Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nostalgia Week: Brave and the Bold

Welcome to "Nostalgia Week". During the next week I'll be taking a look back at the issues that introduced me to various characters that are important to me.

Today, it's the comic that I credit with starting it all, The Brave And The Bold #178, from 1981. I was 4 at the time, so of course I can't be 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure this was my first comic. There's only two other possibilities, an old Spider-Man comic and an issue of 2000AD. Both are long gone though, so there's no way to check when they came out. All my childhood comics bit the dust during one of my mother's cleaning sprees. The only reason this one survived was that it was mixed up amongst my father's "Classics Illustrated" comic collection.

"Paperchase", written by Alan Brennert, art by Jim Aparo. Not a bad way to be introduced to comics. Batman of course is ingrained in society and I was already familiar with him. The Creeper was new to me, and my 4 year old brain read his name as "The Creepier", which I thought was a strange name, heh.

Things open up with Batman on the trail of a serial killer. The killer keeps leaving a calling card of a chain of paper dolls on each victim.

Meanwhile, over at a TV station, there's some critic letting lose about society's moral decline.

This leads us to the introduction of Jack Ryder, who's none too happy with the angle being taken.

Working in news broadcasting is a good place for inside info, and Jack gets a tip from a reporter of a new attack by the paper killer. Time to jump out a window I guess
Lucky for Jack, and my four year old mind, that he's really The Creeper, and not suicidal. He's not overly popular with the public though.

Seems that loon on the news has quite a following and has the locals looking to clean out the trash, or whoever they happen not to like. Jack decides to ignore them though, so it's on to the crime scene. Things take a bit of a twist for the heroes though. They're not fighting a man.

Awesome design on the villain. Seems he's not too fond of The Creeper either.

What would a paper monster be without the ability to control paper? Boring, is what.
Batman takes a pounding, but in a last ditch effort to save Jack from being crushed, tries setting the bad guy on fire. It works, but it only makes it run away.

Back to the Batcave for some detective work.

The Creeper amuses himself by jumping all over Batman's trophies- the big coin and giant joker card included. And annoying Batman.

The next night, it's stakeout time. It takes 5 hours (poor Batman), but they get results. Or rather, a fight.


Or possibly not.

It then proceeds to knock our heroes senseless, leaving them for dead. Batman still has some tricks though (surprise!)

I always thought that bit was cool.

Armed with a sample, it's back to the Batcave. Bruce manages to trace the paper back to the supplier, finding out that their major buyer is that loony tv guy from earlier. They pay him a visit in his bed (ok, not quite how I mean it), but he denies any involvement. They leave, but Bats has a theory. Time to lay some bait.

Jack gets himself an anchor spot on the news, and lets loose with an attack against crazy-critic's views. Pretty soon, Jack is being chased by the paper monster, while Bruce grabs the suspect reporter to confront him with the truth.

Mid-fight explanation time!

So all the people Wetley was getting worked up, were in turn feeding him psychically. All this hate manifested itself in his subconcious ability to animate paper.

Cue meltdown, which in turn takes out the paper construct.

That whole psychic angle was lost on me as a child though. All I saw was an awesome paper villain fighting Batman and The Creepier[sic]. Good stuff.

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