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How the Batman Animated Series Saw Killer Croc Become a Mutant Crocodile

In "Follow the Path," I spotlight changes made to comic book characters that are based on outside media, as well as characters who entirely came from outside media. I’m sure you can think of other examples, so feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you want to suggest some other examples for future installments.

Today, based on a suggestion from my pal, Loren, we take a look at how the Batman: Animated Series likely influenced Jim Lee on his re-design of Killer Croc for Hush, a re-design that has greatly redefined Killer Croc as a character over the years. Note that Jim Lee's re-design of Croc is obviously distinct in its own right. It's not like he just copied a design from the cartoon. However, I think that the cartoon (and, oddly enough, an action figure) likely had some impact on where Lee decided to go with his distinct re-design.

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Killer Croc debuted in Detective Comics #524 (cameo in the previous issue, but this is the one where we really get to see him) by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan and his initial look was basically a regular looking dude with some scales...

Over time, that developed into more of a clear crocodile man, like during this classic Alan Grant/Norm Breyfoyle/Steve Mitchell story in Batman #471...

Then Batman: The Animated Series debuted and the show kept pretty close to the comic approach to Killer Croc...

The comic book, though, continued to mutate Killer Croc ever so slightly further...

Then, in Batman: The NEW Animated Series, Bruce Timm re-designed a whole lot of characters and the new take on Killer Croc was much more of a mutated crocodile...

The dude would eat whole chickens!

At the same time, there was an action figure based on Killer Croc and he had a tail for the first time...

Lee debuted his take on Croc in 2002's Batman #408, the first part of Lee's classic "Hush" storyline with writer Jeph Loeb and inker Scott Williams...

Lee clearly put his own flourishes in there, but the basic idea of the mutated crocodile with the tail had been put into place by the cartoon and the toy.

Thanks to Loren for the suggestion!

That's it for this installment of Follow the Path! If anyone else has a suggestion for a comic book character changing due to TV or movies, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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