Happy 75th, Captain Marvel!

1940 was a banner year for the introduction of long-lived comic book characters: the Spirit, the Flash, Robin, the Joker, Hawkman & Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, the Justice Society of America, and many more first appeared in that year. This year has already seen 75th anniversary celebrations for a number of them, including my personal favorite: the original Captain Marvel!


It’s been a pretty good year for the good Captain, beginning with Grant Morrison & Cameron Stewart‘s Thunderworld Adventures (featuring nicely updated Marvels in the standout chapter of Morrison’s Multiversity miniseries) and culminating with the recent Convergence: Shazam! two-parter pitting the Marvel Family against the Gotham by Gaslight Batman. Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner really knocked the ball out of the park with those issues featuring the classic version of the characters, and I enjoyed all the behind-the-scenes sketches that Shaner has posted, too. DC really should give that pair (along with colorist Jordie Bellaire) the blank check for more Captain Marvel material; it would be a much better investment of time and energy than anything “New 52 Shazam”-related!

Continue reading “Happy 75th, Captain Marvel!”

The pleasures of Batman ’66– both the comic book and the TV show

Since I’ve been enjoying “Batman” on Me-TV lately (more on that later), I was looking forward to the new Batman ’66 release– “DC Comics reimagines the classic Batman TV series in comics form for the first time! These all-new stories portray The Caped Crusader, The Boy Wonder and their fiendish rogues gallery just the way viewers remember them.”

Written by Jeff Parker, it does a fairly good job of evoking those episodes, though he [SPOILER ALERT] missed a few of the obvious elements from the show: the Batphone call from Commissioner Gordon, the costume change down the Batpoles, and the Batmobile racing towards Gotham City that started nearly every episode. And the impossible-to-escape deathtrap. And the two-part storylines. He did touch upon these elements, but tweaked them in such a way that I don’t really think did a proper job of paying homage to the original. [END SPOILER] About the only thing missing was the voice of the narrator (who I think counts as a “character” in the show) setting the scene; Parker’s script had minimal narration, far too little for a comic meant to be paying homage to the classic television show. Still, aside from an overly-jokey ending (the show did not have a laugh track, after all), the characters sounded pretty-much on key.

66panelRichard Case’s art also does a nice job of capturing the look of the show’s mainstays, particularly his Bruce Wayne and Riddler. His scenes with the unmasked heroes in the Batcave were particularly reminiscent of the show! Unfortunately, his coloring job to fake off-register coloring was more distracting than anything else. It’s almost like he didn’t understand how comics are colored in the old CMYK scheme, and thus how they were off-register (hint: it’s not because the black line work was repeated with a blue plate that didn’t line up).

And it’s a particular shame, too, because when done well (as in Erik Larsen’s backup stories in the latest Savage Dragon or in Mike Sullivan’s “Tales of the Infinite”) slightly off-register Ben-Day dots can be a beautiful coloring scheme. Continue reading “The pleasures of Batman ’66– both the comic book and the TV show”