NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 104: Fatman on Batman

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What’s the difference between a Podcast and a Smodcast? There’s one big difference – a Smodcast is featured on NJ icon Kevin Smith’s network of podcasts available on iTunes. One of them happens to be about one of my favorite subjects in the whole world.

You can hear Smith and a Batman related guest discuss all things Caped Crusader on Fatman on Batman. It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to listen to a podcast all about the nuances of my favorite hero hosted by a reputable source such as Jersey’s own Kevin Smith.

Adam West, Arleen Sorkin, and Kevin Conroy have all been guests on the show. I’ve listened to all the episodes so far and the best guest was Mark Hamill. Hamill has been the voice of the Joker since Batman: The Animated Series, and there’s no one more associated with the character than Hamill. This 2-parter was fascinating and if you’re interested in sampling this podcast – I suggest downloading this episode! Smith delves into all kinds of bat-details, so it’s perfect for Batman and Kevin Smith fans alike.

Gotham Shore by Bill Walko

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Gotham Shore by the phenomenal Bill Walko

Jumping the shark is an understatement – they fist pumped the shark. MTV’s Jersey Shore had it’s time in the sun, but it’s soooo time for it to come to and end. This week the show will begin it’s 6th and final season to the joy of loads of New Jerseyans. Let’s just hope Abed from Community doesn’t ask for it to get 6 seasons and a movie.

It was nice to have the show draw attention to our state, but the stupid stereotypes were and still are annoying. We were the brunt of jokes way before Jersey Shore premiered, and we’ll be the brunt of them 100 years from now, so it doesn’t matter either way. Now we have to deal with lame shows like Made in Jersey. In the future we’ll probably look back fondly on the Jersey Shore and get all fuzzy and nostalgic. Kids in future generations will say “What the hell is a Snooki?” to the amusement of their parents and then score millions of hits on YouTube.

*Artist Bill Walko who created the Batman/Jersey Shore mash-up above will be appearing at this year’s New York Comic Con. Stop over and check out his Deviant Art Page!

Before and After: Silent Bob The Goon

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Technically Bob The Goon came way before Silent Bob, so that rejected Wheel of Fortune clue doesn’t really work. But it is true that there is a connection between these two beloved Bobs – and it’s more than just their names!

Bob The Goon is a character created for the 1989 Batman movie. Played by Jersey City’s own Tracey Walter (who has appeared in TONS of films and TV shows), Bob The Goon was The Joker’s main lackey. Putting it more simply, he was Joker’s NUMBER ONE GUY!!!

5 years after Batman, in 1994, Kevin Smith’s alter ego Silent Bob debuted in his own film Clerks. Silent Bob is the quiet, chilled out partner of his friend stoner friend Jay (Jason Mewes) and they later go onto several more cinematic adventures together.

As recently revealed by Kevin Smith on his Fatman on Batman Podcast, Bob The Goon was actually an inspiration for Smith in creating the Silent Bob character. Episode #8 (available on iTunes) is all about The Dark Knight Rises and like all the rest of the episodes – it’s totally FREE! You can’t beat that, thanks Kevin!

It’s pretty awesome that we New Jersey fanboys can be proud that not only Kevin Smith is a local icon,  but Bob the Goon is as well. Read more about Joker’s #1 guy in this post.

1989 Batmobile Sand Art in Belmar, NJ!

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1989 Batmobile Sand Art in Belmar, NJ photo courtesy of The Bat-Blog

Tommy over at The Bat-Blog is known for consistently providing cool Batman stuff to his readers on a daily basis. Over the weekend the Bat-Blog reported that the “Junior Bat-Squad” created sand art on the beach in Belmar, NJ in the shape of the 1989 Batmobile! These kids did a fantastic job and if you want to see more pics check out the link and the story here:

BATMAN: THE RIDE at Six Flags Great Adventure

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmKLfutZuOo?rel=0]
I’m sure Batman’s life is dangerous and exciting, much like the roller coaster created in his honor. How exactly does the caped crime fighting lifestyle translate into a steel corkscrewing thrill ride? Let’s take a look at Batman: The Ride at one of my favorite places to go in New Jersey, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson.

