Batmania

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Zine
Title: Batmania
later Beyond the Clock
Publisher: The White House Of Comics; then Pleiades, Inc.
Editor(s): Biljo White; later Rich Morrissey, J. R. Sams; current Kirk Hastings
Type: newsletter
Date(s): July 1964-1978; 1980; 2015-
Medium: mimeo; then offset; now online and PDF
Fandom: Batman
Language: English
External Links: at Comicbook+, Wikipedia, Batmania article
Batmanians certificate.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Batmania was a 1960s fanzine by Bill J. "Biljo" White[1] of Columbia, Missouri. The title referred to fan activity surrounding the comic book character Batman. It's long been credited in helping revive interest in the character.

Batmania had the tacit approval of National Comics Publications, Inc. (later DC), after White sent a copy of his first issue (July 1964) to renowned fan-friendly editor Julius Schwartz, who liked it, and even gave it a plug in the pages of Batman #169 (February 1965). Various articles in the zine tracked the arrival, rise and fall of the TV series of 1966-68. Batmania quickly became one of U.S. fandom's most important magazines with circulation rising from 300 to 1100 copies.[2] The first issue was cited by "the father of comics fandom", Jerry Bails, as one of the "major events" in comics fandom.[3]

Batmania #17 (1967 Annual). Cover art by Biljo White.

Publisher/editor Biljo White took a break in 1967 after the publication of Batmania Annual (a bumper issue #17, pictured at left), and Batmania was continued by Rich Morrissey for a further six issues. Arlen Schumer became "art director of Batmania magazine when he was in high school..." and later an award-winning comic book-style illustrator and university lecturer. (In 2016, on the 50th anniversary of the debut of the original Batman TV series, the now-pop culture historian took "a look back" on the Den of Geek blog.[4])

In 1978, DC "withdrew its permission to use the title", whereupon it ran still more issues under the name Beyond the Clock (sometimes misremembered by fans as Behind the Clock), an allusion to the comic books' entrance to the Batcave. J. R. Sams, who had assisted Morrissey, took over the publication. The new primary artist was Jackson "Butch" Guice.[5]

As J. R. Sams said, in Issue 24's Editorial: "For those of you who were expecting to see Batmania on the cover [instead of Beyond the Clock], we share your 'surprize' [sic]. I shall attempt to explain the situation as simply and as fully as I can.

"When Rich decided to turn Batmania over to me in June [1979?], I was delighted for it afforded me an avenue to pursue my favorite character in greater detail. Since it had been several years since the last issue had been sent out, I wrote Joe Orlando (managing editor at DC [Comics]) to see if the title was still usable by their misunderstanding of 'fair use' under the U.S. Code. In the meantime, Rich and I had discussed using the title in one more issue with the believe that if the issue was good enough, we could continue to use the title. This was not to be.

"A week after placing the ad in the Guide [The Buyer's Guide for Comics Fandom, aka TBG], I received notice from Paul Levitz that I could not use the title because the legal department (not Mr. Levitz as I read the letter) determined that it would 'weaken the control over the fundamental mark'. Therefore, the title was changed to BEYOND THE CLOCK. We will in essence remain the 'fanzine for Batman fans' but with added sidelines. So at this point, I soulfully state that if anyone wishes a refund because he/she feels mislead [sic], let us know.

"For those of you who want to stick around and usher in a new 'wave', we have many pots 'a cookin'.' We will be having pro covers and sometimes an occassional [sic] center splash page. There isn't any aspect of the Batman that we will not 'talk' about as we have many interesting articles on the Batman books in the works (such as a chronology between the Batman of Earth I and the Batman of Earth II)."[6]

Between issues of the first two incarnations of the fanzine, the Gotham Gazette and Bat-Bulletin newsletters were published to keep "the Batmanians" (subscribers) abreast of the latest happenings. Steven Kelez and Marty Arbunich edited the Gotham Gazette (from Vol. 1 No 1, May 1965), known as the "Official Newsletter of the Batmanians".[7] Biljo White was the "Director" and Tom Fagan was the "Chief Batmanian" (Assistant Editor) of the Bat-Bulletin.[8] Its first issue (#101, September 1965) was a certificate only sent out to one "Lieutenant" per U.S. state, so under 50 copies were printed.[9] The first regular issue was #102 (1966) and came with a "Batmanians Certificate".[10]

Ad for the online Bat-Bulletin #125 promoting New Gotham Gazette #10 (PDF, June 2021).

