Batman Family Reunion #12 – Batgirl’s Brother, Robin’s Term Paper, and a Jaguar in Central Park!

Oh yeah! Bat-Cousin Ward Hill Terry drops by with his 2 kinds of Buttermilk Biscuits to talk about Batman Family #12.   We not only get to see Batgirl hit her head on the dashboard of an airplane, but Man-Bat is menaced by a flashlight!  All while Robin is doing trick Batarang shots!  And listen to the Bat Family History segment for a special surprise guest star from the Network!

Terry's band’s latest release!

For the Holidays, check out Shawn's BFR Playlists - one of old favorites and the other of new (to be) classics:

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13 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #12 – Batgirl’s Brother, Robin’s Term Paper, and a Jaguar in Central Park!

  1. Happy holidays, Bat-cousins. Enjoyed another wonderful show with yet another great guest.

    As for this issue, big love for the Jim Aparo cover. He was one of my favorite artists of the 70’s as he could draw just about anyone. The Batgirl story intrigued me as I did not know of the existence of Tony Gordon until this issue. So glad we’d see more of him down the road. The Man-Bat tale is very memorable – thanks to the amazing art and a cool concept (changing Kirk from one monster to another).

    I remember tracing that image of Man-Bat from the splash page to color and hang on my bedroom wall during my middle school years. To trace them, I would get the clear plastic cover from my turntable and put the comic page open on it, then put regular white paper over that. I would put a lamp on the floor in my room so that the only light would shine up through the plastic so I could see the art under my paper. Then it was a quick way to copy the art. I did the same for the Robin on his splash page (Irv Novick was another favorite artist of mine at the time). When one has poor drawing skills, you do what works. 😉

    Back then, I had no idea how those last two tales would tie together when issue #13 rolled around. Boy, was that fun. But we’ll talk about that more next month.

    Looking forward to 2023 and getting to talk to you guys about a future issue.

  2. Another great set of adventures old chums .
    This cousin Bucky and cousin Jeremy and the pack Reese the K-9 speedster, Kai the dog wonder and yuki the hound dog warrior. We brought meat loft made from moms recipe. Jeremy is setting up the projector we doing a Batman family double feature the wild world of bat women & the return of the caped crusader .

  3. Wow, I think Terry and I are the same person from just slightly different universes! I was also a child of the 60’s and ran home from school to watch George Reeves (after Dark Shadows, of course, if I arrived in time) and hurried my parents home from dinner to watch Adam West. I have a distinct memory of running into the living room and turning on the TV in barely enough time to watch Batman. ( don’t know the episode, but I remember Batgirl was in it.)

    I have an early memory of a light blue felt hat and round plastic glasses that I used to play Clark Kent. I don’t even think it was for Halloween. (I have pictures to prove it!) I wore out my Batman ViewMaster reel, which was the only way back then I could relive an episode… over and over again. On Saturdays, usually after a trip to the barber, I asked Dad if we could go get a comic book. (There were tattered versions in the barber shop to tantalize me.)

    Batman Family came later… I did have a few direct from the spinner rack at Circle K or Phillips Drug. As much as bats terrify me, Man-bat is one of my favorite DC characters to this day. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is due to one of his appearances in, or on the cover, of the book.

    I love that this reunion takes place more than once a year. I’m the quiet person sitting alone, uncomfortable talking to relatives I don’t know. But I appreciate being invited.

  4. How wonderful to hear Ward Hill Terry on the show, and I’m looking forward to listening to the Christmas song from Don’t Call Me Frank.

    Grrr, how I hate ‘whilst – I spend half my life taking that archaic nonsense word out otherwise almost readable newspaper copy.

    Thank you for the spotlight on Jose Delbo, I had no idea he had done so much work. I remember that NFT business, good on him for exploiting the short of brain. And well done for getting Rob on to tell the story of his unfortunate run in with Mr Delbo at the Kubert School. It sounds like Rob took came up with a challenging composition idea and he should’ve been given Mr Delbo’s blessing to try to make it work. If the four requested pictures were indeed spot illustrations, meant to be in a text version of the Shane story, so long as one of them showed Shane properly, what’s the problem with one being mysterious?

