Tag Archives: Gotham City

The Character of a City-Gotham Nights

Hello there, Legions of the Unspoken!  I hope you have enjoyed the debate I had with Paul O’Connor of Longbox Graveyard over 70’s vs. 90’s comic books, and I hope you come down strongly on my side that the 90’s are the best!

Seriously, though, we had a good-natured conversation about 90’s comics myths, 70’s comics, the differences between the two eras, and all sorts of cool stuff.  Take a listen here if you haven’t, or give it another one if you have!  The classics never get old, do they?

I sure hope not because today I’m taking a look at one of the all-time classics in superheroes, Batman!  We won’t be looking at him in the traditional sense, however.  We’ll be looking in particular at one of the most important supporting characters in the Batman mythos.

The supporting characters are almost what drives Batman.  If Batman’s rogue’s gallery are counted as supporting characters, then they’re almost certainly the most important element to Batman’s tapestry.  Even if we don’t count the Joker or Calendar Man, the supporting cast makes the Batman comic book come alive in ways many other comic books do not.  Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, Nightwing, Lucius Fox, Leslie Thompkins, and more bring out the “man” in Batman, and that’s good, because otherwise Batman would just be a weird rich dude who beat up the criminally insane and street level criminals.  Thanks to them, he is now a weird rich dude who beats up the criminally insane and street-level criminals  while having relationships with various folks.

The most important character in the Batman books, though, could possibly be Gotham City.  Gotham City gives a vibe few other locales, fictional or otherwise,  in comic books of any genre can match.  I think it may be the only location in comic books, especially superhero comic books, that can actually say it is a character (other than Danny the Street, of course).  Gotham City means as much to Batman as Batarangs, the Batwing, and Alfred’s snide comments.

I think we can all agree that the architecture in Gotham City reflects the environment that it is, but it is often people that determine the character of a city.  We speak differently about the people of New York City than we do the folks of Los Angeles.  In fact, we think of people within those cities as being vastly different!  Beverly Hills and Compton aren’t the same, and neither are Staten Island and Queens.  The people of Gotham City are a proud lot, but they are also a hard lot.  Their city reflects them, even as their hero reflects their city.  Gotham Nights was a 4-issue mini-series published by DC Comics in 1992 that attempted to show us Gothamites, and by doing so also showing us their city.

John Ostrander handles the writing chores, while Mary Mitchell and Bruce Patterson are on top of pencils/inks.  The book reads well, although it is not as good as some of Ostrander’s other works, such as Suicide Squad, Grimjack, Punisher, or Spectre, but it is a very solid read.  Of course, it is also important to note that Ostrander’s high marks are so high that is no surprise that some of his other works don’t measure up to them.  Even Justin Verlander can’t throw 100-MPH every pitch!  What he can do, though, and what Ostrander does here, is deliver a solid outing each time.

We get an enjoyable read that may not quite reach its potential, but I think some of that is due to space limitations.  If one is going to do a mini-series about the people of Gotham City in a way to bring the city to life in a new way to Batman fans, it seems like it would need to be longer than four issues.  The stories about the individuals are charming, but they feel rushed.  Just as we start to get to know the varied types of folks that comprise the human landscape of Gotham City, the series ends.

But for something to end, it must begin, yes?  This series starts with Batman chasing a mook.  Doesn’t it seem like all Batman titles are legally required to start that way?

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 2
That mook looks a bit more like he is doing the Batdance than he is running away from Batman. Remember Batdance? I don’t think anyone does except me.

The very start of the series has most of the action you’ll see from Batman in this story.  That doesn’t make it bad, but it does mean that if you are buying this because you wanted to see Batman swoop down on every mugger in every alley of  Gotham City then this book isn’t for you.  I think the covers sort of told someone that, but I can only imagine how ripped off someone might have felt if they got this on an impulse buy hoping to see Batman doing Batman stuff.

