In January we looked at the first ever Robin title. It was a five issue limited series. Following the success of Robin I, DC pushed out a second Robin title in October 1991. Robin II: The Jokers Wild is a four issue limited series running from October 1991 through December 1991.
Robin II: The Jokers Wild was part of the gimmick cover craze of the 90’s, featuring five different covers! All covers featured different artwork and four of the covers also had an embedded hologram card. I’ll admit, I bought them all. I also bought all the variant covers for the other issues in the series. They included holograms, I had to buy them!
Hello, my name is Gary and I buy gimmick covers…
Robin II: The Jokers Wild!
Batman is off partying in Rio de Janeiro and Robin is left on his own to defend Gotham City. On the first night the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum, of course. Commissioner Gordon lights up the Bat Signal only to be greeted by Robin, without Batman. Gordon tells Robin the Joker is on the loose and is disappointed Batman isn’t around.
Robin sets out to prove Gordon wrong and capture the Joker. While investigating the Joker’s escape Robin discovers books by a man named Dr. Osgood Pellinger. Robin wonders what the connect is and visits Pellinger’s house.
Before Robin can question Pellinger the Joker smashes Pellinger’s car with a plow and kidnaps him. Robin tries to stop the kidnapping and the Joker is surprised to see him alive. A reference to the brilliant story Batman: The Killing Joke, where (spoiler!) the Joker kills Robin.
I killed you! You’re dead! Dead! Dead! Well, just have to kill him again, that’s all. Kill the little birdie. Yes, yes. First things first, though. Things to do. Places to go. People to kill…~Joker
Robin is certain if the Joker finds out Batman is out of town he will go on killing spree. He and Alfred agree they need a plan to convince the Joker Batman is still in town. And that’s where issue #1 ends.
The entire limited series is fantastic. It was successful and DC followed up in 1992 with Robin III: Cry of the Huntress. Robin III also had variant covers. They weren’t holograms, but ‘movable covers’ that appeared to move as you rotated the comic. I bought all of them too, duh.
The success of the three Robin limited series led to Robin getting his own title in 1993. Robin, Volume 2 was a popular title. It ran for over 180 issues, starting in November 1993 with the last issue, #183 in April 2009.
Will Robin stop the Joker? Maybe, but that’s not the question to ask. The question is… how are the ads in Robin II: The Jokers Wild! #1?
Let’s tear open the bag and check it out.
This is a new design from the Atari Lynx ads we’ve seen in the past. Those featured various games you could buy for the Lynx.
This ad takes a page from Batman ‘89, solid black background. The Lynx even has the shape of the Bat Symbol.
One thing consistent in all their ads is the large price tag. They really wanted us to know it was under $100. If they wanted to compete with the more popular (and cheaper) Game Boy they should put some effort into this ad.
I’ll I can tell is the orientation is different and it has a color screen. Is that worth $10 more? Maybe, but what games can I get? Gauntlet II? Days of Thunder?
I get the whole ‘minimalism’ take in this ad. It doesn’t work for me.
The Game Genie was an interesting idea. A cartridge that attaches to the end of the regular game cartridge.
The Game Genie offered loads of cheat codes for just about ever Nintendo game made. Enter a code and you could get unlimited lives, mega jump mode, free in-game items and much more.
The real draw back with the Game Genie was the design of the NES. When you put a cartridge in the NES you had to push it down and close the lid. The extra length of the Game Genie prevented the cartridges from fitting in the NES.
Galoob, the makers of the Game Genie designed the cartridge so you didn’t need to depress it to play. The problem was it had the potential to break the NES making games unplayable without the Game Genie attached.
Nintendo sued Galoob saying the Game Genie infringed on their copyright. Nintendo lost.
When Galoob made a Game Genie for Sega, it was given Sega’s official Seal of Approval.
Game Genie stuck around for awhile and faded away in the early 2000’s.
Fleer Basketball Cards
This a good ad for basketball cards. Usually we see football and my favorite, baseball.
There are some big names in this ad; Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Olajuwon, Wilkins and the legend Chuck Daly!
I didn’t go out of my way to collect basketball cards, but I’d like to have the ones in this ad.
Sega Genesis DecapAttack
I loved my Sega Genesis. It was the first console I bought when I was out on my own. I’d come home from work and play Sonic the Hedgehog for hours.
