LAUGHING HORSE BAR

Classification: Bar

Creator: Unrevealed

User/Possessors: Gomez Addams, Morticia Addams, Clint Barton, Humphrey Bogart, James Bond, Dagwood Bumstead, Andy Capp, Albert Einstein, Reid Fleming, George "Minnesota Fats" Hegerman, Groucho Marx, Lurch, Emma Peel, Popeye, Elvis Presley, Steve Rogers, Rod Serling, Tony Stark, John Steed, Dick Tracy, Yellow Kid, others  

Location: Manhattan's Lower West Side

First Appearance: Captain America I#401 (June 1992)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: Providing alcoholic refreshments and pool tables to paying customers. 

History:
(Captain America I#401) - Located on Manhattan's Lower West Side, the Laughing Horse Bar catered to an eclectic mixture of patrons, including Clint Barton (a.k.a. Hawkeye), who described it as a "lowlife bar."

   It had been a few years since Clint's last visit when he took Steve Rogers (a.k.a. Captain America) there, hoping to cheer him out of the depression he had fallen into after the recent schism between the Avengers during the "Galactic Storm" event.

   While the pair sat and chatted, John Steed took on Humphrey Bogart in a game of pool, Gomez Addams approached Groucho Marx for a chat, Rod Serling, Popeye, Andy Capp and Reid Fleming nursed their drinks by the bar, and James Bond introduced his date to Dick Tracy. Clint counseled Steve to put his own needs ahead of the team for once, in the hopes that fixing the problems in his own life might help him get back on an even keel.

    Steve's response was truncated when he spotted Tony Stark near the bar. The industrialist (and secretly Iron Man) shouted Steve's name as he spotted him, drawing the momentary interest of Elvis and the Yellow Kid, and Tony explained that he had been told by Peggy Carter where Clint was taking Steve and had come to chat to him. Told by Tony to give them some space, Clint headed over to the pool tables, where Minnesota Fats was playing. While Clint took on the hustler, Tony cleared the air with Steve, discussing and apologizing for their recent differences, and asked his forgiveness. Recognizing Tony's courage in admitting his failings, and especially doing so by coming to a bar given he was an alcoholic, Steve agreed to let bygones be bygones. After Tony left, Steve went over to Clint to let him know he would be departing too, back to Avengers Mansion. Collecting his winnings from Fats, Clint told him he would come along.  

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins and Danny Bulanadi.

    The Laughing Horse Bar would have been just another background feature, barely worth an Appendix entry, had it not been for the cameos dotted throughout the story. The subprofiles below speculate on each of the individuals specifically shown, but in general it's worth mentioning that the profile (and the Captain America Index) run on the assumption that these are the actual characters who they appear to be. Sure, it's certainly possible that we're in a bar full of people who work for a lookalike agency, or a large group of really dedicated cosplayers taking a break from some nearby convention. However, there'd be no fun in writing an entry like that. So, for all the characters who come from other canons, we're assuming they are those characters or their 616 counterparts. For real world people who had already died by time of publication, I'm leaving it a bit less certain, if only because some of them already have established lookalikes in 616. 

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Laughing Horse Bar has no known connections to:

The Addams Family have no known connections to:

Humphrey Bogart has no known connections to:

Andy Capp has no known connections to:

Albert Einstein has no known connections to:

Reid Fleming has no known connections to:

Minnesota Fats has no known connections to:

Groucho Marx has no known connections to:

Elvis Presley has no known connections to:

Rod Serling has no known connections to:


Gomez and Morticia Addams, with Lurch

Gomez and Morticia Addams, and their butler Lurch, were in attendance at the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there. While Morticia enjoyed the ambiance (and Lurch, as ever, just stood looking imperturbable), Gomez began chatting to the seated Groucho Marx, who didn't seem overly happy at the intrusion.

Comments: Created by cartoonist Charles Addams, the gothic Addams Family debuted in The New Yorker in 1938, though the family members weren't named until the television series based on the comic strip was put into production in 1964.

