The Usual Suspects #56

Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week was supposed to be the off week where I gave you guys a Wizard Rewind for September instead of another Usual Suspects article. That Wizard Rewind is still on the way, but it will be next week instead of this week as a recent rumor grabbed my attention, I just couldn’t wait 2 weeks to write about it. If you watched the Hot and Cold Show this week or follow my Instagram, then you can see I am all for this rumor.

So, what is this rumor that has caused me to abandon my normal schedule? Well that would be the recent comments made by Keven Smith, that Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’ will be based on ‘The Long Halloween.’

Who knows if Silent Bob knows anything more than the rest of us? Does his Hollywood insider status offer him special access to Warner Bros. plans? Maybe not, but for now this is all still rumor and should be treated as such. So slow down and stop overpaying for copies of books because an App or a YouTube personality tells you to. Try and suss out its legitimacy before you go all in. That said, there’s nothing wrong with taking a flier if you find things cheap enough.

That said, I like the rumor, and I sincerely hope it to be true.

 

From everything I have heard, Matt Reeves wants to show how Batman is the world’s Greatest Detective. He wants to take this back to the early days of Batman and is looking to adapt a seminal run. These points all align with what Kevin Smith noted on his Fatman Beyond podcast that he heard as well.

Even the casting of Pattison shows they are going younger as he’s only 33, while Batfleck is closing in on 50. And I will admit, I was very skeptical of this casting news when I first heard it.

I saw Edward Cullen and his sparkly vampire skin and cringed when I first heard. Definitely, very sparkly. But then, I started reading about all the indie movies he’s been doing since Twilight. And that series ended 7 years ago, so I decided to give him a shot. Shout out again to Clint Joslin, writer of Run the Table, who convinced me to check him out in Good Time. Excellent little movie that you can check out on Amazon Prime. But give the man a chance and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

And if you look at the director, Matt Reeves, he’s a pretty solid choice. He and JJ Abrams are friends and I could see them re-building a DC Cinematic Universe together. There are rumors that JJ may be rebooting Justice League. But who knows what’s true and what’s just rampant speculation these days.

But regardless, Matt Reeves, came to some notoriety thanks to his work on Cloverfield. Then he rolled from that into the US remake of the Swedish Vampire flick, Let the Right One In. He also proved he can handle a big budget special effects franchise as he did the last 2 Planet of the Apes movies.

And we can’t forget his first directorial effort, The Pallbearer with David Schwimmer. C’mon guys bear with me. It was “Wildly Entertaining”.

 

But seriously, I have high hopes for this movie. While Reeves may not be the Auteur that Christopher Nolan was, I appreciate the fact that he may not be arrogant enough to want to strong arm his vision on us but will hopefully be leaning on one of the more beloved storylines in Batman’s rich history.

Long Halloween is set very early in Batman’s career as being only about a few months following the events of Batman Year one. And while we may not see a Year one Batman movie, this is early enough in his career where we see an established Batman who is still seeing a lot of things for the first time. Besides, if you want to see Year One, then there is an animated film for you to check out.

This could be a fresh take on the usual Bat films as it is neither an Origin movie, a ’la Batman Begins, nor is he a grizzled old vet like in Batman v Superman.

So, hopefully this movie provides us the reboot we desperately need but does so in a way that we don’t need to retread well covered ground. For god’s sake, we don’t need another origin story. No more ninja training, no more prototype suits, no more recreations of Crime Alley. We all get it by now. We all know the story.

I hate to say look to Marvel but look at what they did with Tom Holland’s Spidey. I mean, I am not saying they should copy Marvel’s world building franchise plan entirely. Do your own thing DC. But what they can do is reboot Batman like Marvel did with Spider-man without retelling his origin for the umpteenth time.

I mean, we didn’t see Uncle Ben getting shot, we didn’t get the power and responsibility speech, and no wrestling match with Crusher Hogan. It was just a tale told in Peter Parker’s early years where he was already partly established as a hero. We all knew that origin story having seen it twice already within the last 2 franchises. We know who shot Uncle Ben.

 

So, fingers crossed that Reeves and Pattinson deliver on the promise of this idea and give us the Batman we all hope for and deserve. Anything less and there’s no point in bothering. So even though this is all just a rumor, I am going to take this idea to its logical conclusion and give you some key books to look at and my own personal selections for casting Batman: The Long Halloween.

