Welcome to Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.
Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966. There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take three separate posts to cover it.
In 1966, Whitman released a series of Batman puzzles. They were frame tray puzzles, i.e. puzzles which had large pieces which fit into a cardboard frame. The puzzles measured 11 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. I wanted to thank Batman Yesterday, Today, and Beyond for some of these images.
These puzzles featured Batman and Robin in each one.
Since the Joker was Batman’s best known foe, he was featured in more than one puzzle. You’d think there’d be puzzles featuring Batman and Robin facing Penguin or Catwoman.
Instead, they made this amazing puzzle with Eclipso. I think this puzzle is the best of the series. Robin is down on one knee and clearly injured. Batman is swinging on a chain winch over a vat of boiling chemicals, while the villain is using his black diamond to melt the chain. Talk about a great image.
I have a really cool story about this puzzle. When I first heard that Best Event Ever was covering Eclipso: The Darkness Within, I decided to opt out. I’d never read a comic book featuring the character and the only thing I knew about him was from his one appearance in the Justice League Animated Series.
When I told my husband about the crossover, he explain to me that he has loved Eclipso ever since he was a little kid. In fact, he considers him to be the very first super villain that he was a fan of.
When my husband was little he and his brother had that frame puzzle. It was missing a piece, so he didn’t know exactly what Eclipso looked like. Plus, his name didn’t appear on the puzzle, so he didn’t even know the bad guy’s name. Since he’d never heard of him before, he had to make up his powers and back story. The only thing my husband knew for certain was that he must be a major Batman villain since he was featured in such a cool puzzle. It wasn’t until years later that my husband spotted a comic book featuring Eclipso and found out that everything he knew about Eclipso was wrong.
Remember to revisit The Retroist in a few days for the 2nd installment of Eclipso ‘66. Next time out, we’ll play cards against Batman and introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66!
Want to read or listen to more about Eclipso? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geek Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts