Sup! Welcome back to another top 5 from myself, Scottish Joker. This week, since it was the big bad Bat’s birthday (try saying that super fast 10 times) I thought I’d like to share my TOP 5 Batman moments over all genres of media.
So let’s get started!
5. First Appearance - If it wasn’t for this moment in history we wouldn’t be talking about Batman today. We also wouldn’t have had the inspiration for characters like Green Arrow, Robin and Batgirl. Batman made his first appearance in detective comics #27 in 1939 and has lived on in many forms ever since.
4. Arkham Games - Before Rocksteady got their talented minds on the franchise, there weren’t too many B-man games we could be proud of playing. But then, in 2009, we were all treated to the gloriousness of Arkham Asylum, and our minds where blown. The detail, the gadgets and of course who could forget the childhood voices of Mark Hamill as Joker and Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne himself.
3. Animated Series - In the 90’s there where many cartoons we loved. But the one that made me want to get up super early every Saturday morning, was The Batman Animated Series. Brought to life by the brilliant Bruce Timm, it was the first cartoon to be drawn on black paper which gave it it’s distinctive style. The series is also responsible for the creation of Harley Quinn, but I’d best save that for another list Spoilers
2. Adam West - Hard to believe that the Mayor of Quahog has once running around the city in spandex with a young Burt Ward as his trusty sidekick, Robin. Oh, wait. No it isn’t! Hahaha! This series ran for 3 seasons as well as a motion picture. It is also responsible for bringing lesser known characters into the limelight like Kite Man and Egghead.
1. Dark Knight Returns fight with Superman - This book was both amazing to read and a little grim for me as a kid, but now that I’m older I love it. It shows that just because you don’t have powers, doesn’t mean you can’t kick the living crap out of Superman. My favorite line from the book has to be Bruce’s speech towards the end, where he says “I want you to remember, Clark, in all these years to come, in your most private moments I want you to remember, my hand at your throat, i want you to remember, the one man who beat you!”.
Well that’s it for me on this topic of Batman. As always, feel free to leave a comment mentioning any moments in the Dark Knight’s career that you think I may have overlooked.
Hope you all have a lovely week
—-Next Week : Top 5 Heroines—-
Big news at Marvel last week – Thor’s becoming a woman, and Falcon is the new Captain America!
As always, this announcement was followed by negativity and anger from the internet. (Oh…and The Onion released an article: Marvel Reimagines Green Goblin As Left-Handed!). Yes, change in comics is inevitably greeted with concern, but need we worry?
No. No we should not. Dan Slott’s ‘The Superior Spider-Man’ proves that changing the status quo of a comic can produce fantastic results. For those unfamiliar with this comic, Slott took the bold move of killing Peter Parker! Worse still, the mind of Doctor Octopus was placed inside Parker’s body!! This meant that everybody’s favourite wall-crawler was now…..DOC OCK!!! (*gasp!*)
In the closing moments of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man #700,’ when Doc Ock realises he’s about to become the new Spider-Man, he cradles the dying Peter Parker and exclaims “I-I don’t want this.” I’m pretty sure the majority of readers were crying ‘Hey, I don’t want this either’ (admit it – I can’t be the only one who had my doubts!) But it was happening. Peter Parker was dying, and he was being replaced by one of his enemies. Doctor Octopus was now Spider-Man and everything was going to be different. Oooh, ain’t change worrying!
Yet, despite my qualms, I still bought ‘The Superior Spider-Man #1’. From the onset, it was clear this new Spider-Man was going to be nothing like Peter Parker. In the opening pages, we see Spidey swing in to stop a number of villains who are trashing the city (all relatively normal so far). But then, in the middle of fighting the bad guys, Spider-Man flees the scene, yelling “I’m done here!” and “Can’t believe Parker put up with this.”
What?! You can’t do that Spider-Man! What happened to ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’ and all that jazz? This was becoming intriguing……
One of my favourite aspects of this story was the dialogue. Firstly, the fact Doc Ock refers to people as “dolts!” is hilarious – Spider-Man is now a villain lifted straight from the 1960s! Such a persona is reinforced when, at one point, Spider-Man saves the life of a police officer, and the police officer states “You—you saved me!” Spider-Man sarcastically replies “Yes. And I’m glad I took the effort to preserve such a master of the self-evident.” This type of dialogue would normally have been uttered by one of the bad-guys, and it made this comic much more than intriguing – it made it a refreshing and original story.
