Category Archives: comics

In Memoriam: Adam West 1928-2017

A sad day for comic book fans. Adam West, 60s icon and our original Batman, succumbed to Leukemia on June 9th and I found out on Twitter late Saturday, June 10th. Batman has always been a part of my life. I would occasionally see reruns on television as a kid, thinking it was a straight up action show, unaware of the camp factor. Then it came back into my life when in 2002 TV Land added it to its schedule by airing a “Batmanathon” hosted by Adam West himself.  Last year, I was able to buy all three seasons – digitally remastered – on DVD.

Batman was not Batman without Adam West. The man knew how to deliver campy lines with a straight face, but not take the role too seriously. Can you imagine any one else in that role doing the same thing? I can’t. Maybe it helped that he had that distinctive voice which helped him land voice over roles in his later years. Just yesterday, I watched “Beware the Gray Ghost”, an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in which West lent his voice to the character of Simon Trent, a washed up actor who portrayed a childhood hero of Bruce Wayne’s, The Gray Ghost, and helps Batman catch a serial bomber. It’s one of the most touching episodes of the series as it shows Batman helping a down on his luck actor come to the realization that his role as the Gray Ghost wasn’t a waste but an inspiration to others. It was also art imitating life as for years West found it hard to find roles due to being typecast as Batman. But those that grew up watching Batman in the 1960s never forgot the Batmania that swept the country and turned Adam West and Burt Ward into superstars. Despite disappointment from some die-hard fans than the series betrayed the comic’s more serious roots, some (myself included) are finding the series to be a breath of fresh air in an age of a dire, gloomy Dark Knights. You can keep your Keatons, your Bales, your Kilmers and your Afflecks, Adam West … is … Batman and I’m sad that I never got to meet him. But he will live on in the roles he played on television and on Thursday, June 15th, the Mayor of Los Angeles will light a Bat-Signal in honor of West.

In the meantime, let’s list some of the most memorable (and hilarious) quotes uttered by the Caped Crusader:

“I’ll stand at the bar. I shouldn’t wish to attract attention.” – Hi Diddle Riddle 

“What a terrible way to go-go.” – Smack in the Middle

“If you can’t trust Santa, then who can you trust?” – I’m not sure which episode this one comes from but it was one of the famous “window cameos”.

“I’d like to think that it’s because our hearts are pure.” – Or this one but it’s more than likely a Catwoman (Julie Newmar) episode.

“Boys and girls, go back to your studies. Believe me, nothing in life is free!” – The Joker Goes to School

“Bartender, a bit of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly.” – He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul

“Another trap! And I intend to walk right into it.” – The Bookworm Turns

“Batman to Gotham City police, Batman to Gotham City police! Red alert, red alert! We are trapped inside a cookbook at 5th & Cedar!” – While Gotham City Burns

“It fits like my glove!” – Death in Slow Motion

“You owe your life to dental hygiene.” – The Riddler’s False Notion

“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” – Batman the Movie

“Man cannot live by crime-fighting alone.” – Batman’s Waterloo

Goodnight and Godbless Mr. West. We will never forget you.

 

 

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Filed under comics, DC Comics, television, tv superheros

Forgotten Women of Comics #1: Moon Girl

moongirl

Ask any average person on the street to name a woman superhero or female comic book character and most people will choose Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, Lois Lane or Betty and Veronica. Many have argued about the lack of prominent supersheroes in comics and point out that Wonder Woman is the only supershero that wasn’t a sidekick, relative, love interest or spinoff of a male superhero.

But that wasn’t the case nearly 80 years ago. Wonder Woman was just one of the many heroic female characters that excited readers – both male and female – back when America was trudging through the Great Depression, coping with the harsh realities of war and struggling with putting the country back together afterwards. Possibly inspired by the jobs women were taking up to help the war effort, publishing companies that specialized in comics came out with titles chronicling the adventures of lady heroes like The Lady in Red, Miss Fury, the Spider Widow, Pat Patriot, Miss Victory, et al; women who donned costumes to fight crime and corruption when needed. Some of those women had superpowers. Wonder Woman was among them and so was Moon Girl.

