Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Amazed by Aparo : Batman & the Outsiders

Today is Jim Aparo´s birthday and there´s no better way to celebrate this than to finally do the often postponed BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS post.

Okay, it would be better if I had all the pages, as it is I had to go to CHRIS IS ON INFINITE EARTHS to make this anywhere near comprehensive. You can use the link to read more about the story as I´ve already written about BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS a few times and don´t want to bore my readers with needless repetitions. If you want to know more about the team you can check out my big post on my thoughts about BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS or my post on one of their Christmas stories, issue 19.

To set things up for those who still need an introduction, the first issue of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS came out in 1983, hot on the heels of the success of THE NEW TEEN TITANS by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.

Team books were the big pull not only at Marvel where AVENGERS and most of all UNCANNY X - MEN by Chris Claremont and John Byrne were their flagship titles but also at DC where JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES were the big sellers. In fact, when DC had to cut down its titles during the big implosion at the end of the 70s the LEGION was one of the few books that sold well and when THE NEW TEEN TITANS came around in November 1980 it practically saved the company. Marvel had nothing to compete with it, not even UNCANNY X - MEN. So DC wanted to see if it was possible to repeat the success with another team book and since they had put Robin in charge of the Titans they formed a new team around one of their most popular characters, Batman. On the creative side they opted for one of the best scribes of the Bat - family Mike W. Barr and for the book´s art they drafted who is - at least in my humble opinion - the quintessential Batman artist Jim Aparo.

Both had just put the finishing touches on Batman´s last team book in the final issue, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 200 which featured a lead story by Mike W. Barr with art by Dave Gibbons in which the Batman of Earth 1 and the Batman of Earth 2 fought a villain called Brimstone. The art in the first chapter was done as a clear homage to the BATMAN books in the Silver Age, while the style in the second chapter was more modernized.

Besides the 40 page lead story the issue also featured a 14 page story that introduced the new team of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS much like the new incarnation of the Teen Titans were first introduced in a 16 page story in DC COMICS PRESENTS 26. At that time I still was reading the german translations so I read the first appearance of Batman and the Outsiders in BATMAN SONDERHEFT 34 while the lead story of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 200 was published later, in BATMAN SONDERHEFT 36.

Back to BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS 1, here the formation of that new team was told as well as in issue 2 : Lucius Fox, who is in the european country of Markovia on Wayne Enterprises business gets kidnapped and after Superman and Wonder Woman tell him that the Justice League won´t get involved in the political powderkeg Batman quits the team to go on an undercover rescue mission with Black Lightning. As fate - or writer Mike W. Barr - would have it Katana, Metamorpho, Geo Force and Halo all get sucked into this mess and end up fighting Baron Bedlam. 

Sadly this are all the pages I have. If you know where I can find the rest please use the comments. Now besides CHRIS IS ON INFINITE EARTHS I have to give blogs RANDOM HAPPENSTANCE and THE COMIC TREADMILL kudos who provided the color pages from The Brave And The Bold 200.

COMIC BOOK DAILY has an undervalued spotlight on the issue that also lists his favorite 200 issues, GOTHAM CALLING examines Mike W. Barr´s paradoxical Batman and if you want to read more about the Outsiders SCANS DAILY has a post in two parts on the teams second encounter with Baron Bedlam in which Batman quits the Outsiders ( he was just a quitter in general at that time ) and they meet a clone of Adolf Hitler. Because comics. The art is by Alan Davis on this one and it´s one of his best.

I swear I haven´t planned this but Yesterday James Caan celebrated his 40th birthday and Today it´s Hawaii Five - O co star Alex O´Loughlin´s turn to face the big four. If this goes on we´ll have covered all the cast members in no time. I said I didn´t want to post another trailer for the show but as coincidence would have it I had already bookmarked this.

And is it just me or is ET CANADA´s Erin Cebula hotter than hell in this interview ? I know that reporters are supposed to give the audience an in depth look but this is more than just a brief glimpse into the cleavage of her very revealing dress. Holy hormone stimulation overdrive, Batman !

There is also a longer video with the full version of the interview without the tv clips. The quality is not as good as with the first video but you get to see more of Erin. There´s also an interview transcript with lots of animated GIFs as it seems I´m not the only one smitten with Erin Cebula.

If you can get past Erin Cebula´s irresistible charms Werner Schmidbauer turns 55 who does one of the few good live music shows on german tv.

A bit older at 58 is Steve Guttenberg best known to Today´s audience for playing the corrupt town mayor Woody Goodman on Veronica Mars with bikini cult siren Charisma Carpenter and for people from my generation for his role of Officer Mahoney in the Police Academy movies about which I have written in posts about Janet Jones Gretzky and real live Power Girl Leslie Easterbrook who had the most famous scene of the franchise in Police Academy 4 - Citizens on Patrol in which she emerges from a pool in a wet t - shirt . Both posts used to be in one post together with Becky Mullen but I had to put it in three separate post because I upgraded it with a lot of animated GIFs. I also had to give cult siren Monique Sluyter and the rest of the Tutti Frutti sexbombs their own post to shorten it.

Stephen Fry celebrates his 59th birthday whom I know mostly from his part on Bones but according to imdb he has also appeared in the tv mini series Doctor Who : Death Comes To Time. Naturally I went to YouTube to check but all I could find was an animated version of the first episode.

Coming from one sci fi icon to the next, Orson Scott Card turns 65 who you may know from his Ultimate Iron Man series or the numerous comic adaptions of a little book he once wrote called Ender´s Game. Speaking of adaptions it seems like Comicbookgirl19 he wasn´t very happy about the movie but it is better if I let her explain why you should read the book.

We end our birthday run day ( no pun intended ) with busty Raven De La Croix who celebrates her 69th anniversary and whom most people first saw jogging down a street in her unique way with a lot of bouncing action as Margo Winchester in Russ Meyer´s cult movie Up ! She also starred in Jim Wynorki´s The Lost Empire and as Wonder Woman in my very first alternates post of Casting a Justice League of America movie

Since I have already posted all the Outsiders videos I was looking for one with Jim Aparo artwork when I stumbled upon The Untold Legend Of The Batman. This three issue mini series came out when mini series were still something special and the art was done by John Byrne and Jim Aparo with covers by the fabulous Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. I don´t know if I still have the german hardcover somewhere but I also bought the black and white pocket book where the art was not as reduced in size as with other pocket books because they re - arranged the panels. The series is one of the few things that made it worth to buy the Tales Of The Batman - Len Wein hardcover which has an awful amount of Irv Novick stories. The series was a nice way to update Batman´s origin and answer all those questions like Why did Bruce Wayne not become a policeman ? or Where the heck did Batman get the Robin costume from on such short notice ? you know, streamlining all this stuff that is not important to today´s comic writers like continuity. Anyway, the series was apparently so successful that DC decided to release it as an audio drama and somebody on YouTube went to the trouble to turn all three issues into motion comics. Thanks, dude !

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

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