In addition, the fact that Doc Ock had assumed Peter’s life maintained a sense of constant threat throughout the series; the supporting cast of The Amazing Spider-Man were all now potentially in danger. Furthermore, his over-confidence makes him blind to the rise of the Green Goblin (a rise which had serious consequences towards the end of the series). Interestingly, underpinning all of Doc Ock’s questionable decisions is his unwavering belief in the goodness of his actions. He truly believes he’s adopting Uncle Ben’s ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’ motto, even though his morals are somewhat flawed.
For example, unlike Parker, Doc Ock is not squeamish about killing or harming his villains to ensure they won’t strike again. Given the amount of comebacks villains make in comics, surely we can sympathise with Ock’s actions – after all, he was only trying to prevent further incidents. I’m not saying what Ock did was right, but his actions made him a very human, believable, 3-dimensional character. His actions also ensured that he was never wholly heroic, perhaps adding to my overall enjoyment of this series. Let’s be honest, everyone loves a questionable hero: Batman, Wolverine, Walter White, Tony Soprano, Omar Little etc - the list is endless!
In addition, there was consistently good artwork, and story arcs that were subtle, but pulled together threads in a clever fashion. This made Superior Spider-Man one of my favourite mainstream comics. In fact, you know what, I’m just going to say it – I actually preferred Doc Ock as Spider-Man! Doc Ock was rash and unpredictable and, as a result, kept the comic exciting. Also, he was so convinced in the goodness of his actions that, when Peter Parker returned, it was almost heart-breaking to see Doc Ock finally realise his errors and despair (please don’t be sad Ock – you did your best!). Slott actually made me feel sorry for one of the biggest villains in Spider-Man’s history.
I’m not saying this was the greatest comic ever written (surely that title is reserved for Mark Millar’s ‘The Ultimates’). Some chapters felt like filler issues and I also felt the comic was a bit too directed at children sometimes: a talking robot (straight out of The Muppets Movie), a getting-hit-in-the-crotch joke, flying Ewoks (woops, sorry – I mean, ‘Goblin Cherubs’). However, it feels like a bit of a cheat to use this as a complaint: Spider-Man is a comic aimed at all ages after all. I just feel, given Spider-Man was now adopting a darker side, the series would’ve benefitted more from being aimed at an adult audience (perhaps it would have worked better in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe for example). But, despite these constraints, it was just wonderful to see Doc Ock swinging about as Spider-Man. Anyone who hasn’t read this book should read it now – it’s awesome!
Lastly, I still have a confession to make….I stopped reading Spider-Man in 2008 (please, put down the pitch-forks and torches and let me justify myself). Pre-2008, J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the comic had been superb. But, alas, One More Day hit the big ‘reset button’ on all the exciting things that had happened throughout Straczynski’s tenure; Parker’s identity went back to being secret and his marriage to Mary Jane was erased. I felt really cheated. It seemed comics were destined to never change: characters would die then reappear; villains would go to prison then be released; secrets would be unveiled and then forgotten. It was all rather boring (sorry, but it was). But, then, the prospect of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 got me intrigued. ‘They were killing off Peter Parker?! Well, I had to see how they were going to do this!’ This proves change is good; I mean I doubt I’m the only guy who was lured back to Spidey comics by the prospect of something new. And, after being lured back in, I’m now collecting Spider-Man fulltime again, even though Parker is Spider-Man again (this is largely thanks to Slott’s writing).
To conclude, at a time when the comic book industry is experiencing such an amazing boost in popularity, it would be very easy for mainstream comics to get lazy and keep things exactly the same. If people are enjoying seeing Peter Parker fight Norman Osborn, and Wolverine fight Sabertooth, and Captain America lead the Avengers, why should Marvel make any changes? But taking risks and keeping things fresh ensures comic collectors continue to collect. It means we can debate and discuss and enjoy being part of a community. It means we can appreciate the status quo even more so when it inevitably returns.
Thor is now a woman? Falcon’s the new Captain America? Wolverine’s dead? Excellent!!! I look forward to such changes and the prospects they might bring to the Marvel Universe. Certainly, after 75 years of Marvel comics, change is a better option than the alternative – staleness.
