That One Time I Met Superman's Girlfriend!

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Today - Wednesday, October 17th - was Margot Kidder's birthday.

I met her once.

Me and my buddy, Joshua, too a road trip from Rochester to Chicago. Well, the suburbs of Chicago. The Con was held at the Donald E. Stephens convention center in Rosemont, just west of The City.

I understand seeing Stormtroppers everywhere, but from the parking garage to the box office where we got out badges, I could not believe the legion of Boba Fetts we saw. In authentic costumes, too. There were also a gaggle of Princess Leias as well. I have a genuine respect for cosplayers. This is an individual that has picked a character or characters and gone to great lengths to recreate as closely as possible the costume. I've been to Fall Con and Spring Con at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. Cathy, my wife, got her picture taken with the Batman: The Animated Series version Harley Quinn. I had my picture taken with Spider-Man and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. The most impressive costume I saw was the Golden-Age Alan Scott Green Lantern. The costume was very authentic. I wanted to get a picture with just him, but instead I got a picture with the entire cosplaying crowd.

That was another time, though.

Josh and I were wandering around the convention floor. We ran into Doug Mahnke. He remembered me from an in-store he did in Rochester just a few weeks earlier. I was a radio personality, and the store had a paid live appearance. I got to be the personality doing the live broadcast, interviewing a few of the celebrity artists.

We chatted about the Con before he went his way and we went ours.

I had no idea she was going to be there. Her table was all the way in the back of the hall. Not to far away was Sam Jones who played Flash Gordon. There was some wrestler that had a table between them. I thought about meeting Sam Jones. But it was a choice that decided by how much cash I had left. The choice was simple.

Superman's girlfriend won out.

She was travelling with Christopher Reeve's Superman Costume. I would have thought something like that would be under glass; or, maybe on a mannequin. No, it hung on a hanger just behind her.

I walked up to the table, and as I was saying hello, she started telling me about the fan she had just met before me. Whoever it was had come up to her and proposed to her! I really didn't know how exactly to respond to that. I didn't want to say anything that would sound inappropriate or continue that weird thread. So, I just paid for an autographed portrait, had my buddy Josh take a picture of us together, thanked her and moved on. I guess I could have stood next to her. But, I just didn't want to keep the awkwardness going.

And that was my momentous, memorable meeting with Margot Kidder. I got to be the guy that came up to her after the guy that proposed to her.

So, I got that goin' for me.

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The Heroes Creed

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Variety is reporting that production on The Flash, starring Ezra Miller has been pushed back, and won't start until late 2019. That means the film won't be in theaters before 2021. Aquaman will be in theaters near the end of the year and next Spring will bring Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984.

In releasing the information on The Flash's being stalled by the Hollywood Still Force, Variety hinted that Warner Bros./DC Comics may be moving forward without Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as The Batman. I'm not sure what is up with Cavill. Schedule conflict, poor performance. There's been no word on a sequel to 2013's Man of Steel. Affleck is currently in rehab - and that is may be preventing him from continuing as The Dark Knight. I thought I read or heard some buzz that the insurance may be a hang-up for Warner Bros.

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Setting aside that I would prefer Grant Gustin as a big screen The Flash; and that Tom Welling should have made a Superman film, I'm concerned about Affleck. Then The Batman.The DC films seems to have taken on the dark tone of Batman. Christopher Reeve is a hard act to follow. But hampering DC icons with angst and real-world problems like Peter Parker, just doesn't work for me. Maybe that works for Clark Kent. But a millionaire-philanthropist-playboy? What I liked about Wonder Woman is that that never came up. She was idealistic. She looked at our world with wonder. She believed. I hope Aquaman and Shazam! keep that spirit.

I remember once that Clayton Moore said something about not being seen smoking or drinking in public. The Lone Ranger had a list of guidelines for the character and for the radio and television stories.

