Friday, March 20, 2015

Batman... Beware of... Poison Ivy!!

Hey!  Let's check out the first appearance of the eventually-awesome Poison Ivy from Batman #181!

Well... any time there's trouble between fellas, a dame is always the cause.  You can take that one to the bank.  But it seems like the Disembodied Floating Heads (tm!) have focused their anger in the right direction.  I mean, Robin looks like he's literally about to bite her.

Hmmmph.  I'm not a fan of seeing Batman smitten.  It just seems off somehow.  Granted, Bats has undergone many personality changes over the years, but he's always supposed to be above that sort of thing.  Read his dialogue in Matthew McConaughey's voice and you'll see what I mean.

No, Batman!  You are not human!  You are the freakin' Batman, so quit jerking me around.

And when I was a kid, I had no idea why a cold shower was necessary.  I remember from Laverne & Shirley that Shirley had Carmine Ragusa take cold showers on a regular basis, but I didn't really get it.

Which, for some reason, reminds me of my sophomore year of college.  It was my first year at that school and (as many universities do), they had a rule where you had to live on campus for the first couple of years.  

Unfortunately, they were way overbooked, so they had a bunch of us at a low-end motel for a month or two.  That wasn't great (two people in a single motel room with everything they owned wasn't very comfortable) so they moved four of us into an apartment meant for the apartment building's manager (in other words, designed for a single person).  I could have lived with that, but that particular apartment didn't get hot water.

My friends, you have not lived until you wake up on a cold November morning, snow outside and ice on the windows, knowing that you are going to have to take an icy cold shower.  I would wake up and want to cry (and I'm pretty sure some mornings I did).  I would heat a pan of water on the stove just so I wouldn't have to wash my hair in the cold.  When they finally got us into regular apartments at the start of the next semester, a hot shower never felt so good.

It's amazing the nonsense we put up with when we're young.

Where was I?  Oh, yes... Batman:

Robin sure is quite the puritanical sort, isn't he?  I mean, I don't like seeing Bats swooning either, but you don't try to harsh on someone while they're getting some smooching?  That's just man code, Robin.  Learn it.  Live it.

If I kissed a girl who used ketchup instead of lipstick, I'd probably have a sudden craving for burgers.  Don't test my resolve, Ivy.

Hey, can she do that?  I don't remember that at all.

Yeah, Ivy needed some work before she would become a major player, to be sure.  This version reminds me of Poison Ivy from Batman and Robin.  And anytime someone says, "This reminds me of something from Batman and Robin," that's not a good sign.

Before we go, let's take a look at Red Band Comics #1:

If you look at the cover, the Bogey Man looks like a precursor to the Phantom Stranger:

Yeah... the Phantom Stranger looks a little too much like the Bogey Man, but it's safe to say the Bogey Man was in the public domain by the time the Stranger appeared in 1969 (almost 25 years later).  UPDATE: Whoops!  He appeared in 1952.  Still, well after the Bogey Man had disappeared from the funnybook landscape.

But getting back to the Bogey Man, check this out:

Notice he wears the exact same suit and tie in his "secret" identity that he apparently wears... well, pretty much everywhere.


Yeah, he was a mystery writer who solved crimes.  Only he went one step further and did the arresting himself.  In that regard, he makes that chick from Murder, She Wrote look downright lazy.

Anyway, criminals start taking it personally and try to kill him using one of the murder methods he had written himself:

But having been "murdered," he sees an opportunity:

Wait a minute.  Isn't this pretty much the same origin of Wil Eisner's "The Spirit"?


The Spirit... who was a guy everyone thought was dead who undertook a secret identity to fight crime... wore a domino mask... blue suit... red-bordering-on-orange tie....

Like this:

Yup.  The Bogey Man is basically the Spirit, who came about five years earlier.  Why no lawsuit came about, I don't know.... other than the fact that Bogey only appeared in a handful of comics before disappearing forever.  Maybe the character came and went before anyone knew he existed.

Is that how you spell "Bogey Man"?  Because I think it's "boogeyman."  "Bogey Man" should be... well, Bogey:

Who would look a lot like "The Bogey Man" if you put a mask on him.  Don't act like you don't see it.

Wow... we were all over the place today, weren't we?

See you Monday! 


Aaron Carine said...

I heard that DC revealed that the Phantom Stranger is Judas. If so, I object. His origins should have stayed mysterious.

Adam Barnett said...

NO WAY! I had no idea. I agree... there are things we should just never know.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Dan DiDio made up his nu52 origin. The necklace he wears were the pieces of silver he got in return for betraying Jesus. And, as with almost every single DiDio-written series, it only lasted eight issues.

Adam, I thought that Phantom Stranger WAS around in the early 50s. I would swear I saw a reprint of a PS story from the early 50s in one of those 100 PAGE SPECTACULARS.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

And to return the favor, start hearing Bogey with McConaughey's voice.

Adam Barnett said...

You're right, Wayne! I had mistakenly thought that the Feb 1969 issue of *Showcase* was his first appearance, but he had actually appeared for a few issues of a Carmine Infanto / John Broome collaboration back in 1952!

Gene Phillips said...

I love that kooky old Kanigher story. I'm sure he didn't care about the Batman persona when he had the Cowled Crusader falling in love with a Bad Girl. I speculate that he was just recycling the same type of plot he must've used umpteen times in other comics-- though I must admit I'm no expert on early Kanigher.

You could do a separate post just on the nuttiness of the "beauty contest" aspect of the story!

Adam Barnett said...

Hey, Gene... that was a SCHOLARSHIP competition!

Unknown said...

Not that we need to hammer the 'similarities' between the Bogey-Man and the Spirit any more, but doesn't the inspector look an awful lot like Commissioner Dolan?

Emily Russell said...

I was thinking the exact same thing about the inspector and Commissioner Dolan being related. Looking up Red Band Comics on the Grand Comics Database shows covers by Bob Fujitani (who worked for the Iger shop) on covers. If the books were packaged by Iger, the resemblance would make sense.

Also, as a Big Bogart Fan, I have to reference this:
as what the true 'Bogie Man' looks like :)

Emily's dad