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 1
This is the cover that I think could have inspired the most of those regretful impulse buys.
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The first time I saw this cover, I thought it was Catwoman enticing some hapless mark. It isn’t, but that isn’t bad.
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All I can imagine when I see this is the idea that Batman is enforcing one of the vast array of anti-homeless ordinances that have sprung up across the United States. “It’s illegal to sleep on a park bench after dark, citizens! Let the Shadow of the Bat remind you!” Seriously, though, those laws are bunk.
Gotham Nights #4 - Page 1
The pastries and the gun make for a beautiful dichotomy.

The covers have a cool design, and I especially enjoy the bordering.  I feel like that alone sort of set these apart as “not your typical Batman book”, although with the first (and possibly the fourth) issue(s) I can see a casual fan picking it up and being disappointed that there isn’t more Batman in it.

But just because there isn’t more Batman doesn’t make this title a disappointment.  In fact, I’d say it is almost worth it for the great art of Gotham City alone.  Mary Mitchell and Bruce Patterson make the city come alive as a character in and of itself. Some of their work makes the buildings of Gotham seem like the night solidified  as they reach as high as they can into sky in an attempt to embrace their ethereal cousin…

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 5
That quote about Gotham being for giants sums up the way Gotham City has looked in nearly everything except the Batman ’66 TV show.
Gotham Nights #1 - Page 4
Man, is there anything one can’t quote Churchill about?
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With just that single train, Gotham City has better mass transit than Atlanta.
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Different parts of a city make a city’s personality so varied. I love that Gotham City is no different.  Of course, someone just out of the panel is bemoaning the lack of English being spoken, because, hey, Gotham City is no different.

The pages almost allow the city to breathe.  If it could breathe, you just know Gotham’s breath would be rank.  Thankfully, you don’t have to smell that, while you still get to enjoy the scenery.

Of course, as I stated earlier, cities become characters due to the folks than inhabit them.  While it seems like Gotham City is populated solely by guys who are part crocodile or have clocks for faces, most of the people in Gotham City are quite normal…some of them appallingly so.  Take Jimmy and Jennifer.  These two folks remind me of that non-couple we all know.  You know the one.  They obviously like each other, but neither do much of anything about it other than act in a flirtatious way toward one another that annoys all around them.  That having been said, they are nice people, even if Jennifer has little to no idea how to act in regard to talking about sexually transmitted diseases in public.

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Jennifer’s way-too-loud discussion about AIDS in public followed up by her assumption that Jimmy is gay due to his concern over AIDS and his never having made a pass at her sort of tells you what sort of lady she is.  Jimmy also seems to be judging her because she has sex and dates a lot, so you can tell what sort of person he is fairly quickly as well.  They are nice enough folks, but there is a bigger picture they aren’t getting.

You may not have noticed the doughnut lady who dealt with Jimmy’s ever-so-clever order.  That seems to be par for the course for her, as she is perpetually building her own world in her own head.  I don’t blame her; I spend a great deal of my time dreaming about what my life would be like if I won the lottery.  (Basically, it would be more or less the same but with more comic books, less work, and probably an Unspoken Decade magazine.  Maybe it will happen!  Keep dreaming, Legions!)

Her name is Rosemary Hayes, and she is something to behold in her dreams.  Aren’t we all?

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Man, she sure makes Wonder Woman fat in her dreams!  I love it!  Her character is a tragic one, whose loneliness reaches out and just grabs you through the page.  I feel so badly for her after this next page, when she wakes up and the reality of her dreams dissipates with ever beam of light that makes its way into her eyes.  We’ve all felt that way after a dream, right?

Gotham Nights #2 - Page 17
I have felt that too, Rosemary. It just ain’t fair.

Life, of course, isn’t fair to many folks, but it seems decidedly harsh on Joel and Emma, an older couple who have all sorts of problems, ranging from health to money.  Being broke is bad, but it is also tough to watch the world change around you when things are going poorly for you, especially as you get older.  That gets really tough if you recall when things were different, when you were younger, and when you could do something about it.  Things could not be going much more poorly for Emma and Joel, so Gotham, being the harsh mistress that it is, ups the ante just a little.

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 9 Gotham Nights #1 - Page 20They will support and care for one another as best they can through these issues, but at least they do have each other.  Dio is an ex-con on parole, who insists on pushing away anyone who is close, especially his pregnant wife.  He also has words with Batman, who says he’ll be keeping an eye on him.  I love that; it’s so small-town sheriff in a western, but it is also so Batman.  Those two genres don’t line up that neatly very often…

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 14 Gotham Nights #1 - Page 15

Gotham Nights #1 - Page 16

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Dio’s path in life hasn’t taken him anywhere awesome thus far, except maybe for his wife, Migdalia, but all he seems to do for her is to threaten to hit her and demand beer.  I am a big fan of beer, but I am not so much a fan of a violence against women.  He also appears to have a past as a high-end henchman, having worked for The Penguin.  I like that Batman has such a memory that he recalls this guy; Penguin must have stopped dressing his guys like he did in Batman ’66, where they’d have a hard time being told apart.

Dio’s tale is a sad one, and no tale in the book is devoid of heartbreak.  The question is is how will these people that comprise the great city of Gotham survive their personal tragedies?

Gotham Nights reminds us that each city, even the fictional ones, are full of people.  These people have dreams, hopes, fears, bouts of depression, hankerings for ice cream, and all of the various feelings that go together to make up human existence.  You’ll see these folks rise, fall, get up, stumble, sleep, eat, and engage in all sorts of activities just to keep their lives moving along.

Normally, I go through bit by bit and give you the story, but that seems a disservice to such a character-drive story as this one.  Instead, go out, find the book, and see yourself in these characters for yourself.  See yourself and your choices in a new light.  See yourself in Gotham Nights…and never forget one thing always remains constant in Gotham City…

Gotham Nights #4 - Page 23

Hope you had fun, Legions of the Unspoken!  Next week, Emily Scott brings you Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book, and Darry Weight takes a look at Cable. We’ll talk Rob Liefeld’s Avengers in an upcoming podcast, and Super-Blog Team Up returns on 4/21 with Top 10’s!  Hope to see you there for all of it, folks!

Two Wrongs Making a Right-SBTU-Punisher Meets Archie!

Hey, folks!  I hope you have enjoyed the last couple of weeks as Sparky Ryan brought you the history of the Marvel UK incursion into the states from the early 90’s.  I had a great time with some of those books back in the day, and his work was a great trip down memory lane, but now your good 90’s comics aficionado and pal Dean Compton is back, and I am back just in time for one of my favorite elements of this blog…THE SUPER BLOG TEAM UP!!!!!

If you weren’t around last time or haven’t had the chance to look at the Super Blog Team Up subpage here, the SBTU (I ain’t gonna keep typing that out folks; I ain’t getting paid by the word.  Hell, I ain’t getting paid at all!) is a quarterly gathering of sorts where many blogs publish on the same day about the same topic.  At the bottom of my random meanderings, make sure you click the links and take a gander at what all the great folks have shared in SBTU.  We all work really hard, and we all appreciate every view and comment we get.  Except for the ones from spammers.  It’s really sad how excited I will get when I get a notification for a comment, only to find it is poorly written spam imploring me to spend some money on something to filter out spam comments.  As an aside to this aside, I think I’d like spam comments better if their grammar was correct.

But I have digressed so far that one might believe this not to be a blog about comic books at all!  You’d be sorely mistaken!  As I was saying about SBTU, the concept is that all of these blogs look at the same subject on the same day.  This time, the subject is Team Up, Tear Down, and from the second I heard that, I could not help but think of the team up that never should have happened, but somehow tore down every preconceived notion one would have about this comic working or being good.  I am talking about the time comic book hell froze over.  I am talking about Punisher Meets Archie…

That's the most honest blurb in the history of comments; many, myself included, dreaded this one.
That’s the most honest blurb in the history of comments; many, myself included, dreaded this one.

