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Batman: Gotham City For Sale!

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Interviews, Television, DC Comics,

Batman And RobinPsst. Want some Gotham? It’s up for grabs. It’s not the actual city that’s on sale, although that might be a plot twist in Batman Incorporated.

My pal Jim Beard’s book, Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters, is on sale now.

It features essays about the classic Batman TV series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward. Contributors include Timothy Callahan, Peter Sanderson, Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato, Chuck Dixon, Becky Beard, Robert Greenberger, Michael D. Hamersky, Michael Johnson, Paul Kupperberg, Michael S. Miller, Will Murray, Jeff Rovin, Jennifer K. Stuller, Bill Walko, and Robert G. Weiner.

 

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Batman: Gotham City 14 Miles

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Interviews, Television, DC Comics,

Yvonne CraigMark Waid says it best in the blurb he wrote for the book I most want this Christmas. Says the man from Boom! Studios: “I now have a new book for my ‘Five I’d Take to a Desert Island’ list. Gotham City 14 Miles is the perfect companion to my favorite pop-culture phenomenon of all time!”

In case you need an explanation, 14 miles is the distance from the Batcave underneath “stately Wayne Manor” to Gotham City in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Gotham City 14 Miles is the title of a forthcoming book of essays about that TV classic, edited by my pal Jim Beard.

Inside, Beard’s bunch offers up a thoughtful reevaluation of the 44-year-old show, one of the first big comic book successes on the small screen. The series had an impact not just on pop culture, but on the DC Comics Batman as well. According to Beard, “essays examine Batmania, camp, the role of women, the show’s participation in ‘60s counter-culture, its many celebrated actors, its lasting cultural effects, and other critical subjects.”

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Q&A: Jim Beard, Batman & Gotham City 14 Miles

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Interviews, Television, DC Comics,

Gotham City 14 MilesIf you’re a fan of the 1960s Batman TV show starring and Burt Ward, then you already know what that phrase means. It’s the sign you see denoting the distance from the Batcave to Gotham City. Wayne Manor was way out in the 1960s suburbs! Gotham City 14 Miles is much more than that, however. It’s also the title of a new book edited by Jim Beard whose full title is Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays On Why The 1960s Batman TV Series Matters. Essayists include Beard, comics historians Peter Sanderson and Robert Greenberger, and a host of people whose names are being revealed one at a time.

The book will be published by the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization a “non-profit devoted solely to the study and promotion of the artistic and literary medium alternately known as comics, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, manga, sequential art, and sequart.”

Beard says Gotham City 14 Miles is the first book on the old Batman TV series in over 10 years, and I say it’s about time. The book will examine the 1966-68 TV series and “quantify its worth and weight in current pop culture. It also intends to shoot down many of the cliches, falsehoods and outright misinformation about the show and illuminate its strengths and, yes, its weaknesses.”

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The Purpose Driven Batman

Posted by Kris Madden Categories: Editorials, Reviews, DC Comics,

Purpose Driven Batman

This is just too funny. The novelty book mirrors Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life forty-day outline for understanding Batman’s purpose in life. Rather than trying to say something clever about it, I decided to post chapter excerpts from the book. So, here they are:

Day 1: It All Starts With Batman

It’s not about you, it’s about Batman.

Or rather it’s about thinking you’re Batman. When you believe in a symbol, you become greater than what you actually are. As Batman said, “As a man I’m flesh and blood I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” Or to quote Descartes, “I think I’m batman, there I am Batman”.

For long years, Bruce Wayne traversed the globe looking for his purpose, coming up empty handed. It wasn’t until he believed in something bigger than himself, that his life changed from being driven, to purpose driven…


Day 11: Becoming Batman

You’re journey to becoming Batman, begins by arming yourself with knowledge you will need, at a later time, to escape from inescapable situations. As Batman says, “Fore-warned is fore-armed” and “An opportunity well taken is always a weapon of advantage.”

Remember that with all the technology available to you, it will not always be able to save you. As the caped crusader once told his sidekick, “I’m afraid we’re not going to get much help from the Batcomputer, Robin. It can’t go back to prehistoric times.” More often than not, Batman relies on his superior education and training to see him through various villainous snafus.

In following Batman’s example, learn about the dangers of common every day items; as Batman said, “Bartender, a bit of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly.” Batman maintains this frame of mind, because “He who knows how to fear, Robin, knows how to proceed with safety.’ A translation from the Latin.”...


Day 19: Cultivating Useless Knowledge That Will Later Be Useful

As Batman, you must not only be well versed in common knowledge, but also in un-common knowledge. This includes learning ancient culture’s uncommon dates and times, such as, “Oda wabba simba”, which is, “Six o’clock in our nomenclature. In the 14th dynasty, the hour of the hyena. The time when ancient Egyptian super-criminals invariably struck!”

Memorization of an umbrella gun’s mechanical functions and operations can also be handy, when needed to thwart villains. This deeper understanding of unusual weaponry physics, could save your life, as it has saved Batman’s many a time. In one instance, he explained his foreknowledge to Robin, saying, “I observed the recoil of that umbrella gun. Obviously, its angular momentum was inadequate for the mass of a real bullet.” ...


Day 28: Understanding Batman

Batman lives his life by a moral code of uprightness and persistent pursuit of truth and justice in all of his acts. He put it best, when he says, “In the end, veracity and rectitude always triumph.” He places emphasis on being early, rather than late, saying, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Always remembering there was “No time to tarry, lest we forget, lives are at stake.”

In this way, Batman lives his life consistently ahead of the curve, prepared for whatever life may throw at him. In understanding how Batman prepares for life, we understand how he lives life. Let us not forget, “He who hath life hath time. A proverb worth remembering.”...


FORGOTTEN COMICS: BOB RITE and Batman’s Secret Pal, BATBABE

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials,

BatBabe
Who is Batbabe? Good question. The Batman TV series – the one with Adam West and Burt Ward - took the nation by storm for a brief time in the 1960s. The success of it inspired a number of cheap knock-offs where putting “Bat” in front of anything smelled like a license to print unlicensed money. Batfink, anyone?

Hence, Batbabe and Rosie. Tower Books (#42-691) released this cheap paperback in 1966 in an obvious attempt to cash in on the craze: Batbabe and Rosie are a cartoony female version of Batman and Robin. Most of the humor in each of the double-page spreads of cartoons is of the corny late-50s and 60s variety, with strong sexist overtones. Batbabe has man trouble, her mother nags her about getting a boyfriend, she frets about her hair and falls for the kind of guy she’s always punching out, etc. The art is competent, stylized and looks quickly drawn.

But who is Bob Rite, the credited creator? The copyright is in his name so he must have been someone, yet a Google search of Bob Rite, Robert Rite and Batbabe turned up nothing except a couple of copies for sale. So who was he, where did he come from and where did he go? Tower Books also published Tower Comics, home of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by Wally Wood and Samm Schwartz (and lots of others) from 1965-1969. So in theory it could be someone from that part of the company, but who knows? If you do, leave your Bat-thoughts in the Bat-comments.

(Illustration: The cover to my worn-out copy of Batbabe and Rosie, picked up at a library book sale.)

 


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