Cover art for Doc Savage magazine
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Doc Savage and his oddly assorted team might be considered the progenitors of today’s “Fantastic Four” and many other teams of superheroes — even Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.” -Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ “Spider-Man” and “The X-Men”
There are probably two reasons to read pulp fiction that’s 70, 80, 90, and even 100 years old. The first is that you’re a true fan of the genre. The second is, if not for these ancient heroes, we wouldn’t have the modern ones that, at least up until recently, were box office blockbusters at the movies.
In the mid-1960s as I was about to enter Junior High, I didn’t realize these stories existed and more, I didn’t know that various publishers had finally convinced the owners of these older properties to allow them to appear as paperbacks. It was the perfect time for me. I was the age and sex of the target audience, and the average price for a paperback was around 40 to 60 cents a copy. Heck, back then, even a comic book cost 12 cents.
So Edgar Rice Burroughs’ entire Tarzan and John Carter of Mars book series abruptly appeared in mall bookstores all across the country. So did E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman and Skylark series along with what Robert E. Howard and every other author under the sun wrote about Conan the Barbarian.
Warning: Some Adult Content
Okay, so DC has published its first issue of Batman Damned under its DC Black Label imprint, and boy is it adult. You actually get to see Bruce Wayne nude, not just from the back but the front. I’m posting an image below as proof, plus I archived two news sources just in case they get “poofed” for their content later on. Actually, that didn’t work, because the archived version doesn’t display the “adult” images.
Here’s a milder version at my archived version of the Popbuzz story, and the non-archived Screenrant missive.
Now here’s the image I captured.
Terry stood overlooking the skate park. He spent too much time here and not enough in school, at least that’s what his Dad used to tell him. Should he take the old man’s offer? Sure, the old man needed Terry but did Terry need him?
He needed something. Dad was murdered. Terry had the evidence. He found it hidden at Dad’s after he died, but he’d need help using it to put Dad’s killers away. The old man had been doing this for decades, putting murderers behind bars with his fists and his brains. Terry could fight, but he wasn’t trained. Plus there was a reason the old man was called the world’s greatest detective.
Terry McGinnis looked out over the vast expanse of Gotham City. Wayne was too old to protect it anymore. He needed help. He asked the seventeen-year-old if he wanted to make a difference, a real difference.
“I’ll do it. I’ll tell Wayne ‘yes’. I’ll become the new Batman.”
I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of July 11, 2017. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 to 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 162.
My tale is very loosely based on the WB animated TV series Batman Beyond (1999-2001). Bruce Wayne is now elderly and has retired from being The Batman, but crime in Gotham is worse than ever. A chance encounter with a teenager named Terry McGinnis and the subsequent murder of Terry’s father by a corrupt businessman leads to Wayne training Terry to be the new Batman.
When I saw the photo prompt, the first thing I thought of was that the young man in the foreground was staring out over the city trying to make the biggest decision of his life. The rest followed.
To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.
Yes I know, this is old. The animated film was released in 2010, but sometimes I don’t get around to watching things right away. Actually, I’m repurposing an old review I wrote for another blog. Time to let it out for a breath of fresh air.
This review is loaded with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this video yet and you want to preserve the mystery, don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.
OK, it was fabulous, and I don’t give out compliments lightly. The suspense in this tale had even me twisting in my seat. I was actually nervous about how it all would come out. Go figure.
Several major pieces of Batman comic book history are adapted for this story.
First, Jason Todd, the second Robin, being killed by the Joker. That happens right at the beginning and is the set up for everything else. Jason is beaten to a pulp with a crowbar, left for dead, and then, before Batman could get there, the place blows sky-high. No fake death. Batman gets to the site of the explosion less than a minute later and picks Jason’s broken body out of the rubble. He’s dead. No faking it.