Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 23: Batman ’89!



The DC heroes are about to blow up the big screen. Fans of the DCU are in their glory right now. Even though there’s been so many movies based on DC properties, the DC film universe will be ushered in with the premiere of Batman v. Superman. I was out on the black carpet event with Miss Sexy Armpit for the premiere of the film at Radio City Music Hall, and it’s making me count the minutes until I’m in the theater for this. Growing up, World’s Finest comics were always at the top of my list, so I’m extremely excited to see my two favorite heroes on the big screen, and even more pumped to finally see Wonder Woman joining the fray. In light of this major DC Comics event, let’s recall one of the biggest DC Comics movie events of all time, Batman ’89!

Can you imagine living in a world where there wasn’t super hero movies in theaters every 2 months? That’s how things were back in the day. If you were around then, you know what I mean. Super heroes wound up becoming almost taboo to be a fan of. For me, things were doubly worse since I was both a fan of comics AND wrestling…and KISS for that matter. All the cards were stacked against me, but I wore my obsessions proudly, and I’m glad I did, because there was a payoff – a major one. In June of 1989, one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons was released to theaters: Batman.

In modern times, we’ve been spoiled by 8 Batman movies (9 if we count BvS!). The first Batman film in 1966 was an answer to that era’s Batmania hysteria caused by the TV show. In 1989, comic fans and moviegoers came out in full force to show that they were ready to get caught up in their generations Batmania. I was so lucky to be deeply entrenched in Batman my entire childhood, so to experience this kind of fervor for my favorite hero was astounding.

If there was a popularity contest between Bats and Supes, let’s just say, Supermania wasn’t really bandied around too often. That’s not a knock on Superman, but there was something mysterious about the 1989 Batman that made it so easy to fall in love with the film. One of the reasons for this is likely the fact that it was such a dark departure from the over the top, campy colorful fun of the ’60s TV series. If you weren’t reading Batman comics at the time, this was a brand new Batman that brought viewers into new territory. If you watch the film now, it seems pretty light, but in ’89 this was a dark, Noir inspired adventure which was unforgettable to so many who saw it in it’s theatrical run.

If you are a fan of this film, I recommend that you document your love for it. As it is with other forms of entertainment like music and books, the impact that the ’89 Batman movie had on the public may be documented for future generations in news articles, but it’s difficult to capture what kind of a massive Bat-frenzy it actually was. If you walked into a mall in 1989, to say that would’ve noticed over a hundred Bat symbols EVERYWHERE is not an exaggeration. Whether you went into a toy store, music store, or grocery store, Batman was literally everywhere. Two opposing boxes of cereal promoting Batman v. Superman cannot compare to how we were all lovingly swaddled in Batman’s cape with all kinds of goodies. You didn’t even have to be a hardcore Bat-fan to own a t-shirt or magazine that promoted the film.

What amuses me about all these superhero movies that come out, Marvel’s included, is that even though they make bank, we get flooded with them. All they have to be is “good.” Consider this: Will Batman vs. Superman make the same kind of impact that Batman ’89 did? Most likely no. It could wind up becoming the most well-reviewed DC inspired film ever, but I will wager that most Batman films since then did not have the potential to romance fans the way the ’89 film did. This is because on-screen Batman was in a unique spot to reinvent himself and turn the genre into serious business. Looking at this trajectory, you would not have any of the Nolanverse films without Batman 1989. Credit also has to go to Superman ’78 for being the genesis of the modern superhero film, but Batman ’89 had Kim Basinger!

I can write volumes about this movie because of how much I love it, but why not listen to our latest Purple Stuff Podcast where Matt and I talk all about it? In Episode 23, we detail many of our ’89 Batman memories. Matt and I share stories of seeing the film in the theater, the toy line, dressing up, reciting lines, the Prince soundtrack, theme parks and much more. This is our testimonial to what an indelible mark Batman 1989 left on us. If the Joker wrote this post, he may have ended it something like this: “…If you gotta go…go with a Smile!”

TRANSFORMERS: Robots in New Jersey! Part 2 – The Meadowlands

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When you think of Transfomers, New Jersey more than likely DOESN’T pop into your head. But on the contrary, as I’ve detailed here at The Sexy Armpit in the past, there’s more reasons why it wouldn’t be totally crazy to mention Transformers and New Jersey in the same sentence. When I come across obscure NJ references, obviously it excites me, but when I find them in toys and comics that I loved as a kid in the ’80s, well that’s just even more awesome. Read about some more Transformers/NJ goodness.

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a mysterious storm, an incredible creature, and it all begins in the swamps of Jersey

I really struck gold when reading the pages of Transformers #54 from July 1989. The story KING CON (clearly a King Kong ripoff) opens “somewhere in the swamps of New Jersey.” There’s some guys on the hunt for a “creature” that they claim the cops were too afraid to come check out. Keep in mind that we aren’t about to read a Jersey Devil story because he hangs out in the Pine Barrens and the Transformers visited the Pines before. You can read about that via this post.

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You know how much those bears in the Ramapo Mountains like to 
travel down to the Meadowlands and bathe in the sludge.

After several “creature” sightings at the Meadowlands, Cecilia Santiago, a reporter and host of New York Talks, decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate. There’s a bad lightning storm on the horizon and it’s intensity is increasing.

Meanwhile, in the Meadowlands, the Decepticons have constructed a new base under a garbage dump. Naturally, whenever building a villainous secret underground base in NJ, it MUST be under a garbage dump. Where else would it be? Their plan is to use a “storm maker” that they created to convert the energy that they harness from the storm and then by using a giant converter they will turn it into Energon cubes – the source of energy for all Transformers. Getting all this so far? And Megan Fox is nowhere to be found 🙁

While Cecilia the newswoman is nosing around with her camera crew in the Meadowlands swamps looking for the creature, she winds up getting taken hostage by the Decepticon Pretenders.

For those who aren’t up on their Transformers terms, this issue introduces the Micro Masters (smaller and more fuel efficient Transformers) and also features the Decepticon Pretenders. On the Transfomers Wiki, the Pretenders are defined as “Transformers fitted with special external armor shells that can disguise their very nature as robots.”

Iguanas, a big purple lizard looking Decepticon Pretender, is put in charge of running the cables from their equipment in the NJ swamp across the bottom of the Hudson River and connecting the final piece to the lightning rod at the top of the Empire State Building.

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After escaping the clutches of the Decepticons, Cecilia hitches a ride with the Autobots (the good guys) and has to head into the Lincoln Tunnel to make it into Midtown Manhattan before the Decepticons destroy half of New York City. Notice that this was ages ago, back when the toll for the Lincoln Tunnel only cost $3 dollars. Today it’s $13 freaking dollars during peak times!

Other Transformers Links from The Sexy Armpit:
Read More about this issue of Transformers via the Transformers Wiki:

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 99: Summerslam ’89


Vintage wrestling t-shirts ain’t no joke! For my entire life I’ve always heard that wrestling is “corny” and “cheesy.” The same people who used to criticize me for watching such “garbage” are the same ones who are secretly scouring eBay for an original Don “The Rock” Muraco t-shirt. Good luck paying anything less than $100 bucks for that one! Wrestling tees used to mean a lot more to the fans since the superstars weren’t given a new t-shirt to promote every month like they are now. Back in the ’70s and ’80s the guys were known to make their entrance with the same style shirt for years.

Hulk Hogan had “Hulkamania,” Rowdy Roddy Piper had “Hot Rod,” and many years later Steve Austin was known for his “Austin 3:16” shirt. Even a fairly short lived tag team like The Powers of Pain had their own shirt that can be found on eBay for a pretty penny. How much is a pretty penny you ask? Oh say about $150 bucks!


Collectors and sellers know that you can’t roll down to your local Target store and buy an original, vintage wrestling tee which is why they hike up the prices. No wonder eBay has got the corner on the market. It’s more about nostalgia nowadays and even pro-wrestling naysayers just want a piece of these shirts to be hip and old school. Well screw those people, they don’t deserve to be near a shirt as great as this. But back to the matter at hand, one store specifically, dirt_road_trading, offers an original 1989 Summerslam t-shirt.

The WWF’s summer extravaganza was only in it’s 2nd year and emanated from the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. There’s no better time to discuss this shirt than now since WWE is presenting their next installment of Summerslam this Sunday and it’s being billed as the 25th anniversary of the event.

I remember back in the day, getting a t-shirt that was specially produced for a Pay-Per-View event was a big deal since it usually had the main event and some matches printed on the back of it. A commemorative t-shirt meant the event was huge! During that time the WWF put a little more effort and quality into their products by offering more than just a tee with a Summerslam logo on the front. I bet the tee was about $15 bucks back then, $20 at most if it was an adult size. Now it’s going for $100 dollars so that’s quite a jump. Be careful though, if you buy it and put it on, it might turn to dust!

This shirt kicked ass, and it was probably better than the event itself! Wait a second…the event was August 28th, 1989? The event was on a Monday night! What a downer! It’s hard enough to get through the work day coming off a weekend let alone the anticipation of seeing one of the top events in the wrestling industry adding to it! Although Summerslam ’89 didn’t quite live up to the previous year’s event, it still had a few strong points. You can read my synopsis of the ’89 Summerslam HERE and it’s program/event card HERE.

Before and After: Silent Bob The Goon

Technically Bob The Goon came way before Silent Bob, so that rejected Wheel of Fortune clue doesn’t really work. But it is true that there is a connection between these two beloved Bobs – and it’s more than just their names!

Bob The Goon is a character created for the 1989 Batman movie. Played by Jersey City’s own Tracey Walter (who has appeared in TONS of films and TV shows), Bob The Goon was The Joker’s main lackey. Putting it more simply, he was Joker’s NUMBER ONE GUY!!!

5 years after Batman, in 1994, Kevin Smith’s alter ego Silent Bob debuted in his own film Clerks. Silent Bob is the quiet, chilled out partner of his friend stoner friend Jay (Jason Mewes) and they later go onto several more cinematic adventures together.

