Astonishing Art: Batman as the Joker by Marc Rienzo

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

There’s a lot of great Joker art out there. I’ve featured some of it in this space. But these seven portraits by Marc Rienzo are some of the best I’ve ever seen, both in terms of concept and execution.

What we have here are depictions of actors who’ve played Batman on the big screen (or in Adam West’s case the big and small screens) made up like the Clown Prince of Crime. The effect is downright chilling, as Rienzo modifies the depiction for each portrait to suit the actor. The ones for George Clooney and Robert Pattinson are my personal favorites.

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In the comments section on one of the images, someone suggested Rienzo flip the concept and paint the various Joker actors as Batman. I’m game for that. Jack Nicholson as Batman? I’ll admit, I’m curious…

Incidentally, Rienzo has a pretty decorated film resume, having worked as a visual effects supervisor and/or digital artist on movies like The Force Awakens, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and many others. His work is definitely worth a look.

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Toy Chest Theater: Kevin Conroy Tribute by kneelbeforezod

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m normally not a huge fan of toy photographers processing grief or sorrow at someone passing away via their work. Simply put: It often comes off tacky to me. For instance, we saw a lot of that when Stan Lee died.

But once in awhile, you get a shot like this one. On paper, the idea of various versions of Batman saying goodbye to the Kevin Conroy animated Batman as he journeys into heaven sounds like a recipe for a tacky, tone-deaf disaster. But kneelbeforezod (who has appeared in this space with Batman before) managed to do it in a classy way. Not to mention visually appealing, with the contrast between the darkness of the cave and the brightness of the heavenly clouds.

Having the Adam West Batman in the background with the ’66 Batmobile is a great little touch too. It provides a nice sense that the Conroy Batman isn’t going to be alone on his next great adventure…

Kevin Conroy Batman tribute, kneelbeforezod

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Toy Chest Theater: Batman ’66 by Fachro

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve been saving this one for a special occasion. Batman Day seems appropriate, no?

I love this shot from Fachro because it feels like something that could actually happen on the old Adam West Batman show. Plus, if there’s one person who could catch a damn shark with a fishing line, it’s Batman.

Kudos to Fachro for putting the Joker in the background. It makes things a little more interesting, and adds an element of story to the proceedings.

Batman 66, shark, Fachro

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Astonishing Art: Batman by Russ Braun

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

You never know what you’ll see when you follow a comic book artist on Instagram.

Case in point, this little gem of a sketch from Russ Braun. Here we have the Adam West Batman, drawn in the style of Batman: Year One, a la David Mazzucchelli.

Batman, Adam West, by Russ Braun

You know what this makes me want to see? A Batman: Year one story set in the Batman ’66 universe. I’d lap that up.

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Rob Watches Star Trek: Prisons, Mental Illness, and the Vulcan Mind Meld

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

SERIES: Star Trek
S1:E9. “Dagger of the Mind”
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
GUEST-STARRING: James Gregory, Morgan Woodward, Marianna Hill
WRITER: S. Bar-David
DIRECTOR: Vincent McEveety
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: November 3, 1966
SYNOPSIS: A patient from a penal colony on Tantalus IV escapes and winds up aboard the Enterprise. Upon investigating said colony, Kirk discovers the lead doctor is not what he says he is.

By Rob Siebert
Screwball of the Brain

So we’re taking on the prison system, mental health, and the Vulcan Mind Meld in one episode? Yeesh. Imma need some coffee…

Actually, if Dr. Tristan Adams can use a gimmick machine to plant thoughts in people’s minds against their will, I’m going to use this opportunity to use my computer machine to play with the format of “Rob Watches Star Trek

– If they’d done Arkham or a similar insane asylum for villains on the old Batman TV show the Doctor Simon van Gelder character from this episode would have fit it like a glove. He had that guttural shout and those bulging eyes (shown below).

As long as I’m sneaking Batman references in, Kirk wasn’t exactly Adam West with those punches he was throwing late in the episode.

– I couldn’t help but smile when Spock and Bones were inclined to believe van Gelder, despite his obvious instability. You might be hard-pressed to find someone who would do that even today. And here we have a piece of media over 50 years old. In its own special way, Star Trek really was a progressive show. Albeit one wrapped in campy and colorful ’60s sci-fi.

– That awkward moment when you realize that unlike Kirk you’d have fallen for Helen, Marianna Hill’s character, even without influence from future tech. Maybe it’s that she looks so much like an actress I worked with in a play several years ago. On the other hand, maybe it’s her weird cone-shaped bra (shown below).

MEANWHILE, IN NOVEMBER 1966: On November 1, the National Football League awards an expansion franchise to the city of New Orleans. The team would eventually be called the New Orleans Saints.

– This episode introduces us to the Vulcan Mind Meld, i.e. the Vulcans’ ability to look into human minds. Modern television trained me to expect a flashback, perhaps even with Leonard Nimoy walking through the scene. Instead, he simply orates what he’s seeing. Obviously it’s a cool concept, though, as it’s endured for all these years.

– Speaking of Spock, he once again calls the human race on its B.S. with the line: “You Earth people glorify organized violence for 40 centuries, but you imprison those who employ it privately.”

I adore that line. It might be my favorite from the series so far, from an episode that’s most definitely my favorite so far.

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Alex Ross Spotlight: Superhero Costumes as “Skin”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

See, I could have gone with a headline about “naked superheroes.” But that might have led us to some rather flamboyant pornography. Not that I’ve ever seen such things…

Is Alex Ross actually talking about naked people? Of course not. He’s discussing superhero costumes, and how artists essentially draw them as human skin. It’s not about the practicality of the costume, but the use of what is essentially “the human form in its purest state.”

He elaborates, “That’s the kind of entertainment you’re absorbing when you follow comics. It’s sort of like a pure id of humanity. … It’s just stripping the human avatar down to its most fundamental component.”

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