Category Archives: Comics/television

Amazon Accoutrements: The Lasso Of Truth

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Over the nearly seven years that Precinct1313 has been a thing, we have posted, discussed and revealed the many fascinating and fantastic facets that make up the legend that is Wonder Woman, from her early beginnings courtesy of her genius architect – William Moulton Marston, through her sundry appearances in television, film, animation and, of course, comic-books.

We have regaled and radiated our adoration for the astonishing Amazon, poured praise upon the reasoning of why she is, and always shall be, the most important fictional female in literary history and shared with you, my astounding Amazonian associates, our very favourite manifold mythologies of the Themysciran Titan, be that through comic covers, reviews, news and just general gushing of our love for the character. So let us continue on that path through the philanthropic perfection that is Diana, with a brand new series of articles thusly titled – Amazon Accoutrements, with our very first episode devoted to the Lariat of Hestia, aka – the Lasso of Truth!

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Truth, justice, emancipation, empowerment, and forgiveness are the key traits to Wonder Woman’s psyche, these five character hallmarks form Diana as the benevolent being she is, a gracious goddess whose sole mission is to convey these admirable distinctions to humanity. The truth is integral to Diana’s persona, she is innately incapable of lying, but having to deal on a daily basis with the deceit and nefarious whims of “man’s world” Diana is blessed to have been furnished with the legendary Lariat of Hestia, a glorious golden goddess granted lasso that compels all ensnared within its bonds to tell the truth.

The Hellenic Herald’s titanic tether was originally a part of Aphrodite’s magical girdle, which in itself had the power to inspire passion and desire, with the Queen of the gods herself, Hera, occasionally borrowing it to influence bridal contests for suitors and to rejoin bickering spouses in love. This mystical adornment was gifted to the Amazon race which bequest them their fabled strength and immortality. It was the Amazon, Metala, under mandate by Queen Hippolyta, who was enraptured by the magical artifact, that she forge a golden rope from the graceful girdle, and thus was born the very first form of the righteous rope of veracity.

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In the tradition of the burgeoning DC Universe and it’s often shifting narrative and character mythos, the Lasso of Truth has also seen it’s beguiling backstory altered. The groundbreaking comic-book series – Crisis On Infinite Earths, by celebrated comic-book creators – George Perez and Marv Wolfman, posited that the lasso was forged by maestro of metallurgy and god of fire himself – Hephaestus. The bombastic blacksmith of the gods forged the lavish lariat from the Golden Girdle of Gaea, this mythological artifact was actually created by none other than Wonder Woman’s very own architect – William Moulton Marston, originally named by the esteemed doctor of psychology as the Magical Girdle of Aphrodite, an allegory for the power of female allure, and in Greek mythology – the mythic girdle was obtained by Heracles from Hippolyte as a key quest of his twelve labours.

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The ability to extract the truth though is but one of the powerful properties contained within the golden links of the lasso, it is also capable of translating spoken languages, the mere act of gripping the lasso will enable Diana and any other beings to universally understand each other and speak foreign tongues, the libertarian lariat is also adept at disseminating illusions and hallucinations, and other mental maladies. 

If you’ve had the good fortune of seeing the latest cinematic adaptation of Wonder Woman, you’ll recall seeing Gal Gadot’s Diana learning how to utilise her lasso and the wind currents to enable her ability to fly, this glorious gift wasn’t created for the fantastic film however, but was lifted from the very pages of the comic books themselves. When originally conceived, Diana was incapable of the fantastic feat of flight, but through experimentation of the lasso’s myriad powers, discovered that if she spun the lasso at great speeds, the oscillation would create currents of air she could then use to glide upon, mimicking the power of flight.

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The comic-book creation of the Lasso of Truth by William Moulton Marston was in direct correlation to the esteemed psychologists real life creation of the Systolic Blood Pressure Test, which eventually became one of the key components in the John Larson invented Polygraph. It was actually professor Marston’s wife – Elizabeth Holloway that first suggested a distinct connection between emotion and blood pressure differentiation, noting that whenever they got frustrated or emotional, their blood pressure would climb. 

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Thanks so much for dropping by the Precinct as we explored the history and profundity of Wonder Woman’s laudable and lavish lariat of the gods, next episode we shall be traversing the fictional (and mythological) Amazon annals to search out the history of Diana’s Bracelets of Submission, until that time I shall just say “apochairetismos” my absolutely awesome Amazonian affiliates!

Women In Comics Presents: Ramona Fradon

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The Comic-Book medium has always been seen as a mostly male dominated industry in both characters and creators, this is most likely due to a large percentage of the readership being of the male persuasion, though other more obvious reasons definitely prevail. The Superhero genre, as we know it today, arguably began with Lee Falk’s classic domino masked, amaranthine clad hero – The Phantom, who was followed a mere few years later by DC’s Superman and Batman, it wasn’t until esteemed Professor of psychology – the great William Moulton Marston entered this burgeoning market in 1941 with his iconic creation – Wonder Woman, that the tide began to (very slowly) turn towards a rather more inclusive market.

Of course, attitudes back during the Golden Age of comics were not at all what you would ever call diverse and inclusive, it was very much a male dominated industry and, yes indeed, world. It was Marston that initially fought back against this ideology with his casting of a strong but sensitive character in Diana of Themyscira, a positive female role model that could not only match her male counterparts, but even surpass them. Though Marston is accredited as the sole creator of Wonder Woman (though it should be noted that Harry G. Peter also had an underrated impact on the characters development) it was the women in his life both personal and those of whom he admired, that really had the biggest influence on Wonder Woman’s growth and eventual evolution, most notably – Elizabeth Holloway, Olive Byrne, and suffragist icon – Margaret Sanger.

