Tag Archives: Bob Kane

Preview: Detective Comics #38 Facsimile Edition

Detective Comics #38 Facsimile Edition

(W) Bill Finger, Jerry Seigel, Others (A) Others (A/CA) Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson
In Shops: Mar 11, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Find out why Batman’s partner in crimefighting was billed as “the sensational character find of 1940” in this special reprint issue that features the first appearance of Robin, the Boy Wonder! Also in this issue: “Spy,” and “Slam Bradley,” both written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel; plus the Crimson Avenger, Speed Saunders, and other detective features!

Detective Comics #38 Facsimile Edition

Zoë Kravitz Will Play Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, in The Batman

Catwoman

Rumors have swirled as to who will be seen in The Batman, the next iteration of the popular comic character. It has been revealed that Zoë Kravitz will slide into the role of Selina Kyle, Catwoman in the film. She’ll star opposite Robert Pattinson who will don the cape as Bruce Wayne, Batman.

Kyle/Catwoman has morphed into an antiheroine and sometime love interest for Wayne/Batman. A recent storyline had the two about to be married which didn’t go ahead.

Numerous other actors were rumored for the role including Zazie Beetz, Eiza Gonzalez, and Alicia Vikander.

Production on the film is slated to begin filming in late 2019 or early 2020. The Batman is scheduled to be released on June 25, 2021.

Kravitz is the latest in a long line of defining women to take on the role of Catowman. Actresses to take on the character include Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lee Meriweather, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Camren Bicondova and many more. The character has appeared in comics, television, movies, video games, animation, and radio.

Catwoman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and debuted in Batman #1 published in 1940.

Director Matt Reeves tweeted out the below in response to the news:

Mondo Has Three New Prints Celebrating 80 Years of Batman Launching Tomorrow

On Tuesday, May 28th, Mondo will kick-off the first collection (of three) of remaining prints from their recent 80 Years of Batman gallery show.

The aim was to capture the original cover art as accurately as possible to its first printing, except recreated as a beautiful, large format screenprinted poster. There’s lots more to come too.

But until then, tomorrow the first batch of posters collecting several stunning covers from the Golden and Silver Age Bat books. Featuring artwork by Bob Kane, Fred Ray, Jerry Robinson, Sheldon Moldoff, Carmine Infantino, and Murphy Anderson, these posters all highlight the lighter, more pulpy beginnings of the Dark Knight Detective.

Joining these posters will be a brand new enamel pin and t-shirt using the Mondo Comics Code Authority created for these faithful poster reproductions. This collection will be available on Tuesday (5/28) at a random time via mondotees.com!

Detective Comics 27 by Bob Kane. 18″x24″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 250. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $45

Detective Comics 27

BATMAN 11 by Fred Ray and Jerry Robinson. 18″x24″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 175. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in June 2019. Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $45

BATMAN 11

BATMAN 9 by Fred Ray and Jerry Robinson. 18″x24″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 275. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $45

BATMAN 9

Detective Comics 69 by Jerry Robinson. 18″x24″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 225. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in 2019Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $45

Detective Comics 69

Detective Comics 241 by Sheldon Moldoff. 18″x24″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $45

Detective Comics 241

Detective Comics 367 by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. 24″x36″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships to US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands. $50

Detective Comics 367

MONDO Comics Code Authority Enamel Pin. 1.25″ H Soft enamel pins on 2″x2″ backings. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships Worldwide. $8

MONDO Comics Code Authority Enamel Pin

MONDO Comics Code Authority Tee. Sizes: XS – 4XL; Next Level Black 100% Cotton Tee with sewn-on hem tag. Manufactured by Industry Print Shop. Expected to Ship in June 2019Ships Worldwide. $20

MONDO Comics Code Authority Tee

EPIX’s Pennyworth Gets an Official Teaser Trailer

Pennyworth is a ten-episode, one-hour drama based on the DC Comics‘ character Alfred Pennyworth created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

It follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier who forms a security company and goes to work with Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), Bruce’s billionaire father, in 1960’s London.

