Saturday, June 29, 2013

Batman 1966

My introduction to the very strange concept of "costumed crimefighters" was the Adam West BATMAN TV series.  Unlike the vast majority of TV shows I watched when I was a kid, I actually managed to catch BATMAN from the very 1st episode.  At the time, we only had a B&W TV set. It wasn't until Valentine's Day of that year (about 6 weeks into the run of the show) that we got our very first color TV with UHF stations.  A whole new world opened up for me that day!

I read very few comic-books in the 60's.  They tended to be a rare, "special" item.  My parents would get me one here and there, and I'd treasure it-- reading it over and over and over.

However, newspaper comic-strips were a whole different animal.  Since were already getting the paper 7 days a week, THESE comics were "free"! And so it was that my introduction to BATMAN in the comics was not a comic-book (that would come a few months later), but when the BATMAN newspaper strip started up.  It would be decades before I found up it was actually being revived (about 20 years after it had been stopped).  Or that the artist on the strips I read-- indeed, my very first BATMAN artist-- was Sheldn Moldoff!  Shelly could be a real chameleon, doing "realistic" (swiping Alex Raymond's style for HAWKMAN) or very cartoony, and anything in between, including... "Bob Kane".

The 1st story featured Catwoman as the villain, only a couple months she'd appeared on the TV series.  And, whatta ya know, in the newspaper strip story, she was wearing Julie Newmar's costume!

Coming from that perspective, I thought there were a few odd things about the strip.  For one thing, Alfred and Commissioner Gordon didn't look anything like they did on TV.  Turns out this was my first exposure to the "real" (comic-book) versions of the characters.  On the other hand, Chief O'Hara-- a character created for the TV show-- looked exactly like actor Stafford Repp.  You also had Bat-ropes instead of Bat-poles (which must have been a real hassle to slide down!).  And the Batmobile, which only somewhat resembled the one on tv, was actually the comic-book version, on which the TV version had been (loosely) inspired.  I guess you could say the newspaper comic was a version about "halfway between" the comics and the TV show.

Anyway, I was so thrilled by the strip, I started collecting it right from the start, and actually managed to glue the entire 1st story down in a scrap book, which I've kept with me intact all these years.  I decided to scan the entire story in WAY back in 2004, but never actually got around to processing it until now.  Just as well-- I've gotten so much better using Photoshop in the last 9 YEARS.  Enjoy!

"CATWOMAN"
Story by Whitney Ellsworth  /  art by SHELDON MOLDOFF
001  /  5-30-66
002  /  5-31-66
003  /  6-1-66
004  /  6-2-66
005  /  6-3-66
006  /  6-4-13
007  /  6-6-66  /  Week 2   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-7-66)
008  /  6-7-66   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-8-66)
009  /  6-8-66   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-6-66)
010  /  6-9-66
011  /  6-10-66
012  /  6-11-66
(Continued in Part 2)

Distributed by The Ledger Syndicate, Inc.
Copyright (C) DC Comics Inc.
Scans from my personal collection,
     clipped & collected from The Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, NJ
Scan of strip for 5-30-66 from Steve Thompson  (THANKS, MAN!!!)

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

5 comments:

  1. What an odd strip...it doesn't feel quite right. Batman is forever correcting Robin, and Robin just hangs his head in shame. And they both miss the cat walking out...then can't figure it out and lay a trap for the escape. Somehow it feels right for the 1966 Batman TV show, but just doesn't work as a Batman/Robin comic! How long did this run?

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  2. They were obviously aiming for the television show in this strip, not so much the comic book. I see their dilemma. A couple of hundred thousand comic book readers couldn't trump a few million television viewers who couldn't care less about the comic book Batman. The main problem with this strip is the writer wasn't very funny or clever.

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  3. Thanks for reprinting these. Whoever scripted these strips was apparently none too sure about how to emulate the tone of the absurdist TV series, and so just tried to be as antic and cornball as possible. It's my recollection that the strip stayed cornball but got somewhat better plotted within a year or so. I wouldn't mind seeing the whole strip collected. Maybe we should request it from FANTAGRAPHICS (har, har).

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  4. I remember when they reprinted the 1940's BATMAN and SUPERMAN strips back in 1991 (in a nice big horizontal format for the dailies, and the Sundays in COLOR). At the time, I'd hoped they follow up with the '66 strips. STILL waiting! If they had done it, I wouldn't "have" to be doing this now.

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  5. Great havent see this strip for fourty seven years when it was reprinted in a truncated form in the British comic Smash! See link for details..

    http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/batman-is-back-on-tv.html

    ...many thanks.

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