Saturday, August 31, 2013

Batman, Robin, and 'the path of righteousness'

Detective Comics #38 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson) is famous for being the first appearance of Robin, the Boy Wonder. Young Dick Grayson is usually credited with having a lightening effect on Batman's grim quest for vengeance against all criminals, and there's evidence from this issue that the boy's impact was immediate, though very limited at first.

After Batman agrees to train the boy, the two of them take a crime-fighting oath that includes the words, "never to swerve from the path of righteousness." That feels like an important addition to Batman's mission. It's not enough just to make criminals pay for their misdeeds, Batman also begins to see the importance of maintaining a personal code. He doesn't define "righteousness," but that he even includes it as a concept may be significant.

Eventually, "righteousness" may include a prohibition on taking lives, but not right away. In fact, Batman and Robin's ultimate plan for avenging the death of Robin's parents involves entrapping the main bad guy and photographing him as he murders one of his men. Not only do Batman and Robin not try to save the henchman (Batman implies that the thug is the one directly responsible for the Graysons' deaths, but presents no evidence of it), they manipulate the mob boss in order to make sure that the henchman is killed.

Batman may see the need to raise Dick more morally than the way Bruce Wayne developed, but it's not an easy or quick transition.

Saturday Matinee | Queen of the Amazons (1947)

Who's in it?: Robert Lowery (Batman in the 1949 Batman and Robin serial), Patricia Morrison (Tarzan and the Huntress, Song of the Thin Man), J.E. Bromberg (The Mark of ZorroSon of Dracula), and John Miljan (The Ten Commandments).

What's it about?: A woman (Morrison) leads a safari into Africa to learn the whereabouts of her fiance who disappeared on an earlier expedition. But will she still want to marry her man after spending so much time with Gary the jungle guide (Lowery)? And will her man want to marry her after so much time among the Amazon women he's been living with?

How is it?: Pretty dreadful. There are some outdoor shots of the cast, but way too much of the movie is just them standing on generic sets and commenting on action going on in stock footage. The story moves from India to Africa for no other reason than the filmmakers' having footage from both places they wanted to use.

None of the characters have any depth and none of the actors have any chemistry, so the movie's only redeeming qualities are its jungle setting in general, the Amazons concept, and a half-baked mystery about a murderous ivory poacher who may have infiltrated one of the safaris. Jungles and Amazons go a long way with me though, and mystery plots are always welcome. It was also fun to see Lowery in a different role, since I like him as Batman.

Grade: C-

Friday, August 30, 2013

Shadow of the Bat

I was tempted to use the first panel of Detective Comics #37 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson) in which Batman gets lost in the country and stops at a farmhouse for directions. It's pretty funny, but it's not fair to the rest of the story, which is a really good mystery.

Batman uses intelligence and good detective work to uncover a gang of spies, then his physical skills and fearsome presence to bring them down. The panel above is a great example of how spooky and intimidating Batman can be when he wants to.

Cities condemned to Hell hate cephalopods

Suggested by Shad Daly.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Batman, Hero of the People

Batman may still be wanted by the police, but public perception of him changes after he defeats Hugo Strange in Detective Comics #36 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and introducing Jerry Robinson to the series).

A couple of notes: The Monk from Detective 31 and 32 may be Batman's first supervillain, but Hugo Strange is the earliest who lasted and became a permanent part of Batman's rogue gallery. Strange was designed to be a major bad guy from the get go. Batman already knows who he is in this story and refers to him as "the most dangerous man" and "the greatest organizer of crime in the world." Clearly he was meant to be Moriarty to Batman's Sherlock Holmes.

Strange's infamy works in Batman's favor when word spreads that he defeated the villain. The people of Gotham are now on Batman's side and I have to imagine that some of the cops' views on him have likely changed as well.

The problem is that - legally speaking - Batman's still a murderer. I haven't kept a strict count, but I'm pretty sure that he's either directly killed or allowed someone to die in every story since his first appearance. It this one, he's found standing over a dead body and the police assume he's the killer. That - and Batman's having to clear his name by bringing in Strange - is a standard mystery trope, but it's especially appropriate in this series given Batman's past actions.

Still, nice to see that his reputation is changing a little and that the citizens of Gotham at least appreciate what he's trying to do. I can feel my own attitude about him start to change as well. He may have started his mission in a selfish place - and his methods may not be as effective as Superman's - but he's still a force for positive change and it's impossible to dislike that.

