Bat Eulogy

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(Enjoy the gift of embiggenation by clicking any image.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Bat Trash.

As most regular readers of my blog and cartoons in general know, syndicated newspaper cartoons are submitted to our distributors (King Features in my case) four-to-six weeks ahead of publication. So when I wrote and drew this Batman-meets-vampire comic, I had no idea it would appear in newspapers worldwide the day after Adam West died. He was a talented actor who is most known for playing Batman in the 1960s “Batman” TV show. I was eight years old when the show first aired and it was instantly my favorite. Batman was my favorite super hero and my toys were as dominated by Batman as a 1980s kid’s were by Star Wars. (The photo beneath the “Bat Trash” link above is of one of them.)

The various Hollywood versions of Batman over the years have been entertaining and he’s certainly a lot “cooler” now than he was in the 60s TV show, but Adam West will always be Batman to me. He and the show embodied a kind of tongue-in-cheek corny-cool that you don’t find much anymore, and Adam West’s Batman is the one I use most often in my Batman cartoons, of which I’ve had many in the past 32 years.

A Bizarro reader sent me this message yesterday on FacadeBook:

“You may remember an e-mail I sent you many years ago in which I told you that “Adam West LOVED your cartoon!” He was a guest at a comics/toy convention in Plano, TX and I got his autograph. I gave him a photocopy of one of your Bizarro cartoons, which showed Batman in the days of the Old West…Adam West laughed out loud when he saw this, and he showed it to his costars Julie Newmar and Yvonne Craig. They loved it, too.”

Thanks for reminding me of this story, Matt. I’ve had the pleasure over the years of being email pals with Julie Newmar who played Catwoman on the same show and was my first Hollywood crush. She’s a real sweetheart.

Here are a few of my favorites over the years.

This one was particularly fun to execute because I’m a fan of Grant Wood.

I’ve had a LOT of fun over the years fooling around with their costumes, as the ones above and below show.

And this one was chosen for the cover of my book of Bizarro cartoons about super heroes. I was required to change their costumes for legal reasons. According to the publisher’s lawyers, you can get away with borrowing other people’s characters for satire in a given comic, but you can’t put them on the cover.

And back to today’s Sunday comic which is the first large one posted above, I’ve personally never seen a comic that explored the relationship between vampires and Batman so I smiled like The Joker when I came up with this one. Hope you like it.

I encourage you to share your own Batman memories in the comments section. Rest in peace, caped crusader!

And now we move onto the week’s cartoons:

Here’s another vampire gag but of an entirely different ilk. It might be cool to have a vampire as a dad but if he had to go around dressed like this in the daytime, not so much. (Side note: If anybody launches a “Vampire Dad” TV show or series of young adult books in the next twelve months, I’m going to sue.)

 

Here’s a little twist on a phrase a lot of people have heard from their mothers. I thought it might be funny if a housekeeper said it––I hope I was right. I used to live with someone who was as messy as the guy in this cartoon and I wanted to say something like this to her on more than one occasion. Eventually I said this and more. Now we don’t speak.

I admit I’m not a fan of what people nowadays call “man buns,” but as a person who enjoys dressing a little eccentrically from time to time, I shouldn’t criticize. Well, a little gentle cartoon fun is fair game though, right?

About a month ago a doctor was beaten up and dragged off a plane because he did not volunteer when United Airlines asked some people to get off a flight so a few of their crew members could go somewhere to make other flights. He had chosen that flight and paid for a seat because he needed to open his office the next morning to see his patients, but those weren’t enough reasons for United Airlines to honor their commitment to a customer. The way the world works these days it’s very difficult to live without using commercial airlines and they know it, so don’t expect this kind of thing to change anytime soon. Or ever.

On a lighter note, a few people wrote to say they enjoyed seeing Olive Oyl in the restaurant background. If you didn’t know, she’s the newest of my Bizarro Secret Symbols. 

I asked myself to write a joke about “baby boomers” and this happened. I expected to get at least one piece of hate mail about publishing a cartoon that depicts baby violence but thus far I have been disappointed.

 

I did yoga regularly for a few years and got some good from it but I have to admit that in the end I found it unbearably boring. I know it is supposed to be meditative and I like meditation, but I found it difficult to get much of my “om” on while the teacher was talking.

That’s the way the pie crumbles this week, Jazz Pickles. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, be happy, be smart, be nice.

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50 thoughts on “Bat Eulogy

  1. I’m pretty close to your age and loved the TV show. Sometimes we’d go to the neighbor’s house to watch it in color! Interesting concept to have it one half hour two consecutive nights a week. But, because of that, our generation will never forget that we were supposed to tune in, “Same Bat time, same Bat channel!”

  2. That “doctor” (he had his license revoked for trading drugs for gay sex) DID get off the plane. He then panicked when he saw he couldn’t just get the next plane out, like he was on a bus line, and ran BACK on the plane, which he should not have been able to do.
    I’m sorry he got hurt, but he was a jerk, and could have gone on quietly and lived his life.

