Let´s see if this new format of shorter posts where you don´t have to scroll down for hours gets a better response from my readers. Because recently I have seen some other blogs and man, some of them have posts that consist of two lines and a picture. Wow, that really made me feel like the ultimate overachiever. So here´s the next installment of my shorter but much more frequent blog. Let´s see how long that lasts.
Now as promised in my last post ( from Yesterday, yay ) I wanted to include some Batman. Because I did not just read Superman I also read Batman. Of course there were the BATMAN SUPERBAND which was probably not called BATMAN BATBAND because that could confuse the retailers. And it´s a little over the top.
Like the pocket books the BATMAN SUPERBAND also had coupons for the Supershop which you could collect and then send them in for posters, stickers, masks, a secret writing set and such stuff. I was heavily into collecting and I sent them in for a Batman poster, a Superman poster and a Green Lantern poster - which were all drawn by Neal Adams. And a poster that showed the Batcave.
There were different coupons in the various DC publications depending on the cost of the comic. The 32 page comics like SUPERMAN BATMAN had 1 point coupons, the pocket books had 2 point coupons and the albums had 3 point coupons. That´s how little kids learned economics.
I was always looking out for comics by Jim Aparo like this that had a team up of Batman and Rose / Thorn. His elegant style and smooth lines always appealed to me and he drew the costume the right way : with the long ears and the yellow batsymbol on the chest.
Another one I WOULD like to have is this one that judging by the cover includes at least one Earth 2 story.
I don´t know if it´s drawn by him ( since I don´t have it ) but if that´s the case I definitely want it. Or DC could put it in a SHOWCASE. Which they should do anyway. They should put all the comics by Jim Aparo in various SHOWCASES.
But the holy grail of all Jim Aparo comics is this one : BATMAN SUPERBAND 3 - BATMAN UNTER MORDVERDACHT.
Now this is an example where you should not judge a book by it´s cover because you can´t see that this comic includes one of the best - if not THE best - Batman stories ever made. The story is called " Batman under suspicion of murder " and the first three chapter have the best art by Jim Aparo I have ever seen. And the story is also great.
His old adversary Ras al Ghul manages to get Batman framed for the murder of his daughter Thalia and even Comissoner Gordon is convinced of his guilt. This one has it all : the villany and madness of Ras al Ghul, Batman trying to solve crime while on the run from the police.....even Batman breaking into prison. The last chapters are not by Jim Aparo but by Ernie Chan who also does a good job. Like all german translations you keep wondering if there were some pages cut, some panels replaced or such but apart from that it´s the best of all Batman abums.
If you don´t have it you should definitely buy one. You should be able to get it cheap at conventions since it´s not very new. Another indispensable comic for every german comic collection is this one.
It has the essential Ras al Ghul story done by Neal Adams and has been probably reprinted a dozen times. You should get at least one version.
Another one of my favorite comics this time because of the Batvillain : Der schwarze Spider. It always was a little strange that they translated the name Black Spider that way. They should have kept it Black Spider or called him Schwarze Spinne and not this halfassed thing. I guess they didn´t want readers to confuse him with Spider - Man who was called Die Spinne in Germany. Maybe they feared that readers would think he was related to Spidey or maybe the name Die Spinne was copyrighted.
To me it didn´t matter what he was called since I liked the character anyway. He has just one of the coolest costumes ever.
This was also one of my favorite Batmancomics which had more to do with Black Canary guest starring and the fact that she was drawn in underwear in the comic.
Helloo nurse ! Now instead of writing a review about the story I´m just going to post a link to a post of Dave´s Longbox where he puts it into words much better than I ever could why this comic rocks.
Now besides the albums and the pocket books Batman also appeared in his own series BATMAN SONDERHEFT ( Batman Special ) where evil henchmen threw flaming metal thingies with faces on him.
And that´s all I recall from that issue. Really. The flaming metal face thingies. I guess it was asign of popularity that they decided to give Bats his own series. Apparently it wasn´t enough to have him appear as a co - star in SUPERMAN BATMAN anymore. And so he took the centerstage like in this story where he worked for the Guardians.
And he had a crossover with the Legion of Super Heroes.
