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A Look Back: DC Comics in '66

A Look Back: DC Comics in '66

By Tim Beedle Friday, July 5th, 2013

This Wednesday, the eagerly awaited Batman ’66 digital first series made its debut with a Riddler-starring segment by Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case that brought the candy colored streets of 60s-era Gotham back to life and proved popular enough to get #BATMAN66 trending on Twitter.

If you’ve read it, you know that Batman ’66 is like a fun trip directly into DC Comics’ past. So to celebrate its launch, we thought we’d invite you on a different sort of trip into DC’s past. Return with us again to the year 1966. We now know what Batman was doing, but what about DC Comics?

  • Well, the comic’s called Batman ’66 for a reason! The classic Batman television series debuts in 1966 on ABC to massive ratings.
  • Riding on the success of the show, Frank Gorshin records “The Riddler,” a song about the Batman villain. It’s composer? Acclaimed singer and songwriter Mel Tormé.
  • If Batman can have a TV show, why shouldn’t Superman have a musical? “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman!,” a musical about the Man of Steel opens on Broadway. Unfortunately, it will fail to connect with audiences and will close later this year.
  • Jim Shooter is hired to write Legion of Super-Heroes in the first professional comics assignment of his career. His age at the time? 13 years old.
  • The longstanding Superman newspaper comic strip ends in April, but will be replaced by a Batman and Robin one in May.
  • Inspired by the British invasion, DC Comics publishes Swing with Scooter, a series about a singer taking refuge in a small U.S. town.
  • Swing with Scooter co-writer Barbara Friedlander becomes the first woman on the DC Comics editorial staff to work on comics outside the romance line since World War II.
  • Proving that summer’s long been the time for super hero movies, the Batman theatrical film—featuring most of TV show cast—debuts on August 3.
  • The New Adventures of Superman debuts on Saturday morning, September 10 on CBS.
  • Dickie Goodman records the novelty song “Batman & His Grandmother,” which will ultimately peak at #70 on the charts.
  • Plastic Man returns to the limelight, first with a cameo in House of Mystery #160, then with his own DC Comics issue.
  • Adventure Comics #353 features the first lasting super hero death in DC Comics history when Ferro Lad dies saving Earth from the villainous Sun-Eater.

Holy historical journey, Batman! So were you around in 1966? How many of these events from DC Comics’ past do you remember? And have you read Batman '66 yet?

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