Beard: New book reveals “lost” Batman comic stripWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Few eras of the famous comic book character Batman’s history remain unexplored or reprinted, but a gorgeous new book from IDW Publishing and The Library of American Comics unearths a newspaper strip of the Caped Crusader’s that hasn’t been seen by readers since its initial run almost fifty years ago.
Batman: The Silver Age Dailies and Sundays 1966-1967 is the first volume of three that reprints the first two years of a Batman comic strip that originally emulated the infamous TV series of the time and ran longer than any other of the character’s previous newspaper outings. The book, a massive hardcover with ribbon bookmark, lovingly presents both the black and white dailies and color Sunday strips covering two full years and several storylines. In addition to the Dynamic Duo themselves, readers will also find Commissioner Gordon, Chief O’Hara, Batgirl, the Catwoman, the Joker, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, and a few others created just for the strip, as well as historical text that supplements the strips.
The 1960s remain a controversial era for Batman, owing to his TV show “camp’ portrayal, which is put in full force in this volume. The initial strips try hard to emulate the series’ unique blend of comedic vamps and serious superheroics, though that’s toned down as the weeks and months progress. Several artists contributed to the strip over its lifetime, and though its art is sometimes weak, it’s always engaging in its bubbly romping and its window on the pomp and pageantry of the latter half of the 1960s. It’s also fascinating to witness a time when newspaper strips still held some power over their readers, unlike the pale shadow of the medium that exists today.
Batman: The Silver Age Dailies and Sundays 1966-1967 is not only a must-have for Batman fans, but also scholars of pop culture and its many love affairs. The publishers must be congratulated for bringing this strip back to life and taking the time to explain its importance in the rich history of this famous hero.