My kids don’t expend much wonderment on the Easter Bunny. Anyone who brings sugar into our home is heralded as a minor deity, but for lack of compelling backstory, the bunny is nothing more than a glorified delivery guy. Comic Book Son and Daughter talk far more about his dope than they do about him.
Give us our candy and scram, Pink Ears.
Not quite, but almost.
As I began to gather sugar in his name, I thought about the difference between my children’s love for Santa and their near-indifference to the Big Bun.
Some of it’s my influence. I come from a family of Santa freaks.
My grandfather adored Santa. When my mother was young, he hired a friend to arrive be-jollied in a horse-drawn sleigh on Christmas morning, wowing my mom and her sisters.
When I was young, 35 years later, he hired another friend to show up be-jollied at his house on Christmas day, wowing me and my sister. Until one day when I peeked out an upstairs window and saw “Santa” driving away in a dilapidated station wagon.
Kids will forgive equine Dashers and Dancers. A Chevy Chevelle in lieu of a sleigh, not so much.
Despite the station wagon let-down, I still push Santa, so my kids naturally find themselves wondering about him.
I could give a bunny bean about the rabbit and yet, ‘tis the season to be hoppy, not jolly, and so to push the cause of buns I turn to the bold, the few, the big of ear and brave of heart: The Rabbit Heroes. (A sampling. Not a compendium.)
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
I knew about Hoppy from my forays into comic book history. Hoppy is comic book royalty, a member of the Marvel family, born at long-since-shuttered Fawcett Publications in the early ’40s.
Everyguy Billy Batson says “Shazam” to turn into superhero Captain Marvel. So too Hoppy utters the magic word to become Captain Marvel Bunny and take on various villains, including penthouse-dwelling gangster wolf Slimy Sam and the evil Captain Black Bunny.
Hoppy currently lives with the folks at DC, who inserted him into a recent issue of Tiny Titans, where Comic Book Son, Daughter and I discovered him napping with Streaky the Supercat, Krypto the Super-Dog, and Ace the Bat-Hound.
Trivia (as if the rest of this isn’t): Like Clark Kent, Hoppy has an unrequited crush: Millie the rabbit. Like Lois Lane, Millie only has eyes for Hoppy's superhero alter ego.
Leader of the Amazing Zoo Crew, a 1980s DC foray into the funny animal genre, chipper-looking Captain Carrot faced such punny, anthropomorphic villains as Bow-zar the Barkbarian, Armordillo and Frogzilla. He saved the day in fewer than two dozen issues, though he and his furry buddies resurfaced in the middle of last decade for a three-issue run.
Trivia: Captain Carrot’s alter ego’s name was Roger Rabbit until the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” hit the big screen, at which point Captain Carrot’s alter ego was renamed Rodney.
Trivia in the Form of Coincidence: Comic Book Husband and I used to live downstairs from Gary K. Wolf, who wrote “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” which became the movie. He and his lovely wife Bonnie are extremely friendly, great hosts with awesome tchotchkes and cool cats, Boris and Natasha. Go read his latest, Space Vulture, co-written by John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark.
First off, I’m claiming Thunderbunny as my rink name for when I join a roller derby team.
Secondly, Thunderbunny possesses my favorite lapine superhero moniker. (Can you be obnoxious and use “lapine” and “moniker” in the same sentence? I’m beer-emboldened, and so will go for it. Also, beer is made of hops. HOPS! Get it?)
Like Captain Carrot, Thunderbunny has a young alter ego. Oddly, his young alter ego is human.
None of these bunnies look particularly heroic, but this creation story reads stranger than the rest.
Bobby Caswell, human teenager, sucks up the energy force of dying hero Thunderbunny, who hails from an alternate, animals-only universe. From this point forward, Bobby can transform into Thunderbunny by clapping his hands. Clap on! Clap off!
Things must get hairy at concerts.
While I’d expect a superbunny to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Thunderbunny flies.
Trivia: Though Bobby likes his superpowers, which also include super strength and invulnerability, he is not keen on the rabbit aspect of the gig.
Who can blame the guy? Billy Batson turns into a buff crusader. Clark Kent transforms into a man of steel. And Bobby … becomes a pink bunny.
RAMBLE: I’ve enjoyed this little hop around comic book history, though I’m not wowed by the rabbits. Their big teeth and general goofiness, especially when wearing superhero duds, likely made for some good kid-friendly comedy, but I'm not sucked in like I am when looking at old superhero comics.
I’ll hide the eggs tonight, and I’ll enjoy watching my kids find them tomorrow, but as for rabbits, I’ll save my praise for the occasional cottontail we spot hopping along the side of the road.
And for Darius.