"Kids nowadays aren't so quick to worship heroes. The world is a lot more complicated; we don't seem to believe in absolute good and evil - white hats and black hats - anymore. It's fashionable to think of virtue and honor and bravery as naive, outmoded emotions. Deep down, I believe that people still cling to those ideals. When I first appeared on television as the Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and I used to do a lot of public appearances. Years earlier, when George W. Trendle created the Lone Ranger for the radio, he gave his writers a code of behavior that the Lone Ranger and Tonto must live by. Jay and I were heroes to millions of kids, and to avoid disappointing them, we lived by Trendle's original rules."

- Clayton Moore

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There is a story that the late Jay Thomas told on The Late Show with David Letterman. Every Christmas, Letterman would have a decorated tree with a giant meatball on top. He would invite Thomas on the show to knock the meatball off with a football. Thomas would throw the football to knock the meatball off. Then he would tell the story of working in radio and doing a life broadcast, or remote, at a car dealer with Clayton Moore. After the live broadcast, Thomas was Moore's chauffeur to the airport. Thomas' car was cut off in traffic by another motorist. Thomas chased him down and confronted him. The driver scoffed, asking Thomas who they would believe.

I get chill bumps when Thomas relates how Clayton Moore, in full The Lone Ranger costume rises out of the backseat of Thomas' beat-up Volvo and tells the motorist in his deep, rich baritone, "They'll believe ME, citizen."

I want my superheroes and my actors who play my superheroes to be more like THAT.

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Tales of Times Past

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I'm thinking it might be time to read The Picture of Dorian Gray. I'm not one for Classic Literature. More like Classics Illustrated.

Oscar Wilde was born on this date, October 16th. He is best remembered for The Picture of Dorian Gray. I understand that it was adapted to film. Gray was a member of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

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Wilde appeared in Starman 6. After the Sins of the Father storyline, and Starman #5 - Talking With David, '95 - the first of the Talking With David stories - James Robinson launched Tales of Times Past from the pages of The Shade's journal. I have two stacks aside from the complete run of Starman. The first stack is all the Talking With David issues. Small stack. The other, larger stack, is the Tales of Times Past issues.

Starman is probably my all-time favorite book. Those issues - Talking With David or Tales of Times Past - are my go-to issues. Whatever mood I'm in, I can grab one of those issues, relax and enjoy.

While David Knight offers advice from beyond the grave, The Shade offers lessons from experience and history. There's that old saying, those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The Shade offers his journals for Jack's reading.

Starman 6 finds Wilde and Mr. Black, as The Shade is known, enjoying a street cafe in Opal. It's 1882, Wilde is on hos American tour, stopping in Opal before Chicago. He hasn't written Dorian Gray yet, or The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Shade is more interested in someone else other than chatting about Dickens or Hans Christian Anderson. Someone Wilde knows, like him, with similar powers to his. That is set aside, as a young man enlists Mr. Black to free his sister from a mesmerist running a circus performing in Opal. What follows is quite simple. The Shade frees the sister. His price is some Opal land and ten percent of the brother and sister's inheritance. Far less than what the mesmerist was after.

Jack is left with a torn page from The Shade's journal. An important page. A page with information far too important to share so early, in Starman 6. No, that information is revealed in the Starman Grand Guignol storyline.

Oscar Wilde was in prison for two years from 1895 to 1897. He died poor at age 48 in 1900 in Paris.

The film adaptation of Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Written by James Robinson.

Legend has it that Robinson and Tony Harris modeled The Shade on actor Jonathan Pryce. You've seen him as the Bond villain in Tomorrow Never Dies and in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. I'm wondering if Robinson based The Shade on Dorian Gray; and maybe, created a loop. The Shade is based on Gray and The Shade met Wilde before he wrote Gray, thus inspiring the character on which he is based.

Mind = blown. Maybe.

Yeah, it just might be time to read The Picture of Dorian Gray.

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James Gun Hired By Warner Bros./DC After Being Fired By Disney

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(Apologies if someone already posted about this.)

Indiewire.com is just one website reporting that James Gunn has been hired by Warner Bros. to write - and possibly direct! - Suicide Squad 2. There's word that the film will be a reboot of Suicide Squad. ScreenRant.com's Stephen M. Colbert shares a reason why DC might be okay with Gunn following his firing by Disney over old, offensive tweets that Gunn was sorry for and apologized for. Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy cast stood by him, fans signed petitions and encouraged Disney to reverse its decision. Disney opted not to. Now the Distinguished Competition has scored a major coup.

There's even word around the interwebs that Dave Bautista is eager to follow Gunn. There's even an image of the character Bautista could play in the new Suicide Squad film.

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(Am I the only one that remembers the character development that James Robinson did with this character in Starman?)

This could very well be just what the Doctor Fate ordered for the DC Cinematic Universe.

I remember a few years ago, a top-notch director (Bryan Singer) moved on from a Marvel franchise (The X-Men) at 20th Century Fox to reboot a prominent DC Character (Superman). He got Richard Donner's blessing and the film, Superman Returns, was supposed to be a sequel to Superman II. It was supposed to have bypassed both Superman III and IV which were somewhat lackluster. Not an easy task since Christopher Reeve - and Richard Donner - is a hard act to follow. Although it may seem dated now, Reeve's Superman was very much like what Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was. Hope. Optimism. Wonder. Joy. Fun. Those five words aren't used much to describe DC films. Usually, Mature; or, Grown-Up are words that are used.

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Maybe you're like me. What I'd like to see Gunn bring to DC is that sense of Wonder. Joy. Hope. Optimism. I want DC super-hero films to be Fun. Wonder Woman was a fun film. I don't want my DC Comics characters to be dark, brooding and angst-filled. I don't want them to be mature or grown up. I want to feel like a little kid watching cartoons with a big bowl of cereal in my lap.

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That's a tall order and maybe too much pressure to put on Gunn's or anyone man's shoulders. Donner did it in '78 with Superman. Patty Jenkins did it in 2017 with Wonder Woman, and will attempt it again with the upcoming sequel.

Maybe James Gunn can lead DC out of it's - navel.

I've got my fingers crossed.

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CBS And Super-Heroes

Variety us reporting that CBS is developing DC Comics' The Secret Six for live action. (You can click Secret Six to learn more about the origin and history of the team.)

That's awesome!

The first thing that popped up into mind was, Remember that one time CBS aired Supergirl before it went over to the CW? Ha!

There's two things I like about this story. First is that it's a DC Comics property. Let's set aside as painfully obvious that Warner Bros./DC Comics have absolutely no blueprint, map or plan in bringing their characters to live action. Their stated plan is to do the exact opposite of whatever Marvel is doing. This goes back to 2008, when Marvel rolled out the first Iron Man film; and, as time went on, released information that everything was connecting and connected in a larger Cinematic Universe. Your mileage may vary; but, it has been brilliant, and enjoyable. Each film over the last ten years has built to the next to where we are now on the precipice of Captain Marvel and Avengers 4! DC, doing the exact opposite could work. Unfortunately, DC has seperated most of their properties into television and film universes. Now there's possibly an even bigger splinter between the CW's Arrowverse, the streaming Titans, and now CBS' Secret Six. Grant Gustin should have been The Flash in the Justice League film. #CyborgIsATitan. Instead of the Justice League film we got, we should have gotten Starro as a villain or an adaptation of JLA: Liberty and Justice.

But, like I said, let's set that aside. We could argue all day. Let's just agree to disagree.

The second thing I find interesting is that CBS is developing a DC Comics live action super-hero series.

Being a geezer, I remember when The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Nicholas Hammond from The Sound of Music was on CBS. There were only three major networks at the time. The series looked nothing like the late '60's cartoon or the comic book. It lasted thirteen episodes over two seasons. Take as long as you need with that. Most series have a season of twenty-two episodes. CBS aired thirteen episodes from '77 to '79. CBS aired two Captain America television films and a Dr. Strange television film. The network picked up Wonder Woman for two seasons after ABC cancelled the series. To be fair, Wonder Woman, a DC character, was set during World War II; and, like most of the super-hero shows on at the time not named Batman, looked nothing like the comic book inspiration. Even contemporized on CBS, it still looked nothing like the comic book. And it was still a DC Comics character (rimshot! "Hiyo!")

The most successful super-hero series on CBS was The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Like The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hulk looked nothing like the comic book or cartoon series before it. Kenneth Johnson said on The Incredible Hulk Season One box set that he had just finished reading Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and based the series on the chase between Javert and Veljean. It looked more like an updating of David Janssen's The Fugitive, with Gerard chasing Dr. Richard Kimble. The Hulk lasted eighty-two episodes across five seasons. NBC aired the three reunion television films in the early '90's.

So, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Secret Six. Will it look like the comic book? Which iteration will it be?

The ultimate question is this: How long will it last on CBS before it A) Goes to the DC streaming service; or, 2) merges with the CW Arrowverse.

Honestly, since Supergirl started on CBS and then moved to the CW, I am surprised that CBS is developing another comic book series.

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A Sign of Weakness?

I just picked up the first issue Archie Meets Batman '66. It's billed as "two iconic comic book characters meet up for the first time in this historic crossover!"

Last August 17 (my birthday, in case you were wondering) Dan DiDio was quoted on another website (screenrant.com) as to why there won't be (m)any intercompany crossovers between DC Comics and Marvel.

He said, "It's not that we're mortal enemies - it is competition, if you want the truth. It has to be. As we say, 'the more we compete, the better off you are.' It means that we're trying harder to make our books better so you come to our books rather than Marvel books. That's what the competition is all about. Between the two companies, we still are the industry leaders."

Last March 18th, lrmonline picked up the thread, with a quote from Joe Quesada.

I get it. I can down a whole Roma pizza in one sitting. Those things aren't that big. They're like eight slices. So, what he's saying, I think, unless I have my analogies wrong, is an intercompany crossover is like slicing a Roma pizza and sharing it with my three kids. Rather than having the whole pie myself.

The Marvel Versus DC/DC Versus Marvel Amalgam Comics came at a time when both companies needed one another and needed an intercompany crossover. It wasn't like bringing Superman and Spider-Man together; or, Batman and The Incredible Hulk; or, The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans. Amalgam wasn't for story, or characters or fans. It was about revenue, and monetizing. The industry was down, and the whole Amalgam thing was a gimmick, like variant covers or foil covers to bolster lagging sales and revenue.

I think this is where my pizza analogy comes in.

I'm enjoying Archie Meets Batman '66. I've read a few other crossovers that were pretty good, too. I'm sure you have, too.

It's kind of a bummer that a crossover can't be seen as bringing strengths together to make an even bigger strength.

I guess when you see a crossover as a need or a weakness, that's how you're going to see them.

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Stuck in '66: Archie, The Monkees and The Bright Knight

Spoiler Alert: I'm a Batman '66 fan.

This week, Archie Meets Batman '66.

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It's the event of the summer. It's some kind of an event. Each issue of the series will have five variant covers.

Not too long ago, The Archies went on a seven issue tour, meeting some big names, including The Monkees.

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The "Pre-Fab Four" had their own seventeen issue title from Dell, back in the day. The band was labeled The Pre-Fab Four as a jab. The Beatles were The Fab Four. They launched the infamous British Invasion. While The Beach Boys may have been the musical answer, The Monkees were the pop-culture response. The band was made up of two musicians - Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork - and two actors - Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones. The band's first two albums only featured the four singing. Studio musicians were used. That's like getting caught lip-synching. It was scandalous.

My first album was the band's infamous third album, Headquarters.

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The band and their producer, Chip Douglas, locked themselves in a studio to produce the album. The wrote it, and played nearly all the instruments on it.

Now, I've enjoyed all the Batman '66 team-ups. The Green Hornet, The Man from UNCLE, Steed and Mrs. Peel, Wonder Woman '77 and The Legion of Super-Heroes.