Pennyworth debuts summer 2019 on EPIX.

Commemorating 80 Years of Batman with Worldwide Celebrations

To mark the 80th anniversary of Batman, DC has unveiled plans for a global commemoration of the World’s Greatest Detective. Kicking off this March at SXSW, the multifaceted campaign for DC’s Caped Crusader will feature exclusive celebrations, special theatrical engagements, the milestone release of Detective Comics #1000, live events and first-ever Batman brand partnerships. As fans join together under the campaign’s tagline of #LongLiveTheBat, DC’s timeless character will be honored through Batman Day in September when the Bat-Signal lights up in major cities worldwide.

First appearing as socialite turned crime-fighter Bruce Wayne in Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939, the Dark Knight has stood as a symbol of determination, bravery and justice to generations of fans for 80 years. He has influenced every area of modern entertainment, appearing in countless comic books, Saturday morning cartoons, multiple television series, video games, theme parks and experiences, toys, collectibles, apparel and lifestyle products, as well as, blockbuster animated and live-action films. There have been Batman trading cards, board games and newspaper cartoon strips, and the U.S. Postal Service has even honored Batman with his own postage stamps. Batman is a multi-billion dollar icon who continues to reign as the most popular single Super Hero ever created.

To commemorate this milestone, custom artwork was created that pays homage to Batman’s legacy in all forms of media. The Batman profile pencil design is by beloved longtime DC artist José Luis García-López, and digital paint design is by Admira Wijaya. This graphic will be featured throughout the celebration.

DC will honor #LongLiveTheBat throughout 2019, including Batman’s 80th anniversary on March 30 and Batman Day on September 21. As part of this yearlong celebration, there are many ways fans can participate.

Read Batman:

  • Paying homage to the Super Hero’s 80-year publishing history, DC will present two commemorative books: including the landmark collector’s issue of DETECTIVE COMICS #1000, on sale at comics shops March 27, and a special hardcover release, DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION, available March 19.

Experience Batman:

  • SXSW in Austin, Texas, will kick off the global celebration with multiple fan experiences, photo opportunities, limited-edition merchandise and Instagrammable mural by a local artist. SXSW will also set the stage for an incredible moment when more than 1.5 million bats fly into the night over Austin’s famous Congress Bridge on March 15.
  • DC will celebrate Batman’s 80th anniversary with panels at major conventions, including a dedicated “Happy Birthday, Batman!” panel at WonderCon in Anaheim on the actual anniversary, March 30.
  • Generations of fans across the globe will gather together to honor the timeless hero on Batman Day, September 21. The Bat-Signal will light up in major cities worldwide, alongside a wide array of fan celebrations, including interactive photo opportunities, live music, food, games and more. Plus, fans will race across the finish line in their favorite Caped Crusader attire in a series of 5K and 10K runs in select cities.
  • Families can celebrate #LongLiveTheBat at multiple Six Flags locations across North America in August with extended hours, exclusive Batman-themed experiences and special merchandise. Warner Bros. theme parks across the globe, including Warner Bros. Movie World Australia, Parque Warner Madrid and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, will host Batman 80thanniversary events.
  • Madame Tussauds locations in Orlando and Sydney will unveil interactive fan-friendly experiences, photo opportunities and special merchandise in September.
  • In May, collectible art boutique MONDO will host a curated anniversary exhibit at its Austin gallery celebrating iconic Batman cover art throughout the years.
  • The global touring exhibition THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC SUPER HEROES will celebrate the Dark Knight with a special Batman edition, beginning this September in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Romics—the comic book, animation and gaming convention in Rome, Italy—will host an immersive Batman 80th  anniversary exhibit in April.
  • Designed for fans of all ages, visitors to Shanghai this summer will be treated to a first-of-its-kind special exhibit celebrating Batman.
  • Otter Media brands Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, VRV and Fullscreen will celebrate Batman’s 80th anniversary through a variety of programming and social campaigns designed to amplify DC’s global campaign.
  • AT&T will activate across retail, digital and DIRECTV, which will celebrate the anniversary with a Batman-branded channel. Plus, AT&T customers will get insider access through AT&T THANKS to Batman content, comics, merchandise, exclusive fan experiences and more.

Watch Batman:

  • Television broadcast partners worldwide will host Batman programming marathons in March and September.
  • Cartoon Network in the U.S. and key territories will host exclusive Batman themed programming and stunts for kids in March and September.
  • DC Universe—DC’s digital subscription service—will be celebrating in a big way with the promotion of Batman content in March and September.

Join Batman:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America will join Batman in a first-ever partnership to celebrate kids, teens and youth development professionals who stand up for positive change in their communities. The campaign kicks off in April during National Boys & Girls Clubs Week.
  • In honor of military appreciation month this May, DC will partner with the USO, the iconic military support nonprofit, on a special Batman-themed USO2GO kit featuring comics, movies, TV shows, games and more. The kit will offer a fun diversion for service members stationed in remote locations around the globe, connecting them to home and all things Dark Knight.
  • Fans in the UK can join in raising awareness of Genetic Disorders UK by wearing an exclusively designed Batman t-shirt on Jeans for Genes Day in September.

Shop Batman:

  • WB and DC are also joining forces with an extensive list of retail partners, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, iTunes, Walmart, GameStop and Google Play, among others.
  • Global partners such as LEGO, Mattel and Funko will release exclusive Batman 80th anniversary products throughout the year.

Conceived by artist Bob Kane with writer Bill Finger, Batman is humanity’s timeless hero. And he’s just getting started. More details on the global celebration will be released in the coming months.

Immigration And Comics. It’s Our History.

ck-rocket-from-krypton-croppedA version of this originally ran January 2016.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the refugee and, to a lesser extent, the immigration discussions occurring this past week due to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

As an immigrant myself, it’s a discussion that I’ve been paying some attention too.

First things first, though, is that I should clarify that my situation in no way resembled the plight of those from Syria or other war-torn regions. As a white man immigrating from the United Kingdom it would be offensive to those refugees to say that I know what they’re going through. I don’t.

I genuinely hope that I never will.

Indeed, I have been present in my new country when people start talking about “the immigrants” taking their jobs because they didn’t consider me an immigrant.  This was shortly after asking about my accent. I may be a white guy, but my accent sure isn’t from this side of the pond. That’s about as much prejudice as I have ever encountered on my end, directly, and while I found it exasperatingly funny at the time, it does go to  show the general sense that a (very) few have toward immigrants (at least in my experience, but as I said, mine is not the same as the Syrian refugees. Not even close). Even comparing a refugee to an immigrant is a slippery slope; while some immigrants such as myself arrive in a new country of their own volition, some undoubtedly feel forced out of their homes, due to escalating conflicts or tensions at home. But either way, the immigrant has a little more freedom to make the decision. A refugee has no choice in the matter; they just want their family to feel safe.

And the type of safety that the Syrian refugees are currently seeking, and the scale of the horror’s they are running from is something that many of us have no personal experience with. Hopefully we never will, but that doesn’t preclude us from having some empathy for them, either.

My family have lived in England for as long as I am aware (my Aunt traced my grandfather’s line back to around the 1700’s, give or take), so I can’t knowingly claim that there is any immigration within my family’s past (myself aside), but that’s not necessarily true of people living on this side of the pond.

There are millions of people in North American who can trace their families back across the years and the oceans to other countries, when their ancestors left their home lands for fear of persecution or simply to hope for a better life.

This is especially true when it comes to some of the early and/or influential members of the comic book community.

