Batman Turns 80 – Here’s His Rookie Card

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman made his debut to the world in Detective Comics issue #27.  The date on the cover states “May 1939”, but it was actually released in March of that year.

2019 marks Batman’s 80th anniversary.  For the last 80 years Batman has been fighting one evil-doer after another in order to keep Gotham City safe.  Despite being introduced to fans in 1939, it took until 1966 for Batman to receive what I like to call his “rookie card”.

Thanks to the success of the Adam West and Burt Ward Batman television series, fans saw multiple card sets released in 1966.  Topps issued five different sets all based on the campy Batman show.  The first is the 1966 Topps Batman Black Bat set.  It consists of 55-cards, and the artwork is done by Norman Saunders.  Saunders is best known for working on the 1962 Topps Mars Attacks set.  Card #1 simply features “The Batman”.  They call it the Black Bat set because the picture’s caption is inside a black bat.  Other sets released that same year include the Blue BatRed BatThe Riddler Back, and The Bat Laffs.  Like most vintage cards, condition is everything.  The value of this card can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands based in it’s condition.

Batman will always remain one of my favorite superheros.  I was first introduced to him while watching reruns of the old show from the 1960’s.  Then I discovered Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton.  That movie is ingrained into my mind.  I prefer my Batman to be much more serious than campy.  Growing up, I had tons of action figures.  The first one I remember getting was of Batman from the 1989 Toy Biz DC Heroes line.

Today’s fans know Batman as a very serious character.  Thanks to comics such as Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns, those days of camp are fairly over.  Tim Burton’s films also helped, along with Batman: The Animated Series.

I wish this card had a more serious tone to it.  This image reminds me of what I look like on the opening night of the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Batman just looks way too happy.

On a side note, wouldn’t it be neat to see Michael Keaton return as Batman?  It could be a follow-up to Batman Returns.  Even though Batman Returns had two sequels – Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, other than Michael Gough playing Alfred Pennyworth you don’t see a lot of connections to the original two films.  Going back like this worked for the Halloween franchise last year.  With all of the reboots and restarts DC Comics films are currently going through, its not that far of a stretch for it to happen.

In case you were wondering, Robin’s “rookie card” is #2 in the Black Bat set.  Lots of famous characters from Batman’s Rogues Gallery have rookie cards in here.

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Mickey Mouse Turns 90 – Here’s His Rookie Card

When you hear the name “Mickey” and the words “rookie card” in the same sentence, most people are going to think of that famous #7 who played for the Yankees.  It makes sense they would.  Mickey Mantle is one of the most notable and collected sports figures.  His cards have fetched millions.  That 1951 Bowman rookie card is an icon of the industry.  So are many of his other cards.

What if I told you twenty years prior to Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, another Mickey was already making his cardboard debut.  Of course I’m talking about Mickey Mouse.  I believe he’s a bit more well-known around the world than that Yankee guy.  Mickey Mouse is right up there with the McDonald’s Arch and Nike Swoosh as far as most recognizable symbols go.

In 1928 Mickey Mouse made his public debut in the short film Steamboat Willie.  It was a total hit.  Animated short films eventually turned into full-length features.  Everything snowballed from there bringing fame and fortune to Walt Disney.

Disney is the king when it comes to merchandising.  They’ll slap their characters on anything if they think it will sell.  Three years after being introduced to the world, Mickey Mouse received what is now considered to be his rookie card.  Drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this premium was made available during the May 27, 1931 Mickey Mouse comic strip.  In that particular story, Mickey had his picture taken.  Fans of his could get a copy of that picture if they wrote in during the “High Society” story line.  This is the card they’ed receive.  It measures 3-3/8″ x 5-3/8″.  At the bottom it reads “Gobs of Good Wishes, Mickey Mouse” and “Me too, Butch”.  As you can see, Mickey’s streetwise friend Butch is standing in the background.

Very few of these cards exist.  When they do popup, the asking price is usually in the thousands.  Another card featuring both Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse was released in 1931.  That one comes from the Wills Cinema Stars tobacco card set.  Its much more common though.

Mickey Mouse celebrates his 90th anniversary this year.  His 1931 First Newspaper Premium Picture Card takes us back to a time when he was fairly new and just beginning to make an impression on the world.  Truly an interesting piece of history.  Four more years would have to pass by until Mickey Mouse’s 1935 Gum Cards would be released.

Here’s The New Trailer For Suicide Squad

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