Monday, March 3, 2014

Guest Review - The Black Bat #1

   Back with a Guest Review of a pulp revival (no relation to a certain Dark Knight) is my pal Lyle Tucker:   

   You can't keep a good bat down.

   Eighty-one years ago (1933) a character known as The Black Bat burst onto the scene in the pulp pages of a magazine - BLACK BAT DETECTIVE MAGAZINE to be exact. 

   The Bat lasted for about a year. Five years afterwards, Ned Pines introduced a second Black Bat in the pages of BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE.

   Crime-fighting District Attorney Anthony Quinn (no relation to Zorba the Greek) was blinded after having acid thrown into his face during the trial of criminal kingpin Oliver Snate (ya gotta love that name). 

   Quinn is befriended by the daughter of a dying policeman (whose corneas, transplanted into Quinn, not only allow him to see again, but also to have perfect sight in the dark). 

   Not to mention better hearing, more sensitive touch, etc, acquired from from when he was still blind. (And since this wasn't yet the '60s, no radioactive isotopes are involved)

   Now this Black Bat and the Batman we all know and love, hit the stands at roughly the same time and each accused the other of copycatting. Lawsuits were about to happen, until a senior DC editor who had once worked for Pines drew up a deal allowing both to amicably continue. 

   Visually both characters most likely took inspiration from the original 1933 Bat, so finger pointing was more than a little hypocritical. The pulp Black Bat lasted for 71 issues.

   Nedor/Standard comics (also part of Ned Pines' publishing) reconfigured The Bat as The Mask in 1940. The Mask retired in 1942.

   In 2011, Clockwork Comics introduced a fourth, updated Black Bat that lasted only one issue.

   Also in 2011, Moonstone comics showcased The Black Bat in the graphic novel “Return of the Originals.”

   Finally, in 2013, Dynamite includes The Black Bat as part of their vigilante team, Masks, and in May of 2013, THE BLACK BAT #1 comes out, written by Brian Buccellato and drawn by Ronan Cliquet.

   Our hero is still named Tony Quinn and the villain is criminal kingpin, Oliver Snate. The story's been updated to modern times, but the artwork and the coloring keep the tone set in the noir '40s. I really enjoyed this comic, especially Cliquet's art, which reminded me of a tidier Miller and Janson.

Grade: B+

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1 comment:

Glen Davis said...

I keep waiting for this series to kick into second gear, but so far it hasn't happened.