Posts Tagged ‘Robin’

Daily Batman: Sick burn

November 1, 2012

The little robin can really sling those zings.

Daily Batman: Hanging out

October 28, 2011

I believe this is available as a tee on threadless. If it isn’t, it should be.

Daily Batman: Let your fingers do the walking

October 25, 2011

Let your fingers do the walking!

…and the crime-fighting.

Daily Batman: A story in stills, “The Electrical Brain” edition

October 3, 2011

Yesterday at the grocery, I spotted a collection of the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial adaptations. I obviously had no choice but to pick it up — my hands were clearly tied — and I’ve found the content … illuminating?

The Dynamic Duo are first seen rounding up some miscreants and leaving them cuffed to a lightpole with a note pinned to one’s jacket for the police. The original script called for the Caped Crusaders to be their usual vigilante selves, but the censors deemed that a little too risky?

And, I guess with all the purportedly people-based government shifts going on in the world, they didn’t want the popcorn-scarfing masses to get ideas? — so Steve Jobs converted Batman and Robin in to federal agents. (May or may not be accurate.)

Isn’t it bromantic? Lewis Wilson as a jaunty, kohl-browed Batman, with Douglas Croft as the Boy Wonder, congratulate themselves on a good night of taking the law in to their own hands without right or invitation after hopping in a Batmobile chauffered by good old Alfred Pennyworth, whose previous comic presence had been a facial hairless, rotund figure — colloquial wisdom credits this adaptation’s portrayal of Alfred as thin, stately, and mustachioed with influencing his subsequent appearance in the comics.

Accordingly, so far as I’ve watched, this opening scene introducing their crime-fighting prowess is the only bit of vigilantism Batman and Robin display in the serial. Everything else is under the aegis of fighting Communist and Axis spy infiltration.

This comes from the “Japanese Cave of Horrors” scene and is CLEARLY a wax figure of Cary Grant as a fake POW.

The note pinned to the man up there on our right’s jacket is somewhat reminscent of the “deliver to Lt. Gordon” note from The Dark Knight. It also indicates that the key to the cuffs may be found in the apprehended man’s pocket. Ostensibly, the cuffs will be taken off and replaced with official ones, but as they do not know the secret identity of Batman and Robin, are the originals now a gift to the Gotham City PD? I assume so. Not to worry: Batman and Robin have lots more pairs of handcuffs. You know, for … crime-fighting.

Did it come from Gunga Din, do you reckon? The uniform, I mean? Where did props even get this figure? I feel like it’s just out of reach in my mind. Little help?

This first segment in the serial is titled “The Electrical Brain” and is a total yawn fest, since all that it features is electric zombies, atom-smashing handheld ray guns, a sinister villain, and more astounding racism than you can shake a KKK hood at. Oh, wait — it couldn’t be less boring. If you’re a fan of camp and jaw-dropping behavioral archaisms, like your happy hostess here, run, don’t walk out and find this collection.

Get all of your latently guilty chagrin primed, though. I’m not made out of moron: I understand the film is a product of its time — it’s part of why I find vintage, obscure cinema from this era interesting. But, sweet mother of Edward Said, the orientalism and propaganda are strong with this one.

The villain of the piece, Dr. Tito Daka, is a self-proclaimed servant of Hirohito. Daka is a Japanese enemy of capitalism who I’m amazed to say constitutes only a fraction of the deeply-woven Asian-targeted xenophobic mise-en-scene of the picture.

U.S. readers, if you’ve nursed some fantasy that the internment of our Japanese fellow citizens during the second World War was not widely known by most Americans and did not make a big dent in pop culture, this little slice of 1940’s life will prove you all kinds of unfortunately wrong.

Narrator: This was part of a foreign land transplanted bodily to America and known as Little Tokyo. Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs, it has become a ghost street where only one buusiness survives, eking out a precarious existence on the dimes of curiosity-seekers.

Wise government. Rounded up. Shifty-eyed. I honestly triple-took. “Did that just happen??”

It seems boldly racist to me, even for the time. So like I said, this serial has so far shown me that I don’t know crap about what was “okay” on the day-to-day in my country during this time.

Daka introduces himself to a new recruit to his organization, the partner of a recently sprung white collar criminal of sorts (his niece is dating Bruce Wayne, which is how the plotlines tie together), with the following charming monologue.

I am Dr. Daka, humble servant of His Majesty Hirohito, Heavenly Ruler and Prince of the Rising Sun. By divine destiny, my country shall destroy the democratic forces of evil in the United States to make way for the New Order, an Order that will bring about the liberation of the enslaved people of America.

Daka is portrayed by totally-not-Asian actor J. Carrol Naish, a future Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Irish by descent, Naish actually portrayed nearly nothing but non-traditional races in his performances, from Japanese to Puerto Rican to Middle Eastern.

Congruent to his alleged continent of origin in this serial and his heavy “oriental” makeup, Naish would later bring a whole new ball of uniquely challenging race-based character traits to the role of famous detective Charlie Chan on the small screen, in television’s The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957).

