With all this talk about Kirby's DC contributions and with Mister Miracle appearing in January's All-New Batman: The Brave & the Bold, it got me reminiscing about their real first team-up.
Brave and the Bold #112 (My'74) was the first time one of Kirbys Fourth World characters appeared away from both the King and the Superman titles. The Demon preceded Mister Miracle in B&B #109 (N'73) and Kamandi followed in #120 (Jl'75). The story, "The Impossible Escape" was by the unfathomable Bob Haney and the art by the amazing Jim Aparo. It involved a hidden tomb in Egypt and the secret of immortality, a beautiful blonde archeologist with an agenda and a lot of gadgets!
Haney, as we all know, was concerned more with telling a rivetting tale than getting the facts straight. His Batman had no more bearing on the Batman in the other five books he was in than the Batman who was in The Super Friends! But if you read B&B exclusively, there was a rudimentary thread running through it and his Caped Crusader was a chameleon of sorts, capable of being in any type of story in any role. Here he is an urban warrior and a globetrotter. And he is not perfect or infallible. Quite frankly, he gets clobbered a lot!
At the beginning of the story, it is stated that events here take place after Mister Miracle #18, its last issue. It's odd that Mister Miracle would be featured after his book was cancelled but they were trying to give Batman new co-stars and Scott Free is a good match, as opposed to, say, Orion or the Forever People. I'm not sure if Haney felt the need to read Mister Miracle beforehand. He does have Big Barda and Oberon make cameo appearances. He also have Scott say that he's never "knelt before any mortal man" and swear by both Mother Box and Darkseid's Demons (though he also says "By the Great Houdini!") and that his circuitry comes from Apokolips.
Haney emphasizes Mister Miracle as the "Super Escape Artist", showing him in a death-trap on the Eiffel Tower initially and how the aforementioned blonde, Doctor Ingrid Borg, needed him to get out the elaborate tomb. Of course, Big Barda would never let Scott go with the attractive Dr. Borg but resistance is, as they say, futile! While Scott's backstory is barely mentioned, his devices are. In the story we see his anti-gravity discs, finger lasers, power beam, probe beams and helmet blaster. He also seemed to have super-speed.
As a child this issue was a favorite of mine (and my copy was missing the first few pages) and my first exposure to Kirby's Fourth World, such as it was. But I was impressed by Mister Miracle because I have a drawing of one of my first "original" super-heroes from grade school: Mystery Man, later the Protector who had a high-collared cape, energy beam glove, force ray glove and flying boots!
Mister Miracle would appear two more times in B&B in #128 and #138 and with Superman in DC Comics Presents #12.
As an aside, part of my enjoyment of this 100 Page Super Spectacular was the great reprints: Aquaman & Hawkman from B&B #51 and Batman & Green Lantern from B&B #59 plus a Silent Knight tale!
As it happens, I have every one of those team-ups from the 70's & early 80's. I plan to re-read and review them myself... as soon as I catch up on the cover restorations & reviews!
"the unfathomable Bob Haney"
"While Scott's backstory is barely mentioned"
I sometimes think mentioning backstories in every single episode is something I could do without more. (Batman's origin is alluded to exactly 3 times on the 1966 TV series-- once in each season.)
I agree when it's the main character but when it's someone that readers may not know that well and are being featured in a book to give them more exposure, then a few lines or a couple of panels are warranted.
Bob Haney gets a lot of criticism here (and other places) but Brave & Bold was one of the books I loved and got every time it was out! At one time I could tell you the order of Batman's co-stars but I'm older now and get tired! ;-)
I should say that Bob Haney gets a pass for whatever he did with the New Gods. He wrote fun comics, as far as I can tell from my admittedly not-too-extensive reading.
A later Kamandi Brave & The Bold Batman team-up was reprinted in a very much cherished and reread 1982 UK annual that I wrote about elsewhere. I loved that story, but realised after getting an education from this discussion board that it must have been written by 'the unfathomable Bob Haney'. All the demented hallmarks are there.
To be fair, the whole point of Mister Miracle's arc in Kirby's Fourth World books was in his efforts to completely escape from the Apokalips/New Genesis war (which had, after all, sold him up the river as a baby) and live a life as a normal internationally famous celebrity schmoe in this world of ours. The writers have a certain justification in showing him living that life with no reference to his origins.
Mister Miracle was easier to use post-Kirby than someone like Orion, whose war with, and relation to, Darkseid was his single motivation and raison d'etre. If you use Orion, you have to bring in Darkseid and the whole 'Fourth World War'.
