Batman Family Reunion #20 – Guest Stars Galore!

Fire and Water Network All-Star Max Romero stops by the Reunion this month and helps Shawn and Paul make sense of the LAST ISSUE of Batman Family!  We get Ragman, Elongated Man, and a big hero moment for Red Tornado! Man-Bat gets a new job and the Huntress lounges in her bathrobe!  Another artistic tour de force by Michael Golden (on 2 stories!) helps soften the blow of the imminent DC Implosion!  Join us for some fried chicken and melted ice cream cake at the Wayne Family Gardens!

This month's Bat Family History links for Al Milgrom:

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?  Have a specific issue you love and want to talk to us about it?

  • E-MAIL:
  • Follow Batman Family Reunion on Twitter: @batfamreunion

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK:

18 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #20 – Guest Stars Galore!

  1. Well old chums it bin fun but it’s time for this adventure to end . Another great show . This cousin Bucky I brought store bought cheese cake if your fan of the golden girls you’ll get the joke .

  2. Hope all the Bat-cousins are managing to stay cool. Thanks to 97% humidity, I’ve discovered that moisture-wicking shirts can drown when there isn’t anywhere to wick the sweat to.

    First, thanks a lot, guys! The 80s musical interludes in the last couple of episodes made me wonder what other 80s songs the stories bring to mind. During my reread, I kept thinking about what songs each story might inspire.

    Batman – “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith.
    The title sounds like this was Ragman’s first appearance – or at least his reintroduction after a long absence. Not so much. I’m guessing whatever plans DC had were a victim of the Implosion. He does somewhat resemble Moon Knight. Was Moon Knight growing in popularity at Marvel at the time, and DC wanted to capitalize on that?

    At 11 years old, I don’t remember being that excited and anxious to see more of Ragman, but looking back it’s too bad we didn’t. I know he’s become a little more popular in recent years, and was adapted into the Arrowverse. Several great two-page spreads in this story by Michael Golden, even if pages 16 and 17 don’t line up, but at least it wasn’t just my copy.

    Robin and Batgirl – “Hot in the City” by Billy Idol, or “Some Like it Hot” by Power Station (additional meaning with the heat and the villain name)
    At what point did Robin have that “I coulda had a V8” moment and realized he could use the JLA transporter to get from New Carthage to DC to help out BG? And does BG get the same privileges? I mean, she did max out her credit cards renting that plane a few issues ago, so fair’s fair.

    Plus, now he’s unattached! Forget about Lori, he can see her more often if he wants!

    Man-Bat – “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates (that was obvious!!)
    Two Michael Golden stories in this issue?? Love it! And what a story the second was. Combat vet with a bum leg and scientist who can turn into a bat – hey, I’d watch that buddy cop movie, and be waiting to see the reboot 40 years later!

    In retrospect, doesn’t Kirk telling Jason “Batman recommended me, call him” sounds like someone saying they know the business owner or manager when wanting some extra service or discount? Can’t blame Jason for dismissing Kirk.

    Huntress – “Fire” by the Pointer Sisters, “I’m On Fire” by Springsteen, or “Legs” by ZZ Top
    One good thing about Helena laying low in her apartment – she didn’t have to deal with Roger (and neither did we).

    And that shot of her after she came out of the shower and got her legs up – now, I do remember being 11 years old and wanting to see more scenes like that!! Fairly quick resolution to the story, but this three-parter gave us a chance to know the Huntress – and her legs – better.

    Most 70s moment –You guys caught the bulk of them. There was another 280Z in the Man-Bat story (Golden probably had one back then). Let me add that the Power Sower was a descendant of Betsy Ross as a leftover Bicentennial minute.

    And if I may ask all the Bat-cousins – any podcast app recommendations? I’ve been using Stitcher, but that’s being phased out. I’ve been trying a couple but wonder if there’s one I’ve missed.

    1. My podcast app is Pocket Casts. It has some nifty features and has worked like a champ for 5+ years now. Credit to Shagg for recommending it to me, but don’t hold that against it.

      1. That’s one that I’ve been trying. I was hesitant because it’s got a 3.6/5 star rating on Google Play, but a lot of people love and praise it.