    Excellent defence of Vince Collette! I look forward to the responses on this very page.

    Oh, what did I think of the stories? Well, all praise to Bob Rozakis for coming up with three very different tales of the Bat Gang.

    Regarding the Batgirl story, apologies if I missed you mentioning it, but I think you missed the secret guests stars this time – Babs’ pals Debbi and Judy, stars of old DC series A Date With Debbi, and A Date With Judy. OK, Debbi has dyed her hair, but those names can’t be a coincidence.

    And how nice to see Tony Gordon, Babs’ original, non-insane brother… now I want to go and reread that Mighty Girl story in Adventure Comics. I must say, Tony’s spy disguise rather ruined his looks.

    As for Robin’s solo tale, were you kidding when you asked who Christine Ariadne was? Remember the Robin story in Batman Family #6 and the small matter of an Agatha Christie type and a locked room mystery? THAT Christine Ariadne.

    The Man-Bat story was interesting for the visuals, mainly.

    Most Seventies thing this issue? The price. 60c for so much goodness.

    Did the Batman and Alfred logos ever appear again? Yeah, on their Twinkies strip.

  5. Impressive podcast most impressive.

    Note sadly I am not Houlihan. It just so happens that will have great taste. In both realize how horrible and impractical or bruise outfits are in the books. She is pretty great for coming to the same realization decided after all when it comes to fashion a brilliant. And always the modest. Still realizing it I guess it makes her Catherine the great. Also she said she liked Dick and Lori together as a couple. I am clearly more of a fan of Barbara and Dick. Moving along I can’t really say anything about Laura’s outfit in this issue since I haven’t written you didn’t put up a image of sorry I missed this issue. But, if she’s dressing like jokers daughter that’s an improvement. Sadly we won’t see her back and issue the jokers daughter that is. Moving along the cover to this issue looks great. Not surprising since there is a reason Jim Aparo was such a long-running artist on Batman books. He made these characters look great. The flashlight bit is a bit funny. The costume this woman is wearing looks bizarre, but Jim Aparo makes it work.

    Hey if Franklin wants to collaborate on a fanfiction sure why not? Moving on the bit was batgirl is pretty cool. But yeah it would be nearly impossible for them to set this theft up. Not just for everything you pointed out. But, the police would’ve caught him in seconds. Leaps in aviation had gone way beyond what this biplane was capable. Especially by the 70s. The police would’ve picked him up in minutes. With just two helicopters. They could’ve climbed on grab the fool and took him to jail. It was a cool story to give batgirl something to do to coincide with her brother’s arrival. But, not the greatest criminal mastermind she and the bat family has ever have to face. He deftly didn’t have the gear to pull this off. Was cool to see Barbara’s brother in this comic. Before modern DC completely character assassinate him. And changed his name to Junior. We can blame Dr. Manhattan on this poorly redesigned bit. Though for whatever reason when I look at the guy he kind reminds me of Marv Wolfman. The irony of that is pretty interesting. The artwork and this is not bad. So yeah some bits of detail being left in would’ve helped.

    Still gets the job done even with this particular inker. Moving on to the man bat story. This is clearly early in the artists work. He was still pretty good at this point. When he got to his prime seeing him and Austin team up would’ve been great. Oh well. Francine is just well enough. But, even though the turtleneck is kind of working for him. What is with the pinstriped jacket? Was he auditioning to the a game show host’s? The Jaguar itself is fine. Oh top less Kirk kinky. Man bat as a character works well enough. It is strange that they turned him into a villain. Also in this panel they forgot to cover his feet gray. Since they were probably be covered in fur as well. Well bat sonar telling him of crimes happening makes a lot more sense than the spider sense. With spiders don’t actually have. They would just be weird drawing Peter with all of those eyes. So believe it or not the man bat ripoff makes way more sense than the original version that is the spider sense. Also any panel where Kurt realizes there is a problem going on he has to go fight and that this was a distraction. Francine has a great-looking ponytail holder.

