Its official, Blair has been retconned out of existence and current ATR continuity. According to the powers that be, I have always been the writer of ATR and Blair?s columns don?t officially ?count? anymore. At least until the next crisis.

From the CyberDen

Former Batman editor and writer Denny O?Neil has recently spoken on his message board about his confidentiality agreement in regards to the Batman Begins movie novelization:

    Before I began writing the novelization of the current Batman movie and did some consulting on the video game of the same name, I signed a non-disclosure agreement. I promised not to go around blabbing about the film’s plot, characters and/or surprises. Mum was the word, lest my lack of discretion incur some unspecified but presumably hideous sanction. I neither noticed nor thought to ask how long I was supposed to honor the contract. Forever? Or just until the film was in wide release?

Denny goes on to say how he will decide to play it safe for now and keep mum on his involvement with the movie adaptation, but before signing off he has this interesting tidbit to add:

      But I don’t think anyone in a corporate office would mind if I asked you for help, so I will. What I need is a catalogue of all the comic book influences in the movie. For example, one scene involving a lot of bats and an insane asylum was obviously adapted from Batman: Year One. Another, involving the approach to a mountaintop monastery, was probably inspired by a story Christopher Priest wrote. There’s some of my old stuff in the mix, too.


      But what else?


    Anything you can do to fill in the blanks will be mightily appreciated. Unless I feel a chill breath on the back of my neck, I’ll write more about this next time.

Considering the fact that there are rumors surrounding Paul Levitz starting to pay out bonuses to comics creators who?s comics helped inspire Batman Begins (Denny, for instance, created Ra?s Al Ghul), this little fact finding mission is certainly interesting.

Denny was renown for taking good care of the writers under his purview in the Bat-office back in the day and this may be a case of an old editor out to make sure that all the creators who added to the Bat-mythos and helped make the recent movie a success get the credit (and perhaps monetary gain) they deserve.

So if any faithful Batman readers want to contribute to the Batman Begins unofficial list of sources, then go post on Denny?s message board and tell him ATR sent ya!

And just to show that I?m not all talk and no action, here are some obscure bits of comic trivia that made it into the movie:

  • Alan Grant came up with the idea that the tunnels under Wayne Manor were used by an ancestors of Bruce Wayne?s to help runaway slaves get to Canada and formed part of the underground railroad in Shadow of the Bat #45.
  • Chuck Dixon came up with the idea that Bruce Wayne developed and ordered (clandestinely) most of his bat weapons and vehicles in the pages of Detective Comics #0.

This Has A ?Is Ra?s Al Ghul Immortal Or Does He Just Have A Flair For Theatrics?? Factor Of Seven Out Of Ten

Give A Little Bit

With all the hoopla surrounding Wizard World Chicago this weekend, I thought it would be nice to spotlight a small charitable organization that uses comic books to help US soldiers stationed abroad.

Chris Tarbassian of Operation Comix Relief took some time to answer a few questions:

JV: So, tell our readers about Operation Comics Relief. What do you do? How did you guys get started?

CT: Operation Comix Relief (OCR) began in March of 2003 when a co-worker of mine (Major Tom Chafe R.N., U.S.A.F.) got deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Our intent was to get some comics to him so he could read them but more importantly, give them to the wounded as he had direct contact with them. By doing so, maybe we could divert them from thinking about their injuries and help them to pass the time.

What happened after that is now history. Comics started pouring in when word got out. Addresses came flooding in, and with what we had, we could ship to any soldier deployed overseas. Why overseas? because those in the U.S. have access to things where overseas it?s not that easy (especially those in hostile areas). Within six months we were shipping globally!

JV: Will people who donate get to see/hear about their gifts to soldiers?

CT: Yes. Most of our communications is done via the internet (e-mail). As the soldiers write, e-mail or send a picture, we put what we get out to our supporters, usually with our monthly newsletter. So as long as we have an e-mail address, it?ll come to them.

More so, if we know where a specific comic came from and it?s in the picture, we usually send it directly to the donor so they can see their comics with the soldiers for themselves.

