Monday, February 18, 2013

Batman Did It First: That Batman and Robin sure play a mean pinball

No doubt you remember the universal mantra of animated comedy that South Park taught us (and Family Guy has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt): Simpsons already did it.

But wait: can you apply this TV animation rule to comic books? Why yes. Yes you can. With the easy recitation of these four simple words:


For example: consider the supervillain who tries to kill his prey using a freakin' huge pinball machine and I know who you think about first: Pinball Wizard, that cosmic entity and distant relation of the Watcher who captured Ben Grimm and all the universe's greatest pinball players and forced them to play with their actual planets in Marvel Two-in-One #117.

And then I know who you think about second: Arcade. Yes, Arcade! Before he was snuffing teenagers left and right, he was a million-dollar-a-hit hired assassin who would capture superheroes using a (hee hee hee) garbage truck and then he put them inside his giant pinball machine. Of Death! Just like he did with Spider-Man and Captain Lion Britain:

Panels from Marvel Team-Up #66 (February 1978), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by John Byrne, inks and colors by Dave Hunt, letters by Tom Orzechowski
(Click second panel to extra-ball-size)

Yes...Arcade sure did that thing. Then he did it again with the X-Men! With the exact same pinball machine! Also, with the same author and artist. Geez, Arcade, get somebody new to write your material!

Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men #123 (July 1979), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and breakdowns by John Byrne, finishes by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Yep, that's the story where all the X-Men died and nobody ever saw them, ever again.

Great deathtrap, huh? Exciting story, suspenseful plot, innovative visuals. That is, if we didn't already know one universal truth:


Panels from "Gamble with Doom!" in Batman #44 (December 1947-January 1948), pencils and inks by Jim Mooney, letters by Ira Schnapp

So there you have it, folks: not only did Batman run the gauntlet of the giant pinball machine first, the Joker has his invention stolen by Arcade. Good thing Joker hasn't noticed the theft of his intellectual property...if it was publicly known, the Joker might lose face! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That was a little "Death of the Family" joke for all of you. At no extra cost!

I do hope you've enjoyed the first installment of Batman Did It First, a brand-new series of posts here on Comics Oughta Be Fun! I'd ask you to be here next time and join me for the following installment, but



Blam said...

Yeah, Murderworld and Deadshot both get huge effin' asterisks next to their names.


Philip Obermarck said...

Yeah, but the Joker is using a giant Pachinko machine, not a Pinball machine. Sorry, Bully but that's not the same game.

Jason Glor said...

Back in 1947 that's what a pinball machine was.

Bully said...

Thanks for the back-up, Jason! I remembered this article from one of the amazing Straight Dope paperback collections about retro pinball when I was writing this, but forgot to mention it: . Cecil Adams Explains It All For You!

Philip Obermarck said...

I stand corrected. It still looks more like a pachinko machine to me, even after looking at early pinball machines, but I will bow to the little stuffed bull.

Andrew Leal said...

Plus, the Joker called it a pinball machine in text. And do you really want to defy him outright over that? He has empty circular shells, after all.