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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 247

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at a classic Steve Englehart and Sal Amendola story, “Night of the Stalker”…

The lead story in Detective Comics #439 was scripted by Steve Englehart off of a plot by penciler Sal Amendola (Vin Amendola also helped with the pencils).

It opens with Batman on patrol and seeing the following…

Naturally, he freaks out and chases the punks…

He then stalks them and takes them down one by one until…

As for “the” moment, I suppose it could be the crying at the end? I think I prefer the bit where he realizes that the kid is not worth his rage.

23 Comments

I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen Batman cry.

I’d say the ending rather than the realization panel because the writing is more powerful. It’s the stark, raw “he is that boy again” vs. the dry, academic “the hate…spirals away into oblivion.”

P.S. Real Batmen don’t cry.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 5, 2009 at 5:35 am

It’s odd realizing that Engelhart homaged his own work here rather directly in, of all things, West Coast Avengers #29. Of course, there it’s a) a guy in a white moon suit chasing a guy dressed as a bull; b) the beginning of the painful transformation of Moon Knight into Marvel’s rip-off Batman (where the Moench version was something rather different in many ways); and c) a story about Moon Knight’s loss of humanity, as he chases a man to that man’s death over a broken oath because he’s hearing the voice of his crazy moon-god in his head.

The Goddamn Batman(!) doesn’t cry, that’s for sure.

i’ll choose second one coz BAT GOD dont cry :)

Didn’t Darwin Cooke made a story homaging this issue many years later?
It was almost entirely without dialogue, I think

I think Cookie did an homage in his Solo issue.

Man, I LOVE the art in this excerpt.

Yes. I believe it was in his issue of SOLO.

I imagine this one leaped to Brian’s attention after using Cooke’s Solo issue in an earlier moment. I think I liked Cooke’s version better. *dodges tomatoes*

Thats a great image of Batman perched on the rock. He looks SO cool in Blue and Grey

I never read this before. Made me see Batman in a different light. Thank you Brian.

Oh, Archie Andrews. Batman can’t stay mad at you.

Bernard the Poet

September 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm

The coolest moment is when Batman holds up the villains’ car keys.

Waitaminute…..Brian – you cut out the coolest moment.

Does Batman create an orphan vortex or something? Every time he gets near a child, the kid’s either already orphaned or just about to be.

i would also go with the moment where bruce is drawn back to his own parents being gun down and the kid going through what h e went through showing that batman will never forgot that which spawned him and that some bad guys are not bad enough to earn the batmans brand of justice

I remember being blown away by this story when I first read it. That shot of Batman on the stone wall is one of my favorites of all time.

Great call on this one, Brian.

…Intense.

Whoever drew this sure can…draw.

I’d say right at the start where he witnesses the killing. That jumped out at me right away.

Batman versus Archie. Who would have thought?

Sal Amendola does some very Neal Adams-inspired work here. The Wayne Foundation penthouse era of the 70′s produced some great stories. And the Batman I grew up with DID cry, and it was okay. Miller ruined it for me after 1986 since nobody seems to care anymore for the more moderate version that O’Neil and Adams originated.

The coolest moments for me are Batman holding up the keys, and Batman pulling the guy underwater (neither of which made the cut here, so if there’s anyone who hasn’t read this story for whatever reason, you should get on that).

Or maybe the moment is the shadow (also used to great effect in Cooke’s tribute). Ok, ok, so the whole thing is the moment.

The opening scene of Burton’s first Batman movie seems heavily influenced by this piece. Wasn’t Englehart involved in scripting that movie, at some early stage?

"O" the Humanatee!

September 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

As one who read (and was blown away by) this story when it came out, It’s fun to read comments on this from those who apparently are being exposed to it for the first time. To me, it’s an iconic Batman story (to use an adjective that’s going around). A few notes:

- The story was based around an idea by Neal Adams, although if I remember correctly the idea was for the fight in the water, not the full plot. Adams and Dick Giordano did the striking cover for the issue, and I’ve often wondered if Adams had something to do with the layouts for the story, especially that scene. I believe the Amendola brothers (maybe just Sal) were hangers-on at Adams and Giordano’s studio, as were so many of the interesting young artists of that time.

- At Steve Englehart’s web site, he writes: “The [Amendolas'?] idea was that the Batman would not say a word throughout, so of course I soon decided he needed to say a few words. Fortunately, editor Archie Goodwin cut all that out.” Let’s hear it for actual editing! (Of course, Goodwin was known to be one of the best.)

- The art is very good, but I don’t think it’s incredibly, exceptionally good for that era. It’s just that in certain ways, comics artists drew better back then: They still believed in knowing how to draw backgrounds, everyday people and objects, a variety of scenery, etc. It’s also helped a lot by Giordano’s wonderful inking, as was a lot of Batman art back then.

- Again, that scary Batman pose, while excellent, is not that far away from poses we were being given across the Batman line in those days. Even as comics have focused more on Batman the badass, they seem to have given us fewer and fewer iconic drawings of the character. Maybe that reflects a decline in drawing, or maybe it reflects a difference between “badass” and “creature of the night.” (Or maybe I’m a cranky old man.)

- I think it’s great that Bruce Wayne cries at the end. Instead of a man who’s so driven that he always “on” and emotionally armored, we get a guy who’s dedicated himself to a difficult, extreme mission but can still stop and feel. (I confess that even back then, I found the coloring of that last scene, with its washed-out yellows and blues, a bit wan.)

Others can keep their Year One’s, their Dark Knight Returns and their Killing Joke’s, this is my personal favorite Batman story.

God, I miss those days…but wait, I can go back there any time I want.

Thank the BatGod for back issues.

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