   The trio in Captain America I#401 are based on the television versions rather than the original comic strip, since Gomez's depiction owes far more to performer John Astin than the portly newspaper strip version drawn by Charles Addams.

--Captain America I#401


Humphrey Bogart (see comments)

A man resembling Humphrey Bogart was visiting the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there, playing pool against John Steed.

Comments: The actual identity of "Humphrey Bogart" is up for debate.

    He might be the real deal. Despite the real world Bogart dying in 1957, in Reality-616 he could be present via resurrection or time travel. Stranger things have happened.

     It might be Bogart's ghost. Said ghost (or Deadpool's delusions of same) turned up in Deadpool II#61, where he was arm wrestling Napoleon Bonaparte while in the company of (among others) Albert Einstein and Elvis Presley...so maybe the Laughing Horse Bar is full of more than one just the alcoholic variety of spirits. 

    It might also be one of the characters Bogart portrayed rather than the actor; after all, we've got plenty of other fictional characters from other canons present in the bar. If so, I'd lay odds on either Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) or Phillip Marlowe (The Big Sleep), probably the former since that's considered more of an iconic role of his. I wouldn't consider Rick Blaine (Casablanca) likely, because Rick is very much tied to his location and era, and dresses differently for that matter. And in truth, I suspect that Gruenwald and Levins most likely intended it to be Spade.

    A more outrageous but still feasible possibility, given the utter range of characters present, some of whom may be from other realities, is that this is Francis Ford Clunie, a.k.a. the Bogie Man, an insane Scot with a startling resemblance to Bogart who believes himself to be a melange of Bogart's most famous characters, perceives events around him to be aspects of the plots of Bogart's movies, and reacts accordingly. Though I can't believe this would be who Gruenwald and Levins had in mind when they included this cameo, I still like this option personally, if only for the sheer loopiness of having Clunie loose in 616.

    Another option is that this could be the existing Marvel character Richard, an old friend of Clive Reston, since Richard was intended to be a homage to Bogart anyway.

    Doctor Strange's apprentice Rintrah has also been shown to favor disguising himself via magical illusion as Bogart (in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#51) to enable him to spend time amongst humans, so it's also feasible that this could be Rintrah.   

--Captain America I#401 


James Bond

(Strange Tales #164) - Bond tried to enter the barber shop that was a secret entrance to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, but was told the shop was closed.

(Captain America I#401) - James Bond and his date visited the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there, and chatted amicably with Dick Tracy.

 

Comments: Created by Ian Fleming, James Bond debuted in the novel Casino Royale on 13th April 1953.

    On Earth-616 Bond is the father of Clive Reston; though not explicitly named for copyright reasons, the number of hints dropped make it fairly irrefutable.

    So having him show up now and again isn't unwarranted.

  --Strange Tales I#164  (Captain America I#401


Andy Capp

Andy Capp sat drinking at the bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers to the Laughing Horse Bar.

Comments: Created by Reg Smythe, newspaper comic strip character Andy Capp debuted in British tabloid The Daily Mirror on 5th August 1957.

    Though I've used an image of Andy Capp on the left with him wearing his more commonly worn green cap on, there have been times when his cap was depicted as red, similar to the one worn by the version in Captain America I#401.

--Captain America I#401


Albert Einstein (see comments)

A man resembling Albert Einstein was visiting the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there, and watched from the bar as Tony Stark made up with Steve over recent differences.

Comments: The actual identity of "Albert Einstein" is up for debate:

    It might be the real deal. Despite the real world Einstein dying in 1955, in Reality-616 he could be present via resurrection or time travel. The latter option becomes doubly plausible in light of some of Einstein's other appearances within Marvel:
    (1) In Fantastic Four Annual#33, he met with Adam and Vincent Destine to help Adam get to the bottom of Vincent apparently time traveling;
    (2) In Marvel Saga#1, he is visited by Nathaniel Richards and his young son Reed. The sliding timescale now means Reed had to be born later than 1955, so this might be considered impossible...until you take into account that Nathaniel is a known time traveler;
    (3) in The Weird, Weird West, Einstein himself time-travels to the 1880s for an adventure alongside some Old West heroes.
     Plus, you've got to figure that since every other historical genius the world has known seems to have been revealed in recent years to be both members of the ancient Shield cabal and still around in the modern day, it's probably true for Einstein as well.

