Tag Archives: Batman

Where are Batman and Robin When You Really Need Them?

Batman Robin and Villains

Dearies, have been feeling a bit depressed, irritable and overwhelmed lately, truth be told.

The World is going to Hell in a Basket of Deplorables. And nobody seems able to stop it. The Armageddon Election, terrorist attacks, Syria, Palestine, South Sudan, Brexit, Ukraine,invasions, bombings, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, teachers strikes, drone strikes, melting glaciers, doomed species, political gridlock and enmity, cancer, suicide, death and destruction: the list goes on and on and on…It’s in our faces 24/7.

While listlessly draped on the sofa watching TV, quite by accident, flipped onto an old episode of Batman. Holy Bat Cave!!!

Laughed so hard for the next half hour, at the beautiful uncomplicated silliness of it all, and also cried- for the sheer joy of remembering a kinder, gentler time. As a kid, never ever missed a single original show, and the absurdly wonderful humor is even funnier today than it was then.

So many thoughts and memories:

Batman Villains

Ah, the Villains. Who can forget The Joker, Catwoman, The Penguin and The Riddler?  Their dastardly evil plots were quite benign by todays standards. The sheer joy with which Cesar Romero, Julie Newmar, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin and others played their roles, was not lost on us kids. No scenery was left unchewed, no cliché held sacred…KAPOW!!!

The sets were absurdly simple and whimsical. Yes, they had a sense of whimsy without cutting-edge technology getting in the way. The props were hysterical. From the looks of the old TV episodes, it must have cost $50 to make a show, excluding actor’s salaries (which by today’s standards would be absurdly low). That includes costumes and make-up. The wonderful cheesiness of it all, enhanced the shared experience. WE HAD TO USE OUR IMAGINATIONS.

Reminds me of the early Dr. Who and the TARDIS/Phonebox from Britain’s BBC. The austere rough-hewn simplicity and boundless fun of its earlier incarnation was equally and wonderfully cheesy. These were afterall, the same folks who brought us Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men.

The sheer darkness and introspection of what followed, the Big Screen versions of Batman and Robin, have to a large degree mirrored the ever darkening lens of world events. Early magical Super Heroes like Adam West and Burt Ward, have been supplanted by the likes of Henry Cavill, Christian Bale and Robert Downey Jr., worthy actors in their own right, commanding a larger, brooding stage.

The gazillion dollar budgets for each new Batman movie and its Super Hero cousins, become more obscene with every film. These budgets could lift several Third World countries out of poverty permanently. But I digress…

The witty repartee flew fast and furious with each Batman TV episode. Even as kids, we knew it was funny and as  an adult, it is even funnier.

Thelonius Armstrong compiled a list of some of “Adam West’s Funniest Quotes as Batman” and I would like to discuss each of them. They are so relevant to the world that we find ourselves in these days:

Batman POW 2

  1. “It’s obvious. Only a criminal would disguise himself as a licensed, bonded guard yet callously park in front of a fire hydrant.”  Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin need to be tied to fire hydrants and forced to watch old Batman TV episodes
  2. Batman SPLATT!
  3. We’ve come a long way from the Prime Minister’s exploding cake. Or have we?” Actually Dearies, we still have a ways to go. Political and character assassinations have become a way of life, and are much less fun than exploding cake. In some ways, Paul Ryan has become the Martha Stewart of exploding cake.
  4. “A reporter’s lot is not easy, making exciting stories out of plain, average, ordinary people like Robin and me.” As Comrade Trump and Fox News never tire of telling us, media needs grist for its never-ending 24/7 mill. As Vladimir Putin’s minions would tell you, hacking makes it a hell of a lot easier.
  5. “It’s sometimes difficult to think clearly when you’re strapped to a printing press.” Hmmm, wouldn’t if be fun to strap Comrade Trump and Vladimir Putin to a printing press…

Batman

5. Robin: “You can’t get away from Batman that easy!”

Batman: “Easily.”

Robin: “Easily.”

Batman: “Good grammar is essential, Robin.”

Robin: “Thank you.”

Batman: “You’re welcome.”

Dearies, never has there been a greater need for both civility, and good grammar. Bigly! Canadian, American and European politicians are constantly breaking new ground in nastiness. And in the Ukraine, why they just throw their politicians into the dumpster Listen to any of Canada’s CBC (Our version of The Beeb) radio’s news broadcasts, and you will want to throw yourself in front of a bus, over the appalling grammar.

