Batman: The Early Years

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Classic Batman CardI was a big Batman fan in the mid 1960s when the TV show was popular and Batman was less a “Creature of the Night” and more of a campy crime fighter.  I don’t recall having any action figures or anything of that sort (were action figures even around then?), but I did have a bucket of Batman cards and I remember glow in the dark plastic Batman rings!  I also had a homemade Batman cape – when I played with my friend, neither of us wanted to be Robin, so instead of Batman and Robin protecting the neighborhood, we were Batman and Batman!

By that time, Batman had been around for about 25 years or so, created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939 and making his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 the same year.  Unlike Superman, who appeared a few years earlier, Batman’s origin was not as exotic and he wasn’t gifted with amazing superpowers.  He was an athletic detective, but still closer to the average person than superman.

Batman became popular almost immediately and soon was featured in his own comic.  His popularity grew as he faced his own group of colorful evildoers such as the Penguin, Riddler and of course, the Joker.  He also accumulated a rather varied collection of allies, including Robin, Alfred, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound and even Bat-Mite (a creature along the lines of Superman’s Mister Mxyzptlk).  Some of these were a bit on the silly side, but they made for great reading for kids.

Unfortunately, due to a variety of economic and political factors, comic book sales declined throughout the 1950s and many once popular comic books were canceled.  Although sales dropped, DCs Batman comics continued to be published throughout this period.  This began to change in the early 1960s with the advent of Marvel Comics and reemergence of DC superheroes such as the Flash.  But it was the classic Batman television show that ran from 1966 to 1968 (and is still a staple on many cable channels today) that brought Batman back into the limelight.  The television series Batman was much campier than the earlier comics, but was so popular, the tone of the comic changed to match the television series.  When the show ended, Batman’s popularity declined from its peak (until the Batman movies appeared), but along with Superman, he remained a classic superhero.

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Norse American Stamps: 1925

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Norse American Stamp: 2 Cents1925 was a rather sparse year for commemorative stamps.   Only five were issued that year, a set of three Lexington-Concord stamps commemorating the early years of the Revolutionary War and a two stamp Norse American set.  The Lexington-Concord set was a nice looking set, but nothing special design wise.  The second set, although commemorating a somewhat more esoteric event, had very striking designs.  Both stamps were printed in both black and colored ink and featured sailing ships, one a 19th century Norwegian sloop (the Restaurationen) and the other a Viking ship.

Norse American Stamp: 5 CentsUnfortunately, these stamps had smaller print runs than many of the other stamps of the period and tend to be a bit more expensive, although not dreadfully so.  It looks like a mint two cent red design runs about five dollars and the blue five cent design around fifteen to twenty dollars.  Used stamps are cheaper of course, and there are probably significant variations in price due to centering, etc.  (the above prices were gathered from a quick scan of eBay!).

New Yellow Submarine Movie

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Beatles Yellow SubmarineThe original Yellow Submarine movie is, in my humble opinion, an all time classic.  The animation was both innovative and accessible, and the music was excellent (although the voices of the “Beatles” in the movie were not actually the real Beatles).  Great in it’s own right, the Yellow Submarine perfectly reflected the late 1960s.

Disney is now making a remake of the Yellow Submarine.  It’s going to be 3D and will be using the original songs from the movie (the producers have gotten the rights for the music).  I’m mixed on this – I don’t see how the movie could be better than the original, and I’m worried that the creativity, artistry and energy of the original movie will be replaced with generic 3D and CGI flair (I’m somewhat “eh” about 3D movies).  On the other hand, it might be interesting to see what they do with it.  I doubt it will stand up to the original, but hopefully it won’t be a bomb like the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie from the late 1970s (although the music was interesting).

New York World’s Fair Stamp: 1939

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Here’s a cool stamp from way back in 1939, the New York World’s Fair stamp.  The fair was the biggest one ever held with nearly 45 million people attending over two years.  It was held during the Art Deco period, and featured a varied assortment of modern structures, consumer appliances and other “futuristic” (for the time) things.  New York’s first regular television broadcast was of the World’s Fair opening.  The stamp shows two of the famous buildings (in the “modern” Art Deco style of the time), the Trylon and the Perisphere.  One reason I like the stamp so much is that it has such a clean and uncluttered design and almost has the feel of both an early 20th century illustration combined with the later pulp science fiction illustrations.

First Post – Woot!

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A New WordPress Blog!   No theme currently, but will have to see what develops once I figure out how the site works!

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