“No Percentage Mixing With You Oriental Style!”

I caught the first episode of the new Brave and the Bold cartoon this weekend, and I’ve gotta say, I thought it was fantastic. Everything about the show, from the opening sequence with Green Arrow to the team-up with Blue Beetle was a lot of fun, and while it’s clearly the spiritual successor to Batman ’66–what with the fact that Batman pulls a freakin’ lightsaber out of his utility belt to fight a robot clock–I don’t really consider that to be much of a problem.

Still, as much as I enjoyed the show itself, I was even more interested in the opening credits and the list of guest starts that it promised, because I’m pretty sure I saw both The Demon and Kamandi the Last Boy On Earth in there, and brother, that’s pretty exciting. And while I’m all for new stories, there’s a part of me that hopes that they go back to the original Brave and the Bold comics for story ideas, especially where Kamandi’s concerned, because that thing is rad.

If that is the plan, though, there’s issue that I’d definitely like to see adapted for the screen:



Brave and the Bold #132, by–who else?–Bob Haney and Jim Aparo!

As you can tell from the cover, this one features Richard Dragon: Kung-Fu Fighter, who never quite managed to fight his way out of the z-list because… Well, because Marvel had Master of Kung Fu, and really, who would you rather read about: Some guy who’s all “Hey, I’m a kung-fu fighter”… or the Kung Fu Master?

Also, his name is Dick Dragon.

Fortunately for Dick, Brave and the Bold was nothing if not the perfect showcase for characters built around Eastern philosophy and punching bad guys, and so when he saves Albus Dumbledore from a gang of Kraven-lite muggers…



…he quickly finds himself embroiled in a good old fashioned team-up.

Although actually, there’s nothing quick about it. In fact, according to the story, the bulk of the action doesn’t take place until a year later, when Dragon comes to Gotham City. And why the arbitrary time jump? Because Bob Haney, that’s why.

In any case, Dickie D. eventually winds up in Gotham, and he’s taking a midnight stroll through the park when he’s set upon by a villain with a remarkably unfortunate name:




“Richard Dragon! I am… THE STYLIST!”

“Your name is known to me. Think you can give me a quick trim, maybe some highlights?”

“Hey, that’s not what I–”

“I could really use a pedicure too, if you’ve got the time.”

“HEY! SHUT UP! It’s because I’m a master of many different STYLES.”

“Yeah, great, do you have any magazines I could look through here, or…?”


Or at least, that’s how it would’ve gone if I wrote it. Haney’s Dragon, however, doesn’t take the bait, and instead they get right into the fisticuffs, which–and I am going to be totally serious for a second here, guys–is one of the all-time greatest comic book beatdowns I have ever seen.

Because when the Stylist comes at Richard Dragon with set of nunchuks, Dragon decides to grab for whatever’s handy–which in this case is a park bench–and winds up facing down a highly trained karate assassin…




What follows is violence as only Aparo can bring it, as Dragon breaks his leg…



and his jaw…



…and then goes in like he’s going to just beat the living hell out of him:



Unfortunately for fans of plank-based violence, Batman interrupts before the beating can continue any further, and–mistaking Rich for a mugger–starts what is probably the talkiest fight scene of all time.

This, I think, is what would translate best to the new cartoon. They’re obviously going for a friendlier Batman than the dour loner of Justice League and the Animated Series, and Haney’s version is chatty as hell:



Even with all the talking, though, Haney still manages to make him sound like Batman by having him seem thoroughly bored with the fact that he’s dealing with a kung fu assassination plot in the middle of Robinson Park. “Karate stuff. Great. That’s new.”

Anyway, to make a long story short, once Batman sorts out who’s the bad guy here and informs Dragon that the bearded transient of the opening sequence was actually a recently deceased millionaire who may have left Dragon his fortune, he then agonizes over the fact that he can’t do anything to stop the Stylist because he hasn’t committed any crimes. Even putting aside the fact that the Stylist just Attempted Murder two pages ago, Batman fails to remember that he’s a private citizen who puts on a mask and beats the crap out of muggers every night because he’s got nothing better to do, and that now is a little late to start worrying about things like “rights.”

In any case, he’s able to roust the Stylist with a bit of good old-fashioned entrapment, and once he flees the country for South America, we finally come face to face with the real villain of the story. See, the bad guy here isn’t the Stylist, or even the potential heir who hires him.

No, the bad guy here is the economy, because apparently things have gotten so bad that BATMAN HAS TO FLY COACH.



Blazes indeed, Batman. Blazes indeed.