If you’ve been a follower of Precinct1313 for awhile now you’ll have come to the realisation that not only am I a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but also many other female characters, and creators in not just comic-books but also film and video-games. I love strong female representations in my media, more so than male (sorry Batsy!) I think a lot of this is due to my being almost solely raised by mum from a very young age after my father passed away when I was around nine years old. I also have two sisters (and a brother, it’s ok, I didn’t forget you bro!) who were very independent and forthright, my mother instilled me throughout my formative years with a strong sense of virtue and morality. My mother is and always has been a feminist, she grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when discrimination against women was still very much rife, but actively fought against what was seen as the norm, and I will always be eternally grateful for the values she entrusted me with as I grew.

Now, with that lengthy preamble out of the way, let’s get to what you’re all here for – fantastic female comic-book creators, beginning with…

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Comic-Book artist supreme – Ramona Fradon first began her paradigmatic foray into the male dominated comic market in the early fifties, and she actually continues to draw and create characters even now, at the amazing age of 94! She landed her first paying assignment with DC Comics, illustrating – Shining Knight, and after that auspicious start, became regular penciller on Adventure Comics and Brave and the Bold, also for DC.

Ramona was born in October of 1942 in Chicago, yet spent most of early life in New York, where she moved with her family at age five. Her father was a commercial letterer and logo designer of which her brother also careered in, as well as her uncle. Her mother unfortunately passed away in 1952, when Ramona was a mere ten years of age, and it was her father that encouraged her to follow her dream and enrol in art school at the Parsons School Of Design located in Greenwich Village. After graduating from Parsons, Ramona met and married her husband, the cartoonist – Dana Fradon, who wholly supported and encouraged her career in cartooning. She pitched samples of her work to family friend, comic-book letterer – George Ward, which is what resulted in her first commission for DC Comics on the aforementioned – Shining Knight.

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After praise for her fantastic run on Shining Knight, DC then approached Ramona to continue working for them on a regular basis beginning with Adventure Comics, where she pencilled the back up story of Aquaman, which included her updating the character for the Silver Age, and also co-creating, alongside writer – Robert Bernstein, Aquaman’s trusty sidekick – Aqualad in 1960. She returned to DC to co-create (along with writer Bob Haney) another of their sixties classic creations – Metamorpho for the Brave and the Bold imprint. Ramona admitted to an almost perfect creative synergy with writer Haney, whom both referred to Metamorpho as their literary baby – “It was one of those wonderful collaborations that doesn’t happen very often” Ramona would later say.

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From 1965 through to 1972, Ramona briefly left comic-books to raise her young daughter, but returned once again to DC in late ’72 where she would take up the artistic reins on – Plastic Man, Super Friends and Freedom Fighters. She very briefly worked for Marvel, but admitted that structural differences between the two comic-book giants made it so she preferred working for DC, and soon departed Marvel after pencilling one issue of Fantastic Four and an unpublished issue of The Cat. After returning to DC she worked in conjunction with the legendary Joe Orlando, with whom she drew mystery comics. In 1980 she returned to college to study psychology and ancient religion, during this time she took over artistic responsibility on – Brenda Starr: Reporter, after its long term artist – Dale Messick retired.

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Ramona continued to draw Brenda Starr for an astonishing fifteen years until her own retirement in 1995. Though, even in retirement she would still accept the occasional pencilling assignment, most notably for Spongebob Comics, plus graphic novels – The Dinosaur That Got Tired Of Being Extinct, and – The Adventures Of Unemployed Man, amongst others. She will be returning to the company that she worked so many years for – DC Comics this year with an absolutely glorious cover for their 80th anniversary of Wonder Woman. Ramona Fradon is the pioneer for female artists in the comic-book format, and was recognised as such by being inducted into the prestigious – Will Eisner Comic-Book Hall Of Fame – in 2006, justly so!

Ace, Krypto, And Streaky Too!

Superheroes are awesome aren’t they… leaping tall buildings in a single bound, scowling atop shadowy gargoyles, extracting the truth with their golden lariats, ka-powing criminals, crushing crime and fighting hatred and oppression, yes indeedy, Superheroes are awesome! That said, for many, without their extensive network of sidekicks and allies would they really be as effective? Batman has Robin and his extended Bat-Family, Superman has Supergirl and Superboy, Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, Green Arrow and Speedy, et al. Though it could be said (probably only by me) that the real power behind their thrones comes from the less heralded, yet equally as important… Super-Pets!

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Now then, if you’re not a comic-book fanatic, you may feel I’m barking mad, or that this post could end up being a cat-astrophe (sorry, I had to!) and yet, Batman, Superman, Supergirl and yes even Wonder Woman have an extensive history with their fearless furry friends that dates back decades, plus, believe it or not, said pets also don colourful costumes (y’know, just in case SuperVillain pets recognise them!), exhibit powers and, yep, fight crime! So why not join us as we peruse (and pet) our all time favourite super powered animals, from Krazy Kangaroos, through Soaring Cats and even a Bat-Cow!

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The origin of the Super-Pet dates way back to the 1940’s, specifically the 1942 release of Sensation Comics #6, which introduced us to Wonder Woman’s very own faithful furry friend. Now, you’d think with Diana’s extensive history and standing in Greek Mythology, that Pegasus would be the perfect equine entity to accompany her on her ongoing odyssey, failing that how about the mighty Minotaur, maybe three headed demonic dog Cerberus, or Zeus’ nurturing goat – Amalthea? Ha, well you’d be wrong oh fellow fans of fantastic fluffy fearless friends, for it was none other than… Jumpa, the Kangaroo!!  (Uh, well, of course it was!)

