Ken Tucker
October 29, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hey, why didn’t anyone think of this before? Batman and his young partner Robin were bashing criminals in the ’50s, the birth era of rock & roll. In a coolly collectible comic book on sale now called Batman: Fortunate Son (DC), we learn that Robin digs those crazy rhythms, while Batman hates ’em. (What did he play in the Batcave? Mantovani?) ”There are superheroes who listen to rock and roll,” says a nicely petulant Robin. ”Heck, Speedy’s in a band.” (Note to non-comics fans: Speedy was Green Arrow’s young partner.) ”There’s a fine role model,” Batman harrumphs.

Writer Gerard Jones says, ”I always wanted to do a generation-gap, rock & roll superhero story.” The scenario, illustrated by Gene Ha, features a rocker named Izaak Crowe who’s both haunted and inspired by the ghost of an unnamed Elvis Presley-like singer, except he’s blond. (”DC decided to be cautious,” says Jones about playing up the Elvis angle, presumably because they didn’t want a lawsuit from the Presley estate.) Batman wants to bust Izaak for inciting youth riots, but Robin dissuades him. ”The story lets us see another side of Robin,” notes Jones, ”and portraying Batman as a fogy doesn’t diminish him; it just makes him even more of what his character originally was: strict, disciplined, a man of his time.”

The Prude Crusader — we like it.

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