In 1947 publisher Max Gaines of EC Comics created a character that was similar to Princess Diana in many ways. She was the daughter of the queen of the fictional city of Samarkand, a matriarchy not unlike Wonder Woman’s Themyscira. However, unlike Themyscira, men were allowed to visit Samarkand and one man in particular, Prince Mengu, falls in love with Moon Girl. At first Moon Girl wants nothing to do with the prince but her mother tells her: “It is decreed that the man who takes you for his wife must first prove his superior strength!” Nevertheless the Queen gives her a necklace made of moonstone. “Once you wear the moonstone, no man will be your master!”

With the moonstone around her neck, Moon Girl easily beats Prince Mengu in a contest and the defeated prince leaves. Realizing that she actually loves him, she leaves Samarkand in search of him only to find that he’s moved to America and is working as a college coach. By now you can guess what happens next. In America, Moon Girl beats the prince in a shotputting match (thanks to the moonstone) and he realizes who she really is. But instead of getting married and living happily ever after, the couple decides to stay in the United States to fight crime. Moon Girl adopts the identity of Clair Lune and becomes a teacher.

Moon Girl and the Prince (its real title) lasted for 12 issues. Sadly, the writers didn’t know what to do with the character and the series evolved from a superhero genre to a romance comic (A Moon, A Girl…Romance) to disappearing entirely.

Until now.

Whilst browsing in a local comic book shop, I came upon a reprint of Moon Girl #3 and bought it. The comic was reprinted by Canton Street Press under their Flashback Replica Series, which are:

…exact reproductions of historically significant or key comic books from the 1940s and 1950s. Each page is fully restored with careful attention to line, work and colors. All editorial and ad pages are included. Collect the entire series!

The series includes Moon Girl #1-7. No. 3 has four stories: “Rockets For Riches”, “Sky Sabotage”, “The Spirit of Kokama” and “Moon Girl…Wanted for Murder”. The first story pits Moon Girl against the evil, emerald clad she-devil Satana, who is launching rockets at cities. The second story involves Moon Girl salvaging a pilot’s reputation. The third story brings Moon Girl back to her hometown of Samarkand to rescue her mother from the clutches of the traitorous Ka-zhan and the fourth story speaks for itself. I enjoyed reading these stories and look forward to collecting the other MG titles in CSP’s Flashback Replica Series. If your interested in buying and reading the adventures of Moon Girl, here’s Canton Street Press’s official site.

For more information about Moon Girl, see The Great Women Superheroes, written by Trina Robbins. Sadly out of print but still available to buy from Amazon! Stayed tuned for the next entry in my Forgotten Women of Comics. Who will it be???

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4 Stories Worth Reading From “Elseworlds: Justice League Vol 1”

In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places – some that have existed, or might have existed, and others that can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t exist. The result: stories that make characters who are as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow.

DC’s official description for their Elseworlds imprint.

What if Batman lived in the Victorian age? What if baby Kal-El’s rocket landed in the U.S.S.R.? What if Scheherazade (you know, the author of the 1001 Nights) was secretly a Green Lantern? These were some of the many stories published under DC’s Elseworlds banner.

What is “Elseworlds” you ask? It was a 1989-2003 imprint published by DC Comics that took their licensed characters and put them in stories that took place outside their canonical timeline. An alternate history for superheroes you might say. Oftentimes they were published as mini-series, one shots and annuals and they were published with a logo that looked like this so as not to confuse readers. Other comic companies like Marvel and Dynamite also got in on the act. The story possibilities were endless. I own a few titles: Superman: Red Son, Green Lantern: 1001 Emerald Nights and Superman: War of the Worlds. But there are other titles that I was coveting but couldn’t find any copies because most of them are out of print. Sure, I could buy some titles but they aren’t always cheap and some are incomplete – meaning you can only find issue #1 of JLA: Shogun of Steel and that’s about it.

