Comic Book Power Rankings – February 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Saga Image 25
  There is a whole new danger afoot. I like the direction that this already-stellar series is taking our protagonists, even if it is head-first into danger.
2 Batman DC 39 1 -1
  Joker has been playing with his food up to this point. With Batman up against the ropes, the Caped Crusader is getting desperate, and the Clown Prince of Crime is getting brutal.
3 Spider-Gwen Marvel 1
  Who would have thought that one issue of a mini-series would launch such a cult following? Marvel really Hit the Jackpot with this one.
4 The Walking Dead Image 137 4
  I’m as enthralled as I am disgusting with the eyeball-licking love session at the end of the last issue. I’m excited to see Carl grow, no matter the nasty cost.
5 Deadly Class Image 11 6 +1
  Marcus isn’t out of the doghouse just yet. The last thrill-ride of an issue keeps the adrenaline flowing.
6 Suiciders Vertigo 1
  There’s no better way to spend your time in a post-apocalyptic world than to see drugged up gladiators with cybernetic enhancements pummel each other to death.
7 Batman and Robin DC 39 5 -2
  While it wasn’t as emotionally pleasing as the last issue, Robin getting a spot at the table with Batman and Superman is a big deal.
8 Superman DC 38 16 +8
  The end of the last issue was so explosive that I’m surprised I was able to hold onto the page. In just six issues, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr created history.
9 Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 15
  Even though Spider-Verse winded down this month, Spider-Man has left behind a wake of Spider-lore that will continue to effect the Marvel U… until they reboot it all, anyway.
10 Bitch Planet Image 3
  This book is extremely polarizing, but it has resonated with women in ways that no super-powered chick has. It’s very real and very original.
11 Postal Top Cow 1
  I’ve got a fever for creepy mystery books, and this Norman Bates-ish post boy is the cowbell of creepers. After one issue, this is already among my favorites.
12 Detective Comics DC 39 14 +2
  Anarky is afoot in Gotham, bringing an aspect to Bat-books that has been sorely missing. Add in amazing artwork and a Harvey Bullock back-story, and I’m sold.
13 Mortal Kombat X DC 3 10 -3
  MKX is trying to build a cohesive backstory to the upcoming video game, and its doing a commendable job. Due to it being a digital first, the issues are a bit short, though.
14 TMNT: Mutanimals IDW 1
  How can one mutant be on the same level of wicked awesomeness as Mikey? Mondo Gecko, along with Hob and the gang, are just as interesting as the TMNT – if not more.
15 Wonder Woman DC 39
  David and Meredith Finch have done a fine job with Wonder Woman since taking over, but what has me geeked out is an inevitable showdown between Diana and Donna Troy.
16 Nailbiter Image 10 18 +2
  Like this series could get any creepier… Finch is done doing the Hannibal Lecter dance with Nailbiter, and we are going to have quite an interesting arc coming up.
17 EI8HT Dark Horse 1
  Time travel and dinosaurs have never NOT been a winning combination, and this new series is no exception. I haven’t enjoyed a new sci-fi series this much since Black Science.
18 TMNT IDW 43 8 -10
  Everything is coming to a head with Shredder and Krang, but the confrontation between the two factions left more to be desired. A great book, but I wish it would stop teasing us.
19 Shutter Image 10 17 -2
  Kate’s world has practically exploded in the last few episodes, and the epiphanies just keep on coming. I could do with some more Alarm Cat, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
20 Magneto Marvel 15
  The Master of Magnetism got his mojo back, and he has a new scary focus that is all about his business. I bet Sabretooth is wishing he got the memo earlier.

 

Notably absent:

Birthright: Daaad! There’s something weird going on with Mikey! This fantasy book about a long-lost brother is really just now getting juicy, but there’s a dark secret lurking in here somewhere, and I’m not sure I like the path that Birthright is taking just yet.

Nameless: This book almost made the list this month if not just for the fact that two of my favorite creators are working on it (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham). That being said, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Not even a little bit

Hawkeye: Bittersweet that one of the most underrated books in the whole industry is moving on after this month, but Matt Fraction and David Aja had such great chemistry. I can only hope we will be that lucky again.

Deathstroke: The Expendables of comic books, right here. I mean, maybe not really at all. The explosions and punny retorts are there, but this isn’t your father’s Slade Wilson. Beautiful panels by Tony Daniels don’t hurt, either.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The first book swallowed me up so wholly that I was feeling let down by the second book. There weren’t nearly as many jokes, and the set-up for the next arc felt kind of boring. I don’t expect that to last.

 

 

Comic Book Power Rankings – January 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Batman DC 38
  There just isn’t a better book out there, and starting off Joker’s 75th birthday with Endgame is a great way to ensure the top spot.
2 Sex Criminals Image 10
  Unabashed sexuality and humor make this the most honest book on the shelves. And the freezing time with orgasms thing is great, too.
3 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 1
  Plenty of silly to go around, Squirrel Girl isn’t just a great new book, but has potential to bridge gaps between comic book readers of all creeds.
4 The Walking Dead Image 136
  Carl is both a lover AND a fighter, as new dangers loom on the horizon (as always). Kudos for making this small world into a bigger, scarier place.
5 Batman and Robin DC 38
  Damian is back from the dead – with superpowers; he may be bulletproof, but he is not immune to the human condition as he deals with his own mortality. Beautifully done.
6 Deadly Class Image 10
  Sure, there’s the teenage angst of the 80’s, the murder, drug trips and the love triangles. But really, “That was no fart” is why this book is so high on the list.
7 Justice League DC 38
  How could Lex Luthor create more havoc as a good guy than as a villain… In any case, a zombie Batman JL vs. Supes and WW? Get the popcorn.
8 TMNT IDW 42
  Mutanimals attack! There is so much going on in TMNT right now, but the mounting war with Hob and Splinter interests me most.
9 Superior Iron Man Marvel 4
  Ever think to yourself, “self, Tony Stark sure straddles the line between good guy a-hole and bad guy a-hole.” Well, self, you’re right, and this book is why.
10 Mortal Kombat DC 4
  I’ve been waiting for a legitimate MK comic book for years. This is just as bloody and fun as the game, and will get me over til its April release.
11 SHIELD Marvel 2
  It’s like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but worth the time investment. We still get the strategic genius of Agent Coulson, now with superheroes!
12 Star Wars Marvel 1
  Who would I be if this on the list? In what was the most anticipated book this month, I’m already more into this run than I ever was with Dark Horse’s.
13 Multiversity DC ?
  Seemlessly poking fun at the Multiverse while creating a cohesive story, Grant Morrison does what Grant Morrison wants. Good for us.
14 Detective Comics DC 38
  I would never have guessed that Anarky would be the next great Batman villain. This book puts the “detective” back in Detective Comics.
15 Birthright Image 4
  What child doesn’t wish they could go on a Jumanji-style demon-slaying adventure with their family? A really lame one, that’s for sure.
16 Superman DC 38
  A new creative team introduced a new character, and really revived a series which has since been oerwhemingly underwhelming.
17 Shutter Image 8
  Shutter has been suffering recently from the necessary lull of storytelling, but it’s so unique and gorgeous that I won’t dare remove it from the Top 20.
18 Nailbiter Image 9
  Each issue has increasingly given me the heeby-jeebies. In a good way. I am not a horror comic fan but I am most definitely a fan of this book.
19 Moon Knight Marvel 11
  Shuffle around the creative team, take away his armor, Mark Spector is still one BAMF. Moon Knight is my new underground favorite at Marvel.
20 Tooth and Claw Image 3
  Making the list solely on the principle of curiosity, Tooth & Claw is a fantastical book of magic, anthropomorphic animals, and other ill s***.

