1. I'm new to Helena Wayne. Where do I start?
For sampling the character, I always recommend the following standalone stories:
- DC Super-Stars #17 (1977)
- Batman Family #17 (1978)
- Brave and the Bold #184 (1982)
- Justice Society of America Annual #1 (2008)
- Justice Society of America #20 (2008)
DC Super-Stars #17 recounts the character's origin story, Batman Family #17 has her team-up with the Earth-1 Batman Family, and Brave and the Bold #184 is a Christmas story in which she teams-up with the Earth-1 Batman. Justice Society of America Annual #1 is a more modern story from 2008 that explores Huntress' close friendship with Power Girl (one of her significant relationships), as well as her place in the legacy of the Justice Society. Justice Society of America #20 is the follow-up to that annual story. Both stories are part of the JSA: Thy Kingdom Come story arc.
For definitive runs on Helena Wayne as the Huntress, the following are must reads:
- The Huntress: Origins (2020)
- All-Star Comics: Only Legends Live Forever (2019)
- Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 5 and 6 (2013)
- Infinity Inc #1-12 (1984)
- America vs the Justice Society of America (2015)
- Crisis on Infinite Earths: 35th Anniversary Deluxe (2019)
The Huntress: Origins is a reprint of Huntress: Darknight Daughter (2006) which contains her origin story in DC Super-Stars #17, her appearances in Batman Family #18-20, and the first four years of her backup stories in Wonder Woman. (Still waiting for DC to collect the remaining ones...)
All-Star Comics: Only Legends Live Forever collects all of her Justice Society appearances in All-Star Comics #69-74, as well as Adventure Comics #461-466. These stories are also collected in the now-out-of-print Justice Society Vol. 2 (2007).
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 5 and 6 reprint most of her appearances in Justice League of America and All-Star Squadron. Her only Justice League of America appearances that haven't been collected in these volumes are issues #219-220, but they are available individually on both Comixology and the DC Universe streaming service.
The first four issues of Infinity Inc are collected in Infinity Inc Vol. 1: The Generations Saga, however the rest were not reprinted. As such, it's best to just get the individual issues on Comixology or DC Universe. This series sees Helena Wayne cofound a JSA legacy team.
The America vs the Justice Society of America trade collects all four issues of the 1984 America vs the Justice Society of America miniseries, which Helena Wayne has a major role in.
The Crisis on Infinite Earths: 35th Anniversary Deluxe trade is the most recent reprint of the classic maxiseries that forever redefined the DC Universe and forever changed the Huntress. This was the story that was responsible for retconning Helena Wayne as the Huntress, which then facilitated her 'rebirth' as Helena Bertinelli in the Huntress (1989) series. There is also additional information and memos featured in this edition that help contextualise what led DC to reboot their entire history in the first place. It is, in fact, quite insightful!
Most of these books are currently in print and can be bought through your local book store or comic shop. They can also be found on both Comixology and the DC Universe streaming service, along with the individual issues that are collected in these books.
2. I heard the New 52 was pretty bad. Do you recommend Helena Wayne's stories from that era?
I'm admittedly not a fan of the New 52 myself, and I don't feel Helena Wayne was well represented in that era. It's definitely not my 'go-to' era for Helena Wayne Huntress story recommendations.
At best, it's worth reading AFTER you've read her pre-Crisis and post-Crisis appearances to better understand why this isn't a favourite era for a lot of Helena Wayne Huntress fans. Let's just say lots of errors in judgement were made by DC during this era.
Her New 52 appearances are:
- Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads (2011)
- Worlds' Finest Vol. 1-6 (2012)
- Earth-2 #0, 1, 27, 32, and Annual #2 (2012)
- Earth-2: Worlds End Vol. 1-2 (2014)
- Convergence: Detective Comics #1-2 (2015)
- Earth-2: Society Vol. 1-4 (2015)
The Worlds Finest trades also collect her appearances in Batman/Superman #8-9 (though it excludes #12, which she also appears in), Secret Origins #7 and 9, and the Worlds Finest: Futures End #1 one-shot.
