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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #179

This is the one-hundred and seventy-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and seventy-eight.

This week, we have a rather oblique theme going – “Almost, but not quite, related to Batman”

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Marlon Wayans was paid to not be Robin in Batman Returns and Batman Forever

STATUS: True

I’m sure a few people thought of this as well when I did the recent entry on how Billy Dee Williams was paid NOT to be Two-Face in Batman Returns and Batman Forever, but reader BAT actually put it into a comment.

wasn’t Marlon Wayans also paid NOT to play Robin in Batman Returns?

And the answer is yes, the young 19 year old actor, not even yet appearing on In Living Color, was hired to play Robin in Batman Returns, and when that did not work out, was retained for Batman Forever, but, just like Williams, when the new director came on to the project, he wanted nothing to do with Tim Burton’s original plans, so Wayans was paid NOT to be in the film.

In a 1998 interview at the Onion’s AV Club, Wayans gave the following details…

The Onion: What was your involvement with Batman Returns?

Marlon Wayans: I got paid for almost being Robin. Actually, I was Robin: They paid me, and then they decided they wanted somebody else. I was like, “Hey, as long as the check clears, baby.”

O: Did they make that decision during test screenings?

MW: No, this was way after that. I got the role, and I was supposed to do the second one. I got my wardrobe fitted and everything, and what happened was that there were too many characters, and they felt Robin wouldn’t be of service. So they put me in the third one, and when the third one came around, they got a new director on it [Joel Schumacher replaced Tim Burton], and their vision of the project changed. They decided they wanted somebody white to play Robin

There’s a neat site out there that details Burton’s various plans for Batman Forever (the film was mostly in the planning stages when Burton left the project), and they have a link to David Walker’s original script for Batman Returns, and it features a number of scenes for Wayans, who was to be called “The Kid” throughout most of the movie, until towards the end….

Batman squeals his Ski-boat to a stop and vaults off it.
The Kid rushes up and flips him the pinwheel object.

THE KID
Guess I won’t be needing to borrow
the descrambler anymore. At least
not for a while…We save the city
or what?

BATMAN
Getting there. I owe you two.
Got a name?

THE KID
Yeah…..but I like to be
called…Robin…

BATMAN
Nice name…Oh Robin…

When Batman turns back around, the Kid, ROBIN, is gone.
Batman smiles at the utilization of one of his own traits.
Losing the smile, Batman fires up a grapple to a high
echelon of rollercoaster track. He swooshes upward.

So there ya go!

Amusingly enough (well, to me, at least), Wayans’ outfit as Ripcord in the GI Joe movie seems sorta like a Batman Forever-like costume!

Thanks to BAT for the question, the Burton site for the script link and Nathan Rabin, Marlon Wayans and the Onion AV Club for the information!

COMIC LEGEND: A Batman-like character named the Black Bat debuted practically simultaneously with Batman

STATUS: True

Reader Paul Blanshard wrote in to discuss the Black Bat, although, to be honest, while I don’t recall if he did, it sure sounds like the sort of thing John McDonagh might have written me about in the past, too.

In addition, Greg Hatcher covered the Black Bat a few years back in one of his columns, however, Greg makes an interesting note when he says:

The star of the pulp magazine Black Book Detective, the Black Bat, probably was on Bat-writer Bill Finger’s mind and he HAD to’ve been on Bat-artist Bob Kane’s. At least in terms of Bruce Wayne’s fashion sense.

“HAD to’ve been” is a bit of a stretch, considering Detective Comics #27 almost certainly debuted BEFORE the Black Bat’s first appearance in Black Book Detective.

Or rather, the Black Bat that would have been an influence upon Batman.

The first Black Bat appeared in pulp novels in the early 1930s, in a short lived pulp magazine series called Black Bat Detective Mysteries. In these stories, the Black Bat was a typical pulp hero – just a standard detective who was nicknamed the Black Bat.

There were some occasional drawings mixed in of stylized Black Bats, but really, it’s doubtful that this guy influenced Kane, as A. It wasn’t a hit and B. It mostly just featured a regular detective – no costume or anything like that.

That series didn’t last long, but in the pages of Black Book Detective (a series that began in the early 1930s), in July 1939, the Black Bat debuted.

The Black Bat was a former District Attorney who was blinded and scarred by acid from a bad guy (hmmm…where have we heard that before?) and dressed up as, well, the Black Bat.