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I mean, you really have to wonder why Wondy’s incredibly talented creator, William Moulton Marston went with a Kangaroo over the suggestions I threw out there, but, that said, have you ever seen a Kangaroo up close before? those things are terrifying! One of these mammoth marsupials chasing you down with Wonder Woman on it’s back no less, would be the epitome of the good cop/bad cop trope!!

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Now, I know that this might put me in the dog house with the other Super-Pets, but Ace the Bat-hound has always been my personal favourite of this formidable furry force, I mean look at him, he wears a mask, and sometimes a cape and utility belt style collar (how on earth does he get the bat gadgets out of there without fingers? questions like this keep me up at night!) and his master is The Batman! so case closed.

Ace’s doggy debut was in the 1955 issue of Batman #92, and this canine crime-fighting conundrum has been a stalwart admission to the Bat mythos ever since. Originally a German Shepherd, Ace has been through many different Bat-breeds since his initial inception including an English Mastiff and Great Dane, though you’d think, with Batman being heralded as The World’s Greatest Detective that a Bloodhound would make the perfect canine companion for the Caped Crusader… Suffering Sappho, maybe DC should hire me to write their comics! (only joking, uuh, unless DC want to, then I’m not!) But, if you thought caped and cowled crime-fighting canines was the quintessence of strange, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

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Yep, it’s a cow! though not just any old cow of course, but a bodacious and bombastic Bat-bovine!

The legen-dairy ( the puns, they’re gonna get worse!) Bat-Cow made her first astonishing appearance in Batman Inc (vol 2) #1, whilst another version of the headstrong heifer appeared for a short while in Tiny Titans, after stealing Batman’s cape and cowl to fight crime and form the the League Of Just Us Cows, this variant was eventually put out to pasture after DC Comics rebooted her with a brand new origin story. During a raid on a slaughterhouse (which was a front for Talia Al Ghul’s Leviathan) Batman and Robin saved their bovine buddy and adopted her into their burgeoning Bat-Family, this also led to Robin embracing a vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, the idea of a crime-fighting cow is udderly ridiculous, but it has also made for some rather amoo-sing tales, still, as to not milk this segment any longer we shall be moo-ving on to…

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The canine crime-fighting capers continue with the Man of Steel’s very own good boy – Krypto the Superdog! Krypto has been lending a paw to Supes since his cuspid creation in Adventure Comics #210 in March 1955. 

Superman’s best friend also hails from Kal-El’s home planet of Krypton and as such shares a very similar power set to that of his master including flight, super strength and super-breath (gross, I mean dogs and super-breath should never, ever go together!) this four legged wonder’s power set marks him out as the ulti-mutt crime-fighting canine in the Legion of Superpets, which finds him constantly harassed by the pup-arazzi! (ok, ok, that one was fairly bad, just please don’t hound me over it!)

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Just when you are feline that the you’ve had enough of the bad animal puns along comes Supergirl’s favourite furry friend, the paw-some Streaky the Supercat! I’m not kitten around you know, Kara’s fur-midable feline made his debut in Action Comics #261 in February 1960.

Unlike his doggy buddy Krypto, Streaky hailed from Earth and gained his claw-some gifts after exposure to X-Kryptonite, which enabled him with purr-fect powers such as – flight, super-speed and enhanced visual abilities. Though DC contains a plethora of cats in its canon, including Power Girl’s Stinky the cat, and of course Catwoman’s clowder, Streaky though will go down in hiss-tory as a personal favourite of mine, as he has such a meow-tain of purr-sonality!

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All Hail The Legion Of Super-Pets Fur-ever!

Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.09 – Wonder Woman 77 Special: Phil Jimenez Variant

Welcome back fellow fans of fantastic fiction to our top ten countdown of the Precinct’s absolute favourite comic-book covers of all time. With well over eight enthralling decades of comic-book publishing and literally millions of cool comic cover collectables, it’s been an arduous task picking out just ten (even the 12 labours of Hercules pale in comparison to this epic odyssey!) Our first perennial pick was Bill Sienkiewicz’s haunting variant for Frank Miller’s epic Batman return with Dark Knight III. However, this enraptured episode focuses on one of my favourite Wonder Woman artists of all time, the masterful Phil Jimenez and his esteemed take on the illustrious icon that is none other than sensational seventies superstar, the lovely Lynda Carter, with Wonder Woman 77 Special #1.

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The fantastic Phil Jimenez has been writing and drawing comics since 1991, and has spent a large swathe of his career working for DC Comics and has, over time, created some of their greatest ever storylines with absolutely astonishing paradigms including such gems as – Infinite Crisis, The Return Of Donna Troy and Teen Titans, but it is the Themysciran Titan that Phil’s outstanding oeuvre is still  staunchly synonymous with.

Phil is clearly influenced by his (and one of my) idol the great George Perez, and was delighted when he was taken onboard as the ongoing writer /artist for Wonder Woman beginning in issue #164 in 2001, and would continue in this creative capacity for a full two years, defining that run as one of the greatest in WW’s long and varied history. Phil is also an eternal enthusiast of Lynda Carter and her terrific take on Diana Prince, so was the definitive choice as the cover artist for this WW77 variant, and it is glorious!

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Why Not Join Us Again Next Time Fellow Agents Of Precinct1313 For Our Continuing Celebrative Countdown Of Commendably Cool Comic Cover Collectables!

 

Happy Holidays From Wonder Woman And Precinct1313…

Precinct1313 welcomes all it’s loyal agents to rousing revelry and much celebratory carousing in the majestic mansion of mystery’s ‘Great Hall of Quaffing’ (Eldritch, our resident carrion crow of woe will show you the way, it’s near the end of the Corridors of Collation, just take a left at the Comic-Book Crypts, if you reach the Mortuary of Movie Mayhem then you’ve definitely gone too far) But before we take our seats at the titanic table of terrific tales and indulge in holiday merriment how about a quick jaunt through the Ancient Amazon Archives to catch up with our favourite Themysciran Princess’ festive adventures.