 

Notably absent:

Saga: “What have you done for me lately” is the name of the game here. Expect Saga to knock one of these series off its high horse when the series returns from its three-month hiatus this week.

Wonder Woman: Barely missed the cut. Great panels and intriguing characters keep me coming back each month.

Spider-Verse: Another Marvel “event” has worn out its welcome and left me pining for the end. I’m done buying six books to understand one story.

Powers: Brian Michael Bendis’ soon-to-be streaming series is a whole new world (to me), but I think I need to learn more before I can really dive in.

Shaft: I expected this to read more like the comic book embodiment of Public Enemy, but it’s got more bark than bite at this point.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: I love this book, even more so since Brian Buccaletto took over, but there is just too much emphasis on “The Dark” recently for my taste.

 

 

Comic Book Reviews 09-17-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

shutter POTW 9.17

Shutter #6 – A

As each issue of Shutter draws to a close, I find myself more and more attached to the title. While most books I’m reading have the tendency to flounder around, biding time until the next “mega-arc” or “crossover event,” this Image title has a succinct story to tell, and spoon-feeds the events out accordingly so that you always stay hungry. Shutter has been an instant classic since the first issue came out in April, and this issue is no exception. The grimm and ludicrous story could not be complemented any better than by the gorgeous artwork of Leila del Duca. This issue, marking end of the first arc, left me with my jaw wide open. We’ll have to wait until December to see what the heck is going on, but as long as Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca are back on duty, it will be worth the wait. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman Eternal #24 – B+

I’m not sure if the conglomerate of writers are finally learning from their mistakes or if they just got lucky here, but this week’s Eternal is all about Stephanie Brown AKA The Spoiler and her mission to take down her father, The Cluemaster. Cluemaster is a scumbag, set out to kill his own daughter for overhearing something incriminating during his super-villain poker game that they were having in the freaking kitchen. What a novice! There are some more obscure villains to enter the picture, but everything is cohesive and the story actually comes to a logical conclusion. Great read this week! – Sherif

Batman and Robin: Futures End #1 – C+

In the midst of all that’s going on in Batman and Robin, this spin-off takes a whole new approach to the future of the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder. Batman is look very grisly, not unlike Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and Robin is a black man with pulled back dreads, only known by his codename: Master Duke. The only logical choice for Robin in my mind is Luke Fox, the current day Batwing (he was never seen in costume as Batwing in the Batwing: Futures End book). Whoever it was, he seems to break down Batman’s trust barriers with much more ease than in the past, and the story lacks the dynamics I wanted to see in a book with a brand new Robin, but it was still fun to see Batman and Robin beat the crap out of Heretic. – Sherif

Teen Titans: Futures End #1 – C

After just relaunching two issues ago, the Futures End one-shot for Teen Titans is an easy spot to pick up for new readers. However, that doesn’t mean that any of it will make sense, but if superhero teams are your thing, this could be enjoyable. Five years down the road, the Teen Titans we know know are dead – a recurring theme among the Futures End books. There’s really nothing special about the team as a whole since most members are some version of the current line-up, and the inclusion of Heretic (Damian’s clone who murdered Robin a couple years ago) is eyebrow-raising to say the least. – Sherif

The New 52 – Futures End #20 – C

The twisted time-traveling travesty yet continues. This series now marks the longest ongoing New 52 series I’ve ever read. It’s been interesting experiencing a story with so… much… content. That being said, this 20th installment seems to finally be pointing in some direction. The downfall thus far with the story has been the overwhelming cast of characters and their seemingly unrelated journeys. To an extent, I still can’t figure out how everything fits together, but it’s starting to come together. Having little experience in the DC realm, it’s been fun to get to know some characters better. I’ve pick favorites and I’m always anxious to see certain characters. I’m too committed to the story to quit on now. I just hope the puzzle pieces start fitting together soon. – Taylor

Green Lantern – New Guardians: Futures End #1 – C-

This was rather confusing as many of the Futures End can be. This one doesn’t deal with the issues we’ve seen in the Earth-bound Futures Ends, but it does take place during the same time. I was most impressed by Brazilian penciler Diogenes Neves’ art in this issue. I really enjoyed the aliens and how the events at the end looked. It’s unfortunate though, because I’ve been enjoying the Futures End stories a lot, but, this week I didn’t read any that were that great. However, it is a massive event, so of course there will be some weak moments. – Cody

Wonder Woman: Futures End #1 – C-

I know this is a lame review, but this book is not horrible and it’s not great. I just don’t know I feel about it. There is something garish about the art. Choppy and boring. The dialogue is a mess and hard to follow alongside the art. I can’t tell if Harvel’s has a unique grammatical style or if it’s some editor’s oversight. Whatever the case, it’s annoying and not necessary. Also, do we really need tear Diana’s clothing to shreds? I mean come on. There is a better way to tell she been through battle then exposing all sorts of fleshy bits. On the other end, Hessia, Boudicca, and Nemesis have my attention, and I’m curious as to how the characters will fit in and continue to develop in the story. I’ll keep reading this, but I’m not sure if I’m happy about it. – Jené

Justice League: Futures End #2 – D

I very much enjoyed last week’s issue, but, part 2 just didn’t do it for me. There was a lot of talk for little to no resolution. Things just really moved fast and it didn’t seem like they were able to get everything they needed into the story. I’m not sure if this little story plays into any other Future’s End stories and maybe I’m just missing something, but, I found myself counting the pages left more than once… – Cody

 

IDW Comics:

Super Secret Crisis War: Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends #1 – B

I honestly haven’t watched much of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, but had to read this issue with its tie it to the Super Secret Crisis War. As with the past one-shot issues and the main series I am sure the similarities to the show are wonderful as I have found this and each issue from SSCW a blast to read as anyone 90’s kid is going to love this event. The story was a bit weak compared to the other one-shots of Johnny Bravo and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, but mostly because there isn’t anyone who wants to fight in this universe. I would say pick it up if you are a completionist like myself, but it can be missed and it wouldn’t change anything in the main story. – Jacob