    It might be his ghost. Einstein's specter (or Deadpool's delusions of same) turned up in Deadpool II#61, where he was watching Humphrey Bogart arm wrestling Napoleon Bonaparte; also in attendance was (among others) Elvis Presley...so maybe the Laughing Horse Bar is literally full of ghosts.

    It might be the Albert Einstein robot built by the Mad Thinker.

    If we're considering extradimensional options (and why not, given the presence of so many characters usually considered part of other canons), then this could be the ghost of Albert Einstein who is a recurring character in E-Man's universe, Einstein from the Manhattan Projects comic universe (which is easily wild enough to have him dimension jumping), the time-traveling Einsteins from Metacops or Chronos Commandos or Albert Einstein: Time Mason, the Einstein visited by Doc Brown in Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train or by time-traveling Abraham Lincoln in Time Lincoln. Seriously, comic books clearly believe Albert Einstein and time travel belong together! Do I think Gruenwald intended it to be any of these options? Given most were published after this appearance, no, of course not. But it's fun to speculate.    

--Captain America I#401


Reid Fleming

Reid Fleming, the World's Toughest Milkman, visited the Laughing Horse Bar the same night as Steve Rogers and Clint Barton were in attendance. He stood at the bar, watching Dick Tracy meeting James Bond.

Comments: Created by David Boswell, Reid Fleming debuted in the newspaper The Georgia Straight in 1978.

    By the time of his appearance in Captain America I#401, Fleming had enjoyed his own short run series at Eclipse Comics. Shortly before his appearance in Marvel, Fleming made a brief visit to the post-Crisis DC universe, turning up in Challengers of the Unknown II#5; he subsequently appeared in War of the Independents, a crossover series featuring characters from many realities. Given the explicit reality travel in the latter and possible reality travel in the former, the Reid Fleming seen in Captain America I#401 could easily be the "real" Fleming, and not just his 616 counterpart.   

--Captain America I#401


Minnesota Fats

Pool hustler Minnesota Fats visited the Laughing Horse Bar the same night as Steve Rogers and Clint Barton were in attendance. He played Clint while Steve was chatting to Steve Rogers, but despite his own skills Fats lost both the game and his wager to the marksman.

 

Comments: Created by Walter Tevis, Minnesota Fats debuted in the novel The Hustler in 1959.

    He's not to be confused with Rudolf Wanderone, who adopted the name and claimed to be the inspiration for the character in the novel.

 

--Captain America I#401


Groucho Marx

A man resembling Groucho Marx was visiting the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there, having a quiet drink when Gomez Addams put his hand on Groucho's shoulder. Groucho appeared annoyed or perturbed by this intrusion.

Comments: The actual identity of "Groucho Marx" is up for debate:

     It might be the real deal. Despite the real world Groucho dying in 1977, in Reality-616 he could be present via resurrection or time travel. The real Groucho has appeared in Marvel before, when he turned up in Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos#82, seeking to meet the Howlers when they were on leave.

     A malfunctioning Danger Room created a robotic Groucho Marx in Damage Control I#4; unlike other robots created at the same time (such as the Three Stooges), he wasn't seen to be destroyed, so he could have escaped into the wild to turn up here.

     It could be Julius T. Flakfyser of Dimension X, minus his clown make-up.

     Nightcrawler also used his image inducer to briefly take on Groucho's appearance in X-Men I#101; however, I doubt it is Nightcrawler here, since he (a) had another appearance he favored when using the image inducer, and (b) gave up using it well before this juncture. 

     Given the presence of (normally) non-616 individuals like Reid Fleming, and his interaction with Gomez, a supernatural individual, this could be Groucho, the manservant of supernatural detective Dylan Dog; Groucho was intended to be a homage to his namesake. I doubt that was an option in Gruenwald and Levins' minds though.   