The Thing KirbyIndeed, many of the greatest names in American comics are often the first generation born in the new country, such as Art Speigelman (the author of Maus), Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman, Green Lantern, and many many others), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the men who created Superman). Even Bob Kane‘s (Batman‘s other co-creator) parents were of Eastern European Jewish descent. The point I am attempting to make here is that the sons of Jewish immigrants created some of our biggest super heroes, and some of our greatest stories.

And what of their creations? 

Superman is an alien from another planet who’s family sought refuge for their only child from the end of their world. He is far from native to any country on Earth, yet he has chosen to make the planet his  home. Far beyond just simply moving from country to country, Superman is an interplanetary immigrant that kick started the modern superhero comic. 

And he’s not the only immigrant in comics, either; Supergirl, the Martian Manhunter are but two of the early inter-planetary examples, X-O Manowar is both a geographical and chronological immigrant (it sounds confusing when typing it like that, but the character is as rich and deep as any other on this list). Howard the Duck has been trapped in a world that he’s slowly become accustomed to, but was never his own; and Thor Odinson has been protecting our world for centuries – and even without his hammer he continues to do so. The idea of a hero from the stars come to save humanity (or in the case of Howard the Duck to simply work amongst us) is an idea that as comic book fans we’re all enamored with , and in many cases these interplanetary immigrants have become some of the most beloved, and powerful, characters in the comic book reading world.

Giant-Size_X-Men_Vol_1_1In terms of the more traditional Earthbound type of immigration, the of moving between countries, look at almost the entire second team of X-Men; BansheeColossus, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Storm and Wolverine are all from countries other than the US. You know what that makes them, eh?

If  these characters were ignored because they were immigrants, both of the interplanetary and Earthbound nature,  would comics, nay, popular culture, even have the same face? The Superman symbol is an internationally recognized symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way, and Wolverine is arguably one of the most popular characters to ever appear in a comic book. What if the parents of the previously mentioned creators, and the numerous others I haven’t named who are also descended from immigrants, were trying to escape their living conditions to provide a better life for their families today? Would we still want to turn them away?

If it wasn’t for the sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants the comic book landscape, and perhaps even our way of life would be drastically different than what we’re used too. Before you add your voice to those who say we should close up our borders, take a long hard look at your family history, at the characters you love, and tell me where you would be if the country you call home had refused to admit any new immigrants at any point in the past two or three hundred years.

Would you still be sat here reading this, if your ancestors hadn’t had the opportunity to live a new life in North America?

Batman’s Biggest Secret: Bill Finger’s Legacy as Revealed by Marc Tyler Nobleman

BillTheBoyWonderFrA few weeks ago I attended a slideshow tour of New York City’s Superhero Sites with Danny Fingeroth at the New-York Historical Society Museum. Thereafter, I vowed to continue deepening my knowledge of the comic book world, and begin exploring the factual stories underpinning the industry I admire, but obviously know very little about.

Yesterday, I attended a presentation hosted by the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City: Batman’s Biggest Secret: Fighting for Bill Finger with Marc Tyler Nobleman (author of Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman). Who do I spot sitting about four seats away from? It was Danny Fingeroth; a good omen that I am on the right path–sorry, I can be superstitious.

20160209_204210.jpg

If a year ago you had asked me who Bill Finger was, I’d look at you with a puzzled face. DC said Bob Kane created Batman (after all it said so right there on practically every front page of any Batman comic), and that was good enough for me. Now, as of late 2015, it was officially announced to worldwide fanfare, that Bill Finger will be given credit for co-creating Batman with Bob Kane; and the next film (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) will include the following credit: Created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

Marc is directly responsible for making this happen. His continued detective work, and dogged perseverance, unearthed the last living family relation (a granddaughter Bill Finger never knew), who was able to untangle the legal contractual web that prevented DC from finally give him his proper due for co-creating Batman.

