Batman Family Reunion #18 – Art Smuggling, Sewer Water, and the Pentagon!

This month, we welcome Bill Bere of The Bat-Pod to the Reunion! He picked a doozy, as the table is set for 5 stories this month! The Huntress begins her solo strip with a barbeque (of Gotham), Lori dumps Dick, Babs slaps a Senator, and Kirk is wistful for his glory days! Oh yeah, and Batman swims through sewer water, earning Shawn’s respect forever! Come join the fun and have some strawberry shortcake!

Check out Bill at

This month's Bat Family History links for P. Craig Russell:

“Glory Days” Copyright Bruce Springsteen.

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15 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #18 – Art Smuggling, Sewer Water, and the Pentagon!

  1. Re: the leg panel–faaaaaaaar be it from me to criticize the work of Michael Golden, yeah Batman’s leg is waaaaaay too long. It’s not foreshortening, exactly, because the shot is at an angle, not directly at the camera. But if Batman put his leg down, he’d be about 9 feet fall and the other leg would be dangling in the air.

  2. Possible answer to the “lack of pants on Man-Bat” mystery. Man-Bat wears torn pants to cover his private parts, like the Hulk – right? I mean, when he turns into Man-bat, his privates don’t just disappear? Whereas, if they had drawn pants on her, they would also had to given her at least a bikini-type top too, which would have revealed her to be a woman, and since she’s the only woman in his universe, that would have given away the twist ending too early. I went back and looked – the art avoids shots of her torso, and the body looks female. Maybe she’s wearing a cover-all jumpsuit (that I guess she whipped up while their baby was napping?). By the way, I didn’t see the reveal coming – you guys are too darn sharp!

    And, I recall (I think) Green Arrow also doing the “elevator Jump” life-saving maneuver?

    Great pod cast as always – you guys trade off of one another perfectly!

    1. Maybe a “topless” Fran-Bat wearing the purple pants would be worse than a “naked” Fran-Bat? What was the conversation like between the artist and writer?

      “Can we put a shirt on her?”
      “Then her butt would be exposed!”
      “How does Donald Duck get away with it?”

  3. I am commenting as I go, lest I forget some of my scintillating observations.

    Re: Bill’s catastrophically wrong opinions about Man-Bat–between this and the Jim Aparo slander two episodes ago, BFR is quickly becoming the most controversial show on the network.

    That said, I agree–sort of. I don’t think MB works as well as straight up superhero, even less as a villain. He’s more like Bizarro–an agent of chaos that our hero has to deal with.

    Also–guys guys guys–Francine as Man-Bat would be FRAN-BAT. It was right there! But no, Shawn was too busy writing Grimbor slash fic in his head, while Paul was clearing song rights with Bruce Springsteen’s management.

    Bill’s Twinkie eating contest could be its own comic book mini, too bad CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS is taken. In my day, I would eat five Twinkies between buying them and biking home. Fun fact: I am overweight.

    As you mentioned, the water drips on the Huntress in-set is a great detail. Love the extra effort!

  4. Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend!

    For some reason this Batman story is one from this era that has really stuck in my mind over the years. I don’t know why. There are a lot of one-off characters, like Barry Dark, Tabitha Blatant, and the Gargoyle Gang. Maybe it’s Batman chasing the Gargoyles through the sewers trying to outrace the rising water. Loved it as a kid and loved it now.

    You gotta give props to Barry Dark. He dresses great for a job where people don’t see him. I mean, are you guys wearing a mohair suit and alligator shoes??

    In a way I don’t blame Lori for being mad at Dick. All she knows is a friend was shot and killed in front of her, and her boyfriend ran off for who knows where. And this is after her former boyfriend abducting her last issue. Dick could tell her he’s Robin, but he’s hamstrung by the sidekick conundrum – if he tells Lori he’s Robin, that’s pretty much saying Bruce Wayne is Batman.

    But still, DAAAMN! Lori moved on quick!!! She must have been planning that for a while.

    Batgirl’s villain this issue – the Octopus, a.k.a. Senator Tom Cleary. Oh, and Madame Zodiac. I don’t know what cards she’s reading, but I think she needs a refund on them because they aren’t very reliable.

    The Juan Ortiz art in these two stories shows the impact of an inker. In the Robin story, Dave Hunt makes it look slightly Kirby-ish. In the Batgirl story, Vince Colletta’s influence is apparent.

