Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts

Friday, October 03, 2014

Oct. 9: Batman stamps

The U.S. Postal Service is launching a series of Forever stamps (49 cents) in honor of Batman's 75th anniversary. Four versions of the iconic DC Comics superhero are depicted from four eras of the comic-book character's history (Can you name the artists?). In addition, there are four incarnations of the Bat-Signal. The stamps, which will premiere at New York Comic Con next week, go on sale Oct. 9.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Batman 75th anniversary exhibit at Library of Congress

Megan Halsband of the Newspapers and Periodicals division has put up a small exhibit of Batman comic books in the Madison Building. Here are some pictures that she provided.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brad Meltzer's book talk - guest blog post by Bruce Guthrie

I went to Brad Meltzer's talk at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library last night.  He's definitely a crowd pleaser!  He was promoting his new book "History Decoded" based on the History Channel show.  Wonderful speaker who even brought junk food for the signing line.  Scott Rolle from the show was also there.

Q&A focused mostly on Kennedy's assassination and I was relieved to hear him dismissing the conspiracy theorists so quickly.  He said we don't want to accept that a lone crazy could have killed a popular US president.  Makes you wonder about why we don't have that problem with John Hinkley.  Is it just because both Reagan and Hinkley survived?  When the story's cut short, I guess there's more room to make up conspiracy stuff to fill in gaps.

Several questions dealt with his comic book work.  He said he was very excited to be working on the Batman 75th anniversary retelling of the Batman origin story due out in January.  As says,

The Bob Kane and Bill Finger-created character's origin will get a "modern-day retelling" in the 104-page issue by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch, along with new stories and art from Snyder, Frank Miller, Sean Murphy, Peter J. Tomasi and Guillem March, Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, Gregg Hurwitz and Neal Adams.

The issue, out Jan. 8, will also lay the framework for new creative team Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, who take over the book in the spring.

"We want to bring him closer to his roots and be more of a street-level type of hero," Manapul said about their plans. "His super heroics will still be present, but the investigative part of Batman will be at the forefront."

He also showed some pages from his upcoming "I Am Amelia Earheart" kids graphic book and he showed covers for "I Am Abraham Lincoln" and "I Am Rosa Parks".  Apparently there will be at least six book in the "I Am..." treatment.

The signing event was fun as he appeared to recognize a bunch of his fans.  He's great at establishing personal connections with his fans through social media and in person.  He's got a lot of fan loyalty.  I talked with three people about many times they had seen him before and two of them said five or more times.

There were about 250 people in the audience.  The signing lasted over 90 minutes.  Pictures are up on

Bruce Guthrie
Photo obsessive

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exhibiting the gold in the Golden Age at the Jewish Museum of MD

101_5094 posterThis past weekend I was able to attend the members' preview for the exhibit "ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950." The exhibit has arrived at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in downtown Baltimore and it's well-worth visiting.Curated by the late Jerry Robinson, this exhibit was put together in 2004 by the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, which published a catalogue of the same name.

 Robinson had multiple careers in cartooning including writing a history of comics, being an editorial cartoonist, and starting a syndicate, but he began as a young man in comic books. As a seventeen-year old he began working on Batman as a letterer and inker in 1939. Eventually he became a penciller for the character, and as an employee of what became DC Comics, he met a lot of artists. And thankfully he saved examples of their work, at a time when that behavior wasn't very common.

101_5085 Simon and Kirby
Simon & Kirby cover to Adventure Comics #78
The exhibit is full of original golden age artwork. It contains art by Mort Meskin, Lou Fine, Robinson, Will Eisner, Marc Swayze, Simon & Kirby, Charles Biro, Fred Ray, CC Beck, Fred Ray, Will Eisner, HG Peter, Sheldon Modoff, Bob Fujitani, Lee Elias, Irwin Hasen, Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, Joe Kubert, Reed Crandall, Al Alvison, Carmine Infantino and Frank Frazetta. Many of these are prime pieces.

And many of the writers and artists were Jewish. As comics historian Arnold Blumberg noted in his remarks at the preview, "'s a joy to see the exhibit come to a facility like this and to take a look at it from our unique perspective of what our culture, what our heritage, has given not just to itself, but to the world. The world owns Superman and Batman and all these characters now. Many of them may not have a clue where they came from, who were the kind of people who sat down and created them, but they are now owned by the entire world. They're heroes for everybody and they came from us."

101_5092 Siegel and Shuster autograph
Siegel & Shuster drawing dedicated to Robinson
The exhibit gives a basic history of comic books and characters and biographies of the creators, interspersed with now-priceless art and comic books. Particular attention is paid to World War II of course. Pages of an original Batman script by Bill Finger can be seen - Robinson's estate donated other examples of these to Columbia University this month. Historic highlights include Robinson's artwork for early Batman covers, his original Joker playing card sketch, and a Siegel & Shuster drawing of Superman dedicated to Robinson. A few cases examine the merchandising of Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) and Superman.

This version of the exhibit does have a tricky dichotomy to it. The uncolored, unfinished single pages of comic book artwork will appeal to a mature (elderly, if they bought the titles originally) viewer, while the idea of a superhero largely is aimed at male teens and younger children. This version of the exhibit caters to the very youngest viewers, with a set of tables, chairs and supplies for making cartoons, a replica of Superman's telephone booth with costumes set alongside it, a Batmobile kiddy ride, a newsstand with comics to read on it, and a piece of "Kryptonite"with a recording that warns one not to get to close.

