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POW! SOCK! It's Batman '66! How to do digital comics right. 
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Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:17 am
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Is your favourite iteration of Batman the Adam West caped crusader, rather than the post-Miller Dark Knight?

Which you could read a comic with a light-hearted sense of fun that's not grim, gritty or sweary?

Want to see digital comics done well?

Then I recommend Batman '66, currently being published in weekly installments by DC:

http://www.comixology.com/Batman-66/comics-series/10652

A print edition is out tomorrow, collecting the first three "issues" of the digital comic, but I STRONGLY recommend you try the digital edition. It shows how the digital experience can enhance comics, but without trying to be games or animations.

For example, panels build up bit by bit, with speech bubbles and sound effects added to the panels with each click or swipe. (For this reason, Batman 66 or similar digital comics would be a good introduction to reading comics - it's impossible to read the speech bubbles in the wrong order, as they appear on the panel one by one).

It's a fun read, and for just 69p a week for the digital version it's a bargain too.

If The Dandy does return in digital format, they could certainly learn some lessons from how to do digital comics from DC.

So even if you gave up on American superhero comics years ago, and even if you're a committed paper comics reader, I IMPLORE you to give Batman 66 a try. I think you'll like it.


Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:09 pm
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Thanks for alerting us to this, Paul. Looks pretty cool to me!

I've returned to American comics after a long 'vacation' , 'thru' the wonders of digital comics....although the very worst posturing of these comics can be as off-putting as ever [muscle-bound super-beings, standing arms-akimbo, declaring all-out War on the Universe], the quirkier, less serious in tone variations are pretty good, for example the FANTASTIC FOUR: I'm currently reading this from the very start, and it's not bad at all, still very readable and entertaining, -----a full 50 years later.

Yes, reading digital comics does take some getting used to [as so often explained by many members on here], but they can have benefits; often you can see the panels in greater detail---if the scanning has been done in great enough definition at source, in some ways I think this is better. Definitely something you have to persevere with, though... but it's actually became 'normal' to my regular archive comics-reading.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:00 am
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
for example the FANTASTIC FOUR: I'm currently reading this from the very start, and it's not bad at all, still very readable and entertaining, -----a full 50 years later.


I strated this a few months ago. Now just past John Byrne's She-Hulk run. The Stan Lee/Jack Kirby is rightly lauded but the Roy Thomas/John Buscema run is just as good in a different way. The Thing is Shakesperian a character at times. Truly funny guy with incredible pathos.

Far beats the Captain Marvel (Kree) full run that I read http://starscapesays.blogspot.co.uk/ - that was a great name largely wasted.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:35 am
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starscape wrote:
Far beats the Captain Marvel (Kree) full run that I read http://starscapesays.blogspot.co.uk/ - that was a great name largely wasted.


From what I remember Jack Kirby really hated Stan's Captain Marvel as it took the whole concept of the Kree (which Jack wanted to slowly build up as a mysterious, godlike race following on from the FF's original encounter with the 'Sentinel') and turned them into yet another bunch of humanoid aliens bent on intergalactic conquest. But, of course, Stan was the boss so he had the final say!

While I agree with your low opinion of most of the Captain's run at Marvel (which, for me, includes the dire Starlin issues!), I've always had a real soft spot for the handful of issues produced by Thomas, Kane and Adkins.

- Phil Rushton


Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:34 am
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The current Captain Marvel is an absolute blast and well worth reading. It stars Carol Danvers (formerly Ms. Marvel) and is one of my favourite current comics.

I'd also have to mention the current Hawkeye series, which is also fantastic. I held off looking at it for ages because I had no interest in the character, but after I heard about the Pizza Dog issue* I gave it a try and I am now a firm follower. For one thing, it's about what Hawkeye does when he's away from his day job, and for another it is one of the few American comics being published that gives you a complete story in one issue. there are several two-parters, but compared with the typical 5-6 parters of most comics that's still much more satisfying.

