12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN: Boxing Day Postscript

And that was 12 Days of the Batman. Thank you for helping me put some Batman back into this holiday season!

As with Mighty Marvel May, I would like to thank the creators of these characters I’ve been celebrating. Without Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, Bob Brown, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Bruce Timm,Grant Morrison, and SO many more, they wouldn’t exist.

They created a Gotham City we can all play in. Let’s keep fighting for justice for all.

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12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 10: TALIA

Batman’s war on crime leaves him little room for romance. Mutual attraction to Catwoman aside, Batman seems to have forsworn love for justice. Of all the women in Bruce Wayne and Batman’s life, I believe Talia, daughter of his enemy Ra’s al Ghul,  is the one he truly loves, and the only one who’s ever tempted him away from the dark.

Created in 1971’s DETECTIVE COMICS #411 by Denny O’Neil and Bob Brown, and later refined by Neal Adams, Talia was later revealed to be the daughter of the demon, Ra’s al Ghul, criminal mastermind. Talia and Batman fell in love almost immediately, but out of loyalty to her father would not leave him side. Over the years, Ra’s and Talia both considered Batman a worthy suitor for Talia, but of course Batman wouldn’t join them. Not until Batman and Ra’s joined forces and, by the laws of Ra’s (ill-defined) forebears, Batman and Talia were instantly wed and soon conceived a child. But to keep Batman fighting their common foe, she faked a miscarriage and the marriage was annulled. This story was later ruled out-of-continuity, a Bat-Son considered too big a loose end.

Until writer Grant Morrison revisited the idea with Damian, Talia and Bruce’s son, whom she raised in secret and trained as an assassin. Renouncing his evil heritage, Damian becomes the latest and most aggressive Robin.

Morrison also refashioned Talia to be a darker character, a subtle manipulator and head of the worldwide terrorist organization Leviathan. Now a full-fledged villain in her own right, she and Batman fight over the soul of their child across the globe.

While these changes have given Talia a lot more agency as a character- she was often merely a pawn for her father’s schemes- I think it’s robbed her of what made her most interesting before: her unconditional and contradictory love for two irreconcilable forces. She couldn’t choose either, because to choose one was to betray the other. Her resolve to remain true to both was as unwavering as Batman’s own resolve to honor his parents’ memory. Maybe more so.

I tried to give Talia fuller features and a straighter nose, suggesting Ra’s North African heritage. Hair by Bruce Timm, always.

Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve and time for the next million-dollar installment of 12 Days of the Batman.

12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 8: POISON IVY

Poison Ivy 001

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?

Batman Beyond

Another oldie.
I enjoyed BATMAN BEYOND, but never loved Terry McGinniss as a character. I liked the “Dirty Harry teamed with Spider-Man” dynamic Old Bruce and Terry shared, but Terry was never more than adequate. I once complained to a friend that Terry had none of Batman’s detective skills, that other than a gung-ho attitude he had little that wasn’t provided by the powered armor he wore. “That’s because Bruce isn’t training a replacement,” my friend said, “Terry is his arm.”

 
Fair enough!

Dark Knight Animated-Style Maquette

I’m posting an older piece until some of the (exciting!) new work is ready to display.

Frank Miller’s version of Batman by way of animator Bruce Timm. Created as a companion piece to the Warner Bros. Studio Store Batman: The Animated Series maquette, this version of the character appeared on the episode Legends of the Dark Knight. Turnaround designs were in Paul Dini and Chip Kidd’s great book Batman Animated.

More (newer!) work will be posted very soon.