    I’m not going to even begin to try to understand the science of a Jaguar biting him and then a flashlight being flashed at him. Well you could also call it a torch. But, still it doesn’t make any sense that it turns him into a Jaguar. It’s how the Jaguar bite to sleep a mark anyway? Has he still have that body part on him that the Jaguar bit’s? It’s not a house cat that bit him. But, if for trying to science the werewolf curse bit. Then finally I guess. I’m not sure if Julie made this up or if this is a lour thing from Brazil. After finding out that weird vampires from certain movies where you defeat them by putting a scroll mother had were actually staying in ancient China. I’m not sure if Julie made this up or if they researched and found out about it. Still they definitely used the old werewolf myth for how he changes back with the sunlight. We’ll see if he becomes a Jaguar again. I’m sure Kurt can use his scientific knowledge to figure out something. And no there is no relation to me or the villain Mr. O. B is not in fact the Buster to my Babs Bunny’s.

    I think neither of us is tiny. Though I am a little loony. And there is no cartoon to invade one’s TV from. And though I’ve been to many universities, colleges none of them were Acme University. Yes I made that on the joke that he is Mr. O.and I would be a Ms. O. Not sure who the villain is. At first I thought it was Penguin. But his last name starts with a C it’s his first name that starts with an O. So that doesn’t work. I assume he’s someone heard of is why build up a mystery to a new character? That bit never works. The Robin story isn’t that bad. The close-up works well enough. Though I’m not sure this is really the image you’d want to put up to say look at this great hero. As he shows his foot in the camera. Him saving the book bit is pretty cool. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that issue.

    In the Twinkies add we see that Hal Jordan is half the man he used to be. It was an easing of jokes and went for. I’m not sure how they will accomplish this. And I’m waiting for the jail a satellite meeting. Or wherever superheroes are hanging out at probably the big bar thing guy garter now owns. And batgirl and Green Lantern or exchanging stories of what they did in the villain they faced. And Barbara is feeling like she needs a better class of rogues. The paper airplane bit was off with kind of silly to me. I saw the ad a few times but never bothered to get one. Just seemed like something I wouldn’t be into. Showing the old origins of clay face went to was kind of cool. It is kind of interesting saying how well clay faces integrated into modern DC. That at one time he didn’t see him for years. Moving on to the ad. My guess is that ran through everything in and grabbed his Cape. Couldn’t really tell you. The advertisements to the other issues will kind of cool. I wonder if the invaders had a freedom fighters analog for their issue?

    Like those unofficial crossovers between the justice league and the avengers. I don’t remember but it’s possible. Though interestingly enough the squadron supreme was always way more popular than the avengers analogues that DC came up with. The Spalding at isn’t that bad. I know nothing about sports. Though even I remember Dr. J. Sorry I have no idea who Rick Barry. Though hey Mad Magazine own Jack Davis drawing it. Is kind of cool. I say Mad Magazine since I didn’t really read tales from the crypt all that much. Any rate can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  6. Cool listing of Christmas songs. There are three that I always like to hear. At Christmas time.

    Christmas wrapping
    Sai Christmas song
    Snippy and red Baron Christmas

    Oh, I think it was Ya’lLs podcast where bullet man was mentioned. Believe it or not this was not connected to that comic book character. Who was public domain at the time. This was a character from the 12 inch G.I. Joe adventure team. Yet the ones with the arrowhead necklaces. When the wartime G.I. Joe became unpopular. During the early 70s these were the guys that replaced. Mostly had the fuzzy beards. Eagle eyes and kung fu grip. And yes that was just the US. Around the rest the world are called action force. But, basically the same toy. Just their distribution called action force. Specifically in the UK. While actually they may have had different names in different regions. Since I believe in Japan there are called combat Joe. Any rate bullet man was part of his team. As was the atomic man. Who is basically a rip on Steve Austin the six million dollars. Since Hasbro could not get the license. I slightly remember pulser. As well as big Jim. I had one of the G.I. Joe’s. And tanka Van.

    The adventure team worked for a bit. And that was replaced by super Joe which failed. With the weird intruder villain which was a space caveman. Don’t ask. As for big Jim, after leading the Wolfpack. In the 70s. His figure and a few other figures in line morphed into believe it or not he man. Or so the legend goes. Though he man did look a little bit like Conan the barbarian. And if you look at the villain that James Earl Jones is playing in that movie. His comic book version looks a little bit like skeletal. So one of those is true. At any rate G.I. Joe came back as we all know as the real American hero in the US. And action force in the UK. Well a smaller version of action force. It’s a long story.

