If you only go by bylines, you would believe that not only did Bob Kane create Batman on his own, he also wrote, drew, and inked every adventure of Batman all by himself from 1939 until the mid 1960s. However, fans with even a little bit of knowledge of comics history know that most elements of the Batman mythos were created by writer Bill Finger, and that Kane employed a host of ghost artists whose work he took credit for for decades, including Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Lew Schwartz, and Win Mortimer.
One of the most prominent of these ghost artists, whose style would define an entire era of Batman history, was Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff, born on this day in 1920 in New York City.
The Academy Awards are almost upon us, which means that it's time for the entire movie industry to rent out a very large room and say, "Good job, Movie Industry" to itself for about four hours. I'm told a lot of people find this very exciting, but as they have never, to my knowledge, even mentioned Bulbasaur's groundbreaking role in Pokemon: The First Movie, it's not really something I'm interested in. Besides, the movies that I tend to enjoy often value spectacle over substance. It might not win any awards, but I've often thought that there's a lot of value in giving audiences something that they just couldn't see otherwise.
Which, I imagine, is probably there were film producers in the DC Universe who were once so desperate for cool stunts that they decided to hire an actual superhero to handle them --- all without ever explaining to him how movies worked.
One year ago, DC Collectibles opened its "vault" of unproduced prototypes in celebration of hitting a social media milestone. Included therein were figures based on DC Universe Online, statues for Ame-Comi Mary Marvel and a Black Manta bust, among others. Instead of leaving all of these first-party collectibles locked away forever inside the archives, DC Collectibles asked fans to vote for which item they'd like to see finally be produced. Then there was silence... until today when the dull winter sky was broken by a glorious rainbow in the shape of Batman.
Yes, that's right; the Sheldon Moldoff-inspired Rainbow Batmen are coming and there's nothing you can do to stop it now. You had your chance to vote for 3.75" New 52 figures, and you blew it. Unless you voted for these, in which case, congratulations, all of your dreams are coming true in amazing technicolor fashion!
Batman is no stranger to the supernatural. I mean, he's been fighting vampires since 1939, and there was an animated series only a few years ago that prominently featured the idea that he has special Batarangs made of space metal specifically for the purposes of beating up ghosts. It's a thing that he does, and unsurprisingly, he does it well. Except, of course, for that stretch where the Comics Code wanted to assure people that while benevolent alien newspapermen and bachelors in Dracula suits with teen sidekicks were a-okay, witchcraft was something that definitely, definitely did not exist.
Which, of course, did nothing to stop it from being the source of Gotham City's latest crime wave.
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.
Created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, Poison Ivy first graced the comic page back in the historic year of 1966, when The Sound of Music won Best Picture and England somehow won the World Cup. Her first appearance was in Detective Comics #181, and since then the character has remained a constant thorn in the Dark Knight's side.
Q: Batman RIP: What's going on in this book? I like Morrison, but I do not follow the plot. -- @daingercomics
A: My friend, you have come to the right place. I generally think Grant Morrison gets a bad rap for writing superhero stories that are too complex --- a complaint that you see about almost everything he writes going all the way back to "Rock of Ages" in JLA, and probably back to Animal Man if you go looking for it --- but R.I.P. is a story with a whole lot of moving parts that can be pretty hard to keep track of unless you're the kind of person who has been obsessing over the details of 75 years of Batman comics for their entire life.
Fortunately for you, that's exactly what I am, which is one of the reasons that Batman R.I.P. is probably my favorite Batman story of all time.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this new feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at Batman.
As part of the celebration for reaching 250,000 Facebook fans, DC Collectibles has opened its vaults to showcase some prototyped but never developed figures from the past. What's more, DC's asking for your input to see which figures out of the bunch you'd like to see made the most. If any get made at all.
Toy production is a fickle thing, and many times, the concepts and prototypes teased at events like Toy Fair never see the light of day. Whether it's due to a lack of interest at retail, unexpected production costs, or the dissolution of a line dwindling in sales, there are probably just as many ideas collecting dust in a manufacturer's studio as there are actual releases on your shelves. It's rare to get a glimpse into what could have been, but DC Collectibles has given a tiny peek inside its vaults.
As much as I love Batman, and I think the record will show that I love Batman a whole heck of a lot, I haven't really been looking forward to sitting down and cracking open the new Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years hardcover. Last year's Superman anniversary hardcover was a disaster of revisionist history, 300 pages that would have you believe that one of the world's greatest superheroes did nothing for seven and a half decades but cry. With that in mind, I had no idea what DC Comics was going to do with Batman. If you'd asked me to bet on it, I would've put good money on a prediction that they'd craft a narrative that acknowledged Batman only as a scowling vigilante, consumed with vengeance and every bit as crazy as the villains he fought.
But it turns out I didn't have to worry. The Batman hardcover is exactly what it says it is -- a celebration of Batman across different eras, with a roster of stories that highlights one of the character's true strengths: How well he works across different kinds of stories.
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