So what do you think of Doc Ock’s reign as Spider-Man? I’d give it 8/10 (8 stars out of 10). Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did.
What if you could choose which hero’s evil opposite graced the big screen?
Good evening true believers!
Spider-man has Venom, Batman has Owlman, Superman has Bizzaro, even the Flash has professor Zoom.
So far we’ve seen precious few of these dastardly characters have been brought to life in live action, so I’m curious to see which villainous version of your favourite hero would you love to see in a movie or TV show.
Which would do their heroic counterparts justice in an epic brawl and, of course, which actor do you have in mind to portray them?
As usual sound off in the comments below!
Top Cow News Round Up
Yesterday saw Top Cow’s SDCC panel filled with exciting news and some mild disappointment. Here are the basics:
- Matt Hawkins announced a new book, The Tithe. Written by Hawkins and art by Rahsan Ekedal. Looks to be heist meets religion and a few images were released but none that gave any kind of clue.
- Marc Silvestri and his wife Bridget Silvestri will be publishing The Daily GORB, a series of illustrations they often leave for one another when their busy schedules keep them apart (awwww!).
- Top Cow will be launching a new Talent Hunt-style initiative called Top Cow Discovery which will be Kickstarter funded (keep in mind that the Cyber Force kickstarter was very successful a few years ago and resulted in free comics!). This seems very promising.
- September Mourning announced a new single called “Superhuman”.
The best news of all: Ron Marz is bringing back The Magdalena. After his immensely successful run on Artifacts, this should be a title to watch.
The bad news: No report on when “Darkness Falls” will be released - if it ever will be for that matter. Sigh. However, Top Cow claimed on their Facebook page (after the panel) “The Darkness is very much alive but in terms of the movie there are things we aren’t yet allowed to discuss, keep the faith!”
That was all the big news from Top Cow. In Tuesday’s column, we’ll be looking at some of the best sketches Marc Silvestri produced at the Top Cow signing table throughout the weekend.
"Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles"
Written: Gary Chudleigh
Artwork: Tanya Roberts
Colours: Tanya Roberts
Publisher: Black Hearted Press
Hot off the Black Hearted Press, as it were, I would like to introduce to you a wee gem of a comic I was recently given the pleasure of reading, which goes by the name, “Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles” #1.
It’s chock full of humour, action and adventure with a delightfully subtle Scottish flavour. I think it’s important to point this out as, yes you can tell that the characters are Scottish by their language and by reference that it is set in Scotland, however it manages to hold back on ramming it down your throat with the overuse of colloquialisms and stereotypes.
For a first issue it does well to introduce us to the 3 main characters of the story, a man named Thomas Mackie, a freelance witch hunter with aspirations of living the high life, his partner/companion a talking dog named Dex and a female witch named Miranda Lee who believes she has created a cure for the great plague. We get a feel for each of the characters that goes slightly beyond what we can take at face value. The cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, is significant to the characters early transition in how we see them from the beginning to the end of this first issue.
The story itself, while not wildly original (what is these days?) is entertaining and has a bit of a Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” feel to it which I really liked.
We are introduced to Scotland in the “near” future where a plague has ravaged the land and people are struggling to survive. Witches have become a target for hate and have been blamed as the cause of the great plague. A corporation called Reneco employs specialist witch hunters to track down and apprehend witches who are brought to stand trial for their crimes against humanity. Thomas Mackie is one such witch hunter who’s goal is to make enough money for him and his dog (Dex) to move into the last remaining “nice” area, ‘Les Trois Sept’ or ‘Le-Twaset’ as Mackie thinks it’s called. Miranda Lee is a witch who is just one more name on Mackie’s list. When the two meet however, Mackie makes a shocking discovery as to why he can talk to dogs, questions arise as to Miranda’s true intentions and Mackie has to decide whether or not he’s on the right side.
I don’t want to go in to too much detail regarding the story, but it is suffice to say that I would be more than happy to read the further adventures of this unlikely trio. It has a little pinch of everything, humour, action, suspense a budding romance and yet it doesn’t overreach and that’s something I really liked. It delivers what you want, and its understated, it’s not trying to be too big, or too clever it’s just fun to read. Remember when you were a kid and you would read an Oor Wullie or Broons annual from cover to cover and not once laugh out loud, but at the end of it you would still think “that was braw”, it’s just like that.
