Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Batman #316

This is definitely one of the first 10 or so Batman comic books I remember owning, as it would have hit the stands just before my 7th Birthday. I've likely read more than 1,000 Batman-related comics during my lifetime, so those early issues hold a special place in my heart. As much as I say that Aparo's Batman is 'My Batman', the Novick/McLaughlin version is likely #2. I think that Frank McLaughlin was the perfect inker for Irv Novick, adding a lot of depth and atmosphere to Novick's solid pencils. As a kid, I didn't realize that Crazy Quilt was one of those bottom of the Bat-barrell villains. As far as I knew, he was as important as the Joker or Catwoman (I also felt the same way about Killer Moth back in the day). I actually found his back story to be quite engaging. Len Wein's script helps to make CQ a relatively sympathetic character, which my young mind had a hard time reconciling with his overall craziness. It's certainly not Dark Knight Returns, but looking back this really was a pretty solid outing.


Daniel Graves said...

Can't remember what year this was, maybe '79 or '80? Anyway, before the age of any comic shops in my area, so I was about 9 or 10 and eagerly running to the corner store each week to see if the new Batman was there yet. I remember buying this one, and like you, I thought Crazy Quilt, Killer Moth, and all the other oldy mouldy goldies that Wein was dragging out were top-tier villians. Little did I know...

I consider Irvick/McLaughlin my definitive Batman because this was the period that I was regularly beginning to read him (no longer just reading the odd issue that my mother or someone would buy for me and give me, but acutally using my own allowance to track down each new issue).

Loved the subplots that Wein was introducing back then... Selina Kyle, later Falstaff (leading into the return of Ra's Al Ghul). Great stuff.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Fr. Dan

GarBut said...

If that's a Novick cover (and I believe it is), then he outdid himself on Bats and Robin. Terrific linework.

Scott, BTW, your post header says Batman 314, but it's actually 316.

suedenim said...

The part that jumps out at me is Robin's identification as "Special Guest Star!"

I think people tend to forget that Robin was often *not* a huge presence in '70s Batman stories.

Scott M said...

Father Dan - I'm glad to know that I wasn't alone in thinking these guys were actually 'top' villains. I really loved the Catwoman back-ups as well. Way back when, I posted about how much I love the Lazarus Affair. Do a search and it will pop up.

Gary - thanks for the heads up. Stupid early morning typo. I think it's an Andru/Giordano cover - but they were signing most of them back then, so I'm not 100% sure.

Suede - you're absolutely right about Robin. This was a rarish occurence.

Argo Plummer said...

I remember getting this issue at a toy store in a mall in Texas when I was about 9. They used to sell DC comics in a 3 pack with a Whitman label on them. The pack also included an issue of Superboy and the Legion (SBoy, Element Lad, and Colossal Boy fight the Fatal Five) and an issue of Superman where he fought Count Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. That day was maybe the greatest in my entire comic buying career. I love all three issues and have since replaced them all in my collection.

I loved this issue because it was so Robin centric. He wasn't in many issues of Batman then, and when I was nine, Robin was the real draw for me, not Batman.

I have since flipped, but Robin (actually Dick Grayson) has remained near the top of my favorite characters.