A Tribute to the of





Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #385. If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

Sixteen years of the Sage! Yeah, it’s anniversary time again! Go ahead, open your favorite beverage and help us celebrate! Before you know it, edition #400 will be here [on 12/15/16] for your enjoyment. Big, huge thanks to the webmaster, who has been the driving force here at the Silver Lantern for longer than this little feature has existed and for continuing to give me a platform, heck, a home base here on the wonderful World Wide Web.

So, before I get started, let me mention that I made it to see “Dawn of Justice.” Again, the whole notion that these crime-fighting partners, the original heroes in the DC pantheon would be feuding is still bothersome to me as a premise. From their many, countless team-ups in World’s Finest and their work together in the Justice League of America and the other instances where they’ve helped one another out, at least in my favorite eras, makes it just distasteful and wrong. Okay? Okay.

My opinion of the movie is that it wasn’t as bad as the critics would have you believe, but neither was it superb. Modern special effects make nearly any action movie, never mind a superhero-themed film, a wonderful thing. After all was said and done it was not bad, but will it find a place in my personal library? The jury is still out. My recommendation is to see if for yourself and make up your own mind. Hang the critics.

Interestingly, the thing that thrilled me the most was seeing Wonder Woman for the first time on the big screen, filling out DC’s trinity. Speaking of firsts for the big screen, it was also gratifying to see Bill Finger in the opening credits. The closing credits were also terrific when, right about at the bitter end, a section of “Special thanks” listed Frank Miller, Jim Aparo, Carmine Infantino, Bob Kanigher, Curt Swan, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Gerry Conway, Mort Weisinger, Gardner Fox and John Broome. I likely missed someone, too. It’s only a shame so few of them are still here to enjoy the credit. Carmine, in particular, told me that he was still upset that, after all the behind the scenes work he’d done on the first Superman movie that he’d been denied a promised screen credit.

So, as I was pondering what to spotlight for our SIXTEENTH ANNIVERSARY, it came to my attention that another anniversary was recently reached when Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy was introduced 50 years ago in Batman #181 with a cover date of June 1966 [On sale June 2nd]. Bob Kanigher was the writer of “Beware of—Poison Ivy!” The cover was done by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson, while Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella illustrated the interior.

As a quick aside, we don’t do any advertising here at the Silver Lantern, even though we’ve been approached more than once. That being said, this is not a plug as such, but I discovered to my delight that Comixology offered a digital copy of this issue for $1.99 and due to some sort of special I actually was able to download it for .99, which is a far sight better than the $74.00 for the cheapest undamaged copy I could find on eBay.

Yes, we are all about nostalgia here at the Silver Lantern and a big part of that nostalgia is the tactile feel of a good old Silver Age comic book, from the texture of the pages to the smell. There is no beating a genuine comic in your hands, but a bargain is a bargain and for those of you with limited budgets, you might consider checking into what Comixology has to offer.

The splash page of “Beware of—Poison Ivy!” gives us a pretty good preview of what to expect when we see Robin biffing bad guys while Batman is in a liplock with a green clad woman. It immediately brought to mind the big screen debut of Poison Ivy in that abomination of a movie, “Batman and Robin.” I didn’t care for how any of the villains (or heroes, for that matter) were being portrayed in that turkey, but Uma Thurman’s channeling Mae West and being sort of an eco-terrorist left me cold. Not as cold as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, but don’t get me started. My point is that at least they were using a basic premise of the character, which goes clear back to this first appearance, where Pamela Isley uses her feminine wiles to try to control Batman. It is a recurring theme throughout her stories to one degree or another.

Things get right to the point with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson attending the Gotham City Museum where, for some odd reason, there are three massive pictures on display of Public Enemies #1, #2 and #3 and they all happen to be females. Respectively they are Dragon Fly, the Silken Spider and the Tiger Moth. Apparently all the femme fatales in Gotham base their personas on insects. Okay, okay, a spider is an arachnid, but you know what I mean.

Just then, a woman in a green leotard with leafy accents appears and declares that she is not only more beautiful than the displayed villainesses, but that she is the rightful Public Enemy #1. Her only error is that her crimes were pulled off so perfectly that they’re unknown. Bruce compliments her with terms that would get him slapped with a sexual harassment suit today by calling her “luscious” and “dreamboat,” but still suggesting she take her boasts to the police. She responds in kind, telling “handsome” that she’ll oblige…for him and by the way, the name is Poison Ivy.

