Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On Sale August 26, 2015: BATMAN '66 # 26 from DC Comics.



The BATMAN '66 title from DC Comics, based on the 1966-68 television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, remains a huge favorite at TIAH Blog - as does the show itself.  

The comic and its main writer Jeff Parker most often perfectly capture the flavor of the series...



...Sometimes, a little less so, as seen in BATMAN '66 # 21 ...


A great story, to be sure, but it's difficult for me to imagine Adam West and Yvonne Craig plummeting into a boneyard!  

...But, much more often than not, squarely hit the mark.  


Yeah... That's more like it! 
The series has done a wonderful job of bringing many of the memorable "Made-for-TV" villains to the comic book pages.


King Tut.



Egghead. 


Archer and Bookworm, and more. 

An unexpected bonus is when Bat-villains from other sources are reimagined into the world of BATMAN '66.

Two-Face.

Harley Quinn.

And out latest entry... Poison Ivy.  

To digress: Anyone reading BATMAN in the '80s, or who has a large collection of Bat-Back Issues, might very well be thinking of this cover about now.

BATMAN # 367 (Cover Date: January, 1984)

Oddly, though Poison Ivy was not part of the BATMAN TV Show...


...The character's origin issue, BATMAN # 181 (Cover Date: June, 1966), WAS released during the First Season of the show. 


So, Poison Ivy COULD have eventually become a "Special Guest Villainess" had the series run longer - and, at least for me, that's how I view this story - taking place in a theoretical Season Four (1968-1969).    

This is especially so, per the unexpected sight that hits us on Page One...

...The fate of Third Season villain "Louie the Lilac"!   

Talk about "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time"!  Holy Botanical Bereavement! Was Louie "offed", or merely "potted"?  

The trail leads to Pamela Isley, now calling herself "Poison Ivy". 

She's given a nice backstory, in which she actually met Bruce Wayne as a child.  


Gotta love the expression on Bruce!


Goof Alert: Note the balloons incorrectly pointing to Martha Wayne and Mrs. Isley, respectively.  


...Or, maybe Li'l Bruce just "HEARD it wrong", because he was so flustered by L'il Pam.   


Needless to say, Poison Ivy quickly snares the Dynamic Duo...


...And condemns them to "Death by Man-Eating Plant".


A plant that owes much of its design to the TV show's "Man-Eating Giant Clam" that once swallowed Robin!  


Another nice touch is that Poison Ivy GROWS her own henchmen!  She doesn't even need to dress them in "like costumes", because they're already all green!  


If this were a TV episode, I could imagine them "popping whole" from their pots with that "Popping Appearing-and-Disappearing-Sound" from LOST IN SPACE (...You KNOW the one I mean!), that also occasionally turned-up on BATMAN.


How about this great "sixties joke", while Ivy rides atop her "getaway tree"!  


A riff on Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walkin'"?  You've absolutely gotta love that!  As a comics writer who loves puns, it's a joke I'M certainly envious of!  Bravo!  


Of course, they could not have done the "getaway tree" with mid-sixties television technology and budgets.  Best I figure they could have done was borrow "The Plant Man" suit from LOST IN SPACE and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA - and have "Monster-Man" Dawson Palmer inside, carrying her around!   



SPOILER ALERT:

I've spoiled way too much already, darn my great enthusiasm for this comic series - but I HAVE to spoil one more major thing, just so you'll all feel better... and because it leads to such a great gag! 

Louie the Lilac isn't really dead!


Commissioner Gordon's line, upon finding out, is priceless!  


Louie's back, just like a perennial!  Yay! 

END SPOILER ALERT:

Part of the fun of discussing this series is debating which Sixties-Era actor would best play some of the roles "cast in the comics, but not on TV".

I go with Goldie Hawn as "The Harlequin" (Harley Quinn) and the young Jack Nicholson (as he appeared in THIS 1963 Vincent Price / Peter Lorre / Boris Karloff film) as Two Face.  If you recall the scene where Nicholson was possessed and driven by Karloff, you'll know how great he would have been as Two Face! 


Ah, but who would we cast as this version of Poison Ivy?  


Visually, Jill St. John would certainly fit the bill.  But, she's been on the show before, as "Molly" in the season opener, and maybe, with budgets for a fourth season presumed to be even lower than they were for the "frugal-looking" third, they might not have been able to afford her. 

Here's my choice, especially as the story establishes that Pamela and the Isley family came up to Gotham from the South...


