The Best of DC’s Elseworlds

Comic Review (9)

Elseworlds is an imprint of DC comics, the basic premise of which is to take familiar characters from their comic roster and put them in altered surroundings, time periods, or imagine them with an altered backstory. The imprint came about in 1989 with the publication of Gotham by Gaslight, which re-imagined Batman in the Victorian Era and pitted him against none other than Jack The Ripper. Over the years DC has published 100’s of these so called imaginary tales, and here is a look at some of my favourite ones.

Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty

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The story follows a feud between the Wayne family and the immortal Vandal Savage, a feud which starts in the 13th century and ends in the 24th Century. The story is split into three parts, Dark Past which features a knight named Joshua Wainwright during the Crusades, Dark Present which features Bruce Wayne in the 20th century as Batman, and Dark Future , which features Brenna Wayne as Batwoman.

Superman: Red Son

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In Red Son, Superman’s rocket ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm rather than in Kansas. Instead of fighting for “… truth, justice, and the American Way”, Superman is described in Soviet radio broadcasts “… as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.”

Superman & Batman: Generations 1,2 &3

In which Superman and Batman age in real time from their first appearances in the 1930’s all the way through to the 30th century, the 3 series explores the dynamics of the two main characters, as well as their impact on their legacies.

Kingdom Come

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This story is set in a future that deals with a growing conflict between the visibly out-of-touch “traditional” superheroes, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes, in many cases the offspring of the traditional heroes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.

JSA The Liberty Files/ Unholy Three

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The Liberty File Set in Egypt, 1942, the Bat (a.k.a. Batman) has been ordered to work with two new partners, the Clock (a.k.a. Hourman) and the Owl (a.k.a. Doctor Mid-Nite), as a group codenamed the Unholy Three. Their mission is to find Jack the Grin (a.k.a. the Joker), a smuggler who has stolen information about an unidentified German secret weapon.

And in its sequel, The Unholy Three  set In 1948, with the war over, the Bat is now fighting criminals in Gotham City. He had briefly worked with the Clock and Mister Terrific, but Sloane blamed him for his fiancee’s death and said he couldn’t work with him. The Clock also retired to his civilian identity of Rex Tyler and returned to running his company. The Bat and the Clock are re-activated as government agents when two former KGB agents, the Parasite and Steelwolf, are working for an unknown employer. They are killing superheroes and seeking a plan called the Trigger. The Bat and the Clock are introduced to Clark Kent (a.k.a. Superman) a new agent who, despite his inexperience, is placed in charge of the group.

Worst Sidekicks

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Following on from yesterdays post on the best comic sidekicks here we have a look at some of the truly worst sidekicks out there, and just to give you a hint about the breadth I had for this piece, my selection was limited to pretty much every sidekick ever.

Robin 

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They’re called trousers Batman all minors should wear them around grown ups who are not their parents

D Man

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The homeless hero was once Captain America’s sidekick, Cap wisely let D Man go his own way.

Ebony White

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The first time I saw Ebony White, I thought he was meant to be a golliwog (massively racist children’s toy) a sidekick to Will Eisner’s Spirit, the creator has gone on to justify his creation by saying, hey it was the 40’s if Al Jolson could do it why couldn’t I.

Bob Agent Of Hydra

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Bob Agent of Hydra, Alias Bob Something who cares, height 5’10, weight 181 lbs, Affiliation: Hydra, kidnapped sidekick of Deadpool. Powers and Abilities: None, he’s just a guy who works for hydra so IE if he dies they have two more people to take over from him. Weapon of Choice: Cowardice.

Kid Flash/ Wondergirl/ speedy/ Aqualad 

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All the teen titans were pretty shit if we’re being hoinest, why is it that comic writers are deluded enough to think that a teenage version of a superhero is going to be effective in any way, both in terms of story and in terms of sales?

Batman Model

I’ve been mucking about with some more ideas for wedding centrepieces here is part of a batman themed one that I have been working on.

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As you can see, the GCPD headquarters is only partially finished, as I have to add a great deal of graffiti and some other bits, but it should be done in good time for the wedding.

Coming Out Of The Bat Closet (LGBTQ Themes In Batman)

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HOLY HOMOSEXUAL URGES BATMAN!!!!

Have you ever stopped to think how gay Batman is. There is a lot of subtext if you read between those thought bubbles. Lets look at it in stages.

  1. Batman/ Bruce Wayne’s relationship with women. As both Batman and Bruce Wayne, he seems incapable of maintaining a healthy long term relationship, such short term things seem fraught with tragedy, looking at his relationships with women as Batman such as Catwoman, Wonder Woman, or Talia Al Ghul, they all seem to be some sort of overcompensation. His relationships as Bruce Wayne however are quiet simply as a beard, they go a long way to setting up his persona as Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy, whose to say heterosexual millionaire playboy isn’t also part of it.
  2. His relationship with Alfred: Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler and one time legal guardian and full time enabler. Alfred took on the role of father to Bruce Wayne after Bruce’s parents were murdered. Instead of getting little Bruce some serious grief counselling and psychiatric care he let him drop out of school to pursue his career as scourge of the underworld. Their relationship is more complex than just that however. Alfred genuinely does love Bruce like a son, however Bruce’s feelings are somewhat different, he begins to project on Alfred during his teenage years, and because he can’t act on these feeling internalises them and it feeds his depression and anguish, not to mention giving him cause to focus on ending crime on Gotham.
  3. Batman’s relation ship with Robin: Anyone who has ever seen the Adam West/ Burt Ward depictions  of Batman and Robin will have no illusions that they are a gay couple. The whole relationship is odd on the face of it. Now single men can make great parents, (dad’s can do it too etc) but it does seem a little strange that a single man in his 20’s/30’s would adopt a teenage son, it may be cynical of me to think that anything untoward was taking place, but when the man doing the adopting forces the child out on to the streets in a pair of green briefs, alarm bells start to ring, and it isn’t because the joker is robbing a bank if you know what I mean.

Batman is one of those characters that will never be outed in mainstream comics continuity (why else would you have characters such as Midnighter if Batman was out), but there are a lot of themes within the comic books, the TV shows and films that are definitely a bit on the queer side.