Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.
In this week’s episode five of Young Justice Invasion: Season 2 titled “Beneath”, from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block of programming, we see the debut of a seemingly younger version of a classic TV iconic cartoon hero. Intrigued?
The episode opens with a Native American boy named “Ty” who is reaching out to his friend Jaime Reyes – who happens to be the teen hero Blue Beetle on Young Justice – after a fight with his mom’s boyfriend. Ty is planning to runaway to Houston via bus, but is kidnapped before Jaime can get to the bus station to stop his already thwarted runaway plans. Interestingly the mystery around Ty forms the subplot of this week’s episode. So, big things are likely ahead.
So, what does all this have to do with a classic TV iconic hero? Well, on the left you’ll see the picture of Blue Beetle’s school friend Ty. And, on the right you’ll see a classic Super Friends cartoon character from the late 1970s. Do you see a resemblance?
Well on the upper right, and to your immediate left, you have the classic Apache Chief character from Super Friends. He was a Native American hero who could grow in stature with two magic words: “INUK CHUK“.
He debuted on the Super Friends alongside three other multicultural yet sadly sterotypical heroes: the African-American hero Black Vulcan, the Mexican hero El Dorado, and Japan’s Samurai.
Througout this week’s Young Justice episode on Cartoon Network more clues emerge, beyond appearance, that make the case for Ty being (eventually) the Young Justice world’s (Earth 16 in the DC Comics / Entertainment multiverse) Apache Chief or perhaps a character with a less stereotypical nom de guerre.
For instance, when Jaime Reyes visits Ty’s mom, we learn that her name is Shelley Longshadow.
In addition, Jaime also visits Ty’s maternal grandfather named Holling Longshadow.
So, why are these two references significant clues in the Apache Chief puzzle?
Well, in the episode “Ultimatum” of the more recent 2000s era Justice League Unlimited animated series, viewers were introduced to a character code-named Long Shadow who was a Native American with stature changing powers similar to the Super Friends’ Apache Chief. This by itself during the JLU may have been dismissed as a Super Friends connection if not for the uncanny similarities between Long Shadow’s Ultimen teammates to other Super Friends: namely Juice being similar to Black Vulcan and Wind Dragon’s similarity to Samurai.
We also learn in the Young Justice Invasion / DC Nation episode that Ty comes from a long line of Apache Chiefs and his grandfather tells Jaime that Ty is likely on a vision quest to seek out his important role in the world.
However, unknown to him, we learn at the end of the episode that he has been kidnapped with a few others for some nefarious reason by the villainous Queen Bee of of the middle Eastern country Bialya. The two kids alongside Ty (who is on the right most capsule) appear to resemble kids that could be Young Justice’s equivalents on El Dorado (left) and Samurai (middle). Time will tell. (UPDATE: See enhanced frame here with 4 kids not 3. Looks like all 4 Super Friends are accounted for now. Black Vulcan isn’t so lonely any more. 😉 )
Also, in ye olde JLU episode “Ultimatum”, Project Cadmus had a role in creating Long Shadow. In Young Justice Invasion, Project Cadmus created Superboy. Will they also part of the abduction caper and how Ty gets stature changing powers? Stay tuned!
Now, DC Comics has done one other Apache Chief “homage” that I’m aware of in the character of Manitou Raven who was a Native American mystic associated with the Justice League Elite of the 2000s. Among his mystic powers was the ability grow in stature by uttering the (now) one word: “INUKCHUK“. 😉
Now, I didn’t read that comic book series religiously. So, if there are any other clues from that series in this week’s Young Justice Invasion episode “Beneath”, let me know and I’ll post your speculation / clues with your name for all to acknowledge your superb sleuthing. 🙂
This (re)emergence of the Super-Friends-like characters appears to be a key plank in DC Entertainment’s overall diversity plan including what’s going on its comic book properties best exemplofied by the homosexual outing of Earth 2’s New 52 Green Lantern resulting in a right and left scuttlebutt.
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Tags: Apache Chief, Aqualad, Aquaman / Aqualad (Jackson Hyde / Kaldur'ahm), Artemis, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl II / Oracle), Beast Boy, Black Vulcan, Blue Beetle II (Ted Kord), Bumblebee, Cartoon Network, Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl II), DC Comics, DC Comics Relaunch, DC Entertainment, DC Nation, Demythify, Dick Grayson (Robin I / Nightwing), El Dorado, JLU, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Kid Flash (Bart Allen), Miss Martian, multiverse, Multiversity, Robin, Super Friends, Superboy, Tim Drake (Robin III / Red Robin), Young Justice, Young Justice: Invasion