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We have some absolutely Classic Wonder Woman here my astonishing Amazonian associates, Sensation Comics #38 was published in December 1944, written by WW’s genius creator William Moulton Marston and illustrated by the legendary Harry G. Peter. We follow our heroic Hellenic herald as she decides to play Santa in a notoriously poor and downtrodden neighbourhood, to bring some festive cheer to a local orphanage. Upon arrival the Themysciran Titan accidentally stumbles across a nefarious plot to rob the US treasury, with the events quickly escalating to a hostage situation involving the children themselves.

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December ’44 was a busy month for the delightfully dynamic duo of W.M Marston and H.G Peter as they also presented us with the festive edition of DC Comics’ timeless ‘Comic Cavalcade’, comprising three tenaciously terrific tales and a cadre of classic characters that includes The Flash (original Jay Garrick version) Green Lantern and, of course, our illustriously immortal idol Wonder Woman!

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Sensational seventies superstar Wonder Woman, the lovely Lynda Carter came face to face with ‘The Deadly Toys’ in a holiday themed episode of the scintillating seventies show that formed part of the second season and aired in 1979. Once again penned by Wondy’s ceaseless composer of creation W.M. Marston (writing under his oft used pen name of Charles Moulton.)

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This effervescent episode found the wondrous one investigating a suspicious toy maker (played by none other than sixties Batman villain – The Riddler’s Frank Gorshin) who had replaced three scientists with his own android creations after they refused to create a weapon of mass destruction known as Project XYZ. As Diana nears the source of her investigation, the dastardly Toy Maker whips up his own android version of Gaea’s Glorious Gal, and the two Wonder Women engage in a (delightfully camp) fracas, only in seventies Wondy can Hula Hoops become weapons of mass destruction!

Happy Holidays Fellow Agents Of Precinct1313, And How About We End With A Few Festive Felicitations From The Batman Himself…

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Well, What Did You Expect… it’s Batman!!

Happy Wonder Woman Day!

On this day on October 21 1941 an inspiration was born, Diana, Princess of the Amazons made her dynamic debut courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston. And so in celebration of Wonder Woman Day, I present to you, my astonishing Amazonian Affiliates, an extra special instalment of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’ a hearken back to my first ever encounter with the Themysciran Titan, way back in that glorious decade known as the 1980s!

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Ah the eighties, it was an interesting and rather revolutionary time in the UK. It had just gotten over the phenomenon that was Punk Rock, a rebellious anti-establishment movement that, really, was more about freedom of speech and giving voice to the people than it was about the music itself. I was actually way too young to appreciate the campaign for acceptance and diversity that Punk represented, but looking back on that era now, have come to realise how much Superheroes fit into the same mould as the punk rockers of the day, working outside of Government control, for the benefit of the people themselves.

I grew up in the greatest decade in the history of human kind (at least it was to me) the 1980’s. Icons from my era included such luminaries as Siouxsie and the Banshees (my all time favourite band… yes I was a Goth!) ridiculously over the top action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Wesley Snipes, Cynthia Rothrock and Moon Lee (my favourite female action stars.) Video Games began to really evolve from their previous very simplistic and basic look and premise in the seventies, adding more complexity and depth in both the graphics and gameplay. But even with all these wonderful new distractions available to me, Comic-Books were still my first love, my go to for escapism and ultimate reverie.

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It was the shadowy Masked ManhunterThe Batman, who initially introduced me into wonderful world of Superheroes. My first encounter with this iconic character was when I was six years of age, I was captivated by his world, so very different from my own (yet at times eerily similar.) Gotham was a terrible, seething place of corruption and murder, yet it had a redeemer, someone who swathed himself in darkness, and was scarier than even the worst denizens of this malevolent city… and yet, fought for good!btec

The character beguiled me, and it was through him that my love of not just comics, but also literature itself began. It wasn’t until I was nine that I experienced my first foray into the legendary world of the Amazons, I knew who Wonder Woman was of course, through the occasional crossover story in ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ but had yet to branch out fully into other realms, feeling contented in my protracted residence in Gotham City.

Wonder Woman #271 was the first time I invested heavily in a character who didn’t have a cape, a cowl and a fatalistic outlook to the world around him. In fact the two characters are literally night and day, which is why I believe that I began to love the Themysciran Titan with the same amount of reverence as I did the Dark Knight, because they were so different. She offered hope, and an optimism that The Bat just didn’t have, a figure who inspired goodness in those around her, with the strength and fortitude to fight the evils of man, yet show compassion and kindness to those deserving (and those who also were not, thus is her leniency and benevolence.)

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I have always seen the two characters as my diametrically opposed halves, Batman represents my love of the darkness, gothicism (technically not a word, I know, but I like it) horror movies, the supernatural et al, and Wonder Woman has always constituted my hopes for the future, my work to forward animal rights, vegetarianism, and a general aspiration for betterment of myself and the world about me, and so…

Happy Wonder Woman Day!

Six Years In The Precinct… An Anniversary Special

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Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, it’s fantastic to see you, and we’re so glad that you could make your way over to the majestic mansion of mystery in time to partake in our sixth anniversary celebrations. In a few moments we will wind our way down through the Precinct’s interminable depths as we head towards the infamous  ‘Halls Of Quaffing’ to celebrate in style. 

