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PURCHASE INFO

The 2009-2010 DC Comics Super Hero Calendar can purchased for $18.95 at the Fantasy Factory at 257 North Hamilton Street in Dalton or from Asgardpress.com (10 percent off if you put Golden Age Comics in the promo code).

By Jimmy Espy

DALTON, Ga. -- Batman wears a mask to keep his identity a secret.

But Bill Jourdain knows who he is and lot more about the Caped Crusader, information he's glad to share with others.

Mr. Jourdain, a Dalton attorney and longtime comic book collector, recently wrote the forward to the Vintage DC Super Heroes 16-month calendar. It was the second year that Mr. Jourdain contributed to the calendar, which is published by Asgard Press of Wilmington, Del.

The 2009-2010 calendar features cover reproductions of 16 DC comics from eras popularly known to collectors as the Golden Age (late 1930s-late 1940s) and Silver Age (1956-1970).

Mr. Jourdain penned the forward, a celebration of the 75th year of DC Comics, the publisher of titles featuring Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Mr. Jourdain's favorite, Batman.

"Peter Shin from Asgard Press contacted me in August of 2008 and asked me if I would be interested in helping them," Mr. Jourdain said. "Asgard was best known for its vintage college football calendars, but they were interested in doing a comic book calendar."

Mr. Jourdain wrote the introduction for the 2008-2009 calendar, provided scans of comic book covers from his own collection and helped write descriptions that accompanied the covers.

The first calendar was a success for Mr. Asgard, and Mr. Jourdain was asked to contribute again. Once more, he wrote the introduction, loaned some cover art and wrote the descriptions to go with that art.

Mr. Jourdain, 48, said he began reading comic books at age 6 in Miami, Fla.

"Like a lot of kids, I learned to read by reading comic books," he said.

At 14, he began collecting seriously. After law school, Mr. Jourdain returned to the pursuit with a passion.

Batman was his favorite character. He collected all the books Batman regularly appeared in and any other titles that featured Gotham City's No. 1 crime fighter.

"Batman started out as a very serious, very violent detective," Mr. Jourdain said. "But when they introduced a youthful sidekick named Robin in 1940, Batman became more easygoing. He definitely changed."

Batman has made a successful transition from the comic book page to the TV and movie screens.

A TV series starring Adam West, which aired from 1966-1968, was campy, but also a big hit among younger viewers, including a young fan in Miami.

"It was my favorite show," Mr. Jourdain said.

Batman got another boost in popularity in 1989 with the release of "Batman," a Tim Burton-directed film starring Michael Keaton. Three sequels followed in the next seven years. In 2005, the Caped Crusader returned to the big screen with Christian Bale wearing the mask and cowl and Christopher Nolan directing. The film was a box office hit and remains Mr. Jourdain's favorite of the various films.

"Dark Knight," which features the late Heath Ledger's eerie portrayal of Batman nemesis the Joker, followed to even more critical plaudits and big business.

Televison also played a part in the character's continuing popularity. Mr. Jourdain said many younger fans came to know Batman through an Emmy Award-winning daytime animated TV series that ran from 2004 to 2008.

A.J. Kocher, owner of The Fantasy Factory comic book shop in Dalton, said he admires Mr. Jourdain for his efforts to educate people about classic comics, particularly Batman.

"There may be people out here with better Batman collections in terms of financial value, but nobody loves the character more than Bill," Mr. Kocher said. "All those things he does are from the heart."

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