TMNT: Turtles in Time #4 – C+

The last Turtles in Time issue and this one sees us in the future where Shredder rules the world. Definitely not good place to be and to make matters worse the turtles have just met one of their future selves. How will the Turtles get back to their own time? Where is Renet and her time machine? Will the Turtles help the future they may create? Well, all that is covered, as this is the last issue. The art in this series has been great and has differed with each issue making for a real change of time feel. The story of the arc is overall wonderful but sadly I feel like this last issue was the weakest of them all, but that is not saying it is bad by any means. I would definitely finish the story if you have been reading or like stories like 1984 and V for Vendetta. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Oddly Normal #1 – B

(A) I don’t care if I gave this an A. I freaking loved this and it deserves it. If I just stick with Image Comics, I’ll never be disappointed. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it right. Within the first page, I was drawn into the story and the character of Oddly, whose got pointed ears and green hair and is the outcast of her school. It one of the first comic that I was drawn into right away and didn’t take a few issues to wanted to read the next book. The balance of the setting and the narration got a lot of information across quickly and the inner world that belongs to Oddly. Though in a few hints about a secret world where water melts you it proves to be an intriguing story. Go out and get this book pronto. – Jené

(C) Unless it was part of my youth or adolescence, I’m typically not drawn to what I call “cutesy-cartoony” stories; Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, and Invader Zim all day, baby. But it’s harder for me to build a connection with similar motifs that have come out in the last 10 years… give or take 3 years (I LOVE CARTOONS). So naturally, I wasn’t immediately taken with Oddly Normal. Even so – I can see the potential in the story. It’s all about a young half-witch with no friends that ends up making a spellbound wish that spins her world upside-down; this series is set to be a moral-learning and silly adventure. Big props to Otis Frampton for writing and illustrating! Gotta respect a guy that puts his passion on the page. I’ll stick with this one until what I’m sure will be a heartwarming conclusion. – Taylor

Trees #5 – B

There continues to be a lot of esoteric/occult imagery in the comic book. Little snippits here and there that hint at something greater at play. This series is tuning into one of those comic books that you have to pay close attention to what is said and what seems to be hidden in the drawing, such as Clowly’s chamber of nightmares where odd depictions of what looks like alien people etched along the walls. It Aiwass somehow real and involved or rather more metaphorical in nature and these Trees which have been a part of Earth for the last decade? A lot of the symbols remind me of crop circles which, have been said to be messages from star people or left behind by starships. I hope they begin to figure out what this means. And the symbols at the end of the comic… Ugh, what are they?? Trees is a thinker that sure leaves you puzzling out the mystery. I continue to be enthralled by the poetic meanderings threads me in and out of the story and through the artwork the two seem to complement each other and the art is really important to the symbols and mysterious cropping up in the land of Trees. Hmmmm, what if the Trees somehow work on an energetic level slowly influencing the nature of Earth and those on it? – Jené

Marvel:

Edge of Spider-Verse #2 – A-

(A) I will start by saying that I am a sucker for alternate realities. But alternate realities where Gwen Stacy becomes Spider-Woman? That’s just too hard to pass up. Thanks to superb art by Robbi Rodriguez, the entire issue feels completely different from issue #1, and the colors by Ricco Renzi are quite reminiscent of Deadly Class‘ Lee Loughridge’s work. Gwen’s origin story, the focal point of the issue, is well done and all of the differences in the story are thoroughly intriguing, none more so than Matt Murdock’s role. Marvel’s plan for revealing different Spider-Man each issue could be one of the most genius ideas ever, and I cannot WAIT to see this idea develop. Finally, a mega-arc where every issue is worth investing in! – Sherif

(B) I realized something about myself after having read issue #2 of the Edge of the Spider-Verse this week; I’m a sucker for alternate storylines, endings, realities, universes, etc. I think there’s something incredibly imaginative to warp cornerstone characters and stories into something entirely new. It’s kinda like ordering vanilla ice cream but after taking your first bite you realize it’s actually cookie dough flavored. What’s even more appropriate about this analogy is that not everyone loves cookie dough ice cream. Some folks are bound to really like this intro to a new Spider-Hero while others may write it off. If you’re like me and you love cookie dough ice cream and straying from the beaten path, then you’ll certainly enjoy this second issue of Edge of the Spider-Verse. I can’t wait for all our Spidey’s to jump into action! – Taylor

Deadpool Bi-Annual #1 – B

(A) Let me level with you, folks. This was the first Deadpool comic I’ve ever read. I’ve always known about the Merc with the Mouth and his hilarious death-escapades (deathscapades?…), but this is my first true cover-to-cover experience. Man, have I been missing out. If you’re like me and are unfamiliar or have never read a Deadpool comic that shouldn’t deter you from snatching a copy of Deadpool Bi-Annual #1 off the shelves. I had a blast reading it. The story carries no significance to the greater Marvel universe, but it’s deeply rooted in its themes. Crammed full of fighting puns and hysterical character interactions there’s little to not enjoy about this issue. Our glorious Hush co-founder has always been a big fan and has always encouraged me to read Deadpool comics. I’m glad I started with this one and I certainly look forward to reading more. – Taylor

(C+) Brute Force is back!!! Wait…who? Well, if you know EVERYTHING about Marvel you mat be excited otherwise all you have to know is: cyborg-talking animals! Of course, the only platform fitting to reintroduce these characters to the world is Deadpool. This Bi-Annual (why the hell not)  issue is a very enjoyable read with a silly plot that really pushes Animal Conservation. The art is great, as with most Deadpool, but unfortunately like with about 70% of Deadpool’s stories lately, it is bleak and unnecessary to telling any kind of cohesive story. – Jacob

All-New X-Men #32 – D+

Throughout this two-year plus run of All-New X-Men, there has been almost as much filler as there has been storyline. The book hasn’t really had any momentum or “purpose” since we found out that the original X-Men are stuck in the current time. Each book, although filled with hilarity, has increasing lost my interest, and this new situation – each of the team strewn across places in the Verse(s) – doesn’t look like much more than a reason to flaunt the upcoming Spider-Verse mega-arc. I’m not breaking up with this All-New X-Men yet, but I’ve definitely started seeing other books. – Sherif

Funniest Panel:

deadpool funny 9.17

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

spidey cover 9.17


 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Batman Day – Best Graphic Novels

DC Comics has dubbed today Batman Day. The Dark Knight has been fighting crime and serving justice for his 75th year since the 1939 debut of Detective Comics #27. Batman has been a big part of our lives, and was responsible for making me in the comic book fanatics we are today, whether it be through comic books and toys or television and movies. To show our appreciation for the man, the myth and the legend, we have compiled a plethora of Bat-themed lists. We hope that we can inspire you to read more about Batman and his legacy, or even give us some feedback if you agree or disagree with the lists. Sound off below! Or click on the picture below to take you to all of our Batman Day articles.

batman day logo

 

 

Top 20 Batman Graphic Novels

The legacy of Batman isn’t dependent on the video games, movies or toys. Batman’s mythos is based on his greatest comic book tales. Whether canon or not, each story we chose here added to the collective representation of who we have built the Batman to be. Whether or not they are the “best” is not what we aim to debate, but these are the stories that define the Batman to us.

