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Ask Chris #223: Prepare For Trouble, And Make It Double

Ask Chris #223 art by Erica Henderson

Q: Why aren’t there more heroic duos or “tag teams?” -- @awa64

A: Friend, I don't usually like to start off these columns by specifically denying the premise of the question, but there are a lot of heroic duos in the world of superhero comics. I mean, even if we're just limiting ourselves to the most famous superheroes out there, the top of that list is going to include both the World's Finest and the Dynamic Duo, and you don't have to look much harder to find other pairings further down the list.

Unless, of course, you're specifically asking why there aren't more actual pro wrestling tag teams that have taken up crime-fighting when they're not busy in the ring, in which case I have no idea, but rest assured that is something I want to see.

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×02: Smack In The Middle

Batman 66 1x02: Smack In The Middle

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the Riddler and Molly enact their fiendish plot, and someone... dies?!

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Ask Chris #222: This City Hates You

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Can a setting, location, or place actually be "a character," as people often say about Gotham City or Bioshock's Rapture, and if so, what exactly does that mean? -- @Jon_Ore

A: Technically, no. No matter how well-developed or intriguing a setting is, no matter how many good stories have been set there or how characters and creators have talked about it, it's still just that: A setting. The action and development, even if they're a reaction to the setting or have effects on the setting, are all things that happen to characters. The setting just provides the backdrop.

Practically, though, they can be close enough that for all intents and purposes, they might as well be characters, with everything that comes with it.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Batman In The Worst Thanksgiving Ever (1954)

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The time is once again here for Thanksgiving in America, and while most of us just use the holiday as an excuse to binge on turkey, there is a deeper meaning behind it. It's the day that we set aside to honor the time that the Native Americans helped out the Pilgrims, who would not have otherwise survived the harsh winter in their new home. Things eventually turned pretty sour between the two groups, but that first Thanksgiving stands as a testament to the power of people helping each other through the rough times.
However, Batman apparently never got the memo about brotherhood and equality, which is why a 1954 story in Detective Comics #205 found the Dark Knight traveling back in time to drop the hammer on Gotham City's indigenous population in the name of Bat-Imperialism and discovering "The Origin of the Bat-Cave!" It's one of our favorite crazy stories, and we're rerunning this classic Bizarro Back Issues feature this week in honor of the occasion.

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New Arkham Knight Trailer: Batman Rolls In With Guns A-Blaze… Wait What?

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For those of you who prefer to see Batman driving around in a car with a gigantic gun sticking out at the top, blowing up tanks, shooting people and also shoving crooks' heads into electrified fuse boxes, we have some good news! For those of you who don't, well, maybe just close this window and go for a walk for a few minutes or something. See, this week brought us some new footage from Rocksteady's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game, in which Batman takes on a small army of soldiers and (presumably unmanned) tanks led by the title villain to rescue a few NPCs in an all-out assault on Ace Chemical.

And just so you don't think it's all just things designed to make me grumpy, you also get to see Batman doing a straight-up Street Fighter-style shoryuken, and that's pretty awesome.

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The Batman '66 Episode Guide 1x01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the guide begins with the pilot episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle," in which the Prince of Puzzles has given up his life of crime... or has he?

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If The Joker Isn’t Weird Enough, Check Out ‘Gotham By Midnight’: An Interview With Writer Ray Fawkes

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On November 26th, DC releases the first issue of Gotham By Midnight, a new series by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith that blends black magic and police procedurals, and exposes the supernatural shenanigans that go on below the surface of Batman's hometown. Along with recent successes Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor, and the newly-revamped Batgirl, the book is part of a substantial overhaul and expansion of DC's Bat-family of titles under editor Mark Doyle.

ComicsAlliance sat down with writer Ray Fawkes to get some insight on what he and Templesmith have planned for Detective Jim Corrigan -- who longtime DC fans know is the original host of the vengeance of God, the Spectre -- and his shadowy squad of GCPD operatives.

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‘LEGO Batman V. Superman’ Fan Film Is The Only Dark Knight/Man Of Steel Fight You’ll Ever Need

BatmanVSuperman

We're still over a year away from the big-screen debut of the amazingly titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which your two favorite DC Comics heroes will be v-ing each other alongside other members of the Justice League, and maybe getting around to fighting an actual supervillain somewhere in hour three, if they have time. If you can't wait, though, I have some good news: BrickNerd Studios has brought you a short film in which the LEGO counterparts of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel slug it out in brutal combat... for... some reason.

I'm not overselling things when I say that this is the best possible version of this fight that you're likely to see onscreen, and that Hollywood's going to have a hard time topping it in 2016.

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Buy This Book: ‘Batman ’66: The Lost Episode’

Batman '66: The Lost Episode, DC Comics

There are a lot of great things about the Batman '66 ongoing series, but I think my favorite is how it's been expanding the Dutch-angled, pop-art universe of the original TV show beyond its three-season run. There have been new adventures for the show's roster of special guest villains, new locations, and even new characters in the form of additions like the Arkham Institute's Dr. Holly Quinn and the massive, atomic-powered Bat-Robot.

On top of all that, the not-at-all surprising success of the Batman '66 revival has expanded the universe in one of the most interesting ways by finally giving us one of the biggest missed opportunities in the character's history: A full adaptation of Harlan Ellison's unproduced Two-Face story.

I've known that this story was out there for a while because it always comes up in discussions of great superhero stories that never happened, and finally getting to read it in this week's Batman '66: The Lost Episode was a fantastic experience -- not just because the story itself was fun, but because the way it was presented was amazing.

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Jiro Kuwata’s ‘Batmanga’ Is A Superhero Comic Unlike Any You Have Seen

BatmangaTop

Readers demand a lot from superhero comics: consistency, continuity, adherence to the rules of the universe, compelling heroes, magnetic villains, satisfying endings, and the list goes on.

But those of us who have been reading for years (if not decades) are chiefly looking for one big thing above all else: novelty. We want to see something we’ve never seen before; characters we recognize as the heroes and villains we love being put into scenarios and settings wholly unlike what’s come in nearly 80 years of superhero comics.

That’s notoriously hard to do. Many times, stories end up being very similar to what’s come before, and when creators do try something new, they elicit complaints from readers who don’t like particular changes or decisions. But what if you could strip away those pressures and build a superhero comic that’s so strange and unique that it’s a must-read?

That’s what Jiro Kuwata’s 1960s Batman comics, currently being republished as the DC Digital Series Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga, are. A strange combination of classic Batman comics, the 1960s Batman TV-show, Marvel-Age science-based storytelling, mysticism, cartoon physics, Tokusatsu, and of all things, Scooby-Doo, it isn’t like any comic I’ve ever read. It’s endlessly surprising, and I love it.

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