Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Comic of the Day: Batman The New Adventures No.416

Batman, The New Adventures

Published: February 1988

"D.C. Comics Aren't Just For Kids!"

  Clearly the cover depicts more graphic violence than one would expect from a kids comic book. It's interesting to me that my reaction to this cover is a lot different than it would have been when I was spinning the comics rack at my local convenience store when I was growing up. (Sunny Corner Farms, Brookline, MA to be specific...)

   I was actually 17-18 years old when this was published and was more likely stocking the rack as I worked at my local Store 24 (Beacon Street, also Brookline, MA) but my point is that I would have totally paid absolutely no attention at all to this cover as I was more attracted to the creepy fantasy aspect of the revamped Ghost Rider that also came out around that time.

  Now tho? Yeah, this bothers me. The adult in me (who after 10 years working in convenience stores has had more than my fair share of guns, thank you very much) has a definite gut reaction to the realistic depiction of the gun in this villain's hand and even more emotion is evoked by the seemingly doomed young man on the ground.

(The fact that it's Robin? Meh. Robin has always bugged me to some degree but, this? Nah, he's an irritating gnat as a character but he doesn't deserve this. Or any of the later things that happened to him but I digress...)


 So yeah, clearly the cover even without this PMRC era style warning label, makes it clear this comic might not be appropriate for young kids.
 (High School aged convenience store clerks is debatable...)

 But there is quite a bit more to this issue than just the violent cover.
   Endless insinuations both subtle and overt have been made about a possible romantic relationship between Batman and Robin. Most of which I find just silly but I think that is because "my" Batman and Robin are the Adam West / Bert Ward campy TV variety that I loved as a kid. I view the relationship between the two characters as any 8 year old would, as presented, at face value and totally innocent and devoid of any romantic undertones.

   But to accept that we have to suspend our belief in the reality that ALL of our beloved childhood icons were not written and drawn by kids like us but by adults with adult feelings.

So yeah, whether we buy into the whole Batman and Robin as a couple idea, it's pretty undeniable that these pages illustrate very adult relationship emotions.

Still unsure? 
The rejected aging former partner giving advice to the new younger version of himself? 
Seems kind of serious adult behavior to me.

  Since the very beginning comic books have not been intended to be "Just For Kids" as supported by the whole Comics Code labeling system of the mid 1950's (History of the Comics Code of 1954 ) and I can't help but wonder if this book having been published shortly after the big PMRC record labeling crusade of the mid 1980's, was this label a wink to past crusades or a smart ploy to increase book sales in the same way that records with the RIAA Parental Advisory label sold more units to tantalized teens on the hormone driven 24/7 quest for adult ideas?


Friday, July 29, 2016

Comic Of the Day: Radio Shack Whiz Kids Promotional comic for The Tandy Computer Corporation Artist: Dick Ayers

Ok, so this is technically not really a comic book as it is more a promotional item manufactured to sell computers but it's art was created by Dick Ayers so, I think it still counts.

 Now that's a vintage computer!

 A few years back, I read a biography of writer Patricia Highsmith and learned about her career in low rent comics books before she became a successful author of more high brow literature. Ever since then I have wondered what other writers and artists might have been involved in comic books and what comic artists and writers might have had careers in  other fields.

This work of famed comic artist Dick Ayers is still in the comic book field (sort of) but is more accurately described as an illustrated advertisement. Still, it's a fun side line collectible for fans of his work as well as an interesting window into a time when computers were big clunky things covering whole desks with limited functionality.

 Kind of like the payphone the little girl uses in the second page featured below.

 As side line collectible comic art goes, this one is pretty low rent but I will defiantly be keeping my eyes out for more high profile artists popping up in unusual places...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Comic of the Day: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Universe

Buffy sure has changed at lot since her 1992 corny comedy appearance:
She went from fashion obsessed teen to brooding 20-something:
 The franchise grew up with her and evolved some more adult story lines:

Spin off TV shows turned into comic merchandise as well:

And as actors went on to other popular projects the spin off merchandise continues to make money for vintage re-sellers:

Teens who had a crush on Luke Perry made way for teens with a crush on David Boreanaz who evolved into middle aged women with a crush on Booth from the Bones TV series. Not unlike her arch nemesis, the vampires of Sunnydale, The Buffy franchise just lives on and on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Comic of the Day: Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers No. 4 Gilbert Shelton Pub. 1980

Anything Gilbert Shelton was involved with always sells well on the vintage circuit but nothing is as popular as The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers:
The guys themselves were popular enough characters but Fat Freddy's Cat adds something extra special to the stories as well:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Comic of the Day: Logan's Run No. 1 Marvel Comics Group Jan. 1976

Futuristic horror, suspense,romance and even Farrah Fawcett's hair. There was nothing lacking in this perfect 70's sci-fi shlock classic film. The only thing that could make it even better is a movie tie in comic book! This copy is in a bit of rough shape but it's coolness still shines through the dirt and discoloration.

Update: We found another Logan's Run comic published by Adventure Comics in 1990. This "run" didn't last much longer than the original comic series but who knows? Maybe some day someone will try again with a graphic novel? Stranger things have happened...

Boston Comic Con August 12-14 We will be there, will you?

With extra special thanks to Bedrock Comics (Framingham, MA) for the flyers and posters for our shop!

Bedrock Comics (Framingham, MA)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Comic of the Day: World's Finest No. 148 March 1965 Batman and Superman, super criminals?!?

Today's comic is a trip in the way back machine to 1965 with a sideways turn into a parallel universe where Batman and Superman are raised to be super criminals instead of super heroes!

  "Great Scott!"

 As seen on your TV screen! (most likely in glorious black and white!)
 Alternate universe Superman's adoptive earth parents and Batman's dad are real nasty characters instead of nice folk.
 How will our heroes ever get out of this mess?!?

I'm sure they find a way, the side of good always prevails!