Until now.

From the kindness of their hearts, DC is reprinting these long lost stories as trade paperback anthologies. Elseworlds: Batman Vol. 1 was released in April of 2016. Batman Vol. 2 was released in October of 2016 and Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 1 saw the light of day on July 19, 2016 (Elseworlds: Batman Vol. 3, Justice League Vol. 2 and Superman Vol. 1 & 2 will be released this year).

It was on one rainy day, I was perusing through my second favorite comic book shop that I happened upon a copy of Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 1. It had the stories I had been dying to read for years and then some. I will recommend four stories from this anthology along with their authors and main artist.

Elseworld’s Finest Parts 1 & 2 (John Francis Moore & Kieron Dwyer)

1928 versions of Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Bruce Wayne, Lana Lang, Ra’s al Ghul and Lex Luthor in a story that pays homage to pulp adventure stories, Jules Verne, archaeology and hidden cities. Oh yeah, and Jimmy reads Captain Marvel.

Justice Riders (Chuck Dixon & J.H. Williams III)

It’s 1873 and US Marshal Diana Prince is horrified to discover that Paradise, the town she has sworn to protect, has been blown to smithereens (literally) while she was away. She enlists the help of Kid Flash, a quick draw gunslinger and Katar Johnson, a Cheyenne warrior who flies with help of artificial hawk wings. As they are attacked by Maxwell Lord’s mechanical henchmen, they’re saved by Booster Gold and inventor Ted “Beetle” Kord. It turns out that Maxwell Lord and Felix Faust were behind the annihilation of Paradise all along and together, with the extra help of Pinkerton agent Guy Gardner and man hunter John Jones, the Justice Riders (a name coined by Kord) take down the robber baron and the sorcerer.

Wonder Woman: Amazonia (William Messner-Loebs & Phil Winslade)

Originally published in an oversized 8″ by 11″ format to show off the “engraved” (and occasional art nouveau) artwork.

Queen Victoria is dead! Long live King Jack Planters! Yep, the Victorian era has given way to the Plantagenet era and the misogyny and the imperialism of the era is taken up to 11 thanks to the toxic masculinity King Jack preaches. But in these dark times, one amazing woman stands out: Diana Trevor, the Wonder Woman, who by day performs feats of strength for audiences and by night, protects the lives of threatened women. It’s her courage and kindness that eventually brings down Jack’s cruel regime. This story is a must-read for all fans of steampunk and the Amazon princess.

Elseworld’s Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl (Barbara Kesel & Matt Haley)

Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman. Bruce Wayne mentors Barbara Gordon. Barbara Gordon is Batgirl. Batgirl rules Gotham City with an iron fist. Batgirl mistrusts metahumans. Lex Luthor shows up in Gotham with Supergirl. Supergirl loves Lex. Lex gets abducted by the Joker, who loves Batgirl. Supergirl wants to rescue Lex. Batgirl won’t let her. The two team up reluctantly. They discover Lex and the Joker are working together and Lex has been hiding a very dark secret…

Well that’s it. Agree? Disagree? Have you read Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 1? What were your favorite stories? Have you read any other Elseworld titles/anthologies? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait for vol. 2!

 

 

 

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Filed under comics, DC Comics, Short Stories Worth Reading, speculative fiction, Wonder Woman

Yay! There’s a New Wonder Woman Trailer!