I'm excited about the crossover with Archie. It should be fun.

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Alex Ross featured The Monkeemen in the background of Kingdom Come. So, that kinda makes me wonder if they are part of the DC Universe.

The live action Batman '66 series was no stranger to pop music, featuring Leslie Gore; and, Chad and Jeremy, now The Bright Knight is meeting The Archies.

If this inter-company crossover with Archie is successful, maybe there will be another featuring The Monkees.

I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

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Stuck in '66: Bride of the Bat

Batman 50 came out today. The New York Times and DC Comics already spoiled the issue Sunday. Three days ago. You can't help but see coverage of it all around. The New York Times journalist regrets the spoilery headline. DC released the five reasons why it stands behind spoiling the issue.

I get it. DC wanted to spoil it before either 1) an entertainment website did it first; or, B) a fan did it first.

Comic book stories can't be told without some kind of surprise plot twist or surprise final page reveal.

My guess is that DC wants to control the Spoil as much as possible.

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I'm stuck in '66. Have been for a long time.

Batman '66 making a comeback is awesome.

What if... the sets had not been demolished? What if the show had been able to move from ABC to NBC for a Fourth season? Legend has it that as the show was cancelled on ABC, NBC was interested, but the sets had been torn down and it was cost-prohibitive to rebuild them.

As one of many Batman fans and a fan of the '66 Batman series, I would have liked to see Julie Madison introduced as Batman's fiance. Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, and her attempts to marry Batman; Lorelei Circe and the attempts to control Bruce Wayne - that's all very Poison Ivy. That character was handled really well on Batman: The Animated Series. What if that could have been done years earlier? (Harley was introduced in Batman '66, and featured in Batman '66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - as a Southern Belle - maybe Ann-Margaret, Raquel Welch or Tina Louise could have played her in live action.

We're talking about '60's formula television, before storytelling really took off in comics in the '70's. Television storytelling really didn't take off until more recently.

There were attempts at a Batman-Catwoman relationship - in the '66 film - and on the series - but Burt Ward's Robin, The Boy Wonder always seemed to get in the way. (Maybe that's where the MJ-Peter-Black Cat triangle came from, huh?)

What if Batman '66 Season Four had Bruce Wayne engaged to Julie Madison, and a smoldering relationship between Batman and Catwoman? That might mean a fresh new direction for The Boy Wonder. Maybe Dick Grayson is on an Egyptian dig, with an certain archaeologist couple? Maybe Robin is working with a few teen partners? The devil is in the licensing. Always is.

But it would be cool to see.

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Dear Mister Wolfman

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Dear Mister Wolfman,

I'm sure you hear this a lot, but I am a huge fan of your writing, mostly on The New Teen Titans. I started reading comics around 1974. before that, it was mostly Archie Comics in the orthodontist waiting room, when my two older brothers had braces. '74 was when I got a three-pack: The Amazing Spider-Man, Invincible Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. I got a couple issues of Batman. Robin was back from Hudson University and The Dynamic Duo reunited again to take on The Riddler. The other Batman issue was set in the Everglades, where Batman faced a riddle of a different kind.

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Summers after that I worked with my mom at a rubber stamp company. Sweeping, painting, making rubber stamps. I had some money, and there was a newsstand near the train depot, so I was reading The Flash and Legion of Super-Heroes.

The New Teen Titans was the first comic book that I really invested money and attention to. I followed the storyline. I connected with the characters.

I read the interview you just did with Dan Greenfield on his blog (Dan and his blog 13th Dimension can be found on Facebook.) You were talking about how you got started, writing comic books. Working at Marvel, before making the move to DC Comics to re-launch the successful version of Teen Titans.

One of the things you said in the interview, was that you hated team-up books. The reason you gave was that they are so contrived. The Thing, or Spider-Man meet Namor one issue, then somebody else the next issue, and then somebody else the next issue.

