Sunday, December 29, 2019

Looong Comics Review: BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Second Series) # 14


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? 


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!) 

DETECTIVE COMICS # 535 (Cover Date: February, 1984)

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! 

WOW!  Anyone else thinking Denny O' Neil and Neal Adams' GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW right now?  

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!  

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Mouse-mas, 2019! (A Looong Christmas Comics Review!)

'Twas the week before Christmas, and arrived at my house... 

(With great glee,) 

A package of comics, one featured a mouse... 

(Really, three.)

[ I don't have enough time and imagination right now to parody any in-between verses, sorry! ]

And what to my wondering eyes do appear?

A Spaceman and two-plus-one Mouseketeer... uh, "teers'.

We have our great friend Elaine to thank for this post... because she was kind enough to send me these two comics!  

One, THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS # 6 (DC Comics, Cover Date: January/February, 1957), was a gaping hole in my collection!

The other, SPACEMAN DISCOVERS CHRISTMAS, was a very pleasant and enjoyable surprise! 

And, I couldn't think of a better way to get back into reviewing, or otherwise spotlighting, older comics - as discussed in the Comments Section of THIS POST - than to begin with these!   

Since Christmas is coming rather rapidly, we will discuss these two wonderful comics in separate posts... kinda like Christmas and Boxing Day... or Black Friday and Cyber Monday... take your pick. 

The Three Mouseketeers would seem to be the brainchild (...or brain-children, or brain-mouse-lings) of comic book genius Sheldon Mayer - the creator behind everybody's favorite "(baby)talking babies", Sugar and Spike.  

Is that Spike?  And, if so, are the Mouseketeers "taking candy (actually ice cream) from a baby"?  

Let's dolly in a little closer and meet them, shall we?  

In reverse order from this illustration, The Three Mouseketeers are "Fatsy", "Patsy", and "Minus"... as if you couldn't figure out who-is-who, just by looking at them!  

Together, they've formed a club, called (as if you couldn't guess, even at this early time in their introduction), "The Three Mouseketeers" - with Fatsy as its self-appointed leader, and complete with a tin can as their "Secret Club House"!  

In appearance and characterization, Fatsy and Patsy would appear to be mouse-ified versions of Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton (made forever famous by comic actors Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in "The Honeymooners"!)

Not that turning Gleason and Carney into mice, was exactly unique to The Three Mouseketeers...

Perhaps it was also no coincidence that DC also published a HONEYMOONERS comic book at the time!

Patsy would also have a "future antecedent" (Yes, I know that's a complete contradiction... but we ARE talking about PATSY so, in its - and HIS - uniquely odd way, it just might be applicable!) in PINKY, of the famous would-be world-dominating mouse duo PINKY AND THE BRAIN!

 As for Minus... He's just SCRAPPY-DOO, long before there WAS a Scrappy-Doo!  

Further, methinks The Three Mouseketeers was created in a time when Disney lawyers were a less aggressive species, considering that Fatsy, Patsy, and Minus were allowed to coexist with this... 

Yes, we all know that the title was intended as a parody of "The Three MUSKETEERS" but, then again, so was this well-known Tom and Jerry spin-off...

...Which, three issues later, became THIS...

...And would remain so for the life of the feature! 

Yet, oddly, and perhaps blissfully below notice, The Three Mouseketeers even returned in 1970 for a reprint-run of seven issues and one special - following up on their original 26 issue run!  

"Never-Say-Die-Kinda-Guys", aren't they?   

"Big-Feets Holiday", the Christmas story we will highlight from THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS # 6, shows to best example why The Three Mouseketeers are different from Jerry and Tuffy, Pixie and Dixie, and Herman and all his look-alike cousin mice.  

Those characters all live in "The Human World", and they know it. They know nearly everything about it, and how to best negotiate it - especially when there are no cats around. 

Conversely, The Three Mouseketeers live in a world of their own (and other animals) and while they are aware of "The World of The Big-Feets", it remains a curiosity to them - and not their natural habitat.  ...Kinda like, if Sugar and Spike were MICE instead of babies! 

(Click on all illustrations to enlarge!) 

Finally, before we (at last) get into our Christmas story, I'd like to thank Achille Talon and Scarecrow33 for recommending this series to me in a previous comment thread.  
THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS # 6 was a transitional issue in that, over the course of its pages, it transitions from story and art by original creator Sheldon Mayer to being written by Sy Reit (who's been credited with creating Casper the Friendly Ghost) and drawn by Rube Grossman.  

The changeover actually occurs with the issue's second story, according to Grand Comics Database.  Reit and Grossman would pretty much carry the series for the rest of its run!  

"Big-Feets Holiday" (6 pages) is by Reit and Grossman...  Here it is for your Christmas (and all around everyday) enjoyment.  

Patsy finds a candy cane.  The other mice mentioned above would certainly know what it is... but not these guys!  

Fatsy pulls rank, as he often does!  "Get ready to catch him if he keels over, Patsy!" 

Gotta love how SMALL these mice are, relative to a snowflake!  (...Let alone when baseless accusations of "Treason", were funny, rather then regular and tragic!  Sorry, folks!  Couldn't help it!) 

"A TREE inside a HOUSE?"  ...And why don't people ever replace the moldings with mouse-holes in them?  Don't they even notice a DRAFT at their (big) feets?  

"Hey! I know what I'll do -- I'll MAKE BELIEVE I'm MINUS!"  ("Narf!" optional!) 

But, the "Big-Feets" come through, with the Spirit of Christmas!  

Hmmm... Speaking as a member-in-good-standing of "The Society of Big-Feets", I'm not so sure I'd be quite this charitable if I came downstairs in the middle of the night (even Christmas Eve/Morning) and found mice in my house!  

...Then again, that may be why nobody ever wrote a Christmas story about me!  

So, my wish to you,
Be you naughty or nice,
Enjoy the holiday of your choice,
With or without MICE! 

From Joe, Esther... and Averi!