Batman Family Reunion #14 – Plastic Suits and Crazy Neighbors!

This month, Bat-Cousin Paul Wildenberger brings his spicy salsa to the reunion to talk about Batman Family #14!  A crazy virus melts Batwoman and threatens Batgirl & Robin, but that doesn’t stop the Boy Wonder from another great Batarang trick! Meanwhile Man-Bat gets a shock from his neighbor, and we learn a little more about who is knocking on Francine’s door.  All this and more great food and company at this month’s BFR!

This month's Bat Family History links for Don Heck:

Note there is also a book from TwoMorrows: Don Heck: A Work Of Art, by John Coates:

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12 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #14 – Plastic Suits and Crazy Neighbors!

  1. Hey bat chums cousin Jeremy and I are back . We brought some store bought sushi :
    Jeremy bought his favorite Philadelphia rolls :shrimp and veggie .
    I got California rolls tuna and crab .
    Also This is my first issue of Batman family I’ve read the cliff hanger at end got me . And it was a great story and I was shocked and happy to see bat woman still alive at the end .
    On to man bat I thought idea of man bat tangling with a horror movie fan was an interesting idea . But my question where did he get a flame thower
    And he doesn’t have the training to use it .
    A great episode and a great guest . Also the Zodiac man that’s a villain I’ve never heard of . See next time same bat family time same bat family channel .

  2. I’m back !!! While listening to
    The end of the podcast I heard some body mention the book outsiders . But they didn’t mention two bit my main man the comedian of the crew and mean that as funny guy not as in the guy from the watchmen.
    Also I’d like to request the outsiders movie for film and water in case shag or Rob read this and I elect our favorite bat cousins as guests.

  3. I’m here for the picnic and brought a bagful of Clark bars, which is the only one from that ad I have ever eaten, and only because I found it at the bottom of my Halloween candy.

    I’m sure we’ve all heard of a Zagnut bar, it’s the one Beetlejuice uses to lure the fly with when he’s still trapped in the model of the town. I wonder if any of those are still around?

  4. Oh, I remember this issue, with that cover that manages to walk the line between seriously silly and seriously disturbing. Neither of the stories this time was especially great, but they were fun time-passers.

    Yes Indeedy, Kirk’s Man-Bat head looked off, as if he was cosplaying Dell Comics’ Sixties Dracula.

    What with the stories being dull, my fave feature this time was the spotlight on the seriously underrated Don Heck. I have to say, nobody drew sloe-eyed femme fatales like him. His work here really benefited from Bob Wiacek’s inks, I think we can safely credit him for the zip-a-tone that elevated that Kid Flash illo.

    That’s definitely Steve Howard in the Tootsie Roll Pap advert, what with the dyed dark hair.

    And no, I won’t insult the logos this issue, cos there weren’t any, just a mess of words.

  5. impressive podcast most impressive. I probably need a new intro, but whatever. This looks like a fun enough comic. Probably not playing out the way it played out mentally to readers as it did at the time in this day and age. As it did back in the 70s. With the beer bug and all. The cover is great. I think both Babs and Dick are behind Kathy. I think we’re seeing is from the point of view of the shooter. Kathy is right at us. They can Babs are flying into the left of her. Well swinging in they cannot fly, but whatever. I’m not sure if it’s the inker or Don took his time on this issue. But, other than her of books this is the best Mr. Heck’ S work has ever looked. Being a person who loves to wear a good bath robe Barbara has one fuzzy looking bath robe. And I don’t see the port for the belt. Still it’s a nice look.

    I hate to say it but lorries outfit looks fine. Not sure with the PR is for on her shirt. At first I thought was a periodical table. Still it works as does her hair. However, did Dick go shopping at the Ronald McDonald clothing line? Or is he working for them? Orange and yellow. I know it goes together is just not a good look. I don’t care that yellow and red make orange it still looks crappy together. Unless your Hulk Hogan you should not be running around in public in orange and yellow. These lucky no one arrested him for crimes against at that outfit. And it has pinstripes on the shirt pinstripes are fine on a good collarED shirt. But, not in yellow and orange. Is this what happens to Bruce and Dick Grayson outfits not there to dress them? This is why Alfred is always in the tux. He’s too busy making sure these two guys don’t go out in public in order oy looking clothing. Also if this man is a great scientist why did he decide to dress himself and Babson outfits that look like Sarandon wrap?

    Was this the best looking hazmat suit he can find? Is kind of weird they didn’t warn Robin about the problem before he entered the room. Or have him the weird looking suit that looks like that one scene in naked gun the movie. With Leslie Nelson and Patricia Presley. I’ve not got much of the scene. But if you know then the jokes there. I am guessing by the 70s cabdrivers no longer war that outfit. But, who knows? I was a child in the 70s so I can’t really say./Saving the day was cool. As for bat woman being reconstructed from her atoms or skin flakes in her custom. Let’s remember were talking about a world where a man can hide his identity wearing a domino mask. Aliens walk around as commonplace. Somehow after her buys put itself back together her clothes fit her perfectly. Alien tech and Earth Tech connect easily. Meanwhile try using an appliance from another country in the US.

