Comic Book Brain

Last Update: April 20, 2024

Was Batman originally inspired by a vintage photo of an old man in a sort've bat cowl?MSN Snopes

A vintage 1892 photograph of a bearded butcher, Bill Smith, in a bat mask, was the inspiration for the character of Batman?"

Snopes pulls apart the claim looking at the idiosyncratic parts, researches the "Batbarbone" of 2011, and also remarks upon the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks The Mark of Zorro and the 1930 movie The Bat Whispers and The Shadow radio show. (But no one talks about The Scarlet Pimpernel novel by Baroness Orczy of 1905.)

Who killed Kamala Khan? MCU Boss Kevin Feige Boundingintocomics

Feige wanted the character brought "in-line" with the movie/TV version

Bob Beerbohm obituaryThe Comics Journal

Bob was a scholar in the best sense of the word. He was a vast font of knowledge of the history of comics going back to the 19th century, if not earlier, and broke a trail in the research of many subjects (19th century humor books, the early comic strips, the early comic books, underground comics) that countless other researchers have followed along..."

Marvel's July comics coming outComicsbeat

Retailers getting copies of Marvel's Blood Hunt #1 whether they order it or notBleedingcool


Batman Shirt Modern Logo – Amazon

James Gunn and the Superman anniversaryMSN Cinemablend

ComicsPRO Survey results show 2023 had drop-off in sales at comic book shops Publishers Weekly [behind paywall]

Viz and Marvel going into partnershipComicbook

Alex Ross exhibit opens at the North Dakota Heritage CenterMinot Bismark

Womens Work Out Superhero 2 Piece Batman Wonder Woman Batgirl

Womens Work Out Superhero 2 Piece set - Batman Wonder Woman Batgirl – Amazon

The death of Bob Beerbohm

His Facebook posts were a lot of fun to read, full of stories about comic book retailing history and the personalities of the aritsts and writers who made up the producers of the comic book past.

Comic Book Shop Pioneer And Historian Bob Beerbohm Had Died At 71 – One of the earliest comic book retailers and comic historian Bob Beerbohm has died, from cancer, at the age of 71. RIPBleedingcool

Robert Beerbohm, Pioneering Comic Book Retailer and Historian, Dies at 71NY Times

Bob Beerbohm on WikipediaWikipedia

AMAZON - JLA 1 Paperback - 616 Pages - by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian Augustyn, Tom Peyer, Todd Dezago Amazon

DC Comics presents the legendary 1990s series, collected for the first time with all accompanying JLA mini-series and one-shots! Experience the complete epic, launched by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, that changed the DC Universe forever.

Mark Millar has a plan to publish public domain Superman comics by himself in 2033Bleedingcool

I'm sure he's not the only one with these ideas

... last year, he appeared to be negotiating with DC in public, saying "My suggestion is that if ONE of these companies swaps that 2% royalty for a FIFTY-FIFTY split with the creative team on all sales over, say, 60,000 copies they will send a bolt of electricity through the industry and bring in the most commercial freelancers in the biz again."

... those negotiations may have hit the skids. Mark Millar has just tweeted "I'd been thinking about writing a Superman story late summer, but Superman goes public domain in 9 years so I can write my stories in 5 years time & pay the best artists in the industry to draw them so it's all banked and ready for me to publish myself in 2033."

Profile of Anthony Marques and the Joe Kubert art schoolUproxx

Anthony and Jackie own and operate The Kubert School now, taking it over in 2019. They also run Dewey’s Comic City, a Madison, New Jersey comic staple founded in 1991 by Dan Veltre. Anthony and Jackie bought Dewey’s in 2017 as Veltre was retiring, expanding into another side of the comic book industry after Anthony spent years as an artist and editor at Dynamite. With both Dewey’s and The Kubert School, they just couldn’t accept the idea that these places might go away..."

Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4?Digital Trends

So why are we still talking about Spider-Man 4 a whopping 17 years after Spider-Man 3? Because in 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home brought back both Maguire and Garfield opposite their MCU counterpart, Tom Holland, for a smash hit at the box office. Ever since then, fans have tried to will Spider-Man 4 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 into existence to continue Maguire and Garfield’s respective Spidey franchises. That’s why we’re sharing everything you need to know about about Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4.

Rare set of pre-war Batman books to auctionYahoo News

...Forty-eight Hall of Fame baseball players, Batman and Superman comic books and hundreds of other trading cards are a part of the Harry W. O’Brien collection being sold by Paul McInnis Auctioneers May 4..."

Auctioneer's Web Site – The Live Virtual Webcast Auction will be held Saturday, May 4, at 11:00 a.m

"The Superhero Movie Is Dying"Yahoo News – but as this article says, here comes video game franchises!

Transformers One animation coming with Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Laurence Fishburne. And there's also new toys to back it upSuperherohype

Trina Robbins and Wonder Woman

With the numerous obits on the passing of Robbins, a lot of the news stories are claiming Robbins as the first female to draw Wonder Woman, but that's not correct:

Trina Robbins, Legendary Cartoonist and Wonder Woman Artist, Passes Away at 85Comicbook – The following paragraph is full of errors besides poor word usage (is AI responsible?):

In addition to her unground work, Robbins designed the original costume for Warren Publishing's heroine Vampirella, and was the first-ever woman artist to draw DC's Wonder Woman. Robbins illustrated the character on the 1986 four-issue miniseries The Legend of Wonder Woman, and wrote the 1998 one-shot Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story. She even cameoed in 1989's Wonder Woman Annual #2. She also created the Millie the Model spinoff Misty for Marvel's Star Comics."

