Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Posted Monday, December 26th, 2022 by Barry

The Brave and the Bold (1955) 118

If you’re reading this, you’ve survived another Christmas.

There’s still the New Year to ring in, but today is Boxing Day.

Celebrated the day after Christmas, Boxing Day originated as a day to give to the poor. Since then, it has morphed into a shopping holiday.

Boxing Day is primarily celebrated in Great Britain, where it was birthed, and former colonies of the British empire and other parts of Europe including Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Republic of Ireland.

As a shopping holiday, Boxing Day is recognized in the UK, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand. Sales are featured in many stores with dramatic savings offered.

Our boxing day has nothing to do with shopping or giving to the poor. Our boxing day features Batman and Wildcat duking it out in the square circle at the behest of the Joker.

So, we’re really boxing for Boxing Day.

The Brave and the Bold (1955) 118

The Brave and the Bold began in 1955 as an anthology comic book. The Silent Knight, Viking Prince, Golden Gladiator and Robin Hood were featured on a turnstile basis in the early issues.

The format changed to showcase new characters with issue 25. The Justice League of America debuted with issue 28. Following the team’s third appearance, they received their own title.

With issue 50, the book became a team-up title featuring mainly Batman and co-stars from the DCU. By issue 74 the Dark Knight was in the spotlight full time as he became the star.

Issue 118 sported the Caped Crusader along side Wildcat and the cover tag: “Co-Starring The Joker.”

To keep a former minion’s mouth shut, the Joker doses a prison with a highly infectious tropical disease. The antidote is in a very unlikely carrier. To save the host, Batman and Wildcat must battle to the death in The Best Man Must Die.

A great cover for a Bronze Age bore, but still worth a read. ‘Sides, in the hangover of Christmas no one really wants a lot of excitement anyway.

Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 by Barry

Season’s Greetings From DC Comics

DC Comics gave the paying public a shot of Christmas in 1978 with this quartet of comic books.

        Kicking off the season was Green Lantern/Green Arrow (1960) issue 113 which hit the stands November 30.

        Lantern, Arrow and Black Canary survive a Christmas eve complete with kidnapping and volcano in That They May Fear No More.

        A group of musicians find themselves prey to Granny Bleach and followers. They feel pregnant Marcy who is with musicians will birth the chosen one who will keep the suddenly active volcano dormant.

Season’s Greetings

        Lantern is able to divert the lava flow and save the town.

        Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas from Batman (1940) 309 was covered back in December 2018. Slip back there for a rehash of events between the Dark Knight and Blockbuster. It was on the spin racks December 14.

        Ross Andru’s non-descript cover belies the festive Happy New Year…Rest in Peace! behind Bizarro’s toothy grin in Superman (1938) 333. It was released December 28.

        The Brave and the Bold (1955) 148 is another book covered in 2018. The Night the Mob Stole Xmas! was originally reviewed in January of that year though released December 28 of 1978.

        While none of the above-mentioned books made the highlight reel for 1978, DC made an effort.

        What did make the nightly news included the Great Blizzard of 1978 hitting the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes January 25-27 killing 70.

        By February 5 through the 7, the blizzard had worked its way to the New England states. An estimated 100 people died and $520 million in damage resulted.

        As winter started to come to a close, other matters took the spotlight as the year progressed. In March, Charlie Chaplin’s remains were stolen from Cosier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.

        Dallas became known for more than assassinations and football with the debut of the series of the same name April 2. It would give birth to the modern-day primetime soap.

        In May Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds hit his 3,000 MLB hit.

        The first test tube baby was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester UK in July.

        Pope John Paul I succeeded Pope Paul VI as the 263rd Pope in August.

        September and Camp David hosted the Camp David Accords with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat.

        President Jimmy Carter authorized the Susan B. Anthony dollar in October.

        In December, serial killer John Wayne Gacy was arrested. He would later be found guilty for the deaths of 33 men and boys between 1972 and 1978.

        All in all, a busy year capped off with some DC goodness for the holidays.

Posted Monday, October 31st, 2022 by Barry

Batman The Long Halloween (1996) 1

Chapter One: Crime

Like a scene from the Godfather, Batman the Long Halloween opens with a wedding acting as a backdrop rather than the focus of the scene.

