Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Brave and The Bold" Bat-Mite News

As you may or may not know, Cartoon Network has been airing a new Batman cartoon entitled "Batman: The Brave and The Bold". As opposed to the darker take on Batman in cartoons since the 90s series (greatest cartoon ever by the way), this one has a more light hearted, Silver Age slant to it. In the tradition of its namesake, each episode sees Batman team up with another hero, or group of heroes, against a new foe. Since before the first episode of the show aired, Bat-Mite was mentioned to make an appearance. At the Batman panel during last summer's San Diego Comic Con, we got our first confirmation from Paul Dini:
He's also returning to his animation roots, having written an episode of the upcoming cartoon "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," which he said during the panel will feature Bat-Mite.
In today's Newsarama interview with the show's producer, we got a little more information about the episode:
NEWSARAMA: I was also informed Bat-Mite is coming in the future.

JT: Definitely. You know what? It’s going to be terrific. It’s going to be a fan favorite. I predict that already. It’s a great looking episode. I don’t know if I can talk about who’s voicing the Bat-Mite just yet. It will definitely be a surprise. Then again, when you hear him, everyone will go, ‘of course!’

As the first half of the first season is ending this week and next with a two parter, it looks like the second half of season one is when we'll see the episode. I for one, can't wait. If you haven't seen the cartoon yet, I highly recommend it. Each episode is just an absolute blast. And since I'm on the subject of the cartoon, the two part finale I spoke of will feature an appearance by The Joker. But not just any Joker.

That's right, the Dick Sprang Joker.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

March 2009 Is Bat-Mite Month!

For a blog entitled "I Believe In Bat-Mite", you may have noticed that I haven't covered any Bat-Mite stories. The reason for this is that 2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Bat-Mite's first appearance and I figured that would be the time to review some classic Bat-Mite tales. I was originally going to declare the month of May "Bat-Mite Month", as May 1959 is the cover date of Detective Comics #267, Bat-Mite's first appearance. I had searched, but wasn't able to find the actual release date. Then a few weeks ago, I became aware of the master list of every DC comic ever published at the excellent Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics. I gave it a look and it did indeed have the exact release date: March 31st, 1959. Several months earlier than I had planned, but luckily I already had most of the month planned out. Below is the review schedule for Bat-Mite Month. I'll be reviewing Bat-Mite stories throughout the character's fifty year history, from the Silver Age to the Modern Age to the recently released Super Friends #11, capping it off with a fiftieth anniversary review of Detective Comics #267.

Week One: Silver Age Bat-Mite
3/2 - "Batwoman's Publicity Agent" from Batman #133 (August 1960)
3/4 - "The Bat-Mite Bandits" from Detective Comics #289 (March 1961)
3/6 - "The Bat-Mite Hero!" from Batman #161 (February 1964)

Week Two: Team-Ups With Mr. Mxyzptlk
3/9 - "Bat-Mite Meets Mr. Mxyzptlk!" from World's Finest Comics #113 (November 1960)
3/11 - "The Incredible Team Of Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk!" from World's Finest Comics #123 (February 1962)
3/13 - Superman/Batman: World's Funnest (2000)

Week Three: Bat-Mite In The Bronze Age and Nineties
3/16 - "Bat-Mite's New York Adventure" from Detective Comics #482 (Feb/Mar 1979)
3/18 - "Legends of The Dark Mite" from Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight #38 (October 1992)
3/20 - Batman: Mitefall (1995)

Week Four: Bat-Mite In The Modern Age
3/23 - Bat-Mite In Superman/Batman
3/25 - Bat-Mite In Grant Morrison's Batman Run
3/27 - "Imp-possible!" from Super Friends #11 (January 2009)

Week Five: Back To The Beginning
3/31 - Fiftieth Anniversary Review of "Batman Meets Bat-Mite" from Detective Comics #267 (May 1959)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Batman - The Superman of Planet X!"

