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Bizarro Back Issues: Aliens Give Batman The (Giant Glowing Green) Finger (1960)

Batman #130, DC Comics

Last weekend marked the official Batman Day, and while I hope I've made it clear over my years of writing about comics that I strive to keep Batman in my heart the whole year 'round, I think we can all agree that it's nice to take some time and talk about the many wonderful things that he's done in his 76 years of crime-fighting. The thing is, you always hear about the same stuff. It's always "Dark Knight" this, and "Year One" that, and "that time he fought Bane and got knocked out of comics for like two years because of an actual professional wrestling move."

Don't get me wrong, those are important events, sure, but they're a tiny, tiny fraction of what Batman has done, and I think it's time that we honor some of the more unloved --- but just as deserving --- examples of heroism from his considerable career. Like, say, that time that he saved Gotham City from having all of its metal stolen by a giant green hand from another dimension by proving that aliens should be able to speak foreign languages.

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Bizarro Back Issues: These Mario Brothers Comics Raise A Whole Lot Of Questions

Super Mario Bros., Valiant Comics

Like pretty much everyone else who owns a Wii U and a pretty healthy amount of nostalgia, I've been devoting a whole lot of time to Super Mario Maker lately. It's great, but while it does a fantastic job of making the actual process of building the levels really fun and intuitive, seeing all the stuff that everyone else is coming up with really makes you want to step up your game and do something that goes above and beyond just getting Mario to the goal.

As a result, I've been looking around for inspiration in some of the... less beloved corners of Mario's history, something that led me to the Nintendo Comics System and the Super Mario Bros. comics that Valiant published way back in 1990. And folks, those things raise a whole lot more questions than they answer.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Hey Kids! Smoking Gives You Super-Powers! (1982) (Note: Smoking Does Not Give You Super-Powers)

Superman #376, DC Comics

For a character who's so definitively aspirational, Superman sure has given us a whole lot of dubious messages over the years. I mean, yes, he represents the best that we can be and reminds us that if we do good to each other, every man can be a Superman, but there's also stuff like the regrettable wartime propaganda. And, y'know, that time in the early '80s where there was a story that was all about how cigars can give you super-powers.

Okay, okay, not you. The person who actually gets the super-powers is Perry White, because it turns out that the best thing for you when you're in the hospital is to light up a cigar --- but only if Superman gives it to you.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Batman Battles The Scourge Of Elephant Crime (1964)

Detective Comics #333, DC Comics

Like a lot of people who started reading comics at an early age, I learned a lot of things from superheroes. Most of it was trivia, like all the Army slang that you can pick up from back issues of GI Joe --- and a lot of it was completely wrong, like that thing about only using 10% of your brain --- but comic books have always been full of weird little facts that creators decided to build entire stories around. Like, say, the time that Batman devoted his considerable resources to finally battling the most pressing scourge of 1964: Elephant Crime.

No, not crime involving elephants, like, poaching or illegal ivory smuggling. This is crime committed by elephants. And that's not the weirdest thing about this story.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Batman Superman Team-Up That Was All About Getting Defense Contracts (1994)

Batman Adventures #25, DC Comics

Last week, when DC launched a big sale on Batman Adventures, I did what I always do in that situation and told everyone to buy and read all of them immediately, because they are the best Batman comics of the '90s. But as good as they might be, there's one issue that stands out, one that rarely gets mentioned despite feeling like it ought to be a pretty big deal: Batman Adventures #25, which features the first meeting of the Animated Series Batman and Superman.

And it's also, as reader Geoff DeSouza put it when he asked me about it, "one of the best weird comics ever."

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All For the Wookiee: The Star-Warsiest Moments In Last Month’s Star Wars Comics


Welcome back to All For the Wookiee, where we take a look at the recent Star Wars universe offerings from Marvel and pick the most Star Wars-ish moments. It's another jam-packed installment, with two-fers for Star Wars, Kanan and Lando, alongside Darth Vader issue #8. We'll take a look at the highs, the lows, the in-betweens and rate the Star Wars-iness of each moment.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Steve Ditko’s ‘The Missing Man’ Misses Just About Everything (1983)


All things considered, Steve Ditko has had a pretty strange career. I mean, he co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange and Squirrel Girl, and went solo to create the Question, Blue Beetle, and Shade the Changing Man, and even nowadays, he's still going, quietly producing creator-owned work from a studio in Manhattan. But that stretch in between is where it really gets weird. In the '80s and '90s, he did everything from Mr. A to Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. And then there was the Missing Man.

In a career that was full of characters so odd that one of them was even called Odd Man --- and he lived up to the name, I assure you --- the Missing Man might have been the weirdest. And as the name implies, it's not what's in the stories that's so weird, it's what's not.

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A Tale Of Survival: Ryan North On Being Trapped In A Hole With His Dog For 40 Minutes [Interview]

The view from within the hole, photo by Ryan North

Yesterday, the world of comics was rocked by a true life story that rivaled any cataclysmic event that we have ever seen on the printed page: Ryan North, award-winning comic book writer, was trapped in a hole in a Canadian skate park for almost an hour. Throughout the harrowing experience, North was communicating with the outside world, sharing the drama of the experience with his Twitter followers who, as a community, came together to help North escape his predicament and return to the surface world.

In the aftermath of that experience, I spoke with North about the struggle of escape, how he refused to save himself and leave his loyal companion behind, and how being trapped in a hole can affect all of us --- even the very tall.

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Filed Under: , Category: Humor, Interviews

Bizarro Back Issues: Darkseid’s Invasion Of Earth And How It Never Actually Happened (1984)

Super Powers #5 by Jack Kirby

It's never the wrong time to read a Jack Kirby comic, but with the King's birthday coming up in two weeks, now is a better time than most. Of course, the big problem there is trying to narrow it down --- Kirby's career did, after all, span six decades and involve some pretty prolific major work --- but really, when you want to read Kirby comics, you want to go for the big stuff.

And there's nothing bigger than Darkseid finally launching his attack on Earth, a battle so titanic that it took the combined forces of the Justice League and their most diabolical villains to repel it. It's the most titanic battle possible, on the grandest, most cosmic scale!

Except for the part where, you know, it doesn't actually happen.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Unlikely Adventures of the Grand Canyon’s Own Superheroes (1995)

Canyon Comics Presents, 1995

The '90s were a magical time for the world of comic books. Thanks to a massive boom in popularity, readership and, let's be honest here, sales driven by speculators who genuinely believed that copies of Superman #75 were going to pay for an early retirement in a solid gold mansion, the idea of jumping onto superheroes to capture kids' attention bled into plenty of other industries. It became a golden age of PSAs and promo comics, with everything from Christian weightlifters to national parks being cast in superheroic adventures.

That's right, everybody: National Parks. It seems that sometime in the mid-90s, someone decided that the natural grandeur of the Grand Canyon was having a rough time appealing to kids in an age of rap music and Super Nintendos, and that what America's greatest landmark needed was a team of vaguely heroic characters to explain why littering is bad: Chasm and the Eco Squad!

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