Marc began his presentation with the statement that Batman’s biggest secret is not Bruce Wayne as a metaphor for the industry secret (prior to 2015) that Bob Kane alone did not create Batman. He then, in painstaking detail, outlined Bill Finger’s tragic tale with tear-inducing emotion, but also with a sprinkling of light humor to even out the historical narrative.

Bob Kane was an artist, and Bill Finger was a writer. Together the two dreamed a new type of hero in 1939–a costumed Dark Knight who terrorized criminals. However, as Batman grew to become an iconic global super hero, Bob Kane’s fame and wealth grew beyond his wildest dreams, while Bill Finger (whose real name was actually Milton Finger) languished in obscurity and poverty. Marc, together with artist Ty Templeton, wrote a graphic novel, about the true story of how Batman began, and the larger role Bill Finger played in his creation. The book, originally published in 2012, aspired to get Bill the recognition he deserved.

In the audience, sitting right next to me, was an older woman, who during the question/answer session stood up defiantly to defend her friend, Bob Kane. Marc, took it with stride, pointing out that he was not vilifying Bob Kane as a person or private individual, but merely pointing out that as a professional Bob enriched himself on the work of others, and did not assign the proper credit to Bill Finger.

Then later, as I waited in line for Marc’s autograph, I chatted it up with another gentleman in a red polo shirt (his name was Robert van Maanen, and I know this only because Marc had posted an interview with him earlier today on his blog). He told me how Bill Finger, his neighbor, was a very easy going, affable, person who bore no one ill will. He also told me that Bill had a collection of old comics, including original printings of Detective #27, and the first appearance of Captain America with the triangular shield. He even said that National Publications (the precursor company to DC) one time called upon Bill Finger to donate an original copy of Detective #27 for a charity sale, and he did so without thinking about it, despite how he was mistreated by the company.

This was a very emotional night for me, and I had to hold back the tears while listening to Marc’s grim historical account about Bill Finger, his friends, his family, and his ignoble passing away. At least his memory and legacy has been righted by those who pursued the truth behind one of the world’s most beloved character: The Batman.

Happy 102nd Birthday Bill, and may you have many more here on this earth, and wherever your souls rests today.

Also, thank you to Marc and Danny for showing me the way to deeper truths behind the history of comic books; and for you readers who want to know more, visit Marc’s pop culture archaeological blog (where he continues to dig into the history of Bill Finger and his relations), and buy his book, Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (and while you’re at it check out his other works on Superman too) .

Immigration And Comics

ck-rocket-from-krypton-croppedYou’d have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the refugee and, to a lesser extent, the immigration discussions occurring these past few months.

As an immigrant myself, it’s a discussion that I’ve been paying some attention too.

First things first, though, is that I should clarify that my situation in no way resembled the plight of those from Syria. As a white man immigrating from the United Kingdom it would be offensive to those refugees to say that I know what they’re going through. I don’t.

I genuinely hope that I never will.

Indeed, I have been present in my new country when people start talking about “the immigrants” taking their jobs because they didn’t consider me an immigrant.  This was shortly after asking about my accent. I may be a white guy, but my accent sure isn’t from this side of the pond. That’s about as much prejudice as I have ever encountered on my end, directly, and while I found it exasperatingly funny at the time, it does go to  show the general sense that a (very) few have toward immigrants (at least in my experience, but as I said, mine is not the same as the Syrian refugees. Not even close). Even comparing a refugee to an immigrant is a slippery slope; while some immigrants such as myself arrive in a new country of their own volition, some undoubtedly feel forced out of their homes, due to escalating conflicts or tensions at home. But either way, the immigrant has a little more freedom to make the decision. A refugee has no choice in the matter; they just want their family to feel safe.

And the type of safety that the Syrian refugees are currently seeking, and the scale of the horror’s they are running from is something that many of us have no personal experience with.  Hopefully we never will, but that doesn’t preclude us from having some empathy for them, either.