Sherry Jackson, as she appeared in the 1966 LOST IN SPACE episode. "The Space Croppers"!  

If you've ever seen "The Space Croppers", you know she'd be perfect!  And would do a nice Southern accent for this version of the character, as she did on LOST IN SPACE. 


She could be as seductive as Poison Ivy would need to be, and could easily negotiate the necessary "camp elements".  

Just outfit her with a redhead wig, and there you have it!
  

So, don't just "plant" yourself on the couch... "Leaf" now for your Local Comic Shop - "Petal" your bike, if you must, and pick up a copy of BATMAN '66 # 26 from DC Comics!  

And, do leave (not "leaf" - I don't repeat my bad puns) your comments right here, so our discussion can "flower" into something interesting! 


33 comments:

joecab said...

Speaking of which, they announced that the series has been cancelled :( :( :(

Joe Torcivia said...

JoeC:

That is VERY SAD news – and also confirmed by my comic shop this afternoon, when I went to pick up MICKEY MOUSE # 4.

I REALLY enjoyed this title! It was unique among the vast sea of current comic books, and it will be missed. I think it goes thru December, 2015, so there will still be a few issues to enjoy.

Ironically, if it had to come to an end, there should have been a JANUARY, 2016, release – because that would have coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the show, and made for a HUGE send-off!

…Just like today’s DC to fail to recognize the opportunity, in squeezing out just ONE MORE issue!

Elaine said...

Yeah, I felt bad for you, Joe, when I saw that this series has been cancelled--saw it yesterday on The Mary Sue, where the headline and most-mourned loss is of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman.

As it happens, this issue of Batman '66 is the first I ever bought, because I wanted to see what they did with Poison Ivy. (I did watch the TV show back in the day, but don't remember all that much about it, except that my sibs and I enjoyed it.) I found the issue to be a lot of fun. Liked the backstory for PI, including the childhood meeting with Bruce, enjoyed the art and the verbal jokes (particularly liked "henchplants"). I thought it did a great job of making PI a likable villain, exuberant, fun-loving, undeterred by setbacks. And of course, her plan to murder Batman and Robin by "jupiter flytrap" is so cartoony that it doesn't feel in the least like murder. The plant reminded me of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, but danged if it doesn't resemble the giant clam even more.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, Elaine!

Yes, I’m quite saddened at the news because, as is evident throughout this Blog, I enjoyed this comic VERY MUCH!

To one extent or another every issue was a clever and loving tribute to the 1966 BATMAN TV Series, which I watched from its ABC network premiere episode(s). And it will be one less title on my now-modest reserve list.

Now that I’m much more discriminating in my regular comics purchases, I must be going through some sort of “clever and loving tribute” phase as it appears to be a common thread among the comics that I presently purchase.

SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP is certainly a “clever and loving tribute” to the longevity of the Scooby-Doo group of characters and their guest stars across the DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera universes (univi?). ASTRO CITY is a “clever and loving tribute” to ALL superhero comics, with an emphasis on the Silver Age. GROO FRIENDS AND FOES is a“clever and loving tribute” to all the years of GROO comics by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier. The late and lamented IDW (new) POPEYE series was a “clever and loving tribute” to the works of E.C. Segar. By now, need I say that the BIZARRO and BAT-MITE limited series from DC are (all together now) “clever and loving tributes” to their respective corners of the DC Universe.

And, given the way the “Legion of Gerstein” tends to shape the IDW Disney comics they, too, tend to come across as “clever and loving tributes” to all Disney comics past!

One can never have too many “clever and loving tributes”, can one? Yet, the loss of this particular “clever and loving tribute” will be deeply felt.

I am glad you got to experience this issue of BATMAN ’66!

Elaine said...

I see from Comiclist that Scooby-Doo Team-Up #12, out next week, features Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy! So I might have to get that, too, to have the two "clever and loving tributes" to Poison Ivy as a matched set.

Joe Torcivia said...

Well, Elaine, SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP never lets me down in the “clever and loving tributes” department, so I think you’ll enjoy that one too!

Also interesting that BATMAN ’66 # 25 (the previous issue) did their version of Harley Quinn… and here they BOTH are in SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP!

Clapton said...

What a bummer. I never got the comic due to my lack of familarity with the orignal show. Ironically I just added Season 1 of Batman to my Netflix que literally right before I heard about the cancellation.

