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!|
Archer and Bookworm, and more.
An unexpected bonus is when Bat-villains from other sources are reimagined into the world of BATMAN '66.
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!
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!