My family have lived in England for as long as I am aware (my Aunt traced my grandfather’s line back to around the 1700’s, give or take), so I can’t knowingly claim that there is any immigration within my family’s past (myself aside), but that’s not necessarily true of people living on this side of the pond.

There are millions of people in North American who can trace their families back across the years and the oceans to other countries, when their ancestors left their home lands for fear of persecution or simply to hope for a better life.

This is especially true when it comes to some of the early and/or influential members of the comic book community.

The Thing KirbyIndeed, many of the greatest names in American comics are often the first generation born in the new country, such as Art Speigelman (the author of Maus), Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman, Green Lantern, and many many others), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the men who created Superman). Even Bob Kane‘s (Batman‘s other co-creator) parents were of Eastern European Jewish descent. The point I am attempting to make here is that the sons of Jewish immigrants created some of our biggest super heroes, and some of our greatest stories.

And what of their creations? 

Superman is an alien from another planet who’s family sought refuge for their only child from the end of their world. He is far from native to any country on Earth, yet he has chosen to make the planet his  home. Far beyond just simply moving from country to country, Superman is an interplanetary immigrant that kick started the modern superhero comic. 

And he’s not the only immigrant in comics, either; Supergirl, the Martian Manhunter are but two of the early inter-planetary examples, X-O Manowar is both a geographical and chronological immigrant (it sounds confusing when typing it like that, but the character is as rich and deep as any other on this list). Howard the Duck has been trapped in a world that he’s slowly become accustomed to, but was never his own; and Thor Odinson has been protecting our world for centuries – and even without his hammer he continues to do so. The idea of a hero from the stars come to save humanity (or in the case of Howard the Duck to simply work amongst us) is an idea that as comic book fans we’re all enamored with , and in many cases these interplanetary immigrants have become some of the most beloved, and powerful, characters in the comic book reading world.

Giant-Size_X-Men_Vol_1_1In terms of the more traditional Earthbound type of immigration, the of moving between countries, look at almost the entire second team of X-Men; BansheeColossus, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Storm and Wolverine are all from countries other than the US. You know what that makes them, eh?

If  these characters were ignored because they were immigrants, both of the interplanetary and Earthbound nature,  would comics, nay, popular culture, even have the same face? The Superman symbol is an internationally recognized symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way, and Wolverine is arguably one of the most popular characters to ever appear in a comic book. What if the parents of the previously mentioned creators, and the numerous others I haven’t named who are also descended from immigrants, were trying to escape their living conditions to provide a better life for their families today? Would we still want to turn them away?

If it wasn’t for the sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants the comic book landscape, and perhaps even our way of life would be drastically different than what we’re used too. Before you add your voice to those who say we should close up our borders, take a long hard look at your family history, at the characters you love, and tell me where you would be if the country you call home had refused to admit any new immigrants at any point in the past two or three hundred years.

Would you still be sat here reading this, if your ancestors hadn’t had the opportunity to live a new life in North America?

Are Comics Highbrow or Lowbrow?

Originally posted at The Mass MediaCross-posted with their permission.

WWAristophanes wrote raucous comedies. De Troyes, Shakespeare, and Dante wrote in their vernaculars. Mozart wrote operas, Beethoven symphonies. Georges Méliès made fantastic science fiction films, and hundreds of men and women participated in the pulp magazine fiction craze of the early twentieth century.

All of these creators wrote, composed, and filmed classics — at least in retrospect. The powers that be found them vulgar, shocking, outrageous, made for the uneducated masses; in a word: lowbrow. For most media consumers living in the twentieth century, comic books embodied the artistic opposite of high culture.

Comics of the early twentieth century were consumed in large part by children. Creators of the 1940s like Bob Kane and William Moulton Marston, now heralded inventors of Batman and Wonder Woman, wrote for children. Marston, in fact, wrote in “The Family Circle” in an article entitled “Don’t Laugh at Comics” that comics had enormous educational potential for children. Accordingly, he created Wonder Woman to serve as a role model for young girls. Meanwhile characters like Batman’s Robin and Captain Marvel (the adult, superheroic alter-ego of teenager Billy Batson) served as the literary selves of adolescent readers.