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Unfortunately our usual anniversary tour guide, the Precinct’s carrion crow of woe – Eldritch won’t be available to usher you through this arcane abode, as he’s still in the dog-house (uhh, crow house?) for leading us astray through a preternatural portal that lead to Raven’s Reach Sanitarium and a padded cell! (For more on that tantalising tale, why not click right HERE

But fear not, oh fellow fans of fantastic fiction, as I am able to stand in as the (distinctly human) Corvidae conductor for this sixth anniversary commemoration. And so, without further ado, let our peregrinations begin…

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The mystical mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313 first materialised unto this dimension in 2014, this paranormal palazzo, oft thought to be a sister building to the sinister House Of Secrets has housed many scribes throughout the countless alternate realities it has dwelled, and in 2014, I discovered it’s many dimensional delights when it revealed itself in terrifying fashion (which you can read about right HERE) and have been trapped within it’s herculean hallways and reality shifting structure ever since. Which actually turns out to be a good thing as it has given me copious amounts of time to relay to you, dear agents, the wonderful world of comic-books, cult movies and general geekery!

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And so, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, thanks to this mythical edifice’s psychokinetic power, we are able to transport you back in time (it doesn’t hurt too much, honest!) to visit our most popular posts of yore…

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As you are more than likely aware if you’ve been an agent of the Precinct for awhile, our absolute favourite comic-book creation of all time is the Themysciran Titan herself the glorious Wonder Woman, I first discovered the dynamic delight that is Diana, Princess of the Amazons when I was a mere nine years of age, and have been a super fan ever since. A myriad of reviews, overviews and gushing posts have ensued from the Precinct since its inception, and looking at the ol’ stats the most popular of these is… Wonder Woman #600

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Another mesmerising mainstay of the Precinct over the years (and my absolute favourite posts to write) has been the – World’s Finest: Interview – series, where each episode we invite one of our most treasured Superheroes, SuperVillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons and Super-Pets to answer a quotient of quintessentially quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake) Such classic characters as Harley Quinn, Circe, and Cheetah, have darkened the Precinct’s media studio and have harassed, bludgeoned, nibbled, and vexed our poor hapless interviewer (why, at one point he was even turned into a worm! an actual worm!!) Checking that ol’ stats page again turns up that the most popular of these was… World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With V

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Another character that has helped form the foundings of the Precinct alongside Wondy has been Gotham’s grim guardian, the big bad bat! I have been a fan since the age of six, he was instrumental in ushering in my love of the comic-book medium and my fave company, DC Comics. And just like the Amazon Princess, I have written a multitudinous amount of material on his dark crusade to clean up Gotham and absolve himself of the guilt of his parents death by dressing up as a giant bat and beating seven shades out of crazy costumed villains. And, heading on back to that trusty ol’ stats screen, the most read of all those is… Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #22

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Phew! thanks so much fellow agents for joining us on that timely tour of the Precinct’s past, and as we near the Halls Of Quaffing for many a beer and celebration, may I just say a massive thank you to all of my fellow bloggers, followers and readers for making this blogging odyssey such a fantabulous experience, it is YOU that have made this journey worthwhile… now, beer!!

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Happy Batman Day!

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Who would have thought that eight decades after he punched his first ever villain squarely on the jaw that we’d still be celebrating this dark, surly, emotionally lost and solitary individual whom, upon watching his parents gunned down before his innocent young eyes, thought that the best course of action for that loathsome act would be to dress up as a giant bat and ruthlessly hunt down and mercilessly beat up a plethora of crazily costumed criminals, yet here we are… thankfully!

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Batman made his first astonishing appearance in the 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27 courtesy of his compelling creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batsy has been punching and kicking his way through the DC Universe ever since, and yet, over eight decades later the character still feels as fresh and exciting as he did all those decades ago. I have personally been a fan of the big bad bat since I was six years old, initially courtesy of my Mum, who bought me my first ever Superhero comic-book – Detective Comics #466, where the caped crusader tangled with the one of his lesser known rogues -Signalman!

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From the printed page through television series, cinematic excursions, toys, video-game adaptations, collectables and more Gotham’s grim guardian has withstood the test of time and has become, arguably, the most widely recognised Superhero of all time (yeah, in your face Superman!) So here’s to another eight exquisite decades of his violent yet virtuous presence! Long Live The Bat!

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Happy Batman Day!

Batman is copyright – DC Comics.

Comic-Book Legend, Denny O’Neil Passes Away At Age 81

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It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of legendary comic-book writer, Dennis O’Neil who died of natural causes at his home on June 11.

Denny was best known for his iconic runs on DC Comics’ Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, and was also the editor for DC’s entire range of Batman comics from 1986 to 2000. Though Denny gave us many wonderful tales of heroism over his formidable career, he is most fondly remembered as the author (alongside his mainstay artist, the fantastic Neil Adams) who ushered in Batman’s return to the dark side in the early seventies, following on from over a decade of camp silliness.

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Throughout his triumphant tenure on Batman, Denny also created some of the Dark Knight’s most memorable nemeses including such icons as Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia, and avenging angel – Azrael.

He was also responsible for revitalising DC’s foremost emerald dynamic duo (again alongside the great Neil Adams)  Green Lantern and Green Arrow of whom he teamed up to become one of comic’s first ever social justice warriors as they roamed the planet fighting inequality and societal ignorance.

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Denny also taught at the Manhattan School of Visual Arts, and wrote the didactic tome – The DC Guide To Writing Comics plus many, many other achievements too numerous to mention. In 2019, the city of Phoenix named May 25 “Denny O’Neil Day” in acknowledgement of his influence on the comic-book industry and his contribution to furthering the fight against unjust causes. Denny was a legend on and off the page, and we mourn his passing. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.

Happy 80th Anniversary Selina Kyle!

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Hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome to Precinct1313’s comprehensively capacious celebration of the capricious, captivating, and cunningly contradictory – Catwoman!

