And now, from Detective Comics #453, I bring you...
Sound Effect Theater! (tm!):
This was actually a pretty good era for Detective. The Batman stories, despite the lack of costumed villains, were pretty good and stuck to the spirit of the "detective" aspect by requiring Bats to use his sleuthing skills.
The back-up stories were pretty decent, as well. Gone were the reprints, and instead we got stories from Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, the Atom, and of course...
It's in the bag! And by "bag," I mean the bag holding your testicles, which I am clearly crushing right now! Tell the underworld not to ef with Ralph Effin' Dibny!
Hey, did you know there was a Plastic Man pilot made for Cartoon Network? No? Well, here it is:
I would have watched the heck out of that show. You dropped the ball, Cartoon Network!
So I'm checking out Detective #444, which is the issue prior to my first Batman comic, ever. I'm not sure why my father picked it up, but I remember I was at the mobile home he used as an office (he owned a mobile home dealership at the time), and he brought it in. I presume it was to keep me out of his hair, and it worked. The only problem is, nearly 40 years later, is we can see that it worked too well.
Anyway, I was one issue past #444, so I missed out on the Kid Eternity reprint, which was probably just as well. I don't think I would have really understood the concept behind Kid Eternity at that age. Heck, I barely understand it now.
But anyway, here's some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!) from that story:
Someone desperately needs a biology class.
Hey, if you want sophisticated humor, I have no idea what you're doing here.
It's been awhile since we've seen the Elongated Man stretch a new part of his body. I don't think we've seen this one. No, it's not that, but his heel:
Again, what kind of muscle control do you have in your heels? I love Ralph, but shenanigans!
Hey! This is awesome!:
I want one of these. And I don't mean "I wish I'd had one as a kid." I mean, I want one of these, in my house, the minute I get home.
I tried to see if I could find a commercial, but all I found was this dog named Duke playing with his squeaky toy:
.... and frankly, I'm happy with that. See you Monday, hepcats!
First, a moment of respect to Dwayne McDuffie, a great writer and, by all accounts, a great person. His contributions to the medium were many and he'll be missed by fanboys and fangirls everywhere. I'm sure I speak for us all as I offer our collective condolences to his loved ones.
I always enjoyed Robin solo stories, and I'm far from alone. Dick Grayson was a very likable guy, so he got solo stories in Star-Spangled Comics, Batman Family, and fairly regular back-up stories in Detective. Of course, it wasn't until Tim Drake took the mantle that Robin got his own full-blown solo title, and I like Tim as well.
Jason Todd, who was a big butt-head, justifiably never got many solo stories of which I'm aware.
Meanwhile, let's take a look at a Robin solo from Star-Spangled Comics #109:
I don't recall taking an aptitude test until I reached college. It said I was meant to be a Chaplain in the Armed Forces, and in many ways I think it was accurate. For many reasons, it's just as well I didn't follow it, but I can see why that would have been a great career option for me.
I envy people who have a calling. I'm still not sure what mine is, and I'm about to be put out to pasture any day now. I don't think I'm in the minority, though. I think most folks just make the best out of what jobs are around at the time.
You know what Mary shouldn't be around? Ink.:
Geez, Mary, if you can't take a test in high school without spilling ink everywhere, I don't know that you're going to endear yourself to potential editors. I'm just saying.
Hey, it's Peg-Leg Baxter!:
That.... is a mighty big diagram, and I'm not at all sure it's necessary, especially for a bad guy who they aren't even bothering Batman with.
Uh-oh. Meanwhile, Mary's screwed:
Well, if the standardized test says it, you should clearly abandon your lifelong dream. Because the school is going to send out those test results to every newspaper, quarterly, and even the fine folks at Grit to make sure no one accidentally hires this no-talent and gives her a chance to develop her skills. That's how they roll in the Gotham Educational System.
