Unseen Batman Adventures from Beyond Time!!

The other day I was cleaning up the studio, and I came across the one and only rejected cover I did for the Batman Adventures series.  It was the original version of the cover for #4 (from the first series).  It’s never been put online or shown at a convention or anything, so I thought it might be fun to show it off here.  It was rejected because 1)  It’s not very active, and 2)  The logo was too small in the image.  I’m not sure why I penciled and inked it, as mostly we chose covers from layouts, but this one somehow got penciled and inked before everyone decided it possibly sucked.

That’s not the original colour, as it never got THAT far through production.  I just tossed some colours on to give a sense of what it should have looked at in final form.

The story was a two part script about Scarecrow taking away the ability to read from the citizens of Gotham, which naturally frightens everyone.  Here’s the cover we did use…much better in the long run, so no harm done in tossing the first idea.

And just to finish up the thought…here’s Mike Parobeck’s cover for #5, the second of the two parts, which finally featured the not-being-able-to-read aspect of the image from the rejected cover.

There’s still tons of unseen Batman Adventures stuff in my studio, including T-Shirt designs, style-guide art, coloring book covers, product art and bunches of stuff….but this is the only actual comic cover we never used.  Since I found it this week, I put it online this week.

Maybe not the greatest work I ever did, but still fun for folks to see it, nevertheless.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Batman Moment of the Day:

I wish I knew who created this image originally so I could credit their great work.  I saw it online a couple of weeks ago and tried to track down who did it, but have turned up nothing so far.  If you know who made this, please let me know, he deserves a salute!


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27 responses to “Unseen Batman Adventures from Beyond Time!!

  1. Joe E Dangerously

    Actually, I have seen that. I just did a quick search through my old TBA issues, and sure enough it does appear in the letters column of issue #4. I KNEW I’d seen it! It was colored, but it’s slightly different. Scarecrow is colored in various shades of red.

    By the way, the original caption reads: “NOT NEXT ISSUE’S COVER…BUT COOL ANYWAY, ISN’T IT?”

    It’s nice to know the story behind the image. I actually have collected every DCAU comic and re-read them on occasion, so more TBA stuff would be really appreciated!

    -Joe E Dangerously

  2. Whoops! So it’s not even unseen? That shows you that my mind is a complete sieve. It’s all the LDS I did at Berkeley. Sorry for misrepresenting the whole thing, I’ll head to my corner now.

  3. Great to see how the ideas flow from artist to artist, evolving at each step.


    Steven G. Willis

  4. scott (the other one)

    I have a vague recollection that there was some concern it’d be insulting to the illiterate. It may be the shrooms in my coffee talking, but that’s my recollection. DC was wicked sensitive to such things at the time, running into a brouhaha during the Death of Superman run and later getting slammed by some politician for having a cigarette billboard in one of the Batbooks, so they were on the lookout for anything which might bring down further wrath.

    Or maybe folks just thought it was too quiet.

    [Also too: at one point, wasn’t there discussion about having the book be upside down?]

  5. I rather enjoy the alternate/proposed cover. It combines the right flair of the dramatic and the absurd. As a side note, from reading the comments, could you share with us the story about all the Latter Day Saints (LDS) you did at Berkeley? I sense a Big Love story coming on….

  6. I remember buying and reading those issues all those years ago. At the time, our grandfather picked up my brother and me every other Saturday while our mom and grandmother ran their consignment shop. He took me to a local comic shop and turned me loose with $20. Then we’d pick up Hardee’s (remember when they had buckets of chicken?) and go back to his house. I still think of fried chicken when I think of Batman Adventures.

    I have to ask: do you think the original cover might have been approved later in the series, after it had really established itself? I remember when Batman Adventures first hit the market, it was presented more as a title aimed at younger viewers. Then the animated series and the comic both zigged when the marketing department zagged and began presenting genuinely thoughtful, sophisticated–even, at times, mature–stories.

    Lastly…do you like Italian?

    • According to Scott Peterson (editor of the original series, responding to this post earlier in this thread as “the other Scott”) it MIGHT have involved not offending the illiterate, so who knows what would have happened a few months later?
      As for presenting ourselves as a kid’s book: I promise you, Burchett, Parobeck, Puckett and myself never considered this a kid’s Batman book, even though we were all aware the publishers considered it that (and our beloved leader, Scott, as he moved from editor to writer towards the middle of the run, no doubt felt the same way, but he’s on this thread to speak for himself.) My take was, “As long as there’s no overt sexuality, and no references to politics or current events, we just present the best Batman stories we can manage, and see how it plays out.” Kid’s don’t care for politics, don’t know squat about world events and understand romance, but find sex icky. (Much like the average middle-aged American, really). Other than that, we never altered what we did for the audience… There was no zigging and zagging that I knew of.
      And sure, I love Italian. (The food, right?)

  7. Oh, I know you guys never treated it like a kid’s comic. That’s what made it great. I’m pretty sure most of us regular readers had no difficulty recognizing the level of thought and care that went into the title. My zigging/zagging remark was meant to denote that you guys turned in something far more thoughtful and grown-up than DC seemed to have expected. For instance, I remember the blurbs in Direct Currents in the beginning being a lot punchier for Batman Adventures than the other Bat-titles. Lots of excitement! Fun! Aimed at younger readers! That kind of stuff.

    My question was simply whether DC had enough confidence that the title had established its tone and direction sufficiently to accommodate a cover that featured Batman and Robin looking at a book instead of fighting thugs against a blazing Gotham (clearly more kinetic and likelier to catch the eye of what they seem to have felt was the “intended” audience).

    And yes, I meant the food. But then, you knew that, didn’t you?

  8. Okay…I see what you mean. Yes, they did let the covers become more “sophisticated” as the series went on. I recall some of the later covers, with the isolated tattooed arm holding the dagger, or the phony toy box cover, or the sad Joker cover, that probably wouldn’t have passed muster in the earlier days, yes. But this cover was intended for the series before we’d really gotten started, so DC couldn’t have known what was coming for the series with Puckett’s clever scripts and Parobeck’s heartbreakingly lovely artwork to follow soon after.

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  10. I always saw the book as sort of, I dunno, Batman extract or Batman concentrate: the essential core of Batman with anything extraneous boiled away and filtered out. Nothin’ but the Bat.

    (“Heartbreakingly lovely” is such a lovely and apt way to describe Mike’s art.)

  11. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but I don’t mind saying that Batman Adventures stands with Legends of the Dark Knight as my favorite Bat-title. LOTKD’s structure of rotating creative teams in and out with each story arc made it less consistent, but with the valleys came the peaks. Incidentally, I loved the terrible trio of Mr. Nice, the Perfessor and Mastermind. I don’t know how they would have played in the animated series or any of the other Bat-books, but I loved them in Batman Adventures. Oh, and Mr. Peterson? You narrated a magnificent letters column.

    [There; I’m done singing the praises of the comic. For now.]

  12. Travis: Big Daddy Scott P. (a nickname no one ever used before this moment) was responsible for a hell of a lot more than the letters column, so let’s not damn with faint praise. I’d argue that Scott is the single most important creator who worked on the book. Besides launching it as editor, and hiring most of the well known talent that participated, Scott’s editorial hand was very present in many of the best issues of the book ( He certainly helped me to be a better writer)…and let’s never forget that Scott scripted more issues of the assembled series than anyone other than your humble blogger. By my count, I wrote (or drew) about fifty-five issues, and Scott wrote about forty-five, including one of the best Catwoman stories ever published by DC. When you add up his two runs (editorial and scripting) he put his hand in about two thirds of the complete run, and is integral to the series’ success.
    Ty the Giant Suck Up.
    Hey wait…he can’t employ me any more, so why am I being so nice?

  13. I’m well aware of Mr. Peterson’s talent and contributions to the title and you’re right to call me out for glossing over them–however unintentional it may have been on my part. As a younger reader, I always found myself fascinated by letters columns. It was that page (sometimes two) that fostered my sense of community with my fellow comic book readers; I didn’t really know anyone personally who read them until much later. A bad letters column may have made me indifferent, but a good letters column could cultivate what sociologists call an “in group.” Mr. Peterson directed my in group. I never wrote into any of the comics I read; I never had anything original to say or ask. (Which doesn’t seem to prevent me from posting here on your blog, you may have noticed!)

    While I’m on the topic of letters columns, does anyone else remember Uncle Elvis? That guy was published so much I think I saw his name more than any writer or illustrator!

  14. For me, the letterhack of all time was The Mad Maple (or TM Maple towards the latter half of his career), a fellow countryman actually named John Burke, who wrote a letter to almost every issue of Superman, Action, Flash, Green Lantern and Spider-Man when I was a teenager. I’ll bet Burke had a letter printed in at least one DC title at least once per month for ten years.

  15. TM Maple wrote to, like, EVERY comic book published in the ’80s, didn’t he? RIP Mr Burke. And yeah, Uncle Elvis was cool too.

