Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back to the Beginning

This is the first comic book I ever read. My beloved cousin Frankie gave it to me the summer before we moved to Europe and I carried it around with me and re-read it until the cover was ripped and frayed. When my father saw how much I loved it he started bringing me home Spiderman and anything else he thought I would enjoy off the spinner rack at the gas station. I would give anything to find a copy of it to frame as it represents a long and satifying love affair with comics. How fitting that it be a Batman book seeing how Batman is the one superhero a person could actually become if one were dedicated and single-minded enough to make the effort. I just managed to dowload this issue and its a real cultural artifact. When Batman is confronted by a dead dummy that looks like Robin he actually crashes through an apartment window to use the phone to call Dick Grayson in college. You would think that someone who could invent all those bat gadgets could have cobbled together a rudimentary cell phone or even some Bat Walkie-Talkies. Later he used a phone at a street phone booth. OH Batman! The final "death" of Robin found the Boy Wonder in a guillotine and Batman throws a silver plate to stop the blade from finishing its job. I don't know how many times I practiced my throwing skills with ice cream bucket lids. But the thing that always stuck with me was how the villian ended up unconsious on a huge statue of Justice balanced on the scales. Even at seven I knew that was the side of law and order that I wanted to be on.

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