101_5058 newsstand

 I was fortunate to be able to visit the exhibit with local cartoonists. Barbara Dale (of Baltimore), known for her humorous cartoons, fixated on the original Spirit page by Will Eisner and the Frank Frazetta that was next to it, and thought those two pieces made the entire exhibit worthwhile.

101_5070 Eisner
The Eisner Spirit page that impressed Barbara Dale...

101_5071 Frazetta
...and the Frazetta cover that Dale also admired.
101_5090 Lou Fine
Note Wrightson's debt to Lou Fine.
Rafer Roberts (of Fredericksburg) pointed out several things to me - Moldoff's use of gouache to give white highlights on the legs of a monster on Moon Girl #4's cover for EC Comics, Bernie Wrightson's debt to Lou Fine (look at the skeletonized figure on the Hit Comics cover, and Bob Fujitane's use of the traditional iconography of Japanese monsters.

101_5066 Bob Fujitane
Bob Fujitane uses Japanese iconography.

I had seen a previous version of this exhibit in New York at the Jewish Museum there, but it was reworked as an addition to the massive "Masters of American Comics" show. Any fan of comic book history should take the opportunity to see this version of the show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. The catalogue can be bought in the gift shop, along with Superman toothbrushes, Batman lunchboxes and hand-painted superhero yarmelkes. The Museum has produced two curriculum guides for schools and plans lectures throughout the exhibit which runs from January 27 - August 28, 2013, and costs $8 or less. More of my pictures can be seen here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photos! Al Jaffee, Michael Uslan, Rick Marschall and Jim Ottaviani

Comics events in DC happen with surprising regularity these days - here's pics of a few events I attended late in the year.

Comic book writer Jim Ottaviani signed his new book 'Feynman' at the National Air & Space Museum. Notwithstanding the last photo, he had so many people I barely had a chance to speak with him:

101_2480 Jim Ottaviani

101_2479 Jim Ottaviani

101_2478  Jim Ottaviani

101_2477 Jim Ottaviani

Comics historian Rick Marschall at the Library of Congress:

101_2947 Rick Marschall at Library of Congress

101_2948 Rick Marschall at Library of Congress

101_2949  Rick Marschall at Library of Congress

Batman movie producer Michael Uslan discussing his book The Boy Who Loved Batman at Discovery (note the signature he uses):

101_2951 Michael Uslan at Discovery

101_2950 Michael Uslan at Discovery

101_2952 Michael Uslan at Discovery

101_2953 Michael Uslan at Discovery

MAD magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman signing their book at the DCJCC:

101_2962 Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman

101_2963  Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman

101_2966  Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman

101_2965  Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman

101_2964  Al Jaffee and Mary-Lou Weisman

Jaffee bookplate 2
Al Jaffee's bookplate that he uses instead of signing due to a tremor.

Jaffee bookplate 1
Al Jaffee's bookplate that he uses instead of signing the biography Al Jaffee's Mad Life (by Mary-Lou Weisman).

101_2959 Big Nate display at Barnes and Noble
A display of Big Nate books at Barnes and Noble.

101_3079 Cartoon books at National Cathedral
Cartoon books for sale at the National Cathedral.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Michael Uslan interview coming to the City Paper tomorrow

I'll post the link when it appears, but I did a 45-minute telephone interview with the Batman movie producer, which touched on his new autobiography, his writing for Archie comics, and of course, on Batman:

Michael Uslan: Yeah, The Boy Who Loved Batman is about the boy who loved Batman, the ultimate fanboy geek who learned to read from comics before he was four, and the adventures and misadventures I had collecting comics, going to the world's first comics convention ever held, becoming an early member of comics fandom, finding a way to incorporate my love of comic books and superheroes, in particular Batman, into my work and life with my attempt to restore dignity to Batman after the tv show and finding the ways for a blue-collar kid from New Jersey to make it to Hollywood to show them the potential of dark and serious Batman movies, even though I didn't come from money, and couldn't buy my way into Hollywood. I didn't know anyone and didn't have any relatives in the business, so it's really my story of a life's journey of what you can do to make your dreams come true – for me I was able to pull it off ultimately.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Dec 8: "An Evening with Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of The Dark Night"

"An Evening with Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of The Dark Night"

CINE is co-hosting a book party with PGA-East for Michael Uslan, who is the Executive Producer of The Dark Knight and the other Batman movies in Silver Spring on December 8 at 6:30 pm. To pre-register, go to - there is a charge which varies between $10 and $30. Uslan will be mingling and available to chat as well as signing books.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cul de Sac starts Batman homage UPDATED

Richard Thompson in Cul de Sac starts a Batman homage or parody or swipe today.

If you're not familiar enough with the superhero to see the whatchamacallit, click here.

Ok, apparently I wasn't the first to notice that. Richard mentioned it on his blog yesterday. BTW, it's his birthday.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Superheroes Who Are Super at the Capital Fring Festival beginning tonight

Save the Day Productions is presenting its live readings of comic books, "Superheroes Who Are Super" at the Capital Fringe Festival beginning tonight
Friday, July 9 @ 8pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Saturday, July 10 @ 10pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Wednesday, July 14 @ 9:45pm
Batman Adventures: Mad Love
Friday, July 16 @ 10:15pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128
Sunday, July 18 @ 3:30pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128


The Apothecary
1013 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tickets: $15