The Black Bat was so popular that the Black Book Detective lasted into the 1950s, far past almost every other pulp magazine (which generally all petered out after World War II).

So yeah, there are definitely similarities, but it is almost certainly a coincidence. Neither guy is exactly coming up with brilliantly original ideas here – they’re both more or less Shadow knockoffs.

However, the two companies (National Comics and Thrilling Publications) felt that they other company had ripped them off, and they threatened lawsuits back and forth until ultimately, Whitney Ellsworth (who was an editor at Naitonal but had worked at Thrilling in the past) came up with a settlement between the companies.

The Black Bat is currently appearing in Germany in new pulp-like stories.

Batman, by the by, DID, in fact, steal one thing from the Black Bat (two if we count Two-Face’s origin) – the Black Bat often (but not always, oddly enough) wore these cool gloves on the covers, and Bill Finger recommended to Kane that they incorporate them into Batman’s costume, and the gloves with the little jagged edges at the end have been a staple of the Batman outfit ever since.

In one last amusing twist, both Batman and the Black Bat debuted well into the run of their respective comics (Batman in issue #27 of Detective Comics and the Black Bat in about the 33rd issue of Black Book Detective), and the first issue covers for both magazines featured fairly offensive Asian villains!

Funny, eh?

In any event, thanks to Paul for the idea!

And a nod to Greg for featuring the Black Bat in his column a couple of years back.

Here‘s a cool gallery of Black Book Detective covers!

COMIC LEGEND: Steve Englehart had to change the Shroud’s origins to make him less like Batman

STATUS: False

Reader Ken wrote in to suggest:

This comes from (I’m pretty sure) an old interview Jim Shooter gave to the Comics Journal. He bacame an editor at Marvel around the time that they were publishing Super Villian Team-Up, which introduced the Shroud, written and created by Englehart. And, as recounted in SVTU #5 his origin is very familiar. It is, in fact, Batman’s exact origin. Shooter pointed this out to Englehart, who said something like “I know” or “exactly”. Anyway, Shooter considered that plagiarism, and they had to scramble to change the origin enough to differentiate him from Batman.

Thing is, I read this several years ago, and can’t find the mention of this story anywhere (I think it was in a very old issue of the Journal, that I read in a library). So I would like to know if Englehart intended to, essentially, create Batman within the Marvel Universe, and that Shooter (or anyone else) at first missed his intentions, then worked to undo them.

So I went to the man himself, Steve Englehart, and this is what he had to say:

Not at all. First, nobody “forced” me to do anything back in those days. The origin was exactly what I wanted it to be – a mash-up of the Batman and the Shadow, because I thought I would never do the real Batman. So the similarities were intentional, and non-controversial.

I wonder how that rumor even got started.

Of course, the funny twist was that Super Villain Team-Up was in 1975, and by 1977, Englehart was writing the real thing, in his acclaimed run on Detective Comics with the late, great Marshall Rogers.

Thanks to Ken for the suggestion and thanks so much to Steve Englehart for the answer! Be sure to check out Steve’s website, steveenglehart.com!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

74 Comments

Wow… Having problems with Marlon Wayans playing Robin… Sean, or Damon okay… but Marlon??? Though he does seem to have fillied out a bit to play Ripcord…

Great story about the Marlon Wayans-Robin issue. I think everybody has heard this in same shape or form but never the whole story!

At one point after the first Burton Batman, I remember hearing that either Michael J. Fox or Michael Jackson(!) would be playing Robin. This is the first I’ve heard about Wayans.

I’ll pay Wayans to not be in G.I. Joe. Too late to pass the collection plate?

Never thought I’d say this, but thank God they switched directors after Batman Returns.

Wow. Marlon Wayans almost got to be the only actor ever to play both Robin and Snails.

I fondly remember that run of Super-Villain Team-Up and the Shroud’s obvious similarities to Batman. To me, however, he was even more similar to Moon Knight, who came a year before. His personality, eastern mysticism ties and the “big cloak look” all contributed to the Moon Knight feel of the character.

Of course, take into account his blindness, enhanced senses and shadow powers, and you can argueably suggest The Shroud is a mix of Batman, Moon Knight, Daredevil and Cloak. Maybe even Iron Fist if you want to stretch it a bit.

Thank god they switched directors? Did you actually SEE Schumacher’s two steaming dungheaps?

Wayans couldn’t have been any worse than Chris O’Donnel, but he couldn’t have been any better, either.