Cat burglar, criminal, anti-hero and lover of grim surly men who like to dress as giant bats, Selina Kyle has been liberating loot from the rich, powerful and undeserving for the past eight decades! Catwoman made her dynamic debut in Batman #1 which released unto the general populace on April 24 in 1940 courtesy of Batman’s bodacious birthers – Bill Finger and Bob Kane.

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Introduced in her origin issue as “The Cat” she was originally posited a super-villain and antagonist to the Caped Crusader, yet her identity and personality have evolved over the long decades to anti-hero status, but even more significantly, partner, lover and catty confidante to the Dark Knight Detective himself.

Over the eight decades since her initial conception Selina Kyle has flourished as a much beloved female icon, a strong independent woman with her own agenda and ideology, and aside from a ten year hiatus from print from 1954 to 1966 due to the unswerving and at times creatively unfair ruling of the then Comic Code Authority, Catwoman has been in continuous print, whether as a major character in many, many DC Comics series or in her very own frequent comic book runs.

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The Bat and the Cat… Forever!

Selina also holds the crown for most portrayed female character outside of comic print media, with more live action variants than any of her fictional female peers. Beginning her real life feline felony career with a recurring role on the classic sixties Adam West starring  Batman series, delineated through the exquisite talents of Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt.

Michelle Pfeiffer put in an impassioned performance in Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns, whereas Halle Berry’s take in the 2004 standalone Catwoman movie proved to be a huge box office flop due to a rather lacklustre (and at times completely ridiculous) plot, and the fact that Halle’s version had virtually nothing to do with the original comic-book heroine, bar the titular name itself, holding up much better, and with a more definitive feel was Anne Hathaway’s performance in the 2012 Dark Knight Rises. Lili Simmons and Camren Bicondova both played Selina on the small screen in the 2014 Gotham TV show, rounding out with the most recent casting of our fave female Felis-Catus, who will be championed by Zoe Kravitz in the upcoming Matt Reeves’ epic – The Batman.

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Precinct1313’s Fave Live Action Catwomen (so Far)

In celebration of Catwoman’s ongoing octogenarian outings, DC Comics had planned a one hundred page super spectacular dedicated to the Princess of Plunder, due to release this week. Unfortunately owing to the current crisis affecting the planet, the print version has been put back until mid May at the earliest. But what we can share with you are a selection of the many oustandingly gorgeous variant covers commissioned for the delayed tome, with some of comicdom’s most accomplished artists coming together to celebrate one the longest running and important fictional females in history, puuuurfect!

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Happy 80th Birthday Selina, and with her nine lives still intact, you can be assured she’ll thankfully be with us for a loooong time to come… Cat-tastic!!

Catwoman is Copyright: DC Comics.

Wonder Woman #750: Celebrating An Icon

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Iconic is absolutely an apt terminology for William Moulton Marston’s legendary creation – Wonder Woman. Icon comes to us from the original ancient Hellenic word – Eika, and with Diana’s entire narrative background tied up (sometimes literally – the Amazons were famous for bondage games!) in Greek mythology, I could not think of a phrase that encapsulates the Amazon Princess any more effectively.

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Diana first leapt onto the pages of comic-books in the 1941 issue of All Star Comics #8, and from that point began her legendary odyssey through the annals of comic history with close to eight decades of epic storylines of emancipation, liberation and love.  Diana’s rich heritage is tied to her ability to empathise and forgive, traits not necessarily intrinsic to the majority of Superheroes, who tend to rely on fists, brute force and their overtly herculean super-powers to right any wrongs that present themselves.

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Wonder Woman was always cut from a different cloth, preferring to extend a hand in friendship rather than raise a fist in anger. Diana’s real life creation from her genius architect, the aforementioned William Marston is key to the character’s enduring legacy of liberation and amnesty. Marston’s ideal for the character came from his groundbreaking (especially for the era) work in the feminist and suffragette movements of the 1930’s and 40’s, with birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, in particular her work – Woman and the New Race becoming a catalyst for Diana’s eventual fictional birth in 1941.

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An astonishing seventy nine years later, Wonder Woman is actually more popular now than she has probably ever been, with a whole new audience outside of her fervent comic-book fandom brought into her Amazonian ranks thanks to her recent and magnificent celluloid outing in Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins’ 2017 movie. She has been in continuous print since her iconic inception, is the original blueprint for virtually every female Superhero that has been created since her dazzling debut and is still THE fictional front woman for feminism and emancipation in the world today. I am sure Dr William Marston is looking down from his well deserved place on Mount Olympus and smiling, watching as his monumental creation continues to spread her message of hope and love to all the masses both fictional, and real.

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To celebrate Wondy’s 750th issue DC Comics have brought together some of the Themysciran Titans’ most revered story tellers and artists – George Perez, Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Greg Rucka, Jenny Frison and Brian Bolland to name just a few are onboard for this 96 page prestige format tome. 

Nine exhilarating tales of the astonishing Amazon regale the reader with fabulous fables that represent her past, present and future, each allegorical piece fits, jigsaw like, into a whole that fundamentally represents everything we love about Wonder Woman, with our personal favourite from the selection being Gail Simone’s fabulous – ‘From Small Things, Mama’  though we are happy to report that not one of the other eight exceptional epics on offer are anything less than deserving of Diana’s halcyon heritage.

 

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Wonder Woman #750 is available from your local comic-book emporium right now! Make sure to show your love for the most important fictional female in history by buying this landmark issue, my astonishingly adroit amazonian associates.

 

Our dynamic duo of WW #750 variant covers were purchased from our absolute favourite comic-book emporium: Final Frontier.