10 Greatest Giant Robots of All Time

Because Siskoid and I often share a brain, we both disqualified giant robots from our Top 10 Giant Monsters lists last week. Which means that we're back with lists of our huge, mechanical friends this week.

I know a few others who are also planning to join in for our second, big, blogging crossover, so I'll update this post as I see those. Anyone can participate, so just let me know and I'll be sure to link to you. [Update: Here's Siskoid's list, and here's Ken O's from That F'ing Monkey.]

Here's my list. No special rules this time; I'll explain any caveats in the entries below.

10. Martian Tripods (War of the Worlds)

My first caveat is that I'm accepting pilot-driven mechs as "giant robots." It's not technically accurate, but since they're visually indistinguishable from actual robots, that's good enough for me. The Martian war machines from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds are the grand-daddies of this concept and are super scary besides. Love them.

9. Warbox (DC Comics)

The only reason Warbox is so low on my list is because he's only had one, brief appearance in Metal Men (V.3) #2. On the other hand, he looks like a teddy bear and has a reel-to-reel tape player on his chest. It kind of hurts me not to have him higher.

8. Mechani-Kong (King Kong Escapes)

It's a horrible movie, but just look at that giant robotic gorilla shooting lasers out of his eyes and tell me you don't love him.

7. Mechagodzilla

I haven't yet seen any of the Toho films with giant robots like Mechagodzilla, Mecha King Ghidorah, or Jet Jaguar, so it's hard for me to love them as much as I should. I'll lump Ultraman into that same category and heck, Voltron and every anime ever made too. I have a lot of learning to do.

But Mechagodzilla is such a cultural icon with such a great look that I feel like I know him even though my entire experience with him has been in the recent Godzilla comics from IDW.

6. Grurk (It Came!)

It's name probably isn't actually Grurk, but that's what it always says, which is part of its charm. I probably shouldn't include it until the It Came! mini-series is done and I can think about it as a complete story, but it goes to show how much I loved that first issue that I want to honor it here.

5. Gallaxhar's giant robot probe (Monsters vs. Aliens)

I should have figured out how to work Susan (Ginormica) or Insectosaurus into last week's list. I love Monsters vs. Aliens and its giant robot is spectacular and funny.

4. Sentinels (X-Men)

An important part of my childhood and the X-Men's world in general. One of the few X-Men villains that still give me a thrill when they show up.

3. Experimental Prototype Robot K1 (Doctor Who)

Not only was Tom Baker my first Doctor, his first episode, "Robot" was my first episode too. So as crap as those special effects are, this giant machine is a major part of what hooked me about Doctor Who.

2. Archer (Kill All Monsters)

I feel like I need to apologize again for not only including one of my own creations (with artist Jason Copland, of course), but for putting him really high on my list. But where I'm fond of the some of the visual aspects of the creatures we created for Kill All Monsters, I'm genuinely in love with the characters. I hope you'll forgive me the indulgence.

I like all the Bots for different reasons, but I have a special place in my heart for poor Archer who so much wants to fit in as part of the Kill Team, but is having a difficult time because the human members are (perhaps justifiably) scared of him.

1. The Iron Giant (The Iron Giant)

I usually have a live-and-let-live attitude about these lists, but this is one of the rare occasions where there is absolutely a right answer. Number One has to be the Iron Giant. Has. To be.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Batmobile, Mark II

In Detective Comics #35 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff), Batman has finally quit driving around his bright red sedan and appears to have bought a model that's more fitting for his nightly activities. No special modifications yet, but he's on the right track.

That time Jack Kirby drew Tarzan playing a board game with jungle animals

Happy Kirby Day! The King would have been 96 today. He's not usually associated with Tarzan, but I love the art he did for this game found by Jon's Random Acts of Geekery.

Tarzan 101 | Tarzana

Celebrating Tarzan's 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

Edgar Rice Burroughs had always been interested in having movies made from his novels, so in 1919 he moved his family from Illinois to Southern California to be near Hollywood. Because he loved the outdoors - and because the Tarzan books were making him a lot of money - he bought a 540-acre estate in the West San Fernando Valley and renamed it "Tarzana" after his cash cow. The previous owner had been Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis and the property included orchards, goats, and a 4500-square-foot mansion.