Mommies of America kill ruin another franchise… figures. Nothing is worse than hysterical yuppie moms!

Paul, you could add Doctor Midnite into the mix as well – Darkness bombs, blindness, black cloak and hood…

Well at least Schumacher bombing out royally eventually led to Nolan finally doing it right!

Dude, if Burton could make Michael Keaton into Batman, he might just have been able to pull off Marlon as Robin.

The problem(s) with Schumacher’s movies had nothing to do with the actors. As least with a Wayans in the cast, we might’ve been able to rationalize it as a lame send-up of the real thing.

I don’t think Moon Knight had any eastern mysticism ties until after the shroud debuted. His first appearance was as a mercenary, and then his Marvel Spotlight solos introduced the multiple secret identity angle (a Shadow gimmick, albeit without the multiple personality disorder aspect added to Moon Knight later). The Mysticism wasn’t added until either the Hulk run, or Moon Knight’s own series.

One of my favorite Marvel magazines, though is the issue of Marvel Preview that had both Moon Knight by Moench and Sienkiewicz and Shroud by Gruenwald, Grant and Ditko in it.

Marlon Wayans as “Ripcord”… Anyone know if the character is kind of based on the Joe named Stalker, but with a changed name because of the newer meaning for the word “stalker”?

We can’t forget the most famous Robin, he being Burt Ward of course. You can laugh all you want at his goofiness and how he looked in his little green shorts, but how many are aware Burt was chosen because of his athleticism and all-around toughness.

Ward was a high school wrestling, football and track star as well as a professional figure skater and a black belt in Karate. Ward was chosen due to his staged fighting skills, and unlike Adam West, he would perform his own stunt work. The skimpy Robin costume made it difficult to get a stunt man who both resembled an actor as well as his body shape, therefore the athletic 20 year old Ward was a perfect fit, beating out his competition for the job, child actor Peter Deyell.

Nobody here ever watched “Requiem for a Dream”?

Marlon Wayans is one of the finest actors of his generation. It´s a shame he doesn´t get the opportunity to show this more often.

Spoiler Warning! The “most unexpected guest star of all!” referenced on the cover of Super Villian Team-Up #6…

…Turned out to be Henry Kissinger, who negotiated a treaty between the US and Latveria, forcing the FF off of Dr. Doom’s turf. Yeah, that was pretty unexpected.

There was an existing GI Joe named Ripcord:

http://www.yojoe.com/filecard/84/ripcord.shtml

I don’t remember anything about his personality or anything. Stalker was really big in the comic and he was one of my favorites back in the day.

After reading comics as long as we all have, it’s easy to look at any of the new characters debutting and point to their Gold or Silver Age forebears….whether intentional or not.

In the 1970 Steranko History of Comics (recommended reading for all), The Black Bat of the pulps is mentioned as the possible inspriration for Kane & Finger’s Batman. Included is a full-page illo of the Black bat.

Great article as usual, Brian!

>I fondly remember that run of Super-Villain Team-Up and the Shroud’s obvious similarities to Batman. To me, however, he was even more similar to Moon Knight, who came a year before. His personality, eastern mysticism ties and the “big cloak look” all contributed to the Moon Knight feel of the character.

Moon Knight was not then (nor now) tied to “eastern mysticism,” although he was tied to Egyptian mysticism a few years later.

The Shroud’s eastern mysticism background has more in common with the Shadow than any of the heroes you suggested.

I know about the existing Ripcord, but he’s not a major character who should be a big part of the movie. But the early stuff about the film seems to call Ripcord Duke’s right hand guy. That description seems to fit Stalker better and, yes, I’m also considering the fact that he’s black. Also, Stalker was one of the biggest characters in the comics. Just seems like the only reasom I can figure they’d pick Ripcord of all characters.

Hey, Kissinger fits right in in a book about super-villians. That monster’s body count puts the Red Skull and Doctor Doom to shame…

GIJoe’s Ripcord was a fairly significant character in the comic for a period in the 30’s and 40’s. He didn’t really have much of a specific personality, but he met a woman who dressed as a bear to perform at birthday parties, and they dated briefly, but her dad was a high mucketymuck scientist in Cobra. Later Ripcord went to Cobra Island to try to find her, and Zartan switched places with him leading to WHY DO I KNOW ALL THIS STUFF

I remember (at least I think I do) a time during the 80s when Doug Moench (spelling?) was writing Batman and Moon Knight at the same time. He played up the similarities and differences well.