Precinct1313’s End Of The Decade Geekstravaganza

Well hi there fellow agents of Precinct1313, and welcome to the majestic mansion of mystery’s infamous Comic Crypts. I hope you didn’t have too much trouble finding your way down through the Precinct’s convoluted and ever changing hallways and chambers, that’s the problem with running a comic blog from a supernatural entity posing as a resplendent residence, oh and the fact that we are located at the edge of  existence also doesn’t help with navigation, as most Sat-Navs don’t appear to cover that… surprisingly!

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And yet here you all are, so welcome, to Precinct1313’s End Of The Decade Geekstravaganza! That’s right, the decade draws itself to a close and we’re here to steer you through some of our favourite geeky moments from the past ten years, so pull up a tombstone (these are the comic crypts after all) and let’s all relive our favourite things of the past decennium…

Our Favourite Comic-Book Series: Mister Miracle 

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Masters of the miraculous – Tom King and Mitch Gerads deserve every bit of praise thrown their way by their peers, critics and fans for this superlative series, a groundbreaking, emotional and touching 12 issue maxi-series that took one of DC and Jack Kirby’s most beloved second tier characters, and thrust him headlong into the deserving limelight. We wrote a review on this tenacious tome recently, so we shall leave you a handy dandy link right here .

Starfire 

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 Though we feel that Miracle was without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest Superhero story released since Watchmen (really!) we couldn’t leave this particular post without mentioning our other comic-book love from the past ten years – Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s tantalising and terrific take on our absolute favourite orange hued alien princess, sizzling Superheroine – Starfire! Conner and Palmiotti are a dynamic duo of some renown in the wonderful world of comic books, a husband and wife team with a wild and wacky sense of humour that light up any character they get their talented hands upon, from Power Girl to their award winning run on Harley Quinn, everything these terrific twosome touch is utter comic-book gold, especially their 2015 maxi-series -Starfire.

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Endlessly endearing and wonderfully witty, Starfire’s 2015 series is a gift that keeps on giving, Conner and Palmiotti (along with the series’ fantastic artist – Emanuela Lupacchino) have bestowed upon us humble comic fans, the greatest take on Tamaran’s lost Princess since she was first unleashed in 1980 by her superstar creators, George Perez and Marv Wolfman. An origin tale, a laugh out loud stranger in a strange place fable, Starfire is a beguiling and winsome take on a beloved DC character. Quite possibly the funniest and most captivating series from DC in many a year, the Precinct unequivocally recommends this touching and hilarious series.

(Favourite Comic-book series runners up – Doomsday Clock, Supergirl: Being Super, Wonder Woman: Rebirth)

Our Favourite Comic-Book Movie: Wonder Woman

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Can you believe it took seventy five years to finally get one of the most popular, significant and important fictional characters of all time onto the big screen, a primary reason for this according to some producers, directors, movie studios and overall decision makers (all of whom were talking nonsense, of course) was that a female led Superhero movie stood little chance of success… well, I’m pleased to say that those negative naysayers were completely wrong in their assertions, because Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s 2017 Wonder Woman movie most assuredly was an exquisite example of, not just a top tier translation of character to silver screen, but a film that also carried a compelling message of love, hope and empowerment.

Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins more than made up for Diana’s seventy five year cinema snub by giving us, not just a superlative and accurate representation of the Themysciran Titan, but also THE greatest Superhero movie of… all… time! 

(Favourite Superhero movie runners up – Batman v Superman, Aquaman, Shazam)

Our Favourite Comic-Book Artist: Amanda Conner

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I have been reading, collecting and immersing myself in comic-book worlds since the mere age of six, my first dalliance with a Superhero was the Batman, from there I went on to discover the thrilling tales of the Themysciran titan Wonder Woman and have, over the decades become a devoted stalwart of DC Comics. Not being content to just absorb these wonderful stories of heroism and emancipation, I was also always interested in the compelling creational process behind the formation of these thrilling and titanic tales, from the literary scripting and especially the wonderful artistic endeavours.

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From an early age some of my very favourite artists included such luminary delights as – Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Nicola Scott, Emanuela Lupacchino, Norm Breyfogle and Adam Hughes. Picking a favourite from these amounted to an impossibly herculean task… that is until I discovered the astonishing art of one Amanda Conner. From that point on anyone enquiring as to who my all time fave artist was would not be able to shut me up as I enthused and rhapsodised over her astounding artwork. Quirky, zany, fun and instantly recognisable, Amanda’s incredible artistic style (for me) stands head and shoulders above her peers.

(Favourite Comic-Book artist runners up – Emanuela Lupacchino, Stanley Lau, Nicola Scott)

Our Favourite Non DC Comics Movie:

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Mmmmm, now this is a difficult one, I mean sooooo many great movies have been released over the past ten years, how in the name of Zeus’ beard are we able to pick just one? We can’t, so here (in no particular order) are a few of our fave non DC Comics based films of the past decade…

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

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A tremendous movie conversion of the classic French comic-book ‘Valerian and Laureline’ that was first published in 1967, created by the talented duo of Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. Stunning effects, decent acting (though Clive Owen, who is usually great, was rather uninspiring in this one) and an engaging, wild and zany plot make this definitely one of our top fave films from the past ten years.

Alita: Battle Angel:

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Another comic-book classic given the silver screen treatment, Alita is originally a manga series created by the great Yukito Koshiro in 1990. A post apocalyptic, cyber-punk stylised story that was brought to vivid life at the talented hands of Robert Rodriguez.

Groundbreaking visual effects bring android Alita to the big screen through some jaw-dropping motion capture of the movie’s phenomenal lead actress – Rosa Salazar, who puts in an outstandingly impassioned performance, and with a back up cast that includes such thrilling thespians as Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Maershala Ali, and Jackie Earle Haley, Alita is more than deserving of your free time.

