Monday, September 29, 2014

Return of the Universal Monsters Action Figures

The classic Universal Monsters have been reincarnated in Mego-style, with series two release of Count Dracula and the Mummy called Imhotep for EMCE Toys Retro Cloth line. 

Eight inches with 14 points of articulation for all your classic Universal monster needs!

Following the success of series one, which had Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman...

here are two more creatures that go bump in the night!


Dracula, premiered in the movies in 1931, with Bela Lugosi as the titular monster.  A vampire lord of some power who plans on expanding his evil influence past his small castle onto the greater society, he is undone by the end of this movie. 

The Dracula idea continues with Dracula’s Daughter in 1936 (with no Dracula), Son of Dracula in 1943 with Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard (aka Dracula!), House of Frankenstein in 1944, House of Dracula in 1945 (in both Houses, John Carradine was Dracula), and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948, only the second time Bela Lugosi played Dracula, and the last of Dracula before the Hammer Films of the 1950s and 1960s, which took advantage of color in films, especially the color red! 

Each of those later movies were deep in blood red...

The Mummy

The Mummy, premiered in the movies in 1932, played by Boris Karloff, and was an ancient Egyptian priest named Imhotep who was revived, and tried to bring back his Princess.  He wasn’t successful. 

This movie franchise did not have direct sequels, but instead spawned remakes early on…starting with The Mummy’s Hand in 1940, The Mummy’s Tomb in 1942, The Mummy’s Ghost in 1944 and The Mummy’s Curse in 1944 (all with Lon Chaney Jr as the Mummy, Kharis). 

Kharis returns in Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy in 1950, with Eddie Parker being the Mummy for this feature, which would be the last appearance of a classic, Universal Monster Mummy.

Future releases would be incredible, just to have versions of the Phantom of the Opera, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein and even Dr. Jekyll’s alter-ego Mr. Hyde and the Creature from the Black Lagoon as well!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Arrow Hits The Man Of Steel

Well, sometimes Ollie and Clark weren’t the best of friends, so the Emerald Archer might have wanted to hit the Kryptonian Crusader, but for the most part their relationship was cordial.
And, it isn’t a small screen/big screen crossover that brings them together (though Arrow is enjoying success on the CW, and the Man of Steel sequel will be rocketing into theatres….).

It took a while for these two characters to meet, and it was while they were young!

First Shot

In Adventure Comics #258 (March, 1959) in a story by Jerry Coleman and George Papp entitled “Superboy Meets The Young Green Arrow”…well, that’s what happened!  Superboy creates a “time-viewer” and learns about Green Arrow and Oliver Queen’s future, and tries to steer the young, spoiled rich lad in a better direction by getting him into a Robin Hood costume…though Oliver shows no ability to wield a bow and arrow, and he and his family move away from Smallville (with Ollie eventually ending up on an island, and adopting the Green Arrow identity without Kal-El’s help).  Green Arrow even returns the favor to Superman, when in Adventure Comics #266 (November, 1959) when Ollie and his ward, Speedy (Roy Harper) make some new arrowheads out of green rock they found outside the Arrowcave…arrows which seem to mysteriously disappear for a time…until Superman explains that green rock is kryptonite! 
This issue is the first meeting of Green Arrow and Superman (and one of the earliest crossovers, as at this time, DC characters didn’t interact much…other than the Justice Society of America and the Seven Soldiers of Victory…the Justice League hadn’t had their first appearance even!), and happens even before Green Arrow has met Batman (though Superman and the Darknight Detective have been friends for some time, and Green Arrow meets the Gotham Guardian soon enough…).

In fact, along with Aquaman, Batman and Green Arrow compete for Lois Lane’s affections in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #29 (November, 1961), after Green Arrow has joined the Justice League.

A League of their own

Superman was a charter member of the Justice League of America (though he, along with Batman, weren’t that active in the League’s earlier cases), and Green Arrow joined the team with Justice League of America #4 (April-May, 1961), and Clark Kent, Oliver Queen (as well as Lois Lane and the Arrow’s paramour, Bonnie King aka Miss Arrowette) all had a chance encounter in Justice League of America #7 (October-November, 1961).