So the writing is good what about the art?
Well to be honest initially I wasn’t a big fan, not because it’s bad, far from it actually it’s bold with strong lines and has a Manga like feel to it, It’s just not a style I’m very used to as I read a lot of horror comics. However, it really does compliment the writing and the story, so in the context of this comic I really liked it.
So to wrap it up, “Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles” #1, doesn’t break the mould, it doesn’t push boundaries, but it does entertain, it does make you smile and for me at least it certainly makes you want to tune in for issue #2.
Thanks for your time and if you are interested, please head on over to the website and pick yourself up a copy:
Stickin’ wit’ the Dark Knight (wellllll, it’s only fair, right? It’s no’ EVERY year one turns 75, what? And he is pretty spry for an older fellow…), here we have some o’ Gary Frank’s pages from next year’s ‘Batman: Earth One Volume 2’.
The sequel to 2012’s Volume 1 will again be written by Geoff “I want MY version of (insert name of superhero here)! I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I WANT IT!” Johns (you can tell I’m thrilled at the prospect, eh?).
Gary Frank gives good Batman (and Killer Croc) though, right? Right.
All hope lies in Doom!
Hey, it’s Thursday! The sun is shining and Glasgow is awash with Commonwealth fever.
This has been a quiet week for me. I try to keep SDCC spoilers to minimum so that I can be excited by any surprise announcements.
One news item that did grab my attention was the announcement that ‘Amazing Spider-Man 3’ has been put on hiatus and given a 2018 release date. That’s a two year push back from it’s original 2016 release date. This news comes after both Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, driving forces behind the franchise, had expressed doubts over the wall crawlers cinematic future after the first two instalments received lukewarm response from fans but more importantly did not generate massive box office returns. Interestingly enough, whilst Sony Pictures look at the direction the franchise will take, the announcement of a ‘Sinister Six’ movie is still on track for a 2016 release.
Now I hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t think that both of the recent ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ movies were that exciting. When the original announcement from Sony Pictures that they were planning to annualise (core and spin off) the franchise I felt that sinking feeling. I admit to now feeling a little more hope. Delaying a project can often mean that it is dead in the water, but in this case there is now an opportunity for the franchise to take stock and work on the elements that were lacking. I also find it interesting that Sony Pictures are still pushing for an expansion of the universe while the franchise cores own future is unknown.
This week I haven’t read as much as I normally do. I have pretty much been catching up on Marvel’s current big event ‘Original Sin’. I have read the first six issues now and I have to say I am enjoying it. The story has a ‘pulp’ feel to it, like a cheap ’70s science fiction comic blended with a James Bond knock off novel. I have enjoyed watching the mystery unravel. I am a fan of Jason Aaron’s work, I always get a sense that he has a clear vision for where the plot is going. He has a knack of finding each characters voice and keeping the core of the individual without losing them to the ensemble. This skill is a must in a company wide event, in so many of these things a lot of characters become superfluous and mere window dressing. Also as a big fan of Aaron’s run on ‘Ghost Rider’, it fills me with glee to see The Orb running around with a big eyeball that isn’t just his head.
Well folks, just a quick one this week. I will see you all again next time for some more comic book chat.
Keep it BGCP and remember…
All hope lies in Doom!
More news comin’ outta SDCC! Kurt Busiek has a new book comin’ at ya this November (the 5th to be precise) from the fine folks over at Image Comics. First issue is a whoppin’ 44 pages wit’ no (that’s zip. Nada. Nowt. None.) adverts. I heart Image.
'Tooth and Claw', written by Busiek with art from Ben Dewey ('Buffy', 'Planet of the Apes') and Jordie Bellaire is a fantasy book with anthropomorphic animals. Woo hoo!
Here’s what the man himself had to say about it -
"It’s about exotic civilizations, about wicker cities that float in the sky, about great ocean-going empires, about slavery, about pack-roaches, crystal badlands that coruscate with power, undersea nomads eternally marching across the ocean floor, decaying golems of nuclear fire, boarding schools that have become governments, the limits of magic, the persistence of technology, and the bonds of loyalty."
Sounds great to me!
Here’s a wee sneak peak at what’s in store.