Kite Man: Who is the Lovable Loser?

Let’s Fly a Kite, Man

Kite Man: [smashes through a window and grabs a necklace] “Kite Man!” [jumps out of another window and deploys a kite] “Kite Man. Hell yeah.”

Batman #6 (2016)

A man sneaks through a museum near its ancient Greek exhibits. Everyone will respect this heist. He turns a corner and stumbles into a security guard. The guard grabs him and goes for his taser. The man accidentally hits a button on his suit and something springs from his backpack. A hang glider stabs the guard’s face and the man cringes.

“Aw, geez! I am so sorry! No hard feelings?”

The man detaches the glider and runs for his life with the furious guard in pursuit. He slips on a mopped floor and slides into a pedestal. A tiara and a hoplite helmet fall into his lap. Oh hey, he found the exhibit! He hurls the helmet at the charging guard, who trips into a wall. Falling daggers narrowly miss the guard’s good eye and crotch.

The man has pushed his luck far enough. He throws an antique spear to shatter a nearby window and runs for it. He deploys a back-up glider and takes off, majestically soaring through the air. He’s done it! Everyone will be so impressed by the tiara he stole! Huh, it looks kinda… familiar.

Something stops the man in mid-air. A woman’s hand appears, silently demanding the tiara. Oh, that’s why it was familiar. The treasures were on loan from the Amazons. Kite Man sheepishly looks up at an unimpressed Wonder Woman. Will our hero escape the long arm of the law? Find out next episode, same kite time, same kite channel!

Kite Man is one of DC’s goofiest villains. He’s won hearts and minds despite being the cheesiest villain imaginable. So who is he? Why did he become a criminal? Can kites keep up with a world of superpowered beings and heavily-armed billionaires? Let’s find out.

Test Flight: Kite Man’s Backstory

Kite Man:Y’know, this is my first time at the Villys. Always wanted to go, but never invited until last week. I got nominated for Best D-Lister at the less publicized, but definitely equally prestigious Technical Villy Awards.”
Harley Quinn:Did you win?”
Kite Man: “I… did not. Lost to some guy with a gun for a penis.”

Harley Quinn “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards” (Season 3, Episode 3)

Kite Man debuted in Batman #133 in 1960. He was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, who were inspired by Charlie Brown’s love for flying kites and running gag of crashing them into trees.

Charles Brown was an aspiring crook who loved kites. He created several kite-themed hang gliders and became Kite Man. Flight was an invaluable tool for committing crimes, including tear gas bombing runs and trying to drop Robin to his death. The gliding villain nearly killed the Dynamic Duo until they turned several of his weaponized kites against him.

Kite Man appeared infrequently, most famously as a sports star in supervillain-friendly country Zandia. He refused multiple approaches to join supervillain teams because of his reluctance to kill. Kite Man was murdered by crime boss Bruno Mannheim, who ate him and other minor villains after they refused to join his gang. Talk about an in-flight meal.

Good Grief: Kite Man’s History

Kite Man:Kite Man to the rescue! I’ll protect us babe. Maybe they took the weapons from the guests, but they didn’t check The Help! [flies into battle, but is pulled away] A crosswind?! AW, SHIIII-

Harley Quinn “L.O.D.R.S.V.P.” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Kite Man was reintroduced during DC’s Rebirth relaunch. Charlie Brown was now a small-time crook working for the Joker. Batman forced him to become an informant during a gang war. An outraged Riddler murdered Brown’s son as retribution. Charlie, despondent and suicidal, drew on happy memories of his son playing with a kite and became Kite Man.

Kite Man began an enthusiastic but ineffectual crime spree. Many heroes began using him as shorthand for a loser, with kinder characters taking a more exasperated, tolerant tone. 

Fans learned that Riddler orchestrated Kite Man’s creation to make a morose Joker smile again. That revelation almost sent Brown over the edge, but he realized that his son would want him to live. Charlie Brown conquered suicidal ideation and resumed his crime spree.

Hell Yeah!: Kite Man’s Powers and Personality

[Harley Quinn and Kite Man are discussing their mutual love for Poison Ivy]
Charles:When I first met her, I was a delusional, nobody himbo. Now, I’m big enough to lose Best D-Lister!”
Harley:But Ivy left you.”
Charles:Yeah, but now I’m with [Golden Glider] and she rules! Things are looking up for the ol’ Kite Man. And win or lose tonight, it seems to be working out for you too.”

Harley Quinn “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards” (Season 3, Episode 3)

Kite Man makes up for his lack of superpowers with his kite-themed hang gliders. He has several gimmick kites, including ones with tear gas bombs, jet boosters, one large enough to transport people, and a weighted kite that knocked out Batman.

Modern Kite Man eschews weapons, preferring to not hurt anyone if he can avoid it. He’s clumsy on the ground, but graceful once he starts flying and at his best when serving as a distraction for his allies.

Kite Man is a sympathetic loser. Fans root for him despite knowing he’ll inevitably screw up like a human Wile E. Coyote. He copes with grief and suicidal ideation, but proved resilient enough to overcome the worst of it. “Hell yeah”, his son’s reaction to flying a kite for the first time, pulls double duty as Kite Man’s mantra and catchphrase.

The Actors Who Play Him

Jeffery Combs – Batman the Brave and the Bold
Matt Oberg – Harley Quinn, Kite Man: Hell Yeah!

Didya Get All That?

DC’s flying fool.

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