Now I don´t want to be meanspirited but that´s one buttugly helmet that guys wearing. No wonder he´s a villain. I mean with a headgarment like that he surely was the buttend of all jokes in the schoolyard. Now if that´s the kind of fashion that the people of the future wear it´s no wonder that generations of comic writers tried to retcon them out of existence.
But what really made me go out and seek the Sonderhefte was BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS.
I can´t tell how much I liked this new team. All the members were so cool and new...well, for me anyway. I don´t know if I ever read a comic with Black Lightning before so for me it was if he was somebody new. I was so fanatic that I even bought this single issue ( that was a crossover with Teen Titans ) three times. Once I bought the german translation which I think I lost and later on I bought the original issue twice.
All the members were so cool : Metamorpho, Halo, Katana with her funky asian samurai style and Geo - Force. They even went to ancient egypt.
I know I still have that issue and it´s in good condition. Because last time I was rearranging my comics I accidently found it. I´m not so sure about the first issue of this two parter but I definitely still have this one.
Now of course BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS was not merely contained in the special issues, albums and pocket books. Because apparently Ehapa wanted to expand their comic book line due to the big success of Batman. And so they had a new format that was called Batman Extra. The comic was a pocket book but instead of the regular 100 pages it packed a whopping 164 pages. Now that´s some heavy entertainment.
In this comic Batman and the Outsiders fought the Cryogenic Man who was basically a walking freeze dryer who replaced his injured body parts with that of his fiancee and her parents. Man, that´s cold. He kept them in suspended animation and was in contact with them telepatically. And he told them that the world was a radioactive wasteland after a thermonuclear attack on the United States. So when they found out that they not only were missing some essential body parts but that they also missed all the episodes of Magnum they were a little miffed and french fried the sucker. Toasty.
At that time I was probably reading more Batman than Superman. In any case I wasn´t a regular reader of SUPERMAN BATMAN anymore. Not that I was such a regular reader. But at that time I was even less so. What chaged all that and made me come back to the series was a cheap marketing ploy.
Yup, 16 pages extra. They weren´t in full color just blue paper with black print on it but I didn´t care. 16 pages extra. And all for the regular price. Happy, happy. Joy, joy.
Well, they were not really 16 pages since they were put in the middle of the comic and the first page was always a mock - up front page of the Daily Planet ( which by the way was called " Die Rundschau " in older issues of Superman Superband ) which meant one or two pictures and the rest was text.
The story was produced exclusively for the german comic version but it was done entirely by american artists. Now this is especially interesting for comic readers and comic collectors in the States because although the story in the blue pages tied into the normal continuity of the time it never was printed outside of Germany. Which must have caused some strange references and in - continuity moments that nobody outside of Germany understood.
The art in some of the issues were done by Gene Colan who at that time was not one of my favorite artists. I somehow realized that he had a very unique style but I was much more into the art of Jim Aparo and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez or George Perez. And at that time Gene Colan was in most of the Batman comics. I remember the only ones that I kind of liked were the ones that were inked by Alfredo Alcala who also did some outstanding issues of THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN.
Of course they eventually returned to the normal comic format of 32 pages but I still continued to read the title.
Sometimes it was because of the story and the art but sometimes it was because of the extra goodies. At that time I was heavily into movies and movie posters. Because at that time it was not as common as today to buy movies on videocassettes ( remember that was before DVDs ) so if you wanted to relive the movie experience the only thing you got was the movie poster. I collected all the movie posters I could get so if a comic included something like the GREMLINS movie poster that was good enough for me.
I don´t know if I still have the Gremlins poster. Don´t laugh. Gremlins was the Matrix of our generation. I know I have a huge stack of movie posters that I never had the chance to put on my wall. And now that I don´t have my own room I never will.
And that´s all for today. Before I wrap this post up I wanted to mention that additionally to the Superband there were also two more album sized Superman publications. One was SUPERMAN SONDERBAND ( Superman Special ) that of course had a sister publication in Batman Sonderband.
The other album sized Superman publication was the aptly named SUPERMAN ALBUM. So at the height of Ehapa´s publishing schedule you had the Superman Taschenbuch, the Superman Extra ( also a pocket book ), the Superman Superband, the Superman Sonderheft and the Superman Album.
Not to forget the SUPERMAN BATMAN comic that came out twice a month. That´s quite a lot.
And that does not include all the other titles like Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes......about which I´m going to write tomorrow. I promise.
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More than meets the eye.