 

20.) Batman and Robin: Reborn

After Batman was “killed” by Darkseid in Final Crisis, I was almost ready to throw in the towel for reading comics. How could DC get away with killing off Bruce Wayne? By putting Dick Grayson in the cowl, that’s how. Grant Morrison’s idea to make the former Nightwing into Batman helped fill the part of the void left by Bruce’s departure. It was like reading a completely new book, as the dynamic between Dick and Damian Wayne was a far cry from the father and son one that Robin shared with Bruce. There was also a noticeable amount of humor that just hadn’t existed between Batman and Robin, the two taking on a big brother-little brother relationship. Dick tried to assume the fatherly rol, but it was often shoved back in his face by the prodigal Damian, often too smart for his own good.

 

19.) Batman: Zero Year

The mega-arc from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo just ended today, and it has already secured a place among my favorite books of all time. The time period prior to Frank Miller’s Year One is one of great mystery, so for us to get a complete detail of his rise to becoming the Batman. Bruce’s journey is full of tidbits that had never made it into other comics; thanks to the fact there was no canon material to prove Snyder right or wrong, he could really do what he wanted with the story. A show-down with the Red Hood Gang and the introduction of the Riddler, as well as a different take on the origin of James Gordon were just some of the twists that made the arc feel familiar, yet brand new. Greg Capullo’s art is on point. His model of the first Batsuit is incredible, complete with purple gloves and all. This book is a love letter to Batman, and you don’t need any previous knowledge to enjoy and understand it.

 

18.) Death in the Family

When Jason Todd learns that his biological mom is still out there somewhere, the stubborn Robin runs away from home to track her down. His hunt leads him to the Middle East. He does end up meeting his mom, but hits a patch of bad luck when she ends up being on the Joker’s payroll. Yikes. Long story short, the Joker beats Robin senseless with a crowbar before leaving him and his mother in a warehouse with a bomb. There’s no happy ending here, as Jason Todd blows up just before Batman can save the day. This wasn’t all bad news for fans though, as DC had actually released a survey asking people whether or not Robin should be murdered. His death was a particularly brutal one, like something you’d see on Goodfellas, and considering Jason was just a kid, a lot of people felt it was too much. The largest impact Jason’s death had was on Batman’s psyche, haunting him for years. He considered Jason’s death the worst failure he’s ever had.

 

17.) Mad Love

Vroom! Vroom! Harley Quinn tries so hard just to impress her man in this story, but she just can’t win. After putting on a special outfit and enticing the Joker, he shrugs her off, brooding over his failed attempts at catching and killing the Bat. So Harley does what any loving woman would; she captures Batman all on her own. As she brags to Batman about how proud Joker will be, Batman tells her that he only cares about himself, but Harley shrugs it off (Note: If Batman is telling you your relationship is toxic, you know something is wrong) Excited to share the news with Mistah Jay, he becomes infuriated, telling Harley that he had to be the one to do it or it didn’t matter. That’s when things stop being funny. Joker continues to beat Harley, pushing her out of the window and into the trash. Coming from an abusive home as a child, this was really the final straw for Harley, as she renounces the Joker… for a little while anyway. Relationship woes aside, I gained  lot of respect for Harley after Mad Love.

 

16.) Under the Hood

Jason Todd, like most superheroes, couldn’t stay dead for long. However, the way that he came back was very unique from the rest of the comic book world. Taking on the moniker of the Red Hood, named after a gang Joker ran with when he turned into the white-skinned psycho he is today, Todd returns in a big way, sweeping the crime world by taking it over, and annihilating anybody who opposes. Bitter from what he considered Batman letting him die, Jason turned to more extreme measures in dealing with the bad guys. It takes Batman a while, but he finally figures out that the Red Hood is somehow Jason Todd. Cutting into his action, Black Mask joins with other super-villains to put a hit out on Red Hood. The Joker ends up captive in a room with Red Hood, who savagely beats Joker and prepares to kill him. In the end, Batman is forced to make the choice of stopping Jason from killing Joker, driving a wedge further between them.

 

15.) No Man’s Land

Gotham has suffered an earthquake of catastrophic proportions, resulting in a city-wide blackout. Civilization as we know it has ceased to exist, and random gangs have began vying for territory all over the city. Meanwhile, Batman is nowhere to be found as Bruce Wayne in in DC, fighting for national aid to Gotham. What makes the story great is that all the minor characters who never get the spotlight deserve play a major part in the resurrection of Gotham. The story feels very real and everybody acts how you would imagine they would in that kind of situation. Citizens’ fears are felt just as much as the police’s bravery. James Gordon is just the bit of hero that Batman was, proving that you don’t need to be Batman to make a difference. This huge event spanned nearly 15 series and six months, making it one of Batman’s largest-scale stories of all time.

 

14.) All-Star Batman and Robin

For some reason, this Batman is really pissed off. All-Star Batman and Robin isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s one of the most entertaining stories I’ve read. Not only does Batman get laid, say “Goddamn” a lot and defeats the Green Lantern by literally using the color yellow. The books chronicles the recruitment of Dick Grayson as Robin and Batman’s introduction to the Justice League, as well as a few other minor events. The Batman in this book is a raging asshole; he puts his hands on Alfred, constantly belittles Robin and shows little value in the life of criminals – notably by hurling a Molotov cocktail at a group of them as them erupt in flames. The real take-away are the beautiful full-page spreads by Jim Lee, who manages to calm down the rage-aholic writing of Frank Miller.

 

13.) Dark Victory

The sequel to Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long HalloweenDark Victory continues along the lines of a mystery story that just happens to have Batman characters in it. We get an introduction to Robin, and a brand new villain with a new shtick, The Hangman. Many of the corrupt politicians from Year One are found hanged to death by this mystery murderer. We also get to see the complications of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, but Batman feels perpetually alone, refusing help from Catwoman and Gordon on numerous occasions.

 

12.) Knightfall

Bane gets overlooked a lot of the time for being a hulking beast, but he’s one of the smartest villains in Gotham. In Knightfall, he strategically breaks out all the villains from Arkham, wearing Batman out as he tried to contain the situation. Bane deduced Batman’s secret identity, meeting him in the Batcave for a super-sized beat-down, ending in Bane shattering Batman’s spine and his confidence. It was an eye-opener for fans that realized defeating the Batman was, in fact, possible. Batman began a rigorous training regiment with Lady Shiva to get his mojo back, and charged Jean Paul Valley (Azrael) to take over as Batman in his stead. JPV let the role go to his head, and before we knew it, he had modified the Batsuit to become a nightmarish Azrael suit. The first volume of the arc was the best, but there were still enough interesting events in the rest of it to warrant reading.

 

11.) Battle for the Cowl

Bruce Wayne is gone, and Dick Grayson must take up the mantle of the Bat, but is reluctant. Sensing that Batman is gone, an impostor show up to take the gig over. That impostor ends up being a sociopathic Jason Todd. In an attempt to stop Jason Todd, both Damian and Tim Drake are shot and severely wounded. At this point, Dick realized that only he can inherit the mantle of the Bat. The story isn’t that long, but the repercussions of it echo all the way into Bruce’s return.

 

10.) Joker

Batman’s number one villain gets his own mini-series in this story by 100 Bullets‘ Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo. The story is told through the eyes of a common criminal looking to join the ranks of Joker’s gang. This perspective, unlike the first-person perspective of the supplementary Luthor book, enhances the perspective that nobody really knows what the Joker is thinking. Reading the book, you get lost in the madness, but sober right up as you realize just how frightening Joker is. In a confrontation with Harvey Dent, Joker glues shards of broken glass to his fists in preparation for the fight. This is right after blackmailing him and right before raping Dent’s wife. Joker also commits other unspeakable acts such as: skinning a man alive, shooting over a dozen people (not all in anger) and stabbing one of his own men in the eye with a glass bottle. This book is a clear example of digging beneath the surface and realizing you probably shouldn’t have.

 

9.) The Black Mirror

Before Scott Snyder was awarded Batman in the New52, he wrote The Black Mirror, a creepy story about the dark reflection in Gotham that stares back at our protagonists. Commissioner Gordon, Gotham’s hero on the police force, beloved by the people, is hiding something, or rather someone, when it turns out that his estranged son is a complete deviant. Dick Grayson, meanwhile, who was still Batman at the time, infiltrates an auction held by The Dealer, where items used by villains were used – the item for bid was the crowbar The Joker used on Jason Todd before murdering him. It’s all pretty gruesome stuff, and would set the tone for the dark material in the New52 relaunch.

 

8.) The Killing Joke

Alan Moore’s stand-alone story is commonly thought of as the greatest Joker story ever told. There are plot points in this book that would remain canon and have repercussions that lasted decades. We get a good glimpse into the Joker’s twisted psyche, as he visits the home of Barbara Gordon and shoots her point blank, paralyzing her. The Joker then kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, takes him to an abandoned amusement park (I think Gothan has one too many of those) and shows Gordon pictures of his daughter, all to prove that even the most upstanding citizen can lose their mind after one bad day. The ending to The Killing Joke is very artistic, and many believe resulted in the death of the Joker.

 

7.) Flashpoint Batman: Knight of Vengeance

Flash might have been the headliner here, but the alternate timeline that Batman was set on was as clever as it was tragic. When Flash altered reality by way of the Speed Force, Batman’s origin changed with it. Instead of Martha and Thomas Wayne taking the bullet, it had been Bruce. Engrossed in guilt, Thomas dealt with the situation by becoming Batman. This Batman was much more lethal with his methods, and operated a casino in town where he oversaw all the crime in town. Meanwhile, Martha developed another coping mechanism – laughter. My mind was blown. The Waynes, who were once the Jay-Z and Beyonce power couple of Gotham City, were now bitter enemies. The story ends in tragedy (as most Batman stories do), and all I could do is thank the stars that Flash was able to set the timeline straight again.

 

6.) Batman: Year One

Frank Miller’s Batman wasn’t always insane. The quintessential origin story, Year One took us through Bruce Wayne’s first attempt at fighting crime. In short, he kind of sucked at it. Gotham was a city where the rich got fat at the poor’s expense. While Batman was making his introduction on the streets, James Gordon had transferred from Chicago to be met by a very corrupt police force. Bruce and Gordon’s stories paralleled each other very well, adding to the feeling they would work well together. This is as good as any place to start in the Batman mythology if you don’t know where to start reading.

 

5.) JLA: Tower of Babel

Batman has a contingency plan for everything – even his friends. When Justice Leaguers start dropping like flies, with methods specifically designed to eliminate them, everybody is completely lost as to the mastermind who came up with these designed traps. Everybody, that is, except for Batman, who had kept a file detailing the Justice League’s weaknesses in case they got out of control. Ra’s al Ghul, who had a habit of being able to sneak into the Batcave whenever he wanted, sneaked in and stole the files, intending to use them to immobilize the heroes while he did his global domination thing. As Batman is the only one left to defend the world, he must undo the damage that his files wrought on the League. Tower of Babel was great commentary on whether or not that much control over a situation is a good thing, especially when the information wasn’t secure.

 

4.) The Dark Knight Returns

A retired Bruce Wayne has watched his city fall apart without a Dark Knight to protect it. It would seem, though, that the world is not ready for his reemergence, as Superman, who has pretty much become the President’s bitch, must make an example of this vigilante. That’s really the least of Batman’s worries, as he takes on Two-Face, a revitalized Joker, and a gang of punks called the Mutants. The story is chock-full of socio-political commentary that has stayed relevant throughout the decades.

 

3.) Batman: The Long Halloween

The Long Halloween was the first comic book I’ve ever read, and I was instantly hooked right in. Armed with Jeph Loeb, one of the greatest comic book storytellers in recent history, and the unique art style of Tim Sale, this book was enthralling. Part mystery, part action, Batman had to solve murders around town that were committed on holidays. He even enlisted the help of Calendar Man. The story takes place early in the Batman timeline, chronicling the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face and before Jim Gordon was Commissioner. The story included a plethora of villains, and when the headlining Holiday is finally found out, it’s a big Aha! moment you just don’t get in comic books anymore.

 

2.) The Court of Owls

Scott Snyder kicked The New52 off with a bang, as a brand new series with a brand new villain emerged. The Court of Owls are an underground society of Gotham’s oldest and wealthiest families. They control everything going on in the city, and have decided that Bruce Wayne and the Batman have got to go. With an army of trained, slightly-undead soldiers called Talons at their disposal, they are an instant force to be reckoned. The owl-like masks, as well as the detailed Talon design added to the Courts intrigue, and the way Capullo arranged the panels when Batman tangles with the Owls in their maze echoes the insanity Batman feels. While the reboot allowed for tinkering to the mythology, Court of Owls actually added a lot of interesting gadgets and tidbits to it. At a whopping twelve issues, this book won’t fail to hold your interest.