Comicbookrehab said...

I remember thinking of James Garner as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, but casting Goldie would've been perfection. As for Poison Ivy, my choice would've been Suzanne Pleshette - before she became immortalized as Emily Hartley, I thought she was quite a knockout in all her pre-"Bob Newhart Show" appearances.
I remember Adam West claiming in his memoir that he tried persuading Bill Dozier to include Two-Face and Catman ...knowing the background of the series, how about Lyle Waggoner as Catman/Thomas Blake?

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

I wouldn’t have thought of Suzanne Pleshette for no reason other than she was a brunette. But, if Sherry Jackson could do it, why not her too! I like Lyle as Thomas Blake.

Next issue is Bane, by way of Season 3’s “Ring Around The Riddler”. Once I see how he is portrayed, I’ll start thinking about who would have played him.

Joe Torcivia said...

Clapton:

As I’ve long said: There’s always the back issues! They’ll never take those away! And, as back issues do, they will always be there for you to acquire and enjoy when you are ready. And, you *will* enjoy those, should you ever decide to pick them up.

You’ll also enjoy the series. It’s a unique, one-of-a-kind experience. Let me know what you think, off the Blog.

I am surprised at the cancellation, considering that there was that 6 issue “Green Hornet crossover” and the square bound Two-Face special. Series that don’t sell well, don’t usually get that sort of ancillary specials.

Killer Moth said...

DC has had its share of bad luck lately, as it's down 2 million (as a result of moving from New York to Burbank among other concerns) and it's already canceled 5 other series since launching DCYOU in June, though, its' axing Batman '66 is probably the most frustrating and most surprising. I tried reading Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman and didn't much care for it, though, Wonder Woman '77 is quite good in the same vein as Batman '66. And should watch out for that in case that gets cancelled, too. And there's the dispute about Green Lantern: Lost Army being cancelled or intentionally ending when as it should.

Anyway, I'm convinced with Sherry Jackson as Ivy, not that I needed much convincing. (I do love Jackson's sexual mischief in both Trek TOS and LIS.) And actually, I'm hoping there will be a retcon with Ivy knowing Bruce as a child in the comics or in other Bat-media, as that actually sounds like a good idea.

As for Ivy's growing henchmen, nice touch. Batman: TAS did the same thing, though, that was done as for a dramatic surprise and to more horrifying effect. Works well here, too, but in a more straightforward manner. Got to get those disposable goons somewhere.

And, lastly, nice death fake-out for Louie. I'm sure if the series was more in tune with regular comic canon and its increasing darkness -- a subject for another time -- he really would be killed off for real. Which is another reason why the series shouldn't be canceled, as we need more lighter Comic Bat-fare in our lives.

Good post, as usual. Of course, we'll be sad whenever you post on the final issue, but we'll always have the Bat-puns.

Comicbookrehab said...

There's also a mini-series team-up with "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." coming soon.

I think it sold very well to consumers, particularly Bat-fans fatigued by the overwrought storylines in the main books, but I think it was lumped in as a kids/humor comic, which retailers never order enough, and THOSE are the "sales" that make up the bottom line. You can find plenty of copies of "Batman Eternal", but "Batman '66"? Not so much.

Joe Torcivia said...

Welcome aboard, Killer Moth!

A pity you never got a regular role on the series, only appearing in that unaired “Batgirl Pilot” that helped greenlight the Third Season. But, at least you brought the world the great Yvonne Craig at Batgirl. So, take that away as a major positive, as you flit around, snacking on someone’s shirt sleeves!

The least they could have done was give you and your Mothmen a cameo in that Third Season episode where King Tut was spewing predictions on future criminal activity. If he focused his prognostications on your crimes, they could have been Tut’s “Mothman Prophecies”!

All this Moth-mirth aside, I agree with everything you said. DC is paying for its folly of the “New 52”, and all the constant and capricious changes made to their characters and books leading up to awful things like “Countdown 52”, or whatever that weekly thing was called.

From the Silver Age, thru the early 2000’s, you couldn’t find a bigger DC fan than me. But, in recent years, it seemed that rapid change was coming merely for the sake of “rapid change”. Even I, who bought lots of DC titles every week, was hard pressed to know what was going on. So, different from their glory days of the ‘80s and ‘90s. When they “changed things in the ‘90s, it was at least “interesting”, like “Death of Superman”, “Knightfall”, and “Emerald Twilight”. You hung on for each weekly installment.