Hey! It's Peg-Leg Baxter! Again!:
I understand he's got a gimmick there, but it seems very unwieldy. I mean, the guy had two perfectly good hands with opposable thumbs. I didn't get it in Planet Terror, either:
I, for one, would be worried that I would step on a stone or something, unknowingly clog the barrel of the weapon, and then have the thing misfire and blow off my other leg. It could totally happen. Don't act like you don't see it.
Just for fun, here are some fans complaining about comics going up to fifty cents. The outrage!
Sputter! I'll not have it!
And they're complaining about the 100 page for fifty (later sixty) cents issues! I never thought I'd see the day when regular-sized comics would be a dollar, much less four bucks! Madness, I tells ya.I'm really not sure why anyone buys the individual comics when trade paperbacks are so much better and cost less. It's a preference thing, I suppose.
I'm not a huge fan of the Fantastic Four series, although I certainly enjoyed the Ultimate Fantastic Four for a while. I think the notion that they were adventurers rather than crime-fighters turned me off. Which got me to thinking: I really didn't like the Challengers of the Unknown, either, and it was probably for the same reason. When I got to thinking about it, I couldn't come up with any book or individual character whose focus was on exploration and adventure rather than the war on crime that I read with any regularity.
I think it's interesting the way comic preferences tell us about ourselves. Some people like "daytime" characters like Superman and Captain America. Me, I like "nighttime" characters like Batman and Daredevil.
Some folks like their stretchy guys to be brilliant scientists, like Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Me, I like my stretchy guys like this:
Yup. Give me Ralph and Plas any day. I'm sure that says something about me, but I don't know what. That was from Detective Comics #436, for those of you playing the Official CMNS Drinking Game! (tm!)
Speaking of getting to know people, I give you (from Detective #432) Ray Palmer and Jean Loring, circa 1973:
Wow, Ray. Maybe you should have read that horoscope. It probably said something like "Today is a good day to break up with your fiancée because she's going to murder Sue Dibny and Tim Drake's dad!"
Ah, young love. The homicidal urges we overlook.
Hey! It's time for some Fun with Out-of-Context Dialogue (tm!):
Well, that's a request I'd think twice about honoring, but there you go.
So, I'm taking a look at Detective #431, and I see this:
Well, I don't know about that. Someone who thinks they might get unjustly accused by a masked vigilante might do those things. I'm just saying.
Let's keep going. This guy is really no physical threat to Bats, agreed? Thusly:
Yeah, that's pretty lame. Not that I'd want a lawn sprinkler upside my head, but this guy isn't exactly Bullseye.
So, once he's sure he can pound this guy at leisure, look at what a colossal tool Bruce becomes:
You eyeballin' me, boy? You want some of this? I don't think I like yer face!
Yeah, I'm kind of throwing a Mississippi accent in there. You were doing it, too. Don't act like you weren't.
Now before you look at the next panel, please note that the guy has basically given up. He's not taking an aggressive stance, he's not threatening anyone - he knows he's going to have his face pounded into pudding if he doesn't cool it, so he just stands there.
And gets assaulted by Batman:
Um, Bruce? Fight was clearly over! He wasunarmed and just standing there! Seriously, what is that?
Dear Ones, it is President's Day on Monday, so I fear this will be the last post until Tuesday. No tears, now! No tears!
Meanwhile, here's something to keep you occupied while I'm gone:
Just when I think I must have seen every ad that has ever been in a comic (at least, from 1974 and on), I see something that I can guarantee you I wouldn't have forgotten.
So, let me get this straight: I chip away at something that has been unnecessarily encased in some kind of plaster, then I paint it. Then.... help me out here. Do I throw it away, or what? I mean, you could at least turn Shrinky-Dinks into keychains or something. I liked Shrinky-Dinks.
But the purpose of this eludes me. I suppose if it had given me little statutes of comic characters, I might have been a little more inclined to make room among all the other crap I kept in my room as a child. But a generic athlete? What's the point? To maintain a shrine to sports of which I sucked? Remember, folks, this ad was in a comic book, and we comic book readers have never been typically regarded as your "Organized Sports" types.
