Don't look at your calendar! Don't check your phone-like-computing-device-with-both-still-and-motion-picture-camera! Don't even ask your most trusted friend... I mean a REAL friend not one of those "Insta-Book-Tweet-Gram-Face" type friends!
Once you begin reading anything at this site, you enter a world where (just like the old OUTER LIMITS TV show) *I* control everything you see and hear! ...Okay, maybe just SEE, unless I link to something with sound! And that remains in force until you break the connection, and go read some other Blog... and why would you ever want to do that?
So, when I say THE HOLIDAYS AREN'T OVER UNTIL I SAY THEY ARE! ... Well, THE HOLIDAYS AREN'T OVER UNTIL I SAY THEY ARE! ...Okay? Fine!
We've just celebrated Christmas with DC Comics' THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS in THIS POST...
...Now, we celebrate Chanukah with Batman and Ragman in this wonderful issue!
As we used to say in the old APA and fanzine days (...and now say, once again): The Issue At Hand is: BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Second Series) # 14 (DC Comics, Cover Date: February, 2012)!
This comic is based on the superb animated series BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, which we posted about HERE, HERE, and HERE to cite just a few! The comic, especially when in the very capable hands of writer Sholly Fisch - who masterminded such issues of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP like THIS - was easily the show's equal! Here's just one reason why...
The animated series would open on a teaser of Batman teaming-up with another DC hero, before moving into the "main story". It would also pull the most obscure characters out of DC Comics lore for these team-ups. So imagine my sheer joy, when I opened the issue - and, on page one saw THIS!
YESSS! It's CRAZY QUILT! CRAZY QUILT, whom I first encountered in this comic! (...And have rarely, if ever, seen since!)
And he's brought Doctor Spectro (from Captain Atom) and Rainbow Raider (from The Flash) with him... to... to... um... hold Gotham City for ransom... or they'll turn all the snow from white to pastel colors... so, so... um... Gotham will never have another "White Christmas"? (At right: Crazy Quilt in animation!)
Batman finishes-off this color-centric crime cartel so quickly that there isn't even anything for Blue Beetle to do... but watch the opening title/theme sequence, that would occur here, if this were the show instead of a comic!
Then, after the team-up-teaser and theme, we would get to the main story...
"Small Miracles" 20 pages. Written by Sholly Fisch, Pencils by Rick Burchett, and Inks by Dan Davis. (Click to enlarge any and all images!)
A rabbi from a poor section of Gotham tries to pawn his heirloom watch to help raise funds for the community's Chanukah celebration. The pawn shop proprietor is Rory Regan, who operates as the street-level hero known as "Ragman".
We learn a little of Rory Regan's background before the conversation is cut short by a call for help, prompting Rory to take action as Ragman.
As the robber is taken away, Batman shows up - as silently and mysteriously as ever. You know he's probably been watching the whole thing.
And he gets quite the earful from Ragman!
Very well done by Sholly Fisch, especially in the context of "a children's comic book" (quotes quite intentional)! ...But, I was interrupting a great exchange between Ragman and Batman...
And, for those of us playing "Six Degrees of Scooby-Doo", there are even greedy land developers praying on this forgotten sector of Gotham...
...With a business name that would add Alfred Hitchcock to those "Six Degrees of Scooby-Doo"...
...If this comic didn't do it first!
...But, enough of that!
You can almost feel those words sting Bruce Wayne, from inside his bat-suit! But, before he can reply...
Since we don't so spoilers, now is usually the time we leave you on a cliffhanger - and urge you to buy the book if you don't have it, or re-read it if you do!
But in this case, we'll skip slightly ahead and present this wonderful sequence that begins with Ragman asking the rabbi why he stays in this community...
The rabbi goes on to call Ragman a "miracle"...
I was so impressed with this issue that I asked Esther to read it! She is not a comics fan (...but I love everything else about her), and she barely reads my own stuff - so, for me to do this is an indication of just how moved I was!
She, too, was very impressed. And she doesn't impress as easily as I do - not by a long-shot!
So, here's to Sholly Fisch - and Rick Burchett, and Dan Davis (though, as a writer, I tend to "weight things" in that direction first - sorry, artists) for a superb holiday effort that entertains AND teaches (...or reinforces that which we should already know)!
BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Second Series) # 14 should be available wherever fine back-issue comics are sold.
You still have time to get a copy and read it (...or re-read it again and again) because...
BONUS GCD LINK: I may start a new TIAH tradition with this! As a bonus, I'll provide a link for the issue being discussed or reviewed to its index at Grand Comics Database!
I didn't write this one, but it nicely sums things up in significantly fewer words than I would! Go to it HERE!
And, since THE HOLIDAYS AREN'T OVER UNTIL I SAY THEY ARE, expect at least one more looong holiday-themed comics review to come - even if it comes early in the new year!