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Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!

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DC Comics has declared tomorrow, September 23, 2017, to be Batman Day 2017. (In 2016, Batman Day was September 17. In 2015, it was September 26. Seriously, DC, can we settle on one date already?)

This year, DC is cross promoting the event with Harley Quinn, a character celebrating her 25th anniversary. Harley was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 as a comedic Joker henchwoman with romantic delusions. These days, she appears in comics and movies (but not television) as a psychopathic mass murderer who dresses like a stripper. Hooray for progress? (Thanks, feminism!)

It's probably not a coincidence that DC is combining the celebration of these two characters now considering that the company released a direct-to-video movie titled Batman & Harley Quinn late last month. Despite being made by the same people responsible for the all-ages Batman: The Animated Series, B&HQ is adults-only material. At one point, after mistaking him for a homosexual, Harley seduces Batman's adopted sidekick, Robin Nightwing. Personally, I don't need that much sex in my cartoons. That's why I have the Internet.

Anyway, if you go to your Local Comic Shop tomorrow, you can get your own free copy of Batman Day 2017 Special Edition #1. It's mostly reprints, but a free comic is a free comic.

And if that's not enough Bat-fun for you, you can download the official Batman Day Kit (including mazes, games, and sweet, sweet Terry Dodson and Jose Garcia-Lopez coloring pages) from dccomics.com. At least there's no creepy hero-on-villain sex in there. I promise.

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Oh, fuck it. Lock her up!
From Batman "Hizzoner the Penguin" (November 2, 1966) by way of BullysComics.Blogspot.com

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Look at that beautiful plastic nightmare from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. Christmas 1966 catalog:

Bat Gun and grenade?

All that good shit for under $6? I was born a decade too late!

Hmm. Accounting for inflation, six 1966 dollars are worth forty-four 2016 dollars. I wonder how much that thing would sell for today?

Those handcuffs are some housewife's idea of a really good time.

A copy of the instructions costs $9? Damn, nostalgia is expensive.

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https://giphy.com/gifs/funny-batman-epic-BP9eSu9cnnGN2

Bat-trampoline? Batapult? Ejector seat?

None of the above. Batman is just high on life.

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Today is the first day of the 12th Annual Batman and Football Month at Wriphe.com!

I started the celebration early by attending last night's inaugural Georgia State University game at Turner Field Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium. (Yeah, that name's not going to stick.)

TSU 17, GSU 10
This is an optical illusion. The stands were not this full.

Seven years ago Mom and I attended her alma mater's first ever football game, and we weren't going to miss the unveiling of their new home. Two games in seven years: that's better than I've managed for my old high school. And it might be the last GSU game I ever attend. If GSU and the city of Atlanta can't get their act together better than what I saw yesterday, I won't be back even in another seventy years.

It's not that the game was especially bad, although Georgia State was horribly outplayed by Tennessee State University. (The final score was 17-10 TSU, but it wasn't remotely that close.) Fittingly, the beer stands outnumbered concession stands three to one, which is a good ratio if your team sucks. Also disappointing was the pretzels. I never stood in the long lines to buy one, but I could see from a distance that they had ceased being twisted into "GSU" shapes. Pooh.

But what really, really sucked was the traffic. From the time I exited I-85 onto Fulton Street, it took an hour and ten minutes to drive two blocks to reach the Green Lot where I had prepaid for parking. While I'm no civil engineer, the problem appeared to be that there was absolutely no one directing traffic. Not a single policeman was seen until I was inside the stadium. Traffic was left to direct itself, and it went even more poorly than you might expect. I've been to a lot of football games, and this was the first time ever that it took longer to arrive than leave. (We left in the third quarter to avoid a second round of traffic jousting, and departure took all of 2 minutes.) If MLB games were anything like this, no wonder the Braves fled to the suburbs.

Ultimately, despite all obstacles, I had a good time because I'm just so glad that football season is back. (And the terrific TSU marching band helped, too.) Welcome back, football!

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For the past month, it's been Guardians of the Galaxy this and Wonder Woman that. For a bit of a reality check, please recall that this is what super hero movies looked like 50 years ago:

Captain America loves you this much

Official Batman insignia my ass
from the 1967 JC Penney Christmas catalog

Ah, the good old days. When super heroes were just for white males and even officially licensed products looked like Chinese knock-offs! 'Merica!

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From the One Foot in the Grave Department:

Today is a sorrowful occasion. It marks the anniversary of the next-to-last day in the life of the Red Bee.

When we last saw our hero, he was fighting drug thieves. As a reward for his efforts, he was invited to the inaugural meeting of the All-Star Squadron!

This was before Batman switched to decaf
All-Star Squadron #31, March 1984

That's him there, drinking coffee between the Human Bomb and Smilin' Batman™! They were just some of the many, many heroes who attended, including Sandman and his sidekick Sandy, Sargon the Sorcerer, Spectre, Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid, Starman, Stripesy, and Superman, just to name the "S"s. (Shining Knight was invited but couldn't make it. I'm not kidding.)

Seating for the event wasn't alphabetical; it was arranged by gimmick. Red Bee was given a seat beside Black Condor, because they are both color/animals. Or maybe because no one else wanted to sit beside the guy in the see-through blouse or the guy in the blue dickie. (Something tells me those guys wore a lot of perfume.)

Is he pointing at what I think he's pointing at?

The agenda for the meeting — set by none other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself! — was to discuss how the heroes could help the War Effort. That topic was sidetracked pretty fast when the living embodiment of the American spirit, Uncle Sam, crashed the party and asked for help on an alternate Earth where the Nazis were doing even better than they were here. Which, frankly, was pretty good.

This being a comic book, several of the heroes felt it was their duty to go save an alternate Earth. That seems like a pretty strange decision to make just two months after Pearl Harbor, but sometimes you've just got to drop everything to go punch Nazis.

'Earth-X' is something writers write two minutes before their deadline
All-Star Squadron #32, April 1984

Obviously, Red Bee, champion of the poor and trainer of bees, chose to follow his Uncle Sam to war. He always was braver than he was smart. Given that I already told you that today was his next-to-last day alive, you can probably guess what's coming next.

Tune in tomorrow for the Red Bee's last stand!

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The World's Greatest Detective has found your heart

Batman was computer dating in 1966. Take that, Match.com!

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Powerless is DC Comics' latest television show on NBC. Unlike the teen soap-opera dramas crowding the CW lineup, this one's a situation comedy, a cynical workplace lampoon similar to Fred Savage's late-90s Working. Fresh-faced Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) is the newly hired straight woman setting up punchlines for by a fantastic cast of comedians led by Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory), Danny Pudi (Community), and Ron Funches (Undatable), among others.

The series (at least the pilot episode) was tooled to long-time DC Comics fans like me. Many fan reviews online claim the show is a DC version of Marvel's Damage Control comics, but that's not quite fair. For decades, one of the biggest differences between the Marvel and DC comic universes was the way the general public responded to super heroes. Marvel citizens lived in distrust and fear, while DC citizens tended to embrace their supermen (at least until DC saw how much money they were losing at the box office to Marvel movies and made their wolds much, much darker places to live). The characters in this sitcom are definitely old school DC denizens, the sort who would be employed by Hero Hotline.

If you're the sort of person who has heard of Damage Control and Hero Hotline, this show is aimed squarely at you. Since the series takes place inside a four-color comic book world, characters are bright, and reminders of DC's enormous cast of heroes and villains are dropped early and often. A heavy emphasis is placed on the trappings of Batman comics — which only makes sense given that Batman has been DC's best seller for going on thirty years. But that's not really the good stuff. This is the good stuff:

One thing Starro can't conquer: ratings

Look! It's Starro the Star Conqueror, the first Justice League villain, making a throwaway cameo appearance! Starro is essentially a giant purple space starfish who mind-controls heroes to do his bidding by putting tiny clones of himself on their faces. That's the Silver Age of comics in a nutshell, a generation better suited to comedy than dour Zack Snyder action films (which, frankly, aren't suitable for anything).

The Powerless pilot also references such minor DC characters as the Global Guardians' Jack O'Lantern and Justice League Europe's Crimson Fox, neither of which is exactly a household name even among people who consider themselves DC Comics fans. Most of these references are used as setups for punchlines, but its still a pretty niche market.

Unfortunately, Powerless dedication to aging comic book fans may mean it's not long for broadcast television. The pilot only attracted about a million viewers. That's not a good start. TV By The Numbers gives the show a 50/50 chance of making it past May, which is a shame. Even Working got three seasons.

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