>>Moon Knight was not then (nor now) tied to “eastern mysticism,”

You are, in a literal sense, correct. The “Ancient Egyption” religion, a form of paganism, once again practiced by the followers of Kemetism and Afrocentris Egyptology, has been erroniously referred as, but has never been, an official “Eastern Religion”.

Modern Egyptionions are predominatly Muslim, the follows of Islam. Although originating from the Middle-East, Islam is considered a Western Religion.

I heard that there were refences to Zorro in some Batman comics before Frank Miller had the mark of zorro be the movie the waynes see the night of their murder in the flashback sequence in Dark Knight Returns. I think this would be a good legend to look into because I’ve heard some who have said it’s true and others who have said it’s false but with no real final evidence for either.

References to Zorro….you mean other than secret ID as wealthy playboy/heroic id as dark avenger of the night with his headquarters in a cave under his mansion?

LIke was there any out and out bruce being mentioned to being inspired by zorro.

Paul – It’s more likely that Cloak was influenced by the Shroud rather than the other way round, as he and Dagger debuted about five-six years later.

Hey ho,
Great as always Brian. The Urban Legends were what led me here in the first place and I’ve been coming here every day since. Hows this one, not exactly a legend but something thats been bugging me for a while (only slightly you understand, I have a job and a kid too!)
What was the deal DC did with the Charlton characters in the 80’s? How come all of said characters, as of Infinite Crisis/52 are now dead and/or replaced? It seemed to happen to a lot of them in quite a short space of time (the Question dead &replaced , Ted Kord dead & replaced by basically a totally new character with the same name, Captain Atom to Wildstorm, then back again as a different character etc.). Did DC only have the rights to those characters for a limited period? Do they own the trademark but not the copyright or something like that ala Quality (I read somewhere, probably here, Quality’s stuff is in the public domain but DCs interpretations of their characters aren’t)
I even remember reading, again probably here, that Breach was intended as a ‘hard reboot’ of Captain Atom, similar character concept with a different name, costume etc. Why would they do that rather than just use the existing character?
And whats the deal with my personal favourite, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt? How come his rights reverted back to Pete Morisi’s estate? Why didn’t any of the other rights revert to Ditko, Frank McLaughlin etc.
Seems prety strange that after 20 years as a solid line-up of B-list heroes, not one of the Charlton Action Heroes hasn’t been replaced, killed off or turned into a different character. Unless Nightshade is still the original Nightshade and then that throws the whole thing off!
Give it a thought anyhow.

Marlon Wayans? I heard Chris Rock was up for Batman Forever, maybe I heard wrong. Marlon Wayan’s though. I hadn’t heard that one. He’d make a great sidekick if there he was named ‘Hyper-active’ perhaps.

Re: SVTU #6- did Kissinger then teach Dr. Doom an important lesson about the true meaning of love? Because that would have been AWESOME.

SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP : Special Guest Star – Henry Kissinger! Nowadays, that’d be front-page news.

As to the Charlton Heroes dying, being replaced … sounds like someone’s killing masks.

Hurm …

So, what is the origin of the Shroud, what is his similar to Batman backstory?

Felipe. He was in Little Man! He played an evil midget who dressed up like a baby. I’ll repeat:
Evil midget…dressed like a baby.

Unless you’re being sarcastic.

Man, that could have been pretty great, but we’ll never know.

It’s a shame Joel Schumacher more or less guarnateed none of the characters featured in his films and not Burton’s will probably never appear in the newer Batman films.

It was nice knowing you, Mr. Freeze. :(

PaulBlanshard80

November 1, 2008 at 4:24 am

So, what is the origin of the Shroud, what is his similar to Batman backstory?

10-year old Maximilian Quincy Coleridge was orphaned when his parents were gunned down before his eyes in a hold-up. Embittered, the youth decided to dedicate his life to fighting crime. Entering college, he studied law and criminology and began a rugged regimen of exercise to build his body to its peak of physical potential. Upon graduation, he traveled to Nepal to the temple of the Cult of Kali to study their martial arts and mystical disciplines. For seven years he studied among them until his masters believed he had learned all he could. He was then prepared to receive the ceremonial “Kiss of Kali” from a branding iron whose imprint was in the shape of the goddess Kali. The man screamed when the branding iron was pressed against his eyes, cheeks, and forehead. Believing his masters to have betrayed him, he stumbled out of the temple to bury his scarred face in the snow. When he recovered from the shock and pain, he discovered that his eyesight had been replaced by a mystical extrasensory perception. Inexplicably, he was unable to perceive the temple anymore, so he made his way back to civilization and America, where he adopted the identity of the Shroud.