Recently, we received a picture with comics we received from Silent Devil Comics. So, we sent that right to them. I believe they were pleasantly surprised.

What I?d like to stress though, is that the soldiers write if and when they can. They are under no obligation. This is our gift to them. If they write, great! If not that?s just fine too. Many do, some don?t.

JV: How do donors get in touch with Operations Comix Relief? What kind of donations do you accept/need?

CT: We can be reached via the web at or by writing us at 8 Capri Dr., Framingham, MA 01701.

Our website for those interested is:

As for donations, clearly we?ll take comics as long as they are not adult comics (many countries will not allow these). Our bigger need however, is money for postage; this will always be a need as we have to send the packages via the mail.

Currently, we are confirming the non profit paperwork, so all can and should be able to deduct their donations.

As always, thank you to all of our supporters!

JV: I recently donated some money for postage and a few comics, and I can sincerely tell you that the letters from the soldiers touched my heart.

ATR readers, if you?re sitting on a bunch of comics you do not read anymore, or do not have room for anymore, I highly recommend a small donation to Operation Comix Relief. No matter what your position on the war is, an act of kindness to a poor wounded soldier far away from home is a gesture that someone out there will cherish for the rest of his or her life.

This Has A ?Good Cause? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Tommy?s Heroes

Garth Ennis has a handful of new projects in development for next year including: a JLA Classified arc with John McCrea that will feature the crew from Hitman, a new ongoing creator owned series with Darick Robertson, and a Punisher one-shot with art by John Severin.

This Has A ?Shoot First? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

The Laughing Fish

DC was pleased with fan?s reaction to Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers? Dark Detective Batman mini-series, and are considering giving the creative team a green light to proceed on yet another sequel featuring the caped crusader.

So, if you?re a fan of the Dark Detective as portrayed by this creative team, time to fire off the emails and letters and let DC know you want to see more of them.

Also on his website, Steve lets readers now that Interested fans can also obtain a postcard commemorating Dark Detective II signed by Steve Engleheart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin by sending a self-addressed, stamped, letter-sized envelope to:

Inky Fingers Press
PO Box 894
Woodstock, NY, 12498

Supplies are limited!

This Has A ?Strange Apparitions? Factor Of Seven Out Of Ten

Toon Titans

The Teen Titans cartoon has been renewed for another season, and this promo image was released:

Some guest stars shown above that are slated to appear next season include: Kid Flash, Red Star, Herald, Gnarrk, Jericho, Kole, Pantha, Killowat, Argent, and Bushido.

Not shown above but are confirmed as guest stars are the Doom Patrol and the Brotherhood of Evil.

In other Teen Titans related news, Tony Daniel will return as penciler for issues 30 to 33 in an arc written by regular Titans scribe Geoff Johns.

This Has A ?Titans Together? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

Crisis in Infinite Obscurity

Dan Didio recently revealed to some fans at a convention that DCU editors and writers were trying to come up with who would be the mastermind behind Countdown and the OMAC project. Certain names that were thrown out (prior to it being decided that it would be Max Lord) included King Faraday, Nemesis, and Mr. Jupiter.

Yes, you heard that right: Blue Beetle was almost done in by Mr. Jupiter, an obscure Teen Titans supporting character from the 1970s (mind you he had made a few appearances in the Dan Jurgens Teen Titans series during the 1990s, and he was a psychic and rumored to be one of the world?s richest men so it kinds of works in a strange way)!

But I guess the story would have lacked a certain amount of gravitas had the villain been called Mr. Jupiter. Especially considering Blue Beetle never met him, and no one outside a few teen Titans fans know who the hell he is.

This Has A ?What The Hell Were They Thinking?? Factor Of Six Out Of Ten

If the retconning of Blair as a writer bothers you, remember it?s just an imaginary column!

I?ll be back next week, in the meantime, please be sure to send all tidbits into the new ATR offices at: I?ll be waiting! Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week?s column. It?s really appreciated!

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