Monday, 21 August 2017

The Black Bat Will Always Punch Nazis

The near future may appear bleak in terms of new tales of The Black Bat but we found out yesterday that before longthe masked nemesis of crime will be punching Nazis right between their beady eyes.

The news came courtesy of writer Gordon Dymowski on Twitter.

I'm proud to say that I solved that mystery in a matter of minutes!

The anthology in question is in comic book form and while it is still in the planning stages, each story should run somewhere between 4-8 pages. The original Black Bat's stories were first published between 1939 and 1951 and therefore the character is no stranger to Nazis. Gordon Dymowski is likewise familiar with the Black Bat, having contributed the story "The Magnificent Anderson" to Airship 27's third volume of Black Bat Mystery.

It appears that Erik Franklin will be handling art duties. Erik also contributed a story to volume three of Black Bat Mystery entitled The Dark Magician and has seen his work included in anthologies for Sherlock Holmes and The Purple Scar as well, among others. I don't know of any published work as an artist, however.

It seems that interest among creators is such that there may already be enough material for a second issue. They do want to get the first one out there quickly though so it should not be long until we are all...

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Black Bat in Superhero 2044

We are deep in the middle of a dry spell when it comes to Black Bat material. No doubt Lucky Comics are continuing to work on both of their versions (1930s and modern day) of the character, and Altus Press will announce the next volume of their reprints before too long, but right at the moment, we have little to look forward to.

Unexpectedly, the next time we see the character might be in a format in which he's never appeared, that I know of. The Black Bat will be among the playable character in a role-playing game called Superhero 2044.

Now my role-playing game days are in my distant past but I can't help but find this one interesting if only for the number of public domain characters that it features. In a press release from this past May (about Checker BPG acquiring the rights to the game), Superhero 2044 was described as follows:
...the first commercially available superhero-themed role playing game at the dawn of the industry appearing in 1977 shortly after the explosive launch of early games like Dungeons and Dragons and Runequest. Innovative for the time period it featured such specific rules as classifications for differing types of super heroes, melee rules unique to super heroes, a ranged combat system,  point based character construction, and eventually a comprehensive defined list of super powers.
And now it is being updated and upgraded. Starting on Wednesday, August 16th, a Kickstarter campaign will launch to help fund the new version. Checker will also create a collectible card game.

Let's have a look at the cast of playable characters.

A partial roster of playable HEROES:
Domino Lady, The Heap, Arrow, Arsene Lupin, Purple Zombie, Thor, Golden Age Daredevil,  Uncle Sam, The Spider, Fantomah, The Black Terror, Hercules, The Black Bat, Mister Monster, Silver Streak, Hugo Danner, Circe, Isis, The Werewolf, Atom Master, The Face, Target, The Ghost, Ms. Fury, The Flame,  Cheshire Cat,  Black Orchid,  Lady Justice,  Fantomas, Man O’ War, The Moth, Avenger, Dr. Nemesis, The Grim Reaper, Miss Masque,  Black Angel, Magno, Tesla, Kid Frankenstein, Perseus, Hydroman, Sinbad,  G-8 and His Battledrones,  Birdman, Hang-Man, Black Panther, John Henry, Monkey King, and more…
Very cool to see not only the Black Bat but a common team-up partner in Domino Lady and this site's former co-star, Ms Fury.

So we'll look in later this week, assuming plans to launch the Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday have not changed, and see if they offer some character-specific perks. Some of the art displayed on the Checker website is phenomenal but unfortunately, I have yet to see their interpretation of The Black Bat.

They also have mini figurines which might be of interest. What appears to be a work-in-progress Domino Lady is displayed below. The opportunity to create a little pulp team-up in my office, with the Black Bat front and center, might be too good to pass up if it comes to pass!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Bat Guest Stars in Dixie Squad #2

The (Black) Bat is all over the Lucky Comics line. Black Bat Tales, which features stories taking place in the 30s, recently saw the release of its second issue and a modern take on the character has appeared in a couple of issues of Beetle Girl (see, Dynamite? It CAN be done!). He was also given a spotlight during Free Comic Book Day.

And now, that modern version makes a surprise (well, to me, anyway) appearance in Lucky's Dixie Squad title.

Lucky Comics unique super hero team title featuring dynamic Southern Heroes destined to save America from ALL threats! 
In this issue:  
Dixie Squad is finally given a new commander named Colonel Hobbs! 
The Squad's next mission: Capture the BAT! 
Johnny Rebel, Mountain Man, Superfortress, Virginia Dare, Whistlin' Dixie 
With a fantastic cover by Oscar Suyama, Cássia Alves & Daniel Vardi
The treatment of the character is consistent with his appearances in Beetle Girl. His harsher methods create a perception that he's a menace that needs to be controlled and so the DS sets out to do that very thing.

That being said, a recent issue of the Beetle Girl book saw her chased by Dixie Squad as well. Could the Beetle and Bat end up on the same side? Let's wait and see.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Kill The Lady Goodbye (A Short Story)

This was a nice surprise. I spend so much time searching (and waiting) for Black Bat material yet from time to time a story will pop out out of nowhere.