Franklyn:

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British cult movie ‘Franklyn’ is a genre defying delight, part superhero saga,  noir thriller, romance, and horror, it takes great pleasure in flouting any kind of atypical filmic categorisation.

Franklyn is a visually rich movie, set across the dual dystopian parallel dimensions of Meanwhile City and contemporary London. It is within these dark, ethereal realities that we encounter four protagonists, each a lost soul, and on an intertwined and fated path to ultimately affect each others lives, be that for good or ill.

Unfortunately, as is the case with a large number of movies emanating from the UK, Franklyn never achieved the audience or status that it truly deserved. With a standout cast that includes Eva Green, Bernard Hill, Sam Riley and Ryan Phillippe, Franklyn is a film the Precinct heartily recommends. We reviewed the movie at the time, so if you find your interest piqued, then a link to our review is right here  

(Non DC Comics movie runners up: Dredd, Halloween 2018, Super, Solomon Kane)

And there you have it, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, I mean we could go on, but then this post would end up novel length, and I only have so much time to get it published before the end of 2019! With that, may I just say a big thank you to all of the Precinct’s followers and readers for the likes, comments and visits to the site over the past five years, it really is so, so appreciated. Happy New Year to you all!!

Oh, and as ever… Make Mine DC!

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Happy Wonder Woman Day!

Great Hera! Today marks the official celebration of everyone’s favourite feisty fictional female, the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman!

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That’s right fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, October 21st commemorates Diana’s first ever appearance in ‘All Star Comics #8’ which released in October of 1941 courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston, and DC Comics. That’s a sensational seventy eight years in her illuminating presence!

We love Wonder Woman here in Precinct1313, she’s actually our favourite comic-book creation of all time (sorry Batsy!) and I personally have been reading and collecting Wondy comics, movies and memorabilia since I was a mere nine years of age, she has always been an inspiration to me. Unlike her superheroic peers, Diana doesn’t necessarily rely on her fists… her strength lies within her power to understand, and forgive, to first extend a hand of friendship rather than wield her sword. Diana’s mantra is love and compassion, and in the rather unpredictable world we live in today, she is very much the hero we need…

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So, to honour the dynamic daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the pantheon of Greek Gods that bestowed the wondrous one upon us, let’s share in some inspirational, enlightening and quintessential quotes courtesy of the Princess of Themyscira. Happy Wonder Woman day, my astoundingly awesome Amazonian associates!

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Happy Batman Day!

That’s right Batfans, today charts a crucial chapter in everyone’s life… Batman Day! Join DC Comics and millions of fans worldwide in celebrating the world’s most popular and significant cowled crimefighter. From the printed page through cinematic excursions and video game adaptations, toys, collectables and onward, the dark and surly one has been a major part of many peoples lives for eight exquisite decades. 

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My first encounter with the Caped Crusader was when my Mum purchased me an old issue of Detective Comics from a local car boot sale when I was a mere six years old, this was not only the first time I had ever read a Batman comic, but was in fact the first time I had ever read a comic.

I remember reading the issue a dozen times over in one sitting and was eager to divert more of my attention to this amazing hitherto unseen world that contained fantastical characters who really captured my young burgeoning imagination in a way nothing else previously had, I have been fanatical of the Dark Knight since that time.

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Detective Comics #466 marked my initial encounter with the masked manhunter, and told the tale of Batman’s clash with villain Signalman, not exactly an iconic member of Batman’s notorious rogues gallery it has to be said, but it was my very first brush with a Supervillain. This wonderfully nostalgic comic issue also introduced me to the fact that Batman shared a universe with other Superheroes, thanks to a very enjoyable back up story, that regaled the young me with the daring adventures of the Emerald Archer – Green Arrow

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So, a very happy Batman Day to you, my bodacious Bat brethren, and why not sound off in the comments below about your very first encounter with the Dark Knight, and what you will be doing to celebrate another year in the company of Gotham’s greatest grim and gritty guardian angel.  

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Batman is copyright: DC Comics

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another enthralling episode of  The Week In Geek  where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…

DC Universe Release It’s First Pic Of Brec Bassinger As Geoff Johns’ Beloved Hero – Stargirl!

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DC Universe is DC’s new live action/animated streaming service that recently regaled the comic giant’s loyal fans with such iconic delights as live action series’ of Titans and Doom Patrol, with Swamp Thing and a brand new animated series of Harley Quinn also on the heroic horizon.

But for this particular DC fanatic the upcoming Stargirl series is everything, and from this recently released photo of actress Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore, better known as the Cosmic Staff wielding Superhero – Stargirl, everything is looking really rather respectful and resplendent! High school student Courtney, step-daughter of the the Star Spangled Kid, has been portrayed in live action form twice before in Smallville and Legends of Tomorrow respectfully, but costume wise this is without a doubt the closest version yet brought to screen.

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Stargirl made her debut in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E #0 in July 1999, created by comic book legend Geoff  Johns who styled the character’s appearance and name after his late sister Courtney, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1996. The series will premiere in early 2020.

First Trailer For Joaquin Phoenix  Joker Origin Movie Released By Warner Bros…

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No Smilex Gas needed for this one, as Warner Brothers release a tantalising and intriguing look at Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the DC’s infamous clown prince of crime – The Joker.

Not to be confused with Jared Leto’s recent and entertaining variant of the jester of genocide, this is a standalone story that will delve into the trials and tribulations that ultimately turn what appears a seemingly ordinary individual into comic books most feared and revered sociopathic SuperVillain, in an origin story that is produced by celebrated film auteur Martin Scorsese and also stars Robert DeNiro and Zazie Beets… and it’s looking particularly phenomenal! Revel in the trailer below: