Batman Family Reunion #13 – The TNT Trio Takes on The Outsider!

This month at the Wayne Family Gardens, Shawn and Paul welcome 2 guests - Tim Price and Dan Greenfield - to discuss Batman Family #13.  It takes this Quirky Quartet to discuss the 4 fabulous chapters of this epic story! Just like Robin, we all bare our souls and declare our love for Batgirl (as well as the art of Don Newton and Marshall Rogers), while enjoying Tim’s Seven-Layer Jello!  Hopefully all our listeners aren’t asleep, like Babs…

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21 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #13 – The TNT Trio Takes on The Outsider!

  1. Great show guys! Loved hearing Tim and Dan chime in on this, probably the BEST issue of Batman Family, and certainly the one with the most historical impact. And no, I’m not talking about the return of the Outsider. I’m talking about the moment that had to stick out in the minds of creators like Chuck Dixon, who would later run with it: Dick’s big “how much I feel” moment with Babs!

    I first read this in that great Batman Family digest (waiting for Shawn to swoon). It was the biggest chunk of that issue, and I loved it then, and now. Don Newton and Marshall Rogers are not only two of my all-time favorite comic artists, they are two of my favorite Bat-Artists, PERIOD. Intersting that both artists would draw a much more mature and older looking Dick Grayson than many of their contemporaries. Something George Perez would certainly do a lot with as well!

    Despite the wonky “only in Bronze Age comics” logic here and there, this issue is so great, I can’t even find much to add. Oh, I would have went for that Secret Origins book too, but we’d all been better off if we’d picked the Ali Treasury!!!

  2. Hey old chums . Another great episode cousin Jeremy and I brought the pack with us and no not the villains from the tv series gargoyles. I mean our k-9 companions. Also we made Bat-urrtios .
    We have three kinds
    Purple plate = joker style : diced fish stick and French fries , mixed lettuce and punchline sauce aka a mix of horse radish and lemon pepper . Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face if you like fish .

    Red plate = Robin style : teriyaki chicken , tomato’s bell pepper and Asian coleslaw .

    White plate = Manbat style : shredded carrots and cabbage, with shredded marinated steak and seasoned beef mixed together and cheddar cheese .
    All three as put in blue corn tortillas something different .

    So step right and grab some before Chris Franklin and shag polish of the Manbat style or I end up eating all the Robin style .

  3. Great show. Cross-pollinated, entertaining, informative content… and all very professionally delivered… You guys should be America’s Got Talent’s next contestants!

  4. I’ve had issues 13 – 15 since they were first published. I must have read them dozens of times as a kid.

    I’ve just reread them and, although I still remember bits and pieces of issues 14 and 15, the entire story of issue 13 was as fresh in my brain as when I was 8 years old. Probably because it was a multipart story with memorable pictures.

    As an adult I love some of the crazy layout angles which look so natural: when Batgirl is sleeping on the couch, and when Alfred faints. The images are rotated to make the character fit into the box, but is done so well that it doesn’t look disorienting at all.

  5. This was my very first comic book, at age seven, which left me utterly baffled and completely enticed in this medium. As implausible as different plot points were, they were executed so well that I thoroughly enjoyed this book length tale.

    One thing I realized rereading it is that the news reporter, which Kirk and Francine is watching on the telly, is probably Martha Roberts, girlfriend of Darrel “Doll Man” Dane from the Freedom Fighters… building upon the ties within the Rozakis-verse!

  6. Just thought I’d throw in a Christmas I heard for the first time last year . I forget the singer but it was called the king of Christmas where Elvis and Santa are one of the same . Also two favorites of mine are who spiked the eggnog and the Christmas can can . If any one is looking for new Christmas songs for next year I recommend these three . And I’ve bin going big on the Beatles recently.
    My current favorite Beatles tunes are as follows
    1. Yellow submarine.
    2. Paper back writer .
    3. Good day sun shine .
    Just wondering what are your favorite Beatles tracks or albums .

  7. The issue before this was my first for BatFam, and, as so often happened in those days of dodgy distribution, I did not see this one on the stands. I did not acquire it until many years later, and so I don’t have the same affection for it as you do. Nevertheless, I really appreciate you expressing your affection! I am not going to pick it apart! While this podcast is still fresh in my ears:

    Dan, even if Don Newton had only drawn one Batgirl story, he should be considered among her best artists. The way he drew her in the two-part story in Detective #492 (“Vengeance Trail” and “At War With General Scar”) is Batgirl perfection.

    Tim; you keep going on and on about Outsiders. Have you ever mentioned Ponyboy Curtis even once? Or Darryl? Or Sodapop?

