Batman Family Reunion #487 – Sergius, Roy Raymond, and The Odd Man!

Bat-Cousin Martin Gray flies over the Atlantic to join Paul and Shawn at this month’s Reunion! He is rewarded with “odd” tales of Batman trapped in a watertight apartment, Robin visiting Germany, and Batgirl forgetting about her re-election campaign! Throw in Roy Raymond and The Odd Man, and you have quite a buffet!  Settle in for some mince pie and enjoy the stories and conversation!

This month's Bat Family History links for Don Newton (also check out our Gallery for photos of Don dressed as Captain Marvel):

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19 responses to “Batman Family Reunion #487 – Sergius, Roy Raymond, and The Odd Man!

  1. Fun discussion gents! Always a pleasure to hear Martin on the network. I always forget that this cover goes with this issue, as apparently I lost the cover very early after buying this off the stands. Hey, I was 4! As for all the fonts, I have to agree. I know several designers who subscribe to “font assault” to get people’s attention, but I think it just becomes a jumble no one can, or will, read.

    I think you guys were heading in that direction, but Ma Mabel Muhrder (the “h” is silent) does seem to be a riff on Ma Parker, Shelly Winters character from the 60s Batman TV series, which was in turn inspired by the real life criminal Ma Barker. So odd that Denny, who never seemed to care much for the 60s TV show, and was the primary writer associated with swerving the Batman books away from its influence, was apparently inspired by it during this era!

    Thank you for the wonderful segment on Don Newtown. His first Batman solo tale was one of my earliest comics (the back-up in Batman #305), and I followed him nearly monthly thereafter. His Batman is seminal to me, and when his death was announced in Dick Giordano’s “Meanwhile” column, I was heartbroken. No less than Batman-master Dick Sprang praised Newton’s work for his amazing physicality. Despite the more realistic approach, I think some of Sprang’s talent for unique faces was also part of Newton’s charm as well, as you pointed out in this issue.

    I rememer being utterly confused by the Roy Raymond tale as a kid. Why was Hawkirl in this? Kinda charming now, but still odd. But not as odd as we’ll get later!

    That image of Robin’s elongated leg is still etched in my brain! It was years before I realized it was his cape! At the time, when my Mom read this to me (again, I couldn’t read yet) , and I questioned it, she surmised it was his tights, as she pointed out to me that Robin (Burt Ward) wore tights on the TV series!

    The Odd Man! I think most people often forget this story ever saw print, figuring he was a full-blown victim of the DC Implosion. Ditko was definitely staying in his lane, with Odd Man seeming to be a combination of The Question, The Creeper, and maybe a sprinkle of Shade, the Changing Man thrown in. At least he kept Mr. A out of it!

    Dick Giordano is the John Romita of DC Comics, the master of drawing beautiful women (with Bob Oksner and Nick Cardy right behind him). Babs looks beautiful here, and I liked the callback to her early costume tranformations from cape to skirt, although she seems to have lost her bat-scallops in a few panels!

    My LCS always seems to have some issues of New Adventures of Superboy in their dollar bins, and I’ve been filling in my collection here and there. As a kid, I really enjoyed the series, despite preferring the movie continuity with no Superboy.

    Oh, and those dinosaur toys WERE model kits. Also, Shawn’s rivet gun may have been a victim of legistation and self-censorship by the toy industry in the late 70s after a toddler choked to death on a Battlestar Galctica missile. This is the reason the advertised mail-in “Rocket-firing” Boba Fett figure came with the rocket welded in place. Small projectiles were OUT for toy manufacturers.

  2. I knew nothing of Don Newton’s history and was shocked to hear he died so suddenly at an age younger than most of the people who are listening to this podcast. 🙁

    Riviton! I loved my Riviton set. The little rubber rivets would be stretched by the rivet gun, placed into the holes of the two pieces to join, and then unstretched to hold everything in place. It was brilliant! If memory serves, the rivets were rather bitter.

    The commercial tagline went something like “Riviton! Riviton! On and on and on!” I tried to find a video of the TV ad but only found a UK version which, honestly, sounds much cooler:

    Thank you Isamu for finding and summarizing the missing issues of the “Superman Stripping” issue. Your efforts every episode is so much appreciated!

  3. Hey guys,

    Really excited to hear the official announcement of your new show, THE PODD MAN, coming soon!

    Like so many of my fellow nerd, I remember those DC Explosion house ads and wondering who that weird dude in the back was. I wasn’t buying ‘TEC at the time, so I didn’t know that The Odd Man EVER made an appearance in an actual comic.

    Sorry to say, going by what you posted, I wish he hadn’t. I love his look and the concept, but dear god do I hate Ditko’s art during these years. He deserves all the praise he gets from his innovative work at Marvel and later DC and Charlton, but to my eyes by this point his stuff is just unreadable–awkward, cartoonish in all the wrong ways, and completely dull layouts. The Odd Man deserved better.

    Coloring aside, the cover by JLGL should have been a poster, or at the very least used for the DC Style Guide. Completely iconic shot of the Batman Family.

    And BTW Martin, if you love Plastic Man, keep an ear out for a future episode of the POWER RECORDS PODCAST, coming soon!

  4. Oh, one final thing–I’m sure Ma Muhrder dined out on Batman saying she was as dangerous as the Joker for YEARS. In Gotham City, that’s the kind of pull quote money can’t buy. I can picture her at Arkham Con ’79 with a banner behind her that says it, that way she justifies charging fifty bucks for an autograph.

  5. Bat-Cousins, I’m sorry I’ve been missing from the comments pages, but I HAVE been enjoying the episodes. This one was great, too, especially with Mart as the guest! Some quick trivia: First, there’s still a U.S. military base at Stuttgart, and it’s considered a primo assignment. I have some friends who headed out there a couple years ago. They do want to return to Florida, though — something about winter and the devaluing of the dollar. Mart, I caught your point about every soldier in the story being portrayed as a crook. We have occasionally had problems with government property leaving out the back door, so I can’t fault the plot, but I do prefer when they show that most in the service are good guys and gals. Regardless, this is better than how DC portrayed us in the nineties. Also, that truck looks small for moving tanks around. Speaking of tanks, I’ve never heard of a sideways moving tank, but I may suggest it. They can file it with my other suggestions like a helicarrier, mid-air reloading, munitions that burrow like Cave Carson, and war wheels. No one takes me seriously. Also, TK-170s are probably in the DOD inventory, but they’re toner cartridges.

    Finally, Shawn, I think the word you’re looking for regarding Ditko’s creation of the Odd Man is “audacity,” as in “That Stevie wasn’t half audacious.” I appreciate the education always, but especially the schooling this time on the great Don Newton (loved his work for 45 years) and that mystery from the house ads, the Odd Man.

    Unspoken comment from a previous episode: Kurt Schaffenberger was a hero — one of tens of thousands over the year who have proven what a boon immigrants are to our national security (among many other aspects of American life). Thanks for that bit of learning, too.

  6. Paul, pleasereplace “year” with “years” and “Schaffenberger” with “Schaffenberg” when you copy this into your notes. I want to evade the notice of Shawn’s eagle eye.

  7. Impressive podcast most impressive. It is a pretty cool cover. Though from the angle Bruce is coming in, well normally a man buys me dinner. Before he comes toward me in that position. Babs and Robin look cool. Geez the splash page is cool, but The Sensa Oy that was an unfortunate look. Still shocking he becomes Rash’s dad years later. The Bruce work out is kind of sexy. As for the petals pusher line. This is from the same years as the Zany Haney years.

    Of course they’re going to get that fact wrong about folks waring cloths as the wish.

    Yeah she’s an old lady who likes her suits. Good for her. It’s a tacky suit, but still. Wait matches without shades? And his look is off. Oy. So if the room is filling with water why not just break through the ceiling? It’ll fill soon enough. Instead of the whole pipe bit. Ah Raymond I mostly know him from Who’s WHO. Drawn by Jose Luis García- Lopez “praise be his name “. The story is fine. For a 70s story.
    Ah the odd man. Pure Ditko. They need to bring the odd man back for a Vertigo type line.

    Oy the bad guy in the Babs story is in a whole green suit. Oy. Dude break it up add a little bit of other colors to the look. He looks like a Keebler elf. Also so that’s the artist as Captain Marvel? Cool. I thought that was a model they hired to play Shazam at a con or something. Any way cool podcast can’t wait for the next one. Oh one more thing. Of course Gordon knows Babs is Bat Girl. But he has to pretend he doesn’t as Commissioner.

  8. Hey everybody it’s cousin Bucky along with Jeremy today we bought a build your taco bar don’t ask me how Jeremy got all that stuff in a block buster phanty pack but he did I he modified using time lord tech . I’ve got set up the movies where showing some old wrestling movies the wrestling classic and Ricky the dragon steam boat . And yes I’m dressed as captain lou Albano and Jeremy is dressed as joker Rey mysterio it makes sense .

      1. Yes I enjoyed the show . On a random note while I think maxi Zeus is a great villain. Do some research I’ve bin doing on Cartoons for my YouTube channel bucky749 . Has any heard of cartoon called maxi’s world from what I understand it was based on Barbie nock off . That’s all I know

    1. Bucky, what in Holy Bat F*** are you talking about? The comments section is a forum for listeners to discuss, y’know, the podcast! There are lots of other social media platforms for you to express whatever random thoughts you have at any given time. Please limit future comments to the topic of the episode.

      1. I’ve listened to this network if shag and girls from that who’s hot who’s not podcast can go off topic so can I . Besides i happen to be working on a project and fell down a YouTube rabbit hole never research TV shows based in Beverly Hills. You’ll never know where I’ll take you. I’ll never be the same all I can say is this “ tattoo, teenage alien fighters from Beverly Hills” if that doesn’t explain it nothing will .

  9. Hello, Bat-cousins! Hope everyone else is having as much fun as Shawn, Paul, and Martin had discussing this issue. Such an unassuming issue of the series with a few ups and downs behind that simple but fantastic cover by JLGL (PBHN).

    Batman – “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles

    Maybe if Sergius paid more attention to the Congressional race, he wouldn’t be out jogging at 4:00 AM.

    Hey, Ma, if your last name is literally “Murder” with an H stuck in a weird place, and you’re accused of murder, don’t blame the media for the nickname! And “Mhurder” has to be pronounced the way Alan Cummings says it in “The Traitors”, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    Roy Raymond, TV Detective – Theme from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” by John Williams

    Shawn’s synopsis was more exciting than this story.

    I’d seriously forgotten about this guy’s schtick. Roy is less “Magnum, PI” and more Josh Gates in a suit hosting a cross of “To Tell the Truth” and “That’s Incredible”. Since this character dates back to 1949, does this mean that DC invented reality television??

    Figuring out Madame X was easy. The big mystery is why Morgan Edge is always such an ass. At least it’s not just Clark Kent he tries to bully.

    Dave Hunt was a prolific inker, but don’t think he did much penciling. I try not to be too harsh of a critic, but the art looked stiff.

    Robin – “99 Luftballoons” by Nena (the German language version)

    So, Robin stocked up at Spencer’s for a “foot sticking out of a car trunk” prank and got the Ralph Dibny licensed version?

    Unless those soldiers were living and shopping off base, I don’t know about that “devaluation” excuse. My parents and I lived on base in West Germany in the early 1970s. I was just a kid and didn’t pay too much attention to the price of groceries then. I do remember the markup at the PX (Post eXchange, the Walmart for soldiers and dependents for those who don’t know) was not as much as at civilian stores. Even comic books were a little below cover price. In the late 1970s, after moving back to the US, my mother and I would make a trip every month or so to one of the military bases near Atlanta (Fort McPherson, Fort Gillem, sometimes Dobbins AFB) to stock up at the PX because the prices were cheaper, there was no sales tax, and she also used coupons to maximize the savings. My mother was a master at penny pinching.

    FYI, Krabbenloch Kaserne was an actual US Army base outside of Stuttgart. I’m guessing writer Jack C. Harris was stationed there or nearby when he served.

    The Odd Man – “Walk Like An Egyptian” by the Bangles, and “King Tut” by Steve Martin. The first one hit my ears while reading, the second while listening to this episode.

    This story falls into the “it’s so bad it’s good” camp. Is it no surprise that a character called The Odd Man is created by Steve Ditko? And the character’s secret identity is Clay Stoner?? Yeah, tell me Ditko wasn’t on something. And yet, what is this guy’s origin story?? Was he a test subject for secret CIA LSD experiments?

    Oddly (no pun intended) enough, I was a fan of Ditko’s Starman series in Adventure Comics.

    The whole plot could be a 70s moment. Ancient Egypt was front and center with the King Tut exhibit traveling across the country at the time.

    This is set in River City. Richmond, VA, where I live, is called that!! Hey, I’ll claim it on behalf of RVA.

    And if James Gunn isn’t aware of this character — well, he really needs to be.

    Batgirl – “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac (perennially popular at campaign rallies)

    It’s always good to see Dick Giordano’s artwork, but odd to see someone else inking his pencils.

    Della’s sign on the van on page one has a clever but dangerous play on her name. I don’t think the “-gate” suffix was as widespread at this time, but that’s almost inviting a scandal.

    Is this the first time Barbara ran for re-election? DC’s not going to say outright what party she belongs to, but \didn’t Barbara sound more like a Republican? I’d always thought she was a Democrat. Then again, the two of them don’t sound like they disagree on much. My, how US politics have changed in the last 45 years

    A couple of 70s moments you may have missed – The soldiers were wearing solid colored fatigues, as opposed to the typical camo ones today. And I’m surprised none of you mentioned the board member in the Robin story with the Princess Leia hairdo.

  10. Hey Bat Cousins, sorry I’m late, I was at the movies when some weird fight broke out with a lot of snappy quips. Anyway, I brought some old lady’s box of popcorn for everyone to share.

    Love the cover by JLGL PBHN. I don’t mind the muddy sky because it mutes the whole background and lets the heroes stand out better. I don’t even mind that it’s in the box. This would make a cool poster.

    Don Newton kills it again with his art on the Batman story. His thugs always make me think of the assassins Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever. Just distinctive weirdos looking to kill. I’m very disappointed the League of Assassins moved out of the parking garage. Seemed like a solid tax shelter and a lot cheaper rent than the lower east side’s water-sealed apartments. Of course, who needs to pay for AC when you can just fill up the living room for a cool dip? Laugh all you want, but if you live in a city where the Joker is blowing poisonous gas out of a blimp every other week, it’s worth a little extra to get the air tight condo. Check Zillow for details. If the League wanted a low profile, why’d they hang out as teenagers when Batman’s there? First Sensei gets busted for his vanity plates, now his goons are busted for outdated footwear. I better not sport my Chuck Taylors around Batman or I might get punched in the face. Speaking of footwear, Sensei, if you’re gonna lounge on your sectional with your hookah pipe, take your damn shoes off like a gentleman.

    Congratulations, Shawn, reading Roy Raymond and Odd man made me long for a Bat Mite story instead. Once again, listings for Gotham real estate would’ve been way better than those clowns.

    Finally, Batgirl got a great artist! Unfortunately, she lost my vote. Fear-mongering while ignoring the budgetary needs for jobs, housing and education? You’re better than this, Babs!

    Well, gotta go. Great Aunt Penelope is trying to proof-read this post backwards and looks like she’s about to have a stroke.


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