Green Arrow even learns the secret origin of the Justice League in Justice League of America #9 (February, 1962) (which ends up helping the JLA later on, especially in Justice League of America #200!).  There aren’t too many cases that focus on the Superman/Green Arrow pair, but they do encounter Felix Faust and the Demons Three for the first time in Justice League of America #10 (March, 1962), and there are a few other places along the way (like Superman facing Green Arrow’s greatest foe, Merlyn, who appears for the first time in Justice League of America #94 in November, 1971…and Merlyn’s second appearance is in Action Comics #443 in January, 1975 along with a group of JLA villains…and Green Arrow faces Lex Luthor, kind of, in Justice League of America #61 in March, 1968…).  So, Green Arrow’s and Superman’s histories start to mix…

Updated Arrow meets Kryptonian Crusader

…and Green Arrow needed the help, as he had become homeless (losing his Adventure Comics spot with #269, and even his back up behind Superman and Batman in World’s Finest Comics with #140, so other than Justice League of America (and their guest appearances), Green Arrow only had Brave & the Bold and meetings with Batman to look forward to!  In Brave & the Bold #85 (August-September, 1969), Green Arrow got a new costume (by artist Neal Adams, who had major influence on Green Arrow’s life), and in Justice League of America #75 (November, 1969), Ollie lost his fortune….and that led him to work with Green Lantern, in a hard travelling run from Green Lantern #76-89…and Clark Kent stopped by in Green Lantern #87 (December-January 1971-1972) to give Ollie a little advice (and led into a somewhat unrelated adventure in a magical land with Superman in World’s Finest Comics #210 in March, 1972, when DC was experimenting with having Superman team up with others besides Batman for a little while….).

Hanging around with Superman must have led to Ollie getting a new home (along with his new paramour, Black Canary) in the back of Action Comics, starting with #421 (and alternating with the Atom and the Human Target for a time), and even working with Superman (as well as Flash and Green Lantern) in #437, and the whole Justice League and their individual foes in #443.  Ollie even handled some super-stuff, with Krypto in #440-441, a team-up with Superman and Atom in #455, and facing Luthor in #456-458 (both multi-issue arcs drawn by Mike Grell…a major artist in the life of Green Arrow!).

World’s Finest heroes!

Green Arrow moved from his home in Action Comics over to World’s Finest Comics (from #244-284), only missing a few issues along the way…yet not usually meeting with Superman (except for World’s Finest Comics #250 from April-May, 1978), wherein Superman and Green Arrow, along with Batman, Black Canary and the Wonder Woman of World War II (this coming about due to Lynda Carter’s success on TV in the World War II adventures of Wonder Woman!) had to save the entire universe from ending….and the fact that there were issues after #250 shows they were successful!

At least Green Arrow was being social at this time!  That would change as time progressed…though Superman just kept expanding who he’d work with….and got more titles for himself as well!

DC Comics Presents Superman and Arrow

Superman and Green Arrow kept working together in the Justice League of America as well, and Green Arrow even stopped by Superman’s new team-up magazine, DC Comics Presents, two times, for old times sake!  In DC Comics Presents #20 (April, 1980), the duo faced off against an evil rich man named Bo Force, and in DC Comics Presents #54 (February, 1983), Black Canary joined the boys in an adventure against Dr. Titus Selinger and a monster he created while trying to harness energy (seems Superman and Green Arrow fought the same fight against the rich  industrialists that Superman and Batgirl did for a time…which was ironic, since Green Arrow at this time had taken over Batgirl’s spot in Detective Comics…).

After Crisis Arrow and Steel

But, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Green Arrow was homeless again…at least until Mike Grell started Ollie on his adventure with Green Arrow: the Longbow Hunters in 1987 (and the regular series that followed…wherein Green Arrow stayed away from the more “super” elements of the DC Universe, including Superman!).

Still, both Ollie and Clark found time to stop by each other’s books when they died…both later to come back as well!

Meeting in Smallville

Ollie and Clark’s friendship even crossed genres, as Oliver Queen popped up on Clark Kent’s television show, Smallville, starting with season six, and their friendship continued through the end of the series with season ten, with Clark portrayed by Tom Welling and Ollie by Justin Hartley from 2006 to 2011.  Amazingly, the history related above showed up in a few of the episodes (battles with Lex Luthor, and an affair with Lois Lane for Ollie) as well as seeing one of Ollie’s foes (Meryln, though in Smallville, he was called Vordigan or the Dark Archer) and a few other things as well.

Still, this show does NOT relate to Arrow (as that has adapted the Mike Grell idea of less super heroics, and has Stephen Amell as Arrow…but one never knows what the future may hold, so who knows?  Maybe some future meeting of Arrow and the Man of Steel is what Superboy saw when he looked into his “time-viewer”….

…or maybe it was back to Earth-2, where the original Green Arrow and Superman met for the first time, in All-Star Squadron #31 (March, 1984), though the story was set in the early 1940s…and the two crossed paths again in the Crisis on Infinite Earths!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Batman Meets Green Arrow

Green Arrow was one of the first two heroes in a team-up in Brave and the Bold when the title became a place for DC heroes to meet starting with Brave and the Bold #50 (October, 1963)...and Batman was so popular (thanks in part to the 1966 TV Show) that he became the regular star of the title (so awesome, he teamed with himself in the last issue of the series (Brave and the Bold #200, July, 1983, though, sadly, never with the Manhunter from Mars, at least in B&B).

So, it seems obvious that Batman and Green Arrow would be the most frequent team-up of the B&B era!  Let's take a look at these meetings....

The First

Brave and the Bold #71 (April-May, 1967) has the first B&B teaming of these two heroes, in a story by Bob Haney (who started the team-ups in B&B #50), with art by George Papp (the co-creator of Green Arrow), all under a cover by Carmine Infantino (who was the artist who started Batman's "new look"...which included the yellow oval). 

"The Wrath of the Thunderbird" was a pretty simple story of Batman and Green Arrow facing off against a crooked promoter and save an Indian tribe..

...a reflection of what the average team-up was like at the time, but boy was that to change!

The Times Are A Changin'

Brave and the Bold #85 (August-September, 1969) was Bob Haney's second Batman/Green Arrow story, but the first for new artist...Neal Adams, who got to redesign Green Arrow's look for the issue (as Green Arrow had no individual feature of his own at the time).

This led to Green Arrow getting paired with Green Lantern (and Neal Adams getting the art assignment there as well with writer Denny O'Neil, creating the very famous pairing and socially relevant comics...) .

But it all started here with "The Senator's Been Shot!" in a story that's been reprinted more than a few times as well!

More Co-Stars

Brave and the Bold #100 (February-March, 1972) had a story by Bob Haney, and art by Jim Aparo (with a stunning cover by Nick Cardy).  For the anniversary issue of B&B, Batman was nearly killed by a gangster's bullet, and met with Robin, Black Canary, Green Lantern and Green Arrow...

...and the lot of them gathered to prevent a shipment of drugs from being dumped in Gotham and make sure Batman recovered from his wounds.

"The Warrior in the Wheel-Chair" has been reprinted in color, in the first volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hardcover.

A Mystery

Brave and the Bold #106 (March-April, 1973) had Batman and Green Arrow face off against a mystery villain that was defrauding people in a double your money scheme...and that might suggest which Batman villain that was the ?. 

This story was by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, and was the first time Jim Aparo got to draw Green Arrow on a B&B cover...but it wouldn't be his last.

"Double Your Money...And Die" also made it into the first volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hardcover, and Green Arrow would face that mystery villain again in the pages of B&B!

Double Your Pleasure

Brave and the Bold #129 and 130 (September and October, 1976) was Green Arrow's only two-parter with Batman...and added additional hero, the Atom, as well as two Batman villains (the Joker and Two-Face, both of whom had been in B&B before) to the mix in a story by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, wherein Oliver Queen gets the Pathanistanian Emperor Eagle, and has to return it to its homeland, all the while fighting with Joker, Two-Face and General Mahmood Khan (with the help of Batman and Atom).  Wonder if some variant of this story might show up on the CW's Arrow as Atom will be a guest there this year?