I love Lobo, and was overjoyed to see DC bring his title back recently. Then I read it, saw that it disavowed everything I loved about the previous incarnations, and never bought another. That’s the problem with DC today – and, not coincidently, LOBO is one of the titles being cancelled. Good! Who fraggin’ needs it!

BATMAN ’66 was a true oasis, amongst all that, and soon it will be gone. Another, in a series of bad moves by today’s DC! At this point, I don’t see how they could ever “get me back”, certain fun limited series like BIZARRO notwithstanding.

I’m sure I’ll post on the final issue and, yes… The will very likely be “Bat-puns”!

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

It’s hard for me to understand how DC could greenlight the Bat / U.N.C.L.E. crossover, and simultaneously cancel the BATMAN ’66 regular series. Unless it was some desperate attempt to tie into the (now gone) U.N.C.L.E. feature film.

That’s a great point about BATMAN ’66 likely being regarded as a “kids’ comic”. And, if so, should I also begin worrying about SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP?

Getting back to U.N.C.L.E., I’d like to see “Channel D” get crossed with “The Bat-Phone”!

Killer Moth said...

I know, I had that weird network presentation thing, and I wasn't even in proper costume. I couldn't even show off my Moth-mobile. But I had that really cool Brave and the Bold speaking cameo, in the past few years, does that count?

...

Okay, going out of character now. Heh. Indeed, DC is paying for New 52 among other things, but we'll see when Batman v. Superman comes out. Now if that fails, then we can panic. Meanwhile, their main plans to salvage themselves will be more TPBs and really hoping Frank Miller's upcoming DK III series pays off. Miller's good, but he's had his off moments (his All-Stars work is heard to be that wretched). And Marvel's about to do their own New 52 reboot with Secret Wars 2015, and we'll see how well that pans out.

As for the more recent "change for the sake of change," oh, agreed. New 52 had its problems, to be sure, but some changes weren't as bad, IMO (Steve Trevor finally relevant again, Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn/Deadshot is a pairing I like, Cheshire being more interesting and seeing her romancing Roy Harper/Arsenal in action vs. after the fact in original canon, and Blackfire initially being an anti-villain and more kind to her sister, Starfire, though, that's now dropped and she's back to being her usual villainous self). And all the various Convergence two-parters were nice in how "no, DC hasn't completely forgotten the original canon," so we'll see. As for what I see in DCYOU, I do like the Starfire ongoing, but it has its problems (no Rogues Gallery, though, the latest issue is changing this, and the book comes off as a rehash of the 2009 Power Girl series in its early days, which makes sense, given the creative team involved).

Of the Big Two currently, I tend to go with DC, if only as they annoy me less than Marvel, which isn't saying much.

And I'll finish to say that I quite agree with Rehab's assessment, because Batman '66 was seen as a "kid/humor book," that doomed it with retailers. Which is completely unfair, but these are the times we live in.

Lastly, glad to be abroad. I got to go through your Lost In Space posts, since that turned 50 this week. (Time flies?)

Joe Torcivia said...

KM:

Yes, BRAVE AND THE BOLD did wonders for LOTS of neglected DC characters, you included. Even Ambush Bug, keeping it in the insect family!

The problem with an entity like DC “driving me away” as it did, with “52 Weekly Countdown”, “New 52 Everything”, “New Coke”… I mean “New Lobo”, etc. is that, once done, it will be extremely difficult to get me back for anything other than isolated instances… like BATMAN ‘66, BIZARRO, BAT-MITE and (if you count it) SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP. I feel as if the entire colossus has moved-on without me.

As things stand now, I doubt even a Miller DK III would make much difference. Sad because, especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I felt DC could do no wrong. I’m sure some of the changes would have to be “changes for the better” – the odds would be impossible for it NOT to be – but I can’t shake the feeling that, rather than continue to make changes, DC should just emphasize what made their characters some of the greatest to ever spring from the comic book medium.

For ANY fan of LOST IN SPACE, I must recommend the 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray set. LIS has never looked better! The cast commentaries are fun – especially for “The Promised Planet” (the space-a-delic episode), a particular favorite of mine! And there are more extras and “lost bits” than I ever imagined possible! It’s pricy, but SO WORTH IT!

TC said...