Ah well, the Shrould is so obviously derivative in his origin (mugger killed parents), it was at least interesting to note that one bit of his origin seemed homaged later on.

http://random-happenstance.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-dcs-lawy ers-missed-this-i-have-no.html

Interestingly, when the Shroud debuted, Bruce Wayne’s trip to Tibet was not a part of his origin. It was not added till the late 1980’s, so far as I know. Of course, the Shadow’s Oriental scholarship was already long established.

In an article for Comics Scene, David Goyer noted that he wrote a screenplay for Doctor Strange in the 1990’s. He noted that he wanted to follow the origin storyline-a selfish, acquisitive man gets redeemed when going to Tibet and studying under a mystic. Then The Shadow came out in 1994 which features a similar origin. So he rewrote his Doctor Strange screenplay to not focus on Tibet. However, Goyer felt no compunctions about including Tibet in Batman Begins. Goyer stated this in Comics Scene #49.

Tibet and or the Himalyas or Himalayan Mountains have played parts in the history of the Cold People, Lizard Men, Blazing Skull, Vision, Thin Man, Dr. Strange, Dr. Druid, Doctor Doom, the Aged Ghenghis, the Ancient One, and the Undying Ones. Fu Manchu trained in Tatsienlu, Tibet. Minya Konka Mountain saw the site of the Rache Churan, the Monastery of Fear. There he learned martial arts, botany, medicine, and hypnotism. Thugben Sung runs the monastery now.

http://byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=24296&PN=0&TPN=1

good one this week. i think Marlon would have been a decent Robin. plus his Super Bad James Dynamite comic book was just about the best humor comic I’ve read in this decade so that gives him extra comic street cred.

Cei-U! said:

At one point after the first Burton Batman, I remember hearing that either Michael J. Fox or Michael Jackson(!) would be playing Robin. This is the first I’ve heard about Wayans.

I don’t know about Michael J. Fox, but Michael Jackson apparently approached Schumacher about the Riddler role in Batman Forever after the director decided not to use Micky Dolenz, whom Burton had cast.

Way back in the day WB had leaked a rumor that Eddie Murphy was supposed to be Robin.

Ah yes, Marlon Wayans aka the absolutely worst thing about the Dungeons And Dragons movie – his comedy sidekick character had you cheering when the villain’s top minion killed him, but he couldn’t even do that right. A blatant rewrite ending had him magically brought back to life (off screen), and all the “heroes” are whisked off to be reunited with him… oh please spare me.

As far as the rest of the actor’s work is concerned, I can’t comment, not being aware of having seen anything else he’s done. The Snails character was just awful – watch the movie, and see for yourself… if you can stand the expert film-making in evidence, such as a whole sequence essential to the plot only appearing as a “deleted scene” ’cause the FX were too expensive…

Jim Shooter wasn’t even Marvel’s editor in chief when the Shroud was introduced.

as an addendum to the Marlon Wayans story, Kenner actually had a Robin action figure in the works to go along with Batman Returns. When the character was scrapped from the movie, they decided it was too costly to lose all the money they’d spent on sculpting and tooling the toy, and released it as part of the Returns line anyway. Their Robin was white, of course, but only thanks to pink paint: the sculpt was still the same Marlon Wayans-inspired one they’d been working on, so white Robin had a hi-top fade…

In regards to the Wayans/Robin article: In an old issue of Amazing Heroes that came out around the release of Batman Returns, it detailed how far along the Robin character was before he was ultimately nixed from the movie — far enough along to have an action figure designed and released.

Check out :http://gofigureactionfigures.com/product747.html

The article (which I unfortunately don’t have access to anymore – donated all of those back issues to Heroes for Heroes) said that the Robin figure was originally supposed to be African-American like the character in the movie, and even has the tell tale hairstyle reminiscent of several then popular rap stars that Wayans was supposed to have in the movie (reflecting the character’s more street/urban background).

You know what, that make sense.

I would have mentioned the figure, but I didn’t get how it was a “movie” version, since the design was the same as Tim Drake’s costume, and the illustration on the package even looks like Norm Breyfogle’s work, but I didn’t think to check out the HEAD of the figure.

So THAT’s what was part of the movie – the head.