These stories are also reprinted in color in the second volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hardcover.

More Group Fun

Brave and the Bold #136 (September, 1977) was a real milestone for B&B fans. 

True, it was just another story by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, but along with Green Arrow, it featured the Metal Men (robots of Dr. Will Magnus that fought evil and exhibited the properties of the metals they were made of), as well as reoccurring Batman B&B foe and femme fatale Ruby Ryder - who was previously in B&B #95, 123 and 135, menacing Batman, Plastic Man and Metamorpho).

"Legacy of the Doomed" (along with all but Ruby's first appearance) all made it into the second volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hardcover.

One Last Time

Brave and the Bold #144 (October-November, 1978) featured Bob Haney's last Batman/Green Arrow tale (with art by Jim Aparo) but it was a chance for him to return an old villain as well, the Gargoyle (whom had been a foe for Robin in two issues of Teen Titans, #14 and 35, for those that want to know, in two stories written by Bob Haney, who was also the co-creator of the Teen Titans).

This time Batman and Green Arrow faced the Gargoyle over an enchanted arrow..."The Arrow of Eternity".

This story also ended up in the second volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hardcover.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Brave and the Bold #168 (November, 1980) began with adding a new writer to the Batman/Green Arrow pairing, that of Cary Burkett, but at least Jim Aparo was still providing the art. 

This time around, Batman was helping Green Arrow by introducing a friend's escape artist act... oddly friendly thing for the "grim and gritty" Batman to do.  Still, it was something for this B&B team to do to while away the time...

...and, sadly, "Shackles of the Mind" has yet to be reprinted.

One Last Hurrah

Brave and the Bold #185 (April, 1982) was the last time Batman and Green Arrow met in Brave and the Bold...and it was with new writer and artist (Don Karr and Adrian Gonzales).  This time around, Batman and Green Arrow faced the Penguin (whom Green Arrow had fought before in issues of the Justice League of America), as well as Penguin's new ally, a trained falcon.

"The Falcon's Lair" has not been reprinted, but at least the cover featured the newer Green Arrow logo...which had made it onto Green Arrow's first mini-series as well.

Batman and Green Arrow weren't done teaming up either, still working together in the Justice League, and even in more than a few issues of Detective Comics.

Green Arrow ended up as a back up feature there for a time, and some notable appearances include #468 with Atom and Black Canary, and #559 with Black Canary and Catwoman)....but those team-ups can be covered at a later date, as can Batman's B&B team-ups with "Team Arrow" members Black Canary and Speedy (though Speedy was with the Teen Titans).

B&B seein' ya!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monster Action Figures Are Universal

Two things were so far ahead of their time, that they are still important today.  Universal Monsters and Mego Toys.

Thankfully, these two things are still able to be enjoyed today with slightly more modern modifications.

The bestselling retro cloth line made its terrifying return in 2010 with the series one release of Universal Monsters action figures! Fans have waited for retro cloth figures of the true Universal Monsters for over 30 years. And here they are! Each sensational action figure stands 8-inches tall, with over 14 points of articulation and an authentically detailed cloth outfit. Scare some up for your collection...Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolfman.



Frankenstein’s Monster came alive in the movies with 1931 in Frankenstein, with Boris Karloff as the Monster.  Pieces of people animated by a scientist who wanted to show he had power over life and death, where the creature had more humanity than other people. 

Hugely successful, this inspired many a sequel, including Bride of Frankenstein from 1935, Son of Frankenstein in 1939 (both still with Boris Karloff as the Monster), the Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942 (with Lon Chaney Jr. as the Monster), Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman in 1943 (with Bela Lugosi as the Monster), House of Frankenstein in 1944, House of Dracula in 1945, and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948, all with Glenn Strange as the Monster. 