     However, my favored option is that this is Rufus T. Hackstabber - when Earth-616 already has a Groucho Marx lookalike, why go looking for another one? 

--Captain America I#401


Elvis Presley

A man resembling Elvis Presley was visiting the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there, hanging out with the Yellow Kid.

Comments: The actual identity of "Elvis Presley" is up for debate:

    It might be the real deal. Despite the real world Elvis dying in 1977, in Reality-616 he could be present via resurrection or time travel.

    616 Elvis was an alien (per Captain Marvel V#19), and has appeared in Kathy#22 and Immortal Weapons#1 (where Fat Cobra trained him in martial arts).

    It could be Elvis' ghost. Said ghost (or Deadpool's delusions of same) turned up in Deadpool II#61, where he was being watched painting by Ben Franklin. Also present were (among others) Albert Einstein and Humphrey Bogart...so maybe the Laughing Horse Bar is full of more than one just the alcoholic variety of spirits.

    Elvis' ghost also made an appearance in Incredible Hercules#129, when Hercules visited the afterlife, and in Warlock Chronicles#2. When Rick Jones returned from the dead in Incredible Hulk II#385, he confirmed he had seen Elvis, who "looked great." Elvis' ghost has been pretty active in Reality-616! 

    And though this could in theory be true for any of the characters in the bar, the possibility of it being just someone dressed like Elvis can't be discounted, given that Elvis impersonators are virtually an industry. 

--Captain America I#401


Rod Serling

A man resembling Rod Serling was visiting the Laughing Horse Bar the night Clint Barton took Steve Rogers there.

Comments: The actual identity of "Rod Serling" is up for debate:

    It might be the real deal. Despite the real world Serling dying in 1975, in Reality-616 he could be present via resurrection or time travel.

    It might be that this is Serling's "character" from the Twilight Zone, the seemingly omnipotent observer of that strange realm, the Zone's "horror host," if you will.

    Or it might the curator of the Night Gallery. Assuming that they are not one and the same character. 

--Captain America I#401


unidentified

A man at the Laughing Horse witnessed Steve and Tony making up after recent differences.

Comments: I'm including this guy because I can't help but feel he's meant to be a specific person, given how clearly he is depicted. However, I can't place who that person is. 

--Captain America I#401


images: (without ads)
Captain America I#401, p13, pan3 (main - Laughing Horse exterior)
Captain America I#401, p13, pan4 (Laughing Horse interior)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan1 (Gomez, Morticia and Lurch)
Addams Family DVD cover (Gomez, Morticia and Lurch)
Captain America I#401, p14, pan3 (Bogie)
The Maltese Falcon promo photo (Bogart as Sam Spade)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan4 (James Bond)
Daily Mail newspaper illustration (James Bond illustration commissioned by Ian Fleming to show readers what Bond was supposed to look like)
Goldfinger publicity still (Sean Connery as James Bond, in a suit similar to the one worn in Captain America I#401)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan2 (Andy Capp)
Andy Capp comic strip (Andy Capp)
Captain America I#401, p17, pan2 (Albert Einstein)
Fantastic Four Annual#33, p20, pan4 (Albert Einstein)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan4 (Reid Fleming)
Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman#1 (Reid Fleming)
Captain America I#401, p16, pan3 (Minnesota Fats)
The Hustler novel, 1985 printing's cover (Minnesota Fats)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan1 (Groucho Marx)
Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos#82, p6, pan3 (Groucho during WWII)
Captain America I#401, p16, pan1 (Elvis Presley)
FCBD Graphic Elvis p26-27 (Elvis Presley)
Twilight Zone#4, p1, pan1 (Rod Serling)
Captain America I#401, p13, pan4 (Rod Serling)
Captain America I#401, p20, pan4 (unidentified man)


Appearances:
Captain America I#401 (June 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)


First Posted: 02/23/2019
Last updated: 02/23/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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