With all due respect, I think we have to agree to disagree. While I have enjoyed stories that continue for multiple issues, in New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinte Earths, Starman, Ultimate Spider-Man - pretty much everywhere - I do enjoy a good, stand-alone, done-in-one story. Whether it's an issue of The Brave and the Bold or DC Comics Presents. One of the best New Teen Titans stories was a stand-alone, done-in-one. The New Teen Titans 20, Wally writes home to his mom and dad about what's new at Titans' Tower.

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That was a pretty cool issue. Maybe there are cliches and challenges to writing a team-up book where Batman and Green Arrow fight The Joker and Two-Face. Or, when Superman and Green Lantern team up. Or when Superman and Batman work together in World's Finest. The design and conceit of a book like that is, the issues are not connected. There may be no continuity from one issue to the next, A single issue can exist and stand on it's own, apart from the previous or next issue. Plus, from what I understand, the idea was to team Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and The Thing with lesser known and less popular heroes to give them a chance to shine.

One of the major disappointments of modern comics is that a storyline is typically six issues. Or enough to be collected in a trade paperback. Stories are padded or distended. I miss stories that were just stories, whether they were a single issue, two-parter; three issues or even four. Some of the best were thick "full-length novels" in one issue!

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I really enjoyed the revival of The Brave and the Bold. There was an effort made there to connect the team-ups and the issues into a larger story. Batman team-up with Green Lantern, who then teamed up with Supergirl, who then teamed up with Lobo. The team-ups were wild and wacky, but there was an effort made to make sense and make it all fit a bigger picture. It's a shame that the book was cancelled.

I'd pay good money to keep a book like The Brave and the Bold going.

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I think that it is kind of ironic that while you may not be a fan of team-up books, DC Comics Presents is where the preview of The New Teen Titans made its debut.

I'm sorry you're not a fan of team-up books. That's a bummer. I do respect you, your work and your choice to enjoy other comics more than team-up books.

We'll just have to agree to disagree this once.

Titans together!

Yours respectfully,

Dave

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A Triple Threat!

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Lee Meriwether celebrated her birthday Sunday. She is famous for playing Catwoman, Kitayna Ireyna Tatanya Karenska Alisoff. Not exactly Selina Kyle; but she may have been the only rogue given a dual identity. Other Bat-villains on the series were full rogue. Gorshin's Riddler was never Edward Nigma. Meredith's The Penguin was never Oswald Cobblepot.

As you know, Meriwether was one of three actresses to play Catwoman. There were three actors that played Mr. Freeze; George ("The Saint") Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach. Meriwether was also the only actress to return as a completely different character. Anne Baxter was Zelda the Great in the first season; and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks in the third season. Meriwether returned as Lisa Carson. She also starred on The Time Tunnel, Star Trek: The Original Series; and, she replaced Barbara Bain on Mission: Impossible. In the '90's she played Lily Munster on a revival of The Munsters.

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What if... Lee Meriwether were a triple threat?

What if she returned to Westverse later as a certain Amazing Amazon? If The Bright Knight were able to unite a League, maybe to fight The Sandman working with Doctor Destiny; or maybe fend off a Starro invasion, maybe Lee Meriwether could "return" as Wonder Woman.

The conceit of Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 is that ABC's first season of Wonder Woman was set during WWII - chronologically before Batman '66. However, chronologically, in the Westverse, Wonder Woman had not yet debuted.

Fan-casting, I would either pick Mary Tyler Moore, just off The Dick Van Dyke Show; or maybe Lee Meriwether.

(EDIT: I had been reading Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '7. At the end of issue six, she talks about uniting a League. Since Ra's was modeled on Christopher Lee, I thought it would be interesting to kill a few minutes to fan-cast a Westverse, Batman '66 Justice League. With actors that were active around that time. I put together a blog with my picks.)

Meriwether might be type-casting, but nobody noticed when she came back as Lisa Carson. Her Carson character was revealed to have gone rogue, poisoning Bruce Wayne in an issue of Batman '66. Batgirl and Robin had to team up to find the antidote.

Lee Meriwether as Wonder Woman '66 in the Westverse.

Unite The League!

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