It was probably just an internet rumor, but I have heard that there was talk of having Clint Eastwood play Two-Face on the the TV series. I'm skeptical; in 1966-67, his movie career was starting to take off, and he probably would have been uninterested in a TV job. (But, you never know.) Also, Two Face, like several Golden Age villains (Clayface I, Dala and Monk) was inherently too grim and violent for the campy tone of the TV show.

I could see Sherry Jackson or Ann-Margret as Poison Ivy, if the producers wanted to portray the character as alluringly playful and almost childlike. Or Luciana Paluzzi, if they wanted a straight up, seductive femme fatale.

And, yes, Poison Ivy never appeared on the TV show, but if I were trying to show how the TV series influenced the comics, Batman #181 is one that I would cite as an example. Although the comics never got quite as self-consciously campy as the TV series.

Unfortunately, the policy now at both DC and Marvel seems to be that all comics (with rare exceptions) have to be in the same consistent house style. And that style is grim-and-gritty. Even Batman '66 could not completely avoid the trend. Thus the boneyard in #21, and the Joker depicted as a homicidal madman in #3 and #11. It may just be that a majority of comic book buyers now want grimdark.

It reminds me of DC's attempts to do tongue-in-cheek superhero comics in the 1960's and '70's (Inferior Five, Plastic Man, Shazam). None really caught on. The kids wanted their superheroes played straight. And adults would watch tongue-in-cheek (and even outright camp) action-adventure in other media (James Bond, U.N.C.L.E., Wild Wild West, Matt Helm, Derek Flint), but they did not read comics.



Joe Torcivia said...

TC:

Considering the Clint Eastwood of the Sergio Leone “Man with No Name” spaghetti westerns of the time, I would think he was too “understated and deliberately intense” to play an over-the-top character like Two-Face.

For the TV series, I think they would have dispensed with Two-Face’s “acid in the face origin”, and just had him hatched whole, perhaps as some physical freak of nature. I feel any over-the-top actor of the day, such as Malachi Throne – had he not been Falseface, would have been suitable. And, that’s why I like young Jack Nicholson, as he appeared in “The Raven”. Gerald Mohr might have been interesting, if a bit less over the top.

Another more basic reason for not using Two-Face might have been that, until Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams revitalized the Batman comics in the ‘70s, Two-Face had fallen into complete disuse. He simply may not have been on anyone’s radar at the time. I’d certainly never heard of him back then.

Clayface would have been impossible to do, unless his transformations were done with “wipes”, or he just “popped into another form” with the same LOST IN SPACE sound effect I mentioned in the post. I could also see Clayface’s “clay form” looking very much like the “look-alike amorphous aliens” from LOST IN SPACE’s “Target Earth”. Picture it, and you’ll see it works – in a mid-sixties context, at least!

Yes, as noted in this and other posts, BATMAN ‘66 *did* occasionally slip into territory a bit “darker” than was the series’ norm – but it still succeeded grandly for most of its run. It’s sad to think that there can’t be room for a comic like this.

TC said...

Besides the U.N.C.L.E. crossover, there was also an announcement (at Comic-Con in July) of a Batman '66/Avengers (as in, Steed and Mrs. Peel) team-up. But, with the cancellation of the Batman title, that project may be going down the drain, too.

Don't know if the U.N.C.L.E. team-up was an attempt to tie in with the recent movie. If so, it could be a disappointment. I'm sure fans of the 1966-67 TV season would love to see "Adam West and Burt Ward meet Robert Vaughn and David McCallum." But younger fans, expecting "Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer meet the Dark Knight" would not recognize the characters or the style. The U.N.C.L.E. movie is a reboot, and it is a straight spy thriller (with some comic relief), unlike Batman '66 (whether the TV show or the comic) or the campy third season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

In 1989, some movie goers, who were only familiar with the 1966 TV show, were put off by the violence and grim tone of the Batman movie. Conversely, MeTV's recent ads for the TV series reruns took some action scenes out of context and tried to make it look grim and gritty. So there may be some disappointed fans who watched it expecting to see the Dark Knight.

Besides the cost of special effects, Clayface II and some of the other characters from the sci-fi and fantasy period ca. 1960 might have been just too far-out even for the campy TV show. As silly as it was, the series did have a line that it wouldn't cross. Adam and Burt never did meet up with Bat-Mite, Elemental Man, or the Creature From Planet X. (Not in live action, anyway. I think Bat-Mite and the shape-shifter version of Clayface did turn up on the cartoon series in the late 1970's.)