The dread was punctuated with the entire “why are they doing this?/oh my god, they’re ruining everything/they don’t know what they’re doing” mentality that seems to permeate every fanboy’s good sense at some point.  This time, though, our cynical malaise seemed justified (to the max, as we would say in the 90’s) because how could this be readable, let alone good?  I mean, it’s Punisher Meets Archie, for Christ’s sake!

The answer to the question of how could it be readable or good can be found on the  credits page:

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 3

Indeed, that is the fine talent of the late John Buscema and the late Stan Goldberg combined with one of the best inkers of all time, Tom Palmer, to bring you this tale.  You see, the first element of this endeavor that would have doomed it to disaster, would have been seeing the character drawn in a style dichotomous to what we usually see with them.  Punisher in the Archie style would have made all the Punisher fans angrier than Hulk driving a compact car while he is stuck in rush hour traffic.  Now try getting that image out of your head!

Conversely, seeing Archie done up all grim and gritty would have made Archie fans feel angry and betrayed as well.  I’d come with some metaphor or simile for the anger of Archie fans, but based on their choice of comic fare, I am unsure that they get angry.  I mean, nothing in that world can’t be solved with just a waltz down to the choklit shop, right?

So that solved one problem, but the elephant in the room would have to be how one would mesh such strikingly disparate worlds without compromising the integrity of either, or in Punisher’s case, without compromising what was left of the integrity of an emotionless and psychopathic mass murderer who was being used as a guest in seemingly every book at Marvel to increase sales.  We talked about his ubiquity here at The Unspoken Decade when we covered Darkhawk.  I mean, who could possibly bridge this chasm?

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According to both of the publishers involved, enter Batton Lash:

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If they had gone with the whole metal detectors story that Victor mentions, it would have been a debacle on the level of the Segway, a vehicle that PEOPLE STILL RIDE.

Batton Lash concocted a premise that would work for both universes, and the only caveat that any Punisher fan might have a quarrel with is the fact that Punisher is working with the feds in order to bring in our villain, and he has agreed to bring this quarry in alive.

Being the gigantic Punisher fan I am, I understand their point.  Frank Castle ain’t known for playing nice with the feds.  It’s basically the real world equivalent of teaming up Kruschev and Kennedy.  That’s something that just won’t and should not work; however, if one thinks about it, Punisher is always compromising.  I have seen numerous Punisher team-ups with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Captain America where Castle agrees not to kill anyone (one example being The Omega Effect).  I think too often, folks think Punisher=murderer, and while yes, he is indeed a serial killer, what one should really think is Punisher=Force of Nature.  While Punisher would greatly prefer to murder his adversaries, it is much more important for him to achieve his goals.  This means making temporary alliances, such as the ones I named earlier (or even the times he makes temporary alliances with criminals, such as in Punisher:  P.O.V. ) in order to get done whatever it is that Punisher needs to get done at that time.  That’s what makes him a force of nature to me; he allows nothing, not even compromise, to stop his forward progress.

So to me, this isn’t a big deal, although again, I get why some Punisher fans cannot sign off on it.

The twist of the story, though, is almost 100% an Archie gag, and man, it is a good one.

No character in an Archie comic book has ever looked sleazier, and that's saying something because REGGIE MANTLE is an Archie character.
No character in an Archie comic book has ever looked sleazier, and that’s saying something because REGGIE MANTLE is an Archie character.

So Punisher heads for Riverdale in search of the mookiest doppelgänger in the history of mooks, doppelgänger, and mooky doppelgängers.  Of course, this leads to trouble due to our mook’s resemblance to Archie.  Also, call Guinness and let them know I just set the record for more uses of mook in a paragraph.

Are these the first crosshairs in the history of Archie?
Are these the first crosshairs in the history of Archie?

Could it really end this quickly?  Nope.  This is a crossover folks, and you don’t need ‘ol Dean Compton to let you know that crossovers can’t end this fast, especially not when there are 48 PAGES!  NO ADS!  to fill!  So in what is the biggest swerve since Vince Russo ran WCW (WARNING: WRESTLING JOKE), Archie was only shot by a water gun.  In true Archie fashion, though, this instance leads him into a disagreement with Veronica!

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What does Archie mean about his costume being ridiculous? Isn’t that what he always wears?

So, in true Archie fashion, having already asked one of the ladies out, Archie goes with his second choice, Betty.

I feel really badly for Betty here; who likes being second best?  Betty is a pretty lady; she’s nice, she’s funny, and she’s smart.  Why does she just wait for Archie to call her AFTER he has ruined his chances with Veronica?  Betty should play second fiddle to no one, and neither should anyone reading this.  Learn from Betty, folks!

Punisher in the meantime, heads for Riverdale, very unaware of it and very prepared for it to be a cesspool.  Even his super genius partner, Microchip, apparently has never heard of Riverdale, despite it being a suburb of New York and how, with a name like Microchip, he is required to know EVERYTHING.  That’s one of the few things I learned from 80’s movies.

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Of course, it takes little time for Archie’s doppelgänger to insert himself into Archie’s circle in Riverdale, and of course, what would an Archie comic be without Veronica (or possibly Betty) making Archie jealous via the most emotionally devastating weapon in the history of mankind:

THE DATE WITH ANOTHER GUY!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 14

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 15
How did Mr. Lodge and Veronica miss Melvin’s act of child abuse that occurred right in front of them?

Emily and I often watch this show, American Greed, on CNBC that focuses on how folks scam rich people, and we both find it shocking how easy rich folks get scammed.  Like, it seems that the only thing required to scam a rich person is to know one and to then ask them for money.

Mr. Lodge is no exception, as it seems that Melvin just SHOWS UP and tells him of his business exploits, and Lodge cannot unlock all of his safes and vaults fast enough.  Also, doesn’t it seem like acquiring a business would be small potatoes to Mr. Lodge?

Speaking of safes and vaults, wouldn’t you like to see Uncle Scrooge and Mr. Lodge have a crossover?  I have seen Mr. Lodge do regular swimming in one of those old timey swimsuits that are always hilarious, but I bet he could swim though coins just like Uncle Scrooge.

BAM!  There’s the premise!  They can have a coin swimming race.  You.  Yes, you.  Call Archie and Disney and let them know about my idea and tell them to GET IT BOOKED.

Still, fun times are happening, at least until Punisher shows up and has the emo Punisher moment he always has that we all love him for. It is the one shred of humanity that makes us feel compassion for everyone’s favorite skull-chested psychopath…

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Punisher’s last shred of humanity causes him to pass over a malt, which would have led him to those guys in the corner, something I believe would cause even Riverdale denizens to take notice.  Alas, Pop’s dedication to the dollar and fear of government overrides his sense of danger, and those shadow punks take Archie, who is apparently upset that his second choice for a date dared not to wait for him to see if he called her.  Well, Archie is about to have bigger troubles anyhow.

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Archie’s patriotism is not be questioned, but neither is Jughead’s insatiable power to mooch.

I wonder what Pops is hiding that he doesn’t want to be audited.  Maybe Riverdale ain’t so squeaky clean after all!

While Archie’s life is in danger, the faux Archie shows up at the dance with Veronica.  He quickly shows the biggest difference between him and Archie is that he’s such a giant dick that perennial dick Reggie Mantle is put off by him.  If Reggie Mantle thinks you’re a creep, you must be a creep on a galaxy level.  Or at the very least, the type of person Punisher likes to kill catch for the feds.

Reggies smile as he puts his arm on Melvin always makes me smile.  It is the best creepy smile in the history of comics, and if you disagree, you can start your own blog and talk about it.
Reggie’s smile as he puts his arm on Melvin always makes me smile. It is the best creepy smile in the history of comics, and if you disagree, you can start your own blog and talk about it.

Man, Betty is awesome.  She’s the only one who wonders where Archie is and what’s going on.  Archie is making our crossover complete, as Punisher follows the criminals who kidnapped him.  Get ready Archie, because you are about to meet The Punisher.