  3. I know that I missed this book on the stands, and I had to get it as a back issue a little later, because I was a Ragman fan! Ragman number 1 is my first comic! That’s the issue that made start to collect comics rather than just read them and leave them! I missed most of Ragman’s other issues, too, and I was upset that I missed this one!
    I can also remember reading the next issue and wondering, “when did Man-Bat become a private eye?”
    Now, I know I have been lax in chatting here with my Bat-cousins, and I apologize for that, but I HAD to write quickly on this one. At minute 56 in the podcast, Max says: “What is a high-tension wire anyway?…I looked it up…That’s what a high-tension wire is for. It’s for…completing an electrical circuit… so that’s why it would work to drain off energy like that…and induce feedback…” Max was talking about the Power Sower, but he has also explained Ragman’s origin! The crooks shot the high-tension power lines onto Rory Regan’s dad and his buddies. They joined hands. Rory tried to pull them away. When he grabbed his father’s hand, he “completed an electrical circuit,” which then “drained off (the) energy” of the old guys, and “induce(d) feedback” into Rory. You accept that electrical discharge in the form of lightning can strike the right chemicals and then give a police scientist super-powers. Well, can you accept that electrical discharge, flowing out of a power line, striking the right chemicals, from the bottle the guys had been passing around, can give a vet semi-super-powers? Sure, you can!
    Okay, even when I was 12, I thought the Ragman origin was hokey. But Max has convinced me!

  4. Oh heck, look at those looming clouds, I do hope this family barbecue isn’t rained off. Oh well, I brought food anyway, crumpets with butter and Marmite, topped by melted cheese. So tasty!

    But not as tasty as this cover, it’s Aparo-level great. This is a special issue for me as it was one of the few Dollar Comics I was able to buy off the new status in the UK. It’s not a great issue, but it’s a special one…

    I know it’s sacrilege on this show not to worship at the altar of Michael Golden, but I was back to not loving his art this time. I found it fascinating rather than attractive – ‘ugly beautiful’ at a push. His Ragman looks great – Reed held him back too much, more costumed Rory would’ve been great – but almost always his Batman head is awkward, like an Easter Island statue. The story wasn’t bad.

    I hate the title of the Robin story too because it looks like it should rhyme, but doesn’t. Which you said, but it bears repeating as it put me in a bad mood before reading the story. I wonder if having Elongated Man and Red Tornado in here was Bob Rozakis saying, from now on these are Batman Family characters too, we’re going to use them in strips. Because they did. I remember being confused by the revelation that the Super Pooper was a descendant of Betsy Ross, who I thought was a character in Spider-Man.

    Now, I realise I’ve defended Don Heck’s art plenty of times, but what the heck was that excuse for a Red Tornado on the final page? Horrific.

    The Man-Bat logo is terrible, someone has badly copied and italicised the ‘Bat Man’ from the regular Batman logo, and not even bothered to make them even in length. I do like the Michael Golden art more here, we don’t get weirdo Batman. Also, Bob Smith is excellent but Joe Rubinstein is better suited to Golden. This was my fave story in the issue, it having two good characters, compelling art and a sharp Rozakis script.

    The Huntress strip hasn’t yet hit its stride, that comes soon in Wonder Woman. Here we have another dull adversary for Helena… why does Batman Family suffer from either terrible super villains, such as this issue’s Thrower Upper, or none at all? And my gosh, that bad little kid is an ugly one. Hurry up and bring on Earthworm.

    The Marvel Comics issues with David Letterman and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players were some of the most annoying, non-funny comics I’ve ever met in my life – who were these nonentities? What was ‘prime time’? The stunts were nothing but Marvel staffers crawling to local celebs.

  5. Impressive podcast most impressive. The cover is cool. Ah Rag Man. I liked that 70s comic in the day. I also read the Brave and the bold cross over with Bats and Rag Man. Though Rory had a different girl friend in that one. A can driving Woman. Some blond woman appeared in his origin-an.

    But she was gone by this issue. Anyway this one was cool. I remember Joe Kubert art in the old Rag man comics and that was great. One of the meany reasons I did the Kubert correspondents course. Years ago. I always like this version of Rag Man. So a man can get hit with Gama radiation grows to giant size and becomes a rage monster no prob.

    A guy Carrie’s a dwarf star to his house in a truck. And it gives him shrinking powers no prob. Again till he gets it Ray Palmer has human strength. As he picks up a dwarf star with his hands puts it in a truck no prob.

    Clark van hid his id with glasses . No prob. The most powers full weapon that works by will can be defeated by a banana. No prob. But a guy gets skills from lightning that’s to far? Ok. This is what we’re going with? Kidding. Oy sorry to hear that happened after you got those comics, but glad no one was here in that car.

