The Two-Page Spread That Proves ROSS ANDRU Should Have Drawn a Lot More BATMAN

Oh, if only…

I’ve started a new reading project: all the Batman team-ups in the classic Brave and the Bold series, interspersed with the original, bifurcated run of Teen Titans from the ’60s and ’70s.

It’s been groovy, mostly because I forgot just how much fun Bob Haney’s stories were. He wrote both titles and while some like to poke fun at his outlandish plots and go-go-go dialogue, I find it all immensely refreshing and, more importantly, incredibly fun.

What a concept for comics!

I’ve read a couple years’ worth already and it’s been an education on other fronts, too. Take 1967’s The Brave and the Bold #74, featuring Batman and the Metal Men, for example. The art’s by Ross Andru (pencils) and Mike Esposito (inks), a pair of artists who rarely visited Gotham.

But good heavens, check out this spread that pops right after the opening splash page:

Great googly moogly, would you look at that?

Andru’s going with the Carmine Infantino-infused house style of the time, naturally, but this is the kind of action-packed layout you just didn’t see during most of Batman’s Silver Age.

Between the movement, the angles and even the Spider-Man joke, the Caped Crusader’s having a great time hustling through Gotham City — and boy I could look at this spread all day.

Here’s each page, so you can get an even closer look:

Besides enjoying it on its own terms, I can’t help but think what Andru would have done with Batman in the more artistically mature ’70s. I mean, just look at this golden double-pager from 1974’s classic Amazing Spider-Man #136, featuring Andru’s pencils:

Now imagine that’s Batman vs. the Joker.

Ach, if only.

MORE

— 13 Real-Life NEW YORK Landmarks That ROSS ANDRU Tucked Into SPIDER-MAN. Click here.

— PEAK SPIDER-MAN: The Enduring Power of the CONWAY-ANDRU Team. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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17 Comments

  1. Bob Haney is one of the most entertaining writers to ever grace comics! He is criminally underrated & overlooked.

    As for Ross Andru – I never tire of his Art. And yes, those Batman pages are so brilliant!

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    • Couldn’t agree more. Always loved Mr Haney, who wrote my single favourite Batman story ever, the classic B&B team-up with The Atom, ‘The Corpse That Wouldn’t Die!’ in which the Caped Crusader solves a crime *while dead*. No matter how many times I re-read it, I still laugh my socks off at the sheer deranged audacity of it all, and how freely the material is put together. I think of Haney as kind-of a writerly equivalent to George Herriman; no matter how strange, incongruous or just plain crazy they appear to be, things happen in his comics just because they can. He was a working comics writer when comics didn’t bear as much cultural weight and things weren’t so serious. His attitude reflects that and I think that’s very healthy.

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      • Not only do I agree with your insight, I agree that that Batman/Atom story is the greatest B&B story ever!

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  2. The layouts are great. But his Batman always looks strangely off model to my eyes. Too stocky and not enough black highlights in the costume, even by silver age standards.

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  3. Although I never cared much for Andru’s art, I have to say in retrospect it is growing on me. My issues were 2, the faces weren’t unique enough (many artists suffer from this) and the toes were always pointed (Spider-man). He doesn’t do any of that in this two pager. In fact his Batman face could be stolen by the cartoon animators in 68 and beyond, and his thicker Batman from the guide book. The action is great, reminding me of a Ditko series. Now there’s a guy who drew unique faces and body types.

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  4. I have to say, that is a darker, more gothic atmosphere Batman than we saw much in the Silver Age. Neal Adams used to take credit for changing the B&B scripts he was given to make them take place at night, in order to nudge Batman back toward his creature of the night roots. But here we have Bob Haney scripting a moonlit Gotham nightscape 5 issues before Adams showed up. Interesting!

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  5. I look forward to more of your insights from your readings of B&B and TT. I think Haney did a great job pairing Batman with the guest star of the month in a relatively believable way in B&B. He wrote some entertaining stories and usually wrapped them up in a stand-alone issue!

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  6. I respect Andru and agree his layouts were good. But I stand by my 12-year old self, who was heart-broken when he took over Amazing Spider-Man in the 70’s. Ditko, Romita, Kane – and even John Buscema, who hated drawing Spidey – all added something new & exciting to the mix. Alas, old webhead became more generic & corporate once Andru came aboard.

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  7. This somehow brings to mind how great a Jim Aparo Spider-Man would’ve been. I’d heard rumor of it.

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  8. I totally forgot about Ross Andru’s amazing artwork, and I also own both this, and the 1968 BRAVE AND THE BOLD with Batman and The Spectre, so his artwork from the 1960s is up there with Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Curt Swan, and Murphy Anderson’s outstanding artwork from DC’s better days! Ross Andru also drew for THE FLASH in 1968-1969

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  9. Andru’s art had a lot of dynamism that is often overlooked when the big Silver Age artists are named. He was just branching out into other DC heroes beyond Wonder Woman and the Metal Men when he was scooped up by Marvel.

    I always wondered if Andru drew this ad for the Mego Magnetic Batman and Robin figures. It certainly looks similar to his take on Batman. https://blogintomystery.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/batrobmag.jpg

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  10. Longtime reader, first time commenter. First, thank you for all that you do. This is a very entertaining, informative blog. You knew that. Second, wow, Ross Andru should’ve definitely done more Batman! I was an 80’s reader, but I did read a lot of Andru’s Spiderman run when I was a kid. I really like his art, that era of his is very recognizable. He’s somehow an underrated Spiderman artist I think. Thanks again!

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  11. I agree with the poster that Andru’s Batman in these pages is a little too chunky although the action is unquestionably dynamic. However, Andru did a number of covers for Batman and Detective Comics in the early eighties which show that in his mature style he was a great Batman penciller.

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  12. I agree with the previous poster that Ross Andru’s Batman on these pages is too chunky although the layout is dynamic. However, he did a number of covers in his mature style for Batman and Detective Comics in the early 1980’s that show he did have it in him to be one of the great Batman artists.

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  13. My 12 year old self was very HAPPY with Ross Andru’s cover to BATMAN #330.

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