Burroughs fictionalized his family's life on the estate in the novel The Girl from Hollywood, which contrasted the home he'd built with the evils of Los Angeles. But sadly, the ranch became too expensive for Burroughs to operate and he began leasing and selling chunks of it off. He tried building an artists' colony, drilling for oil, and forming a country club, but in 1924 the Burroughs family left the mansion and moved into a bungalow near the author's office. Seven years later, the decrepit mansion was destroyed.

In 1928 though, local residents voted to name their town after the famous ranch and the Tarzana Post Office came into being in 1930. Today, Tarzana is an affluent suburb of LA, but still holds onto historic elements like the country club and a large park that preserves the wild outdoors Burroughs fell in love with when he bought the place.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

World's Greatest Detective indeed

Back to Batman.

In Detective Comics #34 (by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff), Bruce Wayne is still in Europe, on his way home after the events of Detective 31 and 32. At his hotel, he sees a guy across the lobby wearing a trenchcoat with a pulled-down hat and thinks he recognizes the chap as "old Jed Farnol."

This leads to a gothic tale involving a wicked count, a family fortune, and the stupidest death trap ever, but the real mystery is what the heck did Bruce Wayne see in this guy that reminded him of his buddy Jed?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Daily Panel | Traveling 'alone'

From the one-shot comic, Those Who Travel Alone by B. Sabo. I picked this up at Autoptic last weekend with a longer graphic novel (Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny!) by Sabo that I can't wait to dig into. Really love her style.

Saturday Matinee | The Incredible Petrified World (1957)

You know what I miss? Watching old movies and and writing about them. I got the bug around this time last year, but burned myself out by trying to do it daily. I actually liked doing it that often; I just couldn't keep up with the schedule. But what if I try to do it weekly instead...?

Who's In It?

John Carradine (Stagecoach, House of Dracula), Phyllis Coates (The Adventures of Superman, Panther Girl of the Kongo), Robert Clarke (The Man from Planet X)

What's It About?

Three scientists (Clarke, Sheila Noonan, and Allen Windsor) and a reporter (Coates) escape a wrecked diving bell and take refuge in air-filled, but underwater caves.

How Is It?

Interesting for Superman fans, especially those - like me - who like Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane in the first season of the '50s TV show. Coates plays a reporter here too, but she's no Lois Lane. Her husband is leaving her for another woman, leading Coates' character to hate everybody. And sadly, that one note is the strongest characterization anyone gets in this movie.

Sheila Noonan's (Beast from Haunted Cave) character isn't so bad and gets a couple of good scenes in while arguing with Coates over the reporter's attitude, but like all the other characters in the movie, Noonan's has no life outside of the movie's plot. Even John Carradine is wasted as the inventor of the diving bell. After the accident that leaves the bell stranded at the bottom of the ocean, Carradine seems more concerned about figuring out the flaw in his design than he does about the presumed deaths of the four victims.

There's barely a story here at all. A ton of set-up (including a pointless documentary about sea life that's the only appearance of the octopus from the lying poster) finally leads to the point where the four leads are stranded and escape to some dry, undersea caves. Most of the movie is an unexciting survival tale as they explore the caverns. They meet a stock-footage monitor lizard and a crazy hermit with a fake beard, but that's as thrilling as it gets.

Meanwhile, Carradine and Company are on the surface planning a second expedition with a new diving bell. It's all for science though, not a rescue mission, since everyone believes that the first divers are dead. That means that there's no tension around the second mission and - without anything to be afraid of in the caves - no stakes for the main cast. There are some volcanic earthquakes toward the end of the movie, but by that time the second expedition is underway and the resolution is obvious. In fact, the earthquakes are just there to push the leads out of the caves so that they can be spotted by the second team. I know that sounds spoilery, but "spoiler" implies that a surprise is being ruined and I promise that there are already no surprises in the way this movie ends.

Grade: D+

Friday, August 23, 2013

Daily Panel | 'Two gifts, in fact'

Stephen Mooney's Half Past Danger (colored by Jordie Bellaire) is quietly becoming the most awesome comic on the shelves. Sort of Captain America: First Avenger meets Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Jurassic Park with a ninja for good measure. What's amazing is that it's not just a bunch of random, awesome stuff thrown into a big pot, but also holds together as a great story. Hoping there's more where this came from once the mini-series is finished.