    I don’t have much else to say about this. Onto the next story Was pretty cool to see Howard drawing this character. I remember him mostly from the shadow. Apparently you the good Dr. has decided to compete with Capt. boomerang and banshee for mutton chops of the year. The zodiac mastery is fine. Yet moving on to the next story. I really don’t have much to say about the man that one. Other than how his wife nightshirt seems to grow and shrink with a few different panels. And the character in the movie is apparently working as a cross guard since there is wearing green pants and a yellow jacket. Again just because you can mix colors together from the Roy G big color palette. Doesn’t mean you should wear and outfit with those two colors. Though this is the second story didn’t show the linen. On the website. Odd. Still it does showcase the artists, on the books. The zodiac master bit is fine. I think Marvel did it better with next Nick fury’s brother. Still it was fine. Can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  6. A side note regarding the overview of Don Heck’s career, since you mentioned his work on the horror comic “Horrific”: There’s some interesting trivia regarding Heck’s most notorious/iconic cover for that series. At the same publisher, Comic Media, Heck also worked on the war comic “War Fury,” and Heck’s cover for War Fury #1 (Sep. 1952) featured a disturbing image of a dead soldier lying on the battlefield with a shocked expression on his face and a bullet hole in his forehead. A few months later, the cover of Horrific #3 (Jan. 1953) cropped out the image of the soldier’s face and used it as an isolated “floating head” against a blank background, taking a detail of the previous cover and enlarging it into a close-up stand-alone image. I don’t know whether the decision to repurpose Heck’s art was artistic (“This may have been a war cover, but that expression is perfect for a horror cover!”) or financial (“No time or money to pay an artist for a new cover, let’s just reprint this part!”) or a combination of the two…

  7. Hi Bat-cousins! This issue was one of the few I owned back in the day. Boy that cover and inside image of Batwoman dissolving still wigs me out, and her restoration at the end makes no sense, but I don’t care, just glad Kathy survived this ordeal.

    Now I agree, Don Heck is not one of my favorite artists. But when I think back to younger Tim reading this comic, I thought the art was fine. I probably even liked it! The action’s good, the characters are distinct, and that plastic bag look was not easy to portray. So I’ll give it a “nice job” today.

    A final note, I always enjoyed the visually mismatched Dr Brawn as a small guy and Mr Brain as the big one. And while I can’t confirm this definitively, I believe there are two characters who look a LOT like this pair in the animated Batman Harley Quinn movie from 2017. Maybe it’s just me and the characters are actually a different pair, but I choose to think it’s the same duo, because what an amazing deep cut that would be!

    Till next time, I’ll bring the strawberry fluff!

  8. Hope all the Bat-cousins are keeping warm this winter, especially those in the northeast. We keep getting teased with snow here in Virginia, but it’s more like Mr. Freeze’s Harvey Comics doppleganger, Little Chilly.

    Gosh, it’s hard not to like a swell artist like Don Heck. He may not have been one of my top favorites at the time but sure as shootin’ he would do a darn good job. One might even say a “Heck” of a job, but who would come up with that pun?

    Okay, I’ll stop.

    Back to back team-ups for Robin and Batgirl! You think that by this point Dick is thinking instead of Hudson University, he should be going to Potomac College or Chesapeake Tech, somewhere closer to D.C. but still named after a body of water? It would make the team-ups less expensive. Either that, or see if Bruce can get him and Babs access to the JLA teleporter system.

    Good to see Batwoman back in this issue, but it’s too bad she didn’t play a larger role. She always seemed like a character they could have done more with but the no one at the time knew exactly what.

    The big guy is the brain and the little guy is the brawn. Think they got their genes spliced liked two labratory mice a couple of decades after this?

    Wait, what’s this? A scientist of Asian origin who is not a villainous evil stereotype?? This is the 70s, right? Well, way to go, Mr. Rozakis and DC!

    The Man-Bat story was a nice little diversion after the continuing storyline he had that concluded the previous issue. You have to wonder, does the guy not watch the local news? Has he not seen or heard about Man-Bat? And how did the artists get Francine’s see-thru shirt with the panties outline past the Comics Code? And aww, he rescued a dog. Because they are the greatest thing on this Earth.

    After this issue, I supposed many readers, especially those that had been reading Batman titles for several years, guessed who was trying to get ahold of Kirk. I was 10 years old at the time and had only been reading Batman comics for a little under 2 years. I don’t think I had heard of or seen this character at all at that point.

    Y’all found most of the most 70s moment in this issue. That “Mary Hartman” reference was really obscure. It was a parody of soap operas, like “Soap” but not as popular. I never saw it because it was on so late — as in, after the 11:00 news late. I seem to remember seeing a “Carol Burnett” skit based on it. A variety show doing a parody of a parody — yeah, the 70s were a weird and fun time!

  9. Hi, Bat Cousins. I know it’s cold outside, so I brought a big pot of chicken soup. Get it while it’s hot, or before an errant football lands in it.