    • He was beaten up and dragged off in the first place. He then stumbled back onto the plane, bleeding and disoriented, then was escorted off again. His past difficulties have nothing to do with this story or the fact that United treated him this way. He was in no way being a jerk.

  3. When I saw Sunday’s cartoon with Batman, I wondered if you had contacted your syndicator to send in a last-minute cartoon after hearing that Adam West had died. So, that is an intersting coincidence that you did this cartoon six weeks ago.

    I was a fanatical fan as a kid, putting on a Batman costume for Halloween, etc. I absolutely loved the show and am sad to hear the news.

  4. Dan, the “baby boomers” reminded me of my favorite line from “This Is Spinal Tap : “A lot of people spontaneously combust each year, and you just don’t hear about it.”

    Thank you for the smiles. I needed them, it was a rough week.

  5. In the “Yoga club” picture, is “firt” a typo, or is the man too punched-out to speak correctly? Just asking.

  6. I was also a kid when the Batman series first aired. I loved how they were always climbing a wall, out of the windows of which celebrities would poke their heads and issue one-liners!

    • Yes. That was truly the most amusing cameo motif I’ve seen in any show. In those days, celebrities used to clamor to do cameos on Batman, much as they did for voiceovers on The Simpsons.

  7. ;-) I hate it when I miss a joke that everyone else understands. I also hate making typos.

    So, is the Firt Rule of Yoga Club part of the joke or is it a typo.

    Oh, yeah. I also hate pointing-out typos to others.

  8. I love and laugh with your work, but I would like to point out one nit pick: Robin, the boy wonder, chose his name and costume based on Robin Hood, not the bird. Carry on with the great jokes and art!

  9. “Firt” rule? Have say this is the first time I’ve noted a typo in your cartoons. Or maybe he had the “s” beat out of him at yoga? Still funny though.

    • I think his lip is too swollen to pronounce it correctly. (By the way, your second sentence has a typo in it.) :^}

  10. Is the first rule of yoga club really the ‘firt’ rule? Or is that how it’s pronounced wid a broggan node?

  11. My lasting moment after the commissioner’s summoning Batlight shone on the Gotham clouds was when the Batmobile cruised up to the always-vacant spot directly in front of the 587 marble steps leading up to the Corinthian columns outside the commissioner’s office. Just before the Dynamic Duo began their ascent, Adam West’s Batman leaned over and told the Boy Wonder, in his sparkling sequin costume:
    “Try not to look conspicuous, Robin.”

  12. Kids from several families on our street piled into another family’s house to watch Batman in color.

    We played using towels as capes. My mom eventually sewed a couple of nice capes. I think I was usually Robin. Pretty sure I had a mask. Don’t remember if I dressed as either one of the Dynamic Duo for Halloween, but I’m pretty sure the costume would not have extended below the waist.

    The one celebrity cameo I remember was Werner Klemperer, who poked his head out a window as B. & R. climbed a wall. Batman even addressed him as Colonel Klink, even though he was not in costume.

  13. I adore your work, but the Batman comics are extra fantastic. I, too, was a huge fan of the show and watched it every day after school with my brother (it was probably in reruns by then), and we’d memorize our favourite scenes and perform them for our amusement. Our all time favourites involved Adam West’s Batman and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman. When my brother texted me the sad news yesterday, I immediately posted a comic tribute using my squirrel characters from my own amateur webcomic, Diary of a Squirrel. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Batman work, old chum.

  14. Some OK news from California’s Central Coast: the local dead-tree news, the San Luis Obispo Tribune, just cut its Sunday Comics down from 4 pages to 2 and Bizarro was NOT one of the casualties! And Garfield was!!! Considering they still save 3 spaces for syndicated comics by residents of the area, it’s a big deal to have survived that culling. So if your check from the syndicate is smaller next month, it’s NOT our fault. (I’m also keeping up on my payments to ComicsKingdom and bought your last book and am not through coloring it… regrettably, I currently have neither the cash not wall space for your more expensive art)

    • All great news, Craig! Thanks for the update and your support! O2 and I seriously considered SLO when we were looking for a place to live over the last couple of years. The real estate prices drove us further afield, however. :^}

      • Linda and I saw you a couple of times in Dallas while we lived there – and the photograph that we have that features the three of us is in a place of honor on the wall. Since we are over 55, we qualified for an affordable senior citizen’s mobile home park here in SLO. Our favorite license plate frame reads, “San Luis Obispo – You don’t want to live here.”
        I’m doing pro-bono work to keep the state’s last nuclear power plant open. If it closes in 2025, California energy bills will rise, as will emissions. Despite what you may have read or heard, Diablo Canyon is safe, emission-free, always-on, reasonably-priced, and produces abundant power, about five times that of Hoover Dam. We (and many plant retirees) live close to the plant. Learn more at CGNP dot org.

  15. Being born in 1963, Batman was my favorite show as soon as I saw it. In fact, in 1966-67 I WAS Batman. I had the cape and mask and would jump down my Grandmom’s steps chasing the Penguin and the Riddler. Great times.

