BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

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BAT 77
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BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by BAT 77 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:30 pm

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This week I talk about race car crashes, horrible Native American stereotypes, and an impossible shot. Also Batman trades in the Batmobile for something less conspicuous. Yeah, Right!

TITLE: A Victim's Victim

PUBLISHING DATE: December 1969

CREDITS: Frank Robbins (story) Bob Brown & Joe Giella (art)

SHOW LINK: http://bat77.libsyn.com/a-victims-victim-detective-394
BAT 77 - My '70s Batman Childhood
Subscribe to the Podcast at http://bat77.libsyn.com
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gothosmansion
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by gothosmansion » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 pm

I listened at work this morning. Just a word of warning....Batman gets hit on the head from behind a pretty good bit in the bronze age!

Keep in mind, back then writers had to come up with four or five ideas a month, unlike today when they can come up with one idea and stretch it out for four or five years. Even the best writers are going to have the occasional clunker, and i thought this issue was one. It was more of a Dakota story than a Batman story. Robbins is a great plotter and I think he wrote the best Batman mystery/whodunits in the bronze age. That said, his Batman could be a little less than competent sometimes, making rookie mistakes or sometimes being saved by sheer luck. That isn't bad in a story like this that wasn't too good anyway, but I hate when it ruins an other wise excellent story. Detective 403 comes to mind. It is a 15 page story and 14 pages are awesome, but that 1 bad page almost torpedoes the 14 good ones.

Anyway, you have my promise that you do have some fine reading (with the occasional clunker mixed in) ahead. I'm sure you've read Secret of the Waiting Graves by now, but it is all kinds of awesome!!!!

To answer your question, Mike Barr the comics writer and Mike Barr the letter hack are the same guy.

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BAT 77
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by BAT 77 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:21 pm

gothosmansion wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 pm
I listened at work this morning. Just a word of warning....Batman gets hit on the head from behind a pretty good bit in the bronze age!
You'd think he would have an armored cowl shell underneath the fabric. :P
Robbins is a great plotter and I think he wrote the best Batman mystery/whodunits in the bronze age. That said, his Batman could be a little less than competent sometimes, making rookie mistakes or sometimes being saved by sheer luck.
I'm about five issues into the run, and I've already noticed patterns of how he plots his Batman and Detective stories. There are some differences between the books, and It is quite fascinating to see how these stories develop.
Anyway, you have my promise that you do have some fine reading (with the occasional clunker mixed in) ahead. I'm sure you've read Secret of the Waiting Graves by now, but it is all kinds of awesome!!!!
I have, and that will be on next week's podcast. I'm about three episodes ahead on the recording schedule and will next be reading "This Murder Has Been ... Pre-Recorded!" and plan to have a guest on to discuss the issue.

Thanks - JB
BAT 77 - My '70s Batman Childhood
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Visit me on Facebook.com/bat77podcast

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gothosmansion
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by gothosmansion » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:35 am

BAT 77 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:21 pm

I have, and that will be on next week's podcast. I'm about three episodes ahead on the recording schedule and will next be reading "This Murder Has Been ... Pre-Recorded!" and plan to have a guest on to discuss the issue.

Thanks - JB
That's a good one, although Batman has trouble fighting just one guy in it. :D

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SprangFan
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by SprangFan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:23 am

I'm often struck by how often Bronze Age Batman nearly has his head handed to him by "mere mortal" combatants...not just "name" villains, but henchmen and street thugs. It's a far, far cry from the modern, invincible Batman who could take down a tag team of Godzilla and Galactus with one hand tied behind his back. Truth be known, I prefer the former, but a happy medium would be nice.

Frank Robbins was a great writer on Batman, and if he sometimes gets a bit sloppy, at least he never throws logic (and sanity!) out the window as he often did over in "Superboy," where his loopy tales could make Bob Haney look downright rational. (Here's an example from my old Superman site: http://davidmorefield.com/superman/supe ... vaders.htm) That said, if you want to know what "loopy" really is, wait'll you get to the issues he DREW. :lol:

As far as the "conk on the head" routine goes, it was de rigueur for the time: countless TV cops, spies and P.I.'s of the era were getting pistol-whipped, judo-chopped or blackjacked every night in prime time. In real life, a guy would be lucky to survive one such blow, but after three or four he'd be concussed enough to make sandwich-building a challenge, much less mystery-solving.