Warner Bros. has released the official Wonder Woman trailer. And I’ve viewed it 4 times already. And the first viewing spread a huge smile across my face. Here’re my thoughts on this second trailer:

  • Themyscira is gorgeous! The waters are crystal blue and the beach is white. Was it filmed in Hawaii or New Zealand or some other island? You’ll notice how Diana’s clean, majestic city is a sharp contrast to the smoggy city that Steve Trevor takes Diana to. Which city is it anyway? Is it Paris or London?
  • We now know that the disfigured woman is a villain. Some speculate she’s Dr. Poison. But is she the Big Bad of the story or is she a henchwoman? And once again, what is Danny Huston’s role in all this? Is he a weapons dealer or something more?
  • How did those soldiers find Themyscira? Does this mean that it’s not in the Bermuda Triangle, making it easier to find?
  • I like the scene where Steve tells Hippolyta: “you’re in more danger than you think.” It reminds me of the anti-isolationist stance (some believed) Marston was using in the early days of Wonder Woman. Bonus points for Diana’s firm stance on defending others.
  • Diana looks like she’s sneaking into the armory. Is it part of the traditional Amazon contest or is she defying her mothers’ law? Will there be scenes of an Amazon contest to bring Trevor back to Man’s World?
  • Another funny scene between Diana and Etta Candy, who will probably help acclimatize her to Man’s World. This may be our first fish-out-of-water superhero movie (sorry Thor, you don’t count).
  • I’m glad to finally see a “bullets and bracelets” scene.
  • I like how Diana slowly climbs out of a trench and Steve screams “DIANA!” It shows he truly cares about her.
  • Who was the Amazon that swung behind Diana and was shot by a bullet? Does she get killed? Did Diana become so distracted by saving Steve that she neglected her duties to her sisters?
  • The look on Diana’s face is priceless/precious when Steve calls her his secretary. If you remember the Comic-Con trailer, you’d understand why this is so ironic.

But, a word of caution. This is the first  live action theatrical Wonder Woman film in movie history. It’s also the first major superhero movie directed by a woman. It has a lot riding on it. It’s expected to prove that female-led superhero movies can make a profit. It’s expected to please Wonder Woman’s fans which is the most divisive fandom in comics. In other words: broken base, thy name is Wonder Woman. I believe we shouldn’t set our hopes too high so that if the film doesn’t live up to some people’s expectations, we’ll have years of disgruntled fans bashing and shaming DC like Star Wars fans did to  George Lucas after the prequels. I will see this movie because I want Hollywood to learn that women-led films can make money and become classics. But most movies I’ve liked had trailers/commercials that interested me, so this film looks promising.

Another thing I want to address is the killjoy Marvel fans who accuse this film of ripping off Captain America: The First Avenger. It proves how little they know their history. This film takes place during World War One, as I’ve said time and time again, Captain America takes place during World War Two. World War One = trenches, biplanes, gas masks. World War Two = fighter planes, GIs, Nazis. Heck, Steve Rogers is a baby during the First World War. I believe the reason the filmmakers chose to break with tradition and place Diana’s story during the Great War was so that they could avoid these accusations in the first place.

Well those are my thoughts. What are yours? What did you like about the Wonder Woman trailer? What are you looking forward to seeing in the movie?

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Filed under comics, Wonder Woman, world war 1 fantastic

Thoughts On the “Wonder Woman” SDCC Trailer

 

It appears that DC is stealing the show at Comic-Con at the moment (though to be fair, there’s a lot of buzz over that “Doctor Strange” trailer and Captain Marvel casting announcement too). The one thing everyone’s talking about: the Wonder Woman trailer, of course! I watched it online four times and I have to admit it looks exciting! As I mentioned before, it’ll take place during World War 1, which I think shows creativity on DC/Warner Bros. part. Not only will it give the world the female superhero-led movie we’ve all been waiting for, it may arouse future generations’ curiosity about a long forgotten, centuries old world war.

My thoughts:

  • It’ll be released into theaters June 2, 2017. That’s one year after Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary and 100 years since the US declared war against Germany.
  • At first, I was skeptical about Gal Godot’s casting as Diana Prince but after seeing her in action in BVS and this trailer, boy was I glad she was hired. She’s beautiful, tall, exotic, confident, athletic and I love her accent.
  • I also lllooovvvee that blue dress she wears (the one with the hidden sword).
  • I’m glad they included a scene where she meets Etta Candy for the first time and Etta (who’s British!) gushes about how much she likes her. It’s a total opposite from DC’s 2009 animated film where all Etta does is flirt with Steve Trevor and Diana thinks low of her.
  • It’s a relief to see another actress take up the mantel of WW from Lynda Carter so that future generations of fans can talk about which incarnation is their favorite. Think about it: for years Batman fans had Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and now Ben Affleck, while Superman fans had Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill. Wonder Woman fans had only Lynda Carter. But I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of the 70s Wonder Woman series because it’s so dated in it’s approach to the character. If this film does well, hopefully it’ll give DC the confidence to hire other actresses to step into the boots of the Amazon Princess.

Now for my questions:

  • Who is that general played by Danny Huston that Diana is slowly approaching? Is he the main villain? Is he Ares in disguise? Who did they pick from Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery to be in this film?
  • What role will Diana’s aunt Antiope play in this film? What’s her backstory? Will she aide Diana in her mission or will she make things harder for her?
  • Will all the Germans be bad guys or will there be some sympathetic German characters?
  • Who is that woman with the partly disfigured face? I know that many soldiers suffered from extreme disfigurement due to flying shrapnel and had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery, but how did it happen to that woman? Was she a nurse in the right place at the wrong time? Did she disguise herself as a soldier? Or worse, is she a battered wife?
  • Will the film address the women’s issues of the time period?
  • What type of Steve Trevor will Chris Pine portray? I hope he’ll be a far cry from Kirk the Jerk.

And finally, here’s what I’m hoping for the film:

  • I hope it’ll be as good or better than Man of Steel in its treatment of its female characters (I feel that, so far, MOS is the most feminist superhero film to date but that’s a subject for another post).
  • I hope it’ll pass the Bechdel Test.
  • I hope the story will portray Diana and Steve’s relationship as one of equals.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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Filed under comics, female characters, Wonder Woman

All I Need To Know About Life, I Learned From…

Tick_Logo

“Who is The Tick?” You ask. A superhero created by Ben Edlund in 1986 as a mascot for  a Boston Store chain, New England Comics, The Tick is a wacky, ardent superhero with the powers of “nigh-invulnerability”, superhuman strength and “drama power”.  With the help of his long suffering moth costume-donning sidekick, Arthur, the Tick stops at nothing to save The City from the forces of evil. A hilarious cartoon series debuted in 1994 (to which I was introduced to the character), then a short-lived live action series debuted in 2001.

The franchise is known for it’s absurdist spoofing of superhero tropes and for the Tick’s over the top personality through which he would give the day’s moral delivered in a hammy manner. Throughout the weeks, I’ve rewatched the entire cartoon series on YouTube and wrote down all of the “Tickisms” that struck my fancy and that we must remember in our day to day lives. So, without further ado, here are some of the best words of wisdom courtesy of the Tick:

  • Don’t eat crackers in the bed of your future! You’ll get all scratchy.
  • It’s your destiny! Hug it!
  • Beware the other head of science. It bites!
  • Don’t count your weasels before they pop.
  • Don’t touch the “Don’t” button.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover. Except the Lava Man book of course.
  • Eating kittens is just plain wrong and no one should do it ever!
  • When evil is afoot and you don’t have any arms, you gotta use your head.
  • You can lay an egg and still feel like a man.
  • READ A BOOK!!!
  • Falling in love with a supervillain is trouble with a capital troub!
  • Crime has a Bossa Nova beat.
  • Lint is the fastest stuff in the universe (yes that lint).
  • Love is thicker than most bodily membranes.
  • In love there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things: the right way is to take someone to a movie. The wrong way is to take someone from a movie.
  • You can’t trust everything you read, especially in history books you get from gas stations.
  • In the future, one out of every six people will be Abraham Lincoln.
  • It’s OK to start thinking.
  • A lost wallet could bite you in half.
  • A bar of soap could save your life.
  • A disgusting mound of muck might have some very compelling ideas.
  • Not everyone can know everything. Some people don’t know anything. I myself don’t know much, but I do know this: uh…the thing I just said.
  • Evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Josef Stalin.
  • Your not going crazy, your going sane in a crazy world!
  • Don’t ever try to swim against the mighty tide of justice!
  • Honk if you love justice!
  • The boots of evil were made for walking.
  • Man was not meant to tamper with the four basic food groups.
  • Clowning and anarchy don’t mix.
  • You can’t fight crime with a macaroni duck.
  • Nature is one call you can’t put on hold.
  • Evil is never in fashion.

