February 26, 2014
Saturday Comics on a Wednesday? Why not? After all, new comics don’t come out on Saturday either.
The Brave and the Bold 197 (1983), written by Alan Brennert, is one of my favorite Batman comics. With all of the changes in DC continuity over the last few years (OK, decades) this story is way, way out of continuity, but at one time it filled in an important part of DCU history. This is a tale of the Earth 2 Batman. Earth 2 was once the home of the Justice Society, as well as older versions of Batman and Superman. This was also the exclusive home of Huntress and Power Girl. This story tells of an older Batman, nearing retirement, and how he fell in love with and married Selina Kyle, Catwoman. The story is so good it was even reprinted in a volume of the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told. Regardless of whether or not it fits into the current New 52 era, this issue is great reading and worth if for the Joe Staton art. For some reason it has been going up in value. You can’t find an issue on eBay for less than $10. But if you are a comics or Batman fan, this issue is worth it.
If you prefer, for just a little more, you can get the hardcover collection that contains this story and a few more, but be warned, you’ll be missing out, since there is a very slight (but interesting) change to the artwork.
Joe Staton inserted a joke into the splash page. He never expected it to get printed. He fully expected the editor to catch it, have a laugh, and take it out. But it somehow made it into print.
See it? Staton put in a pedophile joke, right there on the shoebox.
I don’t see how the editor missed it. I’ve had this issue for years and I spotted it long ago. But I never knew the story behind it before and luckily, Comic Book Resources already got to the bottom of it. Via CBR, here is the explanation from Joe Staton himself:
Actually I think the label was more “PED-ophile”. Commission Gordon was holding a shoe box and at the time I thought is was funny that you might see “pedophile” as meaning “foot lover,” not a good pun, but not such a bad name for a shoe company.
Anyway, I put it in, but back then, DC had a pretty tight editorial process so stupid jokes and personal bits were normally caught and properly disposed of. Unfortunately, not in this case. My stupid joke was actually inked and even printed. Most people seemed not have even noticed it, but it looked tacky.
Later when editor Mark Waid told me that the story was going to be in a collection, I asked him to erase the label and he was happy to do so. It was my stupid joke and I’m very grateful to Mark for letting me set it right, especially since this was one of my best jobs, on one of the very best scripts that ever came to me, with one of the very best inking jobs I ever got.
Thanks for letting me clear that up.