Friday, April 05, 2013

Rocky Grimes Week #6: Robin Rides a Rainbow

So, at the fabulous House of Jewels exhibit, Rocky Grimes prepares to use a bloodstone bullet to assassinate former gangmate Brenner, the gemcutter, who’s on stage preparing to cleave the 700 carat Onker diamond.  

It’s all so...DRAMATIC.

 But, before any shots can be fired, Robin rides the rainbow right into Rocky’s face.

First the silk, now the rainbow. Are you trying to tell us something, Robin?

But Rocky is never at a loss for a witty, villainous rejoinder!  I hope.

“I”ll bust your head for you, brat?”  Sigh.  

Oh, Rocky, you PLOT like a villain, but you smack-talk like a YUTZ.  Readers don’t care whether your elaborate, thematic schemes fail (or would be kind of stupid and unproductive even if they did succeed), just as long as you use death-traps and pseudo-high-brow villainous bloviation.  I mean, that’s the whole lesson of every Victor Von Doom story, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, let’s observe the real reason the Gotham City Police Department needs Batman:


Among cynical modern readers, there’s a long tradition of criticizing the Gotham City police for being ineffective and needing Batman’s help to stop jaywalkers and double-parkers.  The truth is, the Gotham City police would be WAY more effective without Batman, because they SHOOT FIRST AND DON’T EVEN BOTHER TO ASK QUESTIONS LATER. These guys are armed and authorized to kill in a town where every corner hides a poisonous jack-in-the-box, exploding puzzle piece, or buzzsaw umbrella.  So they INVENTED zero tolerance, baby.  Their first, and fairly natural, reaction is to mow down anything not in uniform, as follows:

  1. shoot it, 
  2. shoot it dead, then 
  3. shoot anyone who SAW you shoot it dead.  

Batman’s not helping the police stop crime; he’s keeping them from killing anyone within a 50 foot radius of crime.    Honestly, once you get that, Batman’s entire history with the GCPD and the city falls nicely into place.

So Batman tackles Rocky mano a mano.

Okay, there is NO WAY this fight is ending without that Taj Mahal shoved up someone’s ass or impaled through their sternum.

Rocky counters by dropping a fruitbowl of gems on Batman's head. Yes, a fruitbowl of gems. Welcome to Richville, kids.

Fruit bowls full of giant, novelty-shaped gems.  Except for all the murder, Gotham City is the best city to live in the entire history of the world.  Sure, at any moment, you might get killed by a psychotic villain wielding a giant man-eating clam.  But, by the same token, at any moment, some of Gotham’s absurd superfluence of wealth might just fall at your feet for the taking.

It must be SO much fun to live in Gotham City.  What can a regular citizen do with an apple-sized ruby, you ask? FENCE IT.  You can fence anything in Gotham City, remember. 

See?  Gotham’s a high-risk, high pay-off proposition.  And you have to love the typical GCPD response:


Meanwhile, Rocky, pursued by the Dynamic Duo, makes it to his rock-quarry hideout, because in Gotham there are always rock quarries close to fabulous jewel exhibits.  Also, empty warehouses, spooky old mansions, and abandoned amusement parks. Gotham City is the anti-Central City; in Gotham City everything is close to everything else.

At the quarry, B&R do Rocky the enormous favor of throwing themselves head-first at top speed in a big slab of stone, which is both thematic and convenient.  

"What th--  he blocked the door?! How... rude!  
*eyeroll into unconsciousness*  

WIth truly supervillainous improvisation, Rocky returns the favor by cobbling together not one but two highly escapable stone-based death-traps.  

Now, to the eyes of a modern Batman reader, there are about 37 ways Batman and Robin, who are still wearing their utility belts, can get out of these traps.  But ... that’s just NOT how the Golden Age works, people. Those are NOT the rules.  As you will see tomorrow.


SallyP said...

Scipio, you have now given me the best reason for why people actually live in Gotham City.

And I have to admit, that there is certainly never a dull moment. One doesn't have teenagers moping around whining that there is nothing to do in Gotham City, no sirree!

I did love that Batman ran headlong into a stone wall, and only said "oh". It is such a Hal Jordan thing to do!

Anonymous said...

Scipio, your imagination and scholarship are second to none. Sincere thanks for Rocky Grimes Week.

May I pose a general Bat-question for the assembled masses? As we've just seen (in the file-card panels, for instance), the typical Batman silhouette during this period featured quite a broad expanse of blue cowl between shoulders and head. The viewer might read this form as a tight covering for a VERY muscular neck — or as a loose drapery, almost like a Klan hood.

Can anyone suggest what the various Kane ghosts were trying to portray?

Scipio said...

I believe that's so he evokes his own logo.

Anonymous said...

Never thought of that.

Redforce said...

"Welcome to Richville." Yeah, I can see that same scene with the fruit basket, even Rocky's dialog in the first panel, replaced with, say, Dr. N-R-Gee and Richie, and it would still work.

P.S. Remember, the Rich Mansion encompassed RichDALE, as well as a few other towns. Some comics said it was the size of a 'medium-sized state'. Maybe it was build near Central City...

Redforce said...

I must ask you, for the sake of my sanity, to stop this blog. Tonight, I wanted my wife to listen to what I had to say, she was talking, and I held up my hand and said...
Wait for it...
"Transmute your chatter into silence!"
The fact that she didn't immediately slug me is a testament to her undying love for me, but...
My use of it is a testament that I read this blog way too much...

Scipio said...

I am not responsible for my readers' marital issues.

OR their vocabulary.