December 16, 2010
Due to my habit of slipping newspaper cuttings etc inside books I do tend to stumble upon some odd things. This tatty Postcard dropped out of a NEL Batman paperback (which was probably the first place I ever saw a few of Batman’s Golden Age adventures in black and white one panel per page !).
The drawing pin hole evidentally signifies that this card was pinned upon my bedroom wall in 1966 !! Interestingly the reverse states that it was printed by Gerald G. Swan. He was of course famous in the late 1940s/1950s for pulp magazines and some extremely odd UK comics. Although I have a Wells Fargo book of his dated 1964 I am surprised his company was still in business as late as 1966 (although checking the Interweb I see he would only have been 64 years young then).
November 4, 2010
The most interesting thing about last week’s relaunch of “The Dandy” was that it DIDN’T have a free gift sellotaped to the front. Once upon a time a free gift was only found in the first three issues of new titles, or used sparingly in existing comics for special events or to boost flagging sales. Now the bottom shelves are full of plastic bags containing so many toys and novelties that the comics also included seem like the free gifts.
In November 1965 the free gift of a Guy Fawkes mask in “Buster” must have tempted me. I’ve preserved one of these cardboard masks somewhere pushed inside one of the many Annuals that still reside in my “library”. Of course, I couldn’t find it today so I hope the people at http://www.bustercomic.co.uk don’t mind me borrowing their picture. I’ve no idea if Guy Fawkes actually looked anything like that. I think I may have mentioned before (and perhaps I’m stating the obvious and it is common knowledge ??) that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this image wasn’t the inspiration for the early 1980s Lloyd/Moore “V for Vendetta” strip.
What I did find was this similar idea of a very odd cardboard Batman mask from around 1966. I don’t know if this came free in a comic or was just sold as-is. Actually, it is so odd that if it didn’t actually SAY Batman on the forehead no one would know what it was meant to be !!
October 1, 2010
I just couldn’t resist looking up Batman No 62 from 1950.
The Knight and Squire have a remarkable number of similarities to their transatlantic heroes. Obviously they live in a mansion with a secret cave beneath. To emphasise that they are in England Robin says such gems as “Jolly meeting you here old bean”. Later the Knight requests a tea break whilst they are chasing the crooks. The phrase “The blighter’s balmy” is evidentally referring to the weather ?? Batman and Robin disguise themselves as the Brits to save their secret identities. Everyone lives happily ever after apart from the villains.
September 30, 2010
I like to think that I’m an easy-going person. I can laugh at life’s numerous absurdities, or smile inwardly at the nonsense I face daily, say nothing and move on. I’ve grown to expect the Country/Planet to continue to go to hell in a handcart. But sometimes it’s the little things that drive me to despair. Have you looked at the Subtitles on TV recently ?? They are supposed to help the hard-of-hearing. They seem to be produced by people who are short-on-braincells. What is going on ?? Are they produced by robots who can’t decypher anyone’s accent. If they are written by real people then those real people must be locked in a room without a TV. One glance at the screen would give them a clue that “No is time for the whether four cash” isn’t right. News and Sport are incomprehensible gibberish and if I thought I’d get through I’d ring up and complain…..
Then later I’m reading the back page editorial in a recent DC comic about the upcoming “Knight and Squire” miniseries written by Paul Cornell. Having re-invented just about every “hero” ever featured in their comics since WW2 I suppose it was their turn. Briefly featured in an early Batman comic (No 62) as an armour-clad UK version of the dynamic duo I presume they’ve now been updated to the modern day. But my blood boiled when Janelle Siegel, Assistant Editor (whoever he/she is ) said:-
I received the first script only to have to respond “Could you please translate some of this slang for me?”……so you’ll be seeing an additional text page at the end of every issue explaining certain ….Britishisms……we wanted to make sure the issues were fun and approachable for fans anywhere.
I have read umpteen DC etc comics from the age of 6 upwards and have managed quite well without a page explaining “Americanisms” !! Does the whole world have to continue dumbing down ?
PS: As usual the villains look the most interesting characters…..
March 9, 2010
Way back in April and October 2008 elsewhere on this blog I mentioned the re-discovery of my collection of Batman Bubble Gum Cards (they seem to call them “Trading Cards” nowadays). The first couple of series were painted likenesses of the Dynamic duo. Batmania swept the world in 1966 and before the year was out more sets of cards had appeared. This time the fronts consisted of photographs taken either from the TV show or the feature film. The backs contained jokes and riddles and could be put together to make simple jigsaw puzzles.
February 28, 2010
The following nonsense appeared in The Times newspaper’s page 2 Leading Articles/Editorial on Saturday 27th February 2010. I quote:-
There is a market failure in superheroes
“If all the superheroes had a fight, who would win? In the market place the answer is Batman. An edition of a comic in which Superman made his debut in 1938 sold last week for $1 million. That was then trumped by Batman’s debut comic from 1939 that raised $1.07 million, the highest price ever for a comic book.
But, really, can we just accept the verdict of the market like this? Batman is an interesting character with a tragic back story. The death of his parents gives him the motivation to spend his life righting wrongs in Gotham City.
But there is a problem. Batman is no more a bat than you are. He can’t fly. He doesn’t navigate by echo location. He can’t hang upside down. He just puts a bat costume on. He’s not even really a superhero at all because he has no magic powers. he’s a sort of cross between a CID officer and a Swiss Army penknife.
Superman does have the powers. He can fly, he has X-ray, heat-emitting, telescopic, infra-red and microscopic vision and he can blow out air at freezing temperatures and cause high-speed winds. He also has a cause. Superman is a social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing rundown tenements. But it’s hard to know why he bothers. He has the Y-fronts but not the why.
Spider-Man is the only one with both magic powers and a story to tell. He can shoot adhesive spider web, has toxic stingers and can stick people to his back. His enemies, Electro, Mysterio and the Sandman, all have magic powers themselves. And he’s doing it all in memory of his beloved Uncle Ben whose murder he witnessed and might have prevented. Now that is a superhero.”