Hep Jivin'

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, during my redonkulous birthday extravaganza, I featured a lovely image of Clark Kent doing some disco dancing. Here, let's look at it again for funsies:

Heck, here's a little bonus material for you, just to show how much I care:

Plus I love that last panel of him hitting his knees. That's right kids: clap for Clark.

Since I posted Disco Kent I've been thinking about the trend that his dancing points toward: the appropriation of popular dance, music and other trends to make comic books more relevant for the kiddies. Why, I remember when I was in elementary school and I really connected with the West Coast Avengers during their epic encounter with the Defiler:

Yes, I was tickled pink when I saw that hard-rockin' dude show up. Too bad that he was just interested in feeding kids to extra-dimensional lemon pudding. Seems like a lot of the metal-inspired guys in the Eighties were villains, actually. Probably all the skulls and fringe - that stuff'd give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

No worries though - once I was in high school there came a super-hero that was drawn from the Top 40 of the day, Gen-13's own Grunge!

Not that I ever met anybody that could both be described as "grunge" and would be caught dead with their shirt off. It was a revolution for the heavy and the scrawny, at least in my neck of the woods. Still, Grunge slacked off sometimes and occasionally wore a flannel shirt, which is kind of close.

But it couldn't last. Those crazy kids kept on having crazy fashions and interests and so eventually you had the return of the "popular musician/movie star lures children to their extradimensional doom" plot when the Titans started scrapping with a guy named Goth:

 Because the kids just can't resist a guy with really interesting male pattern baldness.

"Man, I like Emo. He's balding from the sides!"

"Sides nothing, yo. Goth is balding from the middle out."

I think that I'm trying to say that this is a continuing trend, and that it's usually kind of laughable. The real reason for this post, though, is to showcase the fact that anything Clark Kent can do, Bruce Wayne can do better and also thirty-five years earlier. Witness the granddaddy and best of all comic book popular culture appropriation, Bruce Wayne: hep cat.

See, Bruce was getting kicked in the face one day when he noticed a very important cluethe kicker's soles were dry! Not being the nigh-invulnerable Batman of later days, our cowled pal had a nice long nap, during which time he mulled over the significance of the Mystery of the Mysteriously Dry Soles and, well, just made me so proud when he deduced that they were waxed from plenty of jive dancing at the local juke joint. I'm proud because his deductions led to this:

Oh that swinging cat! He's so cool that he makes the caption uncertain! He confuses the hell out of Alfred and has his own perspective and just doesn't care!

("You're the tiger's nightgown! The bobcat's boxers! The lion's lingerie! The civet's nothing at all!"

"You're so close, Alfred.")

Bruce hits the town and in short order is accosted by the most adorable girl in any Batman comic ever:

And here's some more:

So: Hep-cat Batman is the best iteration of the trend that I'm blathering on about here. That's all I'm trying to say, really. That and that I wish that Bruce had kept on seeing this girl. The idea of him constantly trying to figure out what she was saying is delightful to me, especially if she was constantly attaching herself to new trends, so that by the Eighties she would be, say, a Valley Girl and then an incomprehensible PC-speak enthusiast or something. And then a swing dancer again. Trust me, it would be great!

Oh, and one last thing:

"Zoot-Suited Looter" is a great turn of phrase.

Good evening, folks!