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Cool Comic Covers: Batman 510

I’ve got a lot to say about this week’s cool cover. But we’ve got to start by talking about how Kelley Jones draws Batman’s ears:

Look at those honking things! They’re massive! If this battle between Batmen was waged only with ears, Bruce would surely win.

Over the years, I’ve come around from being a Kelley Jones Bat-ears hater to a Kelley Jones Bat-ears lover. Don’t get me wrong; Jones’s Bat-ears still make no sense. Imagine Batman trying to walk through a doorway (literally any doorway) with those things. Imagine him trying to sit in the Batmobile (“Why can’t I close the canopy? Alfred! Alfred, I need help getting my ears to fit in the car!”). Imagine him talking to Commissioner Gordon and Commissioner Gordon taking him seriously. All these things are impossible.

But! That makes these the most comic book-y Bat-ears that have ever existed. (With perhaps Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr.’s coming in second.) And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to embrace the absurdities and impossibilities that make superheroes truly great. Thus, my revised opinion on Kelley Jones’s Bat-ears.

We’re four paragraphs in and only covered Batman’s ears, so here’re some additional quick hits about this cover, before I leave you to resume your Sunday:

  • This is part seven of KnightsEnd, the storyline in which Bruce Wayne returns from exile to reclaim the Mantle of the Bat from Jean-Paul Valley. KnightsEnd is my favorite Batman storyline, and this part of it is a banger. (Notably, it’s the start of Wayne and Valley’s decisive confrontation.)
  • You’ll notice how beat up this issue is (wear and tear on the edges and corners, a little bit of peeling away from the staples). I actually used to own two different copies of this comic; I gave one away and kept the one that was in better condition. Did I mention KnightsEnd is my favorite Batman story?
  • Why did I own two copies of this comic? Glad you asked. Every so often, I’d pick up Batman from the pharmacy my mom worked at. I got my first copy of Batman 510 from there. Later, I found a pack of the entire KnightsEnd storyline at Toys “R” Us (a now-mostly-defunct American toy store chain). I don’t know how or why Toys “R” Us sold the comics it did; their selection consisted of a) entirely random three-packs and b) some shrinkwrapped collected storylines. This comic came from one of the latter packs. You can tell it was never intended for individual sale because, in place of a barcode, it says DC UNIVERSE. I tried to look up more about how these packs found their way into Toys “R” Uses, but couldn’t really find anything …

(Want to check out more posts in the Cool Comic Covers series? If so, click here.)

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