A comment on a previous on June 2nd drew my attention and so thank you for that, Ray. I was on my way to my cottage so couldn't act on it until now, but I appreciate the heads up. The story had actually only been released the previous day but I had no idea it was even in the works.

Here's the sales pitch: 
Long before Wonder Woman, Supergirl or the Black Widow hit newsstands there was the Domino Lady--the first masked female crimefighter from the golden age of pulp magazines.  
Driven by the murder of her crusading District Attorney father, beautiful socialite Ellen Patrick assumes the alter ego of the Domino Lady to fight crime, break up political machines, expose corruption in the courts, as well as the Capitol. Arming herself with a .45 pistol and a syringe full of knockout serum, the Domino Lady’s most effective weapon is her sensual beauty, which often distracts her opponents before she turns the tables on them. 
In Kill the Lady Goodbye, Ellen Patrick’s steamy romance with a hotshot attorney is cut short when his father—a carnival tycoon—mysteriously disappears. An investigation plunges pulpdom’s sexiest avenger into a dangerous conspiracy involving a powerful criminal organization with ties to the highest levels of city government, a corrupt carnival empire—and into the crosshairs of the notorious vigilante known as the Black Bat
Before the Dark Knight patrolled the streets, before Daredevil prowled the back alleys of Hell’s Kitchen, the Black Bat battled the dark underbelly of New York. Former District Attorney Anthony Quinn was blinded by acid, but has gained the ability to see in the dark, enabling him a great advantage as he prowls the streets as a dark avenger. 
In this tale of blazing action, deadly intrigue, and saucy romance, two-time Bram Stoker Award nominated author Taylor Grant brings together two of pulp fictions greatest heroes. They will come face-to-face with the dark underworld of NYC and a mob boss who will stop at nothing to see them dead. 
A treat for longtime Domino Lady and Black Bat fans and a perfect introduction to the characters for a whole new generation of readers. Grab your fedora and .45s as Kill the Lady Goodbye unleashes the pulse-pounding excitement of the pulp detective fiction magazines of the 1930s and 40s.
It's said to only pay 33 pages long, so heads up on that level. You can purchase the story digitally here and learn more about Grant from his website.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Black Bat Collection Coming From Moonstone Books

This post from The Black Bat Facebook page, managed by writer/publisher Ron Fortier, catches us up on Moonstone's plans for the character, specifically the mini series with Domino Lady.

Having bought the Guns mini series already, I'm not wild about paying twice for the same material, but so long as the price is reasonable, I'm still getting four issues worth of new stuff. And it's stuff I've waited several years for, so I'm fairly pleased. Maybe the original books will decorate my secret crime fighting lab.

That said...This is Moonstone. Make yourself comfortable, it could be quite some time before this thing sees the light of day. Not trying to be clever, it's just the way it is.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Black Bat On Film.

I came across the following comment on Twitter a few weeks ago.

I was a little thrown at first. While the image used was clearly not specific to the film, the reference to a 30s comic book made me believe that Mr. Eastwood and I weren't thinking about the same Black Bat. But I asked and, evidently, we were.

So if it does come to pass it's still far on the horizon but it may be worth keeping an eye on Orlando Eastwood Films regardless.

Now this wouldn't be the first time that The Black Bat has found his way onto screens. Are you familiar with Rise Of The Black Bat?

If you are, then you have my sympathies. This film made me wish I was blind.

And I wanted to like it, obviously. It's my favourite pulp character in a film shot in my home town. I'd met the guy playing the Black Bat; he worked (perhaps still does) at a comics store on Bank Street in Ottawa. Good lad.

But sadly not a good movie, even taking into account budget restraints. I admit that I didn't finish it and for that reason won't pile on with yet another nasty review. You can Google search those quite easily.  I will just say that while some movies are so bad that they are entertaining, I don't believe this one fits that description.

So the bar is set quite low for Eastwood. I wish them all the best, I would love to have a quality film to add to my Black Bat collection.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Black Bat Part of Pro Se's LEGACY Imprint

Pro Se Productions sent out the press release below earlier today. It wasn't Black Bat specific, I was just stoked to The Black Bat mentioned as one of the "taken" characters.