These can also be found on both Comixology and the DC Universe streaming service, along with the individual issues that are collected in these books.
3. Which eras does Helena Wayne appear in?
Helena Wayne appears as the Huntress in every era of DC, but she's definitely more prominent in some eras than in others.
Her most prominent eras are pre-Crisis (1938-1986) and post-Flashpoint (2011-present). That last era contains the New 52, DCYou, and Rebirth eras. Helena Wayne is prominent in the first two, but only had cameos in the Rebirth era.
The same is true of the post-Crisis era (1986-2011). She mostly has cameos as Helena Wayne in this era since the Huntress for this era was largely Helena Bertinelli. As Helena Wayne she only had a story in Superman/Batman #27, and in Justice Society of America Annual #1 and Justice Society of America #20, both of which are part of JSA: Thy Kingdom Come.
4. Has Helena Wayne appeared in other outside media such as film, television, and video games?
Helena Wayne made her first television appearance as the Huntress in a 1979 television special called Legends of the Superheroes, alongside Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin from the 1966 Batman television show. She was portrayed by the late Barbara Joyce.
A more modern version of Helena Wayne (renamed Helena Kyle) was portrayed by Ashley Scott in the 2002 Birds of Prey television show, and in the 2019 CW television event Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In animation, Helena Wayne's pre-Crisis costume is worn by Helena Bertinelli in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
All three shows can be streamed on DC Universe.
5. Why does DC Comics treat Helena Wayne and Helena Bertinelli like they're the same character?
It all goes back to the 1985 maxiseries Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC's decision to reboot their entire multiverse into a single-shared universe.
Per DC themselves, prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Helena Wayne proved to be a very popular character with DC fans, and for years, DC talked about launching a Huntress ongoing comic featuring this version of the character. By 1985, DC started doing work on this project, but they were met with a problem: Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the entire DC line, and the Huntress in her Helena Wayne incarnation didn't fit their plans moving forward.
In the new DC Universe, Batman was being rebooted from scratch by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in the storyline Batman: Year One, and Helena Wayne could not logically still exist as the Huntress in a world where her father was a young man just starting out. So the decision was made to kill her off in Crisis on Infinite Earths and later reboot her with a brand new origin story to keep her active.
Helena Wayne's last writer was Joey Cavalieri, who then took on the task of rebooting her character for the post-Crisis continuity. He therefore reimagined her as Helena Bertinelli, the Italian-American daughter of a mafia family, with Joe Staton (Helena Wayne's original co-creator) reworking her look. This is the version of the Huntress that appeared from 1989 to 2011.
When DC rebooted the DC Universe again in 2011 to launch the New 52, the Helena Bertinelli Huntress was retconned back into the original Helena Wayne Huntress. A new character was then created in 2014 to take up the Helena Bertinelli name and origin story in the series Grayson. That version of Helena Bertinelli eventually became the Huntress in 2016 after Helena Wayne returned to her native world of Earth-2.
6. I've heard your voice on various videos and podcasts. Why does your accent keep changing?
This one is a long story. But the cliff notes version is I'm a Latinx woman born and raised outside of Colombia (where the rest of the fam lives) and Spanish was my first language growing up. When I started learning English as a kid, naturally I spoke the language with a Spanish accent. My accent was treated as a speech disorder to the point of being assigned to a speech therapist for a good chunk of my childhood. (Keep in mind this was the 1990s.)
Given that, I had to learn to hide my accent by learning various other ones, including received pronunciation (or 'BBC English') and standard American. As such, I am now an accent chameleon. Some days I'll sound English, other times American, other times Spanish. It really depends on who I am talking to and on which accent my brain happens to be wired to that day. Sometimes I'll switch accents in the middle of a conversation (which has happened before).
Interestingly enough, my Colombian mum (who still has her Spanish accent) hates British accents, so she always gets cross with me the moment I speak to her in my English accent. (You see what I have to deal with?)