icon_uk: (Robin Don Newton)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Now it's getting real... strike a pose Batman!

So, it's been a fun ride hasn't it? From Dick meeting his new girlfriend, to becoming her tied up boytoy, to luring Bruce to share his fate, and finally Batman dealing with the horror of his new condition, but we're into the home stretch here...

I'm pushing the page count here so am cutting, regretfully, a great splash of vampface Batman, but such is life.

We find the vamped out Dick escorting Vicki Vale home, clearly with an ulterior motive, but it seems likely that Batman predicted this behaviour (either that or he's A) Stalking Vicki himself, or B) Stalking Dick, which is par for the course for Batman).

Clearly vamp!Dick state hasn't helped with his legendary smooth move approach to romancing anyone he wants...

Uh oh... it's Vampire-Bat-Clan alpha male tussling! (Look at poor little vamp!Dick's woobie face in the second scan... Awwwww!)

Vicki standing up for herself is quite admirable!

Yup, it's the curse of the AYEE!! scream again (Ben Oda, god rest his soul, was a fantastic letterer, but there were limits to how screams could sound I guess)

So Batman carries his limp Dick home (Yes, I went there, I had to get it in fast before someone else did)

Back at the cave, Alfred has managed to get the worlds most omnipresent Catholic priest out of the Manor, though how we don't know, I imagine offering to build a cathedral would be required, because he's such a persistent guy.

Yup, strap that Dick Grayson down IMMEDIATELY! I VANT TO BITE HIS ahem.. let's not go there, that's what fanfic is for.

I suppose watching his vampire!employer/son taking a blood sample from his vampire!employers vampire!ward with a syringe is probably pushing it, even for Alfred!

Then, and this is such a fun thought, the only thing that Alfred can think to do is call for someone... now who could be call for help... YUP, it's FATHER GREEN! Honestly he should get a subtitle at least "Batman and Green, the Priest Wonder" or something..

His advice to Alfred, whislt bustling over to the Manor again, is;

For pities sake Alfie; they've got fangs, chronic hickies, bloodlust and you got five pages of exposition from a Catholic priest last issue, what MORE do you need?

Yup, Vamp!Dick is writhing and snarling the whole time (and has lost his dinner jacket somehow), if such be your turn on, have fun!.

A virus? That's almost a little... mundane, but so be it. Nowadays Batman would probably just trundle over to the Bat-emergency Bloodbank and pull out 8 pints of Bruce-blood and 8 pints of Dick-blood and that'd be that, but this is gothic horror time!

They head straight to Dala's mansion where, perhaps a little inexplicably, she's asleep (It's been a busy day I suppose, but you'd have thought she'd be wanting to play with her little toy Robin some more)

They also leave her behind... that seems a little lax. What's to stop her heading off to the Batcave to collect her little Dickie-poo?

They find the Monk in his favourite refuge, an abandoned church (where else?)

Batman and Monk face each other, but this time BOTH are vampiri and that makes a difference... oh, and second panel, say it with me... "BOOOOIIING!"

Again, one has to wonder why the Monk and Dala ever targetted Batman and Robin, it's never made clear. Meeting Dick was clearly a set-up, but what was their over-arcing goal. I suppose the question is, does it really matter, because it's so damn cool?

Oh, and personally, I find the corpses on the inverted crucifixes to be deeply, deeply disturbing, they crop up as a motif more than once in this story, but I've actually elected not to show them, however this page is impossible without them)

Father Green is waiting outside, on Batman's orders, but...

Note that Batman FAILS here, he is lost at this point. (And crucifixes appear to not affect the Monk or Dala, which if their condition is apparently more viral than mystical is actually quite reasonable)

And as is so often the case, it's not concern for himself which drives Batman, but what moves him to impossible feats of resilience and strength is a near inhuman desire to protect others. Now THAT'S MY Batman! None of this "I'm a troubled child in my jim-jams" junk, but the ultimate defender and protector!

I have NO idea what training Father Green got at the seminary but good grief, is he one hardcore religious type or what? NOTHING fazes his guy; a vampire Robin, a vampire Batman, monstrous centuries old vampiri and the worst he does is quirk an eyebrow... Even compared to Alfred the unflappable, he makes the guys in The Exorcist look like Laurel and bloody Hardy!

And now the end of our tale... which happened over in Detective, and so has Don Newton on art rather than Colan.

I should hope so too, given that you didn't strap HIM down the way you did Dick!

Ah that's why, all the leather strapped gurney's were occupied.

Sadly that was the last we ever saw of Father Green OR the Monk and Dala... which given the foreshadowing there is a crying shame, how long HAS Father green been tracking them? What IS his history with them? The world will, alas, never know, which is frustrating as this seemed primed for a spin-off.

Oh, and when meeting with Vicki again, luckily Dick gets away with only a sarcastic comment or two about his lack of gentlemanly manners.

There is a personal postscript to this. This story stuck with me for years and when, a couple of years ago, when I discovered that Gene Colan was doing his (apparently) final commissions before a well earned retirement I knew that it was a now or never moment. Even though I did manage to get a page from the Robin as prisoner issue here.