 

1.) Hush

Call us biased, but Hush is the best Batman graphic novel of all time. In no other book are you introduced to so many beautifully drawn villains. Jim Lee’s art in Hush will go down in history as legendary, with a mixture of regular pencils and even taking a stab at water colors. Hush also marks the return of Jason Todd from the dead and introduces Thomas Elliott, Bruce’s childhood friend. Like other great mysteries by Jeph Loeb (The Long HalloweenDark Victory), you don’t find out who the villain is until the end of the book. In Hush Batman finally lets Catwoman into his heart, giving her a big smooch and revealing his identity to her. This has since been undone in The New52, but it has remained canon in my heart. Hush is the book that made me officially fall in love with comic books, and it’s one any Bat-fan will enjoy.

Batman Day – Best TV Episodes

DC Comics has dubbed today Batman Day. The Dark Knight has been fighting crime and serving justice for his 75th year since the 1939 debut of Detective Comics #27. Batman has been a big part of our lives, and was responsible for making me in the comic book fanatics we are today, whether it be through comic books and toys or television and movies. To show our appreciation for the man, the myth and the legend, we have compiled a plethora of Bat-themed lists. We hope that we can inspire you to read more about Batman and his legacy, or even give us some feedback if you agree or disagree with the lists. Sound off below! Or click on the picture below to take you to all of our Batman Day articles.

 

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Top 10 Episodes

If you’re like us, you grew up watching Batman in animated form take over the TV in animated form on Saturday mornings, or syndicated after school. For almost a full decade, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and a complete cast of supporting characters set a new standard for cartoons with Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, headlining an already-phenomenal decade of classic cartoons. Since the original spin-off Batman Beyond ended in 2001, DC has had years of success in the animated world riding the wave of B:TAS. In fact, Batman has been the only superhero to carry a solo series for over a season since (minus Green Lantern, but shhh) Superman: The Animated Series aired alongside Batman’s. The newer incarnations never lived up to the quality of the 90’s, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t special in their own way. We go through ten – and yes it was hard to limit it to ten – of our favorite episodes from the animated series.

 

10.) Batman: The Brave and the Bold S1 E24, “Mayhem of the Music Meister”

Anytime a show’s episode is compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s “Once More With Feeling,” the show is doing a good job. BATB was a silly show, but there were still enough serious moments to keep the show believable. It was great at straddling the line between corny and serious crime fighting every episode. There was just enough wiggle room for an episode like “Mayhem of the Music Meister to sneak through. Thanks to the talents of Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible‘s Sing-A-Long Blog), the episode is full of hilarious ditties, capped by the heroic performance of Batman and his voice of justice. “Music Meister” proved that Batman series don’t always need to take themselves so seriously.

 

9.) The New Batman Adventures S1E12, “Over the Edge”

Watching this episode as a kid, I had my jaw open the whole time. Batgirl, in a struggle with Scarecrow, had been knocked off a building, falling to her death. In a fit of rage, Commissioner Gordon’s reaction to discovering that his own daughter was the Batgirl was one of I couldn’t quite comprehend. What came next was the complete annihilation of the trust they have worked so hard to build, the invasion of Wayne Manor by the GCPD. I though I was watching the end of the show, when suddenly, it turns out that none of it was real. It had all been a hallucination caused by Scarecrow’s fear toxin. I can safely say that I have never felt as fooled by a plot twist as when watching “Over the Edge.”

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8.) Batman: The Animated Series S1E30, “Perchance to Dream”

Another hallucination-based episode, “Perchance to Dream” dangles Batman’s greatest desires in front of him. Waking up after a hard hit knocks him unconscious, both his parents are alive, but there is no sign anywhere that he is the Batman. On the plus side, he is engaged to Selina Kyle, living the life of a boring rich kid. As more memories flood in of his time as Batman, he begins to think he’s going insane, haunted by the shadow of a Batman. It turns out the Mad Hatter had Batman under his control, ripping the would-be great life away from Batman. Kevin Conroy, a student of Shakespeare, says that this is favorite episode of all. With the deep exploration of Batman’s psyche, it took B:TAS beyond the status quo for Saturday morning cartoon.

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7.) Batman: The Animated Series S1E60-61, “The Demon’s Quest”

This Ra’s al Ghul-centric arc is based on the story written by Dennis O’Neil, who created the character with Neal Adams in 1971’s Batman #232. O’Neil actually wrote the first episode of the two-part arc. Ra’s al Ghul’s proper introduction into the show was so appropriate for him. He is a villain unlike any other. Immediately, Ra’s knows Batman’s secret identity, but doesn’t much seem to care. The great thing about Ra’s is that he doesn’t want Batman dead, but rather to take over the family business of global domination. There’s also a really fun swash-buckling scene where Batman and Ra’s engage in combat. The whole thing feels very Lawrence of Arabia; bringing this classic comic book story to animated form was a great call and a pleasure to watch.

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6.) Batman: The Animated Series, S1E2 “Christmas With the Joker”

Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. Batmobile lost its wheels, and Joker got away! “Christmas With the Joker” is one of the funnest episodes of the series. Just hand Mark Hamill the microphone and let him go wild. Joker kidnaps Gordon, Harvey Bullock and Summer Gleason, putting on a Christmas special for Gotham, drawing the Batman out and sending him and Robin on a wild goose chase around town. After finally catching up with the Joker and foiling his plan, he gives Batman a Christmas present – a big ol’ pie right in the face! He went through all that trouble, kidnapping law enforcement, riggin toy soldiers to kill, all to give Batman a pie in the face. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Dick watch It’s A Wonderful Life, to which Bruce comments, “it has its moments.”

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5.) The New Batman Adventures S1E19 “Legends of the Dark Knight”

There’s nothing like a good tribute episode to really get the fans into it. The episode follows three kids as they argue back and forth about what they think the Batman is like. The children featured are actually tributes to famous kids in the DC Animated lore. Matt is the brother of Batman Beyond‘s Terry McGinnis, Carrie is the Robin from The Dark Knight Returns, and Nick is from the “I’ve Got Batman in My Basement,” where he and two other children hide Batman in their house when they find him injured and in danger. Each account of the Batman is a callback to a famous time period in Batman’s history. Matt’s version is a tribute to the Dick Sprang style Batman, which inspired the Brave and the Bold cartoon. Carrie’s version is a callback to The Dark Knight Returns, which was unique because Frank Miller’s TDKR is one of the most adult versions of the Batman created, so to see it toned down for a cartoon was really neat. As they continue walking around the block, they run into Firefly, who is quickly dispatched by the Batman himself. The episode is hero worship in the purest sense.