*an issue that is written entirely from the point of Hawkeye's dog, with virtually no intelligible dialogue.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:13 pm
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I'm reading several titles in the Essentials and Showcase volumes series. After a few days of Green Lantern or Flash I start craving a Hulk or Doctor Strange and then vice versa. Marvel and DC were completely different in the 60s. Of course The Unknown Soldier, The War That Time Forgot and The Haunted Tank were a different kettle of fish. It was while on the DC website a week or so ago, checking which Showcase volumes were available, that I came across the new digital 60s Batman comic.


Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:03 pm
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starscape wrote:
ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
for example the FANTASTIC FOUR: I'm currently reading this from the very start, and it's not bad at all, still very readable and entertaining, -----a full 50 years later.


I strated this a few months ago. Now just past John Byrne's She-Hulk run. The Stan Lee/Jack Kirby is rightly lauded but the Roy Thomas/John Buscema run is just as good in a different way. The Thing is Shakesperian a character at times. Truly funny guy with incredible pathos.

Far beats the Captain Marvel (Kree) full run that I read http://starscapesays.blogspot.co.uk/ - that was a great name largely wasted.


I'm just up to issue 20 of FANTASTIC 4 [from 1963], Starscape: Kirby's earlier work was plainer-looking, however he was penceling several comics a month, so pretty impressive all-round. I skipped ahead to one or two issues from 1968---the era I remember as a kid-----, and Kirby's work has come on in leaps and bounds: but even the early Sue Storm was very well-drawn , and his skill is evident even from the first FF story.

Script-wise, the FF are laugh-out-loud funny at times, the abrasive Ben Grimm not caring a damn what he says to anyone! I'll take this over some of the more po-faced Superhero comics. I intend reading the entire lot [like you are] in chronological order, including the naturally more modern recent stuff----highly reccomended for those thinking of indulging.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:47 pm
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Marionette wrote:
I'd also have to mention the current Hawkeye series, which is also fantastic. I held off looking at it for ages because I had no interest in the character, but after I heard about the Pizza Dog issue* I gave it a try and I am now a firm follower. For one thing, it's about what Hawkeye does when he's away from his day job, and for another it is one of the few American comics being published that gives you a complete story in one issue. there are several two-parters, but compared with the typical 5-6 parters of most comics that's still much more satisfying.

*an issue that is written entirely from the point of Hawkeye's dog, with virtually no intelligible dialogue.


Hawkeye is amazing. Best current Marvel comic by a country mile (with Daredevil a close second).


Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:32 pm
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I bought the first issue of the print version, and I'm sure I'll be continuing! Mind you, at some points it feels like the 'cheesiness' is forced a bit too much. Not sure I like the way the artwork has been 'deliberately misprinted' either, with blue ghosts of the black lines. But you get used to that after a while.

I also started reading the new Batgirl from issue 19, just because I heard a minor character was transsexual (though it was only mentioned once, in that issue XD). Just yesterday I went and got the collection of issues 1-6, and was a bit annoyed. I thought the new 52 was a "new start", who the hell is Night Hawk?
Oh well, I suppose they were tying up loose ends from the 'old howevermany' first. I had no problems with starting from issue 19, even though that was in the middle of a story. Also The Ventriloquist is a great villain, being able to perfectly imitate any voice could be put to all sorts of evil uses (well, that and having a hard-as-nails killer puppet as your bodyguard).

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:26 am
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PaulTwist wrote:
Hawkeye is amazing. Best current Marvel comic by a country mile (with Daredevil a close second).


I'd been impressed by the covers but it didn't occur to me to look inside. After Mari's recommendation I've since read the Pizza Dog issue and I agree that it's a real breath of fresh air! :)

felneymike wrote:
I also started reading the new Batgirl from issue 19, just because I heard a minor character was transsexual (though it was only mentioned once, in that issue XD). Just yesterday I went and got the collection of issues 1-6, and was a bit annoyed. I thought the new 52 was a "new start", who the hell is Night Hawk?