  7. Great to hear Terry on the show. That man creates a mean theme song, let me tell ya!

    This may be the best cover shot of the Robin Cycle. I LOVE this vehicle. I so wanted a toy of it as a kid. I had a very similar Spider-Man cycle made by Buddy L, with a built in Spidey figure. I actually had two copies of this toy, so I removed the Spidey figure, took off the stickers as best I could, and plopped my Super Powers Robin on it. Boom…instant Robin Cycle! Thankfully Eaglemoss made a nice replica a few years back, complete with Dick Grayson’s van in the background image! I do prefer it in all-red, however.

    Eaglemoss Robin Cycle

    Anyone think that Tony Gordon looks a lot like a young George Lucas?

    Marshall Rogers’ Were-Jaguar is so gorgeously designed, I wanted him to become his own separate character when I first read this story in that beloved Batman Family digest.

    Fun fact about the Sky Heroes. I haven’t seen them in person, but if you look closely at the examples listed on ebay, you can see the figural art is unmistakably by Gil Kane!

    Were the awesome logos for Gordon and Alfred ever reused? Not to my knowledge, which is a shame. Had they been given proper entries in the original, pre-Crisis verison of Who’s Who, I bet someone would have dug these out and used them there. I know Alfred DOES get an entry, but to say how would spoil the contents of your next episode!!!

    I’m a Christmas music fanatic myself, and I have been digging into some new-to-me songs this year more. I did hear Kylie Mongue’s version of The Waitresses’ “Merry Christmas” on one of the Sirus XM channels last week, and of course I thought of Shawn!

  8. Fun episode guys.
    I did have the Batman Skyhero. It was made is very thin styrofoam. They did not last very long. I flew it once or twice before the wing tore.
    Now, the water rocket I bought at the Boston Museum of Science (where it’s entirely possible I saw Ward Hill Terry demonstrate the lightening show) was made of much better materials. I only launched it once because it landed on my neighbor’s roof.

  9. Festivus greetings, Bat-cousins!

    I enjoyed reading these stories as a kid, but rereading them now has really made me appreciate them. And it’s also made me realize how underrated of a writer Bob Rozakis is. One issue might have three solo stories (like this one), another featured a Batgirl/Robin team-up, and then there’s next issue where the whole damn Bat-Fam comes together, and there’s a subtle interconnectivity with all of them. Definitely entertaining and fun.

    These days too many people would be trying to fill in the continuity with Tony. “Well he must have gone down before Bruce Wayne became Batman. Otherwise he would have investigated and rescued him.” “Yeah, but you don’t think BATMAN didn’t know what really happened anyway?” Crap, I’m doing it, aren’t I? Aah, simpler times.

    This issue featured a nice set of artists, didn’t it? Jose Delbo seems best known for female heroes — Batgirl here and his long run in Wonder Woman. Maybe not quite as realistic as Neal Adams, but definitely one of the better artists at DC in the 70s. And Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin’s classic run on Detective Comics remains a favorite of mine!

    Irv Novick was always a favorite at the time. His work looked better when paired with Frank McLaughlin as opposed to Vince Colletta. No, I’m not going to open that debate; I don’t want anyone throwing Uncle Johnny’s eternal holiday fruitcake at me!*

    Oddly and frustratingly enough, that World’s Finest with Tony Gordon’s first appearance is not on the DC Universe site. And it doesn’t look like the Adventure Comics appearance of li’l Babs is either.

    The most 70s thing in this issue? At first I was thinking how nicely dressed Barbara and friends were when visiting the Smithsonian. Then again, these are two friends visiting a 3rd friend who is a member of the US House of Representatives, so the choice of clothing is understandable. Then I noticed the Chinese soldiers interrogating Tony. Yeaahh. That may have been downright progressive for the time, especially when you think of Asian depictions 35 years before this, but it definitely dates the story.

    Wishing everyone a happy holiday!