Crime Lord Carmine Falcone wishes to enlist socialite Bruce Wayne in helping him launder money. The pillar of Gotham refuses, taking his leave to allow Falcone to ponder the future of the organization.

Batman The Long Halloween (1996) 1

Later, Batman returns to investigate the house where he finds Catwoman pilfering the safe. They are able to evade guards who discover their presence, each going their separate ways.

Batman joins Police Commissioner Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent as they agree to take down Falcone. Through underground intelligence Dent personally destroys a Falcone warehouse safekeeping millions of dirty dollars.

His civic diligence is met with a package bomb sent to his house on Oct. 31, Halloween. It detonates when Dent attempts to open it, leaving a raging house fire and the reader wondering what’s to come as the first chapter closes.

The opening storyline clocks in at 48 pages, setting the stage, though the remainder of the run, less the final issue, is a standard 23 pages.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale authored the maxi series as the monthly holidays were observed during the 13-issue journey.

The series is said to be an indirect sequel to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Batman and his contemporaries are all starting out, early in their careers. The city is as much a character as it was in Miller’s story. Batman’s rogue’s gallery can be seen graduating from evil doers to the villains they are today.

Though released 25 years ago, the story is still highly regarded, finding its way into other sections of the Batman mythos. The Long Halloween is credited with influencing Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy as well as portions of the final season of Gotham.

Currently a direct-to-video film adaptation of the series is in the works. It has been decided to make it a two parter the way Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was.

It has been collected in trade paperback, Absolute Edition and graphic novels.

Return for Thanksgiving as we review the series during the finish of this and the coming year as we count down the holidays and books.

Posted Saturday, October 22nd, 2022 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 241

Batman wasn’t always a creature of the night.

In the 1950s and ‘60s he treaded the slippery slope of the Comics Code Authority, leaving the comfort of the shadows to step forward into the light.

Light has much bearing on today’s non-holiday, National Color Day.

Detective Comics (1937) 241

National Color Day was launched in 2009 by General Motors to hail its new Chevrolet. It’s been a part of the calendar since – even if we didn’t realize that.

Until today.

While initially a car campaign, National Color Day has become an opportunity for people to understand the significance of color. Hues often represent feelings and moods. Colors can bring us up or down.

Sir Isaac Newton started the ball rolling with the color wheel. His discovery of the spectrum of light allowed scholars to study color for the first time. Johann Wolfgang Goethe is credited with the advancement of color in the psychological aspect. Jule Duboscq invented the first colorimeter to measure wave lengths absorbed by a particle. Alfred Munsell invented the photometer to measure luminance.

Interesting color facts include: blue is the most popular, as voted by 40-percent of the world’s population.

Red is the first color an infant can see, maybe due to the fact it has the longest wavelength.

Pink is said to relieve anxiety and stress because it has a calming effect.

The color yellow can cause nausea, but green has a calming ability.

Batman pulled from a color palate resembling the rainbow for issue 241; from pink to orange to yellow to purple.

The caped crusader doffs his traditional grim garb for more dapper duds after Dick Grayson injures his arm rescuing a girl’s life. While saving the victim, the young ward sees the criminals faces and is eventually able to track them down with the help of Batman.

Readers learn at story’s end Batman chose his colorful costumes to draw attention away from Robin and to himself. His fear was people would see both Dick Grayson and Robin had hurt arms and make the connection.

The book contained two companion stories, The Man Who Couldn’t Touch the Ground and The Impossible Manhunt!

Open wide, the eyes that is, and enjoy the brilliance the day has to bring.

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 by Barry

A Very DC Halloween (2019)

The DCU celebrated Halloween 2019 with a trade paperback of reprint material issued the previous two years entitled A Very DC Halloween.

The first half of the trade is pulled directly from DC House of Horror (2017).

Keith Giffen gives readers Bump in the Night with a retelling of Superman’s arrival on Earth. This time it doesn’t end well.

His next offering is a slasher tale featuring the ghost of Wonder Woman in Man’s World.

Another ghost story, Crazy for You, features Harley Quinn haunting a man into killing his wife.

The Last Laugh is more original as Giffen debates the yin and yang of vigilantism.