    If anything, Man-Bat shows how hard it would be to be a superhero with the demands of real life without a job that allows an amount of freedom and independence or powers that would help compensate for sudden disappearances (I’m talking about you, Mr. Allen in the Central City crime lab). Kirk also has his pride. He could contact Batman for help, who could contact Bruce Wayne, who could put in a good word for him with a zoo or research lab. Then again, his reputation may be trashed to the point that the reference of a billionaire can’t overcome it.

    We know Francine is the Fem-Bat – or Fran-Bat?? But without clothes – how did this get Code-approved???

    (Yes, I know Rob also said “Fran-Bat”, but I already had it in my comment notes so I decided to leave it)

    The Huntress has a nice launch to her solo run. We’ve seen a lot of proteges over the years, but Helena may be the first child of a legacy hero becoming a hero in their own right that we’ve seen (outside of dreams, hoaxes, and imaginary stories). Power Girl is still Superman’s cousin on Earth-2, and Infinity Inc is a few years away.

    Most 70s thing this time around – well, there’s the radio station equipment, Helena’s typewriter, Roger’s attitude. No, I’m going with the very last panel of the Batman story and the Datsun 280Z parked outside Barry’s radio station. Complete with louvered rear window. Look at the rear logo of that car and at the photos here — — and tell me that’s not meant to be a 280Z. When I was 11 I thought that was the coolest looking car and wanted one when I got older. Never did get one.

    Sorry for the length, everyone.

  5. Hey bat cousins this is cousin Bucky along with cousins Jeremy , Jericho , Austin and Mario and cousin Gorge aka heel heat as he likes to call himself on his YouTube channel if like pro wrestling new and old check out heel heat . We bought bat-nana bread with a cherry jam center . Another great episode and great guests. Also has any played the table top card and dice game go fight , pow ?

  6. I’m at the reunion and I’m bringing my homemade toad in the hole, with special gravy on my sausages.

    How great to hear Cousin Bill, he sounds like a real classy Southern gentleman.

    So, the second dollar comic is here! I like the cover, and have no problem with the World’s Finest-style shot of all the issue’s stars pretending they’re in the same story. But for those who don’t, there are always cover boxes!

    I’m a Joe Staton fan, but I am amazed at the praise bestowed upon the contents page – dashed off does not begin to cover this murky mess. It would indeed have helped had someone remembered to add the Contents details.

    I can see the point, when this book becomes Detective Comics, of putting a Batman strip at the front, but it feels like a demotion for Robin and Batgirl at this point. They’re the ones who’ve made this book a fan favourite and all of a sudden Dad is hogging the spotlight.

    And there he is, in a decent Denny story featuring the best Michael Golden art – boy, P Craig Russell really makes already decent work sing. I especially like the use of zip-a-tone, for example on the yellow-dominated close-up of Barry on page 11 (well done colourist Jerry Serpe). And Golden’s composition at the top of page 14 – Batman split across three panels, head under one gutter, arm pinching out over another… I was awed.

    The Juan Ortiz/Dave Hunt art on the Robin story was uneven, but when penciller and inker meshed, things looked great. I love page 9’s dramatic homage to 1942’s Batman #9 cover, with Dick in the Batman cape-clutching pose.

    Vince Colletta really works well with Juan Ortiz, the Batgirl artwork was wonderful, some of the best she has had. The reveal of Mrs Zodiac is stunning, just freakish. I especially like the detail of the cape clinging tightly against her bat-bottom on page 7. Mr Ortiz is definitely a bottom man (head out of the gutter, Shawn!). I always enjoyed Juan Ortiz’s work at DC, looking at what he’s been doing for the last few decades, I think he would certainly make a good subject for your creator profile – just six words, Star Trek: The art of Juan Ortiz.

    Sorry, I had to skip right past the Man Bat synopsis when Bruce Springsteen started deafening me.

    I own the Huntress trades and followed her in Wonder Woman, but this is still Seventies Staton, with awkward shots of out-of-costume Helena’s head. Meanwhile, every Huntress shot is amazing. Staton’s work looked much better a few years later. I suspect he was drawing at speed early on. Regarding the Huntress getting changed in an elevator, when I get into a lift I worry that there is a Terminator on top. I met a guy on a cruise ship a few years back who had been named Dondi because of this cartoon strip I don’t know featuring a… human monkey?

    The Hawkman Showcase ad was a direct callback to the Sixties house ads using the letter forms of the great DC designer Ira Schnapp, specifically the one heralding Hawkman’s Silver Age Brave and the Bold debut. Watch for my tweet at the show announcement.

    Talking about the most Seventies moment, what did you mean, “the shoulder cradle that Michael Golden used in Man Bull“ or something?

    Finally, Let’s keep those musical renditions in Batman Family! Sing out, Shawn!

  7. Another great shows, Bat-cousins. When this issue came in my mail subscription back in the day, I remember enjoying Golden’s art on the Batman tale and everything to do with the start of the Huntress series that started here. Was not a big fan of the artwork on the Batgirl and Robin tales, and the Man-Bat tale was not as exciting as usual (likely due to Kirk not being the one behind the wings of “Man-Bat” this tale).

  8. Another fun episode. I brought a dozen … make that a half dozen … make that a single … gluten free, deep fried Oreo.

    I didn’t have any of these later issues of Batman Family and I’m enjoying hearing about the Huntress stories the most. I had never heard about her until reading the JLA/JSA Crisis on Earth Prime story and then discovered her in backup stories in Wonder Woman. So her early stories are a huge blind spot for me.

    Was it just me, or did those Kurt Russell Disney movies scare the bejeezus out of anyone else as a kid? People walking around with invisible heads and hands was bad enough. But wasn’t there a weightlifting scene where the guy tuned into Stretch Armstrong? Five-year-old me had to leave the room. To this day, I don’t think I can watch any of those movies.

    On the issue of Robin’s cape length: the gallery post of this issue, and some previous issues, sometimes show his cape going all the way down to his calves. It’s a subtle thing, but it makes him look older. And a good compromise to keep him in speedos since he obviously spends a lot of time working on his legs.

    Elevator jump at the last moment? Mythbusters tested this. Let’s just say that Buster did not survive.

  9. Impressive podcast most impressive.

    A pretty fun read. I like the combo of Golden and Russell. Hmm and here’s an issue I own on a computer app. So I can look at it as I leave feed back to y’all’s great podcast. Can’t remember if it’s Gargoyles or Grotesques that are the water things and the other just a statute. In the sewer it fits them.

    Wait the guy paid 400 in 70s cash for that plane looking brown suit? PT Barnum was right there is a sucker born every minute. Anyway our main villain isn’t doing much better. With this Ronald McDonald looking dress.

    So so wait is there some young Gypsy guy in this she befriends and some Mayor or Rabbi woman want to bang the guy? And this woman was raised by the Mayor lady? And then some other Capitan of the guard falls in love with theGypsy Guy and saves him. As the Mayor and Quasimodo gal die in a fire? Now I want to see this movie.

    What does this jeweled mask have to do with anything? Point less myguin . Also Gargoyle story and sadly no Goliath in it. Or any voice actor from TNG. Oh moving on. Ah the sewer Sean ware Bats jumps out of hiding and we get great Ban nah nah Bat Butt. Not bad. He’s no Night Wing, but still. I don’t ware many scarves, but home girl with Bats as a nice pink one that goes with her look. Wait the villain is based on Tallah Black head and Betty Davis. The Queens of Sassy, and this person has no sarcasm?

    That’s the real crime. Taliah an openly bi woman at the time went to a wedding of 2 friends and said’ it would be a terrible marriage. She has them both and neither was good in bed. ‘ And Betty is so known of sassy the lack of it here is just wrong.

    Next story. The art is fine not great but fine. This guy was a Kirby fan whom every he is. Ah Dick looks fine. But sorry for their friend he dies in this purple and blue turtleneck. I like Turtlenecks but what the heck? Purple and blue. Not working. And Lori why girl? Just why? A white turtleneck and a tank top. A red one with flowers?

    The Doctor from Dr. Who wouldn’t ware this. Not even the 6 th one. And the sniper was dressed like the Phantom but with no mask and long hair. Hey Alexandra C. Was awesome. She was one my hero’s as a child. I loved reading the pussy cat comics in Archie Digest. When I found them. Or watching the reruns of the cartoon on Tv probably the Cartoon expess in the 80s.

    Her and her cat. And twin bro. That hair was great sides Rouge rocked in the X Men comics so there. She wasn’t evil she just knew the band would have been better if she lead it. Come in Alexandria and the cool cats is better than Jessie and the Pussy Cats. And they might not even dress like 3 rd rate Cat Women hitch people if she lead.

    Any way back to this comic. Oy Lori even has rolled up bell bottoms. Who rolls bell bottoms? And still this outfit. At lest her hair is nice for the time. Ah the day is saved by Robin and his thick thighs. Cool. Ah Lori left with some guy who was in one panel on this issue. What is he Randy Orten ? Any way aw she’s gone so sad. Ignore me singing “Ding dong the wicked wench is gone.”