Biljo White passed away in 2003, fondly remembered by the comics and Batman fan communities.[11]

The Batmania fanzines, bulletins and gazettes have a modern Facebook tribute presence (from 2015; current editor Kirk Hastings) at Batmania by Biljo White [12]

Issue 1

Batmania #1 (July 1964). Cover art by Biljo White.

Batmania #1 was first issued in July 1964.
24 pages. The fanzine had "excerpts of letters which reflect what most fans think about the extinguishing of the old familiar Batman and the introduction of the New Look."[13] Contents included: "Operation - Batman" (Editorial), "Batman: The New Look" by Biljo White, "Profiles on Collectors: John Wright", "Comic Oddities" (trivia) and "The Pro Spot: Model-T to T-Bird" by Russ Manning. A cartoon page by Bill Ryan supposed: What if Julius Schwartz decided to give Batman a new "new look"?, fired Kane & Infantino, and asked prospective replacement artists (Chester Gould, Walt Disney, Al Capp, Mell Lazarus, George McManus, and Elzie Segar) to reimagine the Caped Crimebuster.

Issue 2

Batmania #2 released in October 1964.
20 pages. Issue features an article, "Batman Before Robin Part I" by Biljo White, "The Batmanians", "The Good Look" (continued discussion of the changes to Batman's "look"), "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" column, "BaTrader" classifieds, and "Profiles on Collectors: Phil Liebfred".

Issue 3

Batmania #3 released in January 1965.
21 pages. Issue contains "The Big Parade" (Batman in the city of Rutland's Halloween Parade) by Tom Fagan, "An Open Letter to Editor Jack Shiff" by Biljo, "Comic Oddities" column, "BaTrader" classifieds, plus readers' letters.

Issue 4

Batmania #4 released in April 1965.
24 pages. Features: "Evolution of the Batmobile" pictorial, "The Batmanians Speak" (lettercol), "The Strip Master" by Paul R. Leiffer, "Results of the 1st Annual Batmania Ballot", and "Comic Oddities".

Gallery - Gotham Gazette & Bat-Bulletin

Issue 5

Batmania #5 released in July 1965.
28 pages. First anniversary issue. Features "Robin's solo adventures in 'Star-Spangled Comics'." The illustrated story is "Robin's Precarious Perch". Regular features are "The BaTrader", for fans buying and selling comic items, and the lettercol. Also mentions Bob Kane's animated parody of Batman comics, "Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse", which predated the live-action Batman TV series.

Dear Biljo,
NEWSWEEK, Feb 15, 1965,
PAGE 89... They devoted a good
fat paragraph to BATMANIA.
I was disappointed to see they
failed to mention you by name,
Jim Jones.[14]

Issue 6

Batmania #6 released in October 1965.
28 pages. Issue features an article, "Those Behind Batman" by George Pacinda, detailing what goes into each Batman comic book. Issue also features history of Robin's appearances in "Star-Spangled Comics", "Profiles of Collectors: Andrew Fraknoi", "Comic Oddities with Bat-Facts", and a "BaTrader" classified ads section.

Issue 7

Batmania #7 released in November 1965.
28 pages. Contents include: Editorial by Biljo White, "Batman Before Robin Part II" by Biljo, "Con-Cave Coming?" article describing NY Comic-Con 65 by Tom Fagan, "Batmanian Roll Call" (a listing of Batmanians, a veritable feast of BNFs including SF author Mike Resnick, Marshall Lanz, Bill Schelly, G.B. Love, comics-pro Russ Manning, L.L. Simpson and others), "Profiles on Collectors" (profiling big name fan and fanzine publisher Marty Arbunich), "The 007 Collector" column by Biljo, "The BaTrader" classified ads, and "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" column.

Issue 8

Batmania #8 released in January 1966.
24 pages. Features include an "Evolution of the Batplane" pictorial, reviews of "Robin's solo adventures in 'Star-Spangled Comics'" (from Issue #5 and #6), plus news.

Issue 9

Batmania #9 released in February 1966.
28 pages. Contents include: "Beginning: Batman TV News from California... And New York" (with excerpts of correspondence from William Dozier & Lorenzo Semple, publicist Robert Lee and ABC's Michael Foster), "Study in Schizophrenia" - Bat-fiction by Tom Fagan, "Frank Gorshin Brings The Riddler to Life", "The BaTrader" classified ads, the lettercol and "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" column.

Issue 10

Batmania #10 released in April 1966.
28 pages. The offset cover by Biljo White incorporates a photo of Adam West and Burt Ward in the TV series' Batmobile. Articles include: "To Boonville for Batman", the tale of Biljo White's 20 mile trek to Boonville, MO, because the two TV channels in his area was not carrying the new TV show, "The Batmanians Speak" (focuses on the initial reaction to the Jan 12, 1965 premiere broadcast of Batman), "Batman Goes Camp(Us)" by Rick Weingroff (University of MD campus), letters from William Dozier, Ronn Foss (about Kubert drawing Batman and his generally negative reaction to the TV show), reactions from Edwin Murray and Gary Brown, plus Tom Fagan's letter of disappointment to William Dozier. Also featured: "Profile of a Batmanian" (Ivan Ivanovich who lives in Russia), "An 'All Star' All Star" (article by Tom Fagan), "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" (mistakes, anomalies and weird facts by Biljo, Jeremy Barry and others) and "The BaTrader" (classified ads for comics). Includes two offset "Bat-Photo" inserts: Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.

Gallery 1 of covers

Issue 11

Batmania #11 (July 1966). Cover art by Biljo White.

Batmania #11 released in July 1966.
28 pages. Second anniversary issue. Articles on the Batman comic books, the then-new TV show, several ads and a long article by Robert Jennings on the Superman/Batman team. Offset "Bat-Photo #3" appears on the back cover: Burgess Meredith as The Penguin.

Issue 12

Batmania #12 released in October 1966.
26 pages. Articles on "The Batman Philosophy", "Batmemorabilia" by Larry Raybourne (including a review of the 1940 Batman #1-4 comic books), "A Visit to the Bat Set" by Bruce Collins, "Batnanza or The Big Kill" (opinions from the membership), and the regular lettercol and "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" columns.

Issue 13

Batmania #13 released in December 1966.
28 pages. Articles on the Batman comic books, more reviews by Larry Raybourne of the 1940s Batman comic books (#5-8) in "Batmemorabilia", "The Batmania Philosophy" (cont.) by Biljo White, "Man and Batman: a character study of Batman" by J. Randolph Cox, "The Man from B.A.T.M.A.N." by Richard Kyle, and a reprinted interview with Harvey Kurtzman. Cover by Emo Rota.

Issue 14

Batmania #14 released in February 1967.
24 pages. Includes "Escapism with a Pow and Zap!" by H. J. Waters Jr., "More than Just a Whacky Time: on Batman and the Meaning of Camp" by Duane Mehl, and reports on a 1966 Batman convention, Con-Cave '66, by Tom Hagan and Mark Hanerfeld. A Biljo White profile, which had appeared in a newspaper, is reprinted. Cover promotes the N.Y. Academy-Con, a convention held August 12-14, 1967.

Gallery 2 of covers

Issue 15

Batmania #15 released in May 1967.
28 pages. Contains: "It Could Happen to You" by Fred Sand, the third Batmania ballot results, "The British Side of Batman: News and Views" from England's Dave McCulloch". A plan for a special issue, Batmania-200, which would have been similar to an APA zine, was abandoned. Two articles, "Flash Gordon Flies Again: The 39 Atrocities" by Thomas McGeehan, and a pictorial peek into Biljo's basement of comics, intended for that publication, appear in this issue instead.

Issue 16

Batmania #16 (July 1967). Cartoon by Biljo White.

Batmania #16 released in July 1967.
28 pages. Third anniversary issue. More reviews by Larry Raybourne of the 1940s Batman comic books (#10-13) in "Batmemorabilia" appear in this issue. In "The Batmanians Speak", Tom Fagan contributed "As They Told it: How a Big-time Comic is Born - The True Story of Batman and Robin". Additional Batmania-200 articles: "Clipping Reprints" by John McGeehan, "The World of Capt. Biljo" (including the pictorial "Biljo does the Batusi"), and "Fandom at Random: A Panel Discussion" by Jonathan Wolf. Cover depicts the original "Capt. Biljo" character.

Issue 17

Batmania #17 (aka The Batmania 1967 Annual).
40 pages. Final bumper issue published by Biljo White. Contains a letter from Batman comic character creator, Bob Kane. Unprinted until this Annual, Kane's "lengthy retort", entitled "An open letter to all 'Batmanians' everywhere" [15] was a response to Jerry Bails' attribution re Bill Finger (ie. elevating his status to co-creator of Batman). It was previously delayed because Finger had communicated to Tom Fagan that he and Kane were intending to talk things through first. Bail's piece was likely the first source to state that Finger "put words in the mouth of the Guardian of Gotham". [16]

Other articles include: "The Joker Through the Years" by Sam Viviano, "Danger! Poison Ivy" by Jim Jones, "What has the 'new look' done for Batman?" by Stephen Harrell, "An Open Letter to Julius Schwartz" by Tom Fagan, and the regular feature, "Comic oddities: Biljo and his Bat-bag of Bat-facts" by Biljo White.

A REMINDER. Biljo White says: "I suggest you re-read the Open Letter to Julius Schwartz by Tom Fagan. If you're interested in reading some of the older Batman stories, then may I request you to join Tom in his letter campaign to reprint those great 'Golden Age' adventures? I've just picked up the new Batman Giant issue, and the 'Bat-hombre' and the 'Vikings' stories are fine steps back into the past. Add these to the special newspaper strips and they add up to an especially good issue. National [Comics Publications, Inc.] is moving, can there now be doubt?"[17]

Issue 18

Batmania #18 released in 1974.
Published by Rich Morrissey. "Batmania returns!" Contents include: the Editorial ("Operation: Revival"), "The 1973 Batmania Ballot", an Arlen Schumer illustrated article ("Legacies of Archie Goodwin"), an article on comic consumers by Dick Kanipsia, "Update" by Jay L. Zilber (on Alex Toth's Batman), plus "The Batmanians Speak" (comments from the readership). Also featured were "Comic Oddities", "Gotham Wiretaps" (news), and an article by Jim Jones. Cover is a Biljo White signed artwork. Back cover by Jim Jones.

Gallery 3 of covers

Issue 19

Batmania #19 released in September 1974.
30 pages. Published by Rich Morrissey, with a Biljo White signed cover. From here, all issues were offset printed. The Editorial was again called "Operation: Revival" as the new editor/publisher pondered future directions. This issue features: "Castro" Mike Friedrich, who founded Star*Reach Productions, on "How To Sell a Batman Story", "Detective Comics Index" by Raymond L. Miller, "The Batman of Old And New" by Robert Mallory, "The 1974 Batmania Ballot", "Gotham Wiretaps", and the lettercol, including a letter from Biljo White to the new editor.

THE BATMANIANS SPEAK. Biljo White says: "As the former editor of BATMANIA it was a tremendous thrill to see the 'fanzine for BATMAN fans' once more a reality. The 18th issue (your first) was a long time coming. Since 1967 I have at least twice given its revival serious thought -- but never could put it all together. When you contacted me some months ago I was eager to give a new editor all the encouragement I could, as I feel there is, and always has been, a place for such a fanzine.

