Interviews Reviews Guest Stars Fanzine Misc

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Alan Davis Outsiders (Sans Batman) Read Through w/ M + M Inc.

Mark: Looks like we made it, we're M + M Incorporated. Took us a hot minute, 3 tries, but we finally decided on the Alan Davis Outsiders run, when Batman decided to leave. 

Michael: After our last M + M Inc. took a look at Alan Davis and Mike W. Barr’s Detective Comics run, we’re back with…Alan Davis and Mike W. Barr again! Starting with issue 33 of that series they were solo after Batman left them (what a jerk). The BATO and then the Outsiders issue are a perfect storm for me: my love for this oddball group is only matched by my love for Alan Davis drawing them and Mike Barr writing them. I read all the BATO issues back in the day. I fell off after Bats departed, so some of these solo Outsiders issues will be new to me too. We’re starting with issue 32, when Bats blows them off. I’m stoked!

Mark: I actually didn't care for this series when I was younger. I got issues here and there, mostly for Alan Davis, but I didn't connect with the group and art. As an adult, I read Batman and the Outsiders #1 and LOVED IT. We were actually supposed to do this years ago and never did. Also, when I asked AI which issues Alan Davis illustrated and it told me Davis only drew in the 2000s. Then I called the AI a liar, and it was like "Oh right sorry you were correct." It was probably messing with me because it knows its going to turn off my oxygen like HAL in 2000. 


Michael: Once again, Alan Davis with a KILLER cover. Okay, in the first six pages we get the Masters of Disaster and Matches Malone. I’m in heaven. Bats undercover as Matches always made me happy in the ‘80s. Batman not telling Geo-Force about his homeland being attacked is a dick move, which is pretty much how Barr wrote him in this series. He’s so petulant. I love that Halo totally ignores him and suggests the Outsiders continue without him. He looks pissed. “Everyone leaves me!” Boo hoo. Take that, you pointy eared jerk. Lots of great facial expression work again from Davis. A thought on the Looker epilogue: Davis draws the living hell out of it. I like Aparo a lot but Looker looks like a true looker under Davis’s watch. She’s still a preposterous character but who cares! 

Mark: I'm certain Barr thought Batman was a prick. Between this and Detective. I'm not sure why Batman needed Geo-Force to stay. It's just selfish. And then Barr writes it where Batman breaks up the Outsiders and Halo says no, and he smiles, then she says they can be a team without Batman, and then he frowns and goes on a diatribe about Robins leaving him. Totally reminds me of a time I broke up with a girl, because I wanted to have hand. Thinking she would realize what she was losing in me, but she moved on. And I was like "No one loves me. Everyone always leaves." Batman is early 20s goth me. 

Adventures of the Outsiders 33

Mark: Now Brion Geo Force is being a dick. Giving orders to Black Lightning? Watch that tone Euro Man. I guess I'd be pissed if Russia invaded my neighboring country. Actually I'm from Latvia, which is probably close to Markovia. Oh wait, that's a combination of my name and the country I was born in, which was invaded by Russia. And yet, I feel nothing for Geo Force. The Windfall - Halo thing is a dynamic I always enjoy. The villain-hero friendship that can't be. Rogue - Mystique had a bit of that. Cyborg and Jinx on Teen Titans go. 

MichaelI’m either going to call you Markovia or Geo-Force from now on. But I’m with you, he’s kind of a dishrag, personality wise. I’ve always loved Halo. I think I have a soft spot for conflicted heroes who don’t want to hurt people unless provoked (Dagger from Cloak and Dagger is another favorite). I’m starting to think Looker’s husband is being sort of unreasonable. Didn’t she basically have a major makeover, new hair, etc? Although I guess her body was altered too? I dunno, he’s being a little whiny for my tastes. And then the whole thing ends with Baron Bedlam (great name) resurrecting Hitler. Only in ‘80s comics, folks! Also I just have to say, how spectacular is that Alan Davis cover? 


Mark: It's all so poster worthy. I feel like Alan Davis doesn't get the love he deserves. Conflicted villain Windfall with older sister New Wave. So Windfall gives Halo some of New Wave's drugs to keep her docile. I wonder what she gave her? Was it Marijuana? Or Ibuprofin? Generic sleepy shit. It's funny about the guy saying you can't bring back Hitler cause it's 1986, wait until 2023 man. You could 100% bring him back, and he'd have a show on Newsmax tomorrow. Speaking of today, Russia invading a neighbor, Hitler hiding a "Trump Card", and then giving Hitler a young girl who is Jewish. Jesus Christ man, this issue is kind of weirdly traumatizing. 

Also, I wish Windfall pulled a Rogue, but I'm guessing she doesn't. 

Michael: I get some major, and sweet, loving vibes from the Halo and Windfall scenes. I hope these two kids can make it work. So, Markovia borders France?? Um, okay. Yeah man, the Hitler stuff is off the chain insane. He’s like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s here. I don’t think Mike Barr has ever gotten the respect he deserves for writing some truly bizarre and traumatic comics in the ‘80s. Dude never half-assed it, he just BROUGHT IT. Man, Davis is really firing on all cylinders here. He’s the only artist who could make Looker’s costume look that awesome. Speaking of Looker, I liked how she took on all of the Masters of Disasters by herself, even though it was pretty foolish to do. I’m beginning to like this character more than I did as a kid and honestly I think it’s 90% because Alan Davis is drawing her. 