Though Kane and Marston were, in a sense, writing for children, Marston also recognized that comics are for everyone! In a 1944 article entitled “Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics” Marston argued that half of this number was adults. If this were the case, he asked, “Can it be that 100,000,000 Americans are morons?” He suggested instead that comics’ combination of word and picture triggered a primitive sensation that satisfied the mind in an emotional way that transcended notions of high or low art. Marston’s words do not hold up today — after all, his comparison of comics to cave paintings and pre-literate societies is absurd — but its contemporary essence remains: comics are a separate art-form with its own standards, and they are not only for kids.

Still, comics’ trite dialogue and gaudy images led many to believe they were for children, while some sought through statistical analysis to show that comics boasted a vast vocabulary that could improve language faculties. Education theorists went back and forth over the issue of whether to indulge comics as an educational apparatus or leave them out of the classroom.

Today the comic book industry, like the literati and artists attempting to create literary, filmic, and other artistic classics in the present, is not a faultless cultural producer. Unlike other industries, the comics industry produces at an intensely fast rate, with some creators drawing thirty to sixty pages or writing three times that many pages of comic book script per month. Not surprisingly, comic books are sometimes the victim of inattentive editors, overworked writers, and underpaid artists.

BoyReadingComics copy

In fact, when the medium is so little guarded that editors at companies like Dynamite routinely make major mistakes — like printing and shipping 75,000 copies of a sold-out, much-anticipated comic (Red Sonja #1) without crediting an artist, and instead labeling the artist the writer — it’s no wonder that literary snobs and highbrow art consumers look upon comics as a field of indigent wannabes towered over by the rare talents of Neil Gaiman (Sandman) or Art Spiegelman (Maus).

Luckily, the sort of major editorial mishaps quite prevalent at Dynamite tend not to occur at the Big Two (or Image and Dark Horse, for that matter) since they are subject not only to greater market demands, but also to their shareholders in the boardrooms of the Walt Disney (Marvel) and Time-Warner (DC) corporations.

In 2013 it is rare for passersby to be hostile toward comics readers or to look negatively on adults reading comics (within certain constraints; for example, a large, pimply, bearded fella reading Aquaman might not be a welcome neighbor on the T due to obvious biases). It’s doubtful any but the most conservative of parents would eschew their children reading a comic book.

This change toward the acceptance of comics is not so much a reflection of comics themselves, but is instead a general cultural confusion about comic books’ status as highbrow or lowbrow entertainment. Today’s literati are more concerned with reality television, electronic dance music, Miley Cyrus, and text messaging than comic books — at least comics are reading material!

Big-Bang-Theory-comic-ad

Additionally, comics are relatively invisible in the highbrow/lowbrow distinction because of the widespread cross-class and cross-gender appeal of superhero films and their recognized value in contemporary cinema. The problem of placing comic books in a hierarchy of entertainment has been erased in the same way that early critiques of Harry Potter as promoting witchcraft no longer seem valid.

Comics, after all, can be found in high school classrooms in their more respectable format, the graphic novel, and their filmic counterparts are the recipients of Academy Awards. The cultural critics, in other words, have moved on from comics to less easily defended prey.

Positioned between high and low art, comics today are what literary historian Peter Swirski calls “nobrow,” meaning that they appeal simultaneously to both aesthetics. While you can find comics on high school and university syllabi or winning literary awards, comic books remain just as awkwardly placed in the cultural hierarchy as their nerdy readers in the social hierarchy.

After all, you can read Maus and Persepolis with your tea-and-crumpet book club or write a term paper on Watchmen in your senior seminar, but still hear a laugh track mocking The Big Bang Theory protagonists for having a comic book collection.