The teaser for the next installment. There was no Bat Cave in the comics until after the release of this serial. But so far the Bat Cave in the serial is a stone wall behind a regular desk, with flickering shadows of bats waving around in front of lights off-camera… so I’d have to say the comics Bat Cave, even if inspired by the serial, most certainly carries the edge.

Daily Batman: Family Affair, “A neurotic style of life” edition

July 18, 2011

In the investigation of a neurotic style of life, we must always note who suffers most because of the patient’s condition. Usually, this is a member of the family.

…To injure another person through atonement is one of the most subtle devices of the neurotic.

(Dr. Alfred Adler. Problems of Neurosis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd, 1929.)

Neurosis — keep it all in the family.

Daily Batman: Batman begins

July 11, 2011

This advertisement for Detective Comics No. 27, the debut of Batman, was featured in Action Comics No. 12 in 1939. The character grew so popular that one year later he got his own title.

Batman begins. April 1939. Action comics.

Girls like a boy in a cape.

I just find it interesting that Action sold DC ad space. I mean, I guess, thinking about it, like, why not? They probably weren’t worried about competition, and comics likely still felt like a who-knows-where-this-is-going gambit. Action ruled the roost with Superman, basically starting it all. Originally just to move toy catalogs, novelty companies would include little gimicky “Adventures Of ___” strips to entice boys to pick up the next catalog and beg their Depression era single mothers to buy them all the lovely needful things inside.

Aw. Boys’ own title. Advertisement for Batman No. 1. April 25, 1940. DC.

For an actual factual account of all this, try something like The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture. But my heart belongs to the historically accurate (mainly) work of fiction, Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Oh, and Steranko’s History of Comics (foreword by Fellini). I’ll try to schedule something for later today to prove how rad Steranko is. Let them blow ya mind.

Daily Batman: Pulled by unseen forces

June 26, 2011


Schnitzt einer eine Marionette, wo man den Strick hereinhängen sieht, an dem sie gezerrt wird.

We are only puppets, our dangling strings pulled by unseen forces.

(Karl Georg Büchner, Dantons Tod. Act II, Scene 3. 1835).

Daily Batman: Batman City

January 21, 2011

Comic by H. Coldwell Tanner, via iheartbatman.

Daily Batman: Deeaaaaaaad

December 25, 2010

The classic.

Daily Batman: the Joker is on Batman and Robin’s naughty list

December 14, 2010


Daily Batman: All the Christmases of my life

December 13, 2010

What this criminal doesn’t know is we’ve secretly replaced his regular superhero with a grudge-bearing, wealthy revenge-freak who will literally go to the ends of the earth to screw you if he is bent out of shape. When he says something like, “I’m going to find out who you are,” he does not plan to forget. Sorry, dude.

Daily Batman: the little Robin has a holiday package to share

December 8, 2010

via fyeahbatman on the tumblr.

Burt Ward goofin’. I am planning a Green Hornet post where I’m going to talk about an incident between Ward and my darlingest bamf Bruce Lee on the Batman set, but for now just enjoy this provocative pose from television’s take on the irrepressible Boy Wonder. (And if you’re feeling particularly gleeful and trashy, pick up Burt’s autobiography. It’s a hoot.)

Daily Batman: Don’t fly solo

October 2, 2010

Everything’s better with friends. Exercise, dinner, taking in a movie, showers. What? It’s as weird as you want to make it.

Mean Girls Monday and Daily Batman: OMG, Robin

September 27, 2010

I think this is via thatissofetch on the tumblr.

The Boy “Blunder.” Originally the “My parents are deaaaad” panel.

Daily Batman and Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Hipster Batmans with bonus friendly advice

September 5, 2010

Little known fact: Batman’s favorite band is The Postal Service because he feels like Neutral Milk Hotel is getting too mainstream.

via the sfist.

To say that there are no hipsters in Portland is like saying there were no hippies in San Francisco, no punks in New York. The problem with hipsters is their lack of purpose and ideas. They are not the angry young men and women of counter-culture past, they are leaches of culture. Being a hipster is the opposite of a movement; it’s a crawl toward death. Like an unconscious addict, of course no one admits to being one.

Jake Rose

(“Letters to the Editor.” Portland Mercury. January 8, 2009.)

Mr. Rose refers to the Mercury’s assertion that

First off, there is no such thing as a hipster. It’s a lazy stereotype. Blaming hipsters for ruining your favorite bar, your favorite band, and your favorite city is akin to blaming Santa Claus for ruining Christmas. Secondly, stop complaining, it makes you seem more out of touch than you really are.

(“Not Invited Back.” Portland Mercury. December 25, 2008.)

via sfeyes on the flickr.

I used to read it all the time, but hipsters have totally ruined the Mercury. Nyuck, nyuck.

For myself, I would rather be “out of touch” than wear a hanky turned like I have just robbed a train and jeans that cut off the circulation to my thighs and lovely ass. Also it has not quite been long enough since their initial time of ironic popularity to once more sport a trucker hat as a sneering referential fashion nod to an original sneering referential fashion nod. Only Judah Friedlander on 30 Rock gets a pass. And when a musician that I like begins to find wider success, I am happy for that individual, not full of embittered proclamations that he or she has “sold out.” Hipsters: it is okay to like something without it being ironic or edgy. Don’t front like you don’t like Jamba Juice and family reunions — you don’t have to make out like they are kitschy or retro to explain that you enjoy them, because it is okay to like Jamba Juice and family reunions and put the period right there.

“Robin Hoodie” via laughing squid.

Also, I know you love you some Pabst Blue Ribbon but I need to say that once, my husband and I bought an actual 12-pack in bottles of PBR, and when we unloaded them in to the fridge we noticed that despite being sealed each bottle was filled to a different level. Some sat at varying levels up the neck, one was only filled directly to the neck, and the weirdest one was literally all the way to the bottlecap. How is that even possible? Don’t machines in a factory do the bottling, and, if so, why would each be filled differently? Is the machine that poorly operated, or is it that old or sunk that deeply in to disrepair? What the what? There is probably lead shavings and rat shit and who else knows what all in Pabst if there is that bizzarely low level of quality control. Please do consider it and think about making Natty Ice or Keystone the new trendy and appropriately cheesey cheap beer? Probably safer bets.

P.S.: Cute hipster boys? Please eat a sandwich cause from behind I thought you were a woman, and I’m not sleeping with someone who could slip down the shower drain.

To be triple-dog clear: the hipster Batman graffiti photos are taken in San Francisco, California. The hipster debate comes from an independent weekly newspaper in Portland, Oregon.

Daily Batman: Strong legs

August 30, 2010

via comicallyvintage on the tumblr.

Tightly clamped legs is just what the doctor ordered, eh, Bruce? I suppose Dr. Wertham would make much of this, but sometimes a boy dangling from a chain and riding you is just a boy dangling from a chain and riding you.

Daily Batman: the little Robin was a hot button

August 29, 2010

vintage poster art by Michael Myers on the behance network.

“Like the girls in other stories, Robin is sometimes held captive …. They constantly rescue each other from violent attacks by an unending number of enemies. The feeling is conveyed that we men must stick together because there are so many villainous creatures who have to be exterminated. They lurk not only under every bed but also behind every star in the sky” (p. 190-1).

Wertham argued that danger could be stimulating, and that in the wrong circumstances that stimulation could take a sexual turn. He called such stories “erotic rescue fantasies.” They were intended, he said, to make Robin more devoted to Batman than to anyone else on earth.

(Wertham, Frederic. Seduction of the Innocent. 1954. qtd in “Wertham’s Ghost,” The Animated Batman. April 19, 2006.)

Childrens’ rights crusader, noted comic-“reformer,” and homophobe Dr. Frederic Wertham took special care in his explosively nonsensical bullshit-book Seduction of the Innocent to devote more time to dissecting the perceived homoeroticism in Batman than to any other comic of the time. Winner, winner, chicken dinner? Dubious and highly disputed honor. For the record, the creators initially found his accusations laughable and explained that the character of Robin was indeed intended as wish-fulfillment, but only to keep the audience of young boys who imagined themselves being able to aid the Dark Knight in his efforts to clean up his city. Oh, what rabble-rousers.

On the other hand, Wertham is perhaps the first theorist of any note to take a genuinely psychological and critical eye to comics, trying to root out the source of their success and overarching mythos in their stories, and, though I may not 100% agree with his conclusions, I cannot in good conscience decry that early and earnest undertaking of a stab at a [misguided] unified theory of comics. People read them: they do matter.

Daily Batman: Teevee Time — How I Met Your Mother edition

August 26, 2010

How I Met Your Mother.

If you know how HIMYM turns out, please don’t tell me. I like surprises. Anyway, Robin has been my favorite character on this show (which I admit I only sporadically catch) since the time that, in a green and white button-up baseball jersey, she talked the character Lily in to ordering Chinese and smoking cigars in Marsh’s car. That is just exactly my kinda gal. And she “suited up” for Laser Tag? Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Daily Batman: Enter Talia

August 10, 2010

Talia al Ghul by Stephane Roux.

Said it before but I say again:

  • Mother of Bruce Wayne’s child.

    If I could design subliminal messages, I would pipe those two things in to Chris Nolan’s dreams, I swar to gar.

    She’s not getting any younger, Mr. Nolan. But you know what she is getting? Ever-more-perfect to play the part of Talia and take these films to the Next Level. Already had her dad as a villain, and his invisible hand is present in the sequel (the drugs Dr. Crane is still moving around GC in The Dark Knight are obviously chemically based on the hallucinogen he weaponized for Ra’s when he was a little more, ahem, put together; as he could have no present access to original stockpiles of that drug’s ingredients due to the plant’s destruction during the riots in the Narrows which concluded Batman Begins, Crane is likely acquiring the material to continue the synthesized manufacture of the fear drug from the League of Shadows, who’d provided him with his chemicals in the past. Yes?). Tie it all in and bring us home by bringing Talia in and let’s do this!

  • Daily Batman: Robin’s nest is dynamite

    July 31, 2010

    via holywowbatman on the tumblr.

    Hey. Sometimes a stick of dynamite is just a stick of dynamite.