Category Archives: 1966 Batman References

Robin is Retiring… But the Garnick Justice League is Stronger Than Ever

The Boy Wonder Bids Farewell

The Boy Wonder Bids Farewell

No matter how worthy the cause, my rule is that you can only (aggressively) bang on the same friends’ doors for donations once a year. Go beyond that and they won’t be thinking of you as altruistic. They’ll stop taking your phone calls.

For the past four years, I’ve run in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) HERO race with my kids in superhero costumes. No parent ever wants to get to know the inside of a children’s hospital, and unfortunately, I’ve spent way too much time there.

Having a strong personal connection to a charity — and sharing it — is probably the most effective fundraising approach possible. People that I’ve chosen to share my story with have been exceptionally generous. However, a few months ago, I also tapped deep into my network to support One Run For Boston, a fundraising race to help victims of the Boston Marathon terror attacks.

This is an issue that’s surfaced with the soaring popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. How can you pit one charity up against another? People only have so much to donate. How do you weigh the merits of helping a bombing victim with a prosthetic limb vs. a baby who needs to eat with a feeding tube?

Again, you can’t ask everyone you know to support everything you care about or every charity event you participate in. Most of the time I resolve this by making a modest donation (whatever I can afford) to charity events I’m part of — or figure out how to contribute in volunteer hours — and don’t “bother” others.

I’m making an exception this time.

The superhero race is my way of expressing gratitude that I have to spend far less time in children’s hospitals these days. My family does not even use CHaD at all currently, but I want to support other parents who unexpectedly feel like they were smacked in the face with a brick.

On a lighthearted note, one of my family’s most important decisions will be which heroes to be this year. Last year, my son was Wolverine, my daughter was Robin the Girl Wonder, and I was Robin the Boy Wonder for the second time in a row. It’s time to retire the mask, but the Garnick Justice League will be coming back stronger than ever this year!

Those of you who know my story can support us in the October 26th CHaD race at my team page.

Those of you unfamiliar with CHaD or who are stumbling on my blog for the first time can still help an amazing cause.

As for our new alter-egos… stay tuned!

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Superhero Race

Holy Estrogen! Batman With Breasts?


Too Pretty to Be Batman?

I was in Double Midnight Comics over the weekend and was thrilled to stumble across what I thought was one of my favorite action figures from childhood. Readers of this blog are familiar with my love for all things 1966 Batman, and it was awesome to see Adam West make a comeback in the toy aisle.

But wait a minute: Aren’t those eyes a little too bright and cheery to be Batman’s?  Hey, are those girl’s eyes? — and doesn’t it look a little like there are breasts protruding underneath the bat logo?  Continue reading

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The Garnick Justice League is now the “SuperFriends & SuperAcquaintances”

Calling All Heroes: The Garnick Justice League is expanding!

Calling All Heroes: The Garnick Justice League is expanding!

The Garnick Justice League is rebranding.

In an effort to be more inclusive and tolerant of non-Garnick runners at the 2013 CHaD Hero Ripcord 5K, I’m recruiting more superheroes and am even open to the idea of people thinking beyond the universe of 1966 Batman characters.

The October 20 event in Hanover, NH, which also includes a half marathon, benefits the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

I’ve enjoyed the past two years (as Robin and Spider-Man) and am now selectively recruiting new runners for my “SuperFriends and SuperAcquaintances” team. The real SuperFriends all weren’t BFFs, so I’d like to create a mish-mash of people from every area of my life — mixing high school friends with cousins with co-workers with neighbors (along with their inner circles).

You don’t have to be a die-hard runner (I am not). You can just run the one-miler if you’d like — or even walk. I’m just aiming to surround my daughter, Batgirl, with a fun group of costumed characters.

Please email me at darrengarnick (at) gmail (dot) com if you’d like to join us!

Best part about the run? It’s in October and ideal for running in costume.  I don’t how HOW the Darth Vader guy below runs in California’s Death Valley, which can get into the 130-degree Fahrenheit range. The New Hampshire/Vermont region is much more palatable for being out of breath.