"Unground" should obviously be "underground" and a combination of Jim Warren, Trina Robbins and Frank Frazetta designed the Vampirella suit. According to Empire of Monsters, the book about Warren Publishing. Jim Warren had a specific design for Vampi's hair style, and Frazetta drew up the original outfit, but Warren didn't care for it, and he told Trina Robbins what he wanted and she sketched up her version of that and then they communicated that over the phone to Frazetta. He then drew the first published depiction of the new character for Creepy #29, 1969.

In later storytelling about Vampirella's outfit, Warren gave the credit to Frazetta, though it sounds more likely that it was really Warren and Trina Robbins who designed the famous costume. Trina Robbins' version of the story entails her working out Warren's ideas and getting Frank, over the phone, to understand it. The story is recounted at Muddycolors online:

I was sitting in Warren’s office," remembered cartoonist Trina Robbins, “where he was talking to me about the fact that my artwork was nowhere good enough to appear in his magazines, which was very true. Frazetta called to discuss a sketch of Vampirella that he’d sent to Jim. Warren said it wasn’t right. Frank had drawn her wearing, more of less, a basic bikini, but Jim had something else in mind. It became clear that Frank wasn’t getting the idea as Jim tried to describe it, so Jim turned to me and described the costume, the way the top was open in front and attached to a collar, the boots and so on. I drew it as he was talking.‘That’s it!’ he said, pointing at my sketch. ‘Now describe it exactly to Frank,’ he said and handed me the phone.” On that day before fax machines (much less email), Trina went back-and-forth with Frank over the phone carefully describing the sketch that had gotten Warren excited (which she recreated several decades later as shown here). "Frazetta’s original cover art of Vampirella looked a lot like my idea," Robbins has said, "but her costume shrunk. Over the years her costume has gotten skimpier and skimpier—now it doesn’t bear any resemblance to what I designed." Despite her help, she never received any other work from Warren; in return for her costume design, Trina was given a "lifetime subscription" to Vampirella in lieu of money.

Concerning the claim that "the first ever woman to draw Wonder Woman" was Trina Robbins, I asked ChatGPT the question of what woman drew Wonder Woman first, and it initially said (incorrectly): "Trina Robbins was one of the first female artists to draw Wonder Woman, contributing to the character's stories in the 1980s." So then I said:

Comic Book Brain: The female artist Ramona Fradon drew Wonder Woman in DC Comics' Super Friends #3* in 1977, doesn't that make her earlier than Trina Robbins?

ChatGPT: You're correct, my apologies for the oversight. Ramona Fradon indeed drew Wonder Woman in DC Comics' "Super Friends #3" in 1977. This does make her earlier than Trina Robbins in terms of drawing Wonder Woman. Ramona Fradon is a highly respected comic book artist known for her work on various DC Comics titles, including her contributions to the Wonder Woman character. Thank you for pointing out the error!

*Fradon also drew Wonder Woman for the 17 page story Freedom Fighters #4, Sept-Oct 1976. Reference:

Zack Snyder talks up his not-made Wonder Woman 1854 conceptSuperherohype

...what happened to her in her different incarnations?" Snyder said in an interview with Empire Magazine when asked about a tweet in 2021 of Gal Gadot‘s Diana Prince posing in the background of the Crimean War. "My idea for it was that she would travel around the world looking for Ares, and she would go to every place where there was conflict."

Amazon Rush Comic Book

Trina Robbins - August 17, 1938 – April 10, 2024

"Trina Robbins has died"Comicsbeat

"Trina Robbins, Creator and Historian of Comic Books, Dies at 85. Obsessed with comics from a young age, she was a pioneer in a male-dominated field"NY Times

"Trailblazing Comics Icon Trina Robbins Dies At Age 85 – artist, writer, advocate, scholar and mentor"Forbes

"Trina Robbins, comic book author and feminist historian, has died - The comic artist passed away at 85 years old."le Monde

2025 box office will be "roaring hot"The Wrap

This is hard to parse: box office in 2024 is supposedly performing at 25% below "normal," how can 2025 be projected to be "hot?"

But we're still early into 2024 and some big hits could certainly change the picture. A few "big" films can have an enormous impact (see Barbie and Oppenhiemer from last year) and that's certainly where Hollywood has put its hopes now that streaming is fizzling out and subscription numbers are dropping on the major platforms as the economy in general tightens up and discretionary spending shrinks.

For more gloom, there's this story from last month "Hollywood Contraction Hits Entertainment Executive Jobs: "This Is A Full-Scale Depression"" (Deadline Hollywood).

Rock band Rush gets a comic book historyYahoo

The Ramona Fradon tribute at DCBleedingcool

More Ramona Fradon

Japan dominates the American Comic Book marketWestern Journal

According to industry data, translated Japanese manga now far outsell American superhero comics, as giants like Marvel and DC increasingly push storylines that feature hyper-progressive tropes at the expense of entertainment. Last year, Publisher's Weekly found that 45 percent of all graphic novel sales in 2022 went to Manga, up from 44 percent a year before. Compared to that, the superhero genre held steady at 14 percent.


Get into the Public Domain archives that are online at Graphic Chatter

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