THIS ISSUE: BATMAN’S PARTNERS! J ul y
HT RO G I N B K IN
Batman and all related characters TM & © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.
MIKE W. BARR & ALAN DAVIS
TWING H G I N
TSIDER U O S HE
Plus MAN-BAT COMMISSIONER GORDON BAT-MITE • WORLD’S FINEST and more!
Volume 1, Number 73 July 2014 Celebrating the Best Comics of the '70s, '80s, '90s, and Beyond!
Comics’ Bronze Age and Beyond!
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michael Eury PUBLISHER John Morrow DESIGNER Rich Fowlks COVER ARTISTS Alan Davis and Mark Farmer (art from the collection of Eric Delos Santos)
COVER COLORIST Glenn Whitmore COVER DESIGNER Michael Kronenberg
BACK SEAT DRIVER: Editorial by Michael Eury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Fantasy Batman team-ups in “The B&Bs We Didn’t See”
PROOFREADER Rob Smentek
FLASHBACK: Taking Wing: Nightwing Moves Out from Under Batman’s Shadow . . . . .5 New Teen Titans scribe Marv Wolfman discusses Dick Grayson’s maturation Bob McLeod Nigel McMillan Al Milgrom Doug Moench Aidan M. Mohan Michael Netzer Denny O’Neil Martin Pasko Ross Pearsall Alfred Pennyworth Mike Pigott Shannon E. Riley Bob Rozakis Eric Delos Santos Anthony Snyder Bryan D. Stroud John Trumbull Randall Wiggins Marv Wolfman Philip Youngman
If you’re viewing a Digital Edition of this publication,
PLEASE READ THIS: This is copyrighted material, NOT intended for downloading anywhere except our website or Apps. If you downloaded it from another website or torrent, go ahead and read it, and if you decide to keep it, DO THE RIGHT THING and buy a legal download, or a printed copy. Otherwise, DELETE IT FROM YOUR DEVICE and DO NOT SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS OR POST IT ANYWHERE. If you enjoy our publications enough to download them, please pay for them so we can keep producing ones like this. Our digital editions should ONLY be downloaded within our Apps and at
PRINCE STREET NEWS: Dick Grayson: Fashion Victim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Holy Haberdashery! Peeking into the Boy/Teen Wonder’s closet CHECKLIST: Batgirl in the Bronze Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 From Dominoed Daredoll to information broker, issue by issue BRING ON THE BAD GUYS: A History of the Man-Bat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Friend or foe? Creators from Adams to Rozakis discuss Kirk Langstrom WHAT THE--?!: It Came from the Fifth Dimension: Bat-Mite! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 The life and times of Batman’s most annoying sidekick FLASHBACK: Bronze Age Batmobiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 What would Batman do without his wheels? FLASHBACK: Batman and the Outsiders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Heroes old and new joined the Gotham Guardian to form one of DC’s most durable teams PRO2PRO: Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Chatting with the writer/artist duo of one of the best Bat-runs of the ’80s BEYOND CAPES: Commissioner Gordon in the Bronze Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 The evolution of Gotham’s top cop FLASHBACK: The Final Days of World’s Finest Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 The last years of this long-running series splintered the Batman/Superman team OFF MY CHEST: Carrie Kelley: The Female Wonder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 An analysis of the Girl Robin from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight INTERVIEW: Jeph Loeb: Batman’s Mouthpiece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 A sequel to the Long Halloween feature from BACK ISSUE #60 BACK TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Reader comments about BI #68 and more BACK ISSUE™ is published 8 times a year by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614. Michael Eury, Editor-in-Chief. John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial Office: BACK ISSUE, c/o Michael Eury, Editor-in-Chief, 118 Edgewood Avenue NE, Concord, NC 28025. Email: email@example.com. Six-issue subscriptions: $67 Standard US, $85 Canada, $104 Elsewhere. Please send subscription orders and funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial office. Cover art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer. Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and related characters TM & © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved. All characters are © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter © 2014 Michael Eury and TwoMorrows Publishing, except Prince Street News © 2014 Karl Heitmueller, Jr. BACK ISSUE is a TM of TwoMorrows Publishing. ISSN 1932-6904. Printed in China. FIRST PRINTING.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 1
Detail from the cover of Batman and the Outsiders #1. TM & © DC Comics.