Blackest Day is a zombie apocalypse on Earth with plot by Giffen and script by Brian Keene.

Ronald Malfi scripts Giffen’s Stray Arrow with Green Arrow as a vigilante killer.

A Very DC Halloween (2019)

Two-Face is featured in Unmasked, a story by Giffen and Wrath James White.

Uttering Shazam takes the speaker to darker realms in The Possession of Billy Batson.

Swamp Thing stars in The Spread, as taken from Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Giant issue one. This Walmart exclusive was a 100-page special offered in 2018 with an original story followed by reprints from previous Halloween specials.

The remainder of this book is filled with stories from 2018’s Cursed Comics Cavalcade in the order they originally appeared, the first being Gorehound.

Batman saves the final girl who – spoiler – is really the killer.

Siren Song is a tale of myth and mystery starring Wonder Woman.

Alien zombies spoil Guy Gardner’s vacation in Life Sentence.

Demon Etrigan possesses a man a woman hires Jason Blood to find in Yellow Jack.

A ghost from the Phantom Zone haunts Lois and Clark in Strange Visitor.

The Monster in Me pits a doppelganger of Green Arrow against himself on a long, hot night.

Black Lightning and Katana get some love in Mercy Killing as they protect a young girl from a demon.

An unlikely pairing of Solomon Grundy and Robin share top billing in The Devil You Know. Professor Pyg threatens three runaway girls under the protection of Grundy.

Finally, Halloween Hayride is a simpler story showcasing Zatanna. The magic mistress plies her trade to stop an older brother from scaring his sister.

With this many stories to pick and choose from, there are plenty of tricks and treats.

Posted Thursday, October 6th, 2022 by Barry

Detective Comics (1938) 510

Today we go down the rabbit hole for 24 hours of “silliness.”

National Mad Hatter Day is a day to explore the more whimsical side of our personalities. Modeled after Alice in Wonderland’s namesake, Mad Hatter Day teaches us to put aside the seriousness and unleash the silliness; ditch the dialectics for the doltish.

The fictional character was created by illustrator and political cartoonist, Sir John Tenniel. The phrase, mad as a hatter, is taken from him.

In the 19th century, hats were considered status symbols. The finer the “hat” couture, the higher the believed social standing. Hatter, his real name, became associated with wearing hats with labels. The 10/6 didn’t stand for a size, but the cost.

When National Mad Hatter Day was proposed, October 6 was chosen due to the 10/6 tucked in the hat band. It was inaugurated in 1986 by a group of computer programmers, then officially recognized in 1988.

Detective Comics (1938) 510

Jervis Tetch is the easy emcee choice for the day.

Making his debut in Batman (1940) issue 49, Tetch is a technological talent able to craft mind control devices. Usually these are hidden in a hat or other headwear.

He is the child of Bill Finger and Lew Sayre Schwartz, first appearing in 1948.

His backstory consists of an unhealthy interest in both hats and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel, Through the Looking Glass. When agitated, the chapeau criminal reverts to rhyming often adding quotes from the Wonderland works.

Tetch would appear only once in the Golden Age of comic books. His Silver Age appearances would be explained away as made by an imposter. The original Tetch did not reappear until Detective Comics (1938) 510 in 1981.

His imposter would return also, but not until six years later in Detective Comics issue 573.

The Mad Hatter’s canonical comic book mind control devices were first used in Detective Comics 525.

Though impersonated in the comic books during the 1960’s, the character would appear several times on the live-action Batman series of the same decade. Tetch was portrayed by David Wayne.

Benedict Samuel would play the villain in the 2014-19 Gotham series and by Liam Crandle in the third season of Batwoman on The CW.

Ted Knight voiced the animated version of The Mad Hatter in The Batman/Superman Hour show. Roddy McDowall would do the honors for the Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

For the Young Justice Outsiders, Dwight Schultz brought the character to life with his vocalization.

The Mad Hatter has also appeared in the Lego Batman video games as well as Batman: Arkham.

So, rather than bother yourself with the question, “how is a raven like a writing desk,” go find some Batman back issues, a silly hat and enjoy a day away from sanity.

