20 January 2012

The Shut up Halo Meme and a Requiem for The Outsiders

As a kid, when Pops took us to Dearborn for a night-time stop at the comicbook spinner rack, I grabbed for Jim Aparo's THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. I still remember the time when he suddenly wasn't the artist (issue 198, a team up with Karate Kid, drawn by Detroit artist Chuck Patton).

It was the harbinger of doom, as issue #200 was to be the last, with a new Aparo-drawn, inked, and lettered book BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. It was hailed as a "team series more fashionable for the 1980s" (Paul Levitz).

I hated it.

My little brother, on the contrary, loved it and was instantly a devoted fan who bought every issue. As a card carrying fan of NEW TEEN TITANS, I found Geo-Force's costume ... interesting and I was all for more appearances of Metamorpho and Black Lightning, and ... Jim Aparo.

Ok, so I read every issue, too.

Our Halo custom Action Man... erm... Action Lady!

From memory: Halo was a alien ball of color energy who would check us earthlings out and one day, the Halo ball saw a teenage dropout hellcat get herself killed in a car crash of dubious origins. The Halo ball decides to restart the hellion's life by reanimating it with it's own ball of energy. The result? An naive, amnestic teenager who has different color-coded energy powers with a costume "more fashionable for the 1980s" (Paul Levitz again) that Batman finds and promises to help her discover her identity.

Halo was the comedic relief/ sympathetic-soul-of-the-team with an outfit Olivia Newton-John wouldn't wear.

Exactly one-half of Batman and The Outsiders!

Black Lightning? Now there is a Seventies' icon. "Black Lightning", "Black Panther", "Black Vulcan", "Black Goliath"... How did The Falcon ever get to be a superhero of color without the obligatory prefix? Black Lightning was cool. Black Lightning was more powerful than most Caucasian heroes. Black Lightning was a Olympic medalist. Black Lightning had a totally 70's costume.

It took forever to get a Black Lightning Action Man.

The writing was on the wall for DC Comic's fledgling toy company, DC DIRECT: small budgets and low sales were killing the boutique toy line. As a last ditch effort, they announced a new line, HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE, which was supposed to feature a comprehensive character repetorie and designs based on the art of George Perez. In a strategic cost-saving move, the figures would be based on a standard body "buck", with costume add-ons unique to each figure. It was a good idea, but the figures were in a scale larger than any past DC DIRECT offerings and were hardly based on any artist-specific drawings. The line lasted for three/four waves and was cancelled.

The cancellation was a shame, because it featured a decent Batman (nice muted blue/grey costume) and a brilliant Black Lightning. Seriously, the complaining of the time obsfucated an excellent figure, faithfully designed to his classic appearance.

I went surfing the inter-waves to nail down Halo's costume, when I fumbled across this little meme gem:

See? Delightful.

Hurm, yes. Let's give that a go:

Right. That was a thrill.

Is it too obvious to say "more to come"?

Stay Tuned

19 January 2012

Black Bat Power and Bat Girl-o-rama!

All the boys here at the Flying B Ranch sure do love that Grant Morrison's BATMAN INC. This holiday season, everyone gathered round for a reading of his latest chapter BATMAN INC LEVIATHAN STRIKES! On the top of everyone's toy wish list?

More BATMAN, INC. figures.

Black Bat is the Hong Kong representative of Batman, Inc. Cassandra Cain was the third Batgirl and was trained as a ninja assassin. Her all-black costume had a distinctive bat-outline symbol. Artist Chris Burnham kept the majority of the costume, added a smaller mask, hand wraps, and had a tattered cape that he wanted to invoke "smoke ... a cross between Ragman and Spawn's cape".

Black Bat has made a few appearances in the recent Bat-Universe and most artists are giving her a full gold batsymbol on her chest. I think Burnham's choice is much more evocative of her original costume and less generic. We had a fun time shredding vinyl to create the tattered cape.

"Black Bat" was a pulp character that was published contemporaneously with Bat-Man and there was litigation pending, if not for the efforts of Bat-Man editor Whitney Ellsworth. Following the circular metaphors of Morrison's story, the name has now come full circle to DC COMICS.

DC has had four batgirls over a period of sixty years. With their recent character shuffling, the newest, Batgirl IV may have been lost to posterity. Thankfully, she makes a brilliant appearance in this most recent chapter of BATMAN INC, fighting off a ninja all-girl death squad school, led by Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Katy Perry.

Bottom line, we need more BATMAN, INC. comicbooks and more BATMAN, INC. figures. Pronto, Hoss!

WILL DC Comics publish the end of BATMAN, INC?

WHICH member of BATMAN, INC will we make next?

CAN Mattel beat us to the punch?

Tune in next month,

Same Bat time,

Same Bat Blog!

13 January 2012

Happy Birthday Batmobile!

January 12, 1966 marked the debut of the TV series BATMAN and gave birth to the most widely recognized, popular, and fan-requested version of the Batmobile.

The stories of how George Barris purchased the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car (for a $1) from a dust-bin and created a pop culture monster in three weeks are widely-known and oft-repeated.  Suffice to say there exists a generation of Batmaniacs who identify more with the TV car than any other edition of the Batmobile.

It's a unique car in it's garage, the first to add Cerise (fluroescent, no less) to the Batman palette (a brilliant innovation that would only work on film, in our opinion) and flooded Batculture with the influence of gadgetry mania.

Part of the lore of this car is that designer Dean Jeffries was first offered the job, but turned it down due to the time constraints.  Dean reportedly started with a 1959 Cadillac, although I've seen nary a concept sketch for proof.

The '66 Batmobile started my childhood obsession with this beautiful monster and in celebration, I grabbed a POLAR LIGHTS snap 1/25 model.  As you can see, they got it spot on.

Happy Birthday, old man.  I think your parents are very proud.  Without you, Batman would have spent a lot of time doing this:

10 January 2012

GIVEAWAY: And then BRAVE AND BOLD created women!

All the cowpokes here at the Flying Batmobile Ranch are thrilled to announce our latest invention:


To celebrate this brilliant miracle of modern science, we're holding our very first GIVEAWAY-


1) Sign up and Follow this blog.
2) Post a comment to this thread, listing your favorite BATMAN BRAVE AND BOLD heroine or
villainess from an episode of the animated show.

On Valentine's Day, 15 February 2012, we'll pick one post at random AND MAKE YOU THAT ONE FIGURE, to send ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!

Spread the word, share the Brave and Bold Love.

Vote early and often!