"Darth Valley," California. Double click to learn more about the most insane runner in America.

“Darth Valley,” California. Double click to learn more about the most insane runner in America.

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Death Valley Workout, Excuses to Dress as a Superhero, Wonder Woman

Holy Presidential Beef Jerky, Batman! The Best Political Gifts of 2012… (And The Best One for Me)

2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Channel the 1966 Batman Villains -- a masterpiece by artist Jon Stich (Click here to see more of Jon's work)

2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Channel the 1966 Batman Villains — a masterpiece by artist Jon Stich (Click here to see more of Jon’s work)

This Jon Stich original painting is selling for $700 and it would be living over my mantle tomorrow if I had that kind of disposable income. Personally, I think the artwork is worth at least 10 times that.  Look at the perfect match-ups between Batman’s mortal enemies and Barack Obama’s top archnemesises (what is the plural of “archnemesis?”)

In an interview for The Hill, D.C.’s Congressional newspaper, Stich told me he assigned the 1966 Batman villains Republican alter-egos based on facial characteristics and not personalities. He said he would have given the same treatment to Democrats if this had been an election year for them.

This masterpiece is the top pick in my 2012 Political Gift Guide, which you can read below. Limited edition prints are far more affordable at $15 a pop. Check out the rest of your wondrous Christmas and Chanukah options here:

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide -- Part One (Double click to enlarge)

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part One (Double click to enlarge)


The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide -- Part Two (Double click to enlarge)

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part Two (Double click to enlarge)

Inspired to do some shopping?  The links to buy are below. Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these companies and share their kitschiness only out of a pure love for the genre.

WHERE TO BUY (Double Click for Instant Gratification)
1. Gotham City GOP Painting
2. Republican Lady Fashion Dolls
3. Barack Obama Meathead Mosaic
4. Political Puppet Hecklers
5. Wall Street Victim Figurines
6. PEZidents – Presidential PEZ Dispensers
7. Joe Biden Laser-Etched Earrings
8. Pooping Commander-in-Chief

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Election 2012, Politically Incorrect Products, Why Can't I Be President?

Photo Finish: A Salute to the Garnick Justice League

Finish Line 2012 - CHaD Superhero Race

Finish Line 2012 – CHaD Superhero Race

Just a shoutout to my teammates from the Garnick Justice League, who helped Robin the Boy Wonder raise $3,473.64 for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Superhero Race!  (Note the 1966-style Batman costumes. None of that gloomy Dark Knight stuff for us!)

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Which costume would you rather wear with running shoes?

Costumed theme 5K races are becoming far more commonplace. Which outfit would you rather wear to a wedding?

I’ll be huffing and puffing 5 kilometers in disguise over the next month, channeling the spirit of a bridesmaid and Robin the Boy Wonder in two separate charity races.

Would be honored if you’d consider pledging a donation of any size to the Runaway Bridesmaids team (fighting human trafficking) at New York’s 5th Avenue Mile Race this weekend — or to the Garnick Justice League, which is again battling for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) at their Superhero 5K.

The homemade Robin costume is as advertised.  The dresses above, however, bear no resemblance to the one which will be draped on my frame this Saturday.

That’s a fashion secret about to be revealed in a Men’s Fitness magazine exclusive.

Really.  Stay tuned….

UPDATE: Here’s the reveal.

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Excuses to Dress as a Superhero

I’m flattered, but sorry, I am NOT legendary actor Burt Ward!

Comic book writer Darren Garnick (left) chats with a young reader about the nuances of the 1966 Batman TV series during “Free Comic Book Day.”

Ever try to (deliberately) give away your creative work?

As strange as it sounds, there was still competition during “Free Comic Book Day,” the publishing industry’s savvy national promotion to get young kids to put down video games long enough to read a few cartoon panels printed on real paper.

Children of all ages recently got to pick up to 8 free sample titles, including “Yo Gabba Gabba,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “SpongeBob,” “Superman,” “Green Lantern,” “Peanuts,” “Star Wars,” and “The Simpsons.”

Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, NH

So generating interest in “Burt Ward, Boy Wonder,” my time travel adventure story about the actor who played “Robin” in the 1966 Batman TV series, required an enthusiastic sales pitch.

Luckily, I had help from some people in high places to promote the Bluewater Comics release this July:

The Dark Knight explores his sitcom past!

Oh, and there were more character endorsements from heroes who simply can’t wait to see how the Boy Wonder thwarts an evil Plutonian plot to take over the Earth — and a madcap scheme to alter the course of the Revolutionary War by supplementing British forces with robots!

As required by the Comic Book Constitution, the dialogue includes lots of exclamation points!

Continue reading

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Republicans in Tights: The Superhero Primary

If you could be any superhero in the universe, who would you be and why?

That’s the question my nine-year-old son, Ari, just asked most of the Republican presidential candidates — in the spirit of the kind of deep pop cultural conversations that we have all the time.

Except that Ari is a much tougher interviewer with me, usually demanding to know my Five Most Favorite and Five Least Favorite characters across various movies, TV shows, comic books and literature.

Sometimes, the discussion veers off into villains, as well. For the record, no one tops any of the three Catwomen (Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether) from the 1966 Batman series.

This might come across as a cute kids video, but if you’re curious what it all means politically, please check out my “Republicans in Tights: Behind the Scenes of the Superhero Primary” column at The Atlantic.

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Election 2012, The Superhero Primary

Fruitman: The One Superhero I Wish They Brought Back to Life

Harvey Comics superhero "Fruitman" was a mild-mannered grocery clerk who could transform himself into any kind of produce! (Click pic for larger image)

While fully immersed in journalism research on the history of comic books — particularly the anti-Nazi attitudes of Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain America — I accidentally stumbled upon the most scrumptious premise for a superhero.

Fruitman” is a chubby grocer (alterego: Percival Pineapple) who can transmogrify into any kind of fruit to more effectively combat crime. As a lemon, he can immobilize his enemy by squirting juice in his eye. As a watermelon, he can conk the guilty culprit on the head. And never underestimate the power of a strategically placed banana peel to make the mightiest villain slip and twist an ankle.

Even more delicious: the SuPEARhero’s insatiable appetite for goofy puns.

The character was the brainchild of Harvey Comics, the masterminds behind “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Richie Rich,” “Baby Huey,” and “Sad Sack.” He was usually a supporting actor in teen queen Bunny Ball‘s comic book, but did get one chance at his own issue (above), which must have gone splat.

Check out the courage of Fruitman as he thwarts a bank robbery:

Never underestimate the Power of Citrus!

And it looks like he’s also irresistible to the ladies, especially in produce form:

Saving an island princess from cannibals comes with sweet dividends.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that “Fruitman” was published in the late 1960s, the hey day of the kitschy Batman series.

You can have your gloomy, brooding Caped Crusader.  Serve us up some more Fruitman!

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Support the Garnick Justice League for Children’s Hospital

Yes, comic book geeks, we do know that Marvel superheroes were not part of the Justice League!

This Saturday, if Hurricane Irene doesn’t turn New Hampshire into a pile of toothpicks, there will be a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for “Most Superheroes in One Place.”

I’m a sucker for Guinness Records, having recently been lured to participate in the World Dental Flossing Record event at the Lowell Spinners baseball game.

My son Ari (aka Golden Age Flash) and I (aka Spider-Man) will be huffing and puffing in the CHaD Hero Fun Run to benefit Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. The Garnick Justice League team would appreciate your support.

Even if we are picking up pine tree limbs off our street this weekend instead of running around with hundreds of Batmans and Wonder Women, your donations still will make a huge difference in kids’ lives.

Thank you!

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Excuses to Dress as a Superhero