(Yes, we’ve used the Mad Hatter in a prior non-holiday, but why reinvent the wheel for a day tailor made for him?)

Posted Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 by Barry

Justice League of America (1960) 43

National Solitaire Day celebrates its inaugural anniversary today, courtesy of Microsoft and all those participating in the card game that’s already passed its bicentennial birthday.

Solitaire, or Klondike, features an addictive play utilizing all 52-playing cards. Participants are challenged to arrange those 52 cards from lowest to highest in the four different suites for victory.

It can also mean any tabletop game played by one person, sometimes even including dominos. For our purposes, we’re using the solitaire everyone knows.

Justice League of America (1960) 43

Microsoft first included a digital version of the game with its Windows 3.0 version. In addition to creating a craze, it aided people in the use of learning how to manipulate the mouse and became the most played video game in the history of computers.

Representing the four-color community is the Royal Flush Gang.

These card suited villains were first introduced in Justice League of America (1960) issue 43. Using a playing-card based theme, each of the members used a codename based on the cards needed to form a royal flush in poker: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10.

The original gang only appeared twice. A second Royal Flush Gang debuted in Justice League of America (1960) 203 as part of Hector Hammond’s devising. Their motif was the house of Spades.

A third gang surfaced in the post-crisis DC Universe. Rather than decking themselves in all the same suit, this group chose to utilize hearts, clubs and diamonds as well as using codenames from the lower cards.

With the advent of the New 52, the Royal Flush Gang returned in the Forever Evil storyline. They would resurface in DC’s Rebirth period as well.

Solitaire is believed to have been created sometime in the late 1700s in northern Europe.

While Klondike Solitaire is the most commonly recognized version, other popular interpretations include Spider, Yukon and FreeCell.

Of course, the most common way to celebrate the day is to grab a deck of cards or mouse. When you’re frustrated enough with that, grab a vintage Justice League or variation and give the criminal cards a read.

Posted Saturday, January 29th, 2022 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Sometimes life is puzzling enough, so here’s a day to celebrate our confusion.

National Puzzle Day was created in 2002 by Jodi Jill, no stranger to creating conundrums. Jill is a professional quiz and puzzle maker, offering her handiwork to classrooms.

Our representative is one of Batman’s colorful rogue’s gallery, The Riddler. Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang in 1948, Edward Nigma first appeared in Detective Comics (1937) 140.

Nigma delights in leaving puzzles and riddles prior to conducting his crimes to foil the Caped Crusader. The obsession usually leads to his capture.

During his early years in the waning days of the Golden Age, The Riddler was a straight up costumed criminal matching wits with Batman and Robin. His modus operandi continued into the Silver and Bronze ages until he would be updated for new breed of readers in modern times.

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Nigma would become more of a broker of information until his reformation following a blow to the head resulting in the Riddler falling into a coma. His new profession was that of a private consultant helping to solve a murder. He would later become a detective.

Another head trauma returned Nigma to his villainous ways just prior to The New 52. In both this reboot and DC Rebirth, the Riddler spends a good portion of his time in Arkham Asylum, until his eventual escape.

For long-time fans, the Riddler will forever be Frank Gorshin and his live-action antics on the 1966 Batman television series. The veteran actor received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal.

Cory Michael Smith was the living embodiment for the Gotham series airing 2014 to 2019.

The late Ted Knight voiced the Riddler in Filmation’s Saturday morning The Batman/Superman Hour. Michael Bell did the honors in Hanna-Barbera’s Challenge of the Super Friends as well as the 1980s version of Super Friends.

John Glover gave the character voice in Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond.

Freddy’s Robert Englund was the voice of the Riddler in 2005’s The Batman. John Michael Higgins did the honors during the Batman: Brave and the Bold run.

He was given life by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever in 1995. The big screen box office bomb is a forgettable appearance.

What to do for National Puzzle Day shouldn’t be as, well, puzzling. Catch up with a crossword in the local paper, find a digital dilemma online or just read up on the green-clad cad with the penchant for puzzles.

Posted Friday, January 21st, 2022 by Barry

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

Continuing with the celebration of International Hoof Care Week, we introduce Bat-Cow, one of Grant Morrison’s more bizarre re-creations.

