Animal Man

Created by Dave Wood & Carmine Infantino

NAME + ALIASES:
Bernhard "Buddy" Baker

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Ellen Frazier (wife), Cliff (son), Maxine (daughter)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Forgotten Heroes, Justice League Europe, Totems

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Strange Adventures #180 (Sept. 1965)

+ History

For Buddy Baker, a hell raising rock 'n' roller just out of high school, life was a blast. But what really happened that afternoon in 1978, when Buddy Baker went hunting in the Adirondack Mountains? For many years after acquiring his superhuman powers, Buddy tried in vain to recall the events of that fateful day.

Eventually he discovered that he had been incinerated in a blast from an enormous, partially buried alien spacecraft. In that instant, Baker's body was destroyed. Fortunately, his spirit was captured by a pair of yellow-skinned aliens who emerged from the downed spacecraft. These benevolent aliens periodically visited Earth and bestowed members of the human race with animal powers to put them in touch with nature. The aliens connected Buddy to Earth's morphogenetic field — a realm behind reality as we know it. This "M-Field" (or "the Red") is a vast continuum linking all of Earth's living creatures, from single-celled paramecia to mankind itself. As the aliens rebuilt Baker's body, they made it a conduit for the energies of the entire field. These were the same beings who had given tyhe Vixen's ancestors the Tantu Totem.

Buddy was left with the ability to absorb the characteristic abilities of any animal he found nearby. At the suggestion of his best friend, Roger Denning, Baker then donned a colorful costume and began fighting crime locally (mostly for kicks) as Animal Man. After a brief heroing career, Baker retired his Animal Man identity for many years, married his high-school girlfriend, Ellen Frazier, and moved to San Diego. Between Ellen's work as a storyboard artist and book illustrator, and Buddy's growing career as a movie stuntman, the Bakers were able to mortgage a house in the suburbs and begin raising a family.

Buddy thought his super-hero days were over — until the growing public acceptance of other crime fighters, such as the Justice League, convinced him that there was still a need for Animal Man. He was brought out of retirement by the Immortal Man who recruited Buddy to join a new group called the Forgotten Heroes. This band went underground after the Immortal Man died during the Crisis. Animal Man caught the attention of the Justice League and he served a short, relatively undistinguished career with the Justice League Europe. (Justice League International, v.1 #24) He soon resigned due to personal problems. (Justice League Europe #12)

Buddy suffered a terrible tragedy when his wife and children were brutally murdered while he was away on a case. (Animal Man #20) Buddy tracked down the killers and exacted vengeance, but after a strange series of events, (called "Crisis II" by some) Animal Man met his maker and his family was restored to life. (#21-26)

Today, Buddy Baker splits his time between his family, his career as Animal Man, and regular stunt work for films. He still occasionally lends his talents to various super groups, including the JLA (JLA #40), Forgotten Heroes (Resurrection Man #24-27) and the Swamp Things's task force, Totems. (Totems #1)

Animal Man is, as could be expected, a man of great compassion toward all creatures. He is an ardent animal rights activist, an environmentalist, and a vegetarian. His link to the M-field has been passed on to his daughter, Maxine, who is also connected to the animal kingdom. Although he wears a mask, he goes to no great lengths to conceal his true identity.

SOURCES:
Who's Who #14 (Nov. 1991)

+ Powers

In the presence of virtually any animal, Buddy Baker can temporarily absorb any of its characteristic abilities; for example, he can run as fast as a cheetah, leap like a grasshopper, or fly like a bird. But even these undeniably real powers are a mystery to Buddy; recently it was pointed out, by his friend Travis Cody, that birds don't actually have "powers" - they use the physical adaptation of wings to fly.

Despite such uncertainties, Buddy Baker finds the wonders of nature at his command. The only real limits on Animal Man are the limits of his imagination.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

Pre-Crisis:

  • Action Comics #552-553
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #11-12
  • DC Comics Presents #77-78
  • Red Tornado v.1 #3
  • Strange Adventures #180, 184, 190, 195, 201
  • Wonder Woman v.1 #267-268

Post-Crisis:

  • 52 #5, 7-9, 16, 17, 19, 20, 28, 31-33, 35-37, 43, 47, 51
  • Aquaman v.5 #35
  • Blackest Night #5, 6, 8
  • Captain Atom v.1 #34, 38
  • Day of Judgment #4
  • Day of Vengeance #1, 4
  • Doom Patrol v.2 #28-29
  • Final Crisis #3
  • Firestorm v.3 #20
  • Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1
  • Hawkman v.4 #16-17
  • Identity Crisis #1, 7
  • Infinite Crisis #2-3, 6
  • Invasion! #2, 3
  • JLA #27, 40, 41, Annual #3
  • JLA: Welcome to the Working Week
  • JLA: Year One #12
  • Justice League America #32
  • Justice League Europe #1-12
  • Justice League International Annual v.1 #3
  • Justice League of America v.2 #24-27, 53, 56-58
  • Justice League: Cry for Justice #5-7
  • OMAC Project #6
  • Outsiders v.3 #31, 32
  • Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special #1
  • Resurrection Man #24-27
  • Secret Origins v.2 #39
  • Starman/Congorilla #1
  • Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #8
  • Superman v.1 #666
  • Time Masters #4
  • Totems
  • Vertigo Jam #1
  • War of the Gods #3–4

» SERIES:

  • Animal Man v.1, 89 issues (1988-1995)
  • Countdown to Adventure, 8-issue limited series (2007–08)
  • Rann/Thanagar Holy War, 8-issue limited series (2008–09)
  • The Last Days of Animal Man, 6-issue limited series (2009)

New 52:

  • Animal Man v.2, 30 issues in 2011–14