SPECIAL THANKS Neal Adams Frankie Addiego Mike W. Barr Al Bigley Dave Billman Norm Breyfogle Jonathan Brown Kurt Busiek Gerry Conway DC Comics Alan Davis Jose Delbo Chuck Dixon Michael Golden Grand Comic-Book Database Karl Heitmueller, Jr. Heritage Comics Auctions Ilke Hincer Jeph Loeb Andy Mangels
To commemorate the Darknight Detective’s 75th anniversary, this issue we take a look at Batman’s partners. Although he began as a loner in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), Batman has seldom worked solo, despite the hundreds of “solo” stories told about him. Be it Commissioner Gordon, or Robin, or Alfred, or Superman, or Batgirl, or the Justice League, or the Outsiders, or more recently a network of brooding confederates—or even his Batmobile or utility belt!— Batman has almost always depended upon a helper in his crimefighting crusade. No comic book (or spin-off animated TV show) exemplified Batman’s penchant for partners more than The Brave and the Bold. That long-running
Batman team-up comic has been spotlighted several times in BACK ISSUE, most recently in #66 (you’re probably still snickering at its “Prince Street News” cartoon by Karl Heitmueller, Jr., “Rejected Team-Ups from The Brave and the Bold”), and you can bet we’ll revisit it again (“Batman’s Weirdest TeamUps” leads off our forthcoming “Weird Issue,” BACK ISSUE #78). Naturally, we can’t allow a “Batman’s Partners” edition to pass without a nod to The Brave and the Bold. With your friendly neighborhood Euryman being one of the biggest B&B fans around, please allow me to consider that series’ missed opportunities in a feature I just have to call…
All art and characters TM & © DC Comics, except Tarzan TM & © ERB.
2 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
While music-industry legend Dick Clark was officially titled “America’s oldest teenager,” close behind him was one of comicdom’s first youthful sidekicks: Dick Grayson debuted as Robin, “the Boy Wonder,” in Detective Comics #38 (Apr. 1940). For over 50 years, Robin would stay under the shadow of Batman’s cape, until a pair of star creators made a bold decision to shake the status quo of one of DC Comics’ most iconic characters to its very foundation. Robin was the creation of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, along with illustrator Jerry Robinson, and his story was not dissimilar to the (Bat)man who would become his dark mentor. Dick Grayson was the son of John and Mary Grayson, a pair of circus aerialist acrobats known as “the Flying Graysons.” After a mob boss caused the death of Dick’s parents, the angry youngster was adopted as the ward of Bruce Wayne, who trained him as a youthful sidekick to fight crime. The pair of Batman and Robin proved immensely popular— especially with young readers—and the “Dynamic Duo” fought crime by each others’ side for several decades in the pages of comic books, and in newspaper strips, a radio series, and a pair of movie serials. Robin also proved popular enough to star in his own solo stories in Star Spangled Comics from 1947 to 1952. While Batman joined the super-team Justice League of America in 1960, Robin had to wait a few more years to found his own group. A “junior Justice League” debuted in The Brave and the Bold #54 (July 1964), as Robin teamed with Aqualad and Kid Flash. The debut proved popular enough that a group name was soon coined, and the Teen Titans—now including Wonder Girl—debuted in The Brave and the Bold #60 (July 1965), before moving to their own series with the Teen Titans #1 (Feb. 1966).
FROM BOY TO TEEN WONDER Oddly, even as he captained a group called “teens,” Robin wouldn’t move from the sobriquet “Boy Wonder” to “Teen Wonder” until the April 1970 issue of Detective Comics, #398. By then, it was clear that Batman’s ward was growing up. Grayson had already left Wayne Manor and enrolled at Hudson University in Batman #217 (Dec. 1969), though he still wore his brightly colored uniform to fight crime. By that time, the American public already viewed Robin in a different light, influenced mostly by the popular live-action Batman primetime TV series (1966–1968)—wherein actor Burt Ward filled the red tunic, green briefs, and domino mask of Robin— and the Filmation animated series The New Adventures
There Shall Come a Titan! A Golden and Bronze Age merger: Nightwing— as drawn by George Pérez, borrowed from the cover of Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984)—pops out of the Bob Kane/Jerry Robinson cover of Detective Comics #38 (Apr. 1940), the issue where Robin debuted. TM & © DC Comics.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 5
Robin No More (left) Model sheets for Nightwing, by George Pérez. (right) Dick and fleet-footed friend Wally West leave their sidekick identities behind on Pérez’s cover to New Teen Titans #39 (Feb. 1984). TM & © DC Comics.
