Steve Gerber and G.I. Joy

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by comic book writers of the 70s. I got a book from the library which collects all these great interviews of comic book writers whining and complaining about the biz. Well, Chris Claremont and Marv Wolfman don’t seem so whiny. But Steve Gerber sure does. His work is very interesting. I love what I’ve read of his run on Man-Thing–it’s always fun to see what a good writer can do with such a static, limited premise. When I read interviews with Gerber, he always sounds a bit resentful of the commercialism of the comic business. I guess he felt a little limited and soured by it, despite producing such rich subversive material.

I was a little saddened when I first found out that he moved on from comics and wrote for animation, namely G.I. Joe. I thought this was tragic, the dude feels trapped by the commercialism of comic books then gets a job writing half hour commercials for toys. But I read an interview with him about his time writing for G.I. Joe and apparently he loved it. It sounds like the producer just wanted the toys on the TV and allowed Gerber to do anything he wanted:

I am prouder of that show than of anything else I’ve done in animation! We were given an immense amount of freedom. I was working with possibly the most intelligent producer I’ve ever dealt with. The guy’s name is Jay Baccall. His actual title is creative director at Griffen-Baccall, which is the advertising agency of which Sunbow Productions is a subsidiary of a sister company or something. Jay is just incredibly sharp; a real good sense of drama, a real good sense of character, a wonderful sense of story, and a tremendous imagination – moreso, I think, than he realizes. Jay is perhaps the only producer I have ever heard actually say to a writer, “Gee, are you sure this is weird enough?”

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Batman No. 97

First of all, no dogs should be allowed on the chemistry table. Heaven forbid if Bat-Hound were to knock over some acid or something. The last thing we need is a Bat-Hound-Two-Face running around. Secondly does the poor dog need a mask? I think his identity is safe. Thirdly, someone please teach Robin how to measure fluids. How can he possibly be keeping an eye on the middle of the meniscus? However, fourthly, I really like the name ‘Bat-Hound.’

Batman in a Sailboat

I searched all over the internet trying to find a picture of Batman in a sailboat. This image is all I could find, thanks to

The artwork is from Batman 154. I would have liked to have seen Batman’s cape acting as a sail, but this will suffice:

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Batman No.28

Boom! Batman has no tolerance for the bald. Oh, and please support the Red Cross; Batman has too many bald guys to pop in the trap to be any use to the cause. Oh and Bruce, Robin’s hand is raised, I think he has a question about your brute tactics.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Batman No. 39

This is why Batman and Robin can never enjoy a day off:

And come on Batman, you adopted Robin, make him put on a pair of pants when it snows.

Also, it almost looks like Batman made Robin stand back so he could show off some crazy ice skating trick. Don’t you have enough of the spotlight, Bruce?

Other than that, it’s nice to see the dynamic duo making the most of the weather.

Superman Is Not Happy

In Hollywood, on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Wilcox Avenue (I think) there’s this mural featuring all your favorite characters from the movies:

I noticed that Superman’s even there. Check him out. He looks pissed.

He looks so pissed.  I think he’s angry that he got seated in the same row as Frankenstein, R2-D2, and the Bigfoot looking dude. Look he keeps a seat in between them, trying to disassociate himself from such freakish folly. “I may be fantastical, but at least I look normal. Not like these three eye sores. Why can’t I sit next to Han Solo or Nancy Reagan over there?  This sucks.”

Look at him!  Wow, he’s really upset. We judge you for who you are Superman, and maybe Frankenstein and the Bigfoot Man have something to offer the world.  It’s not like Jerry Seigel and Joe Schuster were better writers than Mary Shelley.

When I was a kid I thought this was hilarious…

I’m helping my folks clean out the garage and came across an old stash of my comics.  I found the below scan from WHAT THE..?! No. 7, published by Marvel Comics in 1990.  The below Twinkie Ad parody is by Marc Siry, Jade Moede, and Kelly P. Corvese.  I don’t know if anyone else remembers the old Hostess ads that used to be in comics, but I’m still laughing at this:

National Sketch Writing Month: Batman and Reuben

Batman & Reuben

Batman is sitting at a diner, enjoying a sandwich.  A man in a purple suit walks by.

Man: Hey, check it out! It’s Batman and Reuben.

Batman politely waves.

Man: Get it, Batman? A Reuben sandwich. Batman and Reuben. It’s like a New Yorker cartoon.

Batman: Very witty. Now if you don’t mind, I’d just like to eat my Reuben.

Man: Huh?… Oh, the sandwich.

Batman: What?

Man: Just kidding, Batman and Reuben. Just joking. Juuuuust joking. Batman and Reuben. Love the boots, fyi.

Batman: Batman and Reuben. Wait a second! Wait a second! You’re the Joker!

The man runs off, laughing.

Batman gets up from his chair and spills his Dr. Pepper.

Batman: Dammit!

As he mops up the spill with his cape, Batman eats the rest of his sandwich as fast as he can, at the same time digging in his utility belt for money to pay the tab.

A waitress, walks by, looking at the mess.

Batman (with a mouth full of food): The Reuben was delicious.  Thank you.

Waitress: Don’t mention it.

Batman is desperately trying to find money, clean his table, and finish his meal.

Waitress: Say, Batman, you OK?

Batman: I’m just trying to get out of here so I can go get the Joker.

Waitress: What’d he do?

Batman (flustered): He told some jokes or something.

Waitress: You should go after my brother in law.

Comic Book Commentary: Super Friends

First, The Wild Hunstman, the guy swinging the axe, is going straight for the crotch.  Maybe he’s more of a problem than The Conqueror.  Second, I guess Aquaman’s sitting this one out.   Anybody got a magazine he can read?  In fact, the whole bottom third of the cover should be an After School Special.

Seraph looks cool.

It pains me that a million years from now, we won’t have a cure for excema.  When I was 14, I had that same forehead rash with which Futurio-XX is stricken.  I remember it flaked a lot and was not only uncomfortable, but unsightly.  I can still hear the whispers of that short kid on the North Quincy High hockey team and his girlfriend making fun of me during European History I.  I think I was the only thing they had to talk about.  I wonder if they got married and divorced and the reason for divorce they gave was that they just couldn’t talk about my flakey forehead rash anymore. 

I hope Wonder Woman is knitting Robin some pants. 

I hope Aquaman gets over himself.

I hope Superman one day can afford his own comic books.

I hope the man with the Big F and pretty eyes makes an appointment next time.  Perhaps his Lotus Notes Meeting Maker is the cause of this misunderstanding.  That thing never works.  Just schedule everything as appointments and call to confirm.

Why does Professor Nichols look he’s just been “blessed by the Lord?”  Gorilla-lujah! 

I wonder if the Professor is related to the same Nichols who was in my Michael Howard Studios Summer Conservatory acting classes.  We all did so much crying that summer.  Something which became a summer tradition when I decided to pursue acting as a career. 

“Do something, Superman?”  Do something, Aquaman.  You lazy ass.  It’s an ocean monster.  For once, something’s compatible with your resume.

Images from

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