Maybe I would keep the animal ones. I had dogs as a kid, but every time one of them did anything remotely destructive, my father would unceremoniously get rid of it. I'd come home from school and be like, "Um... where's Sparky?" It was like living in a Hitchcock movie. Ah.... the fond memories of childhood. I always have at least three dogs in my home these days. Partially because I love them, and partially to spite my parents. It's a win-win.
The stuff today came from Detective #429 today. The same place I found this:
To be fair to Bruce, that is totally gross.
Oh, and I also saw this:
Isn't that guy's face the greatest drawing you've ever seen? He's totally saying "If it'll shut yer yapper for a night, fine. But you totally owe me one later."
What a day, what a day! Thank goodness for help from Friends of CMNS (tm!)
Here's a dandy Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!) from World's Finest #104:
Now, having gone through World's Finest for months, I can only hang my head in shame that I somehow managed to miss that. Thanks to sPat for playing goalie!
And from Robert Gillis, more weirdness from Lois Lane, a publication that apparently had the weirdest readers ever!
Okay, make sure you read that second letter. Am I to understand we're voting as to whether Superman should spank Lois? I think it's a safe bet that the North Shore Superman Fan Club evolved into a completely different kind of club when everyone hit adulthood. Pervy kids. You don't really expect that back in the day, but there you have it.
Not that Lois was the picture of mental stability herself:
Ah, more hallucinations. They were audio this time, so she wasn't in as dire straights as poor Spider-Man. The fact that she's talking to a photograph doesn't really help, either.
Thanks for the assist, sPat and Robert! You are a credit to... whatever it is we do around here.
Batman is a master of all forms of unarmed combat....
.... including, it would seem, the Random Slap! (tm!)
YEAH! Thanks, Detective #422!
When in disguise, Batman must be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior, anything out of the ordinary. The slightest clue could lead to a life-or-death discovery...
A waitress handing me, a stranger, her personal bar of soap. Nothing suspicious here!
I admit that Justin Bieber has gotten slightly less annoying to me since I've seen him having fun on Saturday Night Live. And it appears he knows how to play quite a few instruments, so now my annoyance is simply how he is being marketed to seventh grade nymphomaniacs.
But then I came upon this....
and told myself, "This, too, shall pass." Every generation has one.
I don't recall exactly where I had previously seen it, but Detective #417 had a plot centered on the notion that if you could prove yourself worthy, you could be "Batman for a Day." I think this had been done at least once before (many years prior), but that was the deal here: Basically, if you could make it a round or two in Batman's Personal Fight Club, that was (for some reason) grounds to let you impersonate him.
Of course, this scenario was not without its potential pitfalls. For starters, I would imagine the mortality rate for "winners" of this privilege would be pretty high, whether you got all Tyler Durden on Batman or not. There is also the problem that you might do something where, to borrow a phrase from the kids, you aren't "representin'." Thusly:
And I hate to split hairs, but I'm pretty sure I've seen Bats use other weapons besides "The Decent Weapons of Outrage and Indignation." In fact, I'm pretty sure he has a whole arsenal of weapons on his belt and some heavy artillery in that cave of his. Outrage and indignation are fine for motivation, I suppose, but not much good when Killer Croc is about chew on the inside of your chest cavity.
Of course, Bats also uses psychological warfare, which is why he is (and I can't say this enough) so dang cool. But you've got to draw that sort of thing correctly, or it's just not gonna happen. Thusly:
Wow. Detective #414 was not the high point in an otherwise decent run of Silver Age goodness. I can't tell you exactly what's wrong here, because no one would ever accuse me of being an artist. But let's face it.... he looks like your uncle doing his best Bela Lugosi impression. Thusly:
And while I'm on the subject of Ineffective Striking Terror into Criminal Hearts, let us visit the 1990's and the otherwise awesome Robin mini-series:
Seriously? I do appreciate that Batman is just kind of standing there behind him all "This needs a lot of work."
You know what else needs a lot of work? This girl's hands:
Well, she's screwed. It doesn't matter how beautiful your dress is if you're sporting a set of manos. BLAH, indeed! Girl has no game. No game at all!
