Saturday, August 20, 2016
The TV Stories Of Batman!
Picked up this collection on a lark a few weeks back. Batman - The TV Stories is just what it purports to be, a small and highly readable collection of vintage Batman stories, those stories in particular which debuted significant villains who appeared on the famous 60's TV show or stories which inspired episodes of the show or both.
The Riddler as portrayed by Frank Gorshin is my favorite of the Bat-TV villains, his antic behavior and cackling laugh are downright demonic. Apparently The Riddler wasn't much of a Batman staple until his TV notoriety. He debuted in this comic from 1948. John Astin who did a turn as Riddler when Gorshin was in a contract dispute was much less impressive alas.
The Joker as played by Cesar Romero is the villain many folks first think of. Joker was almost always a part of the Bat-mythology, but has had many tones much like the Dark Knight himself. His more whimsical side is seen in these stories from the late 40's. I often found myself staring a bit at Romero's mustache.
The Mad Hatter appeared a few times during the Bat-TV show, and was delightfully and skillfully played by David Wayne. This comic from 1956 has him featured.
Perhaps the most curious Bat-villain of the the TV show was Mr.Freeze who went on to be a big part of the comics, but who himself based on a villain named Mr. Zero who debuted in 1959. Three actors played Freeze, and none of them repeated in the role - George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach. Freeze was a different kind of personality each time he showed up on TV.
The Penguin performed by Burgess Meredith has become one of my favorites. I used to take his performance for granted, but seeing them again recently has made me appreciate what great shenanigans he was getting away with in the role. The Penguin was a part of Batman's Golden Age, but is seen in this 1965 Silver Age story.
And the collection ends where it began with the infamous Riddler. This is a fun light-hearted collection with some great artwork from across several Bat-eras. A fun Bat-brew indeed under a sleek Amanda Conner cover.