Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scanner Sunday - Goofy, Goofy Comics

There's something of a custom on comic book blogs to occasionally simply scan and post some panels from older comics, which taken out of context - both in terms of the story of which they are a part and their native historical/cultural milieu - become hilarious bits of randomism. And rarely have I ever met a blog tradition, especially comics-related, that I didn't want to take part in myself.

So one of the things I bought myself with recent birthday money was DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories volume 2 (needless to say I already own volume 1) and I just finished reading it this weekend. The first volume focuses mostly on Superman, and volume 2 belongs to Batman. The 'imaginary' aspect refers to the fact that all of the stories were originally presented specifically as being non-canonical adventures of the Dark Knight which represented what might have been or was possibly yet-to-be. Most of the stories are from the 60's, when rigid continuity wasn't as devoutly worshipped as it would be later on, but in superheroic serialized stroytelling there were always developments that were out of bounds unless labelled as 'imaginary' - Batman getting married and having a family, for example.

Which is the premise of "The Second Batman and Robin Team", a hypothetical tale in which Batman has married and raised a son, and the former Robin is now Batman II, with young Bruce Wayne, Jr. filling the green pixie boots of the sidekick as Robin II. It was originally published in 1960, and assuming a mental calculus something along the lines of Batman's wedding taking place five years in the future and Bruce Jr. being a 12-year-old Robin II, the writer apparently believed giant flat-screen tvs were going to be available, at least to millionaires, circa 1977. (So close!)

At any rate, the particulars of the story itself are silly and irrelevant, because I just wanted to share this particular moment, where the older members of the Wayne household watch the heirs to the legacy on one of the aforementioned future-tv's because the Dynamic Duo II happened to have caught up to the crooks during a live tv broadcast:

The guy behind the guy BEHIND the guy
Click to embiggen for full-size rah-rah bully good show!

Perhaps not Alfred the butler's most dignified moment. And I'm not one to dismiss the opportunity to snigger heartily at the unintentional homoerotic humor of urging the giving of "a jolly good poke" but what cracks me up even more about the scene is the artwork itself: Alfred's wide eyes and crazed, lopsided grin, his improbably angled arms, the swooshing motion lines trailing his wrinkled little fists. It's got a certain childish energy (and arguably a childish grasp of anatomy to match) that I just find too good not to share. If I ever have enough money to justify hiring a manservant of some kind, I'm definitely going to ask how he would pantomime exuberant fisticuffs if the situation demanded it.

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