If you missed it any of the times it went around, it went viral as a probable, but not definite hoax, with people claiming that Batman and Robin were John Cale and Lou Reed, because of a rumor that started about them playing Batman and Robin at kids’ birthday parties to make ends meet during the Velvets. (I could be wrong, and a serious Velvets historian would know way more than I, but the rumor probably started from a fairly famous picture of Andy Warhol and Nico dressed as Batman and Robin, which I saw for the first time in a while last night.) This actually snagged Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, some folks at WFMU and a bunch of other blue checks, so to speak, so it got a LOT of play.
Anyway, yes, the kid in the picture is me.
It was 1979, I was at that year’s edition of the Frogtown Frolic in Lincroft, NJ’s Thompson Park, where in other years, I met Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.
Pretty dope, right? Probably 1978.
I’m guessing 1980 here. This one’s a little weird, but hey, it’d probably make Ang Lee feel better if you showed it to him.
Anyway, the Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes comic I’m holding in the controversial picture above dates it. It’s issue #256, October, 1979 issue (it hit newsstands in July). And yes, I just sat here and figured that out.
Pictured here, also from that day, is a hamburger resting on that comic book.
See Brainiac 5’s face right underneath the burger?
Note that I didn’t put the burger on top of Adventure Comics #466, because, no knock on the Legion, but I had goddamn good taste as a youngster, and not only was the award-winning Deadman story “Never Say Die!” in that one, but it was also the issue with the Justice Society story where they disappeared rather than being forced to unmask in front of the HUAC.
But yes, it’s another picture of me from the same day, with some good-ass comic books and a cheeseburger, in the same shirt I was wearing with Ree…er…Batman and Robin, drinking a goddamn can of Bubble-Up. I don’t even remember what Bubble-Up tasted like. It’s probably a Sprite/7-Up clone, but there are nuances to these things. This is one of my favorite photographs of all-time, even if the camera apparently opened, and I look kinda sad in it. Little Kid Me was probably getting a vision from the future about how this was gonna go viral someday.
Oh, we still had a few things to figure out, didn’t we?
Now, Lou’s dead, unfortunately, and John didn’t return my first or maybe second tweet about the picture. Maybe I’ll try him again one more time after I post this, with this link, and hope that this isn’t the tweet that gets me a restraining order from him. I’m just trying to confirm or deny here, so we can all go on with our lives.
Let’s look at the picture, though. It’s tough to say on Batman. Not a ton to work with there. With Robin, though, the Robin hair looks like the hair he would’ve had in 1979, interestingly.
“Growing Up In Public” came out in April of 1980, was recorded in January, but it’s possible that Mick Rock shot this in ’79. I suppose I could try emailing Mick, but it’s bad enough that I’m thinking of bugging poor John Cale again.
Aside from whatever we can glean from pictures, we do know that Reed and Cale were friendly (though perhaps not to radio stations or Robert Christgau) in ’79, so there’s no “they didn’t hang out then” to throw us off the track.
Would they have needed the money in ’79? Probably not, not really anyway. They could’ve owed someone a favor, could’ve lost a bet, or maybe, they just wanted to be Batman and Robin instead of Lou Reed and John Cale. There’s gotta be days like that.
As we’ve all pretty much established, there’s a pretty high likelihood that it’s not them, but I have not heard “no” yet, so I can only tell you that the timeframe people had in mind when they first saw the picture passed around (most likely after someone ganked it from the great Plaid Stallions, where I also submitted my other Frogtown Frolic pictures to their Mall Appearance Gallery) is incorrect. If I hear more, I’ll pass it on.
None of this is *exactly* why I posted the Batman & Robin/alleged Velvets picture again, though.
Like I said in the title of this post, as I’ve been doing some Internet spring cleaning, I’m probably killing my Flickr account after over a decade of having it (a lot of which, it was unused for, sadly). I haven’t done it yet, though. My problem right now is that, if I do take down my Flickr account, the original source of the picture, with some history to it (it’s been online in the same place for 11 years), will fall off the ‘net and the people who are like “See? It’s a hoax!” will go to Flickr to prove the other people wrong and it won’t be there, starting a whole new round of speculation.
I do want that account gone, though.
Oh well, I guess this post will have to do. I’ll put it in the Museum once it’s up, so people can find it easily.
Killing Flickr (and, eventually, Instagram, though I’m not quite ready to commit to that yet) will hopefully give me motivation to make a wider photo gallery on this site, too.
I guess that’s it, then, unless I do hear from John Cale or someone else in the know.
So long, Dynamic Duo…so long, Flickr…