Responding to one point in your podcast: I'm not sure Bruce's "reverting to type" remark can be pegged as racist. In fact, I think the intent was to make him seem progressive and enlightened, as in, "Come on, man. Are you really going to undo generations of progress and act like a stereotype from a John Wayne movie?" However I will agree with the larger point that when comic writers of the era tried to be progressive, or hip, or "relevant," or in touch with the younger generation in any sense, they usually fell flat on their faces. The Bronze Age is my favorite age of comics, but that sort of thing was clumsy then and here in 2019 it's just painful.
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by Yellow Oval » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:39 am

SprangFan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:23 am
" However I will agree with the larger point that when comic writers of the era tried to be progressive, or hip, or "relevant," or in touch with the younger generation in any sense, they usually fell flat on their faces. The Bronze Age is my favorite age of comics, but that sort of thing was clumsy then and here in 2019 it's just painful.
SprangFan, I agree with your observation. Dennis O'Neill was real bad for that back in the '70s. For every decent story he wrote he put out a truckload of stinkers in various DC titles trying to send 'messages'. I remember thinking back then (as I do now) that I don't want 'messages' in my entertainment.

That said, there was one great issue that Batman had a protective cowl. Actually it was the private investigator Jason Bard masquerading as Batman to decoy The Spook in the fantastic issue Batman #252.

(Issue Cover)
http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/mar ... 1128191358

(Panels)
https://babblingsaboutdccomics4.files.w ... 52_002.png

For my money The Spook didn't make enough appearances. He was a great villain.
"Hmmm... I don't like the twist this joke is taking. Let us away! Let us away!"

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SprangFan
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by SprangFan » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:40 am

Dennis O'Neill was real bad for that back in the '70s. For every decent story he wrote he put out a truckload of stinkers in various DC titles trying to send 'messages'. I remember thinking back then (as I do now) that I don't want 'messages' in my entertainment.
Indeed, as Roger Moore once said about his involvement in "escapist" fare like the Bond films: "If you want to send a message, use the post!"

As bad as Denny could be, he wasn't the worst. Not so long ago I finally limped to the end of O'Neill's dreadful JLA run only to encounter Michael Fleischer, whose "relevant" sermonizing and pretentious style was infinitely worse. With Denny it felt like he was merely over-zealous in indulging a social activism that was at least heart-felt. With his imitators, it felt like DC was handing down the edict, "Throw in a message, we need to bring in more hippie readers" and the writers did it out of duty. ("Let's see, what issue have we not tackled yet? Let's try pollution this month!")
That said, there was one great issue that Batman had a protective cowl. Actually it was the private investigator Jason Bard masquerading as Batman to decoy The Spook in the fantastic issue Batman #252.
Loved that issue, and on the heels of "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge," yet. But I wasn't buying the cowl gag, and I still don't. When Dick Sprang drew Bruce unmasking, the cowl came off like a helmet, retaining its shape, not unlike Adam's on the show. So maybe THAT version was reinforced. But in the Bronze Age, Bruce swept the cowl back like a hood, to hang -- collapsed -- behind his neck. That version couldn't have been reinforced, unless Alfred sewed it out of some kind of Vibranium-like, shock-absorbing fabric.

It's also interesting that, like Adam, Sprang's Batman used a cowl that was (somehow) independent of the cape, while for the BA Batman, the cape and cowl were one piece. In one Superman story, Clark Kent unmasks a Batman impersonator by stepping on his cape as "Batman" walks away, whereupon the mask is pulled backwards off his head!
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Re: BAT 77 - A Victim's Victim (Detective #394)

Post by gothosmansion » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:10 pm

I agree with you guys. As much as I love the Bronze Age, I'm often turned off by the sermonizing. I thought the otherwise excellent "Ghost of the Killer Skies" was took down a few notches by O'Neil sticking in a couple of political statements.

Mike Friedrich was the worst about sermonizing and trying to be hip. How ridiculous was it to hear Batman talking about Janis Joplin?

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