But heck, the head doesn’t even look too much different than Tim Drake’s initial hairstyle, but I guess you can see it as being meant to be a black face before being repainted.

Phew, now I am glad that that story makes sense.

Speaking of things which did/didn’t inspire Batman…

There was a silent movie that came out in 1926 called The Bat (remade as a talkie in 1930 and titled The Bat Whispers), about a man who dressed in a bat costume, swung around the city using a system of grapples, had a bad signal, carried around a bunch of gadgets, and hunted criminals.

Just saying, its worth a look.

You can see it as being meant to be a black face before being repainted – only if your really trying to see somthing not meant to be there. This has nothing to do with Marlon Wayans not the costume design and not even the hair. look at how lyle and grummet drew the hair exactly like that.

Hey, one of my submissions was used!

To answer Steve’s question about how the rumor was started: as I said, it came from an old interview with Jim Shooter. I’m almost 100% positive that it was in the Comics Journal- I can’t imagine where else it could have been- but I haven’t been able to locate that interview again. It’s a crying shame that the Journal doesn’t have an archive of their old interviews readily available online. Does anyone have any idea about the interview I’m talking about?

“There was a silent movie that came out in 1926 called The Bat (remade as a talkie in 1930 and titled The Bat Whispers), about a man who dressed in a bat costume, swung around the city using a system of grapples, had a bad signal, carried around a bunch of gadgets, and hunted criminals.”

There is no bat signal in that film. Rather, the silhouette of a moth on a car’s headlight projects an enlarged silhouette.

Someone has uploaded “The Bat” onto youtube, in case anyone is curious…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU10KI1ouGw

“Dude, if Burton could make Michael Keaton into Batman, he might just have been able to pull off Marlon as Robin.”–This seems to hinge on the preposterous notion that Michael Keaton was remotely good as Batman.

Funny they made Ripchord black for the GI Joe movie. THe Joes always had a rich collection of African American characters (including Stalker who was in many ways the field commander before Duke appeared).

Ripchord IIRC was an American Indian Joe and unlike Sprit was understated and not a walking cliche.

Wow, the Black Bat is currently published again? In my good ol’ Germany? Got to check this out.

By the way, Black Bat WAS a pulp-like novel magazine in the 60s and 70s, but this new publication seems to be paperback.

“And whats the deal with my personal favourite, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt? How come his rights reverted back to Pete Morisi’s estate? Why didn’t any of the other rights revert to Ditko, Frank McLaughlin etc.”

Basically, Pete Morisi had a deal with Charlton that he’d get the rights back to his character if they went under. A deal that no one else went out of their way to make. (PAM being a lot more legal savvy than many of his contemporaries.) DC wasn’t aware of that deal when they acquired the Action Heroes at first, and thus had to license Peter Cannon from Morisi instead of purchasing the character from him.

And Ben, Nightshade is still Nightshade, just in a new costume. (And personality.)

You can see it as being meant to be a black face before being repainted – only if your really trying to see somthing not meant to be there. This has nothing to do with Marlon Wayans not the costume design and not even the hair. look at how lyle and grummet drew the hair exactly like that.

Uh, no, not really. They drew his hair like this and this – short, straight and choppy. The figure’s hair, in addition to being in A HI-TOP FADE (I just find that so sublimely ridiculous that I must capitalize it) is noticeably tight and curly – it’s African American hair.

It’s not a question of looking for something not meant to be there, it’s a question of seeing where that toy began its life and what the original intention was.

Another last-minute Batman-related change that was revealed by the tie-in toys was Batman + Robin‘s Batgirl: originally she was supposed to wear a full cowl, but it was changed to the “hair out” version fairly far along in the process, which is why the toy doesn’t show any hair…

1. dude that 1st one isn’t even Lyle or Grummet. Check out Lyle’s interiors for what I mean. Do you own any comics? toy boy.

2. Answer me this how many ‘HI-TOP FADE ‘ hait cuts had little Dick Grayson-esque curls on each side? They’re on the figure.

3. Why would movie costume designers identically copy Breyfogle’s design to the letter? Are you high? There not really earning their paycheck there..

So, Uh, yeah really.

p.s- whoah impressive photoshop job on the toy. lol

very well, the first cover was Brian Bolland – but it’s still the same style in which Tim’s hair was cut. I did go looking for some interior art, and found this, which still shows the short, choppy hair.

