Wednesday, June 26, 2019

100-Page FAKES! presents: BATMAN # 263

100-Page FAKES! imagines mid-1970s DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars that never were...but should have been!

By 1975, writer Denny O'Neil had succeeded in revitalizing the image of The Batman, restoring the character to his Dark Knight roots following the campy excess of the 1966-68 TV series. That oversimplifies the story considerably, ignoring an awful lot of factors in Batman's development over the decades, and also slighting other creators who made their own mark in puttin' the THE in The Batman, but it's still basically accurate. I would argue that O'Neil's best Batman work was in the past by this point--I am not a fan of O'Neil's later Batman stories--but it doesn't really matter. O'Neil's place in Batman history is secure, and for good reason.

Of Batman's core group of biggest enemies, O'Neil created one (Ra's al Ghul) and redefined another (The Joker). Two-Face was the first classic Bat-villain O'Neil used (in 1971's Batman # 234), and O'Neil went on to write stories with The Catwoman (not bad) and The Penguin (not great) within this early '70s timeframe. O'Neil revived The Scarecrow in Batman # 262. Unless you want to count Mr. Freeze, the only top name Batman adversary O'Neil hadn't yet chronicled was The Riddler. O'Neil's Riddler followed O'Neil's Scarecrow in the very next issue, Batman # 263.

When I was a six-year-old kid watching Batman on TV, The Riddler was my favorite supervillain. Why? Oh, it was almost certainly a combination of his costume--the closest to a superhero costume among any of the arch criminals depicted on the TV show--and actor Frank Gorshin's maniacal laugh while capering as the Prince of Puzzlers. Nine years later, I was happy to see The Riddler return to the pages of Batman.

The Riddler's return here provides a good excuse to use the added pages of our hypothetical 100-pager to reprint a few of Batman's previous scuffles with other A-listers from his gallery of rogues. We skip Ra's al Ghul (who is better served in an extended storyline rather than a stand-alone tale), and we zero in first on O'Neil's above-mentioned Two-Face story from 1971. My friend Michael LaHair told me about that issue when it was published, and I made a beeline to the spinner rack to get my own copy, stat. This may have been my first Neal Adams-drawn issue of Batman, though I had previously seen Adams' depiction of The Batman--and in Adams' hands, make no mistake, this was definitely not good ol' Batman, but undeniably THE Batman--in The Brave And The Bold. We pick a Joker story from 1945, an admittedly forgettable Penguin story from '67, and a 1946 newspaper serial with The Catwoman (as reprinted in 1965's Batman # 176, an 80 Page Giant). 

The Batman vs The Riddler in "Riddler On The Move!," Batman # 263 (May 1975)
The Batman vs Two-Face in "Half An Evil," Batman # 234 (August 1971)
The Batman and Robin vs The Joker in "The League For Larceny!," World's Finest Comics # 19 (Fall 1945)
The Batman and Robin vs The Penguin in "The Penguin Takes A Flyer--Into The Future!," Batman # 190 (March 1967)
The Batman and Robin vs The Catwoman, Batman And Robin syndicated Sunday newspaper strip (April 28 through June 16, 1946), reprinted in Batman # 176 (December 1965)

Yep, it's all copyright DC Comics Inc, shown here in sample pages; my subscribers see the whole book. With this, 100-Page FAKES! will leave both Batman and Detective Comics behind for the time being. But The Batman will return in our next faux 100-page edition of The Brave And The Bold.


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Hey, Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made will contain 100 essays (and then some) about 100 tracks, plus two bonus instrumentals, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here:

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) is also available from Futureman Records.


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