As recently revealed by Kevin Smith on his Fatman on Batman Podcast, Bob The Goon was actually an inspiration for Smith in creating the Silent Bob character. Episode #8 (available on iTunes) is all about The Dark Knight Rises and like all the rest of the episodes – it’s totally FREE! You can’t beat that, thanks Kevin!

It’s pretty awesome that we New Jersey fanboys can be proud that not only Kevin Smith is a local icon,  but Bob the Goon is as well. Read more about Joker’s #1 guy in this post.

1989 Batmobile Sand Art in Belmar, NJ!

1989 Batmobile Sand Art in Belmar, NJ photo courtesy of The Bat-Blog

Tommy over at The Bat-Blog is known for consistently providing cool Batman stuff to his readers on a daily basis. Over the weekend the Bat-Blog reported that the “Junior Bat-Squad” created sand art on the beach in Belmar, NJ in the shape of the 1989 Batmobile! These kids did a fantastic job and if you want to see more pics check out the link and the story here:

My Bedroom Circa 1989

Even back in ’89 I was all about documenting my “stuff.” Talk about geeky before it was cool…this was as geeky as it got back then. At the time I don’t think any of my friends even owned a camera, or would be allowed to take their own photos even if they had one. It wasn’t like nowadays when 4 year olds know how to use their parents iPad better than they do. What amazes me about the above photo isn’t the fact that I shot it when I wasn’t even in the double digits, but the fact that I still have it! Let me take you through a little tour of what half of my bedroom looked like back then.

I was the younger of two children, so I naturally got the smaller bedroom. I never complained about it because I really loved my room. It wasn’t until my older sister went away to college that I was able to declare the bigger room as my own. Regardless, I made the most of a small space for close to 15 years.

This picture represents half of my bedroom in 1989. Before we get into the details, let me describe quickly what the other half looked like. On the opposite side of the room I had a desk spanning the whole wall – a desk that I never once used to do homework on. This desk served a much greater purpose. It held my Batman collectibles amongst other things. The Batman books and memorabilia were setup on top of the desk while underneath was the Batcave from ToyBiz. My father and I rigged the whole thing to look like the ’60s Batman show complete with Wayne Manor study room, home made computers, analyzers, “lighted” lucite maps, the breakaway cave door that the batmobile sped out of, and the piece de resistance…opening bookshelves that revealed actual gold batpoles!!!

At the time most kids were strictly into the ’89 Batman film, but I grew up watching the ’60s show several years before when I was merely in pre-school and kindergarten. Later in life I hit the jackpot with this batcave setup, but the one under my old desk was the best.

All around the upper portion of the walls my dad created custom shelving to display all my Starting Lineup figures. These were sports figures made by Kenner and I had a TON of them! Each shelf was separated by team and I placed their cards right behind them. It was pretty damn impressive to most of my friends who came over and saw it since many of them stuffed theirs in a box under their bed.

OK, so I know you’re waiting to see if you could pick out every piece of memorabilia in that room, right? Well, that’s what the numbers are for. Here’s a rundown:

1. Starting Lineup “Slam Dunk Series”: These weren’t any old Starting Lineup figures, these were special mail away offers that came with the other figures. They may have eventually been sold in stores, but these were the original dunking Jordan, Bird, etc.
2. Dinosaur curtains – every kid loved dinosaurs at one time or another, though dinosaur stuff was big with me in ’88, and carried over only to get pushed to the side for stuff like WWF and Batman. I still love dinosaurs though!
3. Batman T-Shirt – Sometimes I liked the graphic on a t-shirt so much that I just hung it from a push pin on my wall. This Batman tee was one of them.
4. Batman pajamas with detachable cape – This version was my favorite and they are still making variations of superhero costume pajamas ’til this day. I think Underoos may have made these. I LOVED wearing them. The bat-logo glowed in the dark.
5. Batman comforter – The Batman sheet and comforter set lasted me quite a long time. They were released in 1989 and I used them for about 13 years! That was almost as long as my Dukes of Hazzard sheet set which holds the record. I’ve had about 3 Batman sheet sets since then.
6. The Toy Biz Batmobile – I’m going on record as saying this is the worst toy incarnation of the batmobile in the history of time. But that’s what was available for us back then, and until Kenner’s Dark Knight Collection blew Toy Biz out of the water we had to take what we could get!
7. An 8×10 of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. This was actually a set of small and large postcards that I bought. Pretty sure I still have these in a folder somewhere.
8. Starting Lineup mail-away baseball. This thing was a con because they made you think a ton of star players actually autographed it. When it came I realized they were all pre-printed on the ball. Still a cool collectible though.
To the right of that ball was one my uncle had signed for me by Phil Rizzuto.
9. The antennas belong to Walkie Talkies that are being blocked by a Speak and Spell and a Speak and Math.
10. Right above the #10 is a Magic 8-Ball. That thing was useless, but I wanted it so bad.
11. Books and magazines. The visible ones are the official Willow movie magazine, and a few books on Dinosaurs. Good Night Moon looks like it was in there as well.