Apart from the intriguing (if slightly frustrating) Wonder Woman I dropped virtually all the 'New 52' titles, but I might think about giving Batgirl another chance - especially as Gail Simone has produced some excellent work in the past. (Incidentally, didn't Neil Gaiman feature a transsexual character in Sandman?)

- Phil R.


Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:18 am
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It seems, from my limited experience (issues 18 to, er, 22 are we on now?) that Batgirl currently takes only 2-3 issues to fight a major villain. By American comic standards that probably counts as lightning-fast storytelling!
There's also a lack of endless "see issue #x" and "see issue#y of another title". I'm not (so far) having any trouble reading just one comic!

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:00 pm
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felneymike wrote:
I also started reading the new Batgirl from issue 19, just because I heard a minor character was transsexual (though it was only mentioned once, in that issue XD). Just yesterday I went and got the collection of issues 1-6, and was a bit annoyed. I thought the new 52 was a "new start", who the hell is Night Hawk?


When DC relaunched their entire line (except Green Lantern), they made the bewildering choice of not starting from the beginning but from five years on, thus defeating the whole "clean slate" idea. I had been reading Batgirl, but I find all the fighting a bit tiresome. Not that superhero comics shouldn't have fighting, but when there's an interesting story going on that has to be squeezed into the 10% of the comic that isn't fight scene, it gets annoying. And that's when it's not completely sidelined into a multi-issue Batman crossover.

Nighthawk is Dick Grayson AKA Robin 1. They just killed off Robin 5, so expect a new one soon.

Yes there was a transwoman in Sandman. And one in Doom Patrol also about 20 years ago. Marvel has a transgender character now too, but it's a very minor character who you wouldn't even recognise unless you're a regular reader of Fantastic Four. It's nice that there's some LGBT presence in comics now, but as with most places, that largely means just the LG and B, and very rarely any T at all.

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:06 pm
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The current protocol for most American comic books seems to be a breathless, six-issue story arc during which a hero fights a villain in several inconclusive battles until the final showdown - when a new, even-more-powerful villain reveals himself to be the real threat! Cue another six-issue story arc, ad infinitum...

Whatever happened to the days when superhero storylines had proper endings and beginnings? :?

On the 'T' component in LGBT, I think that Gail Simone is intending to introduce a more high-profile trans character in one of her other series (which only seems fair as several significant writers and artists in American comics were transsexual themselves).

- Phil R.


Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:19 pm
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The concept that struck me most when reading the 60s Fantastic Four was the sheer economy of storytelling: world-shattering events effectively put forth over a few pages----sometimes less!

I think you have mentioned this yourself before Phil: Col the cool one also remarked the same was true of early 2000 AD .

A lot of today's comics have a very different approach: building atmosphere slowly--it's just as effective but in a different way.

I am older-school and prefer the tighter scripting of olde, but I can still enjoy Modern Comics.

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:31 pm
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For good quality digital comics I'd also recommend the Madefire app for the iPad. Several comics to download free at present, using interesting and effective techniques. Top quality creators involved too including several British ones.

Regarding storytelling/art techniques in comics. I must admit that the older I get, the more I lose interest in modern American comics and their 'decompressed' (ie: slow) storytelling. They also take themselves too seriously and are too dark and grim for my tastes now. I think they missed the point when they started using Watchmen and The Dark Knight as templates for superhero comics. They were never intended to influence comics like that.

Give me 1960s Marvels any day. Brash, fast-paced and fun! I just prefer that whole format too, including newsprint interiors, off-register colours, and ads for tacky novelties such as Hypno Coins, black face soap, and Sea Monkeys. The days when comics were off their heads, including the ads!

Having said that, I'm really enjoying Superior Spider-Man although I only buy a few other current US comics such as Sergio Aragonés Funnies, Haunted Horror, Popeye Classic and Jennifer Blood. (Yes, the latter is the type of comic I'd usually hate but I've been hooked since issue 1.)

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:08 pm
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