SSSSPPPPPPOOOOONNNN!!!!!

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Do As Peggy Says: Support “Agent Carter”

agentcarter-160379

So the inevitable happened: ABC cancelled Agent Carter. Why? Because of “low ratings”. How were the ratings for Agent Carter were any lower than the ratings for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that (according to some fans) has indecisive storylines and started off weak, yet got stronger (depending on who you ask) as seasons went on? Was it because it was given a chance? Agent Carter, on the other hand, started off with critical acclaim, broke ground and won the hearts of nerd girls (and guys) everywhere. Even the second season, which divided fans, still had much to offer and left us with a juicy cliffhanger. If the show had such low ratings then why were there two online petitions to save the show? Maybe ABC aired the show in an inconvenient time slot (Tuesdays at 9 PM are iffy for me. I often had to use Hulu to catch up). Maybe ABC didn’t promote the show enough. Haley Atwell signed on to do a different show. Have you seen the trailer yet? Ugh. Just, ugh (barf).

But let’s not just sit around and mope. We are geeks and nerds! We have the brains and the imaginations to show and spread our love for our favorite secret agent so she will never be forgotten.

1. Sign Dat Petition

You’ve heard on the internet about that petition on Change.org to continue the show on Netflix. Sign that thing.  Think that won’t be enough? Go to abc.go.com, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on contact and a new window will appear (“feedback”). Select the box that says: “Select Your Issue”. Click on “abc programming feedback”. Give them your first and last name, email address, state and zip code. Select “Marvel’s Agent Carter” for “Select Show or Category”. Then select “I like this show because” and give your reasons. Even persuade them to move the show to Netflix. Then submit. If you feel that’s not enough, write to Marvel comics and Disney and complain (I’d provide contact info but I can’t find any. If you can provide info, it would be appreciated).

2. Buycott Peggy

Her Universe has four Agent Carter t-shirts. Here they are:

 

           10408048_hi   10577026_hi  

hun_mvl_agentcartershirt_front_01  14fc8a71265bcedae6b3cab8ecfd22d1

Teepublic.com also has some great shirts. Collect them all.

There’s also this FunkoPop! Peggy figure:

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You can buy one from Hot Topic or your local comics shop if they carry one.

Season 1 is available on DVD at Amazon.

3. Make Your Own Peggy Stuff

Do you have any hobbies? Can you sew? Knit? Make jewelry? Paint? Sculpt? Then put your talents to good use and make some Peggy-themed stuff to show off to your friends, family and fellow fans. If you want to take your Peggy love a step further, sell some of your stuff online, or at your local convention so that others will join you in celebrating the awesomeness that is Agent Carter.  I make jewelry so I plan to make some Peggy pendants using pictures printed from the internet, bezels and magic gloss (aka resins). I will display the final results on Tumblr.

So now it’s your turn. How will you express your love for Peggy and the gang? Sound off in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas.

 

 

 

 

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Seriously, Can We Give Batman a Rest?

September 26th was “Batman Day” and online there were offers galore for every type of Bat-merchandise you can get your hands on.

Uh, didn’t we just celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary last year? Weren’t there events and activities throughout 2014 to celebrate the milestone and tons of merchandise to boot? I have nothing against the Dark Knight. I love the 1966-68 Batman show. I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold. I like Batman: The Animated Series. Batgirl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are some of my all-time favorite characters. But this Bat-worship is getting tiresome. You’d think that Batman was the only hero in DC’s roster. It’s like how fans have been accusing Marvel for recently “avoiding” X-Men and The Fantastic Four simply because the characters are owned by Fox.

In 2013 Superman had his 75th anniversary. Nothing much was made to commemorate it except for this awesome animated short. There was no “Superman Day” at Barnes and Noble, where you could buy one Supes comic and get one free of your choice. Or participate in a Superman trivia competition or buy from a huge display of Superman merchandise that was half-off (or less). The Flash reached his 75th anniversary milestone this year. Raise your hand if you knew that. At Hot Topic, the percentage of Bat-merchandise is higher than that of the other DC heroes.

I could pin the blame for all this bat-obsession on DC alone but I wonder if the fans are just as much to blame for voting with their wallets. DC is still a business and they’re not willing to go out on a limb for a superhero that doesn’t sell. If DC is reluctant to shine the spotlight on Wonder Woman when she hits the big 7-5 next year, it’ll make me really sad.

I know that many people are drawn to Batman because he has no superpowers and he seems more “relatable”, but what is relatable anyway? What may seem relatable to one person may not be the case with another. I relate to Wonder Woman because she comes from a matriarchal society and she has a sisterly attitude towards other women. I’m drawn to Superman because he looks like someone you could give a big bear hug and share a bag of popcorn with. I like Captain Marvel because he’s goofy. I like the Birds of Prey because they’re women (both with and without superpowers) from different walks of life working together as a team. But Batman feels too aloof and distant to me and his rogues gallery often overshadows him. Gotham City is too dark and dreary and sometimes reading a Batman comic can be leave me feeling disturbed.

When I read superhero comics, I never think: “how do I relate to these characters”. I’m drawn to superheroes because they’re not like everyone else. I didn’t want to be like everyone else when I was a teenager, so I guess that’s why I’ve always been drawn to DC: they’re fine with being different from everyone else as long as they can still get along with the rest of humanity.

I’m not asking that we toss the Caped Crusader into oblivion, never to be seen again. I’m just saying let’s shine a spotlight on the other DC heroes when it comes to merchandise and media – especially some of the obscure ones (some Vixen, Blue Beetle and Black Canary merchandise please) so that all fans can feel included.

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In Memoriam: Yvonne Craig 1937-2015

batgirl_yvonne_craig

Today, I’m saddened to hear of the passing of trailblazing actress Yvonne Craig from breast cancer. She was 78 years old.

The 1966-1968 Batman series has always been a part of my life. It’s my second favorite tv show of all time (after Xena: Warrior Princess) and it’s pretty much my favorite interpretation of The Dark Knight. One of it’s many highlights was the introduction of Batgirl.

Before Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Xena, Max and Buffy, Craig’s Batgirl was TV’s first crime fighting supershero at a time when most action girls on TV were spies or secret agents. There was so much to love about Batgirl. She worked as a librarian (a dream job for a book-lover like me if there ever was one), had a great wardrobe, a clever disguise (red hair!), was very cute and above all she was shrewd, observant and just plain smart. She could go toe to toe with Batman and Robin in solving crimes and she succeeded from revealing her secret identity to the Dynamic Duo. She also did a memorable public service announcement as Batgirl where she demands that Batman and Robin give her “equal pay for equal work”.

Batman wasn’t the only show she worked on. She also had a memorable guest appearance on Star Trek as the sexy but insane Orion slave girl Marta (Whom Gods Destroy season 3, episode 14) and as an aspiring assassin/dancer Ecstasy La Joie in the criminally underrated spy-fi western The Wild Wild West (The Night of the Grand Emir season 1, episode 19). She also guest starred five times on another favorite show of mine, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the most memorable being the episode “The Flying Millicans” where she plays a love interest of Dobie’s who’s an acrobatic health nut. Her other stints included The Man From Uncle, Land of the Giants and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

But for many comics-loving fangirls the world over she will be remembered as someone who taught them that they could do anything boys can do. And for that I’m forever grateful to her.

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