Possibly Batman's Most Half-Assed Disguise

Okay, I'm not as sure about this one as I was about the obscurity of that Superman power,  but I like using the superlatives.

Still, though: purple hat and cloak over top of his regular Bat-duds? Travis Morgan goatee? If this isn't the most half-assed of the Dark Knight's disguises then it's as least in the top five.

The Unfunnies: Shorty vs. Facial Hair

Did I ever mention that Shorty was in the Navy during WWII? Yes, he went from office boy to Ordinary Seaman and then to high school student in the 50s, so evidently he was able to lie not only about his height but also the fact that he was roughly 12, thus his problems in keeping up with the Navy Hipsters that seemingly infest his ship:


NOTE: I sincerely apologize if the last joke seemed out of date; the hipsters here still love their beards. I hope yours are the same.

- From Superman No. 32

This Might Be My Favourite Series of Posts

You may or may not remember my special report on some alternate, reader-suggested costumes for Robin a while back, and Rachelle's post on some terrible costumes that Batman was retconned into having considered even further back. Well, guess what? I have more! Evidently the suggestions just kept on rolling in, and in Batman No. 259 they printed up another batch.


Of course the fact that the costume on the lower right is very similar to the modern Red Robin grab is interesting and worth noting and nodding thoughtfully while stroking your chin, but the tunic/hairdo/moustache combo on the upper left is simply breathtaking. If only this had become the official Robin costume of the 70s - what an amazing cultural artifact that would have been! what mileage the comic bloggers of today would be getting out of it! Mourn, mourn for what might have been.


Oh, and that one at the top looks like a red version of the Nightwing costume. That's cool. 

Danny the Bungalow? I Could No Longer Resist

I don't know about you folks, but I've been enjoying the hell out of the latest Doom Patrol series, partially because I really like the idea of the Patrol as a part of the Oolong Island scientocracy but also due to the fact that Keith Giffen has been doing a fantastic job of integrating some of the weirder elements of the team's past back into a continuity that had essentially been kicked back to the Sixties by the combined effects of the Byrne reboot and the Infinite Crisis de-boot.

So far we've seen a Chief very much in the super-manipulative jerk mode of the Morrison team, a very successful and inclusive synthesis of all of the various Negative Men into one character, a resolution to nearly fifty years of Robotman bemoaning his lost humanity and most recently the reintroduction of Crazy Jane and Danny the Street, two of the most thoroughly long-lost characters that I could name.

And of course that got me thinking: just what else will be reappearing from the murky depths of the Doom Patrol's past? Join me as I present the top ten people, things and tendencies that I would love to see make their way back into the light.

10. The Arsenal

Not of course the post-Speedy, pre-Red Arrow Roy Harper (and isn't he going to be going back to that name again soon?). No, this was a guy in a pretty radical set of robotic armour who had a trap-filled castle and a giant chip on his shoulder, the latter because he was maybe three feet tall.

I really do think that there is a place on Oolong for someone brilliant enough to design a humanoid exoskeleton that can nearly defeat the Doom Patrol but dumb enough to try to rob a bank in a humanoid exoskeleton that has no hands.

9. Scott Fischer

Scott was one of the unfortunate characters introduced pre-Morrison in the 1980s revival of the series, all of whom were surplus to requirements after Invasion and most of whom met with grisly ends, including joining the Suicide Squad, being shot by the Chief and getting exploded by aliens. Poor Scott wasn't even doing that well beforehand, since the same childhood snacking on toxic waste that gave him his powers also gave him leukemia, but things just got sad once the Dominators set off their gene bomb and provided hundreds of DC characters with origin stories. Somehow Scott managed to take the mysterious radiations that were giving folks the world over super-powers and turn them into even more leukemia, leading to his off-panel death. Poor kid never had a chance - he never even came back as a Black Lantern, for heaven's sake!

Plus, he's got huge Erik Larsen-style ears! Who can resist those?

8. The Codpiece


One of Rachel Pollack's very first creations for her turn as Doom Patrol scribe. The motivation behind the Codpiece's criminal career is refreshingly transparent, but will I ever see him in a non-Vertigo comic? Probably not.

7. The Return of R-2

Way back in the day there was an origin of the Chief that involved a young Niles Caulder being sponsored in his hunt for a means of conquering death. Too late, he discovered that his sponsor was the dastardly General Immortus! To prevent Immortus from becoming... even more immortal, Caulder enacted a plan that called for him to die and for his trusted robot aide R-2 to bring him back with science.

The whole thing was a complete success, although Caulder was no longer a walking man. And how did he reward the faithful servant that had brought him back from death itself?


Yep, two in the back of the robo-head. That is cold, brother Niles.

I would dearly love to see R-2 come back as a headless mechanical ghost, or even as a robot servant that doesn't get mob-style executed for doing a good job. Perhaps then the above panel would stop haunting my dreams.

6. Giant Guys With Delusions of Grandeur






They sure fought a lot of them. Why not a few more?

5. ROG!

Rog, the giant red robot used by the original Brotherhood of Evil: best giant robot ever? Judge for yourself:

Name me one other giant robot that has commenced an attempt to steal the Statue of Liberty by skiing up on two motorboats.

