Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Images copyright DC COMICS

As I've said many times before, comics are the next best thing to
diaries and photographs (in fact, sometimes they're better), because
they somehow manage to evoke specific moments in our pasts in an
almost tangible way.  Very often, I've been so buried in a back issue
that I'm surprised when I look up from its pages to find I'm not
still in the house (or the time) I lived in when I first read it.

Take BATMAN #201 for example.  This was yet another comic
purchased from CORSON'S (which still exists) back in the latter half
of '72, not long after we'd moved into our new house.  I remember buying
it early evening, and arriving home to discover that friends of my parents
were visiting.  I sat at the dining table in the living-room, and set about re-
creating the splash page on a piece of blank paper.  That table was given
away some years later, but it still exists in the fabled land of memory
whenever I recall that golden evening of so very long ago.

That's the great thing about comics;  they're a gateway into an
earlier time and place - a means by which we can relive the past for
however brief an instant, through the images on the page and even
the smell that emanates from the paper - re-creating long-vanished
moments from another era which we can experience again and
again whenever the fancy takes us.

Somehow I doubt that perusing comics on the internet or an
iPad is an experience that'll lend itself to the same kind of nostalgic
and sentimental wallowing in which an actual published paper periodi-
cal allows readers to indulge.  And to think they call it 'progress'.  I
know what I call it, and I very much doubt I'm the only one.

However, let's suppress our sadness, and enjoy these pages from
a period when the demise of printed comics was still a very long way
off.  Hopefully, that fate isn't as imminent as it now appears to be.


Anonymous said...

I didn't read this one until I bought a second-hand copy in a local comic shop in the 1980's. In a way, I'm glad. Reading it as an adult, I spotted a clue the same time that Batman did. He realized those cops were impostors because they had automatic pistols, and, back then, police carried revolvers. If I had read it when I was ten, I would not have known the difference. (I didn't become a gun freak until I was a teen ager.) I thought the story itself was pretty cool. Super villain team-ups were of course nothing new, but the idea of them teaming up to protect the hero was a neat switch. BTW, IIRC, this was the second and last time that Catwoman wore that sequined costume in a comic. It seemed to be based on the TV series, but, for some reason, they changed the color.

Kid said...

Being British and only about 13 at the time, I'm afraid the clue concerning American cops was over my head. In fact, I couldn't tell you what kind of guns they carry today.

Gey Blabby said...

This was still a few years before I discovered Yankee Mags in Paisley, so I was still relying on my brother to bring home comics like this and the recent World's Finest that you posted. Looking at them I can see we're still in that period where the influence of the TV show is starting to wear off but it's still slightly before the complete overhaul of the character by Adams, O'Neil, Robbins etc. I guess I was just lucky to come along at such a good time.

And not forgetting Irv Novick: When you see some of his earlier Batman covers, like the one shown here, you can see how much more interesting and quirky his style was before he became a virtual Adams clone a few years later. At this time he seemed to be more in the mold of a Frank Robbins or Gil Kane, style-wise, and I can only assume that he was asked to start drawing Batman more as Adams did - less cartoony, and with the longer ears and cape.

Kid said...

Shows you how strange the distribution was, Gey. I could pick up current DC Batman & Superman titles, but there were still older publications from the '60s (such as this one) available on the spinner racks at the same time. (I bought this new in '72,)

Irv Novick sure was versatile, wasn't he? Rich Buckler could supply just about any style asked of him, and although perhaps not quite as flexible as Rich, Irv was in that same mould to some degree.

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