Buddy Baker: 1980 - 2001
Bernhard "Buddy" Baker is the son of Frank Baker, Jr. and his wife Phyllis, from Blue Valley, Colorado. Buddy never saw eye to eye with his dad, a long-haul trucker, and would spend most of his time out of the house when his dad was home. Usually this meant Buddy was out in the woods around his house, awkwardly flirting with the Frazier girl on a nearby farm, or hanging out at his friend Roger's house (usually in the garage banging away on instruments in hopes of being the next Mucus Membrane).
On a weekend break from Blue Valley Community College, Roger convinced Buddy to go camping with him. En route, the boys saw a strange light which caused Roger to put his truck in some mud. While Roger worked the winch to free the truck, Buddy got curious. Wandering away, Buddy found a cabin nearby and also found several disheveled aliens with weapons. Startled by his discovery, Buddy tried to flee but was stopped by the cabin's owner. Before Buddy could explain, the aliens opened fire. Buddy's instincts took over and he stepped into the blast. A moment later, it all faded to black. In his near-death state, Buddy had a vision of a weird world where animals told him he still had much work to do. When he awoke, Buddy saw his chest rebuilding itself before his own eyes. Nearby, the aliens were busy fighting another alien, this one was green with a red cape. Not wanting to risk another injury, Buddy fled. In his panic, he misjudged where he had left Roger. While lost, Buddy soon found all sorts of animals drawn to him. The animals even spoke to him, calling him 'Father of Life' and instructing him to 'tap into the Red, use our gifts'. Buddy had a pretty natural reaction to this: he fainted. Buddy was found later by the cabin owner who identified himself as an "alien cop" named J'onn. J'onn explained that those who shot Buddy were criminals who had come to kill J'onn with a "Morphogenetic Cannon", a weapon designed to devastate the bodies of shapeshifting alien, but Buddy saved his life. J'onn thanked Buddy and helped him find his way back to Roger.
At first, Buddy had little success controlling his new powers. Frustrated, he tried to ignore them but found that when he did that, the powers often would control him. One such instance, Buddy suddenly fled his house and found himself drawn to the sounds of a nearby barn. Inside, Buddy found his high school crush, Ellen Frazier. She was crying from a bad argument with her father when she was startled by Buddy. Rather than explain himself, Buddy kissed Ellen and much to his surprise, she kissed back. The next morning, Buddy awoke in a pile of hay to the sounds of horses and cows commenting on how strange the two naked humans looked. After realizing Buddy could understand them, the animals made it clear Ellen's father would be furious at Buddy. So when Ellen awoke, Buddy decided to show his powers to her and convinced her to run away to Star City. Unfortunately, once there, Buddy found his acting was sub-par. Funds got tight and Ellen found out she was pregnant. Desperate, Buddy used his powers to become a decent stuntman.
Animal Man: 2001 - Present
Trivia and Notes
- Animal Man joined the Justice League in 2011 nominated by Martian Manhunter.
- His shirt says: "Weird /wird/ adjective 1. side effect of being awesome".
- Mucus Membrane is John Constantine's band.
- Roxanne Sutton is an old friend of his.
- Buddy's birth date and address are nods to his first comic book appearance: Strange Adventures #180, in September, 1965, written by Dave Wood; and to Grant Morrison, the writer of Animal Man, Vol. 1.
- Animal Man's costume in the comics is blue. It was changed to red to emphasize his connection to the Red.