36 thoughts on ““No Percentage Mixing With You Oriental Style!”

  1. That seams like a pretty major detail to `just remember’, coupled with the `I’ve also forgotten that I own a plane’ I’d surmise that Bats and Dragon may have spent sometime sparing off panel to `see who really is the best fighter’ (as martial arts types tend to do) & blows to the head were involved.

    Or it’s all part of some cunning Bat-Stratagem that I couldn’t possibly comprehend.

    Either way, please tell me you’re gonna post images of them beating the Aparo-effect out of a bunch of thugs tomorrow.

  2. Okay…forget that Batman has a plane. How does he fly on what appears to be a passenger jet in full costume?!??!?

    Is Richard Dragon that obscure? I think he pops up from time to time, and I do remember that he trained Barbara Gordon after she got shot. That’s gotta count for something, right? Not to mention I flash back to one of the two or three good scenes in the godawful Birds Of Prey TV series, where two fighting sticks pop out on Babs’ armrests, and she manages to beat a fool down.

    I liked “The Rise Of The Blue Beetle,” hokey as it might be. I do wonder why Batman would be carrying a light sabre in his utility belt. But then I remembered: “Because Batman, that’s why.”

  3. hey, would you be willing to spend hours alone in the Bat-Plane with a guy called Dick Dragon? Yeah, I thought not.

  4. Peanuts. Batman rides the plane for the peanuts. And tiny bottles of booze he can put in his utility belt for late nights spent on gargoyles brooding.

  5. I don’t care if there’s a story explanation for that or not, I just love seeing Batman in weird, totally inappropriate situations like that.

  6. Chris, you realise the Frank Miller alt-text could apply to anything, right?
    Frank Miller’s The Very Hungry Catapiller.

  7. You just know that when the Batman reclines his seat he reclines it all the way back and his bat ears poke the lady in the green had in the face causing an unintended off screen Aparo Effect.

  8. “Okay…forget that Batman has a plane. How does he fly on what appears to be a passenger jet in full costume?!??!?”

    This actually happened a lot. There’s an issue where the Justice League Detroit flies somewhere in full costume on the plane, including barefoot Gypsy.

  9. “See, the bad guy here isn’t the Stylist, or even the potential heir who hires him”

    So he’s a heir stylist.

  10. Oh Dwayne!

    Sorry, sory, I just couldn’t resist. I really DON’T stalk you, just to say things like that


    I’m not ony surprised that Batman is flying coach IN FULL COSTUME, and with a utility belt FULL of weapons, but that Richard Dragon was allowed to keep that safe deposit key. It’s pointy!

  11. I haven’t seen The Brave & The Bold yet, but I’m wondering how it will fare in the public mind. I find it interesting that now, with the tour de force of The Dark Knight having redefined the character for the masses after years of “Holy _____” and “Bang! Pow!” references, the obligatory Batman cartoon has decided to head in the opposite direction. I’m not necessarily complaining, but I think it’s very odd that the dour Batman, more in vogue now than even with the Burton films and BTAS, is being replaced on TV screens with something campier.

  12. Am I the only person that looked at the third panel of the Bats/Dragon fight scene and instantly thought “He shows me what a fast kick is”? Because, wow, looks like Dragon kicked him square in the nuts. And I don’t want to think of the damage an Aparo drawn kick to the junk can truly do.

  13. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s business class. Batman’s gotta be a platinum club member.

  14. I think it would be hard to see Batman as a terrifying vigilante who works under the cover of night once you’ve seen him stow his tray table and return his seat to its upright position. Also: struggling to get out of one of those tiny airplane bathrooms.

  15. James Tucker, the show runner for “Brave & the Bold,” has said that the show is very much inspired by the original comic series (he said, self-promotingly), and he has name-checked Jack Kirby along with Alex Toth and Dick Sprang in the many many many interviews he’s given about the show. I expect the Kamandi show will be pretty loyal to the original Kirby comics.

    Adam Strange, Jonah Hex, and Deadman are also going to show up, too. Pretty sure I remembered seeing someone confirm the Demon as well, but if he shows up in the credits, I’ll bet he’ll be there.

  16. “I am the Stylist!” …now we know what Clinton Kelly did before his gig on “What Not to Wear.” Or was that Stacy before the operation? Am I the only person who would love to see a “What Not to Wear” superhero edition? “Miss Frost, I don’t know how that strapless thing stays up when you kick ass. It’s far too hoochie mama. Have you considered trouser-cut dark wash jeans and a tailored jacket with empire waist top??” or “Really Miss Death…what’s with the all black, all the time! You are such a loving and happy person and you aren’t approachable when you’re in all black! Wear some pastels!” And finally, Clinton can say, “Super-dude, those tights are doing nothing for your cute little tushy!” Some superhero costumes are impossible to make and/or wear.

