Eclipso - Batman Card Header

Eclipso ’66…Playing Cards With Batman – Part One

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 - 25 Logo

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. This is my 2nd post about the character. My first post – Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning! – looked at some wonderful Batman ‘66 puzzles made by Whitman.

Eclipso - Batman

Writing this post has been hard, because while working on it, Adam West passed away. I wrote a tribute to Adam West as well as Vic Sage.

If you would like to see what Vic had to say about the passing of Adam West

In addition to amazing puzzles, in 1966 Whitman released a wonderful Batman ‘66 card game.
Eclipso - Batman Cards

Images of these cards come from Vintage Batman and Willie Baronet.
Eclipso - Batman Card Game
Eclipso - Rules

The game is a variation on old maid with Batman…
Eclipso - Batman

…and Robin. With Robin replacing the Old Maid.

Mixed in with Batman’s friends and foes are certainly two unusual choices:
The star of our post!

Last time out, I promised I’d introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66! So without further ado, let me introduce – The Queen Bee!

Other than the Batman ‘66 puzzles, the Queen Bee and our star villain went hand in hand back in 1966. So the Queen Bee will also be returning in my final Eclipso ‘66 post. What I find interesting is that while these two were a matched set, there wasn’t any chemistry between them. The Queen Bee was already engaged to … But I’m getting ahead of my self. For that story, tune in same Eclipso time, same Eclipso channel for part 3 of this trilogy.

Want to read or listen to more about this legendary DC Comics villain? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris is on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geeky Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts

Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen!

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a 240 page tome by Hope Nicholson. While it is a fact that I have had the pleasure of reviewing some really great books lately. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen however is not one that was sent to me. This actually came from one of my co-workers at the Arkadia Retrocade. She felt it might be a great idea to get the word out about the book. She is certainly correct on that!

In fact The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was published on May 2nd. But I must say when my friend handed me the book this was the first I heard of it. Which is an absolute shame. Hope Nicholson has crafted a fantastic compilation of some of the most well known as well as obscure female superheroes. Adding in interesting facts and where one might be able to find the essential reading for each character.

Hope has separated the characters she has selected by decades. With an introduction for each decade explaining how the comics industry was changing. Furthermore she has provided candid commentary on the legacy of the chosen characters. As well as how many of the featured characters have been altered over the years for good or for ill. In addition Hope has selected an icon for each of the decades.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen

Case in point on the candid nature of Hope’s commentary. An excerpt from her entry on Wonder Woman:
“But no one knows how to define Wonder Woman – what her true essence is. She’s what we female comics readers regard as or icon of strength and power, and yet she’s slippery as water to pin down.

And really why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should identity be solid, when everybody changes? Why lock down a character to just one version? And why exactly must there be only one, single, iconic, heroic female figure in comics, when there is no one major male comic book figure?”

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen takes a look at over 102+ female comic characters. Giving we the readers a nice history of how female heroes and characters have changed. Ranging from 1930’s Little Lulu up to Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) as the icon of the 2010s.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Ms. Marvel

Of course I would be remiss to not mention how happy I was to see some of my favorite female comics characters chosen for the book. For example in the chapter for characters of the 80s, we have none other than Amanda “The Wall” Waller of Suicide Squad!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Amanda Waller

Additionally with this many characters you will discover some you’ve not heard of before. In my case I was delighted to learn of the likes of 1954’s Tomboy, 1966’s private eye Tiffany Sinn, 1985’s Sunflower, or 2013’s Bandette!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Bandette

If you love comics as much as I do, seek out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. Hope Nicholson has really done an outstanding job with this book. It is an absolute joy to read and provides a wonderful history of female characters in comics. I certainly hope she is absolutely thrilled and proud of her work.

With Wonder Woman finally getting a movie worthy of such an icon. Perhaps The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen will help to shine the spotlight on equally deserving characters?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

If you are in the mood for equally engaging female heroes you might want to check out my review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed: Heresy!

Adam West

Rest In Peace: Adam West (1928 – 2017)

It very much hurts my heart to write that Adam West passed away yesterday. I was stunned this morning when I saw the various news feeds were sharing this information. I had to stop and collect myself for a few moments. As I find it hard to imagine that Adam West, the man who was the epitome of Batman in my younger years is gone.
Adam West

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington back in 1928. Adam West got his start as an television actor as a co-host for the The Kini Popo Show. A children’s program that aired in Hawaii.

Image courtesy of Neatorama.

It was in 1959 when William moved to Hollwood with his Wife and two children that he changed his name. Picking Adam West as he once said because of how it looked and sounded with his middle name. West would appear in supporting character roles in film as well as television for about 7 years. I would say his most notable roles included his 30 episode run on 1961’s The Detectives. Furthermore he also had a memorable performance in the 1964 science fiction film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Adam West - Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In fact at the same time he was appearing in the likes of Colt .45, Maverick, and Bonanza. Adam West was also busy working in various commercials.

[Via] Shock Cinema Magazine

Including the one that would secure him the lead for the Batman TV series. That was of course as the suave Captain Q for Nestle Quik!

[Via] Jon Ganahl

It was certainly that commercial that caught Batman producer William Dozier’s attention. However there was one actor considered besides Adam West to play the part of Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s protector. That was future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner!