When Batmania hit with Tim Burton’s 1989 Bat-film, the Bat-symbol was slapped onto everything you could imagine for the next couple of years, including roller coasters in various Six Flags Theme Parks around the country. At the time, Warner Brothers wanted to start competing with Disney theme parks so they started utilizing their DC Comics characters to compete. Batman was the first to be exploited.

The first rollout of Batman: The Ride opened at Six Flags Great America in Chicago in May of 1992 to coincide with the release of Batman Returns a month later. It wasn’t until the next year (May 1993) that the ride opened at Great Adventure. Back when the ride debuted in New Jersey I don’t think I realized that the ride already existed elsewhere. When I was a kid it seemed as if the only Six Flags park was located off exit 7A on the NJ Turnpike, even though that clearly wasn’t the case.
The 1989 movie Batmobile is parked out in front of the entrance to the ride which has always been a highlight for me. At its peak, the ride queue was usually fully packed as it extended through the mock up of Gotham City Park. For most of the the early to mid ’90s I used to wait 2 hours to get on the ride!
Once you get into the loading area Alfred is heard over the speakers telling everyone they have entered the batcave. The bat-costume is on display as well. When the 2 minute ride starts to roll, the unexpected happens: the floor of your car drops out leaving your feet dangling! The ride is one of my favorites and the nonstop thrills it contains are still effective even if you’ve been on the ride a hundred times. Even at almost 20 years old, this old bat still kicks. Of course, I should watch my words because I said that about The Great American Scream Machine and the Green Lantern Coaster replaced it.
Since it felt like there was a constant flurry of Batman stuff happening previously, 1993 felt like a fairly thin year for Batman events. Although, in hindsight, two Batman related events were better than none. At least for the Jersey folks we had the debut of Batman: The Ride at Great Adventure and the release of Batman Mask of the Phantasm later in the year.
Six Flags tried to make lightning strike several times with more Batman related rides, but we’ll get to them in the coming days here at The Sexy Armpit. Do you have fond memories of Batman: The Ride? Do you still enjoy the ride? Let us know in the comments!

Batman Festival in Asbury Park

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkeY8sBRB10?rel=0]

Producer, comic book writer, and Jersey guy Michael Uslan came to Asbury Park last fall to sign his book “The Boy Who Loved Batman” and greet bat-fans. Uslan was instrumental in bringing Batman to the big screen in 1989 and his work on Batman films continues ’til today with his involvement in the latest Nolan franchise. Obviously, I didn’t miss this event and I thought it was awesome that it was held right on one of my all time favorite places to be – the Asbury Park boardwalk. You can read about my experience HERE and also watch BatDave’s video chronicling the event posted above. Since I’m so backed up with my book reading I have yet to begin reading Uslan’s book. Shame on me! I’m hoping to get to it before the end of the summer. The book is available for a reasonable price via this link at Amazon.

Gotham City, NJ: More Evidence!

After my post GOTHAM CITY, NJ? last year became one of the most popular here at The Sexy Armpit (excluding this one of course), I found yet another piece of evidence to back up my theory that Gotham City is actually in New Jersey. If you haven’t seen the Star Ledger Live/NJ.com video where they interview me about my theory, check it out right here: http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2011/11/could_batmans_gotham_city_real.html and here http://www.nj.com/ledgerlive/index.ssf/2011/11/gotham_city_new_jersey_yes_bat.html

If you aren’t familiar with this, there is quite a lot of evidence to prove that Batman actually operates out of New Jersey rather than New York. The trend seemed to start in the mid to late ’80s and early ’90s. As I detailed in the original post there were several occasions that dropped clues and even blatant facts that Gotham was indeed meant to be in NJ. Now, with the release of The Dark Knight Rises upon us, there’s even more of a reason to finally let go of the past and embrace change.

New York City is the greatest city in the world, there’s no doubt about it. It’s sickening amount of notoriety and fame will last eons. Let us, The Garden State, be proud of our connection with Batman – whether it’s a theory of an underground blogger or not. We in Jersey didn’t ask for MTV’s Jersey Shore. How much do you like guidos? That’s exactly how much New Jersey likes them. No silly MTV show being filmed here can ever compare to the fact that The Dark Knight Rises was filmed literally right down the highway in Newark, NJ.