So, without further delay, let’s dive in.

The Long Halloween #1

1st Alberto Falcone and Milos Grapa

So, first issues always command more of a premium than the rest; but that seems odd in cases like this. This is the 1st part of an overall story, and you really need to whole story for this one. An Omnibus or collected edition is probably your best bet to read this one, but if you are like me, you would prefer to also own the individual issues for your PC.

This isn’t a new series that had multiple story arcs before its eventual cancelation. And this wasn’t a first issue with an introduction to the main protagonist. So the 1st issue being more desired by collectors seems pretty arbitrary and most likely tied to our #1 collecting nature.

That said there are a couple of 1st appearances to minor DC characters in this issue. Not corners of the DCU, but characters important to this particular storyline. So any adaptation will need to nail the casting for these roles.

So, to help out WB, I am going to offer my suggestions for casting these parts. First, we’ll start with Alberto Falcone, son of the crime boss Carmine Falcone. Alberto was first introduced here and comes off as appearing a bit introverted and intellectual. For this role I see Ben Whishaw, who play Q in the recent Bond flicks.

 

Also introduced here is Carmine’s bodyguard and trusted advisor, Milos Grapa. For this role I like Viggo Mortensen as he evokes a quietness to him, but yet could instantly flip the switch to rage if necessary. Perfect for a Mob Boss’ bodyguard. Almost unnoticed until he’s needed.

Market Analysis:  So, the highest priced listing at the moment is $350 for a CGC 9.6. That’s way above all recorded sales, but it is the only slab available. Raws have also been cleared out as there are only 2 solo #1’s up and those are asking $45 and $70 respectively. You’re may be better off looking at lots or sets if you are in the market.

The Long Halloween #6

Sofia Gigante (Falcone) and Carla Viti (Falcone)

While this may be just another issue in the continuing storyline, it has two things going for it. First it has a pretty sweet Poison Ivy cover, as you can see. Time sale’s art can be divisive. Even for myself it’s hit or miss. Sometimes I really like it when it evokes a mood as in this cover work. But then sometimes, I just don’t like it at all, like in the below Joker. Sometimes the exaggerated features get a little too exaggerated. I mean why does the Joker look like the Maxx? And why does Meatwad have a pistol?

But the second thing about this book is that it is the 1st appearance of both Sofia Gigante (Falcone) and Carla Viti (Falcone). These two women are the daughter and sister of Carmine, and again, while they may not be a big deal in the overall DC Universe, they have roles in this particular story so they should be included and cast.

So first let’s go with Sofia, the only daughter of carmine who inherited her father’s ruthlessness and manipulation abilities. I like Krysten Ritter in this role as she has proven as Jessica Jones that she can hold her own in a room full of tough guys.

 

For Carmine’s sister Carla, I like Olivia Colman. Granted her best role was probably in Hot Fuzz but she apparently did other stuff too. She’s now an Oscar winner and has the chops to pull off being the head of a Chicago Crime family of her own. She loses a son over the course of this story and would be fun to watch her at odds with her brother Carmine who I will reveal who I would cast later.

Market Analysis:  Only a few single issues of #6 available and they are in the $5-$12 range. No slabs up as most people haven’t thought to get this one graded on its own. I’m actually surprised there are even 31 in the census.

Detective Comics #259

Calendar Man

A lot of folks equate the Calendar Man to the Riddler. As a Bat-Villain, he’s not exactly top shelf. Not a lot of classic Calendar man covers or storylines. But in this story, he plays a very important role and needs to be cast as such. We just need to leave that old costume off screen.

That said, if this storyline, Calendar man plays the Hannibal Lecter role, agreeing to assist Batman in his investigation to catch Holiday. I am a big Stanley Tucci fan and feel he deserves more recognition and I would love him in this role. I feel he could really sell that desperation to avoid being forgotten as his motivation to be involved in the case.

And as I explained to my wife, that is a shadow and not a Hitler ‘stache. It’s not like he was trying to be like Michael Jordan. Remember that? What was that all about? Did he think he was famous enough to re-legitimize that facial hair choice?

 

Market Analysis:  Not an easy book to find. Only one on the market right now and that is a CGC 4.5 looking for just under $19k. as you can see from the sales figures below, this doesn’t come up for sale very often. I mean, that’s a combined 15 sales in slabs and raws over the last 3 years.

Detective Comics #66

Sal Maroni and Harvey Dent

Now this book is an absolute classic and one that you won’t find at most LCS’s. I mean this book is from WWII and features the first appearance of Harvey Dent/ Two-Face. It is a very expensive book already, and no movie involvement is really gonna drive prices much on this as it is already a major Batman key.

But this is worth mentioning for the purposes of this Long Halloween storyline as it does feature 2 more players. As I said, it not only features the first Harvey Dent but also Sal Maroni, the Crime Boss responsible for basically creating Two-face by disfiguring the DA with acid.

So, for my casting of these 2 roles I would like to see Ben Barnes as my Harvey Dent. This may be a little on the nose as he already played a facially disfigured comic villain as Jigsaw in the Punisher series on Netflix. But the guy can act, and I feel he could pull off the dual personalities needed to sell Two-Face on screen.

And for Sal “The Boss” Maroni, I like another unappreciated actor, Bobby Cannavale. Maroni is the #2 Boss in Gotham and I like that aspect for Cannavale to play off of, almost a bit of insecurity he would constantly feel the need to prove himself.

This story also offers the origin of Two-Face which would be fun to see with these two actors. While audiences saw an origin for Aaron Eckhart’s Two-face in The Dark Knight, this origin presented in Long Halloween #11 is much closer to the original comic story. This also allows us to see a bit more of Harvey’s wife Gilda who does play an important role and is next up on our list.

Market Analysis:  Not an easy book to find. Only one on the market right now and that is a CGC 4.5 looking for just under $19k. as you can see from the sales figures below, this doesn’t come up for sale very often. I mean, that’s a combined 15 sales in slabs and raws over the last 3 years.

Secret Origins Special Vol 2 #1

Gilda Dent

As noted, here in this Secret Origins special we are first introduced to Gilda Dent, wife of Harvey Dent who we all know becomes Two-Face. Gilda has an important role in this story, and I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read this yet, so I will leave it at that.

But as for casting the role, I would like someone with the range to play a timid, fragile creature as shown in the excerpt above, as well as have the ability to be a strong decisive personality as well. Almost a mirror to Harvey Dent. And for that I like Kate Mara, who is more than just the Sue Storm from that awful Fantastic Four reboot as she’s had many roles that show her range as an actor.

Market Analysis:  Only one CGC copy of this on the market right now and that is a CGC 9.4 for $60. This is not an expensive book as you can easily find raw copies for around $2. But high Grade Raws are asking upwards of $30.

Batman #404

Carmine Falcone and James Gordon

I mentioned earlier how The Long Halloween follows Frank Miller’s Year One storyline, so it is only natural that this issue be on this list. The entire Year One storyline that ran over Batman issues #404 #408 is already required reading, but this particular issue features the first appearance of a major player in Long Halloween, Carmine “The Roman” Falcone.

And as a central character in the Long Halloween storyline, we need an actor that can carry that weight and gravitas that would be needed to portray a leader of a Crime family. So my choice again finds itself in yet another actor from across the pond who has already played a comic book crime boss before, and that would be Mark Strong.

He works for me as a father to both Ben Whishaw’s Alberto, and Krysten Ritter’s Sofia, and has that presence onscreen that the role would need. And while we are here on Batman Year One, now would be a good time to introduce our James Gordon.

Considering Gordon first appeared in Detective Comics #27, we will not be spotlighting that issue here. But this Year One storyline allows us to see Gordon chronologically for the 1st time in the Bat Universe here in issue #404. And Gordon has already been perfectly cast as Gary Oldman already, and taking my recent pick of Bryan Cranston in my last Wizard Rewind (where I cast Knightfall) off the table; I wanted to go a bit younger to align with our younger Batman.

As such my James Gordon would be Colin Farrell. I think he could rock that ‘stache as he did in the much maligned 2nd season of True Detective. Slap some glasses on him in that and we’ve got our James Gordon. Was True Detective season 2 as good as season 1? No, but it wasn’t a pile of hot garbage either. And Colin Farrell is much more than he showed as an awful Bullseye in that disappointing Daredevil flick. Don’t believe me, check out In Bruges. Chef Recommends.

Market Analysis:  This has been a popular book for years due to it being a classic Frank Miller Batman storyline. So, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of copies available. To be fair, I occasionally find these in dollar bins. They aren’t in the best of shape usually, but they are there.

That said, there are numerous CGC SS and signed raw copies available in sets and as singles. The highest single slab up is a CBCS 9.8 for $152. If you don’t like CBCS, there’s a CGC 9.6 up for $160. And a raw can run you anywhere between $12 and $50.

Batman #16

Alfred Pennyworth

Yes, we are going way back again with this one with the 1st appearance of Alfred. Again, this is already a key book, but it has seen a bit more movement over the last year, most likely in response to that Pennyworth series on Starz. While I don’t think TV spec would drive a classic book such as this, I do feel it could be enough to remind people to look for it again. This is the type of book that gets forgotten about and taken for granted.

That said, how many of us would even have the opportunity to see one in person? And if we could, who wouldn’t love to own the 1st appearance and Origin of Alfred? Raise your hands.

So for my Alfred, I get to also go a little younger than the norm and not have to cast a 70-80 year old actor. That said, my Alfred Pennyworth would be Ralph Fiennes. You can see Voldemort as a legit operative in his youth, but also have the wisdom and gentle nature of a caregiver to our new Batman.

 

Market Analysis:  Not sure if it’s due to the Pennyworth series on Starz, or not, but a few copies have come out of the woodwork. Couple low grade slabs sold on eBay recently, with the highest being a CGC 2.0 that sold for $1,500.

Looking to buy one, well the best available is a CGC 2.5 that’s up for $3k. Looking for a raw? Looks like only one up from Germany listed at over $1200.

Batman #1

Joker and Catwoman

For our final selection, we go with a true big baller book that I have seen only once and that was at Geppi’s Museum down in Baltimore. I will never own this book, and neither will 99% of us, but that doesn’t preclude us from talking about it.

Now we all know that it isn’t the 1st appearance of Batman, but it is still a two-fer key book as it features the 1st appearances of two of Batman’s greatest Rogues in The Joker and Catwoman, who only went by “The Cat” in this book.

So let’s start with The Joker, who has his own movie coming out in a couple weeks and we’ve seen this book on Ben Stein’s Hot 10 list just recently last week as a result. I don’t need to tell you who the Joker is, but I will tell you who I’d like to see play him. And while I previously championed Evan Peters as a younger Clown Prince of Crime, I will give you another option in the form of Pennywise himself, Bill Skarsgård. Look at that grin and hear that laugh and tell me it doesn’t work here.

And with our Joker selected, I had a very hard time pinning down my Selina Kyle. I went back and forth between two actresses up until the point of writing this and couldn’t make up my mind, so I’m going to offer you both options. Feel free to tell me who you like better or offer your own suggestions to any of these selections. That’s the best part about doing this exercise, the conversations it starts.

So my 1st option for Selina, would be Odette Annable. She is quite tall and lean at 5’9” and has the frame to pull off that skintight catsuit. She’s recently been on Supergirl as Reign, but I feel like she could step up to the big leagues here. She is also the right age to align with our Robert Pattinson Bats.

My other choice for the role would be the 5’8” Mexican actress Eiza Gonzalez. She killed it in Baby Driver and could play the role with enough sex appeal while maintaining being slightly off kilter; as that is exactly how she played Darling. I couldn’t choose, so I leave it up to you.

Market Analysis:  This just doesn’t come up for sale. I mean it’s Batman #1. This isn’t your typical hot book of the week here. That said, the most recent sale I could find was a CGC 5.0 that sold at Heritage auctions for $204,000. That some serious coin.

 But if you are in the market and decide that a comic is more useful than a house, than you can make a play for the CBCS restored 9.6 for $525,000. Or you can go bargain hunting and grab a raw for $115k.

So in this next section I will offer some other first appearances of players in this epic tale. And when talking about Batman villains, most of their “first” appearances are so unattainable, it’s not worth bringing up. I already did that above with Tec 66 and Batman #1. So instead, I will give you their reintroductions in their 1st Silver Age appearances where appropriate. And a quick casting suggestion to go with it. Please enjoy.

Showcase #55

Solomon Grundy

This is the 1st appearance of Solomon Grundy and a solid book to own. Awesome cover on this one. 1st appearances always seem better when the character actually appears on the cover.

That said, my gigantic mountain of a villain would be played by one of the giant men who actually played the Mountain on GoT. 

This dude is legit huge. And while part of me wanted to select Braun Strowman, I couldn’t ask Braun to shave that glorious beard. 

