Mike Gold: Batman Is Batman, and I Am The Sweetheart of the Donut Shop

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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6 Responses

  1. Yes, Batman is Batman; but only to a point. Snyder took a top fifteen book and turned it into a consistent top two book. His Detective run had similar success. All of the Bat books sell fairly well, but real talent is needed to make one stand out from the rest. Snyder has it.

  2. Kristine Adams Stone says:

    I would love to know what the number was that Neal was actually selling on Batman or I should say Detective. What was the print run on a given book and what was the final number of sell-through on a given Neal Adams Batman book?

    • Mike Gold says:

      It was over 35 years ago, Kristine, and I can’t say with precision. I can easily say this: if any comic book sold those numbers on the newsstand today, it would be published DAILY.

      Newsstand sell-thrus overall were pretty low by then — around 30%, some (not a Batman title at the time) were below 25%. That’s one of the main reasons behind the “DC Implosion” of 1978.

      However, during said DC Implosion Detective Comics was actually cancelled — for about three days. Batman Family was above the line, so we kept Detective Comics going by applying the name and the numbering to the content of Batman Family. This, of course, has nothing to do with Neal’s work.

      • Kristine Adams Stone says:

        My understanding is that Detective was on the verge of being canceled when Neal picked it up. I guess Batman has had trouble over the years.

        • Mike Gold says:

          That’s a common theory. There was no statistical reason to do so at the time, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t true. There was a drop in sale after the teevee show was cancelled and Julie did a major revamp on the character — Neal, of course, played an extremely significant role in this. New villains and stronger story lines helped as well, but there was a transition between the readers who bought it because of the teevee show and the readers who disliked the book because it followed the teevee show.

          But, what’s far more important to the mix is the fact that during this period the number of newsstand outlets was plummeting. Shopping malls and chain stores replaced the corner drug stores and mom’n’pop operations that traditionally sold the bulk of comics at the time. Rents were a lot higher and there wasn’t enough profit in a comic book to warrant taking up the floor space. Malls and chains look at revenue by “turns” (how fast the item sells and needs to be replaced) as well as profit, and policing comics racks was a very high maintenance effort. Many publishers went out of business or got out of the comics business. So overall it was a crappy time for the Batman teevee show to be cancelled.

          Batman certainly had its share of ups and downs, particularly between about 1960 and 1970. Before the teevee show, it was certainly underperforming line average, although merchandising (by the standards of the time) remained pretty good.

          • Kristine Adams Stone says:

            My understanding is that Neal was changing Batman in Brave and the Bold and Julie wanted that Batman for Detective. Julie did not revamp Batman. I believe that was happening on its own in Brave and the Bold. Hmmm