Sandy Hook - Gotham City 

Onto the further evidence that has been collected. I initially discovered this information back in December 2011, but I kept this one under wraps until we arrived at July 2012, in time for the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The excellent horror blogger and movie reviewer Chuck Conry over at Zombies Don’t Run posted several pictures he found of a package containing promotional materials from The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign. The package included a Bane T-Shirt as well as a map of Gotham. Posted above is a shot of this map that depicts a very familiar HOOK.

I’m not referring to Captain Hook or the memorable part of a song…I’m talking about my favorite barrier island: Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is clearly labeled on the promo Gotham map. While this is simply Batman’s movie continuity, there’s still lots of clues in the comics as well. Take for instance Nightwing’s ‘hood, Bludhaven. The crime infested city has been pinpointed by DC Comics as southern New Jersey, possibly Little Egg Harbor, Brigantine, or Atlantic City. There we have hints in the movies and the comics, but what about the ’60s Batman TV show? Yep, we have that covered as well!
In New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments 27 you can read how BATMAN AND NEW GUERNSEY are PURRRFECT TOGETHER!!! 

I was in Newark while the filming of the movie was taking place and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had (Thanks to @BrianDonohue). Walking the streets and seeing Gotham City street signs and passing police cars with Gotham City license plates was incredible, especially since I’m a life long Batmaniac. Needless to say I’ve got my tickets for The Dark Knight Rises and this film is going to be memorable for me for a couple of reasons. Not only is it the last film starring Bale as Batman, but it features plenty of scenes in the subways of Newark and a big fight scene on the steps of Newark’s City Hall! 
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I don’t think you can argue with the piece of evidence posted above. If I convinced my man Eric and his young daughter from all the way across the country in Cali into believers, then that means it’s the real deal! Follow him on Twitter Twitter.com/BubbaShelby ! And if all of my research has proven true, then The Dark Knight Rises is truly a homecoming for Batman. Please feel free to weigh in with your opinion on the actual location of Gotham City!

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Anne Hathaway is July’s Garden State Playmate!

Anne Hathaway
Call me sentimental, but I consider it a big honor to star in a Batman film. It’s an even bigger honor to step into the skin tight leather Catwoman costume. Anne Hathaway is bestowed this honor in The Dark Knight Rises and we’ll soon see how she matches up to her predecessors. In many ways, playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman is as tough as playing Batman since there were several actors who previously defined the role. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy the 60’s Batman TV series or not, Julie Newmar was the first and best on-screen Catwoman. Lee Meriwether did a pretty bang-up job also, but Michelle Pfeiffer brought a whole new perverse sexuality to the character. Will Anne Hathaway bring a new aspect to Batman’s feline foe?

Anne Hathaway

It’s not fair to compare Hathaway to Newmar or Pfeiffer without seeing The Dark Knight Rises yet, but one thing Hathaway’s got going for her is that she grew up in New Jersey. Her bio on IMDB mentions that she was born in Brooklyn and her family moved to Millburn, NJ when she was 6 years old. The actress graduated Millburn High School and also starred in several productions at The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn and Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, NJ.

Hathaway is known for being in tons of chick flicks. Until I was coerced by Miss Sexy Armpit to watch 2010’s Valentine’s Day I never watched any of her films. Although some of my friends freely admit to having an affinity for The Devil Wears Prada, I definitely draw the line there. Soon after The Princess Diaries, it’s sequel, and Ella Enchanted, Hathaway switched gears and went on to shed her clothes and her squeaky clean image in 2005’s Havoc.

Anne Hathaway

Looking closer at her resume I can’t really say I’ve seen more than 1 1/2 of her films.  I fell asleep within the first 10 minutes of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland so I missed her as the White Queen and, as I mentioned, I watched Valentine’s Day in it’s ludicrous entirety and fast forwarded through most of Love and Other Drugs. If they wanted me to watch the whole thing they should’ve hired a hot female actress in place of Jake Gyllenhaal and made it a lesbian love story. 80% of the film is made up of mostly forced and awkward sex scenes between the two actors. *Here’s just a few of Hathaway’s other films that I have absolutely zero interest in ever watching: Brokeback Mountain, Rachel Getting Married, and Bride Wars.

If you’re a guy and a Hathaway fan, you’re in luck because there’s no shortage of ways to see her naked. Even though Hathaway is now known to her male fans for her frequent nude scenes, she doesn’t evoke the same naturally commanding sex appeal that Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer did in the Catwoman role. Chances are, Christopher Nolan will tap into a whole new Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises. We already know that The Dark Knight will rise, but does Anne Hathaway make YOU rise?

My Bedroom Circa 1989

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Even back in ’89 I was all about documenting my “stuff.” Talk about geeky before it was cool…this was as geeky as it got back then. At the time I don’t think any of my friends even owned a camera, or would be allowed to take their own photos even if they had one. It wasn’t like nowadays when 4 year olds know how to use their parents iPad better than they do. What amazes me about the above photo isn’t the fact that I shot it when I wasn’t even in the double digits, but the fact that I still have it! Let me take you through a little tour of what half of my bedroom looked like back then.

I was the younger of two children, so I naturally got the smaller bedroom. I never complained about it because I really loved my room. It wasn’t until my older sister went away to college that I was able to declare the bigger room as my own. Regardless, I made the most of a small space for close to 15 years.

This picture represents half of my bedroom in 1989. Before we get into the details, let me describe quickly what the other half looked like. On the opposite side of the room I had a desk spanning the whole wall – a desk that I never once used to do homework on. This desk served a much greater purpose. It held my Batman collectibles amongst other things. The Batman books and memorabilia were setup on top of the desk while underneath was the Batcave from ToyBiz. My father and I rigged the whole thing to look like the ’60s Batman show complete with Wayne Manor study room, home made computers, analyzers, “lighted” lucite maps, the breakaway cave door that the batmobile sped out of, and the piece de resistance…opening bookshelves that revealed actual gold batpoles!!!

At the time most kids were strictly into the ’89 Batman film, but I grew up watching the ’60s show several years before when I was merely in pre-school and kindergarten. Later in life I hit the jackpot with this batcave setup, but the one under my old desk was the best.

All around the upper portion of the walls my dad created custom shelving to display all my Starting Lineup figures. These were sports figures made by Kenner and I had a TON of them! Each shelf was separated by team and I placed their cards right behind them. It was pretty damn impressive to most of my friends who came over and saw it since many of them stuffed theirs in a box under their bed.

OK, so I know you’re waiting to see if you could pick out every piece of memorabilia in that room, right? Well, that’s what the numbers are for. Here’s a rundown:

1. Starting Lineup “Slam Dunk Series”: These weren’t any old Starting Lineup figures, these were special mail away offers that came with the other figures. They may have eventually been sold in stores, but these were the original dunking Jordan, Bird, etc.
2. Dinosaur curtains – every kid loved dinosaurs at one time or another, though dinosaur stuff was big with me in ’88, and carried over only to get pushed to the side for stuff like WWF and Batman. I still love dinosaurs though!
3. Batman T-Shirt – Sometimes I liked the graphic on a t-shirt so much that I just hung it from a push pin on my wall. This Batman tee was one of them.
4. Batman pajamas with detachable cape – This version was my favorite and they are still making variations of superhero costume pajamas ’til this day. I think Underoos may have made these. I LOVED wearing them. The bat-logo glowed in the dark.
5. Batman comforter – The Batman sheet and comforter set lasted me quite a long time. They were released in 1989 and I used them for about 13 years! That was almost as long as my Dukes of Hazzard sheet set which holds the record. I’ve had about 3 Batman sheet sets since then.
6. The Toy Biz Batmobile – I’m going on record as saying this is the worst toy incarnation of the batmobile in the history of time. But that’s what was available for us back then, and until Kenner’s Dark Knight Collection blew Toy Biz out of the water we had to take what we could get!
7. An 8×10 of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. This was actually a set of small and large postcards that I bought. Pretty sure I still have these in a folder somewhere.
8. Starting Lineup mail-away baseball. This thing was a con because they made you think a ton of star players actually autographed it. When it came I realized they were all pre-printed on the ball. Still a cool collectible though.
To the right of that ball was one my uncle had signed for me by Phil Rizzuto.
9. The antennas belong to Walkie Talkies that are being blocked by a Speak and Spell and a Speak and Math.
10. Right above the #10 is a Magic 8-Ball. That thing was useless, but I wanted it so bad.
11. Books and magazines. The visible ones are the official Willow movie magazine, and a few books on Dinosaurs. Good Night Moon looks like it was in there as well. 

Great Geek Gorge #1

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Geeks need their gratification. Just as the wise men brought baby Jesus gifts, and ancient peeps sacrificed stuff up to the Gods, in the case of geeks the world over, they also need to be indulged or they get a little cranky. Here’s a little rundown of stuff that has satisfied my voracious geek appetite. In this first installment you’ll read about things I’ve added to my collection lately, things I’d like to add to my collection, things I’ve recently received as gifts, food I’ve chowed down on, and events I’m planning to attend.

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1. My 2nd favorite film of the Marvel franchise is Thor. My future mom-in-law got me this awesome Thor Pez dispenser! I have a small collection of Pez dispensers and this one fits in nicely beside Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, and The Incredible Hulk.

2. For my birthday my Dad got me the entire collection of The Muppet Show on DVD! Watching these shows is going to bring back so many memories!

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3. Who doesn’t like stuffing their face once in a while? The absolute BEST place to do that in New Jersey is at Harrah’s Resort Waterfront buffet in Atlantic City. That is where you will find The Absolute Greatest Brownies of All Time (among other delicious offerings.)

4. This might fall into the “why the hell did you buy that” category, but I’ve actually been following the production of The Witches of Oz for a long time. I tried watching it and it really isn’t that good, but as a fan of Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz, I thought I might like this. Until the upcoming 3-D production of Dorothy of Oz comes out in a few years, I’ll take what I can get. Clearly it shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same paragraph as those previous films since it’s on the level of The Asylum productions, but alas, I took a chance on it anyway. If you’re thinking of checking this out, take into consideration that I saw Wicked on Broadway and didn’t enjoy that either.

5. The Batman Files. When this ultimate book of Batman first came out it was priced at upwards of $100 dollars at some book stores. I’ve splurged more cash on sillier things, but for some reason I was hesitant on picking this book up. It was wise to wait because, as always, there was a pretty hefty price drop on the book. I got the book at less than half price. If you’re interested – type it into Google shopping. Well worth it for hardcore Batman fans.

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6. You know how people say “There’s no such thing as bad pizza?” Well, I feel the same way about Doritos. Even the lamest gimmick Doritos, like the mystery flavor a few years back, were fine by me. I can’t really get behind Doritos Jacked though. The whole idea behind them negates what Doritos are all about. They made these chips harder to create more of a crunch, but I’d rather not break my teeth, thank you. And even though they amped up the amount of Dorito dust on these suckers, the actual chip is twice the size of a normal Dorito chip. They are more like the size of a restaurant style Tortilla chip. You need to take a few bites of one chip rather than stuff a whole chip in your mouth. Bah. Whatever. If you’re going to try them, I suggest the Smoky Chipotle BBQ flavor if you’re into that type of thing.

7. Mighty Man and Yukk. One of my favorite cartoons of my childhood. The concept is completely insane. This dudes dog is so ugly that the dog has to wear a doghouse on his head and the the dude shrinks down to a super tiny size and becomes a superhero. Totally ridiculous, but I love it and have been looking for it literally forever. Found a collection of every episode on DVD taped off of Boomerang. I’ll take what I can get considering there hasn’t been an official release.

8. Finally my friends in one of my favorite bands The Dirty Pearls are celebrating the release of their debut full length album at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on May 5th! The Dirty Pearls will be performing along with Star Killer and other special guests! If you don’t have plans for Cinco De Mayo or you are tired of the typically mobbed parties at the local Jose Tejas. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE: http://thegramercytheatre.com/event/000048677B6062DE