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4.) The New Batman Adventures S1E21 “Mad Love”

Harley Quinn has always been down for her man, even if Mistah Jay treats her like crap. However, this episode – based off the 1994 Batman Adventures: Mad Love book – is where Harley draws the line. After trying to get Joker in the mood he abusively shrugs Harley off, focused on his many failed attempts at taking  Batman down. Just to make him happy, Harley devises a plan to capture the Dark Knight on her own, and it works! Expecting Joker would be happy about her accomplishment, he was furious that Harley did a better job than he did – that Joker had to be the one to do it. Joker then proceeds to beat the crap out of Harley, and not in a comical way, but rather in a domestic violence kind of way. The issue opened my eyes to the topic of domestic violence, and even then I knew it was wrong.

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3.) Batman Beyond, S1E1-2 “Rebirth”

The year was 1999 and Batman: The Animated Series as we knew it was over. Sure, there was still Justice League, but sharing screen time with the other Leaguers left me pining for more Batman. Enter Batman Beyond. It was Batman… from the future! Reprising his role of Bruce Wayne, Kevin Conroy was a link to the show we loved so much. What made this story so great was that it was a completely new world, with futuristic characters and gadgets, as well as adaptations of villains years in the future. Terry’s character was also completely relatable: single parent home, sibling rivalry, high school relationships. This show rejuvenated the Batman animated world, and became an instant fan favorite. Schway.

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2.) Batman: The Animated Series S1E14, “Heart of Ice”

“Heart of Ice” was the first episode of the series directed by creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. Victor Fries is one of the most tragic villains in Batman’s rogues gallery. Sure he blasts innocent people to death with his freeze ray, but he’s got a good reason to be upset with the world. Working at GothCorp, Fries had been working tirelessly to find a cure for his cryogenically frozen wife, Nora, when company CEO Ferris Boyle coldly shut down operations. When Fries tried to stop Boyle, Boyle threw Fries into the a table of chemicals, essentially turning him into the monster he is today. Mr. Freeze’s goal is simple revenge – and who could blame him? The issue itself was poetic, as Batman and viewers alike could feel Freeze’s pain.

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1.) Batman: The Animated Series, S1E46 “Almost Got ‘Im”

If you want one episode to represent Batman in the animated world, “Almost Got ‘Im” is your show. Joker, Ivy, Penguin, Killer Croc and Two-Face play a high stakes game of poker as they share stories about the time they came so close to killing the Batman, each coming up with one excuse or another as to why their plan didn’t fall through. Their recollections are brief, but still intriguing. The best story had to be Killer Croc, who said that he once threw a rock at Batman. When the rest of the rogues looked unimpressed, he insisted “it was a big rock.” After Joker spills the beans about his and Harley’s plans to ground Catwoman into cat food (kind of morbid, but whatever), Croc reveals himself to be Batman in disguise, with GCPD hiding in wait. The whole thing had been a setup. After rescuing Catwoman, she proposes that they run away together, and after seemingly giving this consideration, he pulls his signature disappearing act, to which Catwoman says, “Almost Got ‘Im.”

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“Respect My Craft” – Adam West

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Adam West

Profession: Actor

Notable Work: Batman television series (1966-1968), Family Guy (2000-2014)

“Pow! Bang! Crash!” – Adam West

 

Holy Onomatopoeia, Hushsters, the caped crusader will be at Denver Comic this year!” It’s only right that we pay homage to this iconic TV personality the Hush way, with spoilers! Enter at your own risk, we are going to drop some Easter Eggs on you for this episode of “RMC.”

Adam West

William West Anderson was born on September 19th, 1928. As a kid, he was a legitimate Batman fan, which isn’t surprising. Media was limited in the 40’s and comic books were one of the few forms of media that were acceptable for children. He fell in love with entertainment and worked in everything from radio to theater. He changed his name to Adam West to be more appealing in Hollywood. Westerns were very popular on television, so it made sense. He starred in several westerns including: The Restless Four, Maverick, Geronimo, Bonanza and The Virginian.

Adam got the attention of ABC executives in the sixties due to his work as Captain Q, a secret agent in a NesQuik commercial. His line was, “Some people will do anything to get rich quick, toodle-oo.” He had an extensive resume, including a feature with The Three Stooges in The Outlaws is Coming. ABC was desperate to produce a show that could compete with its rivals. Lost in Space, The Munsters, and Star Trek were ratings giants for NBC and CBS. ABC pitched the Batman series in a risky attempt to keep up. They had a simple formula – over-the-top action and unwavering morality equals over-night success. Zowie! Although Adam and co-star Burt Ward (Robin) had to audition for their roles, they easily landed their parts after the show’s executive, William Dozier, also voice of the narrator, decided to produce the series as a campy adventure.

West and Ward

The first episode, “Hi Diddle Riddle,” aired January 12th, 1966. The series only lasted three seasons, but it aired twice a week. Imagine if Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones did the same! This show didn’t need sex or violence to be successful (not like they could have gotten away with it anyway); it had Batman and that’s all you need, and Batpoles, and an animated intro, and shark repellent, and villains, “Oh, the villains!” Thwapp!

Holy Bat phone!

Like most series of that era that targeted young viewers, each episode had a strong message of morality. Issues like pedestrian safety and doing homework were thrown into the action-packed show.

Sock! The villains the Dynamic Duo faced were splendid. Boom! They wore outrageous costumes and had henchman galore. Slap! Cesar Romero played a magnificent Joker. He was an instant hit. Eartha Kitt purred her way into the warm part of the couch as Catwoman. The fight sequences on the show felt like operatic dance numbers.

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The gadgets the duo had were every boy’s dream, secret passageways, utility belts with tools to save the day, and a custom Batmobile to rival any sports car. The Lincoln Futura concept car from Ford was never put into production so it was a perfect choice for billionaire Bruce Wayne. Mechanic to the stars George Barris was commissioned to put the sleek model into action for the Batman series.

Life after Batman

Adam West’s career continued to thrive after Batman. He voiced the caped crusader and others for several animated series in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. He made guest appearances on Laverne and Shirley, The Love Boat and Bewitched. His cartoon voice over work is second to none, shout out Mark Hamill.

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He has a Batman logo on one of his molars.

On April 5th, 2012 he earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

His resume is long, his work includes Johnny Bravo, Kim Possible, Futurama, and The Simpsons. Do you remember him as the voice of R. Kelly’s Lawyer on Season One of The Boondocks? “Maybe R. Kelly did urinate on this woman, but America urinated on R. Kelly!” Classic.

The Trial of R. Kelly

And then there’s Family Guy.

West’s popularity as Mayor Adam West of Quahog on Seth McFarlane’s obnoxiously funny Family Guy is astounding. He is a fan favorite and deservedly so for 14 years! His deadpan humor transfers well on the show. He is never too prideful to poke fun at himself and that’s what makes him so special. His character is moronic and insane, but most importantly hilarious. Isn’t it ironic that his longest continual role is of himself, and as an animated character?

Mayor Adam West

West is the standard for actors who portray superheroes. Instead of being type cast, he created a persona that could translate well in any comedic medium. He built an empire for himself by remaining true to his art. He is a living legend and a guys like Tobey Maguire and Brandon Routh could take a page out of his book. After watching several episodes of the iconic series to prepare for this article I find myself in a state of nostalgia. Sure, the new Batman ’66 comic book can fill a bit of the gap, but it’s not the same. Where are the writers and actors of yesteryear? When did television become so bitter and boring, where are the Adam Wests of today? I guess we’ll find out next week, same Bat-time, same Bat channel.

 

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (ABC, Cartoon Network, FOX Television). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with Star Trek: The Next Generation alumna, Marina Sirtis.

“Respect My Craft” – Peter Tomasi

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Peter Tomasi

Profession: Writer/Editor

Notable WorkBatman and Robin (2011-present), The Mighty (2009-2010), The Light Brigade (2006)

“It’s crazy to think that Damian first hit the books over 7 years ago when I was still an editor of the Bat-line. I can still remember that day when Grant [Morrison] said he wanted to bring this wacko kid into the picture and make him a real pain in the ass for Bruce.” – Peter Tomasi

 

Peter Tomasi is a name that should ring in a lot of fan-boys ears for being the writer to The New52 Batman and Robin, who along with penciller Patrick Gleason have created one of the few comic books out of the relaunch to keep the same creative team – which is amazing considering that Robin has been dead in the DCU for almost half of the series. The death of Damian would not have carried nearly as much weight if it weren’t for the development in Batman and Robin that both Damian and Bruce went through together. The murder of Damian was capped off with issue #18, called Requiem (a title Tomasi also gave to a tribute issue to a certain character after his death in Final Crisis), which was his first silent issue. The emotionally charged issue was a great send-off for the character that Tomasi had sort of adopted through his run as an editor, and then writer, of the Bat-books. There was a deeper connection than just the creative side; this had been the result of years of grooming.

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As a kid, Tomasi’s father introduced him to comic books. Growing up watching Adam West scaling walls on the Batman television show, and reading the exploits of Batman through the legendary comic book tag team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, Tomasi was a Batman lifer. It eventually led him to start his career at DC Comics as an Assistant Editor at DC Comics over 20 years ago, where he has since remained. Ten years later, he earned a promotion to become Senior Editor at DC Comics, while moonlighting as a writer for random books that likely needed help keeping deadlines. Along the way, he also created The Light Brigade –  which Tomasi described as one part Saving Private Ryan, one part Paradise Lost – in 2004. The series has quite the following, and was recently re-released in hardcover edition a few months ago. Wanting more writing responsibilities, Tomasi left his fifteen-year long position to take on Black Adam: The Dark Age in 2007.

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Black Adam had been thrown into the DC spotlight after kicking everybody’s butt in 52, a weekly installment set in one year of DC without the Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), so it seemed only natural that he should be given his own mini-series. Tomasi’s run was fascinating, blurring the lines of hero and villain, making me root for Adam throughout the story.  Being Egyptian, I was naturally drawn to identity with Black Adam – although I’d like to think I’m not nearly the evil bastard that this guy is. After receiving a lot of acclaim for The Dark Age, Vice President and current co-Publisher Dan DiDio asked Tomasi to jump on to his first full-time book, Nightwing. The train didn’t stop there, though. Tomasi wrote for The OutsidersGreen Lantern Corps, and even co-wrote Brightest Day with Geoff Johns. He also worked on side projects, like writing screenplay for the video-game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a game that I wore out to the point of breaking it in high school, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, a compilation of stories about the Green Lanterns (Tomasi’s writing was for Kilowog’s short).

Writing books with an ensemble is something that naturally fits for Tomasi, whose experience as an editor has made him an Amazo of a writer, able to channel different personalities without sounding like a single writer’s voice. This was most impressively portrayed on the recent mini-series, Forever Evil: Arkham War. What I initially took for a cash grab, capitalizing off the Crime Syndicate story that Geoff Johns was writing, I ended up falling in love with. The story picks up with the Justice League absent in a world now controlled by the rime Syndicate, Gotham City left with nothing but Batman’s rogues gallery to fight over the empire of dirt left behind. The two front-runners in the battle are Scarecrow and Bane; Scarecrow thinks he can outsmart Bane, but Bane proves to be more cunning than Scarecrow thinks, and definitely the stronger-willed. Once again, I find myself cheering for the “bad guy” in one of Tomasi’s books.

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The complex relationships that Tomasi builds in his books are a cornerstone of his writing. When he came on to writing the Bat-books, it was right before The New52 relaunch, when things had gotten quite complicated in Gotham City. We had been introduced to Damian Wayne and Stephanie Brown, Batman had freaking died and now Dick Grayson had become the new Batman. It was a very confusing time for me, but the understanding that these were people underneath the masks helped me dissociate the standard roles each of them played. While Bruce had a sternly parent role with Damian and Tim, Dick was more of a big brother – which was evidenced by his difficulty in getting Robin to follow in suit.

Damian has earned his place in the Bat family legacy. From when he started out in Batman and Son to when he was killed in Batman Inc #8, the character had grown from intolerable shit to prodigal son. A lot of the interactions in Batman and Robin were influenced by Peter’s own son, and how he thinks a wily, spitfire of a boy would act. And while the other Bat-books featured Damian’s progression, it was really Tomasi that raised him. Tomasi has been the cool step-dad that never gets the credit for raising a child that was, in essence, left on his front porch. The first volume of the New52 Batman and RobinBorn to Kill, is a prime example of why Damian really belongs to Peter Tomasi. Through rage and instinct, Damian decides to defeat crime by taking it out permanently, crossing the line that Batman holds dear when a third-party, named Nobody, convinces him to take a life. The heart-wrenching arc is one of the best in the New52 and really showcases the internal struggle Damian goes through – things are really messed up when your mom is the son of the Demon’s Head and leader of the League of Assassins. With so many Batman-led titles, the interpersonal take on Bruce and Damian’s relationship with each other set Tomasi’s book apart from the others. This must have been especially hard when you realize that, as Senior Editor, Tomasi knew Damian’s fate from his very inception.

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Since Damian’s death over a year ago, the series has been following Batman’s quest for closure, culminating in a battle with Ra’s Al Ghul, who has defiled Damian’s grave and using him to create more super-soldiers – featured in a disturbing Batman and Aquaman #29. You can feel the feels slide off the page, as we’re not sure where Batman’s mental state is – that’s not only scary, but a testament to the earnestness of Tomasi’s writing. The news has broken that Batman will indeed be getting a new Robin when Robin Rises: Omega comes out on Batman Day (July 23rd). Speculation remains as to whether or not this is a new Robin, or the return of Damian, but one thing is sure: Batman needs a Robin just as much as he needs a writer like Peter Tomasi.

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (DC Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con as we put on our spandex and onomatopoeic fighting words with the classic Batman, Adam West.