Space Kansans hate cephalopods

Suggested by Shad Daly.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daily Panel | GRURK!

Behind on my Batman reading, so here's a panel from the wonderful and awesome IT CAME! #1 by Dan Boultwood, Esq. If you like '50s alien invasion movies, do yourself a favor and find a copy. It just came out last week and you're missing out.

10 Greatest Giant Monsters of ALL TIME!

So, this started with Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. Siskoid and I got to talking on Twitter about the 1998 American Godzilla (aka Zilla) and I admitted that I like her design. It doesn't work that the filmmakers tried to put her over as the Godzilla, but as her own monster, she works for me. Siskoid replied that he wouldn't include Zilla on his personal Top 10 Kaiju list and our blogging genes immediately lit up. Personal Top 10 Kaiju lists are things that need documenting. (Spoiler: Zilla doesn't make mine either.)

To make this a full blown blog crossover EVENT, Siskoid also recruited BW Media Spotlight and Matt Burkett of the Monstrosities vlog. I think Matt's going to join in later, but if you visit Siskoid or BW Media today, you should see their Top 10 Kaiju lists too. [Update: Here's Siskoid's list. Here's BW Media's. And That F'ing MonkeyLaughing Ferret, and Let's Rap with Cap have gotten into the action too. Yay!]

My list is below, but first, a few explanations/disclaimers:

1) I'm not as well-versed in the Tohoverse as I'd like to be. David, Diane, and I are working our way through the Godzilla films chronologically and we've only made it through 1969's All Monsters Attack so far. Some of the old Godzilla movies are surprisingly hard to find in the U.S. and we've been stalled out waiting to find a way to watch Godzilla vs. Hedorah. We're finally going to skip ahead and move on, but as of right now I've never seen a Gigan or Megalon movie. While I expect them to be awesome, they can't be on my list until I've seen them in action.

2) I decided for the purposes of this list that giant robots are a separate category. I sometimes see Mechagodzilla and Iron Giant on lists of giant monsters, but as much as I like them, they're not on mine. I've spent too much time having giant robots try to kill giant monsters, so they can't co-exist in my head.

3) These are my favorite giant monsters, not my favorite stories about giant monsters. That would be a whole different list. For example, I love Them!, but giant ants themselves didn't crack my Top 10.

4) In spite of the tongue-in-cheek, hyperbolic superlative in the title of this post, standard list-making rules apply about how these are my personal favorites. Your list will be different and I'd love if you share how in the comments.

10. Brainblob (Kill All Monsters)

This is totally self-serving and I apologize, but I really do like a lot of the monsters we came up with for KAM. Especially this transparent, gelatinous blob with a brain floating in it.

9. Kraken (Clash of the Titans, 1981)

I love that Ray Harryhausen decided against a traditional, squid-like kraken in favor of this giant, mermanoid sea monster. The only reason it's not higher on my list is because it appears so briefly and is easily defeated. As awful as the 2010 remake was, I do like how it extended the kraken's appearance into an actual battle.

8. Tarantula

I'm pretty terrified of normal-sized tarantulas, which are plenty big enough. Blowing one up to this size makes it the most horrifying creature on this list.

7. Gamera

We finally watched Gamera the movie the other night and I wasn't too impressed with it. Or Gamera the monster, for that matter, at least at first. By the time the military knocked Gamera on its back and were congratulating themselves (because turtles are notorious for not being able to right themselves from that position), I was barely paying attention. But that's when Gamera pulled into its shell, shot jets out of its leg holes, and turned itself into a flying saucer. The movie may still suck, but the monster is crazy and awesome.

6. King Ghidorah

Godzilla had sort of an identity crisis in the '60s as he waffled between villain and hero. What I like about King Ghidorah - besides his three heads and batwings - is that he's consistently evil and powerful enough that the "good" monsters have to team up to bring him down. A great antagonist.

5. Ymir (20 Million Miles to Earth)

This Harryhausen creation bears a slight resemblance to the kraken, but I love that fishy look, so it doesn't bother me. And though the Ymir isn't as huge as the other monsters on this list, it gets bonus points for being a sympathetic creature. It doesn't ask for any of the things that happen to it and is dangerous only because it's a wild creature that humans have forced into our environment. That theme goes a long way with me (see No. 1).

