Posts Tagged ‘Robin’

Posted Friday, April 9th, 2021 by Barry

Batman (1939) 433

A National Day of Silence bounces around the calendar, but its meaning is loud and clear. The day asks persons to respect the choices made by others and cease bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

We recognize the day with the first true story arc following the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, in Batman issues 426-29. Issue 430 was told through a visual depiction of events rather than modified with dialog or exposition.

Batman (1939) 433

Batman (1939) 433

Todd replaced Dick Grayson after the elder ward became Nightwing in the Teen Titans. Todd first appeared in Batman 357 and donned the costume in Batman issue 366.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Todd’s character was tweaked. Fans still disliked who they felt was a usurper. They had their say in Batman 427 when the editorial staff allowed readers to choose the fate of Todd who had been severely beaten and left in an exploding building by the Joker.

In a close count, Todd was written out of the DCU.

For a time.

Under the Red Hood was a story line that brought Todd back over a period of time under the guise of new anti-hero. Depending on whether his return is followed in comic book form or the animated, direct-to-video movie, Todd was back among the Bat Family.

But, in 1988 Batman was still stinging from Todd’s death. Writers were unsure how to continue with the character allowing John Byrne to pencil the silent issue.     The Many Deaths of the Batman, as the story arc was dubbed, lasted three issues, putting Batman back on the streets of Gotham.

To observe this National Day of Silence, take a vow of silence to demonstrate how bullying silences a victim. Or, promote the day, making others aware there is a problem.

The day was first observed and organized by a body of students from the University of Virginia.

Posted Sunday, December 27th, 2020 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 826

The Joker takes Robin for a ride during the 2006 Christmas season in Slayride.

Detective Comics (1937) 826

Detective Comics (1937) 826

Paul Dini pens a dark comedy with the madman behind the wheel while Don Kramer fleshes out the visuals.

It’s a long night when Robin ducks drug dealers only to find himself captive of the Joker. The clown bids the Boy Wonder welcome as he banters away the evening.

The dialog is a one-sided give-and-take of hate. All the while, the Joker is careening through the streets of Gotham randomly littering acts of lunacy.

By story’s end, the Joker’s fate is undetermined when he pulls a Michael Myers and leaves no body at his death scene.

If you haven’t read this and have some extra Christmas money, find it, buy it and read it. This is an unrealized classic. Dini’s characterization and dialog are seamless.

Dini is best known for his work in the DC Animated Universe and creation of Harley Quinn. His resume includes work on Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures, Batman Beyond and Krypto the Superdog.

He would later work for Marvel on Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

Dini began his career penning episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe then moved on to work on the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. He also wrote for the Transformers and G.I. Joe. Later he would author Ewoks episodes. In 2007, Dini worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Posted Friday, December 25th, 2020 by Barry

Merry Christmas from Four Color Holidays and special guests

Posted Sunday, October 25th, 2020 by Barry

Super Friends (1976) 28

Masquerade of Madness is a true Halloween story.

Super Friends (1976) 28

Super Friends (1976) 28

Published Oct. 25, 1979, E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon craft some late Bronze Age cheesiness. Basically, werewolf Jimmy Olsen, Jayna and Zan end Felix Faust’s plans to defeat the Super Friends once and for all.

The Super Friends began as Saturday morning fodder for sugar-addled brains starved for a more kinetic version of their comic books. The original series premiered in 1973 after the Dynamic Duo tested on Scooby-Doo and Wonder Woman on the animated Brady Kids.

It was rechristened as The All-New Super Friends Hour from 1977-78. Further name changes included Challenge of the Super Friends from ’78 to ’79, The World’s Greatest Super Friends ’79 to ’80 with a return to simply Super Friends from 1980 to 1983.

Hanna-Barbera finished out its run with Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show from 1984 to 1985 and, finally, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, 1985-86.

While loosely based on the Justice League of America comic book, Super Friends did not translate into a comic book itself until 1975. Even that relied heavily on the JLA. Super Friends began as part of the Limited Collector’s Edition (C-41) series, reprinting JLA issues 36 and 61 with Bridwell penning a bridging tale to bind the stories together. Alex Toth provided pencils.

