Silver Sightings: When Batman was Engaged, Had His Heart Broken, Got Framed and Arrested....oh, and ECLIPSO was There, Too!

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"queer" was used liberally in the 1950s and 1960s to mean odd or unusual, but now virtually every use reads as a double entendre.

As Ron notes, that's true for other words, too, to the point that Marvel had a series for several years in the 1940s of Gay Comics. Now, it's gone so far as referring only to men. I see how queer got co-opted, but I don't know what led to the change in the term gay.

Every so often my Facebook feed has panels from comics--usually Batman, of course--with these words that used to be benign. Some people find it continuously hilarious that a Batman story featured his "Biggest Boners." And then there's that Archie cover where he's saving Betty from drowning by beating off all the other guys. Hilarious stuff, over and over and over. I gotta get some new Facebook friends.

I'd say that it seems we're adding even more words to the ones we can't use without having people snigger, but I think the words they used to use for this stuff just went into disuse and don't come up at all any more.

-- MSA

ACG had a digest sized one shot called Gay Comics in 1955 with the odd price of seven cents.

By this point I think people still call Robin by his first name just to get laughs. Maybe it's time we started calling him Rick Grayson?

The term fairy was used pretty far back. There are Warner cartoons from the 30s showing ferry boats mincing. The term seems to have fallen out of use since John Ritter used it extensively in the 70s.

Mr. Roper: "I thought you guys flew!"

Jack: "I tried that once and didn't like it!"



Ron M. said:

It wasn't just Batman. We've discussed already on this site how Reed and Ben tried to spank Sue in an early FF. Also saw it in a number of old comedies, usually when a woman decided she wanted a job and kept putting off her boyfriend's attempts to get her to marry him and quit. And Desi spanked Lucy in an I Love Lucy episode for getting into his show after he'd ordered her not to. Clearly it was considered a good thing to do at the time, or the Comics Code wouldn't have permitted it.                                                                                                Evidently spanking your wife or girlfriend if it is needed was an acceptable practise back in the 60's or so...even John Wayne spanked his movie wife in one of his highly rated western movies....sorry I do not remember the title of the movie.  Today that practise would get one tossed into jail!



Mr. Silver Age said:

It's no wonder that Bob Haney's B&B stories were so popular. They were completely crazy and didn't give a damn about any past continuity, personality or plausible scenarios.If those stories weren't already designated as taking place on  Earth-B, I'd say they happened on Earth-Mopee. It's a fun place to visit.

-- MSA,                                                                                                                                         Back when I was a kid reading comics....I read them because it was fun and exciting!  This comic is exactly that!   I never worried about continuity or even if it did not make any sense.   I liked the TV Batman series for the same reason...it was light hearted and campy but for an 11 year old it fit the bill.  

I never worried about continuity or even if it did not make any sense.

We talk about continuity and it's many forms around here every so often. There's the rigid continuity of remembering every past issue's details and how many times by now Spider-Man has fought Doc Ock and why he did THIS when 20 years ago in another issue he did the same thing and it didn't work. Writers complain when readers bring that up, which I think is fair.

Likewise, if Flash broke his leg in his recent issue, I don't need that reflected in the JLA issue I bought that day. Those stories don't have to have taken place anywhere near each other, and I'll leave it up to the writer to decide if he wants to pick that up.

But. There's a limit to what Batman should be able to pull out of his utility belt. His Bat Shark-Repellent in the movie is remembered because it so concisely mocked that trend to have the most convenient thing, whereas sometimes when that thing would resolve a plot point easily, it wasn't available.

Even more, if Flash could circle the globe in 10 seconds to resolve a problem one issue, I don't want him to have a hard time catching a car to stop a crook in this issue. I need to know the basics to get into the story and accept the hero's problems and help him figure them out.

As to it "making sense," well, of course we wanted it to make sense. The Mopee Awards celebrated those times when they really didn't make sense. The more plausible it is, the more we can accept it and go along for the ride. The harder we have to work to make it make sense, the less room we have to enjoy it.

To wit: one of the first Mopee Awards went to a Superboy story in which, while dressed as Clark, he was experimenting with kryptonite and got amnesia. His glasses were knocked off, and he stumbled next door to Lana's house. She did NOT ask why Clark wasn't wearing his glasses. She did NOT ask why Superboy was wearing a coat. She asked who this unfamiliar boy was, because she knew THE COATS that everyone in town wore, and she'd never seen this one before (Clark was wearing his visiting uncle's coat, who was never seen again).

C'mon. Don't make it that hard for me to buy in!

I liked the TV Batman series for the same reason...it was light hearted and campy but for an 11 year old it fit the bill

I kind of cringed at the Batman TV show, because I was 12 and knew they were making fun of Batman, and it wasn't fair! But I loved it because it was an actual, real superhero on TV, and that didn't happen much then. I loved and hated it at the same time. 

However, when buying B&B, we KNEW we were visiting Earth-B, so details like how Sgt. Rock and Wildcat were teaming up didn't cross our minds. Even so, we'd still have called shenanigans if Bruce Wayne had gone home to visit the folks. SOME continuity always matters.

-- MSA

Brave & Bold, World's Finest and even Justice League of America had more "camp" elements than Batman and Detective which gave us Poison Ivy, Blockbuster, the Outsider and, of course, Batgirl.

But then there was Brave & Bold #99 where Bruce went to the summer home where his parents' ashes were kept! Yikes!

Mr. Silver Age said:

I kind of cringed at the Batman TV show, because I was 12 and knew they were making fun of Batman, and it wasn't fair! But I loved it because it was an actual, real superhero on TV, and that didn't happen much then. I loved and hated it at the same time.

This ambivalence is exactly what I felt, except I was 18. Some of us apparently liked the Jack Schiff alien-of-the month comics, but I resumed buying the Batman comics at the beginning of Julius Schwartz' New Look. That made the "camp" TV show and the reflection of that in the comics that much harder to take. But I had to watch it because it was the only superhero show!

Philip Portelli said:

But then there was Brave & Bold #99 where Bruce went to the summer home where his parents' ashes were kept! Yikes!

Amazing, considering how many times the Waynes' gravestones have been shown.

Given how rich Bruce Wayne is, he can probably afford multiple gravesites for his parents. Alfred can call ahead and have the bodies/ashes shipped to wherever it is Wayne decides to mourn that day.

Then there was the time teenage Bruce Wayne and his parents moved to Smallville and Bruce attended high school with Clark Kent and Lana Lang.

Hoy

I always hoped they were going to add the Flying Fox to the Smallville TV show. It wasn't until the Smallville comic that Clark met Batman.

-- MSA

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