So I got on his list and after I shillyshallied around as to what I wanted in the picture, it took a firm but polite note from MRS Colan (The wonderful and now sadly no longer with us Adrienne) to point out that all I needed to say was 'Batman and Robin with a vampire theme' and trust Gene to do the rest. Of course she was absolutely right, as I think this proves conclusively.

In the end I got Batman, Robin AND the Monk (Well, I like to think it's the Monk), and not just a classic Batman shot (I love the way his hand is protectively on Robin's shoulder), but the best Colan Robin image I think I've ever seen.

It's perhaps worth bearing in mind this was done a short time AFTER Gene's 80th birthday. He's done some work since then, and professionally too, though his recent illnesses have slowed him down a little as has the loss of his beloved wife Adrienne, but he remains one of the most delightful artists (and just plain PEOPLE) on the web (He has a Yahoo Group here which is terrific).

In closing on this, my favourite of his Batman stories, may I reiterate that I think Gene Colan is a genius. His use of pencils to give darkness and shadow texture, atmosphere and a personality has never been remotely paralleled in my opinion, and I consider myself one of the luckiest folks around to have any of his original work in my collection!

And on other news, it appears that the announced Gene Colan Batman collection will NOT include any of the Don Newton chapters, which will make for a rather disjointed, if graphically exquisite collection (I'm looking forward to see what modern colouring can do with this story)

I hope you've enjoyed this too!

Date: 2010-12-15 09:16 pm (UTC)
misterbug: (Default)
From: [personal profile] misterbug
Panel 2 deserves to be taken out of context.

Date: 2010-12-15 09:37 pm (UTC)
calvision: (tim drake red robin)
From: [personal profile] calvision
I read "a virus of great potency which bonds to hemoglobin" as "a virus of great potency which bonds to HOBGOBLIN" and I was very confused. Batman has a what in his body now?

Date: 2010-12-15 11:30 pm (UTC)
star_of_airdrie: (LJVamp)
From: [personal profile] star_of_airdrie
but he looks like he was made out of white blood cells...

I do love my obscure geek facts...

Date: 2010-12-15 11:34 pm (UTC)
star_of_airdrie: (DickKory1)
From: [personal profile] star_of_airdrie
Okay, Icon, can you settle a bet here in our happy household? (and/or scar my niece for life) In the New Teen Titans, when Dick finally decides to start a relationship with Kory and says he thought he was in love, was it Dala he was talking about?

Date: 2010-12-16 01:12 am (UTC)
star_of_airdrie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] star_of_airdrie
That is the issues I meant, when they are on the ship and Dick was in a sling and they are returning from the Citadel... .

Thank you for settling that for us, although as much as I like to be right, and oh yes I do, between doing well in exams and a having a Merry Christmas, I won't bring up the subject again at the moment unless she does. My niece will probably be scarred for life by the plum three piece suit.

And thank you for the wonderful post!

Date: 2010-12-16 02:54 am (UTC)
feyandstrange: headshot of Oracle (Oracle)
From: [personal profile] feyandstrange
I've been too busy to comment lately, but I wanted to thank you for showing us this amazing sequence. I don't usually like supernatural in my Bats because it's usually done so poorly and ignores their great detective skills - but this is how it should be done! Detective work AND supernatural spooky, with glorious art and a soupcon of bondage and ripped clothing. *sigh*

Date: 2010-12-16 04:31 am (UTC)
retro_nouveau: AARP Bruce (5)
From: [personal profile] retro_nouveau
I like that Alfred was shaken and had to pass a willpower check to continue in light of a nearly hopeless situation. It's a more heroic thing than Bruce charging in without even thinking about it, as expected.

Many thanks for the work in bringing the scans and the thoughtful and amusing commentary. :)

Date: 2010-12-16 05:02 am (UTC)
pyynk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pyynk
One thing I loved about the entire arc was the way that the fabrics seem to hang so realistically. Robin's mask doesn't look painted to his face, for example, it actually LOOKS like a domino mask.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Date: 2010-12-16 06:29 am (UTC)
njcinlbc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] njcinlbc
Thank You so much for such a great trip down memory lane. These issues really took me back! And as an aside What the heck was Vicky Vale thinking!
You do not turn down Dick!..Wait that just sounds wrong somehow but you get what I mean:)

Date: 2010-12-16 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Bah! I hate hate HATE it when they shoehorn in a medical explanation for vampirism. It always just comes off as bogus.

Date: 2010-12-16 11:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
*Shrugs* I guess. As far as I'm concerned, vampires are supernatural creatures, pure and simple. I mean, how many times in vampire movies have we seen doctors examining vampiric meal tickets and muttering 'I can't understand it! Medically, there's no explanation for it, except perhaps anemia... or these two little marks here...' Nobody knows what a vampire IS, they just ARE. They're monsters, they don't need a scientific explanation.

Date: 2010-12-16 04:41 pm (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
Thanks for posting this, it was a blast. And good score on the commission, very nice.
Also, golf hand-clap on the limp dick line.

Date: 2010-12-16 09:02 pm (UTC)
badficwriter: Flying saucer-I WANT TO BELIEVE (Default)
From: [personal profile] badficwriter
No! That "Oh my, yes" was sinister! That priest was up to something, I bet.


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