I know you are very interested in old myths and to some extent the ancient belief systems they sprung from, Philip, but how Mister Miracle was handled post-Kirby couldn't be a better illustration of Gnostic beliefs if they tried. The Gnostics believed that we were all Gods (or God, singular, if you like), but that we'd somehow become trapped in this phoney world that we'd created, or which had been created to trap us. Part of the trap is that we have no idea that there is a greater world out there that we truly belong to.*
Mister Miracle, in chasing after the fleeting fame and fortune of this world seems to completely forget that he belongs to a grander, more wondrous world than this, and that he is actually a God, the embodiment of Freedom itself. He has become immersed in this world and by living in it on its terms, has become unwittingly trapped in it, and has completely lost touch with his own divine spark. (Ironic too, that it should be the great escape artist who so obviously becomes thus enmeshed in the snares of the material world.)
DC - purveying quality heresies since 1938!
*Very simplified version...
"when (if) we get to that in your abandoned thread on those illustrious crossovers"
If that's a reference to the NEW GODS thread, it's not abandoned by any means! I just wrote a new review this afternoon... but I'm waiting to post the last review untiul I get the restoration that goes with it finished. (Unfortunately, you can't edit these posts after-the-fact, once the 15-MINUTE WARNING has passed... BLAM!)
"the whole point of Mister Miracle's arc in Kirby's Fourth World books was in his efforts to completely escape from the Apokalips/New Genesis war (which had, after all, sold him up the river as a baby) and live a life as a normal internationally famous celebrity schmoe in this world of ours. The writers have a certain justification in showing him living that life with no reference to his origins."
Ahh! Further... ALL the characters would have eventually been heading that way, once the war was over. But Kirby didn't get a chance to do it in the early 70's. And when he DID end the war in THE HUNGER DOGS, the powers-that-be decided for the most part to ignore it, and treat it as if it "hadn't happened yet".
Myself, I always saw a bit of a connection with how that book ended with a violent revolution, and the fact that Apokalips was shown to be a TOTALLY DEAD, UNINHABITED world 1,000 years in the future in LEGION.
The pace of your New Gods thread is fine, Henry. I was talking about Philip's 70's JLA/JSA Team-ups thread. It seems to have lain down and died before reaching 1980's Fourth World JLA/JSA crossover. Even though I bought a trade paperback especially to keep up with the thread... (Perhaps a storyline from 1980 doesn't belong in a 1970's thread?)
I see B&B #120 is reprinted in B&B Showcase #3. I might get that if you are going to continue with the New Gods appearances after Kirby, Henry.
To Henry: No, Figs is referring to my JLA/JSA team-up thread which I keep intending to go back to! Plus he wants to justify purchasing Crisis on Multiple Earths Volume 5! :-) But I still have two team-ups to go before the New Gods one.
What's more interesting to me is that you consider The Great Darkness Saga as canon. When it first came out, I was taken back a bit by the integration of Darkseid as a Legion villain and his link to Validus. It still seems forced to me.
To Figs: If any Fourth World character sat out the WAR, it would be Scott Free because he escaped his heritage and his godhood. He almost forgets who and what he is, again escaping one reality for another. Does he possess "super-powers"? Because every time the WAR tries to entrap him again (and again), he seems to always find a way out of an intolerable situation. THAT is a gift!
Another theory of mine is that Scott utilizes the fame, the attention, the applause as a form of prayer and worship. Celebrity can make one an idol, false, temporary or inspirational. And there's nothing wrong with being comfortable at the same time!
DC Comics Presents #12 actually has Scott challenging Superman for a more noble reason than publicity. And it is implied that he taps into his godhood to joust with the Man of Steel!
If anyone wants me to, I can comment on the Demon and Kamandi BBs.
Plus he wants to justify purchasing Crisis on Multiple Earths Volume 5! :-)
Damn right. Took food out of the mouths of my children for that book.
Interesting theory about MM tapping into his celebrity Idolhood.
You can get around the 15 minute time-limit, Henry, by hitting 'reply' and then 'HTML' and then deleting all the html text before the first word of your actual post. Then delete the post that you are replacing with the reply.
As you type the new revised post, you can toggle between HTML and normal format with the HTML button.
I do it often,but sometimes get caught out when people respond to my original post just before I get around to deleting it, so that their reply precedes the post it refers to.
I always thought it was sad that Dick Dillin, who surpassed Mike Sekowsky for the number of JLA issues he drew, died ONE issue into that 3-part JLA-JSA-New Gods crossover. And then George Perez stepped in. He seemed to be headed for CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS-like stories long before that ever happened.
"Does he possess "super-powers"? Because every time the WAR tries to entrap him again (and again), he seems to always find a way out of an intolerable situation. THAT is a gift!"
What I keep wondering is, does he have either super-speed or teleportation powers? Because I don't see any other way he could POSSIBLY escape some of those traps he did in the nick of time.
"You can get around the 15 minute time-limit, Henry, by hitting 'reply' and then 'HTML' and then deleting all the html text before the first word of your actual post. Then delete the post that you are replacing with the reply. As you type the new revised post, you can toggle between HTML and normal format with the HTML button."
Now my head is spinning...