Thanks for all your great input on television shows of days gone by. I neglected to state that Paul Dini was allegedly a writer of Hero High. And, AND... the girl who played "Dirty Trixie" married Willie Aames of Eight is Enough and Charles in Charge. You just can't know too much of this kind of stuff!
Whilst I was researching Friday's blog, I discovered a glut of old television shows that an uniformed viewer might think could be blamed on comics, but weren't. Let's look at some more!
You knew it was coming. It lasted for sixteen episodes - the first season of The Kroftt Supershow in 1976. You may or may not know that Deidre Hall (Electra Woman) spent nearly thirty years as a soap opera star on Days of Our Lives. Sadly, Judy Sturgis (who played Dyna Girl) quit being in front of the camera and only did voice over work shortly after that because she was being stalked. Fun Comic Fact: She was the voice of "Baby Doll" on Batman: The Animated Series.
Now things get kinda strange. Here's a look at The Greatest American Hero, which ran from 1981 to 1983:
Keep in mind that I was a young person in the late 1970's / early 1980's, and pickings for live-action heroics were pretty slim. I quit watching The Greatest American Hero after the first few episodes because they seemed to milk his "I can't get my powers to work" gag ad nauseum, and this montage gives me the impression I was probably right. I felt legally and morally obliged as a child to support anything and everything that put super-powered characters on television or in the movies, but even I had my limit.
The weird part? Do you recognize that stuntman at the beginning? Well, let me help jog your memory:
Yup. That guy.
You may be thinking I should include this:
I only saw this once or twice, because I was past watching Saturday morning stuff at the ripe old age of eleven, but I seem to remember the Captain Marvel "Shazam!" cartoons to be fairly decent, all things considered. In any rate, Captain Marvel is one of the original comic book characters, so we'll leave him alone.
But what about Hero High? Well, we can technically say it isn't based on any comic books, but we'd actually be wrong. It turns out the characters were based on the Archie gang. It turns out the rights to those characters were lost somewhere between idea and execution. If you know your Archie, you won't have a hard time figuring out which character was meant for whom.
I actually liked Hero High as well. Let's see more:
I should totally get that DVD.
I don't know how much tinkering was done, because Archie, Reggie and Jughead had their own super-identities (Captain Pureheart, Evilheart, and Captain Hero, respectively) in the comics. So, if we were going to see those characters before the rights were lost, I don't know.
Fast forward to 1994 and M.A.N.T.I.S.:
I never watched it myself, but I understand it got very weird in the latter half of its three season run. I believe the title character was killed in the last episode fighting an invisible dinosaur, which means now I simply have to buy that DVD as well.
Another show I've always meant to watch but never got around to was Mutant X:
This ran from 2001 to 2004, and based on the plot as I read it, I'm not seeing it as an X-Men ripoff, although Fox and Marvel apparently had some legal discussions about that. In any respect, I'm probably missing out on something.
And, of course, my love for The Incredibles knows no bounds:
Can you believe they're making a sequel to Cars but they still won't give me another Incredibles? This is but one of many reasons why I am convinced that the universe only gives me things so that it can deprive me of them later.
Take us to No Ordinary Family (which I enjoyed, but it appears I was the only one because it's teetering on cancellation even as we speak), and I think I've hit
So, not counting Japanese creations (which are too numerous to mention), I think I've hit most of the highs. Anyone know of any others I may have missed?
That was fun. Back to normal funny book business tomorrow!
My lovelies, I'm a little behind because of the blizzard, but hopefully this is it. I made today's post super-sized to make up for the gaps.
I'm hearing rumblings that The Cape, a show on NBC that is so dreadful I refuse to even link to it, is getting the ax, and I couldn't be happier. Not that I enjoy watching things fail (well, I kinda do sometimes), but that debacle was the worst thing for comics since the Adam West Batman show.