    Those old B&B’s had a habit of introducing one shot characters that in reality had no shot at ever appearing again. I vaguely recall Dick Dragon, a snicker-inducing name if ever there was one. I also remember some atrocity called “Bat Squad” that featured a girl who constantly cried, among others. I assume the reality was they had to do something to fill the pages month after month.

  17. “Batman is large. He contains multitudes.”

    For a misguided second, I thought that read “multi-dudes.” And for a long misguided minute, I thought “how rad.” Imagine: a giant Batman who splits open to release an army: The multi-dudes!

    Thanks to this post, I’m in a Kanigher/Haney kind of mindset today. And it’s great.

  18. Here’s what you’ve got to love about the DC Universe. It’s not just that Batman and Dick Dragon are flying Business class (you can tell because there’s no 3rd seat).

    It’s that this sort of thing is so normal that the other passengers aren’t even looking at them.

    No autograph seekers, no one trying to take pictures. Even the flight attendent is just delivering the in-flight meal to the other passengers without spending any time with the superheroes.

  19. You know, it’s things like this that lets people escape from Arkham. Batman just has to go gallivanting off to a fictional location outside of Gotham, with a guy wearing bracers and a v-cut shirt, and you think the Riddler and Two-Face aren’t going to notice?

  20. When I scrolled down the page and saw a man in a frock wearing pink pants and holding a hair crimper announcing, “I AM… THE STYLIST!” I cracked up. That’s going to leave me laughing for days.

  21. OK, even assuming that Batman could get on a commercial airliner with all his equipment and without having to show ID, I have to ask why everyone on that plane isn’t staring at him. Honestly, if you saw Batman on a plane, would you be able to look at anything else?

  22. I just have to say, I’d never heard of Aparo before I started reading your blog (a tragedy, I’m sure), and I looked at that cover before seeing the credits and said to myself “That looks like an Aparo Batman”.

  23. I can’t wait for Kamandi, Etrigan, and Jonah Hex in Brave & Bold. I’d love to see one of wacky Sgt. Rock team-ups or the great Batman and The House of Mystery. Animated Cain would be the best.

  24. Can Aparo exploding head punches EVER get old? No. I like to rank my favorite Batman artists of all time like this:

    1. Jim Aparo
    2. Everyone else

  25. Brave and the Bold was made holy to me when I saw Guy Gardner in the opening credits.

    How long can even happy, funny, eyebrows on the mask Batman last before he punches out the “definitive” GL?

  26. Vendicare: The One Punch is a universal truth. I say 50 seconds before Guy is rolling on the floor in a bloody heap.

  27. I’m thinking of the Frank Miller version of these panels, and where to put the goddamns and the whores.

    Goddamn only:

    Panel 1: “Goddamn Karate stuff, goddamn it? I know a few goddamn things about goddamn…”

    Panel 2: “Goddamn!”

    Panel 3: “Goddamn? GODDAMN!”

    Panel 4: “No Goddamn percentage mixing with you goddamnit Oriental style–so it’ll be GODDAMN American Super Bowl goddamn brawling!”


    20 Whores might be tough. Need a fifth panel.

  28. As mind-boggling as it is to see Batman in full regalia on a commercial flight while nobody cares, I’m still getting over the dialog in the first few panels.

    “Certainly you agree that this old man is a universe and therefore worthy of respect.”

    “Man, I respect him…the most.”

    “He’s like two universes.”
    “Your name is known to me.”
    “This is…a…surpasing thing! You have downed me!? I await your death strike!”

    Did all martial artists talk this way in the comics, or is this just Haney being Haney? If I were Batman they would have known I was there by the sound of my laughter.

  29. Still chuckling over the thought of Miller scripting this….or (as pointed out0 most anything non-Milleresque.

  30. Quoted….

    “I’m thinking of the Frank Miller version of these panels, and where to put the goddamns and the whores.

    Goddamn only:

    Panel 1: “Goddamn Karate stuff, goddamn it? I know a few goddamn things about goddamn…””

    (end quote)

    Actually the Frank Miller version of those panels isn’t hard and you can do it without even having to make it up.

    Panel 1. “That’s good he’s had Karate training”
    Panel 2. “But only Karate”