So give me Thor Björnsson.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 2
CGC 9.8 – $4,481.25 on 11/21/13
Raw – $47.50 on 9/15/19

All-Points Bulletin

Detective Comics #510

Modern Mad Hatter

So the Mad Hatter has been redefined over the years as more of a menacing creeper, rather than the silly caricature in Alice in Wonderland he is synonymous with. 

And his modern reintroduction here in Tec 510 may be a pretty cheap book to keep an eye out for.

But as far as casting goes, I don’t think you can cast much creepier than Ramsey Bolton who is also from Game of Thrones. Don’t worry, they won’t all be GoT alums.

So give me Iwan Rheon.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 11
CGC 9.8 – $110.00 on 6/25/18
Raw – $4.99 on 9/14/19

All-Points Bulletin

Batman #155

Silver Age Penguin

This is already a well sought-after book as most of these Silver Age re-introductions are for Bat’s villains. 

That said you can barely see Penguin on this cover as it is really dominated by that Dragon.

But dragons aside we are not going to cast another GoT alum here. Instead I am going to follow the TV show Gotham’s lead and go with a more lanky look for our Penguin instead of the traditional squat villain. 

Perhaps I am overcompensating from that awful Danny DeVito performance in Batman Returns. It just made no sense. Why was he a Penguin man? And why did he have black blood?

So give me Adrien Brody.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.6 – 2, 9.4 – 4
CGC 9.4 – $3,480.00 on 5/16/19
Raw – $155.00 on 9/16/19

All-Points Bulletin

Batman #171

The next S.A. re-introduction we have is The Riddler. I’ve always had a soft spot for Edward Nigma. He’s one of my favorite Bat-Villains.

I’m not a huge fan of Tom King’s sexified version who doesn’t seem to know how to button a shirt. He looks like Scott Conant. If you watch a lot of Food Network like me than you will know what I’m talking about.

But I like my Riddler green suited as opposed to the Frank Gorshin tights.

So give me Eddie Redmayne.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.6 – 3
CGC 9.6 – $25,000.00 on 3/28/16
Raw – $199.99 on 9/2/19

All-Points Bulletin

Batman #181

Poison Ivy

Another high demand book from this era as it is the 1st appearance of Poison Ivy. Be careful with this one as there was a centerfold poster inside that is missing from a lot of copies as kids ripped it out of the book to hand on their bedroom walls.

But this was not an easy one to cast as I try not to reuse actors if I can help it, and I feel I’ve had to use a lot of redheads already. That said, I do not know much about this girl from Teen Wolf but the below vegan ad was all I needed to see as she is basically Poison Ivy in this campaign.

I’m an avid meat eater but I can’t deny that she fits the part perfectly.

So give me Madelaine Petsch.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 3, 9.6 – 7, 9.4 – 22
CGC 9.4 – $6,600.00 on 3/6/18
Raw – $99.95 on 9/16/19 w/ missing centerfold

All-Points Bulletin

Batman #171

Silver Age Scarecrow

Let’s keep this Silver Age train rolling as now we get our re-introduction to Jonathan Crane. They’ve really made a conscious effort to really creep the Scarecrow up.

Gone are these simple days where he looked like Dorothy’s pal on a bad day. No, these days he’s shown more like Casey Jones meets Freddie Krueger heroin chic.

To that end, I think we can meld the 2 looks and go with Cassidy from Preacher in the role of the Scarecrow.

So give me Joe Gilgun.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 7
CGC 9.8 – $9,000.00 on 2/26/19
Raw – $54.84 on 9/15/19

All-Points Bulletin

Batman #234

Modern Two-Face 

Now since most folks can’t afford or find that Detective Comics #66, I figured I would also provide the re-introduction of Two-Face in Batman #234.

This is a classic cover and another book in high demand. It is also out of most of our price range in high grade but you can sneak a cheap reader if you get lucky.

Since I am giving you another comic option, why not a second casting option. If you don’t like my first pick, why not look at Poe Dameron?

The dude can act, and I think he would be another good option for Harvey Dent.So give me Oscar Isaac.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 18
CGC 9.8 – $4,350.00 on 9/6/19
Raw – $100.00 on 9/13/19

All-Points Bulletin

…Ok that was a lot this week. Sorry if you aren’t a casting call fan, but I dig it. But that’s enough for now. See you all next time. Same Bat-Time. Same Bat-Channel….

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