of Batman (1968–1969). As the 1970s progressed, Robin remained a popular element of National Periodical Publications/DC Comics licensing, and he regularly starred on Saturday mornings on HannaBarbara’s many iterations of Super Friends (1973–1986). Unfortunately, the Teen Titans comic ended in early 1973, with a brief revival from 1976–1978, and as a solo character, Robin made only irregular comic appearances. Writers didn’t seem to know quite what to do with the young man who still fought crime in bare legs and pixie boots. Robin’s fate changed substantially in mid-1980, when writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez began work on the revamped series The New Teen Titans, which was previewed in DC Comics Presents #26 (Oct. 1980) before its own debut issue the following month. In addition to their newly created characters Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire, Wolfman and Pérez included Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Beast Boy (now renamed “Changeling”).
6 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
“I think the feeling was right from day one that I wanted to use a couple of the old characters, and introduce brand-new ones,” says Wolfman. “But if you’re going to use some of the old characters, to me, that was Robin and Wonder Girl.” Wolfman had previously written Wonder Girl in the original Teen Titans run, where he gave her a real name and background. “But Robin was always the team leader, and he was the one grounded with the DC Universe, as far as I was concerned.” In addition to being the Titans’ leader, Wolfman considered Dick the team’s tactician. “He was the one who could see what was happening and analyze.” Gone were the character elements that Wolfman says had no part in the modern DC Universe. “I didn’t want him to be the little jerky Robin, the Boy Wonder, anymore. By 1980, that sort of stereotype should have long gone away. It was a very silly 1940s/1950s concept to me, which no longer had any validity. I just didn’t see any reason that Robin should still be the kid that was spouting those stupid puns. It was fine for the ’50s, but this was 1980.” While acknowledging the minor character growth that had happened in the previous decades of comic marv wolfman stories themselves, Wolfman says, “I think that a lot of people still saw him in a very different light, and I wanted to very clearly show him as more adult. He was the person who could figure out what was going on at any given point, he understood everything, and because he didn’t have the powers, he had to be the team leader in my mind.” Pérez, meanwhile, saw Grayson in a literally older light, basing his face on that of 1960s Robin actor Burt Ward.
GROWING UP As The New Teen Titans progressed, readers saw that Wolfman and Pérez were really taking the “kid” gloves off of the characters, and darkening up their universe. Cyborg was missing most of his human parts, Starfire was essentially the end result of rape and slavery, and Raven was literally the daughter of a demon. “I started as a DC fan,” admits Wolfman. “I loved the DC sense of plotting, and the stories that DC gave, but I very quickly became a Marvel fan as well. I liked their older approach to stories, the much more angst type of characters with problems, dealing with the real world. I liked the fact that the Marvel characters existed in the real world, while the DC characters were existing at that point in Metropolis and Gotham City and Star City.” For the Titans series, Wolfman eschewed the fictional locales and placed the characters in New York City, an arena which held both promise and threat. “I think they were the only [DC] characters at the time who were in a real city. The darkness comes from the fact that I was trying to push away from the light that DC was; I wanted to show that DC had great characters, but they didn’t have to be rooted in that old style. My own style, which is pretty amorphous, it stretches in a thousand different places. At Marvel, I was doing both [Tomb of] Dracula and Nova and everything in between; Dracula was on the older side, Nova was on the younger side. The Titans were like DC’s Fantastic Four. They were a family, and we needed to push them into places that DC characters weren’t going. george pérez We needed to raise the stakes a lot more. That was my general attitude; the sense of importance to the characters had to matter, because if they didn’t, if it was so fantasy-driven, then the readers wouldn’t see themselves caring about those type of stories. The characters had to be more grown up, the leaders had to be more grown up than with the Titans before. In the old days, the readership was eight to 14, and by the time of the Titans they already were in their 20s, and now close to their 40s, so if the audience is older, you should be writing for an older audience.” Wolfman looks at the evolution of the Titans growing up as really kicking into gear with New Teen Titans issue #18’s Russian Starfire story (Apr. 1982). “This is about a man seeking his fiancé to kill her, because she’s spreading a disease. That is not a light story. That’s one of the darkest stories that we ever did. That was rooted in a very real situation of a character who has to make a hard decision that’s going to tear him apart, and the Titans are not the good guys in that issue. The Titans are, in fact, trying to stop him from doing exactly the right thing.” The moral quandaries the characters faced continued the following year as the team helped street runaways, and dealt with a new character named Vigilante who used lethal force to stop villains.