Then again, the series did get even sillier and goofier in its last season (ironically, at the same time that the camp fad was passing, and Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Wild Wild West were trying to pull back and play it straight once again). So, if the budget would have permitted (admittedly, a big if), maybe the Dynamic Duo would have encountered some monsters and space aliens. After Nora Clavicle and Dr. Cassandra, it might have been a case of "all bets are off, and anything goes."

Joe Torcivia said...

I was thinking how wonderful a BATMAN ’66 and Third Season MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. crossover would be!

They’d even share some Nelson Riddle background score – mentally playing in my head as I read!

I often tune in to ME TV for parts of their “Super Sci-Fi Saturday Nights”, but I’ve never seen those ads! I think the ones they do for VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, highlighting various Monster clips in very rapid succession, are perfect!

Elaine said...

On the dominance of grimdark comics: There are several exceptions, especially in comics with female leads. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) is not a humor comic, it's a superhero comic, but it's definitely upbeat and positive in tone, and laced with humor. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a humor comic featuring a superhero, and I find it laugh-out-loud funny. Also, *smart* funny. I'm glad that both of those will apparently survive Marvel's summer apocalypse and maintain (or, in Ms. Marvel's case, regain) their characteristic tone. Silk is not as joyful as Ms. Marvel, but it's not grimdark, and its hero's humor reminds me of Spider-Man in the 1970's and 80's. Hellcat, issue #1 due out in December, looks to be quite fun. These are all Marvel--Killer Moth mentioned DC's Starfire, and I did enjoy the first few issues, but not enough to stick with it. Definitely light in tone, though. Plus there have been cool limited series from (yikes!) BOOM: Roger Langridge's "Abigail and the Snowman" (OK, that's a kids' comic), Madeleine Flores' "Help Us! Great Warrior", Kate Leth and Matt Cummings' "Power Up." Not to mention BOOM's ongoing Lumberjanes, an all-ages comics that many grown-up women love.

These all almost entirely female-centric. Admittedly, that's what I look for--but I still think there aren't so many light/upbeat/positive comics with male heroes. Do the publishers think women/girls are more likely to be interested in comics with a lighter, more positive tone? Not that only women buy comics starring women, of course, but I'm just wondering about the marketing theories at work. It does seem easier right now to find good non-grimdark comics for adults that feature female heroes.

Maybe it's just that Marvel in particular is bringing out more new comics that are lighter/more positive in tone, and they also are looking to increase their female audience, so the two trends have overlapped. As for DC, I've read on the net that DC seems to be emulating Marvel's recent grimdark tone even as Marvel moves away from it in a bunch of new titles. And then there's the problem mentioned above, that stores often don't order enough of the comics slotted as "kids/humor" to keep them alive. Makes me *really* glad that the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has developed enough of a following to keep it alive through The End of the World.

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

Hmmm… I wonder… “Do the publishers think women/girls are more likely to be interested in comics with a lighter, more positive tone?” Could be!

I also wonder whether this “shift” you observe in Marvel, could be the Disney Ownership Influence taking hold? It sounds a far cry from the arrogant and obnoxious Marvel presided over by Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas in the ‘90s – when, for me (in my own little corner of the comics-buying universe), DC moved ahead of them for good! Since those days, and with that awful public behavior, Marvel lost me for good!

And Good Ol’ DC! As you say, “…emulating Marvel's recent grimdark tone even as Marvel moves away from it in a bunch of new titles.”

That’s DC… Always behind Marvel’s curve, as far back as the Silver Age! Maybe that’s why I was such a fan of theirs, until recent years!

I’m glad there are so many female-centric comics out there that you enjoy. It sure wasn’t ALWAYS that way!

Comicbookrehab said...

I think then-child actor Clint Howard would've been great as Bat-mite if they did do a 4th season, but then again - and this may be apocryphal - NBC wanted to greenlight a 4th season on the condition that Robin and Chief O'Hara written out to save budget costs, so they probably would've explained away that O'Hara retired and Dick went to college, leaving Batman and Batgirl as the new duo. As a fan of Yvonne, I would not have minded much, but Batman and Robin combo seems like law, even though the most acclaimed Batman comics usually feature Batman working alone.

