BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Take “The Human Target” Out To The Ballgame

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Comic Book universes are huge and diverse, going through countless genres and containing both nitty-gritty realism and utterly fantastic science fiction or fantasy. And yet, they all take place in the same universe, no matter how different they seem. You can get a idea of just how crazy this is by looking at Marvel’s movie/TV empire, where Daredevil and Guardians of the Galaxy are both taking place in the same universe despite the fact that one of them is about a guy beating up mob bosses (and the occasional ninja) while the other one has both a talking raccoon and a talking tree.

However, as a result of this, sometimes characters get lost in the shuffle. They are technically part of the universe, but they rarely interact with it. Maybe it’s because their adventures are on the more mature side, maybe they are stuck in another dimension that the usual heroes don’t go to so often, or maybe, they aren’t seen because that’s just the way they want it…

Such is the case of Christopher Chance, AKA the Human Target. He’s not a completely unknown character- he’s been the subject of two short-lived shows based on his comics (the most notable being a two-season FOX series starring Mark Valley and James Earle Haley), but he’s firmly in the D-list of DC Comics. And those were both pretty different from the comics and had little indication of taking place in a world of DC Comics. In fact, when it was announced that the Human Target would be coming to Arrow, some people were surprised to find out that he even was a DC character. That’s probably because he doesn’t interact with the rest of the DC Universe all that much. Or maybe he does, but we just don’t know it.

Because, you see, the Human Target is a master of disguise. He becomes the would-be assassination victim using heavy prosthetic-work and a knack for copying voices and body language. And in this installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture, Christopher Chance figuratively steps up to the plate:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 10.29.36 AM Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 10.30.43 AMGO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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The 50th BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: DC’s greatest heroes and villains… PLAY BASEBALL? (BLOGATHON ’16)

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

What more can be said about DC Super-Stars #10 that has not already been said? Larry Granillo has looked at it, so did internet-based comics fan extraordinaire Chris Sims, a comic book blog ran a whole series on it, SI Kids actually pulled up WPA for the game, and probably plenty of others have also done a look at it.

But… if there is something better suited for the 50th installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture, this site’s signature series, I don’t know what it is. So buckle up, because here we go with DC Super-Stars #10 from 1976… “The Great Super-Star Game!”

superstargamecoverGO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Strange Sports Stories #1… “TO BEAT THE DEVIL!”

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Last time, I introduced you to “Strange Sports Stories”, the on-and-off anthology of DC Comics’ Science-Fiction and/or Fantasy tales involving sports. That past installment was from the 1960s Brave and The Bold run of SSS, but this time, we’re looking at the Strange Sports Stories stand-alone series, from 1973. It only lasted six issues, but it’s first issue prominently featured baseball (amazingly, it wasn’t in any of the other five issues, and as far as I can tell no sport was featured more than once) in a tale called “To Beat The Devil!”

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Written by Frank Robbins (who was primarily an artist, most notable for having helped create the character of the Man-Bat for DC Comics), penciled by Curt Swan (who is best known for his work on Superman comics) and inked by Dick Giordano (best known for his partnership with artist Neal Adams on Batman and the socially-conscious Green Lantern/Green Arrow book), this tale, as the cover (done by Nick Cardy, who according to Wikipedia is best known for his work with Aquaman and the Teen Titans) indicates, is about a face-off between a baseball team and the devil himself. The Devil, of course, is no stranger to baseball, primarily known for his involvement in baseball-themed musicals, but this is the first appearance by Satan in Bizarre Baseball Culture. Well, unless you count this weird guy from the second AAA Baseball/Marvel comic. I don’t.

Anyway, go below the jump for more:

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: “CHALLENGE OF THE HEADLESS BASEBALL TEAM!”

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

This is gonna be fun. Today, I take my first look at a quintessential part of Bizarre Baseball Culture: “Strange Sports Stories”. A short-lived DC Comics anthology banner that popped up a few times during the 1960s and 1970s- at one point even having it’s own book for six issues- it’s title told you everything you have to know about them: they were sports stories that were strange. Sometimes they would be sports mixed with magic. Other times it would be sports mixed with science fiction. No matter what, though, they were most definitely bizarre. And, so, by definition, all baseball installments of “Strange Sports Stories” are going to be Bizarre Baseball Culture.

And we’ll begin with the very first “Strange Sports Stories” story, from waaaay back in December 1962 or January 1963 (it’s cover date was January, but comics often come out before the cover date, so it likely was already out in December- if not even earlier, as the GCD says it was on stands in late October), in The Brave and The Bold #45, the first “Strange Sports Stories” installment ever: “CHALLENGE OF THE HEADLESS BASEBALL TEAM!”

Note that this isn't an actual picture of my cover- my cover is in sort of crummy shape- the book is over 50 years old, after all.

Note that this isn’t an actual picture of my cover- my cover is in sort of crummy shape- the book is over 50 years old, after all.

Let’s go below the jump for more.

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: The Detroit Tigers, A Talking Tiger, and the Power of SHAZAM!

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Nothing is going to beat Mr. Go. It just can’t be done. But, I’ll give it my best shot by bringing to you a comic from 1977 in which DC’s Captain Marvel and his talking anthropomorphic tiger mascot Tawky Tawny join the Detroit Tigers to defeat a team of alien All-Stars.

It’ll have to do.

SHAZAM1977COVERSCAN

So, here’s Shazam! number 32, from late 1977. I covered most of Captain Marvel’s complicated history (and why most people think he’s called Shazam) way back in May 2012, so if you want to know that, go there. However, an update is in order: DC has more or less given up calling him “Captain Marvel” and now is referring to him as “Shazam”. This is partly because everyone who doesn’t read comic books calls him that anyway, and also partly because Marvel has recently given the title of “Captain Marvel” to a character named Carol Danvers (who appeared as “Ms. Marvel” back in one of the AAA baseball comics) to great success, to the point where it’s thought they might make a movie starring her, likely with the name “Captain Marvel”.

Personally, the Shazam Captain Marvel will always be the real Captain Marvel to me, but, hey, you can’t beat copyright/trademark law, I guess.

(Incidentally, the Hero-Formerly-Known-As-Captain-Marvel-And-Now-Officially-Known-As-Shazam will reportedly be played by The Rock in a future movie.)

(Also, all characters, images and panels from the comic are trademarked and copyrighted to their owners and rights holders, all pictures here are are being used under fair use doctrine and are meant merely to support and enhance the opinions and facts stated in this post.)

But enough Captain Marvel background, go below the jump for an analysis/review of this comic!

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: Green Arrow and Elongated Man in a tale with Baseball

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Earlier this week, the season finale of the second year of Arrow aired. And, to belatedly honor that, here’s a look at the time that Green Arrow and the Elongated Man fought a guy dressed as a calculator during the World Series.

Yes, really.

JUMP for the rest:

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