07/24/14 — Caped Crusader hits big 7-5

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Caped Crusader hits big 7-5

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 24, 2014 1:46 PM

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Jeff Bacon picks out a couple of complementary masks on Batman Day for his children at Heroes Are Here comic store on Wednesday afternoon. The special day commemorated the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader.

The bat that crashed through the window at stately Wayne Manor 75 years ago did more than provide a brooding Bruce Wayne with his Dark Knight alter-ego -- it inspired generations of children to don towel capes in pursuit of villains.

Or in the case of preschooler Adam Beeby, he jumped into the family car thinking he was Batman and the car his own Batmobile. It was still fun despite the minor crash.

"I can remember watching the old Adam West Batman (TV) series when I was really little and Super Friends when I was very, very young," Beeby, 38, said. "I used to run around in my Underroos and my Batman shirt with a towel pinned to my shirt jumping off of stuff just because I was Batman. That was before I started to school so Batman has always been a part of my life."

Beeby, the former owner of Heroes Are Here on Berkeley Boulevard, was among the many people streaming through the store Wednesday to celebrate Batman's 75th anniversary.

There were free refreshments and Batman movies and cartoons played on a wide screen television -- celebrating all things Batman, store owner Bradley Sasser said.

"It's been consistent since about 10:30," he said of the crowd.

Not unexpectedly, everybody was talking about Batman, who has grown into a cultural icon since his debut in 1939.

What draws people of all ages to the Batman character is the fact that he is somebody they could be. He is a not a super-powered alien. He is not powered by magic, nor did he get his powers through a science experiment gone wrong. He is just a driven man who has trained himself to the peak of human mental and physical condition in order to protect others.

Not to mention the ultimate man cave, car and all of the neat toys he has to aid him in his mission.

While some of Sasser's customers are female, most are males between the ages of 28 and 34.

"Our average high roller age is a little up there," he said, jokingly.

"Growing up and being a comic fan, it was OK to be a comic fan when you were little, but then when you got to middle school and people started being concerned with being cool, I started getting teased," Beeby said.

"Now the nerdy stuff is popular culture," Beeby said. "Who ever thought that nerd culture would be a driving force, but it is fantastic that it is because of all of these movies and television series and all of these things that we have enjoyed and have enriched our lives for so long and now is resonating with popular culture."

But they are getting comics through a pop culture filter, he said.

"They are getting McDonald's," Beeby said. "We have been getting steaks for years."

Caleb Deaver, 15, of Snow Hill, who has been reading Batman since he was 6 or 7, picked up Batman Eternal No. 1.

"I figured that would be a good way to start off the 75th anniversary," Caleb said. "I want to get the oldest issue possible without it being a whole lot of money, but I am still searching.

"I am trying to push my luck this Christmas and see if I can find anything authentic."

Caleb said his uncle had introduced him to the comics.

"I love the whole original story, a kid grows up afraid of bats and then he eventually becomes Batman and he helps people," he said. "I just like the whole idea of it.

Store regular Adam O'Malley, 34, was trying to fill holes in his Batman collection as he works to obtain all of the issues from 300 up. He has just over half of the run.

He said he was just hoping that his wife didn't look at their check book.

"I mean, he is Batman. How could you not be interested in Batman?" O'Malley said.