Yeah, that “Trump Card” line aged horribly, thanks to current events. 


Mark: I wonder if someone stopped reading because we commented on Trump card. I imagine anyone who's read to this point. Hello again. So now Looker has issues with men AND women. Halo isn't feeling her, and neither is Windfall, who did go Rogue. I'll take Double Meanings for 600$ Ken. To go against your group and to turn on Mystique. What is Rogue? OK so from "women don't like each other" in Hitler, and I know I'm reading a comic book from the 80s that might be running out of plot ideas. Now a kid crying to her Dad and him having to comfort her before an execution. What's on the next page, Bedlam killing a cat? Well, it finishes strong with some hot art by Alan Davis and I liked the ending. Good twists and overall moral by Barr. I was starting to doubt. 

Michael: There are some amazing panels in this issue. The ones where Metamorpho gives Looker a “How YOU doin’?” glance and when Halo realizes Looker’s using telepathy to read her thoughts. I’m continually amazed at Alan Davis’s skills, even all these years later. Yeah, the plot here is extremely thin, but I’m just digging the bickering interactions between the Outsiders. They’re such a motley crew. I love your Rogue analogy for Windfall, too. Geo-Force impaling Baron Bedlam to the wall with a Nazi shield was SAVAGE. And it works because of how Davis draws the scene. Amazing stuff. Yeah that ending for Hitler was a twist, for sure.


Mark: Well Michael, we've reached the end of this run. Didn't quite hit like the Barr-Davis run, but the art is still amazing. There's the Star Wars hero ceremony splash page, and Alan Davis is in top form. And we get a motivation for each character. 

This issue is actually a lot more fun the past run. I'm really interested in Windfall and New Wave, but now I want to know how everyone on.. what's their name? Masters of Disaster? How have I not noted the villain team's name? I'm getting old. 

Michael: Yup, the series lasts a few more issues but this is where Davis departs so I think it’s only fitting this is where we depart too. I thoroughly enjoyed this issue. I find myself invested in Looker and her husband’s marriage and all the little character beats for the other members were nice too. Kind of a sweet issue. Davis is so damn good at whimsy isn’t he? I’m he facial expressions and the body language for everyone this issue is so beautiful. 

Mark: Like sexy Geo Force having such a sexy chest he tears open the official uniform of the Markovia kings garb. Which goes directly into Mawwiage (Princess Bride style). 

Michael: I liked this brief post-Batman Outsiders run. It’s certainly not earth shattering stuff, but I kind of like that about it. It was just about the Outsiders and their various struggles. I miss comics like this. Everything now seems to be event-oriented. I like how there was room back then for comics like the Outsiders. Nothing groundbreaking, just light and fluffy fun (with some dark moments interspersed, too). 

Mark: Yeah. Looker slapping her husband was really dark. What a weird sub story. I did notice we don't see a Black Lightning side story. I've felt he kind of got lost in the issues we read. And too bad about Windfall. I have no idea how that ends up.

Michael: As always, this was fun! Can’t wait to do our next one. 

Mark: Yuuuuuuup. If you read all the way through, bless you and thanks. One love. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Fake 1983 Teen Titans Images on Social Media

Recently there have been some fake images going around social media claiming to be production art for a proposed 1983 cartoon. Here is one of them.

I've seen this posted in a few areas. When it was posted in a comic book group on Facebook, everyone had such a laugh at what Starfire looked like, and how Cyborg wasn't the right race. Well of course it's funny, because it's a fake picture. I'm sure it's a real animation production cell from something, but it's certainly not a Teen Titans cartoon from 1983, or any other time. 

Here is what Marv Wolfman told me when I sent him this image. 

"Sorry, I have no idea what this is."

So next time you see something online that seems really dumb, maybe don't take it as face value. 

There were some more images posted, and some of them were from 1987 and 1988, put onto animation production cells, and the poster claimed they were from 1983. How Nightwing could be in a 1983 animation cell when he wasn't introduced until 1984 is beyond me. And should be beyond the people who post these fake pictures online.

Here is a real production cell from the 1983 anti-drug commercial, which may have been used for a cartoon. Protector had to replace Robin because Keebler sponsored the anti-drug comic and cartoon, and Robin was under a Nabisco license. 

You see how it looks like the Teen Titans? Because this is a real production cell. Here is an image from the commercial.

Nothing really to laugh at here. Also, I wish this was a real cartoon. What could have been. Just give me 13 episodes. This has been Mark Belkin airing his grievance with social media BS. Festivus for the rest of us.

Edit: I did some more looking at some more of the supposed cells that appeared online.

This is supposedly from 1983. I could believe 1989, but not 1983. If they could have used Nightwing in 1983, a year before he appeared in comics, then why use Protector?

Here is the first known image of Nightwing. It's from 1984.

And the Raven image is from 1988. It's clearly a swipe. 

Not going to bother Marv Wolfman with this, but 100% these aren't from 1983.