Batman Pharoah

6. “Yes, he moves very quickly for an overstuffed and unlikely Egyptian Pharaoh” Dearies, I admit to almost being at a loss with this one. No, hold on, am getting a picture of Governor Chris Christie in my mind…

  1.  Robin: “Let’s go!”

Batman: “Not you, Robin. They have strict licensing laws in this country. A boy of your age is not allowed in a drinking tavern.” Dearies, haven’t been in a drinking tavern in years. Have left all that to Steve Bannon. Funny how in the US you can do your grocery shopping and buy all the alcohol you need at the same time. Here in Cantada, well British Columbia to be exact, I have to go to the government liquor store to buy my champers.

Batman Robin Chief OHara Commiss Gordon

8. Chief O’Hara: “Will you be wanting extra police protection?”

Batman: “No thank you, Chief O’Hara. This time I think Robin and I better go at it alone. Any large contingent of police officers might create unnecessary confusion.

Well, this is a no-brainer – If I see one more cheesy photo-op of Comrade Trump and gaggles of law-enforcement officers, am going to puke!

Batman Catwoman

9. “Catwoman, I find you to be odious, abhorrent, and insegrievious.”I just adore that word insegrievious. Am going to make it my word of the month. And how anyone could find the delectable Julie Newmar odious, is beyond me.

Batman

10. “Robin: Where’d you get a live fish, Batman?”

Batman: “The true crimefighter always carries everything he needs in his utility belt, Robin.”

Dearies, it is quite clear to me that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the usual GOP Jesus suspects have NEVER lived by this critical rule

Batman Words 3

11.  “It is the duty of every good citizen of Gotham City to report meeting a man from Mars in a public park”. Will keep this in mind while watching the next episode of “Homeland” or during the next ICE raids rounding up “illegal immigrants”.

12.   “No, Robin. With my head sticking out of this neosaurus costume, I might not appear like an ordinary, run of the mill crimefighter.”  Said Attorney General Jeff Sessions to to no one in particular.

13. .“Bartender, a bit of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly.”  This ad hominem always worked well on “Cheers” and in various pubs in Northern Ireland.

14. “Let that be a lesson. In future, be more careful from who you accept free lemonade.”  With apologies to those in Jonestown but not those in The Tea Party…

Batman Robin Climbing Bldg

15.  (after coming through Barbara’s window): “We would have entered the building by more conventional means, but we didn’t want to startle the tenants.”  I believe the Navy Seals who found and killed Osama Bin Laden, live by this motto.

Thank You Thelonius Armstrong.

So Dearies, after putting these thoughts to paper, metaphorically speaking, am starting to breathe a bit easier, to feel a certain heaviness lifting off my chest. Feel somewhat re-enerergized and ready to fight yet another day in the trenches. All thanks to the Original Guys in Tights, those fearless and pithy crimefighters, The Caped Crusader and Robin.

They weren’t slick, they weren’t technologically advanced. They just got the job done. And made us laugh along the way. Raising a glass of champers to Batman and Robin, and All Who Sailed with Them…

***Footnote: Raising a glass or 3 in Memory of The ONLY Batman who could make us laugh, the late Adam West. To Live in Hearts We Leave Behind, Is Not to Die.

Batman Alfred 2

Advertisements

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 1

Dearies, as a wee girl from Glasgow, Scotland growing up in Toronto Canada and ending up living in Vancouver, always loved comics. Beano, Archie, Superman and Batman…the list was endless.

Was of course a fan of Saturday morning cartoons on the telly. Even as a kid, was convulsed by the brilliance of Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Chuck Jones and Bugs Bunny‘s “What a maroon!” remains one of my favorite sayings to this day.

The teenage me grew to love Mad Magazine

whatamaroon  MAD-Magazine-140-Patton-Cover

As my interest in Canadian, American, British, Australian and global politics evolved, became aware of the art of the political cartoon, and I was hooked. Am smitten, nay besotted. A cartoon is after all, a picture – whether static or celluloid. And a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Political cartoonists have always been our eyes, our ears, and truth be told – our voices.

Nothing made this clearer to me when 25 years ago, a dear friend loaned me an original folio of political cartoons by the great British caricaturist James Gillray, who was born in 1757. I was gobsmacked! Remember spending an entire 24 hours going over the large book, page by fragile page, referencing the illustrations to help me understand their meaning. In addition to being brilliant, flamboyant and very funny… these beautifully colored pen and inks (with some watercolors) were extremely daring. His toon of Napoleon and William Pitt carving up the world is even more relevant today than it was then!

Gillray’s predecessor, William Hogarth, was born in 1697. Hogarth was “a painter, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.

James Gillray  Gillray England France Carving Up World  William Hogarth  Hogarth The Marraige Contract

Caricatures go back as far as The Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci b.1452 … He brilliantly used distorted features to mock his subjects.  Visual protest is evident in Lucas Cranach‘s work during The Reformation in Germany  b.1472

Leonardo Da Vinci  Da Vinci Caricature  Lucas Cranach  Lucas Cranach Anti-Christ

Thomas Rowlandson, born in England in 1756, never missed a beat in satirizing the socio/economic/political scene… from the thoughtful to the naughty

Thomas Rowlandson PortraitThomas_Rowlandson_The_two_Kings_of_TerrorThos Rowlandson 5rowlandson-thomas--eine-szene-aus-der-farce-citizen-793031

Ben Franklin, b.1706 was a true Renaissance Man himself, Ben Franklin’s Join or Die is a masterly cartoon of the times. Harper’s Weekly Review featured the caricatures of men like Alfred R. Waud who captured the tragedy of the Civil War

BenFrankin Ben Franklin Join or Die Cartoon  Alfred R Waud Civil WarCartoon Massacre of the Innocents at New Orleans 1866

Thomas Nast b.1840, was considered The Father of The American Cartoon. He captured both the corruption of Reconstruction and Tammany Hall.

Thomas Nast Pacific Chivallry Thomas NAst BOss Tweed

Louis Dalrymple b.1868 depicts Teddy Roosevelt’s New Diplomacy, embodying the iconic “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, for Puck Magazine in 1905. E.W. Kemble b.1861 who illustrated Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, also worked for Harper’s Weekly Review penned Roosevelt’s final frustration with “Old Man Ananias” in 1910.

Roosevelt New Diplomacy      Teddy Roosevelt Election

World War 1, World War 11:   Frank Henry Townsend complimented Britain’s Punch Almanack’s roster of illustrious cartoonists. Even our beloved Dr. Seuss got into the act with wartime cartoons.

Ww1 Cartoon / Punch    WW2 Dr Seuss

Vietnam Anti-War Cartoons:  North Carolina-born cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash in 2007. Marlette felt that “Cartoons are windows into the human condition…It’s about life”. His principled take on life was reflected in his conscientious objector stance on the Vietnam War in some of the most poignant cartoons that I can remember. His long and illustrious career covered the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Constitution,  New York’s Newsday and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Vietnam Anti-War Marlette Charlotte Observer  Vietnam Quagmire - Marlette

I AM CHARLIE HEBDO:

It has always been dangerous to be a political cartoonist. Da Vinci risked loosing patrons and the wrath of The Church, as did artist Lucas Cranach. Harper’s Magazine Tammany critic Thomas Nast was threatened by supporters of Boss Tweed. But nothing has highlighted the perpetual risk of drawing for a living, than the recent massacre of artists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This tragedy has shaken us all to the core.

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo has become a global rallying cry. As it was centuries ago and so is now, caricaturists refuse to be intimidated.

charlie-hebdo  Rod-emmerson Charlie Hebdo

Iranian cartoonist, artist and activist Atena Farghadani was arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon that mocked Members of Parliament, depicting them with animal faces. Ms. Farghadani is charged with insulting The Supreme Leader and spreading propaganda. The 28-year-old, described by Amnesty as a prisoner of conscience, languishes in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, having suffered a heart-attack earlier this year. On May 19, 2015 Ms. Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. It is difficult to reconcile this with the push to collaborate with Iran on a nuclear deal.  We must keep up the pressure on the Iranian government to secure Atena’s safe release. **

Atena Farghadani  Atena Farghadani Iranian Cartoon

So given the inherent dangers, not stellar salaries and relentless 24/7 news cycle, what exactly inspires political cartoonists to pick up the pen or brush these days? There is a far-flung family of artists from around the globe who share their thoughts with us on a daily basis. And of course we in The Colonies are some of the most brutal.

In Part 2 of In Praise of Political Cartoonists, I look forward to sharing the members of this historical family with you. Will titillate you now with some gems from the current global political scene:

Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics, calls Donkey Hotey “The Margaret Keane of Political Cartooning” He describes Donkey Hotey by saying “Nast used pen and ink; Donkey Hotey takes public images and alters them into parody or horror. He quotes DK… “I am remixing images, manipulating them and then treating the entire piece as a whole.”

Donald Trump Pence GOP Clown Car donald trump senate hostages

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to provide David Rowe with endless toon fodder. Rowe’s watercolors (the most difficult medium to work in) are brilliant, brutal, and beautiful. Rowe is a Stanley Award-winner and Aussie, who casts his paint far afield.

Tony Abbott Balls David Rowe Toon Donald Trump GOP CANCER DAVID ROWE AUSTRALIA

Raising a Glass of Champers to Political Cartoonists Everywhere…and Those Sail With Them. Long May Your Voices (and Ours)  Be Heard!

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 2 coming soon

@MissMyrtle2  missmyrtle2@gmail.com

** Please sign and share #FreeAtena http://www.amnesty.org.uk/iran-atena-farghadani-prison-cartoon-womens-rights-activist#.VYo2N_lViko