Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Batman’s here in Pittsburgh--yet he’s never felt so far away

 

I feel I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that they’re currently filming the next Batman movie right here in Pittsburgh.  Sunday morning while doing some weekend ‘blog-browsing’, I saw that my friend Martin (who primarily writes about music and comics on his blogsite) had done a piece on Prince’s ‘Batman’ soundtrack from 1989.   (Click here for his review.)   When I mentioned to him about Batman filming in the ‘Burgh, I was surprised he didn’t already know.  What, isn’t this national news?!

 

The Bat Emblem, blazed across the front of the Highmark Building

Later, when I told my sister Shawn (who lives south of the city) about the filming disrupting parts of downtown, she said “it sounds terribly exciting.”  Yes, it does so how come I’m not feeling it?  I’m just having a tough time finding the love for Batman these days.   (I’m not sure if it’s because of Christian Bale’s raspy voice, the glut of superhero movies on the market, or the character’s evolving further and further away from the Bat-Dude I’ve loved since the 1960’s. 

Like most of my generation, my earliest memory of Batman was the live-action tv show in the ‘60s with Adam West; my parents (God bless them) did the best they could to keep up with my love of the guy—I had Bat pajamas, Bat slippers, a 4 foot Batman poster (that my mom made me hang on the inside of the bedroom closet door because she worried it’d scare my little brother), a Batmobile I could pedal and of course—a ‘regulation Bat uniform’ for kids, complete with a fully accessorized utility belt.   

 

Christian Bale in his updated uniform, fighting the juggernaut Bane on the steps of the Mellon Institute -- it was 93 degrees when this photo was taken! 

The day before, Christian jokingly lamented on the local news that he’d be roasting alive in that “black rubber suit”... he should’ve added “all the way to the bank”!   (Okay, that sounded kinda snarky, sorry there Christian) 

Well, getting back to my boring tale—what was so ironic about those early years of mine(and my love of all things Bat-Guy) was that they went on for a good year or two before I even knew Batman had his own comic book!   Then one day in the summer of ‘68 my older brother Duke asked me if I wanted to see his friend Jeff Tewell’s comic book collection.  I said sure (not really interested, but just wanting to hang out with my big brother).   When we went up to his friend Jeff’s bedroom, I saw a desktop with 2 towering stacks of comics;  it turned out that Jeff’s mother worked at the local GC Murphy’s and was allowed to bring her son home all the books that didn’t sell.  My brother mentioned what a Batman fan I was, and Jeff said “Here, I have a couple copies of this one.”

 

The cover of my first Batman comic, Batman #197  “Catwoman Sets Her Claws For Batman”

I carried this book around with me for a couple months, not knowing that it was published monthly; and then in early 1969 I got the chicken pox, and my family’s babysitter (Barbara Knopski) brought me a new Batman comic—and my addiction was started.  

(By the time my comic fever was over in the early 80s, I had amassed a couple thousand comics—but with Batman appearing monthly in ‘Batman’, ‘Batman Family’, ‘Detective’, Brave & The Bold’ & ‘World’s Finest’...he probably accounted for half of them!)

Anyway, around the same time DC Comics decided it was time for a change, I did too and began finding new places to spend my money.   

 

Okay, I can’t say I walked totally away;  in the 1990s the ‘tpb’ was born, glossy collections of old & new Batman stories, and I may have bought a few here and there for old times sake... but I’m not the Bat-fan I once was.  I guess I’m still nostalgic for the Batman of my youth.

 

bat_symbol

Anyway, I’m happy they’re filming in Pittsburgh; the city could use the money.  Am I excited to see it?  Not really, the bat-adoration is long behind me.  And just because I happen to have this cool limited edition 1960s Batmobile squirreled away in my bedroom closet (still in the original packaging) doesn’t mean anything either, haha!   Until next week, same bat-time... same bat-channel! 

BAT NOTE:   I wanted to give a special shout-out to my friend Jeff W, who read my blog and sent me a link to a custom car site that will BUILD YOU YOUR VERY OWN BATMOBILE, complete with all the bat-gadgets.  (Okay, it’s $150K but it doesn’t make me want it any less!)

You can read all about it by clicking right HERE.   Thanks again, Jeff!   icon_batman

2 comments:

  1. Doug, I'd love to see one of the pictures of you in your bat costume! Fighting crime w/Duke or the 'crime stops here' fists on hips pose...I remember one with you wearing a batman halloween face mask watching the show. Well I still have a little of the bat love though for different reasons. Those are sweet memories.

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  2. Shawn I was still doing my final edits on this while you were reading--now you have to go back and read it all over again! ;)

    As for those photos you mentioned, I did already use one of them in an earlier blog (Mom and the 1950 Batmobile) so I thought I'd stick to the newer stuff here. But thank you (as always) for the super-kind words, your feedback always means the most to me. :)

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