Tuesday, December 19, 2006

B&B Seeing You--Part 2

Part II—History
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD began life with the issue cover-dated August/September 1955 as a much different publication than the one remembered fondly by fans today. That inaugural issue contained a trio of high adventures stories in the Hal Foster/Prince Valiant vein starring heroes with such names as The Viking Prince, The Silent Knight, and The Golden Gladiator. Super-heroes were, at that point in time, prior to the Flash revival in SHOWCASE, out of favor in the comics industry and only a handful of titles still featured them. The Gladiator gave way to Robin Hood after a small handful of appearances and this revised line-up would last until the magazine’s 24th issue. With the very next issue, the series switched gears to a “tryout” format, similar to SHOWCASE, where new concepts were tried out prior to being launched in seres of their own. Other than the Justice League of America and the revival of Hawkman, however, none of the features introduced in B&B graduated to their own titles. (Although, “Suicide Squad,” the very first B&B try-out feature, would be revived and revamped in the mid-1980’s by writer John Ostrander and become a long running, fan favorite series.)
The fiftieth issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD unshered in the team-up format, though this was still not B&B’s ultimate form. Whereas, B&B would eventually become another starring vehicle for the Batman, the first issues of the fledgling team-up format featured two or more different heroes every issue, with no permanent co-star. The first outing teamed Green Arrow and The Martian Manhunter. Issue #54 brought together sidekicks Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, three-quarters of the team that would become the original Teen Titans, with Wonder Girl, as well as the name Teen Titans, being added for the group’s second appearance in #60.
In issues #57 and #58, the new format was briefly set aside for a return to the try-out concept in a pair of stories that introduced Metamorpho The Element Man.Batman made his first team-up appearance in an adventure with Green Lantern in #59, appearing half a dozen more times before officially attaining permanent co-star status as of #74. With Batman firmly entrenched as its star, B&B continued as a team-up title until its 200th and final issue in 1982. That issue featured a preview of Barr and Aparo’s BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS, the title which would take B&B’s spot on DC’s schedule.

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