The Outsiders

Also found in: Wikipedia.

The Outsiders

(pop culture)

DC Comics spent the 1970s reinventing Batman, returning him to his 1939 roots as a brooding “creature of the night,” and distancing him from the campy persona made famous by actor Adam West in the television series Batman (1966–1968). By the early 1980s, the Caped Crusader had become the Darknight Detective, his grim demeanor making Batman an outsider among his Justice League of America (JLA) teammates. When the JLA refuses to intervene in an international crisis involving the kidnapping of an associate of philanthropist Bruce Wayne (alter ego of Batman), Batman does the unthinkable: He quits the JLA! “I’ve had enough of your two-bit Justice League!” he snarls on the cover of Batman and the Outsiders #1 (1983), as he chooses sides with his “new partners.” These Outsiders, a merging of heroes old and new, infiltrate the politically unstable European nation of Markovia to liberate Wayne’s friend, in a covert mission orchestrated by tactician Batman, actions in direct defiance of the JLA and the U.S. State Department. And thus, these Outsiders are introduced as a fighting force willing to go beyond conventional means to exact justice. (Incidentally, DC had previously used the name “Outsiders” twice in the 1970s, for a group of bikers in Jack Kirby’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen run and for a grotesque superteam appearing only once in First Issue Special.)

Joining Batman were old-timers Metamorpho the Element Man, gruesome in appearance but comical at heart, a chemical combatant who had oozed in and out of comics limbo since his premiere in 1964; and Black Lightning, a street-smart African American hero (a DC rarity at the time) with electrical powers, who briefly headlined his own comic in 1977. Fleshing out the group were the indomitable Katana, a female samurai wielding a soul-absorbing sword; the spirited Halo, a teenage amnesiac, who was one of a race of energy beings called the Aurakles; and the regal Geo-Force, the Earth-manipulating brother of Terra from The New Teen Titans. Under the guidance of writer Mike W. Barr and artist Jim Aparo, Batman and the Outsiders promptly became one of DC’s best-selling series, as the team tackled myriad menaces with amusing names like Baron Bedlam, the Force of July, and the Bad Samaritan. Barr’s energetic scripting was rife with character development and subplots, and Aparo’s (and later Alan Davis’) artwork helped elevate Batman and the Outsiders to fan-favorite status. In 1985, the book split into two separate titles: the newsstand-distributed “soft-cover” The Adventures of the Outsiders series; and the direct-sales (sold exclusively to comics shops on a nonreturnable basis) “hardcover,” The Outsiders, with Batman defecting and newcomer Looker joining the group. Two titles a month was too much of a good thing, and by February 1988 both were no more.

The Outsiders, minus Batman but with a handful of new recruits including Wildcat and the Atomic Knight, returned with little fanfare in 1994 for a two-year stint. In the summer of 2003, a new version of Outsiders premiered, a monthly comic written by Judd Winick (an original cast member on MTV’s The Real World). This band of twenty-somethings specializing in “taking on threats no one else will” (according to DC’s promotions) is fronted by Batman’s former protégé Nightwing, and features a familiar blend of heroes new and established: Arsenal (once Speedy of the Teen Titans), Metamorpho, Black Lightning’s daughter Thunder, the Golden Age Green Lantern’s daughter Jade, a futuristic android called Indigo, and a superwoman named Grace. This series ended in 2007 and was succeeded by a new Batman and the Outsiders series, written by Chuck Dixon, in which Batman once again is leader of the team. Following Batman’s disappearance in 2009, the series changed its title to Outsiders, with Geo-Force leading the team.

On his return, Batman organized a new team of Outsiders in Batman Incorporated (2011). Led by Red Robin (Tim Drake), it includes Freight Train, Halo, Katana, Looker, and Metamorpho. The Outsiders, including Black Lightning, Katana, Metamorpho—and in one instance, Geo-Force and Halo—have appeared on episodes of the animated TV series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. —ME & PS

References in classic literature ?
Then it was that the others, the outsiders, were there.
Presently the sound of singing made the outsiders quicken their steps, and, stealing up, they peeped in at one of the broken windows.
They had little private jokes of their own which, unintelligible to the outsider, amused them enormously.
SHIKARPUR -- A large number of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) Shikarpur leaders and workers took out a protest rally which started from Rustam Chowk and culminated outside the NADRA office Shikarpur against issuance of Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) to the outsiders in Sindh.
According to Hekmatyar, the circles who are attempting to spark violence among different ethnic groups are attempting to achieve their goals based on the instructions of the outsiders.
Nora is the companion of the mayor's daughter, Alice, and when she and Alice find an outsider baby abandoned within the city walls, Nora starts to question whether the outsiders pose as much of a threat to her civilization as she's been taught.
The profits would have been minuscule without the recent contributions from Alasi and Diletta Tommasa, so a narrow verdict in favour of the outsiders from a sample of 530 races may not be enough to satisfy statistical purists and bring closure to this debate, but the fact remains that the longest-priced group have performed closer to market expectations (Market Impact Value of 0.
THE Outsiders annual film festival starts next weekend and the details are out now at www.
55) From a young age East Enders were taught the importance of territory, and to some degree the East End, a new community in the making, was protecting its turf from the outsiders of the B.
While the pinup and homoerotic appeal of The Outsiders is obvious, more compelling is the palpable isolation, tenderness, and rage that binds this found family of outcasts, who alternately lash out in heartbreaking violence and cling to each other for relief.
The Outsiders wear spandex uniforms and battle familiar comic book foes like The Joker.