WHO IS DICK GRAYSON? By late 1982, The New Teen Titans was both a critical hit and a commercial one; it was DC’s top-selling book by far. But a storm of change was on the horizon, and Dick Grayson’s Robin was smack in the center of the maelstrom … even if it would take another year-plus to gather force. Following an astonishing story in which Grayson helps Donna Troy research her past—issue #38’s landmark “Who is Donna Troy?” (Jan. 1984)—he made a seemingly abrupt decision to retire from his mantle in issue #39 (Feb. 1984), alongside Wally West’s Kid Flash. “I’m done being Robin,” he declared, explaining that, “As long as I wear this same costume that I’ve worn since I was eight … I keep playing a role I’d long ago outgrown. What I am now is a person with responsibilities, not a happy-go-lucky kid partner … I have to become someone—an adult. Whoever Dick Grayson decides to be.” “The decision was foisted on us, in a way,” Wolfman reveals today. “What happened was, after we spent two-and-a-half years making Robin, or Dick Grayson, a very viable character, and his own character—which to me was vitally important—the Batman books decided they wanted Robin back. They wanted a kid hero again, and they not only wanted Robin back, they wanted to make him young again. We went through the roof, or at least I did, certainly, because Robin was one of my favorites. I suggested at that point, when the
I Did It My Way Nightwing makes his debut in Tales of the Teen Titans #44. By Wolfman and Pérez, with inks by Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo. TM & © DC Comics.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 7
“The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!” in Detective Comics #359 (Jan. 1967) introduced Barbara Gordon—Batgirl—to comic-book readers. She soon became a household name from her inclusion in the third and final season of TV’s live-action Batman. Many BACK ISSUE readers recall Batgirl’s backup series in Detective, which started in the late 1960s and ran through 1972. During the Bronze Age, Barbara was frequently seen sans costume after being elected to the US House of Representatives, but Batgirl maintained a pop-culture berth as a merchandising character, appearing on items such as Mego action figures and a Pepsi collectible drinking glass. During the second half of the ’70s, Batgirl was Robin’s teammate in Batman Family, and occasionally popped up in other titles. She eventually returned to Detective for a long stint, but by the mid-’80s was slowly disappearing from view, at that time considered a relic of a Bat-past DC Comics wanted to forget. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s celebrated but disturbing Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) left Barbara paralyzed, but soon she reemerged in Suicide Squad #23 (Jan. 1989) as Oracle, DC’s information broker. The Dominoed Daredoll is no stranger to BACK ISSUE’s pages, and due to her coverage in issues #22, 38, and 50, there’s no Batgirl article in this issue. But we can’t ignore one of Batman’s most durable partners in this edition—so in addition to her co-starring on our cover, here’s a list of Batgirl’s Bronze Age appearances. 14 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Things were changing as the dawning of the Bronze Age commenced, signaling dramatic changes in the Batman mythos. The Camp days were at an end and the latest renaissance for the Dark Knight occurred at the hands of rising star artist Neal Adams, beginning with The Brave and the Bold. The stage was set, fandom responded, and soon Neal was called upon to do artwork for Batman in his own titles, including one of the most haunting tales in the pages of Detective Comics #395 (Jan. 1970), “Secret of the Waiting Graves.” This story cemented the return of the Darknight Detective, and with these changes perhaps some new antagonists were in order. The first major new character was Professor Kirk Langstrom, alias Man-Bat.
