Category Archives: jim aparo

Dick Giordano 1932-2010

There is very sad news today, award-winning comics legend Dick Giordano has passed away. He began as an artist in the 1950s with Charlton Comics and soon rose to editor-in-chief as he introduced their action hero line and brought in many new talents who would themselves later become legends in the field.

The realistic art style that defined the realism of the 1970s was largely due to his distinctive inking. Any artist he inked became instant dynamic, among them Neal Adams, Dick Dillin and Ross Andru. Some of the best known and loved versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, the Human Target and especially Green Lantern and Green Arrow hold his brilliant lines.

As an editor at DC Comics, Giordano helped to relaunch many of their characters in the 1980s. He helped create their mature imprint Vertigo, brought in talent from the UK like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and was instrumental in the fight for creators’ rights.

His legacy and inspiration is evident in every facet of the comics industry both inside and outside. We have lost one of the great ones. Dick Giordano will be missed. Rest in peace, sir.

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The Animated Spectre

DC Showcase: The Spectre ~ Also on the same DVD as Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an animated short featuring one of DC Comics’ oldest, and most violent superhero characters.

Created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, the Spectre is detective Jim Corrigan, murdered and returned to life to become a spirit of vengeance, dispensing justice in twisted, ironic and omnipotent ways. The most notable stories of this character were presented by writer Michael Fleischer and artist Jim Aparo in the Adventure Comics of the mid-1970s. The feature was eventually discontinued, some believe because of the hyper-violence of the protagonist’s punishments – too intense for the times, but in hindsight, some of the best comics of that era.

The Spectre’s first foray into animation here is brilliance! Writer Steve Niles delivers a film noir punch with a horror intensity that not only makes this character accessible to new audiences but also represents all the things about the Spectre that hardcore comics readers love about him. This is the Fleischer/Aparo Spectre brought to animated (after)life.

And serious props go to whoever thought of stripping the animation with lines and crackles to give the effect of an old movie, beautiful touch. This segment was a masterpiece, and well worth the full price of the entire DVD.

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Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Had enough of the psychotic sociopath dark knight version of Batman? Yeah, me too. Well, Cartoon Network might have something coming up in the new season that might just please those of us in the supposed minority – “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”

The series takes its name from the old DC Comics title of roughly the same name. Brave and the Bold was originally a try-out title, launching such comics as Justice League of America, Suicide Squad and Hawkman. It soon morphed into a team-up book, and still later in the early 1970s into the Batman team-up book. The series, highlighted by stories from Bob Haney and at by Jim Aparo, was a fan fave as the caped crusader teamed with frequent guest-stars like Wildcat, Green Arrow, Sgt. Rock and even the Joker. The new TV series isn’t far from that original concept.

Here’s how Cartoon Network describes it: “Batman isn’t going at it alone this time! From Warner Bros. Animation comes the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise. Our caped crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe, delivering nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief. Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will get a chance to uphold justice alongside Batman. Though still based in Gotham, Batman will frequently find himself outside city limits, facing situations that are both unfamiliar and exhilarating. With formidable foes around every corner, Batman will still rely on his stealth, resourcefulness and limitless supply of cool gadgets to bring justice home.”

The happier shinier Batman is voiced by Dietrich Bader formerly of “The Drew Carey Show,” and is joined by Tom Kenney as Plastic Man (who also portrayed the hero in a Plas animated pilot a couple years back), fan favorite Wil Wheaton as the new Blue Beetle, John DiMaggio (Bender of “Futurama”) as Aquaman, and in a bit of inspired casting, R. Lee Ermey as Wildcat. Tom Everett Scott and Billy West will also reprise their “Justice League Unlimited” roles of Booster Gold and Skeets.

The cartoon will have a real retro-feel to it, sort of a cross between the 1966 camp “Batman” TV series and the world’s greatest detective stories by Haney/Aparo in Brave and the Bold comics. This even shows up in design. Aquaman is in his old costume while still sporting his more recent beard. Green Arrow wears his old costume as well, but with a New Frontier-esque flair. Some characters, like the Red Tornado, are familiar yet new designs.

We even see a selection of old school villains long since lost in the shadows behind Batman’s more psychotic enemies. There will be such oddities as Calendar Man, the Cavalier, Kite-Man, Clock King and the Zebra-Man, as well as more traditional super-foes like Kanjar Ro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, Ocean Master, the Gentleman Ghost and the Emerald Empress.

On the hero side in the team-up department we’ll also see Doctor Fate, Kamandi, Metamorpho, the Atom, Deadman, Black Canary, Adam Strange, Fire, Guy Gardner, Jonah Hex, the Green Lantern Corps, the Flash, the Huntress, the Justice Society of America, and yes, even Bat-Mite and Ace the Bathound. And if that ain’t old school, I don’t know what is.

“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” premieres on Cartoon Network on November 14th.