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The ’80s Revisited: Detective Comics #572

detective_comics_0572The Doomsday Book

By: Mike W. Barr
Colored by: Adrienne Roy
Edited by: Denny O’Neil
Cover: Michael William Kaluta
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: March 1987
Cover Price: $1.25

Chapter One:
Artist: Alan Davis
Letterer: John Workman

Chapter Two
Artists: Terry Beatty & Dick Giordano
Letters: Todd Klein
Colors: Carl Gafford

Chapter Three
Arists: Carmine Infantino, Al Vey
Letterer: Todd Klein
Colorist: Carl Gafford

Chapter Four
Artist: E.R. Cruz
Letterer: Romeo Francisco

Centerpiece
Dick Sprang

Chapter Five
Artists: Alan Davis, Paul Neary
Letterer: John Workman

dick_sprang_remembers_detective_572

I’m finding that I’m a bit of a sucker for ’80s anniversary issues. Especially ones like this, where it’s not some round number of an issue, not a bunch of variant covers, not a relaunch or renumbering, not even the culmination of some huge story that’s overly self-aware of numbering. This seems–essentially–to be a nice, hefty, done-in-one full-length self-contained adventure…and it’s not at all hard to see where this could (by present-day standards) be dragged out as some six-issue mini-series (at least) if not multiple 2-3 issues mini-series or such.

But of course that would fly in the face of an anniversary ISSUE. In this case, celebrating 50 years of the title, not Batman himself, though the caped crusader has a definite role in the issue!

What we get here is an extra-sized issue with story elements on multiple fronts, allowing multiple art teams to work on the title, as well as the writer to flex and work with different characters that aren’t strictly Batman or his immediate Bat-group. This issue is from a time much closer to the title’s historical format with multiple characters sharing the title…even though Batman’s been the most prominent character, a number of other characters "came up" through the title, not necessarily related specifically to Batman or stories involving Batman himself.

I’ve been aware of Barr‘s work for a long time…and while I’ve come to know him as the writer of Batman: Year Two, and Camelot 3000, and Batman and the Outsiders and whatnot…I most associate him with Mantra, one of my favorite Ultraverse titles growing up in the ’90s. That a creator of a character I thoroughly enjoyed there also has such a history with Batman has been icing on the cake, so to speak.

I’ve primarily read Detective Comics from #604-onward…very much after the "anthology" format was basically jettisoned and it’s been just another Batman title. So while aware of its history, I haven’t actually read much of that history…at least not while of any age to truly appreciate it (I know I’ve read a number of issues from Grandpa’s collection, back in my earliest comic days, but that was a quarter-century ago!).

Slam Bradley finds himself with a client who’s under the gun–literally. Though Batman and Robin intervene for the moment, there’s more to the situation–and story–and he’s determined to figure it out. What he doesn’t count on is learning of a couple names with prominent ties to the past: Watson…and Moriarty. The Elongated Man–Ralph Dibny–gets involved, with a personal encounter with the villain at hand, confirming what Slam Bradley had learned. We then jump to "the past," and a tale of Sherlock Holmes…fitting to the continuity of this issue’s story, while being simply a new Sherlock Holmes story, and certainly celebrating the title Detective Comics.  The various branches of the overall story converge and we get back to Batman and Robin being on the page as all the characters come together…including a rather surprising (to the characters) figure, one that I had actually come to think would not be present in quite the way they turned out to be.

This issue is just over 30 years old, but I still step around stuff a bit. Consider this your spoiler warning.

After this line, I get into "spoilers," as I would if this had not been a three-decade old back-issue.

Batman meets a significantly-aged Sherlock Holmes here. As this was published in 1987, along with being the 50th anniversary of Detective Comics, it was the 100th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes. And with a mention of living conditions and such, and just HOW old the character looks at the end of this issue…it may have been a bit of a stretch to consider a man would live to be over 120 years old (if he was already an adult in adventures in 1887). Of course, 30 years later, this is no longer plausible in the slightest…at least to me. So it "dates" the issue, but in a good way…and it was a pleasant surprise to find that the cover was not JUST a case of being some thematic team-up where both characters appear in the course of the issue but don’t directly interact…we actually get to see Batman meet THE Sherlock Holmes. (Though I’m not gonna get into the meta-stuff of characters recognizing the STORIES but then having the story-accurate character showing up in their midst as a "real guy").

Though there were multiple art teams for the issue, with them being split up across different chapters (instead of several pages here, several there) it really served the story, and kept things from seeming choppy or such. Batman didn’t seem to be in much of the issue, but where he was, he seemed "’80s-accurate" to me; and the other characters (that I’m less familiar with, particularly from this time frame) all work and don’t stand out as contradictory to whatever I do know about them. The cover led me to believe (in conjunction with something I’d read in the past) that the focus of the issue might’ve been a Batman/Sherlock Holmes team-up/adventure. I was initially disappointed, as I thought when I bought the issue that it’d be a team-up. As the issue went on, it took on more a sense of reality, history, and "legacy" that I found intriguing…such that it was simply a treat to have the aged Holmes show up at the end as he did.

There’s a nice "center spread" by Dick Sprang that makes for a good touch, and far out-beats contemporary practices where it would have been a variant cover or a couple of variant covers. It’s just a nice double-page art piece showcasing Sprang‘s take on the characters.

I believe I paid $6 for this issue, against its $1.25 cover price. By contemporary comics’ standards, this was well worth that price and then some. For time it took to read, it more than out-matched contemporary comics, at the "inflated" or "priced back issue" dollar I paid for it. This would absolutely be worth getting out of a bargain bin…and I have no problem with having paid a slightly more "premium" price for it as an actual, priced back issue and not something from a bargain bin. This stands alone as a singular, strong issue, and other than knowing that the characters exist, you don’t really need to know any present-day (at the time) continuity to enjoy this issue; FROM this issue, I would not be able to tell you myself offhand what was going on in issues immediately before or immediately after this issue.

Highly recommended!

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A Glimpse of the Art Wall

I finally managed to work out lighting and an angle to get a photo that–though it doesn’t manage to show off everything actually hanging–at least shows off a bit more of the size and "shape" of my "Art Wall."

art_wall_from_below_06222017

Basically, it’s one of the walls of the staircase down to the basement. I started out just pushing pins into the wall to hang a couple frames for safekeeping–it was gonna be temporary placement–but then I started adding more frames, as I found ones that worked very well for holding posters from old ’90s comics and such–from Batman issues, Robin III: Cry of the Huntress, and Reign of the Supermen as well as others. I’ve also placed some frames with comics–particularly variants that were actually display-worthy "prints" to get and such.

There’s no real "order" to the wall, as I pretty much just keep adding toward the bottom of the stairs as I find/frame something new. I may eventually get to where I replace some posters for other stuff, and might swap out the comics to keep the wall more of an "art" wall than a "show off comics" wall…but time will tell!

IMG_9817_2

This second photo’s another attempt to capture an angle of the wall…this time from the top of the stairs looking down.

I feel like the photos are really crummy compared to what I’d usually post…but these frames are basically a sheet of glass over the front, and are quite reflective at certain angles: so with better lighting, there’s more glare and reflection than viewing the actual art. But actually walking down the stairs, it’s easy to see and enjoy the art.

Just one of those things, I guess, where the real-life experience can’t be duplicated with photos online…c’est la vie and all that!

The Weekend #HPBHaul (Weekend of June 23-25)

Along with getting to see a dear friend for the first time in far, far too long…I got to visit three Half-Price Books locations that are out of my usual range. Perhaps because of not being usual haunts, and the last time I’d been to any of the three had to have been at least two years or so ago, I found some stuff at each that proved enough of an interest to actually purchase.

weeklyhaul_06212017c

At the first one, I found a very good-condition copy of Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman. I’ve listened to the Graphic Audio production of this book and quite enjoyed it. Having the hardback (not just some paperback) is fantastic!

Then, I found a set of all ten of the Double Take volumes. I already had seven of the ten…but I’ll be darned if I could’ve remembered which. But fortunately…I periodically try to get photos of my shelves for just such occasions, and was able to –in that way–"look at my shelves" to see which ones were there, and pick out the three to complete my set!

weeklyhaul_06212017d

At the next location, I found the Superman: New Krypton vol. 3 that completes my set of that series of paperbacks. I still need to track down Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 1 in paperback and then I’ll be all set on that story.

This copy of The Further Adventures of Batman is probably THE best-condition copy I’ve seen yet of the paperback. And for Knight of the Black Rose, I thought this was a good-condition copy compared to others I’ve seen, and opted to snag it to add to my Dragonlance collection (yeah, it’s a Ravenloft book, but the character originates in Dragonlance!)

weeklyhaul_06212017e

At the third/final HPB, I happened across these two Superman sourcebooks. The covers alone make them of interest…as well as their subject matter! There were at least half a dozen other DC supplements in addition to these–after the earlier purchases and other stuff going on, there was no way I could justify getting all of them…especially as they’re for a game I doubt I’ll ever actually play. The two Superman ones are justified for me because they’re Superman!

There were several Owly volumes. I’ve always meant to give the book a shot, but never got around to it. I grabbed the cutest-looking one and we’ll see. I can’t imagine not liking it, though!

And finding the Captain America and the Falcon volume makes me highly glad I held off on buying it before at a higher cost. In its own way, this goes with the Black Panther volumes I already have–collecting the Priest run. Since this series, too, was Priest, it’s been on my radar since getting the last Black Panther volume.

pop_movie_wonder_woman

Then at a Walmart, I came across a display box full of the various Wonder Woman movie Pop figures. For this first time (offhand) since I started seeing the line in stores, I actually found the title character herself!

There was a Walmart-exclusive version with a different body pose and without her sword. I liked the look of this "regular" non-exclusive version better, having the sword and shield.

I haven’t cared for many of the "movie versions" of characters…but Wonder Woman is a definite exception for me! I’m also not a huge fan of mask-less human characters for the Pop range of figures–the faces being accentuated and being so plain and boring tends to be an issue for me. But again…for this one, I made an exception.


I actually stopped in at a fourth HPB location on Sunday–this one the closest to home and my most "usual" one…and found nothing of interest enough to buy. A few things to look at more closely than just walking past…but nothing that jumped out as wanting to buy right now or that I’d miss if I didn’t buy.

While I highly disagree with the "base" $2 price for single-issue comics in HPB stores…the "usual" one is one of the stores I tend to get the most frustrated with in their mixing high-price out-of-print volumes in with the main collection.

At the three others I visited over the weekend, I did not have any cases at all of something catching my eye but then being sticker-shocked. Everything was at least the store’s premise of half-price if not more and so made me a rather happy camper (so to speak).


weeklyhaul_06212017e_blogtrailer

The ’90s Revisited: Robin #1

90s_revisited

robin001Big Bad World

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Tom Lyle
Inker: Bob Smith
Letterer: Tim Harkins
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Editors: Dan Raspler, Denny O’Neil
Cover: Brian Bolland
Published by: DC Comcis
Cover Date: January 1991
Cover Price: $1.00

I’ve read this issue before. This might even be the third time I’ve read it–I’m not sure at this point. But for this particular read-through…it came about because I wanted the POSTER that was bound into the issue, without having to rummage through a bunch of unsorted longboxes–so I bought a copy just for the poster. But since I was "handling" the issue, I decided to read it…and quite enjoyed it overall, though unfortunately not quite as much as I’d thought I would.

I’m pretty sure this issue picks up essentially from the pages of a Batman issue, as I seem to recall a scene of Tim debuting the new costume before Bruce and Alfred; but that’s clearly already happened by the time this issue opens.

We open on Tim in the Batcave with Bruce; wearing the then-new (but now highly familiar to me) ’90s Robin costume–the red body, wide yellow belt, green pants, tall/dark boots…and the stylized "R"; as well as the two-colored cape: yellow on the inside, the classic yellow; but black on the outside, so he can wrap into it and blend into shadows same as Batman…not "glow in the dark" or such. The two discuss Tim’s readiness TO be the new Robin, in a bit of Tim’s doubt that I don’t quite remember, but fits for the time. Tim decides to further ready himself, now that he’s "passed" Batman’s training is to take his own journey to train with others in preparation for his role. He heads to Europe, where we quickly learn that another figure from Batman’s past is active: Shiva. Meanwhile, Tim finds the master he sought, though some details aren’t as he expected. He gets drawn into a situation that calls for what Robin can do, that Tim Drake can’t, and gains a potential ally, even as he considers what it’d mean to fail, to let down the Batman.

Which is all a grandiose, vague summary of the issue. It’s interesting to consider a number of "firsts" at the time this was released–first action in the new costume, first "solo" Tim Drake adventure, Tim’s first issue as Robin, first issue of any series–mini or otherwise–of the solo-billed Robin title, etc. And I’ll be doggonned if I am aware of any variant covers. Really! All these firsts…and other than (perhaps) a second printing or such, or maybe some kind of foil-y something or other that I’m not consciously aware of at present, this is THE issue. Period. One cover. One issue. A Brian Bolland image.

Story-wise, this is a very solid first issue. Though I mentioned recollection of a scene preceding this, that’s not integral to this issue. We simply pick up on Tim in costume, apparently freshly made officially Robin, and through dialogue get a bit more detail to fill in gaps on his background and our getting here. He’s given a ‘quest’, we’re introduced to threats and antagonists in addition to the self-set challenge, and get drawn into the story.

I said above I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would–it’s a good issue, and fairly enjoyable in and of itself; certainly nostalgic…especially for me. But that’s part of the problem. One of Tim’s first couple cameos before his full appearance in A Lonely Place of Dying was my first-ever Batman comic…this character was introduced AS I got into comics, and is still around. But this issue by itself–not re-reading the lead-up, not having the rest of the issues handy nor the time to read their contents in one of the TPBs, this is just a snippet of early-Tim Drake stuff. And since this isn’t an ongoing series but "merely" a finite five-issue story, there’s less "need" for the kind of hook an ongoing might need…and I think I frustrated myself not being able to just read the whole story handily in one go.

robin001_posterThe art is quite good, and rather iconic to me. Looking at this, it just screams "early Tim/Robin" to me. The cover isn’t horrible…but the way Robin’s face is, this has gotta be one of the creepiest-looking Robins I can think of! The costume, cape, etc work…but the face just doesn’t fit Tim. I also like that the "corner art" seems to be a carryover from what I recall offhand of the main Batman issues, cementing this as what it is–its own thing, starring Batman’s sidekick, but in a solo title that does NOT emphasize Batman.

If you find this in a bargain bin–or heck, find it for $2 or under, I highly recommend it! Particularly if you’re a fan of Robin, or specifically Tim Drake. But I’d recommend trying to acquire the entire 5-issue mini-series rather than just this isolated issue.

Unless you want the poster…in which case, that ALONE is worth at least a couple dollars!

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 21, 2017

Well, this turned into a far larger week price-wise than I’d had any intention of…of course, a lot of that goes to some deals, and a couple more of DC‘s $4.99 DC/ILooney Tunes books! And a back-issue.

weeklyhaul_06212017a

Of course, the weekly Superman book–in this case, this week it’s the actual Superman title itself…pretty much concluding the Black Dawn story in an "oversized" "anniversary" #25 issue. Then we have Lobo/Road Runner and Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil which, so help me, intrigue me. Super Sons has another issue–I need to make sure I’m caught up to the previous issue. I think I am, but I’m not 100%.

Then just for the novelty of it AND so I won’t have to HUNT for the first issue later, SwordQuest as I’m just curious how the story really will go after the #0 issue…though I don’t like the $3.99 price point. I’ve been getting God Country, and probably should have just waited for the collected volume, as I don’t think I’ve actually read #3 to present.

And finally, because of that darned cover, and figuring if nothing else it’ll go with the last #1 Darth Vader I bought, I figured I’d give the thing a try, now out of the "first week sales figures" range and all that, and it was there, and still cover price. I did NOT, however, buy #2 that came out this week.

weeklyhaul_06212017b

As expensive as three $5 issues and several $4 issues were…I’d had no expectation of finding any great deals on more collected volumes. But for less than the price of 2 Marvel issues, got the oversized hardcover of Wolverine: Sabretooth, collecting two stories. While I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, it’s still Wolverine, the actual, genuine, regular, true, original character.

Then for roughly the same as seven Marvel single-issues, got the three volumes of Excalibur Visionairies: Warren Ellis. I don’t know if I knew these existed, but all three available together and for this pricing…I couldn’t pass ’em up. And hey…they’re all ’90s or early-2000s X-stuff…especially the Excalibur volumes.

These even put Half-Price Books to shame…and really put convention pricing to shame.

All in all, a big week and plenty of reading to do, and I’m still a hugely long way off from ever catching up. Such is the life of a comic person, I guess…

The ’90s Revisited: X-Men Series 1, Cards 10-18

Here we get into several of the characters I know a lot better, and definitely associate with the ’90s…though also one that I remember by name, but at a glance don’t even remember any details!

xmen_series1_full_010-018

We also see where this set seems to pre-date the "consciousness" of cards like this likely being stored in 9-pocket pages and the "use" of that structure. Given one page late in this series, they weren’t entirely without that, but having just one "landscape" card amidst eight "portrait" cards doesn’t exactly work well for the aesthetics of the "page"…

010a

Lockheed’s had a number of looks, and seems a bit malleable…at least to my conscious mind. This image makes him look a bit larger–so it’s the "conscious" knowledge of his being smaller that I can know that.

010b

I’d swear I’ve seen images of Lockheed on Kitty Pryde’s shoulder like a parrot…but 55 lbs? That definitely stretches stuff a bit. I don’t remember much detail of the character over the years, but this card’s info doesn’t seem to be contradictory to anything…just a bit outta date. And I knew how he got his name, but forgot til re-reading the card. I probably knew that originally from this card. Or Wikipedia.

011a

Given Xavier’s place in the X-Men story, I’m surprised he wasn’t the first card…but then, they’re not going alphabetically nor in order of first appearance and not even by team, so…yeah. This is a fairly typical image of the character, and though I have fond memories of the look (with the golden hover-chair) it seems so dated now, afer getting used to the character in actual wheelchairs or with his legs restored.

011b

Xavier’s description here is pretty generic…and certainly precedes Onslaught, the Illuminati stuff, and obviously the likes of AvX. Though I suppose as I think about it…those added a certain depth the character hadn’t had…even if retcons get old and stale fast.

012a

I’m sure I’ve seen this image–or at least the pose–a number of places other than this card. It’s typical Jim Lee, typical of this character (at least in this ’90s incarnation), etc.

012b

…but no mention on the card of her past, or that this (apparently) isn’t her original body and whatnot. I’m fuzzy on the details, not having read the "Siege Perilous" stuff first-hand as yet, even after all these years.

013a

While I’m sure I was aware of the character before then, I feel like most of my conscious memory of Domino came after the Age of Apocalypse stuff, in the Cable title. This image of her seems a bit harsher and more generic than what I picture in my mind when I think of the character.

013b

This card pretty much sums up what I’d be able to say about the character, despite remembering her from those issues of Cable. And I would not have been able to cite her first appearance or tell you offhand that she’d first appeared in New Mutants #98. This description seems "typical ’90s," as is fitting.

014a

My conscious introduction to Storm was the ’92 X-Men animated series…that look, and that voice are the definitive Storm for me. This card’s image is fairly typical for what I’d think of with the character, except I wouldn’t have recalled her cape having the purple tint or the gold trim.

014b

Nothing stands out much for this card (though I’m noticing the weights of characters seems rather questionable). Her "X-tra Fact" is something I don’t think I’d consciously realized until a recent-ish Nightcrawler series. I have the feeling by the time I’m done offering commentary on this series of cards, I’m gonna be thoroughly kicking myself for not (yet) having gotten to the bulk of the Claremont run.

015a

Meggan…ok. Blond Siryn? For all that my memory has on the character at a name and image.

015b

Huh. Ok, interesting–and here’s a character I’ve learned about by going through these cards. I also like the X-Tra Fact…that’s the sorta detail I definitely took to heart as a kid, and would hold as relatively "absolute" in terms of continuity.

016a

Feral! This is the character I previously couldn’t think of, that I always mix up with Wolfsbane! Two female were-wolf-like characters, X-characters at that, with association with X-Force…no wonder I’ve mixed them up!

016b

So, I probably mix up the names, but most often would think of Wolfsbane, when it comes to the two characters. More details here that I’d hold as certain and be disappointed to not see reflected in a generic, casual appearance of the character involving any kind of action or such.

017a

Now, Cyclops. Possibly my favorite X-character, and this is by far my favorite costume…though I’d swear I never consciously took in all the pouches in the early ’90s. I like the blue, and the gold; I’ll grant that the shorts are rather dated, but the contrast of yellow and blue–evoking prior costumes while becoming iconic for the ’90s–just works for me!

017b

This is another fairly generic description…and it’s quite interesting to see how MUCH the character has grown and changed since the early-1990s…though I really have NOT cared for what’s been done with him since AvX.

018a

I have a mixed bit of thought on Gambit…but he remains one of my definite favorites of the X-Men, for his role in the ’92 cartoon and the Fabian Nicieza series from ’99ish. This is a classic sort of look for the character, and the one I prefer…regardless of how dated or "’90s" it is.

018b

Interesting. Remy Lebeau. I just think of the name with the character…so to consider his name unrevealed (in any form) is a bit odd…but then, he was introduced at most two years before this card was printed, and I’ve been myself aware of the character for most of the last 25-ish years!

I’m more aware OF the "early" stuff with the character, not having actually read his first appearance as yet and "met" the character via the animated series, and he’d already undergone some development well before I realized how "new" a character he was at the time!


Here’s my last post, comments covering the first 9 cards of this series.

Funko Batman ’66 Batmobile with Batman & Robin

I (somehow) managed to forget that I’d ordered this last week, when I opted to buy the Adam West Batman Bust Bank over the weekend. Perhaps I was torn on it and figured I could still cancel the order (I didn’t). Whatever the case…it arrived Monday.

batman66_batmobile_box

There was also a factor of the price–getting this much cheaper ordering online than had I bought it in a store in-person.

The box is snazzy and not bad as a window-box or whatnot…but you just don’t get the greatest sense of the Batmobile and the figures with everything roped into place inside a brightly-colored box!

batman66_batmobile_side1

Some of the car gets lost in the angles of the box…out of the box, easy enough to just see the car for itself, and the sheer awesomeness that is this car!

batman66_batmobile_back

Sadly, there’s no flame effect for the back. Atomic batteries to power…turbines to speed indeed.

batman66_batmobile_batman_robin_right

And while the car is cool enough on its own…it’s even better with its classic occupants!

batman66_batmobile_batman_robin_left

At either angle, they look good in this!

My only real complaint with the set is that the capes aren’t particularly removable…nor are they cloth, and so it’s hard to get the figures to actually SIT in the vehicle. I had to put Batman’s cape over the back of his seat for the figure to actually sit down in and not be standing up outta the seat.

batman66_batmobile_batman_robin_side

I am not a "car guy" or such. But if you wanna talk cool-looking cars, or a "dream car" and all that…the 1966 Batmobile is that for me.

As with the Bust Bank over the weekend…I hold that it’s a shame it took West‘s passing to remind me how much he and his portrayal of Batman meant to me–really meant–and while I feel sorta guilty "suddenly" getting stuff like this…I do feel like it’s before the items disappear or otherwise go full-on collectors’-items because of the man’s death. I wouldn’t want to have to "hunt" for these or pay jacked-up "premium prices" because someone raises the price on "Adam West memorabilia" or such.


I’ll leave off with a clip I found while looking for something else, but that I found quite interesting:

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