Batman '66 Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

SDCC | You can get that ‘Batman ’66′ utility belt you always wanted

mattel-utility belt

Mattel has revealed a lineup of Comic-Con International exclusives that includes Cyborg and Doomsday action figures, the Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile and — get this — a replica of the Caped Crusader’s utility belt from the 1966 TV series.

I would delve into all of the other offerings, like the Hot Wheels Darth Vader die-cast car or the Masters of the Universe figures, but you’re probably more interested in that utility belt (so I’ll leave the rest of that stuff to USA Today).

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Why doesn’t Batman dance anymore?

Batman '66 #32

Batman ’66 #32

When I first heard about DC Comics’ digital-first Batman ’66, I thought it was going to be a novelty with little staying power. Nostalgia for the campy Adam West TV series has been pretty high lately, especially in the wake of the popular The Brave and the Bold cartoon, and the artists behind Batman ’66 are faithful to the ’60s pop-art look, most spectacularly rendered by Jonathan Case in the debut issues. But what happens once the initial thrill has passed, and you clear away the cobwebs of nostalgia?

Second, there’s the unique format: When you swiped the page on a tablet, you’d sometimes get limited animation, you’d sometimes get a view of the artwork with the balloons out of the way, and sometimes you would experience a slight shift in the color palette with some retro screentone effects here and there. Sure, it’s a little gimmicky … but it was employed a truly artistic sensibility that’s impossible to replicate on paper. Sadly, as early as Issue 4, the novelty is seemingly abandoned.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Fun Home’ dispute part of larger battle in S.C.

From "Fun Home"

From “Fun Home”

Politics | Framing the controversy as part of a larger political battle between South Carolina’s lawmakers and its public universities, The Washington Post wades into the ongoing saga surrounding the House of Representatives’ vote to reduce funding to two schools after they selected gay-themed books for their summer reading programs. The newspaper uses as its entry point the Monday performances in Charleston of Fun Home, the musical adaptation of the Alison Bechdel graphic novel that was chosen last summer by the College of Charleston, drawing the ire of a South Carolina Christian group and conservative lawmakers. The Post reports that several state legislators suggested they viewed the staging of the musical as “a deliberate provocation,” and will seek to cut even more funding in response. The South Carolina Senate has yet to vote on the state budget, which includes the cuts to the schools.  [The Washington Post]

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Best of 7 | The best in comics from the last seven days

bestof7-jan1914

Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …

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‘Rockabilly Batman’ artist shows off rejected ‘Batman ’66′ pieces

Batman66-Sample2

Italian artist Denis Medri has made a name for himself on the comics Internet for his various series of themed superhero portraits, from 1950s Rockabilly Batman to steampunk Spider-Man. As it turns out, this fanart attracted the attention of DC Entertainment.

Although Medri said the company balked at making an official comic based on his art, saying it would “create confusion,” an editor asked him to submit sample pages for the then-forthcoming Batman ’66 digital-first series. Medri did a number of samples specifically for the project, but never heard back. Undeterred, Medri has posted these samples online:

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Comics A.M. | Details emerge about ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ threats suspect

Kuroko's Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball

Legal | More details have emerged about Hirofumi Watanabe, the 36-year-old man suspected of sending more than 400 threatening letters to convention centers, retailers and other sites in Japan associated with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The newspaper Mainichi Shimbun revealed Watanabe studied anime at a vocational school but dropped out at age 20. Also, a search of Watanabe’s apartment turned up toilet bowl cleaner, a scrap of paper that said “creating hydrogen sulfide” and, not surprisingly, several volumes of Kuroko’s Basketball.

Oddly, Watanabe claims to be two different perpetrators who use two different accents, standard Japanese and a Kansai accent, and many of the statements he made in his letters and online postings, including that he was acquainted with Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki, appear to be false. Anime News Network also reports that when he was arrested, Watanabe had about 20 threat letters in his backpack, and that he told police he was jealous of Fujimaki’s success. [Anime News Network]

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Hey, DC: Ellison has an unproduced Two-Face script for ‘Batman’

harlan ellison-brain moviesThis tidbit seems perfectly timed, considering both the success of DC Comics’ digital-first Batman ’66, and Tom Bondurant’s recent column about DC-inspired movies and television series that should make their way to comics: Author and screenwriter Harlan Ellison wrote a (fittingly) two-part Two-Face story for the classic Batman TV show that, alas, was never produced.

