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Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Night Bear Fights!

Ever since I posted this month's header logo (available here in case you're reading this at some point in the mad world of The Future), the subject of super-hero bear-fighting has been a hot topic of discussion around ISB Headquarters.

Well, really, it boils down to two emails, but trust me: As the tumbleweeds roll through my inbox, that kind of buzz is nigh unheard-of.

But while the Punisher's trip through the Central Park Zoo is certainly the best bearfight in comics (and one of my favorite single issues of all time), it's not an isolated incident. Heck, it's not even the first bearfight that the Punisher's ever had, which means at this point, it's almost a pattern.

Super-heroes and bears are natural enemies. Fact.

Take this scene from 1992's Darkhawk Annual #1, where we find that while Darkhawk's extradimensional android body may posess super-strength, a force field, lasers that shoot out of his chest, and a face so hideous that he uses it as a weapon like three times during the series, it has one glaring weakness:


But that is mere prelude to the only bearfight in comics that can stand up to "Welcome Back, Frank" in terms of sheer awesome. It's a moment so mind-blowing that when it appeared in the first comic my pal MG3 ever read, it not only hooked him into comics for life, but cemented Batman in his mind as the coolest character ever created.

It all goes down in 1976's two-fisted Action Comics #465, courtesy of Cary Bates and Curt Swan. In his most diabolical plot yet, Lex Luthor had somehow managed to turn both the Flash and Batman into mere children, robbing them of their years of crime-busting experience. So when they meet up with Superman in a field, he's understandably suspicious, and makes them prove their identities.

For the Flash, of course, this is pretty easy, what with the fact that he can run at the speed of light and all. But for Batman, who has no such powers, it's a little more difficult. So what, I ask you, can they possibly make him do to prove himself?



And not only is it a grizzly bear, but it's a grizzly bear that the Flash brought from a circus that has been trained to fight men. It's like a modern Frankenstein, the hubris of man come back to chase him up a tree and devour him. And yet, ten year-old Batman takes that mother out.

That's what I call badass.

More Bearfightin':
| Sonny Chiba's Karate Bearfighter |


Blogger Ragnell said...

Awww... Li'l Bats is so cute!

4/08/2006 1:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This and Punisher are 100 times better, but the first Wolverine mini-series starts with a bear fight, IIRC.

4/08/2006 2:20 AM

Anonymous Chawunky said...

Soooo...Luthor robbed Batman of his years of experience in the field, but allowed him to retain his martial arts capabilities. Huh.

Still: "It's bears." One of the greatest line/facial expression combos in the history of comics.

4/08/2006 4:12 AM

Blogger Philip Looney said...

If I didn't already think Batman was the most awesome character in comics, this scene would have sold me. This just cements his place as best ever in my mind.

4/08/2006 7:00 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

"Soooo...Luthor robbed Batman of his years of experience in the field, but allowed him to retain his martial arts capabilities. Huh."

Oh no, he lost his martial arts skills. See, Batman manages to out-fight a bear trained only for killing (BTOK) using sheer raw talent alone.

Man, that's got me pumped.

4/08/2006 12:20 PM

Anonymous Chawunky said...

Yeah, I saw that when I actually read the panels after I'd posted.

So, Bruce Wayne's natural 10-year-old bolo-throwing, bear-tipping, and conversion-of-real animals-into-cartoons-you-can-almost-hear-the-cuckoo-sounds-in-the-last-panel talents.

Okay. I was wrong, that is genius.

word verification: "ghkclant": (adj.): remorseful, esp. in regards to doubting Batman's inborn bearfighting gifts.

4/08/2006 1:15 PM

Blogger Jim said...

... If the Flash had proven who he was, why didn't Superman just take his word that Batman was Batman.

Although, without Supe's skepticism, we would have the excellent bear fight.

4/08/2006 2:39 PM

Blogger Steven said...

So Batman's naturally an ass-kicker?

Anyone wonder what he would be like if he wasn't driven by an unholy crusade against crime?

Would he just go around beating the crap out of bears and such jus 'cause he can, while Thomas wonders when Bruce's going to get a real job?

4/09/2006 12:42 AM

Anonymous JR said...

I've had that issue of Action for years, the bit with the television crew and punch bowl was one of my favorite Superman/Clark sequences growing up.

I've never been able to find the 2nd issue of the story though, do kid Batman and Flash kid show up again?

4/09/2006 1:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bear baiting fun!

This reminds me of the real life guy who's spent years developing a bear-proof suit:


I guess Darkhawk could've used one.

4/09/2006 2:51 AM

Blogger Rob Woods said...

That Flickr link at the start of the post is private. Better fix it, for posterity. Future generations deserve access to as much bear fighting memorabilia as we can make available to them.

4/09/2006 9:07 AM

Blogger David Cutler said...

Once he'd established it really was the Flash, couldn't Supes have just taken Barry's word for it that it was the real Batman as well?

4/12/2006 10:59 PM


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