Before being escorted to police HQ, however, Poison Ivy has a change of heart. She uses a gimmick lipstick to cause the on hand reporters’ flash bulbs to explode, which blinded everyone present, except herself, thanks to special contact lenses. She announces she’s off to commit some imperfect crimes, for publicity purposes and ducks out, leaving Bruce Wayne to do something he’d never dared before: He changes to Batman in front of everyone else, relying on their temporary blindness to maintain his secret identity.

Of course our hero is still dazzled by the lights and manages to dash right into an open elevator shaft. Fortunately he’s able to feel the cables and slow his descent until he successfully exits the shaft, but he’s not out of the woods yet. Pamela has left a welcoming committee of thugs outside the building and they are more than happy to lay into the Masked Manhunter. While still waiting for his vision to recover, the Gotham Goliath uses his wits and years of fighting experience to counterattack and is holding his own as Poison Ivy looks on admiringly and Part I ends.

Part II has the Boy Wonder arriving to help with the fisticuffs, and Gaspar Saladino’s superb lettering effects take advantage of the television series’ popularity with plenty of Pow!, Bop! and Zok! effects. Robin notices a goofy grin on Batman’s face and he explains that he was just thinking about Poison Ivy and how he’d hate to have to put such a “beautiful doll” behind bars. Robin advises him to keep to business as they mop up the gang.

Elsewhere, the “slithering siren” is stirring the pot by writing “poison pen” letters to her rivals, ostensibly from the others, to get them to quarrel among themselves. Pamela, meanwhile, wonders who she’ll pursue, whether it be Bruce Wayne or the Batman. Speaking of her two love interests, Bruce also receives a letter, inviting both he and Batman to Poison Ivy’s pad to help her prove she’s the number one female baddie and then they can duke it out for her attentions.

Shortly, aboard the Bat-copter, Batman and Robin are about to do an early drop-in and plan to ambush the femme fatale. As they parachute in they note that the yard of the house is filled to capacity, including the other three villainesses, who propose a temporary truce amongst themselves so they can deal with the heroes. While the Masked Manhunter and Boy Wonder are engaging the other assembled members of the underworld, Pamela approaches the threesome, offering a crown to whomever proves themselves the true Public Enemy #1, but when they begin to scuffle over the bauble, they receive a powerful electric shock. Another ambush by Poison Ivy.

She is somewhat disappointed that Bruce Wayne has not accepted her invitation, but decides Batman is a worthy prize, so she approaches our hero and offers to make him half of the Royal Couple of Crime and plants a smooch on him that leaves his head spinning. Robin rushes in to assist and notes that she seems to be wearing a chloroform base lipstick that is scrambling Bats’ brains. In her next startling move, the green-clad terror begins to scale the nearest wall, just like her namesake, Ivy. She smugly suggests that Batman is under her spell, but just then the World’s Greatest Detective unleashes a batarang that breaks her grip and he catches her as she falls back to earth.

At police headquarters, Poison Ivy is incarcerated, but as Batman and Robin depart she declares: “I warn you, Batman! Once you’ve caught Poison Ivy—you’ll never get rid of it! I’m not worried about getting out of here—you’ll help me! Just you wait and see!

The final panel also sounds like something out of the Batman television series when it asks the rhetorical questions about whether or not he really won and will Poison Ivy afflict him again and again and ultimately saying the only way to find out is in the next issue of Batman. [And now, as promised by Ira Schnapp's bold, dynamic lettering in the upper left corner of the cover: A Batman and Robin pin-up!]

Actually it turned out that Batman #182 was a collection of reprint stories, so the second round with Poison Ivy was postponed until “A Touch of Poison Ivy!” in issue #183.

So there you have the 12-page debut of a new villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery and the first new one in quite some time. Based on the classic nature of this story, I’ll give it a 9 on the 10-point scale. I love the work of Joe Giella and am quite fond of the man himself and I happily acknowledge all that Shelly Moldoff contributed to the Batman mythos, but his pencils could be kind of flat and this story could have used a little bit better interior work, though I confess that for all the many wonderful covers that Infantino and Anderson did together, this wasn’t a favorite. [The book's second story is by Gardner Fox, Chic Stone and Sid Greene.]

Thanks to you, dear readers, for continuing to support this feature and the Silver Lantern at large. You know this is the place for exploring one of the greatest ages of DC and when you comb the archives and other features, you’ll find plenty of profitable silver mining. For feedback, questions or comments, write here: professor_the@hotmail.com

Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!



© 2000-2016 by Bryan D. Stroud


This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud

 

Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview


Don Perlin Interview


John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)


John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)


Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview


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