The Notebook Notions: Batman in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

In the words of some guy who went to China and later claimed he wasn’t a crook, let me make this perfectly clear: I realize I’m never going to write for DC Comics, and that I’m almost certainly never going to write comics at all. I’m not that delusional. Just, y’know, almost. This reluctant concession to real-world common sense doesn’t prevent me from flights of fancy, imagining what I’d do if I had the opportunity and the talent to pursue such dreams. In the early-to-mid ’70s, when I was in my teens, I started jotting my notions down in notebooks. Nowadays, I got a blog.

One of my persistent fantasies has been to write a year-long, twelve-part out-of-continuity DC series. Well, not exactly “out of continuity,” but basically set in the DC Universe as it existed circa 1972 through 1975 or so, when Carmine Infantino was in charge. I was twelve to fifteen years old in this time frame, and I have a fond, lingering attachment to the comics of that era. My favorites were the 100-Page Super SpectacularsAdventure ComicsBatmanDetective Comics, and Justice League Of America.

And then there was The Brave And The Bold.

One of these days, I’ll write an extended song and dance about my love/hate relationship with The Brave And The Bold. At one point B & B was my favorite comic book, a series teaming my favorite hero Batman with various other characters from the DC Line Of Superstars. The artwork in these books was often nothing short of gorgeous, from late ’60s runs by Neal Adams and Nick Cardy into the wonderful Jim Aparo‘s long stint commencing in the early ’70s. Bob Haney‘s stories were imaginative and well-told, but I grew tired of them over time. Haney didn’t change; I did. Haney and editor Murray Boltinoff were determinedly unconcerned with continuity, and in retrospect I realize they were probably correct in that approach. But the B & B Batman didn’t quite seem like the same Batman starring in Batman and Detective, and it bugged me as a teen. I stopped buying The Brave And The Bold.

Eventually. And I came back eventually, too.

And I always wanted to write the book. My original notebook notions contain frequent scrawled story ideas for B & B, notably the germ of my idea for a Batman-Aquaman adventure originally called “The Undersea Crimes Of Mr. Freeze,” later amended and much later completed for this blog as a pulp prose short story called “The Undersea World Of Mr. Freeze.” I’m silly-proud of that story, and I hope you’ll check it out.

Getting back to the fantasy: in this scenario, I’ve signed a contract with DC to write The Brave And The Bold as a twelve-issue limited series set in a modified version of DC’s continuity circa 1974 or ’75, thereabouts. The modifications allow me to use Paul Dini‘s version of Mr. Freeze from Batman: The Animated Series, and to refer to Sub Diego from circa 2003 issues of Aquaman. I can use whatever DC characters I want, though I’d likely keep to characters that appeared in DC books during that time; the temptation to use the Charlton line of Action Heroes (which DC purchased in the ’80s) would be resisted here, but Blue Beetle and company would inevitably see…um, action in a companion Justice League Of America 12-issue series in this same continuity. The Carlverse. The Boppinverse! If one’s gonna dream, one should dream big.

So here’s a list of the proposed titles for each issue in this series, beginning with the already-written “The Undersea World Of Mr. Freeze,” continuing into the partially-written “Paradise Does Not Believe In Tears,” and barreling forth thereafter. The fantasy ends here; I doubt I’ll bother to flesh this out any further, but ya never know with me. never know with me. I’ll leave it to the DC Faithful to guess who Batman’s guest stars might be in each issue (though some of my chosen illustrations will presumably provide another clue for you all). In my mind, the artwork on all of these stories is by either the late Nick Cardy or the late Jim Aparo. Or Norm Breyfolgle. Or Jerry Ordway. Or, or….

Anyway. Enjoy this glimpse of what will never be. B & B seeing you!

1.   “The Undersea World Of Mr. Freeze”
2.   “Paradise Does Not Believe In Tears”
3.   “Between Arkham And Eternity”
4.   “Bring Me No Dreams”
5.   “Welcome To The Jungle”
6.   “The Phantom Of Gotham City”
7.   “Who Is The Black Orchid?”
8.   “Our One Man Army At War”
9 .  “The Judgement Of Gotham”
10. “The Death Of The Joker”
11. “A Superstitious And Cowardly Lot”
12. “Hope In Crime Alley”

This one’s not a clue; just a chance to see Jim Aparo’s renditions of more DC superstars.

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