  16. Loved Batman as a young teen, he was more dark and mysterious than Superman. Then came Cat Woman, Julie Newmar . She brought ought new feelings I was just beginning to understand. Oh the fantasies!!! Oh and who could not love the cameo appearances when Batman and Robin were climbing the bat rope up a building. It was a clever idea that showed me they did not take the whole show very serious.

  17. When I was four or five, Batman was my great hero after I saw a Batman movie. This was the early 1970s, so I don’t know if the role was played by Adam West. I don’t recall seeing him in any other movie either, with the exception of a small role in “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” in which he did a hilarious send-up of himself.

    “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, by the way, is one of the funniest films I have ever seen, and should be required viewing for everyone – the entire cast is stellar, deadpanning their way through some of the most hilariously cringeworthy mockumentary footage ever.

    Loved the name “Footnote” for the sidekick in your cover cartoon… :-)

  18. You seem to possess an eerie precognition ability as the Batman/Adam West timing is far from your first (and likely not last) example of future foretelling.

    • Yes, it is strange how many times I’ve had this kind of coincidence in my career. It’s probably an illusion brought on by some statistical probability that is counter intuitive, but it seems kind of magical.

  19. When I am planning on meeting someone again soon, I still often say “Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel…” And just the other day when someone mentioned penguins, without even thinking I made the Burgess-Meredith-sounding “wahh wahh wahh wahh” penguin noise. Yeah, it was a huge part of my childhood and Adam West’s droll and dry-witted delivery was a huge part of what made it so iconic.

    BTW, with First Sign of Spring, I loved how you thought “It’s one thing for a robin to be in the yard, but what is *Robin* doing in the yard?” and came up with his voyeuristic stance that makes this one of my favorite of your (Batmanless) Batman & Robin cartoons:

    http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/172/2013/04/bz-panel-04-20-13.jpg

    • Thanks for your support, but I spent three years pitching show ideas to Hollywood and it’s a never ending grind. The odds against getting a show on the air are similar to winning the lottery and being struck by lightening on the same day.

  20. Dan, thanks again for another week of wonderful ‘toons and thoughtful commentary.

    I think it was Adam West’s Batman that first exposed American television viewers to the concept of “camp.” Yes, it was truly entertaining for viewers and didn’t hurt West’s career; he never went without work after the show ended: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001842/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    As for airlines that beat passengers… and other businesses that treat customers like trash… I have the ultimate weapon, small yet very effective: my computer contact manager. In a few years I might not recall which businesses seem to be run or staffed by jackbooted thugs, but my computer will never forget. After the Dr. David Dao incident, I added United Airlines to my address book, then in the notes section typed his name and copied and pasted a couple of links to news accounts of his shameful treatment. In other records, I write pertinent notes, like “NEVER SHOP HERE AGAIN; REFUSED TO REFUND FOR DEFECTIVE PRODUCT” as well as “Great service and prices, Manager Bob Jones was very helpful.” As a result, over the years, I have diverted thousands of dollars away from companies that have never heard the term “the customer is always right” and gave those dollars to businesses that deserved them. I hope other folks do the same and collectively inflict serious damage to businesses run by idiots, brown shirts and haters.

    Speaking of refusing to fly United, I just read about a startup that aims to become the Uber of the skies (but without the sexual harassment, alleged discrimination and other ugliness): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-25/cessna-flights-for-the-masses

    I downloaded the Blackbird app to my iPhone and learned I can fly from Santa Monica to Palm Springs for as little as $224 round-trip.

    Granted, routes are extremely limited, but this might grow into something resembling a regional… or national… carrier which would be great for passengers as well as private pilots who typically always need more fares.

    Better yet, I’m guessing Blackbird will promise far fewer beatings from overbooking…

  21. Dan,

    While I don’t know either about a Batman comic that ever explored vampirism, there was however an animated movie: “The Batman vs Dracula”. When I watched it, I kind of saw it’s plot points coming a mile away, but you might get something useful out of it, so I suggest you take a look.

  22. I was off line for three days….Adam West is dead?!? (I need to check the news “feed”. I came here first, however “late” enough to miss the firt typo….).

    Your Batman costumes indecisions cartoons brought to mind another favorite super hero, (Gilbert Shelton’s) Wonder Wart-Hog.

  23. I was also 8 when the TV series started. Like you, I was instantly hooked! I trashed many of my mom’s towels over the years playing “Batman”! Didn’t always have a mask, but I always had the cape! The Christmas I got the Batman Utility Belt was one of my favorite days! I remember there was the Bury Cookie company (that made “Gauchos”!) who had coupons for the Batmobile model. I think I built 4 of them (back when airplane glue was legal for kids). Thanks for the inadvertent tribute and the memories Dan!

  24. I enjoyed the Batman show (for the same reasons you cite) as a young teen, and thereafter have enjoyed your Batman comics, too. So last Thursday night I dragged my old ass down to L.A. City Hall to see the Batsignal displayed. Totally worth it!

    By the way, the “beard bun” is already a thing. I usually love facial hair on men, but this just isn’t right. :p

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