Issue: Batman #113

Cover Date: February 1958

Writer: France Herron

Penciller: Dick Sprang

Inker: Charles Paris

Cover Artist: Sheldon Moldoff

Synopsis: One evening, Bruce Wayne finds himself compelled to don his Batman costume. Puzzled as to why he is going on patrol without Robin, he flies off in the Bat-Plane unsure of where he's going. Suddenly, Batman's head begins to spin, and a moment later, he finds himself no longer in the Bat-Plane. A voice welcomes Batman and reveals to him that he is on the planet Zur-En-Arrh. Batman gains his bearings and comes face to face with another Batman clad in red, yellow, and purple. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh informs Batman that his planet needs Batman's help and relates how he was inspired to become a costumed hero for his world after observing Batman's heroism with a powerful

After a tour of the Batcave of Zur-En-Arrh, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh shows Batman the Bat-Radia, which "issues electronic molecules that cause controlled disturbances in the atmosphere." With introductions out of the way, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh tells of invaders approaching Zur-En-Arrh, prompting Batman to ask how he can help when even the technology of Zur-En-Arrh is not enough. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh then fires a ray gun at Batman, and to the Caped Crusader's surprise, the bullets bounce off of him. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh tells him that because of Earth's elements, Batman gains super powers on the planet. Batman finds that he can bend metal and fly, remarking that he has become just like Superman on Earth.

Batman finds out about his super-powers not a moment too soon, as the alien invasion of Zur-En-Arrh begins. The invaders fire nuclear orbs from cannons at the planet, but Batman hits them away with the wreckage of one of the cannons. Batman then flys at the invaders to attack them head on, but is surprised when they suddenly turn invisible. They reappear, but only long enough to reveal an army giant robots. The pair of Batmen seem outmatched until the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh acts on a hunch that the Bat-Radia would disrupt the electrical force that caused the invaders' invisibility. The hunch pays off, and the invaders flee from the planet after Batman lassoes the robots with a Super-Batman made length of wire. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh thanks Batman for his help and offers him the Bat-Radia to place in his trophy room. Batman then finds himself back in the Bat-Plane and wonders if his adventure on Zur-En-Arrh actually happened. The answer? Well...I'll let Batman tell you:

Thoughts: This is one of my favorite fifties Batman stories, even before the recent "R.I.P." arc in Batman. Right off the bat (no pun intended), you have great art by Dick Sprang. You gotta dig the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh's costume and the amount of detail put into the Bat-Radia when it first appears. I've mentioned a number of times on here already how much I like Sprang's art, but I don't think you can praise his work enough. He's as definitive a Batman artist as Neal Adams in my mind.

Dick Sprang's great art is also accompanied by a great story. You've got aliens, robots, and a Super-Batman; what more could you ask for in a Silver Age story? I always get a kick out of seeing Batman team up with whatever alternate Batmen the writers of the fifties could come up with and the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is one of the best. There's no question that Batman's one of the greatest super heroes when aliens are inspired by him to don a suit of their own. Batman gained a number of powers during the late fifties and early sixties, and I'm sure he gained Superman's a couple of times. But playing golf with nuclear orbs? That had to have been a first.

This story has been reprinted twice in the past and is set to be reprinted a third time in the upcoming Batman: The Black Casebook trade paperback. Whether you're a fifties Batman fan or interested in reading the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh's first appearance after reading "Batman R.I.P.", "Batman - The Superman of Planet X!" is a must read.

This story has been reprinted in Batman Annual #2 and the Batman In The Fifties TPB.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Batman: The Black Casebook TPB Solicited

DC Comics' full May 2009 solicitations went online today, and among them was the long rumored Batman: The Black Casebook trade paperback.

Batman: The Black Casebook TP
Written by Bill Finger, Edmond Hamilton, and others
Art by Sheldon Moldoff, Dick Sprang, and others
Cover by Alex Ross

Discover the stories that inspired recent events in the Batman universe with this new collection! Featuring stories from Batman #65, 86, 112, 113, 134, 156, and 162, Detective Comics #215, 235, 247, and 267, and World's Finest Comics #89. With an introduction by Grant Morrison.
Advance-solicited; on sale June 17; 144 pg, FC, $17.99 US

With the Batman - The Annuals HC shipping in April and the Black Casebook shipping in June, it's looking like a good year for fifties Batman fans. This week and next I'll be continuing where I left off with "The First Batman" and review some of the major stories that will be featured in this volume.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bat-Mite Spotted At New York Comic Con

(Thanks to reader Patrick Senarto for the pic.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Added To The Collection: Batman #s 122 and 123, Detective Comics #321, and World's Finest Comics #123

Check off another issue in my quest to collect every appearance of Bat-Mite. The Batman issues are not originals, but Pizza Hut reprints from 1977. They seem like random choices, but hey, I'm not about to complain about cheap fifties Batman reprints.