Wednesday, January 15, 2014


After reading the socially conscious GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW comics that I told you about last week, the very first Batman stories via the pages of DETECTIVE comics come off like a breath of healthy stale air after being kept in a locked room pumped full of Oust.

These early sagas got everything that I like in comics (and general entertainment for that matter) such as a hero who ain't some pussified metrosexual type, villains who aren't portrayed in a way that you actually end up rooting for them (like I usually end up doing even while watching classic moom pitchers of the past...after all the tough and gnarled gangster is sure a more interesting and well-developed character than the squeaky-clean Dudley Doo-Rights they're pitted against!), and best of all unvarnished, hard-nosed stories which certainly lack the twinkle eyed vision (and the sub-shopping insert art) that has typified the comic book biz ever since I quit buying regularly back inna seventies because the whole industry became too...convoluted for any suburban slob to really enjoy.

Somehow I get the impression from the majority of stories that were being produced at the time that the people who run DC and Marvel were under the impression that the average comic book reader was Dilton Doiley, when somehow or other I get the idea that he was Goober Pyle. There really does seem to have been some major shift in the universes when dunce-level Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids entertainment could have devolved into something so grotesque that even Stan Lee's craftiest character and plot twists now seems so tame and restrained in comparison.

These early BATMAN tales really do hit home. As you might have remembered, "the Batman"*  was played as a vigilante working against the police** as well as the bad boys which does lend a neat character to these strips and makes the cowled one a whole lot more copasetic with my system than the way the guy eventually turned out! The violence and action is certainly punched up as well, not only with the likes of snapped necks and hideously burned bad guys but with Batman carrying a gun when needed (or not for that matter), and although none of this can match the obvious template DICK TRACY for downright hard-edged to the point of sickening violence (my favorite kind!) it sure comes off a whole lot better'n what most of these comic book characters would become once they got settled in and hadda become good role models for us empty heads who didn't know any better!

Even the addition of Robin doesn't deter any, though you can just hear the jokes and snickers during that one scene where Batman rescues his sidekick from a burning movie picture set and a fireman remarks "it was love for that kid" that drove him to it! Sheesh, with lines like these who needed Wertham anyway??

*as he was known not only during the late-thirties but throughout the early-seventies revival of "the dark knight," right before he really went bonkers in the '90s.

**in one funny plot twist which appears in one of these early stories, a cop who does capture Batman confesses to the Caped Crusader that he supports what the guy is doing and submits to a voluntary uppercut just so he could let Batman escape while still doing his duty!

No comments: