FW Team-Up: Batman and the House of Mystery

It's Hallowe'en Week, and FW Team-Up visits some spooky Irish isles in The Brave and the Bold #93, Batman and the House of Mystery, by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. It's an usual team-up to say the least, as only Siskoid and Martin Gray can bring it to you. So... do you DARE press play?

Listen to the Team-Up below, or subscribe to FW Team-Up on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental

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28 responses to “FW Team-Up: Batman and the House of Mystery

  1. Great episode!

    Always happy to hear Mart. And this seems the perfect issue for him. Wonderful plot recap.

    I can’t imagine the current Batman leaving Gotham for a month. But I love the idea.

    And ‘Cave of Mystery’! I’d totally buy that!

    Finally, thanks for the Event Leviathan shout out! This time, it feels, I will be wrong.

    1. Hahaha, I have no clue!

      I’ve recorded 30 episodes to date (so next month’s too), and I wonder how many of those Amalgam projects would be commercially viable.

  2. I love this issue of B&B, as well as the idea of Batman taking a “vacation.” Now, of course, there are 17 other members of the Batman family to pick up the slack, but back in these more innocent days (Vietnam, Nixon), Batman was the whole deal. I wonder if crime went down in Metropolis, Central City, et al, because all the super-villains flooded into Gotham during the month Bats was gone.

    I would argue any story featuring The House of Mystery is a HOM story, and the guest star is just that, even if it their book like this. And of course Neal Adams is the exact right artist for such a story.

    Always happy to hear Martin on the network!

    1. Ironically, it seems less realistic for him to take a vacation now, when he actually has enough people to cover his shifts. (Leaves of absence have happened, but I don’t think breaking his back or being lost in time counts as a vacation.)

  3. Great episode fellas! I think the Batman of the time would take a vacation. He wasn’t nearly as obsessed as he would later become. Heck, the Earth-One Superman and Batman first learned each other secret identities on a vacation cruise! Oddly enough, O’Neil and Adams would be two of the creators steering the character into darker, grittier territory, which would eventually lead later creators to examine Batman in a more deeply, psychological manner, resulting in the obsessed, damaged man-child who is often hard to even like, that we have today.

    I don’t think that he’d take a vacation just because Jim Gordon told him too, however!

    This story was a …ahem…mystery to me for a long time. I heard about it for decades, but didn’t get to read it until I got that HUGE B&B Bronze Age Omnibus! It’s quite a good mashup, but as Martin pointed out, there was a lot of gothic horror in Batman, and in fact the whole DC line at the time anyway!


  4. Great episode, gents, but I may have to re-listen, as half of Martin’s excellent commentary is always lost to me until I tune my (one good) ear to his accent — about halfway through in this case. Can you have Martin record himself reading the Westminster Catechism or the Magna Carta or something, so I can use that as a warm-up? Wait, I know! The St. Crispin’s Day speech!

    Whilst on the topic of your guest — he’s an Englishman of mostly Irish heritage living in Scotland? There must be some way we can work Wales into his bio.

    I read this tale in some collection — don’t remember where — and couldn’t agree more with your opinions. Great story, but superb art. As for the reliance on national stereotypes in comics, it would be fun to flip that on its head. We could have Alpha Flight or the Global Guardians visit the U.S. and find it populated entirely by gangsters and cowboys.

      1. I apologise, I did t try to slow down… to hear the local accent at its best, search Seaham Scooby on YouTube… Scooby-Doo redubbed. I won’t put a link here, it’s a bit cheeky. But you’ll note that I’m dead posh, like, by comparison.

    1. I think Superman 2 Movie Minute discussed this very thing, when the Phantom Zone villains invade a country town, and it’s all dirt roads and hicks, because the movie was made by European creators. I have no problem with us ‘muricans taking our lumps. 🙂

  5. Martin, please! As long as we’re following the National Stereotyping Protocol, unnecessary apologies are Siskoid’s territory. Union (Jack) rules, after all.

    I was really trying to make an observation on my own provincialism, not criticize anyone’s accent. I grew up in America’s Deep South. Nowadays, my accent is almost unnoticeable — until I go home for a visit, or just get tired, when my own children need a translator.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a busy day ahead. We have to pick a spot on the Eurasian land mass and liberate the heck out of it!

  6. Oh, and I plan to check out Seaham Scooby as soon as we get bogged down in the occupation phase and I get some time. Thanks!

  7. A great team-up! Well done to the both of you for really bringing out the Gothic spookiness that this story is trying to evoke. I have an unnatural obsession with any of those old DC comics that have the bat symbol in the corner. Not the Batman symbol, but that House of Mystery bat in the top right corner. As a kid, I always convinced myself that any comic with that bat on the cover was the sign of a good horror comic…. that wouldn’t scare me too much. I wasn’t always correct, but I convinced myself I was right.
    A fantastic show for listening to on this Halloween. Keep up the good work!

  8. Always great to have an episode with Martin! If I could do that accent, I totally would.

    What a wild issue. Cain was my favorite part, so snarky and irreverent throughout. He completely stole the show.

    As ridiculous as it seems for Batman to take a month off, that’s not the craziest bit. To me, it’s that Commissioner Gordon is just walking around Gotham with a cruise ship ticket in his pocket! Did he really buy it in advance just for Batman? Or some other reason? The mind boggles! Sure, there’s mundane explanations, but what’s the fun of that?

    Thanks for the great show!

  9. My first time visiting this site and I get to hear Mart(from the fantastic Too Dangerous for a Girl) and one of the great Legion of Super Bloggers voices for the first time!
    Thanks for a great episode and now I’m going to have the actual voices running through my head when I read the chaps in the future!
    Anyway I’ll be tuning in regularly from now on

  10. Thanks for covering this issue. I first discovered the story in the treasury, Batman’s Strangest Cases aka one of the most awesome treasuries ever published.

    Ok, I always thought Batman tripping over the board and the hoods gun misfiring were the supernatural results of either Cain, to get Batman into the “House of Mystery” or of King Hugh to get Batman to his castle. Likewise, whichever of the two was manipulating events caused the image of Sean’s grandfather in the waves to make sure Sean and Bruce met.

    If I have a complaint about the story, and I really don’t, since King Hugh takes about the main villain with the picture frame, couldn’t he have just killed off the villains without Batman’s help? Yeah, I know we wouldn’t have a story if Batman didn’t appear and that may seem like a nitpick. I really do love the story and have since 1978.

  11. Oh , I love this story! I first read it in Batman: From the 30s to the 70s, in black and white. It wasn’t until I got the treasury Batman’s Strangest Cases (Gothosmansion is right, one of the most awesome!) that I saw how Cain was colored to show that he wasn’t “in the panel.” I don’t care that Batman went on vacation, no matter how improbable! I liked seeing Bruce Wayne being a nice guy!
    I’m going to nod to Siskoid’s Panel-by-Panel podcast now. The panel on the bottom of page 2 is so good. Mostly because Adams has drawn the background, but not over-drawn it. The buildings behind the police car are suggested by careful crosshatched shadow. Just enough detail is given to the windows to make them clearly be windows with drawing too much attention to them. Batman in the foreground is mostly shadow, which makes the central image, the arrival of the police, the only bright color on the panel. One of my pet peeves of “modern” comics (anything after 1985, say) is when an artist lavishes attention on unimportant detail. That may be much easier now, with the aid of computers and digital coloring, but not everything has to be shown all the time.

      1. My memory may be false. I lost my copy of 30s-70s about 20 years ago. I’m probably conflating the Adams stories in that book with the reprint of this story in the Strangest Cases treasury.

  12. Great points on that panel, WHT! It also seems more realistic, since our eyes only focus on one plane at a time anyway. Objects at a distance greater than the focal point are out of focus, just the way Adams has drawn them.

  13. Excellent show Siskoid and kudos to Martin on his Irish accent!

    As someone from Ireland, it always annoys me in modern comics how “twiddly-diddly-aye” some comic creators depict Ireland in the books. It would be similar to people from the UK seeing Big Ben in every depiction of England, no matter where in England the comic is suppose to be based in. However, given the time period the book is taking place, the depiction of Ireland (particularly the rural north) is quite accurate by O’Neil and Adams. The place depicted is ficticious but based off of actual names in that there is Aran Islands of the west coast of Ireland, while there is another island called Arranmore off the north west coast.

    I enjoyed the story and the debate between you and Martin was very good, Siskoid. I look forward to the next instalment.

      1. I’m actually in Cork next year to join a cruise. Very excited at the prospect of all the ghosts and shamrock and leprechauns drinking Guinness!

        Thanks so much for the info, Jimmy!

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