Though not officially one of Universal’s monster movies, Young Frankenstein with Peter Boyle as the Monster, is a priceless gem written by comedic genius Mel Brooks in the Universal Monster style, including being in glorious black and white.


The Wolfman changed for the first time in 1941, with Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, a man cursed to change into a wolf creature at the full moon.

Lon Chaney Jr. was also the Wolfman in all his sequel appearances under the Universal banner, including Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman in 1943, House of Frankenstein in 1944, House of Dracula in 1945, and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948. 

The Wolfman was also revived, as was Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy, as part of Hammer horror films (starting with The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957, The Horror of Dracula in 1958, the Mummy in 1959 and the Curse of the Werewolf  in 1961, with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing being the notable actors in these productions, and took full advantage of color in the films, as well as later entries being…well, a little provocative and not for the children), and all four movie franchises enjoy some success today.

Let’s hope these retro-cloth figures continue, as it would be incredible to have versions of Dracula, the Mummy, the Phantom of the Opera, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein and even Dr. Jekyll’s alter-ego Mr. Hyde and the Creature of the Black Lagoon as well!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Superman Batman First Meetings?

Yes, 2011's Justice League #1 teased us with a first meeting of the new DC Universe’s Superman and Batman, but, they have met before...

Many times, actually.

In other worlds, and other places (and of course, in other comics as well!).

So, let’s explore a few of those first meetings!

One of One

One of the longest lasting first encounters of Superman and Batman happened in Superman #76 (May-June 1952, by Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan).  Superman and Batman (these being the Superman and Batman of Earth-1, and this story ends up being one of the earliest, definite Earth-1 stories…but it is also one of the first time Superman and Batman met in one of their own titles), travel as Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne on board a cruise ship.  The two heroes battled a diamond thief and vied for the affections of Lois Lane as well.  Within this tale, they learned each other’s identities for the first time as they changed from their normal clothes to their super-selves in a darkened cabin suddenly lit by fire…they were able to foil the criminal, but it was a third party who ended up with the damsel in distress at the end!  DC Comics had reprinted this story as one of the most influential in its history as a Millennium Edition, and it can rightfully take its place as one of the most important comics, because it was in this very issue that one character’s comic appearances were made valid in another’s individual series (as, at least at DC, characters didn’t crossover into other characters stories, except in team books, and while Fawcett Comics had a whole family of Marvels meeting each other and other Fawcett characters, Marvel Comics only existed as Timely Comics).

Adding More Earths

A more recent recovering of the first Superman/Batman meeting happened in Superman/Batman Annual #1 (December 2006, by writer Joe Kelly and a slew of artists including Ed McGuinness, Ryan Ottley, Sean Murphy and Carlo Barberi), and, for fun, threw in Alfred Pennyworth, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Deathstroke, the Terminator and the Superman/Batman of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika (Ultraman and Owlman) into the mix (as well as the Crime Syndicate’s Superwoman, and someone who couldn’t be Deadpool) along with Lois Lane (yet took the Boy Wonder out of the story, more recent histories of Batman have not had Robin as his partner in the early years, and this tale reflects that reality).  Not really sure that adding all of these other characters to the mix really improved the story, but it did make for an entertaining tale…more or less.  And it did take the first meeting of Superman and Batman back to the boat (even though it moved the meeting into the Bermuda Triangle), something that had not been followed previous changes to the tale, as the first meeting has been touched on other times as well.

Byrning History

DC’s first major reboot of the Superman mythos happened with the Man of Steel mini-series by writer/artist John Byrne, and one of the major events to have happened in Man of Steel #3 (November 1986), with that DC Universe’s first meeting of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.  This first meeting was inspired by a new villain, a lady by the name of Magpie, who had a fascination with shiny diamonds, and Batman having to deal with the caped Kryptonian to stop her.  This established the idea of Batman being ready for anything, as he had prepared himself for a confrontation with the Metropolis Marvel, and had outwit him at the time.  Superman and Batman did NOT learn each others identities at this time, instead having that shared secret between the two unfold over time (and, it ended up taking place in the current DC Comics of the time, which, considering, that, as co-members of the Justice League, they may have revealed their identities to each other before, but Superman’s role in the early Justice League, post-Crisis on Infinite Earths but pre-Infinite Crisis  had been reduced, and this story implied very heavily that Superman and Batman were not best of friends after this meeting…and, this event was soon followed by the gathering of the original Justice League of America in Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #4 (1995), with Superman meeting all the new young heroes of the time).

Back In Time

One tends to forget that even their heroes were young once, but (at least on Earth-1), before Superman was SuperMAN, he was SuperBOY.  Superboy and a young Bruce Wayne (taking on the identity of the Flying Fox) first met in Adventure Comics #275 (August 1960, by Jerry Coleman and George Papp).  In this story, young Bruce Wayne moves to Smallville, learns Superboy’s secret identity but does not reveal it to Lana Lang, and Superboy erases the knowledge of his identity from young Bruce’s mind…or so he thinks.

But, young Bruce Wayne met Superboy once before (as detailed in World’s Finest Comics #84, September-October 1956), but Superboy didn’t know it was Bruce Wayne who prevented crook Thad Linnis (whom young Bruce was working with) from learning Superboy was really Clark Kent!  But, Bruce does know and keeps the secret for years!

Superboy met a young Bruce Wayne a few times later in Earth-1 continuity (in Superboy #182 from February 1972, and in the Superboy Spectacular #1 of 1980), but those meetings were erased from Superboy’s memory (not as an evil plot, but by Superboy himself…

...preventing him from having too much knowledge of the future, and thus accidentally making it not happen).

Regular Meetings

World’s Finest Comics was the home of Superman/Batman team-ups from #71 to #323 (issues #2-70, while having Superman and Batman in action together on the cover, did not feature any stories with them together on the inside!).  Issue #71 (July-August 1954) simply had the duo working together, as natural as can be (and, it was really a trio, as Robin was frequently involved in these pairings as well!

Working with Superman had quite the effect on Dick Grayson, as he had taken his name for his future super-self, Nightwing, from Superman….as Superman had become Nightwing, a non-powered crimefighter, when he fought crime in the city of Kandor with Jimmy Olsen being the Kandorian Nightwing’s partner as Flamebird).

The World’s Finest stories allowed some strange team-ups as well, including regular Robin-Jimmy Olsen meetings, as well as occasional meetings of Supergirl/Batgirl, Luthor/Joker, Brainiac/Clayface, Mr. Mxyzptlk/Bat-Mite and even Penguin/Terra-Man.

Superman and Batman even faced foes that only the two of them could handle, such as the Moon Man, the Composite Superman, Dr. Zodiac, the Weapons Master, the Pantheon and Null and Void.

It is in World’s Finest Comics #94 (May-June 1958 by Edmond Hamilton and Dick Sprang) that we see “The Origin of the Superman-Batman Team!”.

To save Superman from a kryptonite trap, Batman and Robin work against the Man of Steel, yet on his side, by keeping him away from thugs who have the one substance that could kill him...

...nice to see heroes caring about each others welfare.

This ends up being a reoccurring theme in Superman/Batman meetings for many a year, and quite a lot of the history of Superman/Batman gatherings was covered in World’s Finest Comics #271 (September 1981, by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler), where more than a few of the Earth-1 meetings were covered in one story (and the radio meeting of Superman and Batman was presented as the first meeting of the original Superman and Batman of Earth-2…but, not unlike many of the footnotes in this story – which were wrong -the radio play first meeting of the caped Kryptonian and Metropolis Marvel just was not a really good fit for the comics, but at least it was a novel attempt to explain some of the contradictions of the first meetings of DC’s two major stars).

New Meetings

The more recent Superman/Batman series (that lasted 87 issues and 5 Annuals), really didn’t deal with first meetings between Superman and Batman (other than the first annual), but a recent issue of Superman (#710, June 2011) did once have young Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne meet up and face Vandal Savage before establishing their super-identities, and an even younger Bruce Wayne saw a younger Clark Kent playing in a field in Smallville as he was driven through the town in a story in the Superman/Batman Secret Files 2003 by Jeph Loebs and Tim Sale.

In the cartoons, Superman and Batman were just partners (along with Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Robin) in the Super Friends without any first meetings ever being presented.  But, in the Superman: Animated Series, on October 4, 1997, is when those characters first met as Batman came to Metropolis to stop the Joker from selling Luthor a kryptonite statue in the episode, “World’s Finest”, written by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini

The Real First Time

But, if you want to know the first comic Superman and Batman were in together…it was All-Star Comics #7 (October-November 1941 by Gardner Fox and a team of artists including Everett Hibbard, Martin Nodell, Bernard Baily, Ben Flinton, Stanley Asch, Sheldon Moldoff and Cliff Young, both as honorary JSA members, and the first meeting of the originals – read that more as Earth-2 versions –  happened in a continuity implant in DC Special #29, from August-September 1977, with the origin of the Justice Society of America by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton).

With that, you are armed with some history on Superman and Batman’s first meetings, and all ready to take that history into Justice League #2, when Superman and Batman meet for the first time…



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Batman Origins

Over his 75 years of history, Batman's origin has been told many times.

Secret Origins #6 (September, 1986 by Roy Thomas, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin) gave us the most complete look at the original Golden Age Batman's beginnings...and Secret Origins #2 (July, 2014 by Ray Fawkes, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs) gave us the most recent look at Batman's past.

But, there is one real great collection of Batman's origins...and here it is, as an excerpt from the Batman 75th Anniversary fanzine (Batman...75 Years) article I wrote.

The Untold Legend of the Batman

The Untold Legend of the Batman is a three issue mini-series  from July-September, 1980 by writer Len Wein, and artist Jim Aparo (though John Byrne penciled the first issue, Jim Aparo inked it, and drew and inked issues #2 and 3).  Like most of Len Wein’s stories, he drew upon the past and added to it, giving a good look at the past while propelling you into the future…and the story looks incredible as Jim Aparo is consistently rated as one of Batman’s most recognizable and defining artists.  This story is deceptively simple, as Batman has to deal with someone trying to destroy him, and starts with him getting the tattered remains of his father’s Batman costume (prompting Batman to reflect on his beginnings, such as how he originated the Robin identity as a cover for himself, confronted his parents killer Joe Chill and the mobster Lew Moxon who ordered Thomas Wayne killed as Bruce’s dad had foiled Moxon – dressed as a Bat-Man himself for Halloween, as well as the history of Robin, Batgirl, James Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and more), as Batman has to deduce the identity of his soon to be killer...

…probably the most comprehensive gathering of facts on Batman’s life at the time, as well as a good story in its own right, this story (along with a few others) is collected in Tales of the Batman: Len Wein due in the later part of 2014, and shows Len Wein’s belief (stated at WonderCon, 2014 and reported by Hero Complex on April 25, 2014) that Batman is “compulsive.  He’s not crazy.”.

The best part of this story is that Len Wein mixes old origins for Batman (most notably Batman #47 from June-July, 1948, Detective Comics #226 from December, 1955 and Detective Comics #235 from September, 1956, as well as more than a few additions of his own, as well as bits on Robin, Batgirl, Alfred and James Gordon) to give a full picture of this tortured boy from Gotham, as well as his friends and foes, and proves there is much more to Batman's history to explore!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering Our Heroes

On 9/11, we remember the brave men and women of our police forces and fire departments, as well as all those we've lost.

This cover is from 9-11: The World's Finest Comic Book Writers & Artists Tell Stories to Remember.  The cover is by Alex Ross, and it is the second of two books that helped raise money for victims of the attacks on New York and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001. All contributors, as well as the suppliers, printers and distributors donated their work on this project.

This cover is based on the Big All-American Comic Book that came out in December, 1944, with a cover by the greatest of the Golden Age, like Sheldon Meyer, Howard Purcell, and Everett E. Hibbard, and was reprinted in DC Comics Rarities Archive in 2004.