Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I sometimes wonder – assuming that the everyday world of the DC Universe is much like the everyday world in the real universe – if DC’s Earth is as obsessed with Batman as ours is, and how does Batman feel about that? What does the DC Internet look like, and how can he get anything done if every three seconds someone is creating a new Batman meme, typing Impact over a photo of a fat dog with two shaved ice cones tied to his head with rubber string. Batman must avoid Tumblr like the plague. Imagine if his bat-smartphone had those little Google cards on it – “Who’s playing me in the movie? Shit, focus Bruce, the Penguin just murdered like fifty babies, wait, they cancelled my cartoon? Ugh, well, at least this guy who said the Batmobile gave him feels has a hundred and twenty five likes and reblogs. Gah, fuckin’ Robin – enough with the Candy Crush requests.”

I expect Batman would probably be pretty sick of his popularity, which is also the premise explored in The Adventures of Jerry Lewis No.97, Nov.-Dec. 1966, when Batmania was at its peak and DC was still publishing those awesome humor comics starring television and movie celebrities. It’s a bygone age, we’ll never see The Adventures of Daniel Tosh or Dave Chapelle’s Laffs and Gags. More’s the pity.

The Adventures of Jerry Lewis revolved around Jerry, his rotten nephew Renfrew and their housekeeper, a genuine witch named Witch Kraft (Over in the Bob Hope comic, the local high school was staffed entirely by movie monsters of the Universal variety, so there was a theme unifying these books. I’ve never read the Jackie Gleason comic which DC produced, so as far as I’m aware it had Cthulu selling newspapers on the corner). When Kraft has to leave the house, Renfrew – caught up in Batmania – convinces his uncle to don costumes with him and emerge into the night for the cause of justice as Ratman and Rotten the Boy Blunder.

They’re not the only idle saps trying on crimefighting for fun, which is how they run across the original Dynamic Duo – exhausted from having to chase all over town after their hapless imitators.  There’s Catman and Kitten and Fatman and Tubbin, Flatman and Ribbon, Sadman and Sobbin,  and in a more enlightened time there probably also would have been Thatman and This’un, @Man and ROFLin, and Scatman and Cruthers.

Teaming up with Jerry in order to rescue Renfrew/Rotten from the clutches of The Kangaroo (who turns out to be Witch Kraft in disguise), it’s probably the most realistic Batman story I've yet to read – Batman and Robin spend the majority of it exhausted and put out by their admirers and bored with the ridiculous hoops their colorful crooks inevitably put them through. I also think it’s better than The Long Halloween.

They meant "Bat-Pooped"


neofishboy said...

That's a pretty cool splash page, actually. I don't know if Steve Rude has ever explicitly mentioned Bob Oksner as an influence but I get the same kind of vibe.

And I love how Renfrew stuck a hundred-pound dumbbell on the utility belt because why the hell not?

Calamity Jon said...

One of the things I love across the board about comic book "nephews" is how they exist just to make their more famous uncles eat shit.

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