DC finally greenlit a Super Friends comic book series in 1976. The title ran till 1981. The comic complimented the cartoon rather than rely on JLA continuity.

Not sure if this is a trick or treat, but if you happen across it in a back-issue bin, enjoy some past history.

Posted Saturday, October 24th, 2020 by Barry

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

DC rolled out the red carpet for Halloween 1979.

Featured in the house advertisement are Secrets of Haunted House 20, House of Mystery 276, Weird War Tales 83 and Ghosts 84. Showcased was Super Friends 28 touted as a “Hair Raising Chiller!”

According to the hype, “The Super Friends Battle 5-Fearsome Foes…and their Mysterious Master!”

To learn more about the issue, tune in tomorrow for the full synopsis.

In the meantime, continue to dig out DC’s anthology House books and Marvel’s serialized monster soaps with Universally-recognized names. Let them take you back to the days of Ben Cooper costumes, plastic Jack o’ Lantern candy buckets and gobs of sugary candies.

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

Posted Friday, October 9th, 2020 by Barry

Young Justice (1998) 3

Another in a string of Happy Halloween reminders to Four Color readers. Today we’ve tapped Young Justice to herald the holiday.

Young Justice began as a bridge between Teen Titan teams. Originally the group consisted of Superboy, Robin and Impulse first tossed together in the GirlFrenzy one-shot. They next teamed in the World Without Grown-Ups mini-series before earning an ongoing title in 1998.

Young Justice (1998) 3

Young Justice (1998) 3

Red Tornado became their “guardian” and were later joined by Wonder Girl, Secret and Arrowette.

Young Justice ended as it began, serving the greater good of the Teen Titans. Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day was a three-issue mini leading into a new Teen Titans cartoon. Though billed as a maturation process for the characters, licensing proved too lucrative for art.

Issue three worked as an early example of what would come. Peter David and Todd Nauck crafted a Halloween tale that has little to do with October 31, but everything to do with the title.

Mr. Mxyzptlk makes a guest appearance in The Issue Before the One Where the Girls Show Up. Young Justice has agreed to host a Hallow-Teen Party. The fourth-dimension’s most notorious resident works on his thesis of three-dimensional primitive life forms only to be unwittingly shocked back to his former state of prankster.

This is a priceless bit of late 1990’s fun courtesy of Mr. David. The dialog is witty and relevant, right down to the Hason reference by Impulse.

As mentioned above, all good things must end and the series was cancelled by issue 55.

Drown your sorrows with some sugary treats and remember the good times that included several specials to compliment the regular series.

Posted Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 by Barry

Secret Origins (1986) 44

It’s time to get a little muddy today – in honor of National Mudpack Day.

Mud Pack is the colloquial name for Basil Karlo, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, the four original Clay Face personalities. That’s how we’re tying in National Mudpack Day and comic books.

The unofficial holiday celebrates the practice of mixing water and dirt to smear on one’s self. Mud packs are reputed to be therapeutic. Rumored benefits include increased circulation, the easing of muscle tension, releasing of toxins and boosting of immunity.

Secret Origins 44

Secret Origins 44

Our Mud Pack is a fictional group of Batman villains.

The Golden Age Clay Face is Karlo, first introduced in Detective Comics (1937) 40. The addled and aging actor was not invited to reprise a movie role and goes on a murder spree.

He next appeared in Batman (1940) issue 208 and Detective 496.

Matt Hagen is the heir apparent, first appearing in Detective Comics 298. Rather than acting, the second Clay Face is a treasure hunter. His discovery of a radioactive ooze does not go well and he finds himself a literal clay being.

Preston Payne is next in line for the title. His first appearance is Detective 477. A STAR Labs employee, his is a more tragic origin. The search for a cure goes unfulfilled and ending in tragedy.

Sondra Fuller is the fourth installment in the line-up. She first appeared in Outsiders (1983) 21, transformed into a shape changer by Kobra technologies.

Cassisus “Clay” Payne is the love child of Payne and Fuller. He first appeared in Batman 550.

Clay Face number six also debuted in Batman 550. Dr. Peter “Claything” Malley is a clone of Cassius Payne.

Todd Russell premiered in Catwoman (2002) issue one. Russell is more of a serial killer preying on prostitutes.

