Pop Culture Contributor
On behalf of Golf Center of Arlington
With Christmas only a few weeks away I’ve got the perfect gift for the Batman fan in your family. IDW Publishing has released their final volume of “Batman: The Silver Age Comics” newspaper strips which features a veritable who’s who of Gotham City and beyond: Superman, Green Arrow, The Penguin, Joker, Mad Hatter, Riddler, Scarecrow, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Two-Face, Catwoman, Batgirl, Killer Moth, Poison Ivy and Black Canary, plus the introduction of the mysterious Man-Bat! And if that isn’t enough, included are the four months of rare 1972 strips that were created by the Ledger Syndicate, without DC’s input, in which Batman was no longer featured although Bruce Wayne continued as a character. The book includes all strips with black and white dailies and color Sundays strips starting from June 1, 1969 through April 29, 1972.
Batman expert Joe Desris explains it all in an insightful introduction which includes an interesting historical timeline of the history of the “Batman and Robin” newspaper strip.
“The period represented in this book was one of transition for the ‘Batman and Robin’ newspaper strip”, wrote Desris. “Mort Weisinger, who had edited the series from its inception, retired in 1970 and handed the editorial reins over to his assistant, E. Nelson Bridwell. More noticeable in the strips collected in this volume is the change in writers from mainstay Whitney Ellsworth to Bridwell. Ellsworth had been inching away from the strip’s earlier campiness required and inspired by the ‘Batman’ TV series; Bridwell completed that transition and introduced events from then-current and recent comic book stories.”
The artwork drawn in the majority of this new book was done by my late, great friend Al Plastino who took over for another great artist, Joe Giella, in the previous book. In the history introduction by Desris I learned that Plastino worked on the “Batman” strip for nearly four years, from those published on March 17, 1968 until January 1, 1972. Plastino took on an added assignment drawing “Ferd’nand” starting in 1971, so he hired artist Nick Cardy as his assistant to handle the increased workload, something he previously never had to do.
Volume 3 continues the story from Volume 2 with the “Campaign to Ruin Bruce Wayne”. It runs from May 31 to December 25, 1969. I particularly enjoyed the next storyline in which Superman makes a guest appearance in “Batman’s Back is Broken” which ran from December 26 to March 19,1970.
Plastino was best known at the time for his work on the “Superman” comic books starting in the late 1940s. He also co-created “Supergirl” in 1959. There are some great bonus features in the book with some unpublished strips drawn by Plastino and Cardy and written by E. Nelson Bridwell from January of 1972.
Founded in 1999 and based in San Diego, California, IDW started as an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels, and trade paperbacks and has grown into a fully integrated media company that now includes IDW Games, IDW Entertainment, Top Shelf Productions, and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery. Two of the original founders, Ted Adams (CEO & Publisher) and Robbie Robbins (EVP), still actively manage the company, along with IDW’s executive team, which consists of Greg Goldstein (President & COO), Chris Ryall (CCO), Matt Ruzicka (CFO), David Hedgecock (Editor-in-Chief), and David Ozer (President, IDW Entertainment).
IDW Publishing is regularly recognized as one of the top four comic book publishers in the US. Over 80 IDW titles have appeared on The New York Times Best Sellers list. In 2015 alone, IDW published over 500 unique comic book titles and over 250 graphic novels. Go to their website www.idwpublishing.com to learn more.
I highly recommend this book, which has great artwork and intriguing plotlines showcasing the numerous exploits of the dynamic duo.
Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewwithtom.com