Why would the movie costume designers copy Breyfogle’s designs? They didn’t. Breyfogle copied the movie designs. Or, more accurately: Breyfogle helped design the movie costume so the one in the comics would look like the one seen in the movie. It’s like the X-Men stating to wear black leather costumes after their movie came out, only more direct…

It’s a Breyfogle design.

I can’t see Burton wanting anything to do with undies on the outside.

Actually I know the Breyfogle boards. I’ll ask him.

The Robin costume was not a Breyfogle design, it’s a Neal Adams design – Breyfogle was just the first one who incorporated the look into the comics.

And yes, the costume itself it is almost guaranteed to not be the actual look that Burton was going to use for the movies.

The only way it COULD be based on the movie is if you think the head was meant to be a black guy, which I’m open to believing is true.

So it was, my bad. Apparently lots of artists had a go. I saw some of norm’s designs during that era and they were so close, I just assumed..

I just think a Robin wasn’t visualised for the movie, so they just used the current comics version (hair and all in my opinion – but just my opinion).

well then, there’s an urban legend for you to cover, Brian: is it true that, as imdb says, “Tim Burton collaborated with DC Comics artist Norm Breyfogle to redesign the Robin costume so that it would coincide with the one planned for the film”?

short answer – no.

From Neal Adams interview – http://www.comicsbulletin.com/features/111112125162770.htm

OFFENBERGER: On your website you have a redesign for Batman. Is this something related to your Batman project at DC or was this all on your own?

ADAMS: That was me just messing around. I have had this stuff in my head for a while. I worry about people not solving problems that can be solved in a reasonable way. Like Robin. The problem with Robin came up when the movie company wanted to do Robin in the movies. So they said to DC, “We have to redesign Robin.” They couldn’t use Robin the way he was. And DC was stuck with the problem of what to do. So they called me — a very smart thing to do in my humble opinion — and they said, “Can you do some new designs for Robin?” I said, “Are you asking me to redesign Robin?” They said, “Yeah, we are asking you to redesign Robin.” I said fine and I started to work.

Then I heard through the grapevine that they asked 12 or so other people to redesign Robin. So I had my daughter, Kris, call DC and say, “This redesign thing is going to cost you some money if you want Neal to do it.” They said, “We want Neal to do it.” They ask how much money. She tells them. She said, “What’s happening now is, you’re casually asking Neal to redesign Robin, you’re not telling Neal why. We have a feeling something is going on. You’re not telling Neal it is important or that you’re getting other people to do redesigns, and that he is in competition with other people.” They said, “Oh, no, we don’t have to tell Neal that.” She said, “No you don’t, but on the other hand since Neal is going to win the competition, Neal is not going to sit there with the other 12 guys and just do designs until the cows come home. We are going to charge you professionally, the way we would do it for an advertising agency, if you want Neal to work on it.” They said, “Well, we want Neal to work on it.”

They wanted me to work on it because the film company was saying they would change it. So I started to submit some designs. The most important thing that I did was realize the character had to remain Robin, but had to be a new Robin, and there were some things that were really wrong. Like his legs were bare, that didn’t make any sense. He wore these little elf boots, that didn’t make any sense. His colors were too bright — yellow and red — and he was going to be out at night, it doesn’t make any sense.

So how do you solve all those problems and still not change Robin? Aren’t you talking about designing Batman Jr.? So I started to solve problems as much as I could. I didn’t care about what the others guys were doing. I have done this before on a professional basis. I have designed costumes for stage plays and other stuff. I was solving problems and applying them to a costume. They were just designing costumes. Which was fine, but that was not what the problem was. The problem was how do you make this Robin valid? Turn the boots into ninja boots, cover the legs, deepen the colors on the costume so they were more in [line] with the Batman, put packet things on the sleeves to carry weapons, redesign the mask, redesign various things. Anyway, after a few designs I came up with what I think is the key important design to the Robin costume, and that is that the cape is yellow on the inside and black on the outside.

OFFENBERGER: So that he blends in at night with Batman.

ADAMS: That’s right. At the same time when he stands with his cape thrown back, it’s still yellow and he is still Robin; justifying the yellow cape. So he can actually be Robin, he can have the Red vest; he can have the yellow cape over his shoulders. So we have saved the Robin. That, of course, was the costume that the film company loved. They said, “This is terrific. This solves all of our problems. There were problems they didn’t explain to me, but they were problems I already know because I know this shit. I know this shit because I am supposed to be a professional. So, I had done it. Then they asked DC, “Could you have your designer go one step further? Have him give Robin a darker costume, closer to Batman’s costume.” So, I did. I created another Robin costume. Then I had Kris get on the phone with DC Comics and she said to them exactly what I am going to say to you. “Neal is going to send over a Robin costume. We recommend that you do not show it to the film company. You will sort of like it. It’s not Robin, it’s a dark costume. They will love it because they want a dark Robin. You have already shown them a successful Robin. If you show them this costume they will buy this costume and you will destroy your licensing for Robin forever. We are going to send it over, but we recommend that you do not show it to them. [Make up whatever excuses you can to not show it to them. You can say, ‘You know, we have gone far enough. We have changed the Robin costume enough. We have cooperated enough. We are not going to go any further we are not going to do any more designs.’ We recommend you not show it because it looks too good. Do not show it.”

I don’t think they did. I don’t think they showed it. I think they made the argument and they probably got it through, or they showed it and said, “You are going to destroy our licensing if you do this.” Whatever it is they decided to go with the one before that, with the black on the outside and the yellow on the inside, and that became the Robin costume. And they paid the price for it. Of course they used something I would do. I don’t think it is any kind of arrogance to say that if I do this professionally for other things I should know what I am doing, and I am the right person to go to. It is not meant as a criticism or slight to any of the other guys, because they were really not given the full information. They weren’t explained the problem, they were just saying give us a new Robin costume. So they filled the book with those Robin costumes, and you can see them, but it was not problem solving.
——-

And while I’m here- How is hair ‘short’ when it is as high from the hairline to the top, as the space between his eyes and the hair line? Get a ruler and check out both the comic page you provided and the figure. Both are the same. I think ‘choppy’ was a bit of an ask of toy making at the time. And the little curls on each side of his forehead are shown on the page provided too. Thanks.

“Dude, if Burton could make Michael Keaton into Batman, he might just have been able to pull off Marlon as Robin.”

Except that Keaton was a pretty MEDIOCRE Batman. The only ones who think he was decent are the people who were introduced to Batman through Burton’s film, and the people who like Burton’s films out of blind love induced by nostalgia.
Therefore I’m 100% positive that turning Wayans into a decent Robin is beyond Burton’s skills.

“Thank god they switched directors? Did you actually SEE Schumacher’s two steaming dungheaps?”

So? Batman Returns was a POS, too.

Did you know that Japan had a cigarette smoking Golden Bat in 1930 before either of those Pulp/Comic Batmen? I wrote about it in my blog ages ago here!

“And the little curls on each side of his forehead are shown on the page provided too.”

I dunno, the curls that you’re making such a big deal about look just painted onto the figure to me, rather than being actually a part of the mold.

ParanoidObsessive

November 23, 2008 at 1:31 am

>>> Ah yes, Marlon Wayans aka the absolutely worst thing about the Dungeons And Dragons movie

I’ve always assumed that the absolutely worst thing about the Dungeons And Dragons movie is the fact that it exists in the first place.

It’s hard to fault Marlon Wayans’ acting in that movie in any way, if only because it’s perfectly clear that there isn’t a single actor in that movie (some of whom have shown they’re capable of much better, and Jeremy Irons has won like half a dozen major awards for God’s sake) who managed to transcend the utter garbage they were given to work with and produce even a mediocre performance. Marlon Wayans could have been a Royal Shakespearean actor with decades worth of acting training and skill, and not been able to turn that sack of crap role into anything more than it was.

[…] Mike Bullock will be chronicling for Moonstone. Comics Should Be Good did a nice analysis of the similarities between the two characters a couple of years ago and while Batman and the Black Bat arrived on the scene almost […]

I wonder if that “darker” Neal Adams design for Robin has ever seen the light of day? If it exists, and isn’t just….a legend.

I can’t get over how awful Burton’s casting of Robin was.

[…] Marlon Wayans was cast in Batman Returns as Robin, but his role was cut due to too many characters, then recast in Batman Forever. “I got paid for almost being Robin. Actually, I was Robin: they paid me, and decided that wanted someone else. I was like ‘Hey, as long as the check clears, baby,’” said Wayans. […]

[…] Marlon Wayans was cast in Batman Returns as Robin, but his role was cut due to too many characters, then recast in Batman Forever. “I got paid for almost being Robin. Actually, I was Robin: they paid me, and decided that wanted someone else. I was like ‘Hey, as long as the check clears, baby,’” said Wayans. […]

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