The cancellation of The Batman '66 comic doesn't necessarily rule out the crossover mini-series. In my opinion, the initial novelty of seeing new Adam West-style Batman stories faded as it became another Batman comic, albeit with a lighter tone, but not a parody. Crossovers with heroes from the pop culture era in which it debuted probably - in the eyes of DC, I magine - keeps the concept fresh. They'll probably try a new comic based on the "Batman Unlimited" films soon.

And as for DK3...this could be a sad turducken of a thing. It was once alleged that the last sequel happened because it paid for Miller to relocate back from L.A. to New York. This new installment is following the unfinished "All-Star Batman" and a few lingering rumors that Frank's health is in decline.Regardless, It'll be there for whoever's interested.

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

Considering that Clint Howard portrayed the weird, child-form version of the fearsome alien “Balok” in the ultra-classic STAR TREK (TOS) episode “The Corbomite Maneuver”, made all the creepier with that dubbed voice, he might have made an interesting Bat-Mite at that! And, could I possibly resist saying that he went “from Corbomite to Bat-Mite”!

I’d long known that NBC had expressed an interest in picking-up BATMAN (had the standing sets not been prematurely destroyed), but never knew that Chief O’Hara AND Robin (!) would have been written out, as was Aunt Harriet before them! After all, a similar situation occurred with GET SMART, as it shifted from NBC to CBS, so such a move was not unprecedented.

I, too, would have enjoyed Batman and Batgirl as a “new Dynamic Duo”, but it sure would not have been the same. Beyond budgetary concerns, perhaps Burt Ward might have been seen as being too old to continue in the Robin costume. (Holy Less-Youthful Ward!) And the comics actually DID send Dick Grayson off to college, not long after when this seemingly unthinkable move would have occurred. And, of course, by the ‘80s, the comics took the brilliant and logical step of moving Grayson into the role of Nightwing. But, in fall 1968, none of this would have seemed possible.

Commissioner Gordon would have continued to serve the dual purpose of “contacting Batman” and being Barbara Gordon’s father but, without O’Hara, he’d have no one to exchange melodramatic dialogue with. Oddly, I can’t help but see gravel-voiced, rotund actor Stanley Adams (“Cyrano Jones” and “Tybo the Carrot-Man”) reprising his one-shot role as “Captain Courageous”, functioning as an aide to Gordon, in a move that would presage the creation of “Det. Sgt. Harvey Bullock” by about a decade and a half. Oh, but maybe the new, leaner budgets wouldn’t have allowed for that either. Pity.

You’re probably right in suggesting that “the initial novelty of seeing new Adam West-style Batman stories faded as it became another Batman comic, albeit with a lighter tone, but not a parody”. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone to whom this applied. For me, if I enjoy a comic, I continue to enjoy it – unless and until it becomes something “unrecognizable” when compared with what I originally liked about it.

In the larger scale, this would be DC Comics shifting to “The New 52”. Though, to be fair, even THAT was not truly “unrecognizable” – just “different”! Maybe a better case would be ARCHIE with “New Archie”. I still have a saved Blog post coming up about that, someday soon.

In the smaller scale, it would be when the writing of the original HARLEY QUINN title shifted from Karl Kesel to (Ugh!) A. J. Lieberman. Or, to hit closer to home for me, when (under the misguided earlier efforts from Boom!) WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES became “Ultraheroes” and MICKEY MOUSE became “Wizards of Mickey” (…that latter title STILL isn’t even clever!)

That certainly did not apply to the BATMAN ’66 title, as this “Poison Ivy” issue clearly illustrates.

In one of those truly strange and wonderful things, a BATMAN / U.N.C.L.E. crossover would not have occurred back in the day, because BATMAN was owned by National Periodical Publications (aka DC Comics) and produced by 20th Century Fox, and U.N.C.L.E. by MGM. But today, they both fall under the vast umbrella (quiet down, Pengy!) of the Time Warner Empire!

Finally, I’m sorry to hear of any health concerns for Frank Miller! He was (hopefully will be for a long time to come) an amazing – nay, transformative – force in the world of comics! I will never forget the first day release of “The Dark Knight Returns”! In look, feel AND format, it was a transformative (…there’s that word again) book. Not “comic”, but “BOOK”, the likes of which had never been seen before!

…Sadly, as things stand between “DC and me” at the present time, I can’t say for certain that even THAT will find its way onto my now-meager reserve list.

Sergio Goncalves said...