    I like that Batman Family has combined Batgirl and Robin into the same story on a regular basis. It keeps up the “will they, won’t they” aspect and makes for better over-all issues. Bob Wiacek’s inks kept this first story from going full “Tomahawk.”. You can tell on some pages he was doing some heavy lifting. Now that I’ve kicked him while he was down, let me say I thoroughly enjoyed your Bat Family history lesson on Don Heck. Looking at those covers for Tales of Suspense and Weird Terror; I see the appeal of his earlier work. Plus, I liked that in his Wikipedia photo, he looked like a heavier Phil Collins. Who doesn’t like Phil Collins?

    I do have some beef this issue. First off, Batwoman, did you really want to come out of retirement only to get liquified trying to rescue Mr. and Mrs. Bottomtooth’s fully insured oil paintings and safe jewelry? If you want to do a public service in Georgetown, go down to M Street and beat up some of those double parkers! Speaking of foolish moves, why on earth did Dick answer the phone?! Lori is the perfect one semester college girlfriend, and he leaves her sitting on his bed so he can go fight some elves. C’mon, man!

    As for the most 70’s moment. A high-speed car chase in Georgetown would last about half a block before you’d hit crippling Wisconsin Ave traffic; get stuck behind an oblivious trust fund college student driving their dad’s Jaguar; or get sandwiched between two Ubers stopping on both sides of a side street. Robin could’ve stopped for coffee, called Lori, and still caught the car thieves in a block and a half. That being said, the batarang trick was pretty cool, so all is forgiven.

    Great detective work by Batgirl in this issue figuring out where the crooks would be… and then casually walking around a carnival full of innocent families while infected with a deadly disease. Hey, I guess she DOES make a good congresswoman!

    Well, time to go. A few of the park’s local toughs knocked over the soup onto Aunt Thelma’s Jell-o mold and there’s gonna be a rumble. Good thing she always brings her Bat Brass Knuckles to every get-together..

  10. Sorry, very late to the reunion his month. I see all the fried chicken is gone. Who left the extra-crispy skin in the bucket? YUCK!!!

    I have this comic! This was probably the second issue of BF proper I got from the back issue bins when I first visited comic shops about 35 (!) years ago.

    Don Heck…yeah…I totally admire his 60s Marvel stuff. Most of the Iron Man segments “animated” on the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon series were direct lifts from his artwork. I’ve seen his pencils during his later JLA run, and it’s really nice looking! Something was lost in tranlation from pencils to ink, so maybe his complaint about “bad” inkers is true. Bob Wiacek is a great inker in his own right, but I’m not sure he and Heck meshed well, although there are some nice images in this story where Wiacek obviously is bringing in a modern, Simonson/Rogers-esque approach. Robin not only looks young in the panel following Kathy’s rematerialization, he looks like a young John Denver! Gotham Roads, take me home!

    Man-Bat story: Any resemblance to Abrose and a host of the Fire and Water Network is purely coincidental! Carl Denham was not a name used in the 70s King Kong, so Ambrose is referring to the original. I didn’t have a problem with Chaykin’s Man-Bat. The rounded ears on the movie monster are probably there to differentiate him just a bit from the real deal, who looks pretty on model to me. I’m just surprised considering this is Chaykin, that Francine isn’t clad in S&M gear! Oh, and those long T-shirt style night shirts aren’t necessarily 70s, they are still around. Cindy has worn them for years.

    I agree Diana looks great in that circular panel in the Hostess ad! I think Swan was channeling a little Lynda Carter. Looks just like her from some of the “modern” era episodes. Considering Giganta was an evolved ape, and NEVER a 50-foot woman in the comics before, I wonder if someone at Hanna-Barbera saw this ad when assembling the Legion of Doom, and decided to upgrade that character? Weirder things have happened.

    Great show as always. Paul W was a great guest, and regular Paul and Shawn brough it as always. Until next month, cousins!

  11. Another stunning Aparo cover!

    The combo of Don Heck and Bob Wiacek was…something. Wiacek trying, with all his might, to bring some grit and heft to Heck’s gossamer-like figures. And he almost pulls it off!

    I know the Man-Bat story was silly, but I liked that the book could make space for little asides like this, with members of the Batman Family that couldn’t carry their own book. With so many comic pros living in NY and usually on tight deadlines, I imagine the whole “watching weird TV late at night” was something right from their own experience. Definitely one of the things lost when the anthology books went belly up.

    Love the show as always!

  12. Hello, Bat-cousins! It has taken me a while to comment and I think that may be because I was embarrassed to hear myself on this episode. Not because I have a bad speaking voice. It’s because I sounded like I was speaking from across the room…behind a Plexiglass divider…while wearing a mask. I am definitely investing in a better microphone.

    Be that as it may, I truly enjoyed being invited to the reunion and meeting long-lost family members. Paul and Shawn were gracious hosts. Thank you gentlemen for welcoming me and making me feel like one of the family.

    P.S. Just yesterday, I came across a box of comics I bought as a child. In this pile were a number of Archie comics, including my favorite title, Little Archie. Also included were quite a few issues Richie Rich. Apparently, I am one of the reasons there were so many sold.


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