Some of you young 'uns may not remember a time before 1989's Tim Burton Batman movie, but before that, people assumed that if you read comics, you were reading something meant for five year-olds.You had to hide your interest in the hobby to spare yourself endless mocking, much more so than today. So when I see some piece of crap like The Cape with embarrassingly bad dialog and hackneyed storylines (the show made the Darkman movies look like The Dark Knight), I see our cred taking a giant step back. Kill it. Kill it with fire, and spit on the ashes.
The hardest thing about The Cape is that non-comic nerdlingers actually thought this was based on a real comic. Many times, I found myself saying (rather defensively) to someone, "It's not based on a comic at all." Frankly, I like to think that a comic that terrible wouldn't survive three issues.
So, what else did I find that I've heard folks mistakenly assume was based on a comic over the years?
Manimal lasted 8 episodes in 1983. He was supposed to be able to change into any animal, but it was a television show in 1983, so they could only show so many transformations. This meant that if he was going to turn into anything but a hawk or a panther (for which they had stock footage), it had to happen off camera.
And, to save you the search, here's what it looked like when he transformed:
I remember watching all the episodes, and I kinda liked it, but even with the very limited special effects budget, it was still a very expensive show and therefore it was much more difficult to justify its existence, especially when it was going up against Dallas.
NBC tried again in 1985 to do another quasi-comic book show against Dallas when they brought about Misfits of Science:
Obviously, it was kind of a Heroes/X-Men thing. To its credit, it lasted sixteen episodes. And that is one young Courtney Cox.
Going back to 1983, ABC tested the nerd ratings pool with Automan:
There are thirteen episodes out there if you just can't get enough of Desi Arnaz, Jr.
And for those of you who think I'm being too hard on The Cape, I give you Exhibits "A" and "B," both of which ran from January to May of 1967:
not to be confused with
These shows premiered and ended the exact same day, and were the direct result of the campy Batman television show of the day. See? See? This is how we descend into crap. We accept garbage and the folks quit trying.
And before you get all defensive, let me show you a little sampling of the afore-mentioned Mister Terrific:
I'm not shy that I think Silver Age covers are, by and large, amazing. Thusly:
The story really wasn't all that and a bag o'chips, but what a cover!
Before we go there, let's go back a few issues to Detective #409:
I don't recall a moralizing Batman in the comics much, at least not out loud. Sure, the Adam West television version rarely got through an episode without giving us safe driving or hygiene tips, but you rarely see this in print. And frankly, I don't care for his little message because I do think the rest of the world has pretty much lost its collective mind. And I hate to take anyone's inventory, but Batman is probably the last person in the world who is qualified to tell me that my outlook on human nature is too harsh. I expect this sort of crap from Superham.
Anyway, back to Detective #413:
I think people would take you more seriously if you didn't pick your nose while you talked to them. Just excuse yourself, use a tissue, and then tell us about the witch's curse. I can assure you, most folks will give you those few moments you need to put your best foot forward.
Uh-oh. Get ready for an Unintentionally Hilarious Moment (tm!):
Oh, man. He couldn't just find her? He had to kick her hard enough to stub his toe? It seems like Mr. Master-of-the-Night there might notice a body lying there in the woods, but I suppose everyone has an off day. That's going to be a hard one to explain once she wakes up, though:
Miss, are you okay?
Yes, Batman... except I have this sharp pain in my side. It feels like someone kicked me!
Hmmm... you probably rolled over onto a sharp rock. Or something.
Batman? How did I get this odd, toe-shaped bruise?
Uh... I found you that way. Yeah, that's it! You had it when I found you!
See you tomorrow, I hope! There's another 5 to 10 inches of snow expected, so keep checking back if I have to miss a day!
Hey, gang! I'm still a little frazzled from the unexpected "time out" inflicted by the blizzard. It's good to be back, for sure. Gabe's artwork for the Hero Action Persons graphic novel keep getting better, and Snatcher Bodies is even getting some love as well, so 2011 is shaping up nicely (blizzard notwithstanding).
Let's celebrate with some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue! (tm!) from Detective Comics #406!:
Mara probably wants a little privacy, then.
If nothing else, remember this:
Darn straight.... take that, Establishment!