Finally, to date, is Johnny Williams. Williams first appeared in Gotham Knights 60 and was a former firefighter who became the mud monster after a mishap at a chemical plant fire.

Several other versions have cropped up throughout the DCU and in other media.

So, if you’re getting dirty, make sure your hands are clean before reading any comic books featuring the above-mentioned villains.

Posted Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 by Barry

World’s Finest (1941) 215

As if Superman and Batman didn’t have enough problems, Bob Haney and Dick Dillin saddled the superheroes with sons in World’s Finest 215.

World’s Finest (1941) 215

World’s Finest (1941) 215

The junior superheroes were near clones of their fathers down to their uniforms. The two appeared off and on in World’s Finest until issue 263 when Denny O’Neil revealed they were computer simulations created by Batman and Superman.

The concept would later be revisited in an Elseworlds book in 1999, then shelved until 2011 when the New 52 came about with Chris Kent and Damian Wayne living on Earth-16.

DC unveiled yet another incarnation in 2017. The super sons would go by Jonathan Kent, Superboy, a product of Clark Kent’s union to Lois Lane; and Damian Wayne, Robin, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul.

The series went 16 issues with one annual.

In August of 2018 a 12-issue mini was launched, helmed by Peter Tomasi with Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert handling art chores.

What does all of this have to do with Four Color Holidays? Just that today, April 23, is National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day.

Enjoy the time you have with your children.

Posted Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 359

Okay, this is not a federal holiday.

National Library Worker’s Day is recognized within schools and community organizations with lunches, donations to libraries and other biblio-themed functions.

To honor those trusted with the keeping of stories and adventures, Four Color Holidays uses Detective Comics (1937) as a banner for the librarians of the world.

This issue, of course, is the first appearance Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon. Bill Finger and Sheldon Modloff had originally created Betty Kane as the first Bat-Girl in 1961. Babs, as Police Chief James Gordon’s daughter, has become the more commonly recognized Daring Domino of the Bat-family.

Detective Comics (1937) 359

Detective Comics (1937) 359

Her comic book appearance was not by chance. When producers of the Batman television series decided to add the character on screen, she was given a home in the printed DCU as well.

Over time, Barbara/Batgirl has served beside the Dynamic Duo as well as shone in solo adventures. In 1988 Alan Moore stepped away from Swamp Thing and penned a one-shot in which the Joker shot and paralyzed Babs.

She would remain in a wheelchair until the New 52 reboot in 2011. Between 1988 and 2011 Barbara served as Oracle, aiding the Bat-Family with information. Later, she would serve in the same capacity with the Birds of Prey.

While incapacitated the Batgirl cowl did not gather dust. It was donned by Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Helena Bertinelli and Charlotte “Charlie” Gage-Radcliff.

In the end, the mantle will always be Barbara Gordon’s.

So, happy National Library Worker’s Day. Read a book, preferably a Batgirl comic book, and visit your local library to thank those who toil away as the guardians of knowledge and entertainment.

Posted Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Barry

Batman (1940) 181

National Flower Day won’t make most people’s radar. It’s doubtful any of you reading this even know there is such a thing. But, for the one who would embrace the day as her own, we’ll look at Poison Ivy’s debut.

Bob Kanigher, the man behind the Silver Age Flash’s origin and three decade’s worth of Sgt. Rock tales, spins Beware Of—Poison Ivy! Sheldon Moldoff handles the pencils. Of the two, Shelly can at least hold his head a little higher.

Batman (1940) 181

Batman (1940) 181

Not wishing to speak ill of the dead, it’s still hard not to bash the accomplished writer for the horrid tale introducing such an acclaimed character. Much like a young actress breaking into movies, Ivy has to be embarrassed by the dialog she is forced to mouth.

Batman and Robin are even worse. There’s no evidence of the Dark Knight to come as he pines for the leggy flower child. Robin can chalk part of his verbiage to age. It’s not much worse than Bob Haney’s hip mid-60s rap for the teens in the original Titans book.

The less said about the book, the better.

National Plant a Flower Day is celebrated March 12 each year. It is a time to begin thinking about what flowers are to be planted in the spring garden. If Batman 181 didn’t cost so much, it would make good compost.