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Yes, Archie, The Punisher.

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That may be the image that makes the book.  Also, Punisher would probably have had an easier time differentiating Melvin and Archie if he had, you know, OPENED HIS EYES.

Of course, no matter how ominous that panel may look, Punisher at some point decides that pointing a gun is just a smidge safer if one opens their eyes, and he realizes that Archie is not his prey.

Archie manages to get away with an assist from his pal Jughead, which I love.  In the face of imminent death, Jughead and Archie are best friends, and he finds a way to help his pal.  We’d all like to be that person; perhaps you can find the Jughead in you.  I have done so via massive consumption of fast food.  You’ll have to find your own path, however.

For real though, this is an incident that exemplifies what I spoke of when I sad that Batton Lash showed us these characters together without violating the integrity of either set of characters, and this little bit with Jughead helping Archie speaks volumes to that.

Archie does exactly what America’s favorite whitebread teen would do, or also what most sane folks would do, and that is telling the cops that Punisher is loose in Riverdale and that some mob guys have kidnapped him.

Hopefully, you have not been as big an idiot as Mr. Andrews has when he has called the police in the past.

I am not sure that Archie blew that undercover cop's cover so much as the uniformed cop did when he informed the entire world that this guy wasn't a spy, but rather he was an undercover cop.
I am not sure that Archie blew that guy’s cover so much as the uniformed cop did when he informed the entire world that he was an undercover cop, not a spy.

Why are Archie and Jughead winking like they got over on the cops?  I mean, not only are the cops obviously not going to help, but you asked them for help.  You didn’t fool anyone.

I do enjoy the touch here where Archie’s concern is for his parents, not himself.  Again, Lash shows us Archie’s character simply and naturally.

Also, that is the worst undercover cop ever.  He looks like every stranger I was warned about in elementary school, and he would fool no one into believing he is not with the fuzz.

Of course, once we see Punisher interact with Riverdale’s finest, we see that maybe they don’t know much about policing, possibly because they have no crime.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 29 Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 30

Riverdale cops don’t put up with anything.  They hadn’t even run the tags and they were already demanding that Microchip get out of the van!  Where’s Occupy Riverdale to deal with this?

Archie goes to the dance where his doppelgänger is, and that’s when we see some gunplay and some great infiltration skill displayed by Punisher.   Also, Archie and his pals are sharp, except for Jughead, who has more courage than brains, it seems.

Do they really need Reggie to warn Veronica?  Wouldn't that really just take one of them?
Do they really need Reggie to warn Veronica? Wouldn’t that really just take one of them?

Punisher gets emo again during his infiltration of the school, and he also stumbles upon the reason that Betty tolerates so much from Archie.  Graffiti.

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The way he is looking at that sign, I feel as though Punisher would murder a litterbug to maintain Riverdale’s innocence.

Melvin proves he is not Archie in another way, but the really fun thing is the little Easter Eggs stuck in everywhere.  One of my favorites is a conversation between Katy Keene and Millie the Model!

But let’s not make light of Veronica sticking up for herself, or the cluelessness of Mr. Weatherbee.  How can folks really confuse this guy for Archie once they are up close?

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Mr. Weatherbee’s response to being physically accosted is to make sure his tie is cool. That seems appropriate.

Punisher’s infiltration works like a charm, maybe too charming, as Miss Grundy basically offers to marry Frank Castle on the spot, while Flutesnoot gives Castle the cover he needs to continue to monitor this dance, as Riverdale High is expecting a new gym teacher.

Also, the caterers now have guns and are after Melvin, but you’ll have to read that to find out how that happens; I can’t give it all to you, folks!

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Mr. Weatherbee know that if the food ain’t out for the guests, a party will die.

Miss Grundy knows what she wants when she sees it!  You have got to like that!  Miss Grundy is also a woman who would never let you down and definitely carry her fair share in a relationship (probably more, as my beloved Emily does.  Check out some of her work under the Archives!)

