WHICH ONES ARE BOLD AND WHICH ONES ARE BRAVE?

It's a KC team up!

It’s a KC team up!


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1

Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1


Out this December, but available to pre-order now at WestfieldComics.com and from the Diamond Previews hitting shops today, Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1 is a great way to learn more about DC’s Bronze Age and the versions of their classic (and not-so-classic) characters that inhabited it. Plus, it’s a great introduction to the DC work of artist/writer/jack-of-all-trades Neal Adams — it’s some of his earliest work at DC! Many of the stories in this volume are considered to be some of DC’s absolute classics of the era because of Adams’ presence. Fourteen of the eighteen stories collected here have some sort of Adams involvement, including eight complete issues drawn by Adams and thirteen Adams covers.

All of the stories, except one, are written by Bob Haney, one of DC’s finest writers of the era (although not really recognized for it until much later). Think about how hard it must have been to write consistently good single-issue stories featuring different characters every month — for years. Also, some of his stories are stone-cold DC classics, like the team-up with Green Arrow (issue #85). It radically re-invented the character, changing him from a second-banana Batman ripoff to one of DC’s most unique (especially at the time) and popular characters. (Green Arrow’s also a TV star now. I bet that wouldn’t have happened without Haney!)

The Brave and the Bold #87

The Brave and the Bold #87


(The one Haney didn’t write is issue #87, which is a Batman/Wonder Woman team-up written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky, who was the artist/writer responsible for the Wonder Woman series at the time. This was during the non-powered, non-costumed run.)

The Brave and the Bold #76

The Brave and the Bold #76


Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1 collects the original series of The Brave and the Bold #74 through #91, published from 1967 to 1970. The team-up characters run the gamut, including the aforementioned Green Arrow, the Spectre, the Creeper, the Flash, Aquaman, the Teen Titans, Wonder Woman (both “old” and new!), the Phantom Stranger, and Black Canary (drawn by Nick Cardy!), as well as fun romps with the Metal Men, Metamorpho, Plastic Man (my 1st issue, BTW, when I was not quite 12 years old), Sgt. Rock (?), and Adam Strange (??), plus the first of many somewhat inexplicable ongoing team-ups with Wildcat. (Then-editor Murray Boltinoff always claimed he was quite popular. Thematically, Batman and Wildcat were a great mix.)

HE’S DEAD, MAN…

The Brave and the Bold #86

The Brave and the Bold #86


Special note should be given to the two Deadman stories here. Neal Adams was working on both The Brave and the Bold (when he could) and the Deadman series in Strange Adventures, and the two Deadman stories that appear here are integral parts of that storyline. The Brave and the Bold #86, the second of the two, is effectively the extra-length finale of the original Deadman series, with importance to both titles. If you’re really into Deadman and/or want to know more about him, you should track down the 2001 The Deadman Collection hardcover, which collects Adams’ (with writers Arnold Drake, Jack Miller, Bob Haney, Robert Kanigher, and himself) original classic Deadman storyline from Strange Adventures #205-216 and The Brave and the Bold #79, 86, and 104, with material from Aquaman #50-52 and Challengers of the Unknown #74. Considered one of DC’s best storylines ever, the collection also features beautiful new Adams illustrations for the hardcover slipcase and book cover.

BACK TO B&B

The Brave and the Bold #80

The Brave and the Bold #80


There were many other classic contributors to The Brave and the Bold during this era, and this volume also features their work. That includes, as writers Mike Sekowsky, Dennis O’Neil, and Marv Wolfman, and as artists, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Bob Brown, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano, Jack Abel, Joe Kubert, Frank McLaughlin, and probably more than a few late-night uncredited contributions by the legendary Crusty Bunkers. This collection is an affordable version of the hardcover omnibus edition from January, with most but not all of the same content (given size considerations). Westfeld’s own Robert Greenberger wrote the introduction to that earlier volume, and I hope that some of it also makes it into the paperback, since as usual, his writing was highly detailed, fact-packed, and entertaining!

I’d love to talk more about both The Brave and the Bold and DC’s Showcase, as both of these long-running series were so important to the development of comics from the 1950s until the end of that century (and on and off since). They both provided space to try out new concepts and new directions for existing characters and create new characters without the commitment of spinning up an entire new title.

I get the impression that many of today’s fans don’t realize the importance of these early titles. On the other hand, back-issue dealers certainly do — especially for all of the characters and concepts that made their first appearances — enabling them to charge small fortunes for the early appearances of fan-favorite concepts like the Justice League of America or the revamped modern-day Green Arrow.

The Brave and the Bold #91

The Brave and the Bold #91


I very much appreciate comic book companies that embrace their histories and strive to keep so much of the best of it in print. (And at moderate prices compared to the actual back-issue artifacts!) This upcoming Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1 456-page trade paperback collection is filled with wonderful old memories for me.

This is one of the really good ones! Many, many excellent tales here, with just enough silliness for balance. Reminds me of when I was 12. What’s better than that?

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KC CARLSON now has a chipmunk living (?) in his comic book storage room. Don’t ask…

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. . . . You know what’s really irritating me?. . . A chipmunk living in my comic book storage room!

Purchase

Batman in The Brave and the Bold: Bronze Age Volume 1

Classic covers from the Grand Comics Database

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