49 years ago - Digger Harkness is born in the Australian Outback.
37 years ago - 12-year-old Digger runs away from home & begins working as an errand boy for criminals.
35 years ago - 14-year-old Digger finds work as a ranch hand, and first discovers his affinity for boomerangs.
30 years ago - 19-year-old Digger leaves for America, and begins working for organized crime in Central City.
23 years ago - 26-year-old Digger sleeps with Lisa Snart. He abandons her when she reveals that she is pregnant.
15 years ago - 34-year-old Digger, seeing the upsurge in costumed crime, begins wielding his signature boomerangs as Captain Boomerang, going up against the Flash. He becomes a founding member of the Rogues.
7 years ago - 42-year-old Digger is caught & sent to prison by Wally West when he ends Barry Allen's ideal with the Rogues, holding them responsible for the fall of Frankie Kane.
3 years ago - 46-year-old Digger finishes his term with the Suicide Squad. He seeks out his son, Owen Mercer. They begin spending time together, and Owen quickly learns how to master his father's boomerang technique.
2 years ago - 47-year-old Digger takes a job intended to be his last, but is killed by Jack Drake.
Captain Boomerang is one of those concepts that serves to remind you of how much fun comics can be. Boomerangs have, for whatever reason, been a subject of fascination in comics forever. Batman's batarang might basically be a funny word to describe a stylized throwing star nowadays, but for decades it was a full-on boomerang. It's almost a no-brainer that, when looking for gimmicks to base your villains around, one of them would be this weirdly specific child's toy. Still, none of that predicted just how much personality Captain Boomerang himself was infused with. A lot of it came from his time in the incredibly well-written Suicide Squad, but sometimes certain characters just wind up leaping off the page.
Digger Harkness's Comic History
Captain Boomerang was yet another invention of the early writing team on the Flash, John Broome & Carmine Infantino. If your goal is merely to create visually exciting characters that are going to engage the imagination of your readers (who are children), then Captain Boomerang was a slam dunk. His look is fantastic, and his whole schtick immediately pops off the page.
Of course.. This is a guy meant to be fighting someone who breaks the sound barrier without even trying. I don't think I've ever read a battle between the Flash and Captain Boomerang that made even an iota of sense. That's not really that noteworthy... by and large none of the original Flash bad guys made a lot of sense. At least Digger made no sense with STYLE.
While a lot of the Flash Rogues had their stories updated thanks to Mark Waid in the early 90's, a few of them were actually updated elsewhere in other seires, like Mirror Master in Grant Morrison's Animal Man. Digger was a founding member of John Ostrander's 1987 update of the Suicide Squad, turning it into the collection of comic villains turned relectant government agents that we all now recognize. Unlike Mirror Master, who was replaced by a whole new character, Digger was kept in the role and given a whole personality update. On a team full of killers and criminals, he was the completely irredeemable one.
Our Digger Harkness Story
In the comics, Digger was actually killed in the pages of Identity Crisis, the same book that introduced his son, Owen Mercer. Owen was designed by Rags Morales and had a look that really seemed primed to take off, but no one ever seemed to use him properly. Eventually he was killed off and Digger was brought back. Personally I always liked the idea of Owen and wanted to include him, but knowing that Digger has to father a son that is in his early twenties actually meant we had to get a little creative with his timeline. What made it work was the idea that he was part of the criminal underground in Central City even before the Flash ever showed up.
It makes sense, when you think about it. There were plenty of heroes around before the Flash. We've even established that the Top (the dude whose girlfriend he wound up having a baby with) actually got his powers fighting All-Star Squadron mainstay Johnny Quick. In fact, knowing that he has some personal history with speedsters like the Top, his decision to go up against the Flash makes a little more sense. He KNOWS that he can give the Flash a fight, and he's just the sort of dude who picks fights with people.
The death of Tim Drake's father is a pretty important part of his story, and we like the idea of Owen taking over as the new Captain Boomerang, so we've included the death of Owen Mercer, but a part of me has a lot of affection for characters that only work in comics like this.