    *Just in case someone doesn’t get the reference —

  10. Hey guys, great show! Love hearing Terry on the network.

    These Jim Aparo covers are just so good lately. DC needs to put out a HC “The DC Covers of Jim Aparo” book. I’d gladly fork over $100 (42% off over at IST!) for it.

    And, not to be THAT GUY, but since you mentioned it–it was I who came up with the JLGL (PBHN) thing over on my late, lamented Aquaman Shrine blog, of which Shawn was a member of FOAM. When I started doing the Fire and Water Podcast, I kept the gag going, and now it’s become the closest I’ll get to creating a meme.

    1. P.S. Thanks to Terry backing me up re: Jose Delbo’s inkers. When I was a kid I had no conception of what inkers even did and what effect they had on the pencil art, so if I saw art I didn’t like I would assign all the blame to whoever was listed first. Only over time did I notice, hey, I like this guy when he’s inked by that guy, but not by that other guy. For whatever reason, Delbo kept getting paired with inkers who didn’t do him any favors. That said, I stand by my story from when he was my instructor at JKS. I WAS RIGHT DAMMIT!

  11. Happy holidays, Bat Family. Sorry I’m late, I brought eggnog with Baileys, dark rum, whiskey, a touch of cinnamon, and topped it with nutmeg. I also brought candy canes so all the parents can lose their minds trying to remove the individual wrapping without breaking the candy cane into a thousand pieces.

    Bat-Cousin Ward Hill Terry is a great guest. It’s also nice getting a cameo from all-star Rob Kelly. Thanks for bringing a cooler of Slurpees, Rob. I’m trying to choose between the cherry ones at the top of the cooler that are pure liquid after ten minutes or the coke Slurpees at the bottom of the ice that are frozen solid. Refreshing. By the way, I’m sure Jose Delbo is a nice enough fellow, but you have every right to hate his guts. Also, I always thought the movie/book was called Shame, not Shane. Who names a cowboys Shane?

    The Batgirl story was okay. Nice to see Babs has a brother who is not a serial killer. Although, trying to stay unseen by his family by being a highly visible lecturer at the Smithsonian museum a half mile from where his sister works isn’t what I’d call primo 007 instincts. I’d say the most 70’s moment of the story is that apparently back then, nobody actually worked at the Smithsonian. You could just walk around and take stuff.

    Man-Bat art continues to impress. I agree with Shawn that the art is really starting to outshine the Robin and Batgirl stories. I wonder if the inker has anything to do with it? Bat-Cousin Ward Hill Terry provides a very intelligent, thoughtful, and generous defense of Vince Colletta. My only counterpoint would be Vince Colletta is not very good.

    I remember all these ads. The Superman flier art always threw me off because the angles don’t line up. The art on the far wing would have to be stretched out to be viewed at this angle. And thank you for posting the Spalding ad. Julius Erving is my all-time favorite basketball player. Nobody wants to see you shooting jumpers, Rick Barry, while the Doctor is doing windmill dunks from the foul line! Go Sixers!

    The Robin story was a bit silly, but, I love talking motorcycles. Especially when they show up at your apartment or dorm. Robin’s cycle climbs the stairs and shows up at his dorm room door and no fellow student is the wiser. Babs and Dick seem really eager to follow orders from their modes of transportation. If Dick was thinking faster, he could have said, “Yeah, Babs, I guess we better do what the motorcycles say. In fact, mine is now telling me that you should drive your cycle over to my dorm dressed as Wonder Woman and tie me up with your bat rope. Weird , huh? But, we better do what it says, right?”

    Well, gotta go. Looks like Great Aunt Louise has been hitting the eggnog hard and passed out in the nativity scene.

    Happy Holidays, guys!

  12. It was an interesting discussion of Vince Colletta in this episode.

    He seems to be the most polarizing inker ever, though the controversy makes sense the more I learn.

    But … the way he inked women’s faces has always looked amazing to me. He was responsible for many of the early 80s comic pages I can still remember to this day: Dazzler, Red Sonja, the Supergirl stories in Superman Family. And even that random issue of Team America I own but don’t remember buying.

    I’m really looking forward to the next episode, which is the first of the three issues I own and must have read hundreds of times.

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