    I’m not positive, but were the covers (original and otherwise) even printed in the trade for the Batman Adventures? I’ve read it from the library fairly recently, and remembered the Scarecrow/illiteracy story, but don’t remember the covers. Ironically, I WOULD have remembered the “book” cover…

    And on CBR’s front page (I think you need to scroll down a ways at this point), there’s a feature about the late great Mike Parobeck. I haven’t gotten a chance to read it myself yet, but if there’s plenty of his art, it’s bound to be awesome.

    I wanted to know about the Mormon girls and you at Berkeley, too.

  16. Aw, man… I like that unused cover a whole lot. But, yeah, I guess in the earlier issues, having Robin getting punched is more exciting than seeing him learn to read. Ho-hum.

    Mike Parobeck’s cover for #5 is indeed great. I just read this fantastic retrospective on him: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30773

  17. scott (the other one)

    Ty the Guy is far too generous. I was largely along for the ride and hanging on for dear life.

    Also, I have said this to many people over the years but I’m not sure I’ve ever said it in print, so here goes: Ty may very well be the single most talented multi-skill individual to ever work in our field. A great writer, a killer penciller, a great and versatile inker, a fine musician and talented actor? Homeslice even letters! How can mere mortals compete with that? He’s the Willie Mays of comics.

  18. Wow Ty, this cover is AWESOME! How could I get a copy of this one!!!

    • By an amazing co-incidence, my wife is currently colouring this to be an available print/poster for a convention later this summer. When we have ’em ready, we’ll certainly offer it through our website as well…

  19. It’s great to see this bit of (sorta) unpublished work. I’ve also always wondered about the free illustrations Mike P offered to two lucky winners in every month’s letter column. Two images were published in the column as examples of what could be won (one featuring the Scarecrow tossing a pumpkin at Batman, the other I can’t recall) but I always wondered how long that contest ran for, and how many beautiful, unseen images of Batman Adventures art some lucky readers have tucked away in their desk drawers. Looking back, it really was generous of Mike to be willing to do that. Or was it a group effort, Ty and Scott?

    Well, whoever thought up that “thank you” to the readers has a heart of gold. I think Mike (and Rick?) were even willing to draw the character of the winner’s choice!

  20. scott (the other one)

    The idea was all Mike’s, as a way of trying to keep sales up (although once Rick found out about it, he insisted upon inking them, equally selfless guy he is), as well as keep himself busy—Mike was that rare artist who was actually faster than many of the writers with whom he worked.

    The contest lasted until the series ended, two a month for, what, two and a half years? And some of them were just stunningly beautiful. If I recall correctly, and I may not, then-future Batman writer Devin Grayson won one, long before she turned pro. Hopefully Rick kept good copies—I know we made xeroxes before we sent them out, but that was a long, long time ago, and I suspect those photocopies went to the recycling center sometime earlier this century.

    • Wow, I didn’t know Mike kept it going for his entire run. Another reason to miss him. Right up until his last few months, Mike consistently turned out artwork that was essentially perfect. Every line exactly right, every page as readable as it could be. Of all the folks I collaborated with over the years, Mike still stands as one of the best ever, and it’s shocking to think that it’s been more than fifteen years since we lost him. I have a stack of his originals in my house from issues we did together, and they choke me up every time I see ’em.

  21. I picked up a back-issue of something a few years back and saw an ad for The Batman and Robin Adventures with the duo swooping down over the signal with Gordon, Montoya and Bullock below. It was clearly Mike Parobeck’s art, and I remember thinking “Man, it stinks that he never lived to draw anything in that second series.” I’d never seen that great ad back when B&RA was first hitting stands…and I’m kind of happy about that. If I had, I would have surely felt his absence even more.

    That splash page in the TBA story “Little Red Book” – the one where Batman swooshes over Thorne’s swimming pool – is possibly my favourite image of his. Just breath-taking. Does anyone still sell Parobeck art? If I ever bought of a page of his, it’d be that one.

    Scott, if you wouldn’t mind asking Rick at some point if those copies of the winning images are still around, it would be much appreciated. They must have been amazing…and I’m sure fans would love to see them, given that they were a labor of love.

  22. Uploaded one I found this one on eBay awhile back ago.
    Who’d wanna sell one of Mike Parobeck’s pages?!

  23. scott (the other one)

    Alas, Rick says he never kept copies of the pinups.

  24. Alas indeed😦 Thanks for checking though, Scott. See Ty? It’s good to hold on to everything (in one version or another!) Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

    Hmmm…perhaps I start a blog where I try to track down all the contest winners and see how the experience of getting original art from TBA affected them. *rubs chin thoughtfully*

    DJ, thanks for the upload. That’s really, really cool! From the title, though, I can’t recall which story this is the opening page for. The one with the former Olympian who dons a Batman-like costume to keep himself going? No…it’s probably another one. Thanks for sharing it though!

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