[Via] Just Wondering 50

While I personally think that Waggoner would have been fine as the lead. I cannot on the other hand imagine it being as fun as what Adam West brought to the role. Having said that I think we need to share this bit of information…Adam West had to stand his ground with William Dozier on how to play the character!

[Via] PBS

While of course the popularity of the Batman TV series catapulted all the stars of the show into fame. The truth of the matter is that for West, Burt Ward, as well as Yvonne Craig – they were now typecast. Adam West and Ward managed to make appearances in character as a way to make ends meet after the show. In addition, Adam still continued to do guest roles in popular TV shows of the time like Night Gallery, Mannix, and The Love Boat to name a few.

I am sure that Adam West couldn’t help but feel a little resentment however small towards Batman. However that didn’t stop him from lending his memorable voice to the role in numerous animated series. Such as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. As well as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

[Via] Hewey 1972

All in all West amassed 193 acting credits. Including playing a fictionalized version of himself in Seth MacFarlane’s long running Family Guy. In addition to lending his voice alongside Burt Ward as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Adam West - Mermaid Man

In fact, just last year West alongside Ward and Julie Newmar appeared in the animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. An exceptional love letter to fans of the legacy of the Batman ’66. In addition it was also announced last year that the three would team up once again. This time for the upcoming Batman vs. Two-Face. Moreover the actor portraying the character that couldn’t appear on Batman ’66 is William Shatner!
Adam West - William Shatner

[Via] DC Entertainment

I am of course very sad that Adam West has passed on. My own sadness is relieved a little however thanks to the many hours of entertainment he has left us as his legacy. Now I plan on going back down into the Retroist Vault and pay tribute to West. By watching what is essentially a tribute episode to the actor on the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series

Adam West as the Gray Ghost!

[Via] Tim Geraci

Eclipso - DC Comics

Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning!

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 - 25 Logo

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.
Eclipso - Batman and Robin

These puzzles featured Batman and Robin in each one.
Eclipso - Joker

Eclipso

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.
Eclipso - Batman

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.
Eclipso - Justice League

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

New Swordquest Comic

Celebrate Atari Day With The New Swordquest Comic!

It is the 26th of the month. Atari Day is here again and you can totally celebrate it by downloading the new Swordquest comic book. In fact if you hop on over to Comixology you can get the #0 issue of Dynamite Entertainment’s new Swordquest comic book absolutely free.

New Swordquest Comic - Dynamite Comics

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

In the event that you are not aware of Atari’s Swordquest. I will give you a brief summary before talking about the brand new Swordquest comic book series.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.Com

In 1982 Atari released the first of four planned Swordquest titles with Earthworld. More than just an epic adventure/puzzle series the goal was to solve a riddle – one that could lead you to laying your hands on the Talisman of Penultimate Truth. A real life piece of jewelry worth $25,000!

Image courtesy of the 2600Connection.Com

To aid with the solving of the puzzles, Players received a DC comic book. Written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway as well as being illustrated by George Perez with inking by Dick Giordano. The book introduced Players to the twins Tarra and Torr – two thieves of noble blood. Furthermore throughout the comic they are set on the path to retrieve not only the Talisman of Penultimate Truth but the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery.
New Swordquest Comic - The Sword of Ultimate Sorcery

Players would navigate minigames to reach rooms in Earthworld, based on the zodiac. Moreover when figuring out what items were needed in said rooms, a message would appear.

That message directed Players to a hidden word in a panel of the Swordquest comic book. In this case for example, the Player would turn to page 25 and look closely at panel 6 for the hidden word.

Image Courtesy of AtariAge.Com

At the end of the day there were 5,000 entries for Earthworld. In fact a mere 8 were correct. Then after a special competition in 1983 between those 8 Players, it was Steven Bell who earned the talisman!

For further information on Steven Bell as well the fate of the Swordquest game series. You might wish to read Could You Have Won The Talisman of Penultimate Truth?

So it has been 33 years since a new Swordquest comic has been released. As well as the fact this new series isn’t a continuation of the saga of Torr and Tara. Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers have instead set their story in the real world. With the plight of Peter Case, a 45-year-old man who is delivered a nasty blow by fate.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter Case

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

Forced to move back in with his Mother, Peter is reminded of his all-consuming passion for the Swordquest games. Remembering how two of his childhood friends, Alvin and Amy Perez, stood by his side in an attempt to solve the riddles. All three using their imagination as they played the Atari 2600 games. However the video game crash of 1983 put a halt to their dreams of the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter and Friends

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

Sims and Bowers have done an incredible job of making Peter a relatable character. You are going to feel for him I am sure. And as the first issue of the new Swordquest comic ends it appears that Case…is on a new quest. One fueled by nostalgia and second chances.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter's Guide

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

The artwork for the new Swordquest series is handled by Scott Kowalchuk. Who you might know especially from his work on the Batman ’66 comic series. I have a feeling that the story for this series will remain firmly in reality. With the magic of the original DC Comics being replaced in fact with the gift of nostalgia to these new characters.

In addition this is actually the first wave of Atari related comic books from Dynamite. Coming in July is none other than Centipede!

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

So hop on over to Comixology to get your free issue. Or better yet take an epic journey to your favorite comic book shop and pick up a physical copy for a mere twenty-five cents. Can you think of a better way to celebrate Atari Day?

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O site by following the link here!

Now that you know about the new Swordquest comic why not check out Earthworld in action?

[Via] High Retro Game Lord