Neil Gaiman discovered that detail over the weekend — “WHY IS THIS NOT NEWS?” he tweeted — in the description for the fifth volume of Harlan Ellison’s Brain Movies, a series that collects his original teleplays.

The listing reads: “SEE ELLISON’S FIRST ADVENTURE WITH THE CAPED CRUSADER: Though Harlan’s written numerous comic book scripts for the Dark Knight, his first slide down the Bat-Pole was in 1966 when he pitched an episode to ABC’s Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Tragically—for reasons explained in the editor’s notes—’The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face’ treatment was never produced, but now you can read what the Unrepentant Harlequin had in mind for the Dynamic Duo and their Bifurcated Foe.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | In a world …

Zibarro still around, so won't ask him later what "meta" mean

Zibarro still around, so won’t ask him later what “meta” mean

So much time, money and creative effort is spent to bring comic-book superheroes to moving-picture life that it’s almost backward to contemplate how those adapted environments could be translated back into comics form. Thanks to technology, live-action and animated adaptations are finding new ways to convince viewers they’re seeing powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

And yet, these adaptations only go so far. Movies trade spectacle for (relative) brevity, offering two-plus hours of adventure every two to three years. The reverse is true for television, which is more prolific but often less earth-shattering. Both have to deal with practical considerations such as running time, actor availability, and the streamlining of complicated backstories. Thus, to borrow a phrase from politics, adaptations are often exercises in “the art of the possible.” By comparison, comics have much fewer limitations.

Therefore, comics versions of those adaptations must necessarily limit themselves, even if they only choose to work within some of those real-world limitations. Sometimes this is as simple as telling stories set within the adaptation’s version of continuity. However, sometimes comics are the most practical way to “continue” a well-liked adaptation, and thereby perpetuate its visual and tonal appeal.

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Six things DC Comics is doing right

AdventuresofSuperman1DC Comics hasn’t had a particularly good run of things lately. To be frank, the publisher has done blown it a number of times over the past few years. But don’t worry, DC fans — I’m sure it’ll soon be Marvel’s turn, as the two rivals seem to trade off every five years or so.

I’ve been calling out DC for the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean everything it does strikes me as wrong. It’s important to declare shenanigans, but it’s also important to recognize when a publisher does something that’s good for comics.

So here are six things DC is doing right:

1. Digital comics: Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman are digital-first anthology series that feature some excellent creators (from Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee to J.M. DeMatteis and Jeff Lemire) producing completely accessible and entertaining stories that stand on their own; no college course on the New 52 or Crisis on Infinite Earths required. Yes, these stories are out of continuity — so for a percentage of readers, they don’t count. That’s a mistake, because there’s nothing wrong with a straight-up superhero tale that exists on its own terms. These two anthologies are the gems of DC’s digital-first line-up, but Batman ’66 and Batman: Li’l Gotham also offer fantastical takes on the iconic Caped Crusader that are bright and fun. For those exhausted by the angsty versions of serious stories, you owe it to yourself to check these out.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Sustainable content farming

"...That name again is Super-Plow"

Sadly, this power set later caused the Legion to reject Plow King

I talked about it last week, but there’s a lot to unpack in the recent Williams-and-Blackman-leave-Batwoman imbroglio. Part of it is DC Comics’ apparent need to keep characters relatively unchanged, which these days includes being young and unmarried. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has already explained this in terms of heroic sacrifice, so I suppose that’s as close as we may get to official company policy on the matter.

However, before DiDio made his comments, I was wondering whether DC didn’t want the non-costumed half of Batwoman’s main couple to remain single and uncomplicated. After all, Maggie Sawyer goes back further than Kate Kane, and has appeared in both the animated Superman series and in Smallville. Thus, a certain part of the TV-watching public probably associates Maggie Sawyer more with Superman than with Batwoman; and DC might not want to have her tied permanently to the Bat-office.

