing and they ultimately end up with Mastermind holding all of Gotham City hostage with a deadly chemical in a vial. He has Mr. Nice read his demands…





That is so heartwarming.

What a lovely send-off to a lovely man.

Thanks to David B. for the suggestion! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future installment, feel free to drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!