Scene from "That Darn Catwoman" - Batman, Season 2, Episode 40: Airdate Jan. 19, 1967
Scene from “That Darn Catwoman” – Batman, Season 2, Episode 40: Airdate Jan. 19, 1967

For decades I resented seeing “POW!” and “ZAP!” on every newspaper and magazine article about comic books. The blame belonged to Sixties Pop Art and its offspring, the Batman TV show — a show I loved, and that I can honestly say changed my life, by transforming me overnight from a casual reader of comic books into a hard-core fan. And now, well, I guess I’m old enough to embrace the silliness of POW! and ZAP!, especially because it’s no longer the norm, thanks to comics having gone mainstream and movies having set a very different tone for the genre. (ZAP! was also the title of the raunchy underground comic that made Robert Crumb a cartooning star.)

tastewar says of this article on Wired, about the Sixties Batman TV show finally coming to home video, “This seems to me like the kind of story that would be right up your alley.” And indeed it is. The article gives a good overview of the hassles behind the holdup all these years — a legal tangle that, curiously, didn’t prevent the feature-length movie version of the show from being released. The good thing about the delay is that it means the latest video restoration technology was used and the set is available on Blu-ray as well as DVD. I am crossing my Bat Fingers that Santa will give me the complete Batman TV series on Blu-ray, when he comes at the same Bat-Time, down the same Bat-Chimney that he does every year.

Rocket 88!

A very Happy 88th Birthday to Joltin’ Joe Sinnott! Silver Age comics fans will be pleased to see Joe celebrating with his contemporaries, comic strip and DC Comics artistic stalwarts Joe Giella and Sy Barry.

Joe Giella, Mark Sinnott, Joe Sinnott, Sy Barry
Joe Giella, Mark Sinnott, Joe Sinnott, Sy Barry

Galactic Pratt

One of the first comic books I bought after my family moved to Massachusetts in 1968 was Marvel Super-Heroes #18, featuring the introduction of an oddball band of space rangers called the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Marvel Super-Heroes #18, Jan '69
Marvel Super-Heroes #18, Jan ’69

Written by Arnold Drake and drawn by Gene Colan, the original incarnation of the Guardians was a one-off try-out story that went nowhere for decades. Today, a completely revamped version of the team includes a 1970’s Marvel character called Star Lord, who is played by Chris Pratt in a big, new movie that is getting generally favorable reviews. A Pratt saving the galaxy is something I’ve gotta see.

And where did Groot the tree character come from? He’s one of Marvel’s old, pre-Fantastic Four monsters.

I Challenged GROOT!
I Challenged… GROOT!

Click Me Deadly

Last week, Denro tipped me off to a half-price sale of Criterion videos at Barnes & Noble. I picked up the Blu-ray release of “Kiss Me Deadly” for twenty bucks. It’s based on a Mike Hammer story by Joe Sinnott’s longtime buddy, Mickey Spillane. Mickey was supposedly not happy with the ending, where director Robert Aldrich managed to bring the Cold War into the story, but I think this quirky and murky movie is both entertaining and fascinating. The whole thing is on YouTube, for now anyway, and I suggest kicking it up to full screen mode at 720p and kicking back.