In "Secret Origins of the DC Daily Cast," we're delving into the lifelong fandom of your favorite DC Daily hosts, from their first comic book memory to their biggest comic book crush. If you want to submit a question for our next cast member interview, be sure to visit our Community! This time around we chatted with our very own DC Comics expert Hector Navarro, who has a whole lot of awesome opinions that he shares on our DC Daily couch as well as on the El Rey network, Hyper RPG's Hyper Heroes, and on his very own podcast, 500 Greatest Films...
What was the moment that you fell in love with DC Comics?
I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and I loved it. I recognized as a child that it was a cartoon show made by adults but it didn't talk down to kids, and I felt the same thing with another show, Animaniacs, which is also from Warner Bros. Both of those shows were hugely influential to me. They were part of the reason that I ended up going to school for animation as an adult. But I also checked out a book from the library by an author named Les Daniels called 60 Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. That's where I learned about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and the history of DC Comics from the Golden Age through the Bronze Age, including all of the characters and the few times they made movies and TV shows. That also made me fall in love with the history of DC specifically, so those were quite influential.
If you had to pick, who's your favorite DC character?
I think everybody falls in love with Batman because he's the coolest, but as I've gotten older I think my favorite DC character is Superman. He's a character that the more I learned about him, the more I loved who this character is and what he stands for and what he represents. I think that he's a vital character.He, along with other characters in my life, have shaped who I am as a man. I've tried to follow the example of this fictional character--what he would do, what he stands for, and how he helps other people--and so, yeah, my favorite DC character is Superman. But I think that my other favorite is probably Booster Gold, which would be for the exact opposite reasons.
In your opinion what's the most underrated DC Comics run?
Speaking of Booster Gold, I think that would be Geoff Johns' Booster Gold run. That run made me love the character in a way that was different even though I'd always been following him. That series provided him with moments where he could be the most heroic, the most self-sacrificing, the most selfless, and the exact opposite of how everybody perceives him.What's great about that comic book is how it allows us to see who this character Michael John Carter really is while still having him pretend that he's this completely flippant, uncaring, and selfish guy. That was his role in the universe and so he had to keep up appearances because he was always working on these secret missions to try and fix the time stream and nobody could know.
Who do you think has the most iconic DC Comics costume?
I keep going to the two most iconic, which are Batman and Superman. Hmmm... I think that Batman wins because of the silhouette, because of the ears, because you can sketch Batman with one line and people are like, "That's Batman." But with Superman, it's harder to do that. You still have to draw a dude. I can literally draw Batman and his costume with my eyes closed, but Superman's gonna take a little bit more of an effort. So I'll say, Batman.
What's your definitive version of Batman?
Probably the comic book version from the DCU that happened after Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986 up until 2011 and the New 52, but the caveat is he sounds like Kevin Conroy. It's not one from a movie yet. It's not one from a video game yet. But I think Kevin Conroy is everyone's go to especially from our generation. Yeah, my definitive Batman is from that era of comic books that I grew up with when I was in high school and college, but he always sounds like Kevin, so I've basically cheated and said two versions of Batman [laughs].
Which DC character (hero or villain) do you relate to the most?
That's an excellent question. I relate to Kyle Rayner because he's an artist and his father's from Mexico. When I was a young kid reading Justice League, he was Green Lantern along with Wally West as the Flash. I loved that he would draw and because he's an artist his Green Lantern constructs are really creative. I drew a lot as a kid, and I don't draw as much today, but I still love to do it and I went to school for animation. Then the other character that I think I relate to is Nightwing, Dick Grayson because he exists in this in-between space of not being as much of a goody-goody as Superman, but he's still not as dark as Bruce Wayne. Sometimes Bruce can be a little bit much, sometimes he can be a little bit a little bleak. It's like, buddy, you got so many loved ones in your life, let them in a little, you know? They're around you, you have so many kids, you've got such a family, a literal family named after him! Cheer up! I feel like Grayson is right there in the middle where he does the right thing, but he has fun while doing it. He's got a great sense of humor. So I'll say my answer is Kyle Rayner and Dick Grayson with a little bit of a Booster Gold thrown in there. But I'm not as fun and I'm not as reckless. Actually, maybe it's Ted Kord. I relate to Ted. That's a guy who tries real hard [laughs].
What's your single favorite DC issue of all time?
That's so weird that I said Ted Cord just now because my favorite issue is Countdown to Infinite Crisis where Ted gets shot in the head. It was so sad and so tragic, but also inspiring because the last thought that he had was, "My name is Ted Kord. I was the second man to be Blue Beetle. I will not be the last person to be the Blue Beetle." That just cracked me open, that was so great. And so it's summed up a lot of what DC is to me, a lot of it is legacy characters and that's something DC does better than any other company.For them to make you fall in love with Ted Kord and then take him away was heartbreaking. But he's telling you, hey, we have plans, don't worry, there's going to be a new Blue Beetle. And the fact that the next Beetle was a Mexican kid was huge for me being the child of immigrants from Mexico and being the first generation born in the United States. And then to see that the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle has become so popular is amazing.
