Friday, September 06, 2019

Poison Ivy's First Appearance and things that are much more important than that.

Inspired by Mike Sterling of Progressive Ruin (for who would NOT be?!), I decided to actually read Batman #181 (1966) with the first appearance of Poison Ivy.

No, I'd say whoever drew those approximations of scowls on their faces in the cause.

Poison Ivy, from the get-go, is presented as a femme fatale, out to conquer Batman not only professionally but romantically as well.  

Nowadays those would be photos of Kate Kane and Batwoman.

Uncharacteristically, Batman semi-falls for it.

Bob Haney? Is that you in there? Come out of there, we can tell it's you!

Why would Batman pine after "the bad girl", like he's some high school girl swooning over the rebellious greaser on a motorbike?  It's pat and childish and sexist. How can a comic book be pat and childish and sexist? 

It simply makes no sense. After all, as we all know from having seen Batman: The Musical, criminals are "a superstitious, cowardly lot".  Who wants to date someone superstitious and cowardly?  And, being Batman aside, he's Bruce Wayne, a handsome and intelligent billionaire (or in those days 'multimillionaire'); why would he waste time on someone who is not just a crook but who is tragically vain, petty, and manipulative?

I mean, it's not like Vicki Vale wasn't available. Very.

I have always thought portraying Batman this way was ridiculous, even when they tried to do it in the Golden Age with Catwoman.

Admit it: you miss the Golden Age Batman, too.

Speaking of Catwoman, where the heck is she and why isn't this her story?  What motivated the creators to craft a new villain to occupy almost exactly the same villainous niche in Batman's mythosphere? Was it a case of 'more is more', 'copy whatever seems work', or 'Sony still has the rights to Catwoman'?  

More likely it was one of those deadline-motivated situations, where someone has been tasked to come up with a new character in five minutes to meet a deadline and, wildly looking around themselves or using word-association, they cobbled something together based on the first thing that crosses their eye or mind.

If you are going to try to convince me that never happened...
just save your breath.

Anyway,  Poison Ivy has none of the plant-themed, ecological focus that we are accustomed to nowadays.   She was called Poison Ivy not because she was plant-themed but just because she was toxic and clingy.

With a very strange concept of how spelling works.

Poison Ivy is, frankly, the least interesting thing is this story. She has a few gimmicks like chloroform perfume, electrified crowns (don't ask) and lipstick that makes cameras explode (please just don't ask) and she can climb walls (a cutesy ivy-based schtick that was never seen again).  Mostly she just tries to prove that she is "the No.1 Woman World Public Enemy", which, apparently, used to be a thing.

And her hideout sucked. Where's the thematic decor? Where's the big window casting shadows? Where's the PACING ROOM?!

And she lustfully mooned over Batman:

Nothing says "he-man" better than getting badly pummeled by a small mid-century advertising firm.

For me, it's the REST of the stuff in the story that's interesting.  Like World Public Enemies 1, 2, and 3.

I love these gals, who are long overdue for a true comeback.

Like Scooter, DC's own teen Austin Powers:
Cynthia must be a lesbian; 
how else could she resist Scooter's obvious charms?

Like this abjectly mortifying poetic house ad from Go-Go Checks Era DC:

It actually scans pretty well.

Like this painfully insensitive and goofy Egg Fu promo:

Whenever I feel bad about the current state of comics, 
I'm just going to look at this ad. Then again, in those days it only took two issues to suffer through Egg Fu, whereas now it would take a two-year arc with Ramifications Through The DCU.

Like this hilarious letter column commentary:

"Gosh, Batman, I'm stumped! It's almost as if someone else were doing the drawing and Mr. Kane were just... adding his own name to it instead!"

But, even with all that, I'll always think of this issue primarily as "the one where Batman falls down an open elevator shaft."

Well, yes, Batman, you really COULD have waited, and it would have been less embarrassing for everyone involved.

"I am vengeance! I am the ni-yaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

(Editor's note: snarky comment courtesy of reader Josh R. of Great Falls, Virginia!)

You mean, "because he's blind as a bat"?

Before Alfred became a snarker, there was Robin.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

I'm not even going to MENTION how stupid "President Supergirl" is...

It does sound insane;
but your writing has always, Brian Michael.
Or, is that inane? I get the two confused. 

Well, it's only one panel in and I'm already fed up with Brian Michael Bendis's writing in Legion and confused about what's going on. This is why I almost immediately stopped reading his Superman run: I simply couldn't follow what people were saying or what was going on. I suppose I'm just too dumb to read comics.

It's okay; intellectual properties last but writers come and go.  I content myself with the fact that both the Legion and the Justice Society are being re-birthed; birth is generally a painful, unpleasant, and unattractive affair, and these will be no different.

BUT I will sleep better tonight knowing THIS ONE THING about the future. That, even though it may take a thousand years...

eventually people will forget about Harley Quinn.

P.S. Rose/Thorn was never anything like Harley Quinn.