Oh Moose, you want to help so badly.

Punisher and Archie finally find themselves able to sort out their identity crisis, and they pool their resources, which leads to what s, in my mind, the funniest moment in the book.  Archie’s War Journal.  To think of it is to chuckle, but to read it is to laugh until one’s ribs ache.

Jughead apparently managed to pay off his tab, as he is waving that hamburger around like that drunk guy at 4th of July parties does.  You know the one.
Jughead apparently managed to pay off his tab, as he is waving that hamburger around like that drunk guy at 4th of July parties does. You know the one.

There’s lots more, but if I keep going, I am just going to wind up ruining the entire book for you!  The last image I shall leave you with is one of the best Easter Eggs in the book, that being the Spider-Man/Shield crossover!

Note that I said Shield, and not S.H.I.E.L.D.  Shield, for anyone who doesn’t know, is an old patriotic Archie character, and I believe he is the first patriotic superhero, predating even Marvel’s Sentinel Of Liberty, Captain America himself!  At this point of the 90’s Shield had been in limbo since the end of DC’s Impact Comics line (which we will definitely be covering here at The Unspoken Decade and soon!).  I don’t known when the next time after Archie Meets Punisher we would see him, but I do know it would be a while.  We also have Sonic the Hedgehog, which Archie licensed and published.  If memory serves, it was quite successful for quite some time, and it had appeal to multiple markets, as kids like my cousin would buy it, even though they did not care for comic books in general, because it had Sonic, Tails, and all the characters from that universe in it.

It only happens in balloon form, but it happens, kids.  It totally happens.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 45

To find out how Archie, Punisher, and the gang save the day, you’ll just have to read the rest yourself.  Normally I have no qualms about spoiling comic books published twenty years ago, but in this case, I don’t want to reveal all of the magic.

There’s a true art to combining franchises that is usually done in a heavy-handed manner and appears clumsy.  Take a gander at the first Aliens vs. Predator movie if you need to reminded.  Actually, don’t.  I don’t want to ruin movies forever for you.

In this case, the amalgamation of the Archie/Punisher universes is done so effortlessly that one almost instinctively knows that this was a lot of hard work, as nothing so slick could ever be easy.  Lash, Goldberg, J. Buscema, and Palmer are to be commended over and over for taking these two wrongs and making them into something right.

I also cannot help but believe that this was the genesis for Archie publications like the Afterlife with Archie zombie stories or the recent death of Archie in Life with Archie.  Hell, without this comic book, we might not even have had the adult Archie stories in Life With Archie that preceded his demise.

I think this is the first time in a long time that Archie Comics stretched what an Archie comic could be, and while it may not have paid immediate dividends, it did impact the line in the future.  For Punisher, not so much, as he dove right into another crossover right after this one.  In fact, despite my saying that was the last image earlier, here’s one more.  Check out the rest of the Super Blog Team Up at the links under the pic, and thanks for dropping by the Unspoken Decade!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 50

Super Blog Team-Up 4:  Team Up, Tear Down

  1. Bronze Age Babies:  FF/Doom, Red Skull/Cap, Joker/Batman
  2. In My Not So Humble Opinion:  Solomon Kane and Conan!
  3. Between the Pages:  World’s Finest Couple: Lois Lane/Bruce Wayne
  4. Flodo’s Page:  Green Lantern and the Little Green Man
  5. Superhero Satellite:  Superman & The Masters of the Universe 
  6. Longbox Graveyard:  Thing/Thing
  7. Superior Spider-Talk:  Spider-Man and the Coming of Razorback
  8. The Daily Rios:  New Teen Titans/DNAgents
  9. The Middle Spaces:  Super-Hegemonic Team-Up! 
  10. Chasing Amazing:  A Once in a Timeline Team-Up
  11. Retroist:  Dr. Doom/Dr. Strange
  12. Fantastiverse:  Superman/Spider-Man
  13. Mystery V-Log-Avengers #1