Tuesday, June 27, 2006

America's Next Top Deformed Murderer

Two decades before "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" and "Project Runway," the dark side of the fashion world could be found within the pages of "Detective Comics" #506 and #507 (September and October, 1981). In those issues, the Dark Knight squared off against the Manikin, a statuesque fashion model with a burn-scarred noggin and an exoskeleton...



...an exoskeleton plated in genny-wine gold! 'Cause it's classier that way! It's certainly Trumpier! But you know what would have made it even better? If it had been Faberge! All crusty with jewells and enamel and crap. And if you could order it from the Franklin Mint. But here's the weird thing about this scene: a few panels before this, the Manikin was wearing a floor-length gown, cinched at the waist, with long sleeves. And Batman somehow managed to pull it off her, over her head, while she was punching him in the face. I guess that's a skill he picked up in his "Bruce Wayne" identity.



As part of his investigation, Batman shows up unannounced (as is his wont)at the apartment of Catwoman. He finds her all dolled up for her Aquaman fantasy session with Dane Dorrance. Oh wait, Frank Miller hadn't retconned her into a former prostitute yet. My bad. I'll start over.

He finds her chilling in her sequined pajamas and casual lounging heels. Take a look at the floral arrangement. Cattails! Oh, for... give it a rest, woman.



"When I'm not wearing my Catwoman costume, I like to dress well." But if she thinks her costume is tacky, then why does she wear -- gah! It's Gerry Conway logic; I'm not going to waste time trying to think about it. Just like I'm going to stifle my disbelief that she could identify the maker of that dress so quickly.

Batman uses this info to track down the Manikin's next victim, "Hoston." I love his Fruit Pies! (And that's the least dirty-sounding Hostess product I could think of for that joke. I just wanted to make a joke on his name, but it keeps unintentionally veering into Sex Country. But I guess "Fruit Pies" is marginally cleaner than the alternative. Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Sno-balls... they're all filthy! ...That's what she said.)



Here's how you know it's pre-Crisis Batman: "I guessed wrong!"

I also like this part: "A weighted golf-club can kill." This message brought to you by the Coalition Against Weighted Golf-Clubs.

The Manikin only hospitalizes Hoston (good job, Batman!) but then she decides to show up there and finish him off. Luckily, Batman has a brilliant plan.



"The Brave And The Bold" presents: Batman and Tom Selleck's Mustache! What an awesome crime-fighting team! Batman... seriously. Dude. That's it? That all you got? Not even a curly blonde wig or some big Charles Nelson Reilly glasses? I'm severely disappointed in you.

You could have at least made it a handlebar.

13 comments:

Devon said...

I quit. You own the "funny."

David Lawson said...

If I recall correctly, that green outfil Catwoman is wearing was "inspired" by Julie Newmar's look from the Batman TV show.

Except for the fact that Julie Newmar's outfit wasn't green.

Or scaly.

Geex Louise, her name is CATwoman! Not SNAKEwoman!

Phillip said...

I guess the fashion reference is to designer and Studio 54 denizen Halston?

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Note to supervillains: if you don't want to get caught by Batman, don't buy designer, name brands. Do your clothes shopping at Wal-Mart or something.

Blockade Boy said...

Devon: Yipes! Thanks bunches, but I don't really own the funny. I'm just leasing it.

David: I'll be darned. And now that I think about it, didn't the comic book Catwoman have a green costume at some point in the 60's?

Phillip: Bingo. And before she goes after "Hoston," Manikin manages to off "Kevin Clane" at "Studio 52."

Justin: Haw! Wouldn't it have been awesome if Catwoman recognized the dress as belonging to the Jaclyn Smith Collection?

Scipio said...

GODS, how I loved the Mannequin!

One of the best new villains of the Bronze Age; she simply MUST make a comeback!

Scipio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"A--Manikin--does--not--need--a--face.."

Just a better spell-checker...

Blockade Boy said...

Scip: I totally agree. Although I'd settle for the thematically similar Calendar Girl from the old animated series.

Anonymous: Heh. "Manikin" is an accepted spelling, but I don't know anybody who uses it. and you'd think the Manikin would want to use the French version. It's just more fashionable! Also, I bet eHarmony.com would set the Manikin up with Swamp Thing. (It takes an average 3.5 hours for each of them to whisper a single "sweet nothing.")

Chance said...

Here's how you know it's pre-Crisis Batman: "I guessed wrong!"

I'm no expert, but I think post-Crisis Batman also does not get clocked on the back of the head by a golf club. And kayoed after one swing.

Scipio said...

Actually, Manikin used to date Clayface III before he settled down with Clayface IV.

Marcos said...

'I bet eHarmony.com would set the Manikin up with Swamp Thing. (It takes an average 3.5 hours for each of them to whisper a single "sweet nothing.")'

Swamp Thing, heck. Apache Chief! "Man-ne-quin . . . I . . . love . . . ". Whenever I watch old Super Friends reruns (I can't help myself! It's like a train wreck!) I keep expecting the Chief to say "No disassemble, Ste-pha-nieeeeee.....", except that "disassemble" is far too big a word for him. It'd be more his speed to break into "Dai-sy, Dai-sy.." like HAL.

Come to think of it, Apache Chief and Swamp Thing may just be the perfect couple. Chief's the top, of course...

Dean said...

When I saw the panels with Batman fighting the Manikin, my thought was, "Man, he really wants that Best Picture Oscar for Dark Knight Returns.