    Good we can get back to the real romance of Dick and Babs. Next story yeah Babs I think ya oppsed here. Mixed signals will probably make the guy run. Oh well back to Robin for her: No he@l isn’t in Washington… Florida and Texas right now maybe ( sorry Shagg. Not him. Just the current Oy ness there. I’m voting Trump avoiding Florida Guy. He can stay there. Sorry Florida people. But he can stay over there.) Babs has some good fight sense in this one.

    Ah look her villain in this one JK Rollins. Nice costume for her. Who knew Elton John had a Garage Sale? No folks the devil is bad avoid him. So enough about Dave Chappelle. Back to the comic. If the random shape of a building can give the villain power the blowing a whole in it Can take away her powers. Works as well as everything else. NeXT story.

    The Man Bat story is fine. The art is good. Wait why doesn’t she have boobs as She Bat? She had them in the Bat Man stories. Bats are mammals booo. This is just done as a red hairing. Also she probably took off her clothes cause she didn’t have on pants. The bat wings would rip her clothes to shreds. They’re not making much.

    She doesn’t want to go cloths shopping in New York . Whether knowing it or subconsciously she’s saving her wardrobe. Only so many dresses you want to go get with a new baby and your husband just now got a job. And at lest she dresses well. Unlike some of the others in this comic. Oy.

    Moving on. Huntress….awesome! Her regular clothes are…fine. Not great. Oy Roger not only is he a misogynist dork, but he also dresses like El Ka-bong. I have this comic in the TBS. It was fun. Not my fav but fine. And her handling real crimes with no super villains is kind of cool. It grounds the comic. Cool seeing her wonder if she is doing any good as lawyer. Or should she just be the Huntress.

    Interesting spin on the superhero should I Keep fighting crime or just have a real life. Any way can’t wait till the next podcast.

  10. Hi, Bat Cousins, sorry I’m late. I accidentally dropped my homemade cupcakes in the sewar. Not to worry though, as we all know there are no lingering effects or disease concerns when wading around in raw sewage, so I simply fished them out, dried them off, and plopped them down on the picnic table. Enjoy!

    The cover is fantastic. It isn’t indicative of what happens inside, but who cares? It’s got the whole family!

    Michael Golden is called up to the majors and gets to draw Batman! Good on you, young man from 45 years ago. What a great job Golden does of making the characters look unique. Especially Tabitha Blatant, who is not to be taken lightly. After all…
    She’ll expose you, when she snows you
    Offer feed with the crumbs she throws you
    She’s ferocious and she knows just what it
    Takes to make a pro blush
    All the boys think she’s a spy, she’s got… a huge insurance policy out on the stolen mask.

    I liked how the Gargoyle Gang’s masks were all different. It reminded me of the president masks in Point Break. Just instead of surfing at the beach, these guys hang out in the sewar. Speaking of the sewar, you guys are right, Bats sure is comfortable swimming around in all that poopie water. Just burn the suit, Alfred. He’s got more.

    The Robin story was a little bizarre. Boy, the students sure had a lot of quick-reaction dialogue at the moment of the murder. Herbie hadn’t even hit the floor before everyone had something to say. I’m surprised nobody yelled, “Quick, grab his papers, Herbie was a great note-taker!” Also, little known fact: When shot in the back, your body instinctively imitates the Heisman Trophy pose. That’s just science. Robin is especially nonchalant about death in this issue. “Somebody stuck it to him, am I right? Anyone? Anyone?” And who on campus could’ve stabbed that sniper? It certainly couldn’t be the thirty-five-year-old European woman standing in the front of the crowd, who’s not a student and looks like Nick Fury’s girlfriend, could it?

    Word of advice to Senator Cleary; if you want some privacy for a make-out session, don’t park NEXT TO THE PENTAGON!

    I’m impressed how Man-Bat and Francine’s apartment has grown in size and decor. He now hangs out in a smoking jacket in the library and gazes longingly out his floor-to-ceiling windows. That’s one hell of a factory job! I bet they can even afford coffee now. And what does he ask of his wife? “Hey, I know you recently passed a human through your body, and now have to completely function around the baby’s feeding schedule, but I need you to stay up all night and watch me snore to make sure we address my problems.” Don’t be a doormat, Francine! No wonder she’s spending her nights as a naked bat.

    Okay, gotta run. Great Aunt Ethel wants to participate in the potato sack race even though it’s 93 degrees outside, so, I want to take out a life insurance policy on her. Gotta play the odds. Looking forward to the next reunion. I heard your next guest has the voice of an angel.


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