4. Shasta the Living Mountain

I know that he was just a useless, doomed-to-die sad sack character in Doom Force, the comic that only existed to mock the state of comics in the 90s, but how can you resist that sad little face?


Wait, no, it's a pretty hideous face. Well, maybe he could die again.

3. Ir, Ur and Ar, the Freaky Mutants


Ar, Ir and Ur, mutants caused by early atomic testing, were more than a match for the Doom Patrol. Heck, they almost took out the entire planet with a comet - the only reason that they didn't was that the Chief managed to trick them by employing the old Robot Gladiator From an Advanced Mutant-Run Alien Civilization Routine.

More importantly, these guys are completely freaky - they weird me out more  than any number of tentacled hell-beasts in actual horror comics have managed to do, especially the face-on-chest guy. I bet that they could be turned to good, unsettling use nowadays.

2. The Beard Hunter


So I like the idea of super-serious Niles Caulder having a ridiculous Punisher parody as an arch-enemy, so sue me.



I have loved a lot of giant robots down through the years - just last week I was loving those amazing red guys on the "Super Batman of Planet X!" episode of Batman: the Brave and the Bold - but the Giant Robot Jukebox holds a strong position in the race for the title of my favourite.


Putting aside the glory of the design (and ignoring the mediocrity of the colour scheme), there's just something about the idea of a guy taking the fact that his company has assigned him to make a giant promotional jukebox and just totally seizing the day. this might, after all, be his only chance to make a giant robot on the company dime.


And in a world filled with super-humans doing super things, how great would it be to be able to tell your boss you were late because a giant robotic jukebox destroyed the bridge with bad pop?

Don't worry: this doesn't invalidate my affection for Rog, since he is clearly a giant robot that you ride around in and that is completely different than the kind that you just let loose to go smash things.

And that's that: my list of ten things, the appearance of any two or three of which in Doom Patrol will completely validate me. Feel free to let me know your own preferences in the comments section and I'll share the list of runners-up. Good night!



Sweater Vests Never Really Caught on Like Capes Did

Consider this a companion piece to Rachelle's post on rejected Batman costumes from the depths of the 90s. Back in 1969, Dick Grayson finished high school - after only 25 years! take that, Archie! - and moved away to attend an institute of higher learning. A few readers took this opportunity to point out that maybe it was time for Robin to finally graduate from the hot-pants-and-pixie-boots look into something more... grown up. As Robin himself put it:

Yes, it was time for

So sit back and enjoy these fine examples of cutting-edge costume design, as determined by an earlier generation of comics fan.

I think that the upper right design on each page is my favourite. What about you?

LBW Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: Fashion Fun

Once again the holidays approach, as implacable as Galactus and as dead-set on devouring the Earth (or at least those portions of it devoted to retail). And everyone has those two or three people who are extremely hard to buy for, just like Galactus is. So unless you’ve chosen to adopt the Ultimate Nullifier of Christmas that is Officially Buying Nothing, you might appreciate this, the Living Between Wednesdays Holiday Gift Guide. Our crack team of researchers (Johnathan) have combed through seventy years of comic book advertising to find the perfect gift for any family member, friend or workplace Secret Santa partner who is filling you with terror at the prospect of trying to bring them holiday joy.

Part 1: High Fashion

Think that your loved one needs a slight image adjustment? Give these beauties a try:


Know someone whose face just isn’t busy enough or who maybe has some sort of facial growth that you get uncomfortable looking at? Just MAIL COUPON NOW and you can give them the gift of a wide variety of glue-on facial hairs made from modocrylic, which I am sure is one of the wonder materials of the future (although possibly a future that is a couple of decades in the past). Either take the super-creepy route of sending the fine people from Masculiner a hair sample or simply select a beard colour randomly – note how natural the jet-black Van Dyke looks on our blond friend.

Hey, I finally know what to get my niece! Thanks, Masculiner!

French Photo Ring

I know that the text here is a bit too blurry to read but I felt that it was important to bring to your attention the fact that such things as rings with little nudie pictures inside exist. Buy one for the soft-core pornography enthusiast in your life, the one who’s a bit too embarrassed to openly read Playboy in public but still wants to see boobies while riding the bus to work.

Good Luck Ring

It’s hideous!

Gorilla Accessories

That’s right: for less than fifteen dollars you can set someone up with gorilla hands, feet and head, *and* have enough leftover to get yourself that Realistic Frankenstein that you’ve always wanted. Imagine the joy on your 90-pound cousin Joey’s face as he slips these beauties on and becomes indistinguishable from a real gorilla! Just be careful not to take him to the zoo!

Assorted Wrist Bands

The era of the wrist band is back! Give a pair to the spindle-shanked weakling in your life to see him (or possibly her) become/appear as masculine as the day is long! Makes a great gift for fans of interesting tan lines, too!

Vampire Blood

Everyone loves vampires, right? But not everyone has the funds or gumption necessary to acquire real blood to complete the vampire look. Just a few dabs of Vampire Blood brand vampire blood and anybody on your wish list will be ready to swing to the beautiful music of the children of the night.

Optional forehead putty, tin of glitter or fistful of d10s available, depending on which brand of angst-ridden bloodsucker you wish to promote.

Vulcan Ears

NOTE: ears will not actually make blood green.

Join us all this week for more exemplary gift suggestions!