Sega made some decent games. The ones I played the most were Madden football, 7-Up Spot, a good D&D game (which I can;t remember the name of) and an American Gladiators game. Yes, the TV show American Gladiators had a video game. And. It. Was. Awesome!
There was also a game based on the Disney cartoon TaleSpin which was really good. Not American Gladiators good, but good nonetheless.
I never played the game in this ad, DecapAttack. Seems like a good Halloween game, Chuck D. Head defeats his enemies by throwing his head at them. Get it, Chuck D. Head. HA!
Who do you think his archenemy is? That’s right Frank N. Stein.
Another set of old school looking ads. You can never go wrong with these.
This one has the standard muscle building and comic ads on it. There’s a few interesting ones though.
The Battle Wing Flyer looks like a prototype for the Stealth Bomber. Must have escaped from Area 51.
The one I find the most interesting is in the bottom right corner. Monster Island, a play-by-mail game. What? How does that even work. I’ve played a few play-by-email games and nowadays there are play-by-text games but play-by-mail? Did you take your turn on paper and then mail it off? And to who?
I had to look this up for this issue, there are just to many questions. Here’s what I found.
Play-by-mail started as early as the 1960’s! And it’s like it sounds, you take your turn and mail it off to the publisher. It’s processed and mailed back and the cycle continues.
Monster Island was an open world game created in 1985. Players controlled monsters who washed up on an island. The goal was to survive and increase the level of your monster. On the island you could interact with other monsters, learn new skills, hunt, forage, craft tools, trade, everything a modern survival game includes.
In 1990 Monster Island won the Origins Award for Best Play-By-Mail game. I didn’t even know this genre of games existed and there’s even an award for it! There was even a magazine, Paper Mayhem, dedicated to all play-by-mail games.
While I’m feeling a little sad I missed out on the Play-By-Mail craze there’s a silver lining to this dark cloud. Monster Island is still alive! You can visit the Monster Island website and signup to play the game today, by mail of course. I’m heading there now!
Bo Jackson is one of those rare figures that played both football and baseball at the highest level. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1985, was the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft and drafted in the 4th round of the 1986 MLB Amateur draft.
In his career he played football for the Los Angeles Raiders and baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels. He’s a great choice for this ad.
Tiger Electronics was a big name in handheld games. They made everything from the advertised football and baseball to The Little Mermaid, Jurassic Park, X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They seemed to have the license to all the cool properties.
They even had wrist watch games!
Great Eastern Convention
Comic convention coming to your area soon. Go check it out.
Unlike the Lynx, I know I can get Gauntlet II and Days of Thunder for the Game Boy. Says so right at the top. Plus it fits in my back pocket.
I’m a big fan of the original Gauntlet. The sequel, Gauntlet II was a decent follow-up to the original game. The port over to Game Boy is decent too. If you never played Gauntlet II on the Game Boy , you can play it now.
The other games shown are all middle of the road. Not great, not bad.
It’s a better ad than the Lynx ad earlier in the issue.
Smash TV was a good arcade game. It had the same game play as the old Robotron game. If you read the ad above you get the concept of the game. It’s loosely based on the fantastic movie, The Running Man.
The Nintendo version was a good port. It had the same look and feel of the arcade game. If you like playing Robotron you’ll like Smash TV.
Back to the Future Cartoon
On the back cover is the best ad of the issue, Back to the Future: The Animated Series. The cartoon hit the small screen on Saturday mornings in 1991. It ran for a total of 2 seasons and 26 episodes.
In the cartoon Doc, Marty and Doc’s family travel through time helping their ancestors or getting themselves out of trouble. A lot of the episodes revolved around Doc and his wife and their two sons, Jules and Vern.
The end of each episode featured the real Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) conducting a science experiment. His lab assistant is none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy. The odd thing is Christopher Lloyd filmed all the end credit science experiments but he didn’t voice Doc Brown in the cartoon.
Back to the Future : The Animated Series won 4 Emmy Awards, 2 each for Outstanding Film Sound Mixing and Outstanding Film Sound Editing.
Unfortunately Back to the Future: The Animated Series isn’t streaming anywhere. You can watch the intro on YouTube. If you every see it on a streaming service check it out. It’s worth the time.
Robin II: The Jokers Wild Hologram Variant Covers
That ends this issue. The Back to the Future ad is my pick for best ad in the comic.
What’s your favorite ad? Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!
Check out the previous installments of
Check Out Those Ads!