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Tomorrow is Batman Day 2018. Have you bought Batman a present yet? (He's already got everything else, so I suggest a gift card.)
Celebrate by visiting your Local Comic Shop for free comics. Or, if you'd rather, you can download the Batman Day 2018 Activity Kit from DCComics.com where you'll find this delightful recipe for burnt toast.
I'm not going to lie; I want that bat-shaped cookie cutter.
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Burt Reynolds died yesterday at the age of 82. In addition to being a football player for FSU, he starred in one of the best football movies, The Longest Yard. That alone is enough to earn a mention of his passing in this Batman/Football Month.
But wait, there's more!
According to 66batman.com, Reynolds admitted in his 2015 autobiography that he was up for the lead role of television's Batman that eventually made a star of Adam West. Can you imagine? I can.
And, of course, the Batmobile would have been a Pontiac. Yeah, I'd've watched that.
"Batman and Robin stand up for Sportsmanship" PSA from National Comics Publications cover-dated February/March 1950
We welcome the 13th Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month with the UGA home opener!
First things first, today's season opener was quite possibly the hottest game I've ever attended. Thermometer said 95°, but I'm positive that it was much hotter in the direct sun. Mom was particularly affected, and rather than tempt a case of heatstroke, we left halfway through the second quarter. That's by far the earliest I've ever departed the stadium. Of course, by then, UGA was up 24-0 on the helpless Austin Peay Governors, so it didn't fell like I was missing much. (Final score would be 45-0. The game was so lopsided and the heat so bad that the teams agreed to skip playing the last 5 minutes of the fourth quarter. Even the teams went home early.)
The game was notable for another reason: the debut of the offseason renovation to Sanford Stadium, complete with a new locker room, larger video monitor, and revision to the pregame ritual. Players now enter the field from the west endzone.
All that's nice, sure, but I personally found a more notable change to be that the television time-out official now holds up a large digital timer that lets fans know exactly how much longer the time out will last. That's an improvement, but given the weather conditions, it felt like I was looking at an oven timer telling me how much longer until I was done cooking.
Most of you reading this know that I spent the entire offseason debating whether I wanted to continue purchasing UGA season tickets. The school has capitalized on its SEC championship and national second-place finish by making a naked cash grab, including increasing ticket prices by 50%. With the season finally underway, I feel I need to get twice the enjoyment from my games to justify the price. Did I do that today? Yeah, I probably did. If nothing else, it was a unique experience I wouldn't have gotten on my couch.
Chapter seven of child psychologist Fredric Wertham's infamous 1953 book Seduction of the Innocent is titled "I Want To Be a Sex Maniac: Comic Books and the Psycho Sexual Development of Children." Can you guess what it's about?
At the close of that chapter, after explaining how Batman and Robin "help fixate homoerotic tendencies" in young boys, he warns that young girls have similar examples.
The Lesbian counterpart of Batman may be found in the stories of Wonder Woman and Black Cat. The homosexual connotation of the Wonder Woman type of story is psychologically unmistakable. (pg 192)
To drive home his point, Wertham specifically calls out this panel from "Mr. Zero and the Juvenile Delinquent" in Black Cat #27, 1951:
If I squint hard enough, I guess I can see where he was coming from. What girl would want to sleep with child abusing premature ejaculators named "Crowface"?
Wertham goes on to complain about another page in the same issue headlined "Black Cat Shows You How To Do Judo Tricks," a step-by-step guide to self-defense tips in the unusually specific case when "a gunman should surprise you from the rear and you don't feel the gun muzzle against you." Look out, girls! If you act in self-defense against gunmen, you might be a lesbian!
Even if I was inclined to believe that reading stories about Batman hanging out in a cave with his young ward encouraged little boys to love Dick — that's a Robin joke! — I remain unconvinced that empowering young girls to fight back against gangsters is the first step on the slippery slope towards tribadism.
I'm not going to say that Wertham was wrong about everything. He makes a good case that American superhero comics books were (and still are) incredibly, perhaps irredeemably, violent. However, in hindsight, it's hard to take anyone's word that comics are destroying society when he's overlooking panels like this, also from "Mr. Zero and the Juvenile Delinquent":
Clearly, in Wertham's 1953 America, homosexuality was bad but racism was just fine. The more things change....
Movies watched in July, part one:
119. (1348.) The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Historic romantic fiction isn't my thing, but I was captivated by Bette Davis' commitment to playing Queen Elizabeth I, including a pretty severe haircut. Not bad. Not bad at all.
120. (1349.) The Petrified Forest (1936)
Having just watched Bette Davis command the screen playing a queen, it's shocking to see her as a mousy waitress in this crime drama made just three years earlier. Wow.
121. (1350.) Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)
This animated film, while still taking full advantage of its medium, couldn't have been any more loyal to its source material if they had made it in 1966. Loved it.
122. (1351.) Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
The sequel to Return of the Caped Crusader, this one pits Adam West against William Shatner. Yes, please. What a shame there won't be any more. (Rest in peace, Adam West!)
123. (1352.) High Society (1956)
The musical remake of The Philadelphia Story is not an improvement unless you enjoy watching Grace Kelly perform her comedic impression of Katherine Hepburn. The only way this is better than the original is when comparing songs, though only because the original had none.
124. (1353.) Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)
I hoped to extend the joy I experienced watching those other Batman, but no. Is this what Batman: the Animated Series would have been if it hadn't needed to be kid friendly? Thank you, network censors? By all means, go watch the original cartoons instead.
More to come.
65. (1294.) Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961)
The second Gidget movie is much more comedic than its predecessor, and I admit that I prefer Sandra Dee over Deborah Walley. However, Hawaiian Gidget is not without its charm. The third act comedy of errors is especially entertaining.
66. (1295.) A Face in the Crowd (1957)
This is more or less a remake of All the King's Men, trading politics for television. Andy Griffith is particularly good, though Walter Matthau has all the best lines. Worth seeing for the lampooning of television product placement if nothing else.
67. (1296.) Stalag 17 (1953)
Damn, this is a good movie. I'm rather disappointed I hadn't seen it earlier. Highly recommended. (I think Billy Wilder is often judged purely on the strength of Some Like it Hot, but I think it might be my least favorite of his films. It seems every one I see is better than the last.)
68. (1297.) Paper Moon (1973)
Also highly recommended. You know, it's a rare thing to see a "modern" movie pull off a Depression era period piece so convincingly, both in style and content. This could just as easily have been made by Preston Sturges in the 1930s. Fantastic.
69. (1298.) Breakheart Pass (1975)
I felt this story was damaged considerably by the surprise twist reveal at the start of the third act that turned what had been an entertaining mystery into a rather boring spy thriller. Oh, well. They can't all be great.
70. (1299.) Spotlight (2015)
Back on the horse! Another amazing film, completely worthy of a Best Picture Oscar. Micheal Keaton is especially delightful. He impresses me more and more. Does anyone remember the debate about whether he was a good enough actor to play a Batman? Damn. In hindsight, he might be the best actor to ever play a Batman. (Take that, Affleck!)
More to come.
What my checks looked like in 2010:
What my checks looked like in 2014:
What my checks look like in 2018:
You don't become boring in one go. It seeps in over time. By the time you realize it, it's too late.
It snowed today. In December. In Georgia.
I was looking for some way to commemorate the event here on the blog when I stumbled across this in my collection:
"Where Walks a Snowman" in Batman #337 (July 1981) begins as "a typical evening in Gotham City; under a sky heavy with the threat of snow, the city sparkles...". But the story isn't about snow. That probably would have been a better story.
Odd events during a smash-and-grab at a sporting goods store soon convince Batman that albino Olympic skier Klaus Kristin is involved. There's no chain of evidence, but Batman's got a hunch. So he steals Kristin's mother's diary and discovers that she had sex with a yeti. (Are all albinos yetis, or is Batman just racist?)
Being the offspring of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed hottie and a "mythical creature of the Himalayan peaks" has endowed Kristin with the ability to transform himself into an abomination that can project sub-zero temperatures from his fingertips. Calling himself "Snowman" (probably because he was a big Smokey and the Bandit fan), Kristin uses these abilities to rob sporting goods stores.
Uh, yeah, ok. I think that will hold up in court.
Anyway, Batman brings Kristin to justice by startling him off a cliff. Don't call it murder, though. As Batman points out, Kristin let him "get close." So it was all his fault. Again, I'm sure that would hold up in court, too.
Fortunately for Batman's ethics, Kristin wasn't dead. He survived his fall and went into peaceful, penitent seclusion in remote parts of the Himalayas. Peaceful, at least, until Batman tracks him down in "Snow Blind" (Detective Comics #552, January 1983). Justice will be served!
Despite being pursued to the literal ends of the earth, Kristin saves Batman's life and for his trouble is shot by the Chinese Sherpa he calls "Chi." (Apparently Batman is racist.)
Kristin chooses death and is carried off into the sunset by his father. Aw. Kristin finds his daddy, and Batman gets his Justice. How's that for a happy ending?
So next time it snows in December in Georgia, remember the sad tale of the Snowman. Stay inside reading comic books. That's what I do.