This, in turn, brings up the issue of DC as a “content farm,” providing material for future adaptations. Obviously the publisher has almost 80 years’ worth of characters and stories ready to provide inspiration. Indeed, over the decades, that inspiration has gone both ways. However, more recently it seems like the adaptations have been influencing the comics to a greater degree than the comics have been influencing the adaptations, and in the long run that’s not good for either side.

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1966 ‘Batman’ TV opening gets homemade recreation

homemadebatman

The classic Batman TV series has gotten a push from Warner Bros. lately — headlined by the Batman ’66 digital-first comic book from DC Comics, and including various toys and merchandise. But this latest tribute comes from an independent source: Dustin McLean of DustFilms, who produced a faithful shot-for-shot remake of the show’s opening sequence with homemade costumes and supplies (and soundtrack) rather than special effects.

It’s part of McLean’s “Homemade Movies” series, whose past entries included the Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness trailers. Homemade Movies in the midst of “Batman month,” and as part of the festivities also recreated the famous “I’m Batman” scene from Tim Burton’s 1989 film. For more insight into how McLean and friends make the recreation magic happen, there’s a behind-the-scenes video.

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Grumpy Old Fan | DC’s December: New homes for the holidays

Required reading

Required reading

DC Entertainment may not have planned it this way — “planning” being something with which DC may be only tangentially familiar — but I doubt its high-ups wanted to release these December solicitations the Monday after what had to be a pretty rough weekend.  When you’ve just had to deal with a celebrated creative team walking off a fairly successful book — citing “editorial interference,” and reminding people that the character’s original writer also left after increasing frustration with DC — you might not want to follow that up by calling attention to all the other changes coming before the end of the year.

And don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of Batwoman and “sucky personal life” talk before we’re done. Solicits first, though …

FOREVER MODEST

If the first week of Villains Month is any indication, a good bit of the decimal-point issues will feature stories set in the early stages of the Crime Syndicate’s takeover. This wasn’t that apparent from the September solicits, and subsequent months also appeared light on explicit crossovers. December is about the same, with Teen Titans dropping out of the crossover lineup, and Pandora and Phantom Stranger joining the three Justice League books, the three Forever Evil [Colon] miniseries, and Suicide Squad.

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You can show off your love for ‘Batman’ TV show … down there

batman-diesel

Warner Bros. Consumer Products shows no signs of letting up on its merchandising push for the 1960s Batman television series. And why should it? After all, fans, and companies, have been waiting for decades for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox to sort out the rights to the campy show. Now that the two parties have reached an agreement, we get products like Diesel’s new underwear line featuring the Dynamic Duo, the Batmobile, The Joker, The Penguin and Catwoman.

They come in four designs: Batman Comic Boxer, Batmobile Boxer, Batman Climbing Boxer and Batman Enemies Boxer, each priced at $28.

Warner Bros. previously partnered with Diesel on a line of DC Comics-branded boxerbriefs, which are probably the closest fans of a certain age are going to get to the Underoos of yesteryear.

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Report Card | From ‘Astro City’ to ‘March’ to ‘Wolfsmund’

reportcard-aug18

Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.

So find out what we thought about It Came!, Astro City, Wolfsmund and more.

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Report Card | From ‘Fantastic Four’ to ‘Dropout’ to ‘Haggard West’

reportcard_072113_tease

Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.

This week, however, was Comic-Con International — that’s the top story of the week right there, maybe followed by the Eisner Awards being announced. Beyond that, though, were a ton of new comic announcements from various publishers. Having been in the belly of the best for most of last week, I’m not in any position to even know all the announcements that were made, much less how to prioritize them. So this week only — or at least until next year’s con — I’m going to skip the news countdown and just direct you to read Robot 6 and Comic Book Resources’ home pages, where you can read’em.

Despite the con, comics still came out this past Wednesday, so read on to find out what we thought about Fantastic Four, Kill All Monsters, the new Monkeybrain title Dropout and more.

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