First up B&B #148, Batman and Plastic Man take on "The Night the Mob Stole Christmas". One of the shames of keeping some characters going through the years, is some comic book features rise above the medium. An example of that is Jack Cole's great Plastic Man character. No one should have tried to do him after Cole passed away...it was a unique vision. However, Brave and the Bold is not meant to be stuff you put a lot of thought into...it's pure super-hero hokey goodness...and you just can't turn away from Jim Aparo's art in my book. It adds gravity to even the silliness of super hero pals budding up with Batman on a revolving 30 day basis.
If your unsure of how fun B&B could be, check out Cartoon Networks animated version on Friday nights (soon to be cancelled I might add), it's been called "a silver age fans wet dream" and they're not far off.
Dig in, kiddoes!
The Brave and the Bold #184 tells the story of "The Batman's Last Christmas". This one may be a bit cofusing for folks not steeped in the world of DC comics...I'll try and brief it up for you.
In 1938, DC Comics ushered in "The Golden Age" of super heroes with the introduction of Superman. His success spurred on a plethora of "super hero" characters to follow (not the least of which was Batman) that flooded the market for the next decade, especially through the years of WWII. By the late 40's, the publics love for our super powered pals had waned and by 1952 (deep into "The Atomic Age" of comics) the only super hero books sold from the glut of scores, were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and over at Fawcett Comics, Captain Marvel.
By 1956 (you realize we're only talking 4 years here...pop culture moves at an ALARMING rate) DC decided to revive some of it's characters...but with a "re-imagined" twist. The Flash was resurrected...but had a different identity, origin and costume. The Green Lantern returned...likewise these changes. And The Atom. Hawkman. "The Silver Age" of super heroes had begun, and by the early 1960's were in full swing again.
But was DC to totally turn their backs on the dozens and dozens of heroes that had made them great in the 1930's and 40's???? Nooo. They reintroduced them side by side with their new versions of characters and explained the differences with a parrallel Earth theory. The heroes from the Golden Age were from a different Earth occupying the same space as the Earth of the heroes from the 50's-60's, but vibrating at a different speed and existing in another dimension. This included a different version of Superman and Batman.
That's a lot for an adolescent mind to digest...but we comic fans are pseudo-science buffs and we drank it up.
This explains the team-up in our next comic. The Huntress is the daughter of Earth 2's (The Golden Age) Batman and Catwoman and she's come to Earth 1 (The Silver Age) Batman to seek guidance in her newfound heroic identity. And since her father (Earth 2's Batman) was dead now, what better choice.
That's a long row to hoe.
But like I said, we nerds loved it all and it made sense to us.
Now back to Christmas. Enjoy.