4. Godzilla

Speaking of themes, I'll always love Godzilla if based on nothing but the strength of that first movie in 1954. He was a perfect metaphor for the horrors of nuclear weapons and it's kind of a shame that he would eventually be known for hanging out with Minilla (aka Son of Godzilla) and dancing jigs. Still, he's the icon and it's impossible for me to put him lower than this.

3. Mothra

Mothra introduced actual personality to giant monsters in the Tohoverse. Until her, there was a vague sense of who Godzilla and his fellow kaiju were, but they was malleable to the needs of their plots. Mothra, thanks greatly to the innovation of letting her speak through the Tiny Beauties, has a consistent personality. What's more, it's a lovely one that's protective not only of her home island, but humanity in general. She's directly responsible for turning Godzilla into a legitimately heroic character, but whatever I think of that development, Mothra's asking Godzilla to make that change fits perfectly with her characterization and it's cool that she did it.

2. Belloc (Firebreather)

The main character in Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn's Firebreather is the son of a human woman and a giant monster named Belloc. Hester has talked about how Belloc was inspired by Marvel's Fin Fang Foom (who just barely missed my list), which explains not only his general look, but also his intelligence. What I love about Belloc is that he's actually a complex character with conflicting motivations that lead him to do interesting things. Of all the monsters on this list, he's the most fully realized.

1. King Kong

I won't be surprised if I get some grief for featuring Peter Jackson's version of Kong instead of Ray Harryhausen's, but though I love the original film from 1933, Kong was just a monster to me in it, and one with a goofy smile. The story was all great, but as cool as that stop-motion gorilla was, I never connected to it.

Jackson's version - thanks to Andy Serkis' performance and Naomi Watt's reactions to it - turned Kong into a character I felt something for. He's not as complicated as Belloc, but he's no less relatable and the end of Jackson's film breaks my heart (in a good way) every time. I truly don't get the hate for it.

Really though, almost any version of Kong could make the top spot on my list just for being a giant gorilla who fights dinosaurs on a jungle island shaped like a skull. Does not get any better than that.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Daily Panel | Batman's secret lab

One more from Detective Comics #33 before we move on. After the origin story is over, this issue also reveals that Bruce Wayne has a secret lab behind a fake bookcase in his house. It's no Batcave - and for some reason he's still keeping his Batman costume in a trunk in the main part of the house (either that, or there's a large window in his "secret" lab) - but it's movement in that direction and an important development.

Tarzan 101 | Tarzan of the Stage

Celebrating Tarzan's 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

Tarzan has had two major stage adaptations. In 1920, Arthur Gibbons bought the rights to turn Burroughs' first novel into a British play starring Ronald Adair as Tarzan and Ivy Carlton as Jane. Tarzan of the Apes played in the provinces for about a year, but never hit London before it was closed due to labor strikes in the English theater industry.

In Fall of 1921, George Broadhurst brought the play (and Adair) to Broadway, adding live lions and re-casting Jane with Ethel Dwyer. Unfortunately, the U.S. version only played for a couple of weeks. Tarzan would be finished with the stage for the next 85 years.

Following its success at adapting Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King into Tony-winning Broadway shows, Disney took a shot at giving Tarzan the same treatment. Bob Crowley designed and directed the show, with Phil Collins returning to create an expanded score and David Henry Hwang (M Butterfly) writing the book. Hwang's version changed some of the irritating qualities of the cartoon, changing Terk into a mentor for Tarzan and eliminating Tantor altogether. For staging reasons, the film's elephant stampede and baboon chase were also retooled (changing the baboons into a giant spider, for instance).

The show starred American Idol participant Josh Strickland as Tarzan and Broadway vet Jenn Gambatese as Jane. But though it was nominated for a Tony (Best Lighting Design of a Musical), like it's non-musical predecessor, it didn't inspire huge ticket sales and closed after about a year. However, it continues to be produced in regional theaters all over the United States.

It did much better in Europe, inspiring versions in the Netherlands and Germany. Both countries ran reality show contests to cast their Tarzans. In the Netherlands it was Wie Wordt Tarzan? (Who Is Going to Be Tarzan?) and in Germany it was Ich Tarzan, Du Jane!. The Dutch version ran for two years and became the most successful musical in that country's history. The German version is also a huge hit and has been running since 2008.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daily Panel | Bruce Wayne, Master Scientist

I was planning to move on from Detective Comics #33 today, but this panel in Batman's origin (by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff) caught my attention.