Wow... Just as I get excited about this title after reading this blog post, I see the first comment, saying that it's been cancelled! It's too bad, because while I enjoy the grimdark Batman comics, they occassionally get a little *too* dark for my taste. The Batman '66 title looks like it has more of what I like about the Batman franchise and less of what I don't like about it. Hopefully, I can get to read it someday.

As for Scooby-Doo Team-Up, I'm optimistic, and would like to believe that it will not be cancelled. While Batman '66 may have been seen as a kids/humor comic, and thus out of sync with what most Batman fans seem to want, Scooby-Doo (in any medium) has always been a kids/humor-oriented franchise. And I don't see DC cancelling its Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! or Looney Tunes titles anytime soon, so I'm sure Scooby-Doo Team-Up will keep on going.

Come to think of it, it might be interesting to see an issue where Mystery Inc. meets Looney Tunes characters. I remember a Looney Tunes story a few years ago that gently parodied Scooby-Doo. I liked it, though I wish they had cast Henery Hawk in the role of Scrappy-Doo. It would have appropriate, considering that Mark Evanier wrote Scrappy-Doo with Henery Hawk in mind.

Joe Torcivia said...

Sergio:

“Just as I get excited about this title after reading this blog post, I see the first comment, saying that it's been cancelled!”

That must have been as big a slap in the face for you as it was for me.

I would imagine that SCOOBY-DOO (non-Team-Up variety) and Looney Tunes hang on because their contents are about 2/3 reprint. Reprints of stuff I already have, and that’s why I do not buy them now.

I hope you do get to read BATMAN ’66 someday. You will enjoy it.

Deb said...

Louie the Lilac must have inspired whoever wrote the story "Donald Duck: Back in the Box" (Mickey Mouse Adventures #11, Sept. 2006) to have Donald (poorly) disguise himself as "Larry the Leaf".

Joe Torcivia said...

Could be, Deb!

Louie’s been around since 1967, and that’s a lot of “lilac time”!

Especially to inspire bad disguises.

Clapton said...

For some reason DC did a low print run of the excellent Scooby Doo Team Up #12. It's fetching pretty high prices on ebay. http://m.ebay.com/sch/i.html?isRefine=true&_pgn=1&_nkw=Scooby+Doo+team+up+12. I hate when companies pull this crap, Especially since, acording to my local comic book store owner, this is depriving non-subscribers from getting the issue. As a side note I would like to give a quick shout out for Fisch's refrence to Genesis's pop Masterpeice Who dunnit. Well in all honesty Harley just said "Who Dunnit" and it probably isn't a refrence but when I read that I immediately heard Phil signing "Was it you or was it me? Or was it he or she? Who Duniiiiitttttt!". Sorry I can't help myself.

Joe Torcivia said...

That is very disturbing, Clapton!

Why such a low print run? Is SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP next up on the chopping block? I’d sure hate to think so, as it’s been such a wonderful read for the two years of its existence.

The great thing about your Genesis observation is that, given everything SDTU has done in the past, you’re now conditioned to anticipate and look for such things!

Clapton said...

My guess is that the low print run gave the title some publicity especially since it contains two fan favorite bat-villainess. I still don't like this but MAYBE this will be good for the title in the long run. All I got left to say is that they better not cancel SDTUP before they can do an issue with Bugs Bunny!

Grant Goggans said...

Hi, Joe!

I found your fun blog while researching around to see whether that giant clam from The Joker's Hard Times was actually a repurposed Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea prop. Apparently not!

Anyway, my two cents would be to have cast Tina Louise as Poison Ivy had they used the character for the show, which my family and I are rewatching and blogging about, along with some other classic shows: https://firebreathingdimetrodon.wordpress.com/

Joe Torcivia said...

Grant:

Welcome to this Blog! I hope you come around regularly!

No, that Giant Clam never turned up on VOYAGE or, oddly, in any Irwin Allen series. It would have seemed a natural, just as the “Plant Man” costume would have been for a Poison Ivy episode of BATMAN.

It wouldn’t have surprised me to see it somewhere, if there had been a 5th Season of VOYAGE. Especially if budgets were cut still further and existing props would have been even more likely to be used.

I think Tina Louise would have been doing the final season of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND at the time that BATMAN episode was filmed, so that would eliminate her, even though she IS a great choice.

That is a GREAT BLOG you have, and right up my alley too! Even mentioning the Filmation Ghostbusters live-action series! Wow! I’ll be visiting it! Folks who like the stuff I write about should do so as well!

HERE is Grant’s link, for all of you to use!