And, that’s saying something.

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

She was originally featured as part of the Tiny Titans’ Pet Club and the Just Us Cows. An ordinary cow, she stole a cowl from the Bat Cave. Thus, she began her career as Bat-Cow.

Bat-Cow’s in-continuity debut was Batman Incorporated (2012) issue one. While the updated Dynamic Duo trailed Professor Pyg, they found the soon-to-be bovine bat-family member. Believing the beast to be tainted with a mind-altering toxin, Batman took it back to the Bat Cave for testing.

Robin, Damian Wayne, took a liking to the animal and made it a pet. She now lives on the Wayne estate in a barn.

Bat-Cow has no super powers, but is distinguished by a bat-shaped patch on her face and star-shaped brand on her side. Her nick name is the Battlin’ Bovine.

Dairy cattle spend much of their life standing. They require special treatment so they do not become lame or experience sore feet, foot rot or toe injuries. Those who specialize in the care of hooves are known as farriers. They care for hooves by trimming them and putting shoes on them, if necessary.

The American Farriers Journal began hosting its annual International Hoof-Care Summit in 2003. The American Journal also founded National Farriers Week, held the second week in July.

International Hoof Care Week is held the third Tuesday in January, running through Friday.

To celebrate, read more about Batman’s bovine buddy in Tiny Titans issues 17, 21, 23, 28, 38, 40, 43, 45, 48 and 50; Batman Incorporated (2012) 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 13; Robin Son of Batman 1, 9 and 10; and Batman and Robin 35 and 40.

Posted Saturday, December 25th, 2021 by Barry

The Joker Bronze Age Omnibus (2019)

Anyone who knows me or has read much on the Web site knows Christmas and Batman are symbiotic. For me, at least.

Growing up, Batman was my favorite hero. Not Adam West. Nothing against the dearly departed, but I learned to love Batman from the source material.

Batman was a grinning goof of Golden Age reprints or the soon-to-be christened Dark Knight living in the shadows of the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams era I grew up with. Toss in some Carmine Infantino with the new look and they were my Batman.

And, who is the Batman’s greatest villain?

His rogue’s gallery is only rivaled by the Flash’s or Spider-Man’s. This is a fanboy’s dream argument; who has the best rogue’s gallery?

That’s for another time and forum.

For our purposes, let’s talk about the Joker.

Ah, yes, the Joker. That evil clown to scare children. A psychopath to scare the adults.

Plus, he’s Batman’s oldest recurring nemesis.

It just all fits.

So, to give me an omnibus of Batman’s greatest villain during the Bronze age in which I discovered both and it’s one of the best comic related Christmas presents ever.

Thank you, Jeff.

Looking at this, people are gonna ask what the Joker omnibus has to do with Christmas. It’s not a Christmas comic book nor does it contain even one holiday story.

No, it’s a Christmas gift.

Much like the Batman issue 260 I droned on about in 2018, this is a gift that will always be associated with Christmas.

When I first learned of the omnibus, I wasn’t sure if it was worth $99.99 to me. There are so many good stories, but I have all but Justice League of America (1960) 77, Wonder Woman (1942) 280-283 and the unpublished The Joker issue 10.

The unpublished issue was tempting, but I just couldn’t justify a Benjamin for that one comic book.

I do love that series. I bought several when the first hit the stands in the mid-1970s and finished the series sometime in the late 1990s.

Just looking at the other issues, included is Batman 251 with the rebirth of the killing Joker. Detective Comics issues 475 and 476 is the Laughing Fish story. Brave and the Bold (1955) 111 is one of the first Batman/Joker stories I ever read and has one of my favorite Batmobiles.

And, so many, many more stories.

This is a treasure in so many ways. I’ve loved the excuse to re-read these classics. As much as I’ve enjoyed reading the new material. My greatest pleasure, snuggled under the covers, my wife tucked beside me and cats warming my legs; has been the unpublished Joker story. It may be continued and I’ll never know the ending, but to have an unread Bronze Age Joker story is a rare treat that will probably never be repeated.

So, thank you, again Jeff, for this gem of a gift. Amid the year of Covid and lack of guests, it shone as bright as my super hero Christmas tree in 2020.