Friday, February 09, 2007

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Batman and the Outsiders #1

There are some events in comic book history that exist as major milestones on a personal level, but not resonate the same way across the industry. The appearance of Batman and the Outsiders #1 on the racks was a major event for me. This was not simply due to the fact that it was a new title with my favourite characters as headliner, but also because it was conclusive proof that my favourite title (Brave and the Bold) was dead. I was on 9 years old at the time, so I did not really full appreciate the ins and outs of the industry. To my mind, a comic book title was still alive and well until it stopped showing up at the store.

Although I was sad that the B&B was gone, this cover certainly grabbed my attention and raised my hopes. At that stage in my life (I was 10 years old), I’d have followed Batman anywhere. Although, I don’t think the series ever got close to the level of Brave and the Bold, it got off to a very strong start here. We see the classic Aaparo Batman, intent on rescuing his friend Lucius Fox. When the JLA turns him down, Bats heads out on his own, with a little help from Black Lightning. The scene where Batman resigns from the JLA is still one of the best ‘Batman tells Superman to go fly a kite’ moments of all time.

The supporting cast is introduced slowly, we know Black Lightning and Metamorpho, but there’s plenty of mystery around Katana, Halo and Geo-Force. There was so much to love about this issue, so much potential. At the time, it seemed like such a watershed moment – but I can see now that I was just a silly kid who thought this was the next JLA. Can you blame a guy for Jim Aparo would keep drawing Batman forever?


MWGallaher said...

Boy, did I ever share your sadness at the demise of B&B! But it was a classy, considerate move on DC's part to give this obvious successor to B&B to Aparo (and Barr, who'd done a substantial number of late B&B's). These days, we'd get it turned over to a drastically different team, leaving Barr and Aparo to scrounge for a new assignment, which might not show up for months. The continuity was nice...just pick up BATO next month instead of B&B...still a Batman team-up of sorts!

GTS said...

This book had actually slipped my mind despite the fact that I followed it regularly for a while. (I was a good deal older than you when #1 came out, so perhaps that accounts for why I didn't stick with it; but I was also happy to see Jim Aparo's linework on anything new and Bat-related!)

And on a different topic, the first post of yours I read was the 'I'm dropping this Atom bomb' entry wherein you were detailing your affection for the character, but found yourself giving up on the new book. I was still picking it up at the time and wasn't convinced yet that it was bad enough to drop, but brother, I wish I'd followed your lead and headed for the door a little sooner. Issues 7, 8, & 9 were a steady decline that have finally convinced me to drop it, and I would only take a chance on the book again if a new writer steps in.

Scott M said...

Michael - I never thought of it that way. I guess that the editors at DC really showed some love for Barr & Aparo. Some of the issues in the 190s of B&B were non-Aparo. Do you know why? Was he prepping this series?

gts - thanks for the comment. Yeah - I love the Atom, but that series just didn't work for me. It was just trying to hard to be cool, and that never works.