Kite Man fans were saying “Hell yeah” last month when HBO Max announced that the character would be getting his own spinoff from the popular Harley Quinn animated series and rightly so. Not only is the character a fan-favorite, but even more than that “Kite Man. Hell yeah” has become an iconic DC catchphrase. Now former Batman writer Tom King who is responsible for that catchphrase is explaining the origin and it turns out the iconic phrase came about by accident.
In a recent post to the Everlasting Productions Substack newsletter King has with Elsa Charretier, King broke down how it all came to be. As King explained, the phrase made its debut in Batman #6 which featured art by Ivan Reis. The issue, King explained, was a “fill in” issue between “I Am Gotham” and “I Am Suicide” and saw Gotham Girl deep in denial about the death of her brother in Batman #5. To give the issue action, Gotham Girl fights three Batman villains: Colonel Blimp, Captain Stingaree, and Kite Man. The way things worked out, Kite Man ended up with one page of his own efforts, following him as he made a robbery. King went on to explain that when he saw the page, which at the lettering pass featured no dialogue in the last panel, he realized he needed something there and that’s where the catchphrase was born.
“Back then I had a running joke on Twitter where I’d respond to stuff I liked by saying, ‘hell yeah,'” King wrote. “It was just some performative ironic awkwardness, which is what Twitter used to be in the golden days. So, with no other ideas, I wrote: ’14:7 Add: KITE MAN: Kite Man. KITE MAN: Hell yeah.’ Like he likes his name and legacy so much, he responds to himself. I’m Kite Man and that’s super! Fully aware that this was too absurd to publish, I submitted it while I tried to think of something else. Then I forgot about it because I was on double ship Batman and there were so many deadlines.”
Months later the issue came out with “Kite Man. Hell yeah” in print and thus, a beloved catchphrase was born, though the randomness of it all isn’t lost on King.
“And here we are many years later, and there he is many years later,” King wrote. “In cartoons, on tee shirts, and soaring ever higher by the day. Kite Man. Hell Yeah. JFC. It could have been Captain Stingaree.”
As for the animated Kite Man, HBO Max announced Noonan’s is in the works for the streamer with Harley Quinn co-creators Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey all along for the ride.
“We love the wild and fun world of ‘Harley Quinn’ so much we just had to make a spin-off and who better to center it around than the outcast Kite Man,” said Suzanna Makkos, executive vice president of original comedy and adult animation for HBO Max and Adult Swim. “Justin, Patrick, and Dean have created the perfect local hangout for Gotham City’s not-so-finest at Noonan’s, where bar patrons can blow off steam after a long day of mayhem.”
What do you think about the origin story of Kite Man’s catchphrase? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!