    Still cool you got those comics. Wait wasn’t Robin about to fight Raven? What about him… what about Raven? Still glad Dick is with his true love Babs. Yep the heat is easer to take in the Robin outfit. Still Babs get to enjoy looking at him in the shorts. So win win. The full page hero panel for Red tornado was cool.

    Moving on. I what men can’t go around shirtless any more? When did that happen? I work nights. I mostly go to work go home. Ah well. Kurt looks cool shirtless sexy. Any way collapse shoes? Cool story. Why wasn’t this a 70 detective show? A man and a man bat. Solving crimes.

    We need the guys from Psych to play them. Ware is this show WB? So wait Twitter is now called X? Maybe the Face book guy should call his page O. Moving on. Ah the huntress story was great. And yep she looks great in her bath robe sexy. Or she’s hot as Shagg says.

    Yep when it’s cool I still ware my bath robe. With sweets and a t shirt with slippers, but still, they’re still warn. Sorry. Back to Helana her feet up on the desk is the most sexy she looks in the robe. A very hello there moment. Wow Shawn is right. The traffic light is upside down. Good catch. The bat man like shadow she has is Awsome. Can’t wait till the next podcast.

  6. Er sorry for the Culombo moment. But, I just remembered something. As for the wire thing, I know a grounding wire is used in set ups like a leprechaun, er the device used in films and plays for the lights. To turn on different lights mostly colored difrebt by cells. That go in front of the lights be they parcams or fernels. Maybe this is similar. I E Robin is using that principle.

    I remember the lighting system back in college when I took film classes for a few years. And as part of a class I did on set design for the stage. Anyway, I had changed my major from Art Ed to Film for a bit. Was either going to direct or create story boards. Neither happened. Save that one Indy film I did a story board for. Night something or other.

    And directed a few community theater stuff that I kind of wrote, but not really since it was improve. I’m a little bitty town. Not important. Maybe that’s what they’re going with on the wire thing with Robin and Babs. Like how a grounding wire works. My electrical knowledge isn’t great. I’m trying to learn, but at this point I’m just learning to soder.

    And I barely got 3 pint lighting on a talent right. We did mock stage hand work in Cabaret once. In a class I was in.

    Thinking if I can get food at that it might improve my kit bashing of Action Figures. Who knows?

    Moving on. Ah so the editor went to that Neil Adams group? Cool. I know Larry Hama was in that two. So the 70s ah crap bit ended up helping G.I. Joe. Since Lary getting let go by DC freed him up to go work for marvel. And that made the Real American hero thing happen. Interesting.

    Ah so this editor was the one who did that but. Lol I remember Wizard loving that panel. And showing it off. When Wizard was a thing. Ah this guy created Lori….sigh fine I’ll forgive him. Since he did a lot of other great work in his life. Moving on. Ah so is this the issue ware they use the popularity of this comic to save Detective Comics ?

    When Paul takes over as editor. And sifts the Bats family stories to Detective Comics? So they won’t lose their name sake comic? Sorry it happened but I get it.

  7. I liked the issue – but the power dynamic was certainly off in both the Batman / Ragman – and Robin / Bat Girl stories, that made these stories a little tough to swallow – but fun.

    Batman can mop up a room full of gun-toting, poker-playing criminals like these with one hand, while eating a hoagie with the other – he didn’t need Ragman.
    At the other end of the spectrum, Power Sower is taking down the power grid in the nation’s capitol… a la The Day the Earth Stood Still. I know Supes was away on business, but was literally no one else available? Robin and Bat Girl are no match for Gort.

    That story requires also the suspension of disbelief that’s needed in hundreds of comics where there’s some huge problem going on and the only hero available to fight it is the titular here (e.g., rejuvenated dinosaurs running amok in NYC, as in a bronze Spider-Man I just re-read).

    Anyway – the spans of your collective Batman / DC history knowledge is awesome… Getting back into comics over the past few years, and I originally missed out on the bronze age – your podcasts are like master-classes for me! Keep up the great work.

  8. Thanks for posting images from this issue. My only guess for DCU Finite is they’re missing the original pages for digitizing, or the pages have degraded and won’t scan well enough, but I really have no idea. It’s quite vexing. When I was reading JLA last year every day, the Zatanna origin arc was completely missing. Doom Patrol volume 3 is missing the final 2 issues. And why oh why is the Blue Devil bonus debut story cut out from Fury of Firestorm #24! VEXING!!

