Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mining for Gold(en): "I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife!"

Michael Golden drew one of the best versions of the Batman ever, don'tcha think? The only problem is he didn't draw nearly enough Batman stories. The stories he did draw, though, were always special. Want proof? Here's a little-seen bit of Batman lore that is nearly forgotten but ranks high on the list of events that have greatly impacted the Darknight Detective's life. In the middle of the Batman Spectacular (DC Special Series #15) that blew us away in the torrid Summer of '78, there sits the ever-lovin' marriage of the Batman to Ra's al Gul's daughter Talia. Can you dig it? That new Robin running around in the Bat-titles, Damian? That's Batman and Talia's son. See why this story is so important? (I was tempted to do this as a "Secret Origins" featuring Damian post--aren't ya glad I didn't?)

One more bit of coolness before we get to the story: when he wrote this tale, writer Denny O'Neil (who, remember, helped create Ra's and Talia) actually considered it to be his Batman swan-song . Check out this quote (from Wizard Universe):

"There's a story I ended with Batman giving up," he recalls. "I think the last shot is of him in the daylight with his back to the reader having broken up with Talia. Of course I knew that Batman would be back next month, but I thought that I was probably done with the character, and that was my farewell to this thing I'd been involved with so long and intensely. And [editor] Julie [Schwartz] rewrote that caption to indicate this was not the end. But I thought that was the end of my Batman. Little did I know, it was just the beginning."

Of course ya know that O'Neil's association with the Gotham Goliath didn't end with "I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife!". O'Neil would write a few more Batman stories (Detective Comics issues 480-491) before moving to Marvel (where he would edit, among other things, Frank Miller's Daredevil). It would only be a matter of time before O'Neil would find himself back at DC, and there he would spend about a decade-and-a-half guiding and editing the further adventures of the Batman and his co-horts (including Year One, Death In the Family, Knightfall, and many more memorable storylines).

But hey, we're here to celebrate Michael Golden's awesome Bat-artistry, aren't we? This time the Golden One is inked by one of the Batman's definitive inkers, Dick Giordano. Enjoy!

13 comments:

  1. One of my all time favorite Batman stories!! I love Michael Golden, his Micronauts, The Nam, The Avengers , X-Men, Man-Bat, Ragman & his Batman rocked! Why didn't he do alot more!!?? What ever happened to him? I know he recently drew some covers? For DC, but I haven't seen his beautiful art since the early/mid 80's!! GGGrrr!! I would have loved to seen him draw more Man-Bat,Batman & a Ant-man series as well, Didn't he draw Mister Miracle once? Thanks for again brining back such great memories. True Gold!!

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  2. Hey Groovy one!!
    Do you remember that awesome Marvel Universe poster Michael Golden drew? If I rember correctly, it was a give away. I remember ordering I believe those Larsen Hulk, Spider-Man & X-Men portfolios. I believe it came with them in the mail from that company. I think it was rather long in length than wise. More rectangular in shape. Narrow, but long. It had like almost every major Marvel character up to that point on it. I think it was published in 80-82. I really enjoyed Mike's The Nam. Especially back then.Since I was in the Marines in 82-88.

    Off subject, but do you, or any one else remember this layout by John Buscema I believe. And iked by Joe Sinnott, featuring the main Marvel heroes as different NFL team players. It was like in a football sports magazine. I thought it was Sport's Illustrated myself. But I wrote to SI years ago & I got a reply like I was nuts! I know I saw it, because I'm from Wisconsin. The Hulk was a Green Bay Packer! The Thing was a line backer too, I believe, Spider-Man was a receiver & so was Mr.Fantastic!

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  3. Hey Groovy one!
    I hope this works! If it does here's that Michael Golden poster I was talking about! Beautiful piece of art!!

    http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=3158

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  4. I am staring at one of the original pages to this story on the wall of my studio right now.

    And its beautiful.

    It was considered to be one of the holes in my collection that i didn't have any classic Golden in it til I got it. And Glen made me pay through the nose for it too.

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  5. I've always liked this comic. But one thing I never got was why Batman used such a brutal method to render Talia unconscious. Who knows what facial injuries and brain damage would result from punching her lights out. A martial arts master like Batman could have used something a little less dramatic -- as he has in other stories at times.

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    1. well you just dont get it do you he is not called emotion man he is dark macho knight can you dig it sorry for my bad english

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  6. Jeez, Talia, put some clothes on before you go to the docks to turn the tide of the battle, willya?

    On second thought...

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  7. I agree: Golden didn't draw nearly enough of anything. His art was almost always spectacular; with a greater output, he could have been one of the all-time greats.

    And his style worked so well on Batman. My favorite Micheal Golden Batman story was the team-up with Ragman in Batman Family #20.

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  8. One of my favourites too. Poor Talia!

    Reading it today, the ending really reminds me of the classic Spirit story "Bring In Sand Saref."

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  9. I agree with Andrew, my favorite DC Michael Golden story. Was from Batman Family#20 with the Ragman!!!I'd love to see a post on that story as well as posted here. My favorite Golden cover has to be Hulk#251 with the 3-D Man! I always loved that cool, but odd character!

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  10. Glad you dug the post, folks! More Golden is coming, never fear. And yep, the legendary Batman/Ragman story is in the pipeline!

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  11. I loved Michael Golden's artwork, on just about anything, really, but especially on Batman. But darn it, all three stories in the Batman Spectacular were great--it truly was a "Spectacular" issue!

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  12. Golden did some very nice early work on BATMAN FAMILY 15-20 with Bob Rozakis (on Man-bat stories) and with Dennis O'Neil. There were particularly inspired stories by O'Neil, and inked by Craig Russell on issues 18, 19, 20, and this DC SPECIAL SERIES 15 (BATMAN SPECTACULAR) story. Also a great plus that this was in the same issue with a great Mike Nasser story, and the Marshall Rogers pulp-styled text story. This issue came out the same month as the "DC Implosion" and was apparently planned in advance. BATMAN FAMILY 20 was out the same month (that's one hell of a lot of Golden pages in one month, 52 pages across those 2 issues!)

    After BATMAN FAMILY was cancelled, the remaining inventory material for BATMAN FAMILY was merged into DETECTIVE COMICS starting with 481, and 482 had 2 outstanding Golden stories, the first 15-page installment of a new "The Demon" series, by Wein/Golden Giordano (that Groove has reproduced here), and a very fun 6-page "Batmite's New York Adventure" that I hope will eventually be posted here.

    And that was the last of Golden's pre- "DC Implosion" work, after which Golden made the move over to Marvel, and super-stardom with his run on MICRONAUTS 1-12.

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