Robin tagged posts

DCU Halloween Special 2010

Though it never reached the heights its predecessor achieved, the 2010 DCU Halloween special made a respectable showing.

It followed more of a supernatural Brave and the Bold or DC Comics Presents format. Batman and Robin co-star with I…Vampire, Flash and Frankenstein team together, Wonder Woman meets Deadman, the Teen Titans side with Klarion the Witch Boy and Superman is aided by the Demon.

DCU Halloween Special 2010

DCU Halloween Special 2010

The Scarecrow is on the other side of his fear toxin in “Trick for the Scarecrow.”

Damian Wayne sides with Batman to take on a legion of vampires.

Flash and Frankenstein work together to stop a killer in “Time or Your Life.”

“A Night to Remember” gives Deadman a chance to experience some of his past life courtesy of Wonder Woman.

Teen Titans team with Klarion, the Witch Boy, in “Medusa Non Grata.”

The Demon helps Superman in “Fears of Steel.”

Again, not on par with the previous year, but still worth the time.

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DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

Unlikely book emcee Bizzaro Superman proved to be a very officious host for the 2009 special. His “Unhappy Halloween” story arc bracketed the remaining 12 tales of terror.

“Halloween the Guy Way” takes a deeper and more disturbing look at the Guy Gardner’s past. An ass of astronomical proportions at times, the story reveals a life paved with disappointments and degradation. It’s actually a very good story about a man who isn’t very nice.

DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

The Creeper stars in a one-page throw away that can be skipped.

“Seeing is Believing” resurrects the vampire myth with the Outsiders starring as the Van Helsings.

Absent from the Outsiders in the tale that came before, Batman takes center stage for “Trick and Defeat.” The Killer Moth returns to rob Wayne Manor. Unmasking the heroes proves a surprising turn of events.

Damian Wayne is the Robin in the next story, “Cavity Search.” Kinda wish this one was longer. It has the makings of a good psychological thriller. Damion earns a spot at home with this one.

Red Robin’s “Our Father’s Sins” is a bit sappy for the holiday.

“Lady Down the Lane” stars Ravager. Her reputation precedes her.

The rest of the book finishes strong. Anabolic steroid strong.

“Mirror Games” is another that wouldn’t have suffered from a higher page count. Kid Flash, Mirror Master and a group of teenage girls take on the myth of Bloody Mary. Writer Joe Harris knows his stuff.

Beast Boy has a quick gag page in “Never Too Old.” He shares the spotlight with Cyborg.

Wonder Woman is spooked by reality television and the gentler gender of the Teen Titans in “Haunted or Hoax?”

Maybe not a word associated with Halloween, cute is the best term to describe “To the Finish Line.” Superman and Flash race one more time.

“My Turn to be Scary” is a fun read. The cliché ending makes the reader wonder if they would be disappointed with or without it.

Overall, Halloween 2009 was represented in a grand manor. Maybe the best of all Halloween specials.

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Batman Li’L Gotham (2012) 1

Cover dated Oct. 31, 2012, the title says it all: “Halloween.”

On patrol Halloween night, Batman learns his son, Damian, has never experienced trick or treat. Like a scene from the 1966 Batman television series, Damian is not allowed to eat his collected candy until after supper.

Batman Li’L Gotham (2012) 1

Batman Li’L Gotham (2012) 1

In a show of compassion, Batman foots the bill for his rogue’s gallery’s dinner while the Gotham Police wait for them outside.

This all-ages funny book is just that, a fun book. The artwork is classic watercolor, mixing enough dark with light to temper the story’s mood.

Damian Wayne, aka Robin, is still being worked into the DC Universe at this point. Grant Morrison’s introduction of the character in Batman 655 left many readers unsympathetic. As time and writers passed Damian became more of an accepted son of Batman even co-starring in Super Sons with Superman’s progeny.

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Not forgotten, Ol’ Chum

Today is the first anniversary of the passing of Adam West. He will forever be typecast as Batman.

For many he was their first Batman. Their only Batman.

For me he was a Batman. Not my first. That would be Denny O’Neil with either Neal Adams or Irv Novick.

Then reruns of the 1960s The Adventures of Batman and my Mego’s Greatest Super Heroes eight-inch likeness. That and some imagination.

Mr. West and his interpretation would be my third Batman. The one I watched after school on a black-and-white, rabbit-eared television in my bedroom. With two episodes back-to-back. None of this waiting a coupla days to tune to the same Bat-channel at the same Bat-time for a conclusion.

This was during the mid-1970s on UHF channel 20 outta Washington D.C.

In those days camp was what you did in the woods. In those days Batman 1966 was high entertainment. It was bif, bam pow – all with exclamation points.

As time passed and innocence was washed from my eyes I learned another definition for camp. The series became somewhat of an embarrassment. To me. To the industry. To Batman.

By 1989 a Robin had died, Frank Miller christened him the Dark Knight and Tim Burton was taking Batman back to the big screen. This time in a serious manner.

It came and went. As did Batman Returns and the inevitable sequels chasing after fanboys’ money.

These became the embarrassments. The big-budget, effects-laden movies that were to lay the 1966 series to rest.

What happened is many of us grew to appreciate the old again. Accept it for what was and will always be:  fun entertainment. It represented – and still does – a simpler time for most of us. For me it was afternoons with my Mego super heroes and villains. Playing in my bedroom, waiting for the call to supper.

It was – and still is – a piece of our childhood we should cherish.

Watching it now with my son in HD on a huge television screen is different than how I experienced it to begin with. But, Dylan’s different. The times are different.

But, Batman is still Batman. He has as many masks to charm us with as gadgets in his utility belt. Each one is as meaningful as the one before and the one that follows.

Thank you, Mr. West, for wearing one of those masks. One we can enjoy over and over again.

 

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Justice Society of America (2007) 50

Timing publication for Memorial Day 2011, Justice Society of America issue 50 is a two-fold celebration.

Beginning with the June cover date, the issue remembers those who have fallen in service to their country. Secondly, it pays homage to All-Star Comics (1940) issue 27.

Hitting newsstands for Winter 1945, All-Star’s “A Place in This World” is prophetic in its title. Having just closed the book on World War II, America was ready to take its place among the world powers.

Sixty-six years later the former National Periodicals has become DC Comics, America has taken a spot on the world stage and the heroes who made both publisher and nation great still exist.

In the first story, “Cornerstone,” Modern Age heroes reveal how their Golden Age forefathers influenced them. “Infinitum” showcases Robin and Huntress. Story three, “Truth & Justice,” harkens back to McCarthy-era America and the trials a nation faced in fear.

Finally, “Inaugural” focuses on the first family of speed with Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick.

Also included in the over-sized edition is a “special sneak preview” of Batman: Arkham City.

Memorial Day is observed the last Monday of May to remember those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The federal holiday was previously observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

Decorating soldier’s graves was first recorded in 1861 in Warrenton, VA. The following year it was noted Confederate soldiers were honored in the same way by the women of Savannah, GA. A cemetery dedication was held in 1863 in Gettysburg, PA.

In 1868 the southern tradition was adopted as a nationwide observance called Dedication Day. The inaugural northern Memorial Day was held May 30 that same year.

 

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DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC opened the new millennium with a gift-wrapped Christmas trade in both cover and manner. Readers traverse holidays from the Golden to Modern Age of comic books in 160 pages.

As diverse as the stories, the characters chosen for the Tanenbaum tome are even more so. From the old west with Bat Lash to World War I Enemy Ace to wayward West waif Impulse back from the future.

Story wise are Frank Miller’s first take on the Dark Knight, “Santa Claus – Dead or Alive!”

Flash stars in the first of two “Present Tense” stories.

“The Story of the Fir Balsam” is a Golden Age story from Sensation (Mystery) Comics (1941) issue 14 involving Nazi spies.

Superman shines in “The Gift.”

One holiday tale that always pops up is “A Swingin’ Christmas Carol” featuring The Teen Titans. The original Teen Titans. Complete with hip and mod slang for the times. Those times were the 1960s; 1966 to be exact.

Darkseid appears in the second “Present Tense” story, guest starring Santa.

Captain Marvel Adventures (1941) issue 69 is been reprinted featuring “Billy Batson’s Xmas!”

“Alone for the Holidays” proves Robin will always have family.

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

The Legion of Super Heroes star in “Star Light, Star Bright…Farthest Star I see Tonight!”

“The Present” teams Green Lantern and Green Arrow again.

“Night Prowler!” is from House of Mystery (1951) 191.

“The Harley and the Ivy” is a lush retelling from The Batman Adventures Holiday Special.

Sandman and Sandy take readers back to the Golden Age of comic books again with “Santa Fronts for the Mob.” The story originally appeared in Adventure Comics (1938) issue 32.

“An Eye for Detail” showcases old west dandy Bat Lash.

Enemy Ace takes a break from the hell of war in “Silent Night.”

Impulse plays Santa’s helper in “No, Bart, This is No Santa Claus.”

Finally, Superman closes out the book with what could possibly be DC’s first super-powered driven Christmas story in “Superman’s Christmas Adventure” from 1940.

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Batman Noel (2011)

Often listed in the top-10 best Batman stories, Noel is a lushly illustrated Christmas Carol.

Batman Noel (2011)

Batman Noel (2011)

Lee Bermejo is a true artist. In every sense of the word. From his staccato narration to the loving brushstrokes that create a yester-world not glimpsed for two centuries. A work Charles Dickens would enjoy himself.

Batman is the Scrooge. Bob is one of the Joker’s henchmen. His son is Tiny Tim and the Joker is, well, the Joker. Catwoman is the Ghost of Christmas Past and Superman the Ghost of Christmas Present. Jacob Marley is represented by a generic Robin.

Fans of the Batman: Arkham Origins video game were offered the Noel Bat-suit as one of the skins available for play.

Dickens’ original novella was first published in 1843 in a London scrutinizing its own traditions. So popular was the story when it was released Dec. 19, it sold out by Christmas Eve. To this day, A Christmas Carol has never been out of print.

Like Dikens’ work, Bermejo has crafted a perennial tradition with this elseworld’s work.

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Christmas With The Super-Heroes, revisited and recolored

A late Christmas gift scrolled across my Facebook feed today.

If you’re familiar with holiday super hero specials – or are a regular Four Color Holidays reader – you’re likely already aware of 1988’s Christmas With The Super-Heroes #1.  Featuring cover artwork by John Byrne, the issue is known for it’s whimsical display of DC heroes gathered around a Christmas tree.  It’s a favorite among holiday comic fans, myself included.

But how might this cover be presented today, revisited and recolored with modern technology, different sensibilities and an artist’s personal flare?  Scott Dutton recently shared his take, including a breakdown of the process from original artwork to final product.

Be sure to visit Scott’s Catspaw Dynamics at the earliest opportunity, where you’ll find countless more of his comic art recolorations and restorations.

Christmas With The Super-Heroes (1988) 1 (Reconstructed)

 

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Batman (1940) 260

Okay, not a Christmas comic book in that there is no Christmas cover, no Christmas stories. Just an original Denny O’Neil/Irv Novick Batman v. Joker tussle. The remainder are reprints dating back to Batman (1940) 16.

What makes this a Christmas comic book – to me – is the fact it was in my stocking Christmas the morning of 1974.

Yeah, I’m that old.

If you’ve read my earlier ramblings, you know my Mom had a routine. Christmas morning you hopped out of bed, brushed teeth and hair, donned suitable clothes and waited for everyone else to do the same. When Mom, Dad and Grandma and Grandpa Winterhalter were seated in the living room, I opened my stockings.

Stuffed among the Lifesaver Holiday box set, Crayola Crayons and miscellaneous merriment was Batman (1940) 260, one of the prized 100-page issues DC published at the time.

Other than the Christmas tabloids DC published under the Limited Collector’s Edition imprint (C-34 and C-43) this comic book is the one I remember most from my stockings. The jarring orange (or whatever color that is) cover with the Joker flipping his deck of cards showing the Caped Crusader in death throws at the reader. Riddler and Robin taunting Batman behind a cell door. Batman atop of giant glass bottle, muscles straining as he tries to free Robin from inside. Alfred and Catwoman’s heads barely rising above the cover bottom.

Batman (1940) 260

Batman (1940) 260

“This One Will Kill You Batman!” is the original story. DC’s hundred pagers followed a formula with the first story being an original one. The remaining tales were reprints from the Golden and Silver ages.

Fans know when a key villain appears, the issue is always better. Certainly no common crook could serve as felonious a foe as the Joker. Already the issue was better than most.

That was followed by “Grade A Crimes!,” originally published in May-April issue of Batman 16. Catwoman was featured in the following story, “The Perfect Crime – Slightly Imperfect!” from Batman 181 of June 1966. “The Case Without a Crime!” was pulled from Detective Comics 112 having first seen light June 1946. “The Pearl of Peril!” was courtesy of Batman 27, February-March 1945 and “The Riddlers’ Prison-Puzzle Problem!” rounded out the book. It was the most recent of the reprints having been published in Detective Comics a scant six years earlier.

I read the issue cover-to-cover several times during that Christmas break. The book stayed with for years until it wasn’t with me. I forget what happened to it to be honest. It just was gone one day. The saddest part is I didn’t notice its passage.

Until one day.

One day I started buying Batman comic books again. Years after I’d first received the book. By that time I was an adult. As much of an adult as I will ever be at least.

Something jogged my memory. Maybe I saw a picture of it. Maybe another issue reminded me. Whatever the reason I realized the issue was gone.

Though I mourned the loss it wasn’t a book I made a priority to replace. I spoke of it at times. One of those occasions was with a dear friend of mine, long since moved, who kept that discussion in mind.

That Christmas Batman 260 became a Christmas comic book again. In the hand-wrapped bundle of comic books he handed me was that issue. The same cover. The same promises of stories to come. The same book in every respect other than it had to be in better shape than my original. That issue had to have been dog eared and ratty from the repeated readings.

It didn’t matter.

Here was my beloved Batman 260. Once again in my hands. Ready to read. Again and again and again.

And, I have read it again and again and again. I’m far more respectful in my handlings now, but enjoy them no less.

So, for everyone enjoying a comic book today, and those who aren’t, Merry Christmas.

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Bat Hugs

For many, the holidays are all about family – including extended Bat Family.  Artwork by olybear.

Batman Family

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