If you had an arch-nemesis in the DCU who would it be?
Lex Luthor because he's the warped American Dream. He represents everything that's wrong with ambitious men who have their priorities out of whack. I'm picturing myself living in Metropolis. Maybe I'm a citizen, maybe I'm trying to be politically active, and then Luther would shut me down at every stop. He's so charismatic that he would convince the public that his way is the way to go. That would make me just hate that guy.
What's your proudest DC-related possession?
I'm probably going to go with one of the first times I interacted with DC professionally. I was sending the wonderful producers over at DC All Access YouTube channel audition videos because they were looking for a correspondent, and luckily I got picked. A little bit after that, my friends and I did a video that for DC where we reacted to the trailer for a movie or something on our YouTube channel. They sent me a simple little printed out piece of paper that said "DC verified fan." And it made me so happy that I framed it. I have it hanging up in my room right now.
Who is your go-to DC Comics cosplay?
When I was a kid, I did Clark Kent a lot. I would wear a Superman shirt underneath another shirt. And one year my mom put Velcro on my shirt so I could rip it open. So that's been my go-to since I was a kid, and I haven't done it in a while, but I need to bring that back.
Out of the DC universe, who is your ultimate comic book crush?
I definitely have a man crush on Booster Gold for real. I've been asked this question somewhere before where it's like, "Who would you want to be your roommate?" And I said Booster Gold. And they were like, "He's the worst." And I went, "No, no, I would be a good influence on him. I'd set him straight. And we would hang out and it would be awesome." But my number one crush would probably be Lois. She's one of the greatest comic book characters ever. She's unbelievably brave. And I love when people come to that realization that she's braver than Superman because she's not bulletproof when she goes and does stuff. And people go, "Oh, I hadn't even thought of that. Yeah, she is!" I love her very much. She's the best. You know who else I really like? I like Jessica Cruz. I have a crush on her, especially after Justice League vs. The Fatal Five. The characterization in that movie was fantastic, so I'm absolutely a big fan of her and I root for her.
What's your most controversial DC Comics opinion?
I have an opinion that there's an unfortunate side effect of racial politics that happens when you bring back older heroes that happen to be white male characters. As much as I love Geoff Johns' Green Lantern stuff, it's wonderful, but when you bring back Hal Jordan that puts Kyle Rayner and Jon Stewart in the background as opposed to the forefront. When you bring back Barry Allen it's the same sort of thing, as much as I love the Silver Age characters. The same is true with the other big company that's doing superhero stories, and it's because just by the very nature of starting these stories over either in the comic books or in movies and TV shows you're likely going to be drawing from the well of the Silver Age or earlier. The reality is that those comic book stories that have predominantly white male characters as their focus weren't concerned with accurately depicting the world in the way that it is today. So it's a bummer when you're like, we're going to do a Flash movie and someone's like, "Well, it's got to be Barry before we get to Wally." It's frustrating.
What's your favorite DC movie/cartoon?
My favorite DC movie is probably Superman: The Movie. Christopher Reeve still makes me so happy. I was just watching Adventures of Superman with George Reeves, so I was recently getting them confused. But Christopher Reeve still fills my heart with joy. I love watching that movie and love watching him be both Clark and Superman, plus everything else about the movie is so fun.
What are your favorite things streaming on DC Universe?
I've been going back and rewatching all the classic cartoons that I grew up with. I love Doom Patrol and Krypton, and the cheesy '70s shows like Shazam and Wonder Woman are great. But if I'm being honest, my favorite stuff to go back and watch is Young Justice, Batman: The Animated Series, New Batman Adventures, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series is fantastic. Most of my favorites list is just comprised of all the cartoons I grew up with.
What’s been your favorite moment on DC Daily so far?
I think my favorite moment was that I was present when Dan DiDio showed up and gave Marv Wolfman an award, and I interviewed Marv Wolfman for five minutes. To be able to talk to Marv Wolfman, to have the chance to talk to somebody who's a pillar of the comic book industry, he's one of the people that we can credit for all of the stuff we love today. He's a living legend!
Fan Question time! @CptnVersatileMan asks: With "Crisis On Infinite Earths" approaching this fall on The CW, this would be the perfect opportunity for Black Lightning to join The Arrowverse, right? How would you integrate BL into the Arrowverse?
I think the best way to go would probably be in the same way that Supergirl is a part of the Arrowverse, that she's on another earth, and to keep Black Lightning and his family on another Earth would be great. But in any case, if Black Lightning is coming over, you have to bring over the rest of his crew. You've got to bring over his daughters, that has to be part of the deal as well. I would be so thrilled to see that, that would be awesome.
@GodOfMugs asks: Who is your favorite unused character? Like characters that were created then abandoned. My favorites are Chris Kent, Ryand'r, and Suren Darga.
In my opinion, it's Static Shock. I grew up watching Static Shock, and I think that he's somebody who could bring such a different and unique voice to the events of the DC universe, from the comic books to the cartoon shows to the movies and everything. I was so happy when he became a part of the world of Young Justice. But I think that Static Shock is a character deserving of a new show with a new animation style and new continuity. Bring that character back.