A lot of notice gets paid to Bruce Wayne's physical and criminological training, but not so much chemistry. Of course, he'd have to be an expert chemist to come up with all those smoke bombs, sleeping gases, and Shark Repellent Bat Sprays, but it's more proof that Bruce Wayne could have been a positive influence on Gotham City if he hadn't been consumed by the need for vengeance.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Daily Panel | Cal McDonald meets Dusty the Mummy

I'll get back to Batman tomorrow, but was re-reading Steve Niles and Kelley Jones' Last Train to Deadsville and holy cow! I always forget how awesome Jones' monsters are until I come face to face with them again.

And tying this back to Batman: if you've never read Niles and Jones' Batman: Gotham After Midnight, you're missing out. One of my favorite Batman stories ever.

Kill All Monsters art and reviews

Three things: starting with this awesome pin-up by my good friend Gavin Spence. I love how he even worked in the zipatone effect. Thanks, Gav!

Then there's this picture that Robot God Akamatsu's writer James Biggie posted with evidence of his son's very discerning taste in literature.

And finally, I don't know I forgot to link to this earlier, but fellow Robot 6er JK Parkin very nicely talked about Kill All Monsters in our Report Card column after the graphic novel hit stores last month. I've known JK a long time and we have really similar tastes in comics, so it makes me especially happy that he digs KAM.

He writes, "May and Copland have engaged in some pretty cool world-building, taking the basic idea and running with it until they have something special that goes way beyond what you might expect from 'another giant monster title.'" Thanks so much, JK!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Daily Panel | 'Warring on all criminals'

After the cool, two-part story in Detective Comics 31-32, we get an interlude in 33 about Batman's fighting a guy in New York with a dirigible and a Napoleon complex (to the extent that he also tries his best to look like Napoleon). It's weird, because Detective 34 will send us back to Europe for an adventure during Batman's trip home from Hungary, so chronologically, issues 33 and 34 should be switched.

Detective 33 isn't best known for its Napoleon villain though, but because it finally reveals the origin of Batman. I like the panel above because it goes to show how much Batman's changed from the version portrayed by his creators. Like with the introduction of his code against killing, we've constructed a Batman who fights crime so that no one else has to suffer like he did. He does this at great personal cost, so it's ultimately an act of heroism, even if the way he goes about it is super flawed.

That's not the original version though, who was really just all about the vengeance. The murder of Bruce Wayne's parents was a terrifying experience for him that made him understandably angry at criminals. As Yoda wisely observed, fear leads to anger and anger leads to hate. That's the path that Batman's on, but what he doesn't seem to realize is the last part of Yoda's maxim: "hate leads to suffering." His thirst for vengeance isn't going to help Gotham. It will create more fear and start the cycle over again.

Batman started his mission from a really bad place and he's headed in a tragic direction unless something changes. Fortunately, Detective Comics #38 is coming up quick.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Daily Panel | Batman stays at the best hotels

Detective Comics #31 and 32 make up one of my favorite Batman stories of all time. In No. 31, Batman's fiance, Julie is kidnapped by a hooded villain called the Monk and taken to Hungary for mysterious purposes. No. 32 reveals that the Monk is actually a vampire, and he's not working alone. The woman Batman's carrying above is either under the Monk's power as well or is working with him. There's some question about it in the story, so I won't spoil which.

The "Carlathan" Mountains of Hungary are a perfect setting for a Batman tale. I mean, even the hotel is awesomely gothic and creepy. Add in the vampires, the werewolves they control, a horse-drawn coach, and Batman swinging everywhere on the rope ladder attached to his Bat-gyro, and it's just about perfect. Also note that Batman's gloves are now at a more familiar length. That changed with this story as well.

By this time (starting with Detective #30) Sheldon Moldoff was helping Bob Kane on inks, so the panel above (from Detective #32) is by Gardner Fox, Kane, and Moldoff.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Daily Panel | 'Where does he get those wonderful toys?'

Batman may drive a bright red sedan and keep his costume in a box in his study, but he starts adding some style in Detective Comics #31 (by Gardner Fox, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane).

The second weapon he mentions is, of course, the batarang in his hand. Julie is his fiance. Should be interesting to see how that relationship works out.


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