    So in lieu of discussing the stories, I’ll say my little ears perked up at the mention of Dr Dundee, an interesting supporting character that I first met in the Bat-comic-cousin, Batman and the Outsiders #3, and whose history I didn’t know until rereading that issue for my podcast and looking him up on the Googles. Information age and all that. And I can’t help but mention that Jason Bard is an important part of BatO #16, The Truth About Halo Part 1. Say what you will about BatO, it did include interesting characters from Batman’s past.

    And last, I think the three of you should launch a new podcast. Rags to Riches: the Ragman and Richie Rich podcast. You’re welcome.

    Great show as always, Bat-cousins!

  9. Hey, Bat Cousins, sorry I’m late. I brought some Turkey Hill ice tea and Spam. That’s right, Spam. They can’t all be winners.

    Cool issue. Of course I had to go on the dark web to read it. I didn’t realize Rag Man was so precious. I got so many pop-ups. I’m probably gonna have to burn my computer.

    Michael Golden’s art on the Batman story was fantastic as usual. The fight scenes were really well orchestrated. Though I don’t know why he drew Gordon like he’s the day manager at Arby’s. Shawn, how can you describe Bruce’s place as an “apartment?” The Wayne Foundation building is the single greatest construct of the DC universe. We don’t see that much of it in this issue but a giant business tower with a tree growing through it must be paid respect. Think of how many drunk employees tried to climb that thing during the office Christmas party? And it’s topped off by Bruce Wayne’s majestic cocaine-fever-dream of a penthouse. It’s got a freaking moat, sun rooms, and probably a sunken living room with a disco ball. Plus there’s nothing preventing someone from falling to their death except some shrubbery around the edges. He’s got to lose 2-3 girlfriends a year from that. I can’t decide if the buildings’s architect should be arrested or sainted.

    The Robin/Batgirl/Red Tornado/Discount Plastic Man story was okay. An alarming amount of red and yellow. Robin and Batgirl should be careful at that Power Station. They’re really going to “Feeeeeeeel the Heeeeeeaaaat… Burning you up. Ready or Not!” Red Tornado isn’t one of my favorites. Maybe it’s the pants. But I like that Heck made him look like Yul Brynner. As for the “villain,” maybe instead of dressing like BDSM Hulk, she could’ve done what normal people in Washington DC do: Use nepotism to establish themselves, start a foundation to raise money/awareness for her cause, eventually testify before congress, be scoffed at and told her concerns are flawed because it snowed once last January, then join a lobbying firm. That’s how things don’t get done in this town, missy!

    My god, look at Jason Bard’s place! Maybe Bard charges clients double to go incognito in purple pants. It’s even nicer than the barely-making-ends-meet Langstroms’ cathedral ceiling, 2-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Man, I wish real estate worked like if does in the DC Universe.

    Shawn, thank you for sharing the Park City story. I would get the occasional Comic Store gift card (actual paper gift card, kids) for my birthday or Christmas, and I wrung every cent out of them with a mix of current stuff plus the 25 cent bin. I also won a couple gift cards for art contests that were judged by Tim Truman. He lived in Lancaster and became friends with the owner when they moved the comic store to the Golden Triangle shopping center on Lititz Pike.

    Okay, gotta run. We just got word that Great Aunt Hazel was on her way to the reunion but got run off the bridge by a VW Bug. Looks like she sleeping with the fishes.

  10. Thanks for another great episode, Paul and Shawn! I brought my wife’s amazing stir-fry chicken lettuce wraps. Take my advice. Skip the lettuce and get a fork. The greenery only slows you down.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the Batman Family in The Days of the Dollar Detective (a Batman/Richie Rich crossover). One note on Ragman: I didn’t discover the character until a few years after this. By that time, DC had revealed that the character was Jewish, not Irish (as reflected in the Arrowverse). This revelation came with a modification to his origin, which has been futzed with a few more times since then. Anyway, they definitely added some needed depth and context to the character. For anyone who would like more information, there is a fun, informative, inspiring, and sometimes heart-wrenching podcast called Funny, They Don’t Look Jewish!. Therein, Henry Bernstein and Rabbi Brandon Bernstein (no relation) review comics with explicitly Jewish content. (Yes, I copied these sentences from my Sabra comment over on OHOTMU or Not. I gave myself permission.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *