FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: BATMAN

This episode of FW Presents gives Ryan Daly the chance to talk about the Dark Knight Detective, which he hardly ever does. This time, it's a Batman tale illustrated by Gene Colan, and joining Ryan for the discussion of BATMAN #343 is fellow Bat-fan J. David Weter. Thrill as they review the first appearance of the deadly Dagger! And also, what's up with Rennington Steel and Remington Steele anyway?!!

Throughout his life, Gene Colan brought his truly unique art style to the pages of Batman, The Tomb of Dracula, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Howard the Duck, Doctor Strange, The Spectre, and so many others. What issues will Ryan chronicle on this podcast? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to: RDalyPodcast@gmail.com.

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Intro: Gene Colan interview from “The Men Without Fear”; “The Vampire Hunters” by Wojciech Kilar.

Additional music: “Charge of the Batmobile" by Danny Elfman.

Thanks for listening!

10 responses to “FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: BATMAN

  1. I thought for a second I had accidentally missed a Knightcast recording! Thankfully JDW brought the Bat-goods.

    I will be honest, when Colan came on Batman…I didn’t really care for his work. It was too ethereal, and challenging for my then 6 year old brain. Of course, as my mushy brain coalesced, I began to appreciate that Colan was probably a better fit for Batman then nearly any other super hero he’d ever drawn.

    I still haven’t warmed to Klaus Janson. I just don’t really care for his style, although I think it melds with Colan’s work than most. I don’t like Tim Sale’s stuff too much either, despite recognizing his talent, so go figure.

    Dagger had potential, but I wonder if Bill Mantlo (him again!) coming up with Cloak and Dagger didn’t put a damper on any plans DC may have had to do something with him. C&D were pretty popular in the 80s, so why try to push this guy with the similar name. Dagger looked like the lovechild of Batroc and Cluemaster to boot.

    As for “Rennington Steele”, I have to think both it and the Remington Steele TV series were riffs on the gun manufacturer. Odd that the came out so close to one another. Oh, and not only was Efram Zimbalest, Jr. a wonderful Alfred, his daughter Stephanie also guested on BTAS as the DA Janet Van Dorn in the villain-heavy episode “Trial”.



  2. Why did Batman use the Batboat to retrieve Dagger’s dagger from the sunken Batmobile? My theory is that he needed to use the Batboat in the solving of a crime to maintain his trademark on the aforementioned Bat-branded vehicle. He obviously let the trademark on his Bat-SCUBA gear slip, which is why he was stuck using standard SCUBA equipment in this issue. In the end, it’s all about maintaining the brand.

    Disclaimer: I am not a trademark lawyer, and have no idea if that’s how trademarks actually work, but I’ll pretend that’s how they work in comic books.

    Thanks for another Colan-tastic episode, gentlemen.

    1. I got a great deal on one of those In the eighties. I thought I was in the chips, but really I’d hit the skids. The thing would only let you write moody thrillers on it — detective and spy stories, mostly. I bought all kinds of trouble when I aimed it at my 1040A. The IRS got the impression I was hiding something, and I hate to make a bad impression.

      Once I’d convinced the tax man he couldn’t get any more blood from this stone, I pointed that word piano at the ivy-covered walls of academia. I got a D- on my term paper, ‘cause my professor said she had no idea what was going on until the big reveal on last page. No surprise there, though. Dames always understood me about as well as I understood them.

      I tried to sell the term paper as a script in Tinseltown, but they told me to hit the bricks. Actually, what they said was, “Nobody films in black and white anymore, tough guy.”

      So I bought a word processor off a guy who was fed up with LaLa Land and riding the rails out of town. I punched out a teen coming-of-age comedy — the kind of tale where the men were boys and the women were trying to figure out why the boys were so weird. Sold it to a director who thought he was the next John Hughes for enough greenbacks to leave town in style. It was the stuff that dreams were made of…

    2. Thank you. This has haunted me since we did the episode.

      I feel ashamed, since I learned to type in my stepfather’s Remington typewriter.

  3. It’s interesting to hear your opinion of Gene’s DC inkers. I think we can safely say that we completely disagree. Klaus Hanson would’ve been one of my favourites from that era and I always thought Bob Smith made Gene look a little bland.

    I remember reading a Meanwhile column from the early 80s where a fan wrote in and said they should swap Bob Smith and Alfredo Alcala so Bob was inking Don Newton and Alfredo was inking Gene. Dick Giordano replied we had to remember that Batman featured longer stories than Detective (because of Green Arrow) so they couldn’t swap as Alfredo was capable of producing more pages than Bob. He added that even if that wasn’t the case he would’ve assigned the same people. This means that Dick Giordano agrees with you but I agree with the letter writer. It’s weird how much personal taste comes into it.

    By the way I want to emphasise that I also love the work of Bob Smith, Frank McLaughlin, Dick Giordano and Romeo Tanghal, I just didn’t like their work with Gene Colan. In fact, if you add Jerry Ordway to that list you’ve got my favourite inkers for George Perez.

    By the way it’s Droo-ay-Why-ter. You’ve been saying Damien right.

    1. Should say Klaus Janson not Hanson. I noticed Duck Giordano was wrong but missed that autocorrect error.

  4. Thank you both for a fun review of an issue I somehow missed. “Would’ve made a good episode of Batman: The Animated Series” is high praise.

    In my head canon, Dave’s joke about the underwater knife retrieval being an “excuse to use the Bat-boat” would be correct. When you have all that specialized gear, you have to use it every so often to make sure it’s still operational and to keep up your currency. Conway could’ve even included a thought balloon to that effect.

    I think Dagger’s problem as a villain is that he isn’t terribly challenging for Bats. The mystery was the story here. I think he could be a Robin villain once you know who he is and can identify his modus operandum.

  5. Rifles, razor blades, and typewriters. Remington Steel.
    Like Chris, I needed a little while to get used to Colan’s Batman. I compared everyone’s Batman to 1. Adams, 2. Aparo, 3. Rogers. No artist got an easy acceptance from me! By this point Don Newton’s Batman was the standard, as far as I was concerned, and Colan was vastly different from Newton. Eventually, I became accepting, but I preferred the more dynamic inks of Alcala of Janson than Smith’s. Regardless, any Colan on Batman was wonderful!
    Conway does a nice trick with this story. It’s a done-in-one, with a new villain, that Batman a chance to do a little detecting. For new or casual readers, he provides some Bat-gear, which, however maligned and mined for cheap jokes, is what people want form a Batman story. “Those wonderful toys.” For regular readers, as I was, Gerry lays in some soon to harvested seeds of upcoming stories, and gives us a Bruce Wayne who has a life and has human needs, like sleep. This is a good solid comic book!

  6. I was sure I’d seen a Dagger in a Brave and the Bold, but maybe the guy was just called the Knife or something. There have been, in fact, three Batman villains called Dagger, none of which are the one I was thinking about.

    So you said this was a good one-off (and for spot discussion like this, that’s useful – I myself recently posted an article on me blogue about Batman being exhausted, also drawn by Colan), but what would you say is the best of Colan on Batman? The Nocturna/Night-Slayer stuff?

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