Read Tolemite's comment in the previous posting to get where this is coming from. Like anyone needs to justify posting pics of a robot Batman. Both covers drawn by Sheldon Moldoff.
I think this comic book cover just made Tolemite, the world's biggest fan of robots, explode.
In the 13-page story "The Wizard of 1,000 Menaces", the Dynamic Duo does indeed fight foes that are not only robots...but also invisible! Incredible! Long-time Batman artist Sheldon Moldoff drew this cover for DETECTIVE COMICS #306 (August 1962) and pencilled the story, which was inked by Charles Paris. The backup story was a 12-pager starring John Jones, the Manhunter from Mars, who eventually became known as J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.
Many of today's Batman fans are stunned to see these Silver Age stories, which were a long way from the Dark Knight characterization they're familiar with. It was not unusual for Batman to battle robots, aliens, extra-dimensional beings, monsters, giants or other fantastic foes. Some of them are a lot of fun and are certainly better than the so-called "New Look" Batman created in the mid-'60s.
Those stories, which mostly coincided with the campy ABC TV show, were limply written and drawn, and it wasn't until creators like Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Irv Novick, Bob Brown, Frank Robbins and others brought the character back to Earth around 1969 that Batman stories, in BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS, were worth reading again. I think the character hit its peak in those stories of the early- to mid-1970's, when Batman was both a grim avenger of the night and an appealing character with a sense of humor. Batman actually enjoyed his "job", and the writers often created intricate mysteries befitting his nickname of the Darknight Detective. I don't think Batman has done much actual detecting in comics in decades.
For Batman at his best, seek out stories like "Moon of the Wolf" (written by Len Wein and adapted as an episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES) in a 100-page BATMAN or "Red Water, Crimson Death" (by O'Neil/Adams) in an atmospheric THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD that featured a "teamup" between Batman and the House of Mystery. The only stories that come close to capturing the atmosphere, scope and mystery of the '70s Batman (later in the decade, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin did an incredible job drawing the character) are the first handful that appeared in DETECTIVE in 1939 and 1940, although Bob Kane's crude artwork, effective as it was at the time, doesn't stand up next to Adams, Brown, Novick, Dick Giordano et al.
I thought Tolemite especially might get a kick out of this. If you love monsters and you love robots, you'll doubly love SWAMP THING #6, published by DC Comics in 1973. Swamp Thing falls off a cliff and finds himself in a believed-abandoned New England mining town that has been redecorated to resemble a 17th-century Swiss village. It turns out that a scientist who fled Switzerland when the Nazis invaded escaped to the U.S., where he built a town full of benevolent, human-looking androids for company. His peaceful existence ends tragically when The Conclave, a vast criminal organization, tracks Swamp Thing to the town and tries to kidnap the scientist to aid in its own robotics experiments. The old man refuses and is murdered by Conclave goons, who are led by a talking robot controlled from Gotham City by the organization's leader. Swamp Thing kicks the robot's ass, but not before the Conclave goons are murdered by the town's pissed-off androids, which are all destroyed in the process.
As written by Len Wein, drawn by the great Berni Wrightson, and edited by Joe Orlando, the creative team that created Swamp Thing a couple of years earlier in HOUSE OF SECRETS #92, this story, "The Clockwork Horror", is damned good, as were all of the Wein/Wrightson collaborations. I think Wrightson left the book after ten issues and Wein after eleven.
I don't believe SWAMP THING was ever a great seller, but it was excellent and attracted a lot of attention for its high quality. Sales dropped off after Wein and Wrightson left the book, and it was cancelled after #24. The character continued (and still does) to pop up in DC stories, including some oddball, but fun and well-illustrated, teamups with Deadman and the Challengers of the Unknown in the Challs' late-1970's title penned by Gerry Conway and penciled by a young Keith Giffen.
I've got a bunch of silly images trapped on my hard drive, so I thought I'd occasionally post one and see how it plays with you.
In the STAR TREK episode "The Paradise Syndrome", Captain Kirk (William Shatner) is stranded on a pretty Earth-like planet populated by aliens who closely resemble American Indians. He bumps his head and gets amnesia, but when he uses 23rd-century first aid to save the life of a young boy, the tribe considers him to be a magical medicine man named "Kirok". He falls in love with the chief's racktastic daughter, Miramanee (Sabrina Scharf), and gets her pregnant.
That's pretty far out for a 1960's adventure show; leading men did not impregnate guest stars every day. Or maybe ever. Of course, the reason for that is that guest stars come and go, but Shatner is going to be back on the Enterprise next week. So you just know Miramanee is doomed.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise, with Spock in command, is backtracking the predicted path of a meteor that is due to smash into the Indian planet. Phaser power is too weak to blow the rock up, but the ship rushes back to the planet at exactly the same time Kirok/Kirk gets his memory back and discovers the Indian temple is actually an asteroid deflector built by the planet's ancestors to knock big rocks out of the orbit path. Miramanee is stoned to death by her tribe, and Kirk mourns her just before he beams back up to the ship.
Yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but most SF plots do out of context. "The Paradise Syndrome" benefits from lovely location shooting, an unusual premise, a good performance by Shatner (who gets to grow out his sideburns for this one episode), the foxy Sabrina Scharf, a rigorous fight scene between Kirk and his romantic rival for Miramanee's affections (Kirk uses his patented two-legged chest kick), and a genuinely emotional finale.
You also get to see Shatner ham it up in war paint, screaming to the gods, "I...am...KIROOOOOOKKKKKKKKK!"
That's not actually my thermos, but one just like mine that I found listed on eBay. I also have a cool metal THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN lunchbox.
I hope I haven't just killed Lee Majors.
Just a few days after sitcom legend Bob Denver (GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) passed away comes news of another death: Don Adams, the Emmy-winning star of GET SMART!
Unlike many fans, I didn't get to grow up with GET SMART!, since it was never rerun on any TV station in the Champaign-Urbana market. I remember seeing a couple of episodes in motels while on family vacations, but it wasn't until TV Land began airing it in the 1990's that I got to see GET SMART! on a regular basis. Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, neither of whom had anything to do with the series after the pilot, GET SMART! is perhaps the only commercially successful spoof in TV history. Series like POLICE SQUAD, WHEN THINGS WERE ROTTEN (another Brooks show) and SLEDGE HAMMER! followed in GET SMART!'s footsteps, but none came anywhere near the five-season run or multiple Emmy trophies of their predecessor.
I actually came to know Adams through his voicing of Tennessee Tuxedo, a wisecracking penguin who teamed up with a dumb walrus named Chumbley on a popular cartoon series I watched a lot as a kid. He also appeared on the box and in commercials for an Aurora toy called Skittle Pool; I understand Adams won a Clio for directing the commercial.
GET SMART! is a marvelously clever TV series, a spoof of the many spy movies and shows that were so popular at the time, ranging from the James Bond movies to THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Adams was idiotic CONTROL agent Maxwell Smart, a bumbler who always somehow managed to stop the nefarious plans of rival spy agency KAOS, usually with the assistance of his gorgeous partner, Agent 99, played by the brainy and beautiful Barbara Feldon.
Catchphrases like "Would you believe...?", "Missed by that much" and "Sorry about that, Chief" became widely imitated, and running gags like the Cone of Silence and other wild gadgetry were hallmarks of the series. But most of all, GET SMART! was successful because of its star. Adams never really did much after GET SMART! went off the air, perhaps because of typecasting. He was certainly a very talented comic actor, a master of the double take and able to wring every last laugh out of a gag by punctuating the lines with that distinctive Maxwell Smart voice (which was not how Adams regularly talked, by the way).
Adams reprised the character in THE NUDE BOMB, which was one of the first (but not the first) times the cast of a successful television show got to star in a theatrically released sequel. Motion picture remakes of old TV shows are common today, but this was an example of a reunion movie being made for theaters, and was perhaps inspired by STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Universal released it with a PG rating in 1980, and it was not a critical or box office hit, probably because GET SMART!'s supporting cast, including Feldon, Dick Gautier (Hymie the Robot), Bernie Kopell (Siegfried) and King Moody (Starker) were not included in the film. Feldon's absence was a particularly stiff blow to GET SMART fans, and the cheap production values (the Universal tour plays a large part in the action) and clunker-filled script didn't give Adams much to chew on. Adams also came back to play Smart in the very good made-for-TV sequel GET SMART AGAIN! (which wisely featured the old cast, including Feldon) and in the short-lived 1995 Fox TV series GET SMART, in which Adams and Feldon played the parents of a new bumbling CONTROL agent, played by, of all people, Andy Dick (NEWSRADIO).
GET SMART! is scheduled for a DVD release early next year. It's a shame Adams didn't live to see them come out, but let's hope he was available to participate in some bonus features for the DVD. He apparently has been in ill health for several years now, and, at age 82, it seems unlikely he could have been too active with the DVDs, but it certainly would be a wonderful bonus for those of us who appreciated his fine talent.