But first, let's look back at an earlier (and abbreviated) release. It's from April 21st, to be specific.
Known for breathing new life into classic characters from Pulp Fiction, both licensed and in the public domain, Pro Se takes a step into an exciting new avenue for stories, utilizing Pulp characters in the Public Domain in ways to bring them into the modern era, telling tales using the archetypes from yesterday so many know to tell relevant stories set today. Using, at least initially, only Pulp characters in the Public Domain, Pro Se’s LEGACY imprint will be telling these tales. 
The characters utilized in LEGACY works can be written in two ways-either as updates of the original character and his/her supporting cast OR as a character inheriting a legacy left to him or her by the original character. For this, research will be required. If writers cannot acquire the original works, various resources with information exist on the internet and/or a request can be made of Pro Se Productions at to provide links. 
The first LEGACY volume set for release in late 2017 will be THE PHANTOM DETECTIVE: IGNITION by B. Chris Bell.
And more specific to our masked nemesis of crime...
...LEGACY is an imprint that will feature only digest novels (30 thousand words) or full length novels. The lead characters in these works MUST have originated in Pulp Magazines, circa 1896-1954 and MUST currently be in the Public Domain... 
Pro Se Productions opened the LEGACY imprint with the intent to fill 12 slots, enough to produce a book a month beginning in July 2017. When these slots are filled, new proposals will not be take in this imprint until at least January 2018 to fill the second year. As of this announcement, only two of the original twelve slots remain. 
Once an author makes a submission and that submission is accepted, then the character featured in that submission 'belongs' to that author, at least through the publication of the accepted work, if not longer. The update versions of the following characters are now a part of the LEGACY imprint and are off limits for further submissions at this time- 
Dan Fowler, G-Man
The Thunderbolt
Major Lacy and Amusement, Inc.
Secret Agent X
Domino Lady
The Black Bat
The Griffon
Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery
The Phantom Detective
Dr. Satan
So I guess this means we get new Black Bat material from Pro Se some time between August 2017 and...May 2018! I'm sure the time will just fly by. ;-)

This isn't Pro Se's first go at the character. He was also included in the second of their two-part Sons of Thor story.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Early Look at Lucky Comics' FCBD Offering

The following image was recently shared with Lucky Comics fans on the publisher's new Facebook group.

It is the work of Lucky Comics regular Eric Douthitt and is an in-progress page for Lucky's Free Comic Book Day offering this year. The issue will follow Lucky's eight-page format with four being dedicated to The Black Bat and the other four to Beetle Girl.

At around the same time, the second issue of Black Bat Tales should become available and hopefully the Pulp Legends prose anthology will follow as planned.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Germans Always Make Good Stuff

Black Bat material might be hard to come by in North America these days, but the Germans are about to be treated to another batch of books by Blitz-Verlag. Volumes 10, 11 and 12 of their paperback series are currently available for pre-order on their website.

These appear to be reprints of the original material from the late 30s to the early 50s. I believe the books are The Black Bat's Triumph, The Black Bat And The Trojan Horse and The Black Bat's Dragon Trail, based on Google Translate's rough translations of the titles. Those came out consecutively in the early 40s.

So Blitz is among the chronological original material reprinting scene and they are using updated versions of covers from the first German series for their current releases.  Example below.

The artist for those covers, by the way, was the extremely prolific Rudolf Sieber-Lonati. He was responsible for a ridiculous amount of cover art for crime and fantasy books from the 50s to the 80s but I believe he was best known for his science fiction work.

In any event, researching him specifically led me to a boatload of Fledermaus covers I still had not found, though they are of small size and/or of poor quality. I might have a little work to do there but the collection is becoming quite complete.  Here are a couple that struck me as being particularly eye-grabbing.

Friday, 17 March 2017

BG11 Available Now, BBT2 on Monday!

Lucky Comics' Beetle Girl #11, discussed in the previous post, showed up on Drive Thru Comics earlier today. It was originally believed that it would be available only in early April so the early release was a pleasant (and extremely rare) surprise.

The 8-page format that Lucky uses has very much grown on me. More along the lines of the golden/silver age material, Lucky's books pack a lot on a page, unlike most of today's books which commit three pages to show two dudes shaking hands or ordering coffee. At $0.75, they're not too hard on your comics budget and it's a good deal on a per-page basis, if you feel the need to analyze it to that degree.

And since we're talking finances, I've never been one to collect variant or rare covers. Never saw the point of buying the same content multiple times for what amounts to a single different page no matter how attractive the rare cover might be.

But for smaller, inexpensive books...Why not? The following cover was shared with me earlier this week (and has since been added to the Lucky Comics page above).

I didn't know if it was done with some degree of confidentiality so I didn't include it here right away, but my understanding is that the book is coming out early next week and a smaller version appears on Lucky's website blog now. I doubt I'm spoiling some big reveal then.

I quite dig this Marcelo Salaza work but I also liked the first cover that was made public. It is my understanding that the book will be available with either one, so I'll get both. One goes in the read pile, the other goes up on my wall. "Problem" solved.

As to the Beetle Girl issue, Lucky might have landed their finest artist yet (I say this without having read their entire catalog, mind you). Geanes Holland seems like a very good fit for the book.

Also, I enjoyed having the Black Bat butt heads with The Shadow in regards to methodology in the first Masks volume from Dynamite Entertainment a couple of years back. Something similar happens here, yet the Black Bat is on the opposite of the argument, interestingly enough.

The Black Bat appears in at least one more future issue of Beetle Girl and to the best of my knowledge, Black Bat Tales is meant to be an ongoing series. So it seems that Lucky Comics has become our proverbial "Bat channel" for the moment.