"I was not disappointed in the BATMANIA reincarnation... Enjoyed the COMIC ODDITIES, and was most pleased you are continuing this. I even like to see a few ads from time to time, and they help to pay the bills... I liked the art and the two pages being offset. Hope you can eventually go ALL offset...

"Congratulations on a really fine first issue. Excitedly, I'll await your second."[18]

Issue 20

Batmania #20 released in 1975.
30 pages. Published by Rich Morrissey. Features include "Night of the... Charleston", with fans discussing the new-look Batman; an article on the art of Russ Manning; a poem ("Aren't We All?") by David Mazor, more of the "Detective Comics Index" by Raymond L. Miller, a comic strip ("Bats-Man Meets Dazedevil") by Jay L. Zilber & Mercy Van Vlack, "Bat-Mite: An Elf in a Crazy-Looking Batman Costume" by Dwayne Best, results of "The 1974 Batmania Ballot", "Gotham Wiretaps", and the lettercol.

Issue 21

Batmania #21 released in April 1975.
24 pages. Published by Rich Morrissey with artwork from: Mark Alvardo, Arlen Schumer, Jim Jones, Thomas Linehan, Scott Taylor, Mercy Van Vlack and others. Issue spotlights "The World's Finest Team" (Superman and Batman). Includes a double-page pin-up. Cover by Arlen Schumer.

Issue 22

Batmania #22 released in February 1976.
Published by Rich Morrissey. Cover by Arlen Schumer. Back cover by Stephen Weisenbach.

Issue 23

Batmania #23 (1978). Cover art by Al Bradford (1977).

Batmania #23; final issue with this title, released in 1978. (Became Beyond the Clock with next issue, but keeping the numbering.)
24 pages. Published by Rich Morrissey. Features include "The New Look," with fans discussing the new-look Batman, two reviews of Michael L. Fleisher's Encyclopedia Of Comic Book Heroes Batman volume, an article on the art of Russ Manning, Jay L. Zilber's essay on the Ra's al Ghul Collector's Edition, an interview with Gardner Fox (with Mark Gruenwald and others), and "The Legend of Two-Face!" Cover is by Al Bradford. Back cover (of Cesar Romero/The Joker) by Don Secrease.

Issue 24

Beyond the Clock #24 released in 1980.
Edited/published by J. R. Sams (of Pleiades, Inc.), co-edited by Rich Morrissey, art direction by Jackson "Butch" Guice. Issue features "The Untold Legend of the Batman: A Critique", by H. L. Davis, Guice’s "Out of the Inkwell", a letters page, the belated results of the 1976 Batmania Ballot, an article dedicated to the countdown to the 500th issue of "Detective Comics", and an unused Batmannia (sic) cover featuring art by Butch Guice. Guice's original comic, "Tempest", made its debut in this issue.

EDITORIAL. J. R. Sams says: "Bat-fans become silent in 1967. This silence continued for seven years. Suddenly, a young upstart had broken the stillness; and in 1974, Rich Morrissey published Batmania #18...

"Rich's struggle to produce this second "wave" of issues was indeed difficult; but this was not his fault. The quality of Mr Morrissey's work in issues #18 thru #23 was/is of high standing. The polished, rallying point of Batman fans was there; unfortunately the interest was not.

"Perhaps the loss of interest was due in part to a 'maturing fandom'. In the early days, collectors like Jerry Bails, Phil Seuling, G.B. Love, and our own Biljo White were 'the force'. They gave us a sense of respect which allowed us to look others in the eye when we told them we 'collected comic books'.

"With a growth in numbers, new 'adzines' appeared and the fun of collecting was slowly overtaken by the 'hoarding of value'. Dealerships became big-time business; investors inflated prices; and a myriad of other forces (or lack of forces as I see it) destroyed the innocence of those early days. I don't mean to infer that publications like The Buyer's Guide [TBG] were/are bad for fandom. On the contrary, Alan Light has done more for fandom's benefit than anyone in recent times. Let me offer now an analogy to better express what I mean.

"TBG is the energy of fandom. The Price Guide is the technical manual, and we are the engineers. We can either make the 'bomb' to destroy what has been built, or we can build the generator to rid fandom of the dark spots that still exist. Then others who have lost interest will return; and those collectors not already enlightened (several million if you believe the promoters) join our ranks.

"Therefore all things considered, Rich did an excellent job. Those who remained faithful will attribute to this. NOW IT IS TIME FOR ME." [19]

Gallery - Beyond the Clock

Issue 25

Beyond the Clock #25 released in 1980.
Edited/published by J. R. Sams, co-edited by Rich Morrissey, art direction by Butch Guice. Features an article "The Chronology of the Batman" by Morrissey, an interview by James Cassara with science fiction author Ralph Roberts, a timeline of "Life of Batman of Earth-2", and a profile on Dick Giordano. Art by Jackson "Butch" Guice and Ken Meyer Jr. (The issue was supposed to include a new instalment of Guice’s original Tempest character, but for some reason it did not appear.) [20] Cover art by Butch Guice features Batwoman, Bat-Girl and Bat-Mite.

Issue 26

Beyond the Clock #26 released in 1980.
Edited/published by J. R. Sams, co-edited by Rich Morrissey, art direction by Butch Guice. Contains a John Lindley article, "Pow-Krak-Wham: the Batman TV series", "Comic Oddities and Bat-Facts" by Stephen Weisenbach, "From Panels to Books: A Brief History of Development", the 1980 Batman Poll, and art by Guice, Marshall Rogers & Ken Meyer Jr, and Mitch O’Connell, among others.

References

  1. ^ "Biljo White" in Doc Boucher (ed.) "Inter-Fan". Retrieved September 3, 2021. 
  2. ^ Batmania Issue 10, April, 1966, cover.
  3. ^ Bails, Jerry G., "America's Four-color Pastime..." in The Guidebook to Comics Fandom (Bill Spicer, Summer 1965).
  4. ^ "The Real Comic Book Origins of The Batman '66 TV Series", by Schumer, Arlen, on "Den of Geek" blog, January 12, 2016". Retrieved September 3, 2021. 
  5. ^ "Ink Stains 67: Beyond the Clock 24, 25, 26" by Meyer Jr., Ken, on "Comic Attack" blog, December 1, 2014". Retrieved August 30, 2021. 
  6. ^ Sams, J. R., Beyond the Clock Issue 24, 1980, "Editorial", p. 2.
  7. ^ "Gotham Gazette (1965) comic books", "MyComicShop.com". Retrieved September 2, 2021. 
  8. ^ "National Library of Australia catalogue". Retrieved August 30, 2021. 
  9. ^ "Batmania Bat-Bulletin (Biljo White) comic books","MyComicShop.com"". Retrieved September 2, 2021. 
  10. ^ "National Library of Australia catalogue". Retrieved September 2, 2021. 
  11. ^ "Biljo White, R.I.P." by Evanier, Mark in "News From Me" blog, February 28, 2003". Retrieved September 3, 2021. 
  12. ^ "Batmania by Biljo White Facebook Group". Retrieved August 30, 2021. 
  13. ^ "THE LAST DAYS OF THE DYNAMIC DUO!". Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  14. ^ Batmania Issue 5, July, 1965, p. 19.
  15. ^ "The 1967 Batmania annual: the fanzine especially for Batman fans", WorldCat catalog". Retrieved August 31, 2021. 
  16. ^ Schelly, Bill, "BATMANIA: First of an On-Going Series on the Best of the 1960s Fanzines" in Roy Thomas (ed.) Alter Ego Vol. 2 #3; part of Comic Book Artist #3 (TwoMorrows Publishing), March 1999.
  17. ^ White, Biljo, Batmania Issue 17, 1967 Annual, p. 40.
  18. ^ White, Biljo, Batmania Issue 19, 1974, pp. 21-22.
  19. ^ Sams, J. R., Beyond the Clock Issue 24, 1980, "Editorial", p. 2.
  20. ^ "Ink Stains 67: Beyond the Clock 24, 25, 26" by Meyer Jr., Ken, on "Comic Attack" blog, December 1, 2014". Retrieved August 30, 2021.