I saw this making the Internet rounds, and had to share:
Whew! That was quite the blizzard! Hopefully, we're back on track. A break is nice and all, but let's get this show back on the road.
Fortunately, contributor Robert Gillis saved the day with some fun from Lois Lane #18. Lois and Jimmy Olsen seemed to be in a contest to see whose comic could be weirder, which is why it positively grinds my gears that I don't have either run at my disposal. Yet. Meanwhile, check out Astounding Man!:
So, I use advanced surveillance equipment to watch you and record you without your knowledge, and you get a restraining order. This guy does the same thing to Lois, and he's Mr. Freakin' Romance.
Or, as it would turn out, Mr. Oogamooga:
So, you've got two people who have never seen each other in the flesh all married and such. If this kind of weirdness wasn't happening online all the time, I'd make some sardonic comment.
Here's a delight from Lois Lane #1:
I realize that Superman doesn't want to spend all day changing the course of mighty rivers or catching falling planes from the sky, but I'm not sure freezing ice cream is the most socially responsible thing he could be doing. I realize I'm getting all judgmental, but doesn't he have some kind of super-breath power that could keep him a little closer to home just in case Lex Luthor decides it's time for one of his bi-weekly attacks on the citizens of Metropolis? Oy.
Dear Ones, I'm sorry about the missed post yesterday. As was predicted, the Midwest was slammed by a blizzard, the likes of which we haven't seen in many years. Casa Barnett was very fortunate in that the power remained on and no pipes have burst, so we're grateful for that.
Snow had drifted up my driveway reaching depths of 23 inches, so shoveling my way through that was yesterday's project. So, I don't anticipate a new post tomorrow, but we should be back in the swing of things on Monday. For those of you also dealing with this mess, more sympathetic I could not be.
Thankfully, sPat came to the rescue and shot me a panel for today, from an early issue of World's Finest:
If only my Brain-Amplifier were working, I could figure out what the missing ingredient is to get my Brain-Amplifier working! Oh, Science, you are a cruel mistress indeed!
Hang in there, my lovelies! We'll be back in the saddle on Monday!
Dear Ones, We're set to get some nasty weather tomorrow, so I don't know for sure if I'll be updating. If you tune in and there's nothing for a day or two, I'll thaw out as soon as I can. Keep checking!
Meanwhile, just in case you need a little somethin' somethin' to keep you warm, here's Pat Patriot doing some song-and-dance routine from the Golden Age Daredevil #10!:
At this point, I started wondering if this was supposed to actually be to the tune of something, but I found nothing. Anyone recognize this tune?
That's a pretty graphic little tune, but I've grown used to it when I read these Golden Age comics. Our grandparents were quite badass. Meanwhile, I tried to find something on Youtube, and all I came up with was this:
Well, it wasn't all I came up with, but they're trying hard so I thought I'd give 'em some fame. I'm a cool cat that way. Pay it forward, and all that.
But you can't expect the Nazis to just sit there and put up with your singin' and your dancin' and whatnot:
Time for Pat Patriot to deploy her weapon of choice: Soup!
Nice work, Pat Patriot! Now make me a sammitch!
The Disembodied Floating Heads (tm!) seem to enjoy it:
And Pat looks very pleased with herself:
You know, if that Wonder Woman TV show falls through again, I'm pretty sure the licensing rights to Pat Patriot are just sitting there. Maybe I should make a few calls. To someone.
This site supports itself. Time and materials needed to bring you the laughs is a labor of love from me to you. However, there are a countless number of innocent souls out there who do need your support. Find your nearest Animal Rescue group with this link and dontate your time, money and love to them. Thanks!
This site will consider reviewing any comic book-related media, including (but not limited to) graphic novels, television programs, movies, music, PC software, banana bread and video games. However, no compensation of any kind will be expected or accepted.
Please contact comicsmakenosense (at) gmail (dot) com for submission guidelines. I reserve the right to say anything I dang well please (or nothing at all) about anything. If you don't like it, start your own blog. I'm certainly not stopping you.