GRAY GHOST (Goodbye Adam West)

Adam West died last Friday. Synonymous with his portrayal of Batman in the 60s, he also provided the voice of Batman’s childhood hero on the animated episode “Beware the Gray Ghost.”

This relief was done on Sunday afternoon in Sculpey Medium.

Farewell, old chum.

12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 8: POISON IVY

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Late at night when you’re sleeping, Poison Ivy comes a-creepin’ around.

Pamela Lillian Isley was created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff in 1966’s BATMAN #181. Over the years she’s been portrayed as a vamp, a militant feminist, a mere criminal, and an ecological terrorist. Writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean created an eerie, extremely-self aware Ivy in their series BLACK ORCHID. Locked in Arkham Asylum’s vaults, she created plant-animal hybrids to keep her company.

Unlike Catwoman, Batman and Ivy don’t share a particularly strong attraction to one another. They seem like genuine antagonists, and Ivy would just as soon be rid of Batman for good.

Once again BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES informs my depiction of Ivy. As designed by Bruce Timm and Lynne Naylor, Poison Ivy is short, curvy, and has some fabulous red hair. I gave her a growing sprig of her namesake vine,  to which- like all poisons- she is immune.

Who will appear in tomorrow’s  installment of 12 Days of the Batman?

12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 5: ROBIN

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Raised on the high-wire, the boy who never looks down!

Robin the Boy Wonder, Batman’s most faithful sidekick, was “the character find of 1940!” when he debuted in DETECTIVE COMICS #38 in a story by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. He was added to give the solitary Batman someone to talk to, a Watson to his Holmes, and was a child so readers- then assumed to be entirely young boys- would have a character with whom they could identify. A circus boy orphaned by crime, he became Batman’s ward, and a chance for Batman to restore to someone the childhood he himself never had.

I like Robin because he’s the son who can never grow up to be his father, but eventually learns what his own unique strengths are. He is light in the darkness. He makes Batman smile.

This is Dick Grayson, the original, my favorite, in Tim (Robin III) Drake’s Neal Adams-designed costume, a la BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (much as I love Robin, that short pants look is just… No).

Tomorrow a killer (for real this time!) installment of 12 Days of the Batman!

12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 2: TWO-FACE

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For the second day of 12 Days of the Batman, who else but Two-Face?

A gangster threw acid in the face of crusading district attorney Harvey Dent, horribly scarring his left side. This fractured the psyche of the already-troubled Dent (who was called Harvey Kent in his first appearance). As Two-Face he committed crimes when he flipped his double-headed dollar coin, also scarred on one side, and it landed bad-side-up. Batman is haunted by his inability to save the man who was once his friend.

My version of Two-Face is informed by his portrayal on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, where he not only looked great, but was voiced perfectly by actor Richard Moll. In reality, Moll stands an imposing 6’8″ and sounds like it. As a result, I picture Two-Face big- Frankensteinian– bigger and stronger than Batman himself. I also wanted his unscarred half to look dead-eyed and vacant, no longer a participant in his own actions.

My friend PJ Shapiro wrote a song about Two-Face which reference BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON A SERIOUS EARTH, and still manages to work in the phrase “Manichean lapdog.” It’s called E. Pluribus H. Dent. Listen to it here.

Two-Face was also created by Bob Kane and an uncredited Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson in 1942’s DETECTIVE COMICS #66

The curious should return tomorrow for the third installment of 12 Days of the Batman!