Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Forgotten Batmen: "The Batman's Burden!" by O'Neil and Chua (Chan)

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Here's a dyn-o-mite Batman short from Detective Comics #451 (June 1975) by Denny O'Neil and Forgotten Batman artist Ernie Chua (Chan). "The Batman's Burden" proved that Mr. O'Neil could come up with a pretty cool Batman adventure even if it wasn't drawn by the likes of Neal Adams or Michael Golden! Chan's style on Batman was very different from his barbarian heroes, but it worked (even if the last two pages look more like the handiwork of J.L. Garcia Lopez...) Check it out!


  1. DC in the mid-'70s to early '80s was a bit 'xenophobic' with its super-hero titles, and only let Filipino artists like Alfredo Alcala or Romeo Tanghal work on these characters as INKERS, often over pencillers whose abilities were far less developed. A pity if you've seen Alcala's solo efforts on "Voltar"---if not, do a Google images search, and be prepared to be knocked out of your socks by its visual greatness.

    Can you imagine if DC had let Nestor Redondo draw Superman? He had that classic 'Patrician hero' look down better than most American comics artists did---likewise his idealized female characters.

    Chris A.

  2. Cumming Streeter. What kind of a name is that?

    A celebrity backgammon tournament?

    Sailors from the S.S. Propane?

    Oh man, comics were hokey weren't they? But lots of fun too!

    1. No, that was the 70's :P celebrity backgammon tournament? makes as much sense as the Texas Hold 'Em series thay have nowadays :D

  3. The art is good. The story is a little reliant on the female character being dense and Batman being too gung ho to spend even five seconds telling her he's not just bullying an old man for shits and giggles.

    At the same time though I like that Bruce is acknowledging that this is the part of the job that's not pretty and that he's not proud of it. Which is such a far cry from Miller's psycho-ninja Batman totally getting off on hearing someone's bones crack.

    This is a Batman that can be bothered to have some compassion and nobility to him and it doesn't tarnish his "being "badass" one bit.

    ..and yeah, Cumming Streeter might be one of the worst civilian names in all of comics.

  4. I don't agree with Chris A's above comments at all (about DC in the 1970's being "xenophobic" and reluctant to use Phillipine artists). If you look at DC's mystery titles and broader line, that quickly disproves that notion. Phillipine artists like Tony Dezuniga, Alex Nino, Nestor Redondo, Gerry Taloac, Ernesto Patricio, Ernie Chan, Frank Redondo, Ruben Yandoc, Virgil Redondo, Buddy Gernale, Jess Jodloman and Alfredo Alcala, appear in almost every issue of HOUSE OF MYSTERY, HOUSE OF SECRETS, WEIRD MYSTERY, WEIRD WESTERN, WEIRD WAR, FORBIDDEN TALES OF DARK MANSION, SECRETS OF SISISTER HOUSE and other anthology titles. Their work began appearing in DC titles in 1971, well before any of these guys did work for Marvel.

    Nestor Redondo took over from Berni Wrightson as artist on SWAMP THING in 1974, the most celebrated and award-winning title of DC's line. And slightly after on RIMA, both beautifully rendered.
    Around the same time, Gerry Taloac was the series artist on PHANTOM STRANGER.
    Ernie Chan (as "Ernie Chua") beyond the mystery anthology titles, was doing art beginning around 1974 on DETECTIVE COMICS, then BATMAN starting with issue 262-264, and roughly 267-300 or so, after Novick and Giordano left the series.
    E.R. Cruz took over from Kaluta on the acclaimed THE SHADOW series, collaborating with Dennis O'Neil.

    Ernie Chua also was co-creator and penciller/inker on CLAW in 1975-1976.

    In the period from 1975-1977, Chan became DC's cover artist of choice on virtually DC's entire line, at least as prevalent on covers as Aparo, Grell, and later cover artists Buckler and Garcia-Lopez.

    So I really don't see all this "xenophobia" and racism at DC in the 1970's that you're alleging. Quite the opposite, DC was the first to open its doors to Phillipine artists, and others from Latin American countries like Ric Estrada, Garcia-Lopez, Sergio Aragones, Frank Chiaramonte, and black artists like Trevor Von Eeden and Wayne Howard. And virtually everyone at DC from 1937-1970 was Jewish, along with new guys like Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin and Al Weiss in the 1970's.

    Titles like the O'Neil/Adams GREEN LANTERN 76-89 show that DC was for the most part ahead of the curve and with the times, preceding Marvel for the most part on social issues. And certainly not reluctant to hire Phillipine artists. My impression is that Phillipine artists for the most part were uninterested in superhero comics, and chose to work in other genres such as mystery, science fiction, war, sword and sorcery, and western titles. When those anthology titles began to be squeezed out in 1983, they largely chose not to do work in comics. Even the Warren titles ceased publication in 1983. And at that point, the comics they were interested in doing, at DC or anywhere in the field, were largely gone.

    The last two Phillipine artists of that era to do regular work that I observed were Alfredo Alcala (on Alan Moore's SWAMP THING), and Dan Bulanadi (on MICRONAUTS and SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN). After that, Whilce Portacio was the first I saw of a new Filipino generation of artists in the mid/late 1980's.

    But I never saw it attributed to "xenophobia" that Phillipine artists ever were denied work at DC.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!