    Paul and Shawn; you missed an appearance on the Bat-Family in this months roundup of comics! Take a close look at the cover of Adventure #453. Recognize that red hair?

    1. Terry reminds me that I forgot to mention that Don Newton drew the SEXIEST Batgirl I had seen up to that point, outside of Yvonne Craig. That look she’s giving Robin after she refuffs him following the motorcycle rescue; the shot of her thinking in Gabriel’s Horn; and especially the shots of her sans utility belt flipping around and fighting. Newton was a master of realistic anatomy, so she looked like her costume was practically painted on. All this without ever ventuing into overly intentional titilation. Needless to say…it was influential on me when I first read these stories at 10 years old!

      1. This might be hard to believe, but I had the same thought and belt-less Batgirl, but withheld it during recording or poor Paul and Shawn would have had even *more* editing of me to do. Yes, Newton’s Batgirl was gorgeous! Wowie-zowie!

    2. Hey, Terry. Of course, I know those Outsiders by those nicknames. Ponyboy is Geo-Force, Darryl is Metamorpho, and Sodapop is Halo. I mean, obviously!

      Oh, I just looked up the details on Adventure #453, and that’s insane! You are a scholar, good sir! Well done!

  8. I know I gave a brief comment about this episode on Twitter, but I wanted to elaborate further on this particular episode and issue of Batman Family. By the way, I did intend to bring a sweet potato casserole and a pumpkin cheesecake to the reunion, but the greedy neighbors in my neighborhood helped themselves to my hard work and tasty food while promising me an actual copy of Detective Comics #27. I’m still waiting on that comic book.

    Anyway, I first read the story in Batman Family #13 in the much-beloved Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #51. In the middle of stories featuring the first appearance of Ra’s al Ghul and the Reaper was the Man-Bat story from the previous issue and this gem of a story with the TNT Trio. Since I did not see the cover for BF #13 in the digest, I was curious as to who this Mr. O character the Man-Bat story eluded to. As I read about the insane Robin/Batgirl race through New York and started the Man-Bat chapter of this story, I learned that Mr. O was a character with severely white skin, tons of acne craters, and purple Speedos. This was my introduction to the Outsider and I was intrigued by his ability to manipulate everything. Whatever you thought couldn’t happen did with the Outsider: controlling two motorcycles, grabbing the Moon from the sky, and heaving at his enemy, emerging from a computer screen to attack Robin and Batgirl. The Outsider could do anything, except get rid of those acne scars!

    At the time I first read the story, I did not realize this was Don Newton who did the pencils in this story. I knew his work in the then-current Batman series, but could not discern that this was a story Newton drew earlier in his career. One thing I did notice, even at seven years old, was his depiction of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. His Batgirl was one that stood and moved confidently, She also looked quite sexy and sleek in her skin-tight costume. I was familiar with the Yvonne Craig depiction of Batgirl in the TV series, but this was the Batgirl that I admit to having a childhood crush on. When I lost the copy of this digest, I still had strong notions of this story, especially the depiction of one of my favorite redheads.

    Over a decade ago, I found a copy of Batman Family #13 at a local comic shop that is currently no longer in business. My memory was hazy as to many details, but I had a hunch that this was the actual issue featuring the story with Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat versus the Outsider that I read years ago. To my delight, my hunch was right and I read the story, feeling nostalgic about reading that digest in school and at home, loving those stories. I also wondered how Barbara was able to peel out of that costume! (Cue the Ohio Players singing “Skin Tight” at a loud volume here.) Last year, I found another copy of the Batman Family digest that I had lost years ago so I can revisit this story whenever I want, although now with reading glasses. This was a fun and crazy story that I have to say is one of my favorite Bat-related stories ever.

  9. This was another fantastic episode! Tim and Dan were both great guests with lots of insight on both the issue and comic book history. I pity the poor fool who has to follow them.

    I don’t have this issue…yet, but I must get my hands on it soon so I can experience it in all its glory. Even knowing the ending, from what I just heard, it is going to be one wild ride. I like the idea of interconnecting all of the current Bat-family members into one cohesive storyline.

    And that last bit!!! Batwoman shows up at Babs’ door just to melt away! I can’t wait to read the next issue to see what that’s all about.

  10. Great episode, guys!

    What a birthday present to get a new episode in my feed! It makes up for the head cold I’m dealing with.

    Yeah, a lot of Bronze Age logic is at play in this story, but isn’t that why we love ’em? For some reason I thought something was said that the flashlights were made to shine concentrated moonlight. And maybe it didn’t explicitly say in the story, but it seems that once the Outsider was separated from Alfred, that shut down his powers — a case of where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    And artwork by Don Newton AND Marshall Rogers! Only bad thing is that we didn’t get Batgirl drawn by Marshall Rogers.

    I don’t know why but all this time I thought the first prizes in the contest was a choice of one or the other — movie appearance OR office tour. Heck, as a 10 year old I would have been fine with a tour of the DC offices. I don’t know if my mother would have been fine with going to New York City in the 1970s, though! At least they anticipated that a lot of the entries might come from kids.

    I was surprised when you said the Norm Breyfogle Robin costume was redone from his original entry. Knowing what his artwork looks like 10 years after this, I could see it eventually progressing to that point.

    Two very 70s things that I don’t know if anyone else noticed. First, the artist rendering in the newscast. These days, with cell phones and security cameras everywhere, something like that may be limited to courtroom sketches, but more common back then. Second, the movie contest rules state “First prize winners will be notified by telegram”. Does anyone here remember ever receiving a telegram? Because I know I never have, and I really can’t remember my parents receiving one either.

    Have a great January, everyone!

  11. I’m gonna put in another thank you to Paul and Shawn for having me on the show, and to Dan for sharing the guest spot with me. It was such a fun conversation, I didn’t want it to end. Thanks, gang.

    Speaking of ending, one last point I didn’t get to: the Bat-family keeping Alfred’s condition from him. Does this seem like a bad idea? I mean, if an innocent bump to the head could turn you into an omnipotent supervillain, shouldn’t that be discussed a little? Or at least, invest in a decent helmet for Alfred to wear?

    Till next reunion! I’ll bring the frozen strawberry dessert!

  12. Hi, Bat Cousins. Sorry I’m late. I brought several mayonnaise-based salads. I am instantly regretting it.

    Before we start, when I heard my name and “future guest,” my heart soared. I immediately ran over to the clip boards over by the pavilion to sign up. So, I either signed up to visit the Wayne Family Gardens or play kick ball. Either way, I’m in!

    Let’s quickly set the record straight. There is a better chance of the Kiss Marvel Super Special’s ink containing gold than there is their actual blood. I guarantee Stan Lee gave the vial to an intern in lieu of payment.

    Batman Family 13 had a great cover. I love Aparo’s symmetry and storytelling with just this image. Good stuff. The whole story was a lot of fun and the best to date. Robin and Batgirl looked great in Don Newton’s art, and the duo really got to show off their excellent hearing by carrying on a lengthy conversation while going 75 mph on separate motorcycles.

    The Man-Bat art continues to get better and better. The finishing flying kick on the Sunset Gang lady looks just like a Walt Simonson panel. Also, did anyone else catch the news broadcast saying Doll Man killed somebody? Is there a more humiliating hero to be murdered by than Doll Man? “There he is, officer! That’s the posable action figure who killed my husband!” While a Were-Jaguar named Uturuncu has way too many pronunciation problems, I do appreciate the Outsider following up his word salad with a reference to “The Batman Family.” Way to be a company man, Outsider.

    Somebody needs to help Robin work on his game. Telling Babs he has his pick of babes at school and then invoking the “hot for 5th grade teacher” fantasy probably isn’t the best way to get with her. I think Bat Cousin Dan is on the right track that Barbara’s “nap” was coverage. But, c’mon, Babs, give Dick a chance (that didn’t come out right)! He’s a good guy and It’s not like you’re gonna meet someone better at work. Most of your co-workers in Congress are septuagenarians who are still grumbly about “some people” getting rights.

    The ending of this story escalated quickly. Man-Bat killed a Were-Jaguar with a trident! Then he skins the dead creature and wears its flesh as a full body suit! This is dark even for a man who is a bat. He should probably skip telling the wife that part of the story. Unless she’s into that, which is entirely possible given she’s married to a man-bat. Great fight storytelling by Newton and Wiacek. Gotta love Robin shining the light on the Outsider and separating Alfred… who appears in full butler tuxedo! Does this poor bastard ever get to wear anything else? Regarding the flashlight, if this would end the fight, why didn’t Robin open with this? Maybe he was still in shock from his fellow hero showing up ensconced in dead jaguar.

    Well, gotta run. Uncle Ed did a sample platter of my mayo-based salads after they’d been out in the sun for three hours. We’re going to need a porta potty and maybe a priest.

  13. Impressive podcast most impressive. Sorry I’m a little late to the party. It was a busy week. Dr. visits and whatnot. To get ready for the next step. At any rate. I actually went out and got this comic. Well I downloaded it from Amazon. Had a few bucks left over for some purchase I made but this one. Issue 19. Another comic. Not much the same way a fashion this issue. Since no one is really wearing any normal clothes. Save Alfred and its just a really cool tux. Interesting that this was a good enough two-parter. And that they were able to combined all three characters into one story. I did rather enjoy this issue all have a lot to say on fashion when you get to issue 19 but I don’t have much say right now. That’s basically everyone’s in their costumes. Francine has on a nice green dress. For a maternity outfit it’s not bad I’m not overly impressed by Kurt’s bathrobes and pants. Though heck I’m glad he went and got the pajama bottoms that can turn brown and instant. They show the transformation he just takes off the bathrobe and takes a formula and then his blue pants turn brown. And become genes well slacks from the pajama bottoms they were minute ago.

    That is just impressive. The cover looks great. With the outsider as the main centerpiece. And him holding up a defeated Barb’s and Robin. Wish man bats swooping in to help them. The candle thing is interesting. Though to paraphrase the framework tree-lined even though he has all this power it can’t buy him taste. Seriously giant candles? If it were in for Jo Cruz would make sense since he can sing happy birthday while doing it. With the outsider this is just pointless. It lacks knowledge creativity. Then again we are talking about a man who runs around in a purple speedo’s. I guess this up reviews the opposite of offers was always in those great tuxes. Job-related. But I’m pretty sure in his off hours Alfred dress nice to. Piercing this guy has the power to pull down the mood create always candles. Separate people from their inner dark cells. But, he has no creativity. I’m trying to decide if I believe Kurt sewed a costume made out of the corpse of the leopard creature. RFE just bought a bunch of leopardprint jackets and sew them together with some sort of stuffed animal head.

    Since I’m pretty sure he’s never been noted as an expert in making sounds. So is he walking in there making that sound like beauty in me at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Race just some guy going GGR a ar arr! And as powerful as the outsider is these not the brightest bulb in the light store. And he just buys it as its really sounding like a Leopard man. It’s kind of sad when such a smart man like Alfred as an evil clone it turns into the dumbest man alive. I mean he had great well-ish plans when he was in his 50s run. But this was just kind of oy. Seeing his origin reprinted in the back was kind of cool. As good as a draftsman as Rogers is. You can tell he was never a boxer. Alfred’s punches or terrible. That first order broke his wrist. That second one got enough wind up for you see it coming from New York. The pose is kind of old-school bareknuckle boxing. Which I guess fits. But none of the punches make any sense. I am glad it’s Alfred that the features evil alter ego. Oh as for Babs falling asleep. We find out decades later she was pretending it that she wasn’t ready to admit her feelings for Dick.

    This was in the issue where they were engaged to be married. But, because superhero comics in DC in that timeframe the early 2000’s. No one was a loud to be married. That worked out really well when they had that Batman Catwoman wedding issue. Yeah that in backfire in their face, oh wait. It is too bad we will not see this version of Kurt again as man bat. Since he was an interesting enough hero. Oh well it is what it is oh the third issue I got was the giant size Batman family with her liquid i.e. the jokers daughter in it. That was what she was called back then. This is the one person becomes a daughter of every super villain except for the one she’s actually related to. Well all of the big time super villains of that time.. Because I wanted to have that issue on hand.

    I think I read it years ago. Can’t remember. But, I wanted to have in my possession one of harlequins i.e. the jokers daughter’s 70s, book story. Any rate can’t wait till the next issue. Sadly I have no fashion faux pas’s to talk up in this issue. But when you get to issue 19 I will have a lot to say. Cannot wait to hear the next podcast.

  14. Hi chaps, apologies for the slow reply, I’m on a secret mission for Alfred’s old OSS handlers, but expect me to bring baked Alaska to the next reunion…

    What a bonkers issue. What great guests. What terrific hosts. What is ‘moon pie’?

    There was a comment made by one of the guest lads that the Green Lantern title was saved by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams when they added Green Arrow – I thought that was the last ditch attempt to save the book… remember, while there were critical plaudits it soon get cancelled anyway.

    I was a fan of Don Newton but not a great booster for his Batgirl, she looked too realistic for me, not exciting enough. Too lanky. That said, that panel of her hugging her knees is adorable, and very informative as regards the angle of her Bat-ears.

    How interesting to hear that the Outsider-is-Alfred reveal was made up on the fly. No wonder it makes not a lick of sense. I read the original Outsider stories in UK Double Double comics… ask me about them next time I’m on (he said hopefully/presumptuously).

  15. In some universe…
    Joker Clown Prince OF Crime 20
    Clowns and Creeps on Campus
    After barely escaping Superman last issue Joker and his new (friend?) the Creeper go to college! As they tangle with the Atom and we see who’s been stalking our toothsome twosome since issue 14. Hint his initials are BM

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