THE ORIGIN OF MAN-BAT “Challenge of the Man-Bat” was the introductory story for the character, published in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970), written by Frank Robbins, with art by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. The readers are brought into the Gotham Museum of Natural History, where Professor Kirk Langstrom is working late on an exhibit. It turns out to be a pretense, however, as he is also in the midst of an experiment. Langstrom has been collecting gland extract from bats in an effort to gain their sonar capability. He has succeeded, but with some unanticipated side effects, such as a nearly intolerable sensitivity to light and sounds. Still, he is enthused at his breakthrough. As he’s about to leave, however, he begins to note unexpected physiological changes: his hands are growing claw-like and hairy. Alarmed, he locates a mirror and to his horror discovers that his features are now that of a bat, right down to the enormous ears on his head. His fevered mind races to grapple with the dilemma. An antidote must be found, but he will need time. He takes the precaution of sending his employer a telegram with the ruse that he must travel unexpectedly to Chicago. He then prepares to again work under cover of darkness. That same darkness, however, has provided a prime opportunity for a gang of thieves to strike at the museum with a gem exhibit as their target. The gang has perfected night-vision devices to aid them and they appear to be succeeding, even keeping the Batman at bay, when suddenly a nightmare apparition appears as a man-sized bat races toward the thieves to stop them in their tracks. Now fighting side by side, the Batman and the Man-Bat quickly subdue the criminals. When the Cowled Crusader sees his benefactor, he remarks that he’s even more of a bat than he is himself. Batman
Creatures of the Night Detail from Neal Adams’ iconic cover to Detective Comics #400 (June 1970), Man-Bat’s first appearance. TM & © DC Comics.
16 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
commends his ally on his ability to see in the dark and on a truly awe-inspiring disguise, but Man-Bat reacts bitterly that he only wishes it were a disguise and then abruptly dashes away, leaving our hero to muse that he’d make a formidable friend … or foe. The closing panel poses that identical rhetorical question in regard to the future of Man-Bat. It is a theme that will reoccur in his continuing appearances. Neal Adams well recalls the genesis of Man-Bat: “It occurred to me that a Man-Bat story would be a good story, and I was going to present it to Julie [Schwartz, Batman editor]. So I wrote out a plot and I did a quick design, but I wasn’t ready to present it because I was in the middle of other deadlines. “One day Frank Robbins was in Julie’s office. I was standing over by Dick Giordano’s desk looking over at the two of them, [who were] frustrated,
going over plots. What generally happened with Julie was, a writer would come in, he’d have a plot, Julie wouldn’t like it, and they’d sit and talk about other plots. “It was clear that they were very frustrated and Julie turned to me and in his sarcastic way, which we all loved him for, said, ‘Got any ideas, Adams?’ And, of course, I knew they were talking about Batman, and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And Julie laughed at me, which was his way. I said, ‘No, Julie, I do have a pretty good one.’ He said, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘Man-Bat.’ He said, ‘What?! What are you talking about?’ Now, this is the same Julie that came up with the idea to do Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. So I wouldn’t call that a thing to laugh about. But he did have his way. “Now, Frank was sparking to this immediately, because he hadn’t worked out his assignment yet, so any port in a storm,” Adams continues. “He said,
Gruesome Discovery (top left) Panel from Detective #400, where Langstrom discovers his shocking transformation. (bottom left) Al Plastino’s interpretation of Man-Bat’s origin, as seen in two Nov. 1970 dailies from the Batman comic strip. (right) Plastino’s roughs for preparing to draw Man-Bat. TM & © DC Comics.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 17
‘Well, what is it?’ Julie was also chiming in, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘Well, there’s this scientist, Julie. He’s a big fan of Batman and he idolizes him. Although he’s a scientist, he still idolizes him and he’s trying to come up with a serum that will give Batman more power—sort of like Spider-Man, only it will affect him with the abilities of a bat. Of course, he can’t try it on Batman, so he tries it on himself and he turns into this giant bat creature: Man-Bat.’ Julie groaned, but Frank Robbins said, ‘No, no, it’s good.’ Julie said, ‘Do you have a story?’ ‘Yeah, I have a story. I’ll go and get it. I even have a drawing.’ “So I gave him the story. It was one page; a handwritten thing and the drawing. He said, ‘Are you kidding about this thing?’ I said, ‘Julie, look, let me just say this…’ And, by the way, Frank Robbins was seeing this thing flying out the window and he was really unhappy. I said, ‘…Julie, somebody at Marvel is going to have the bright idea occur to them to do a character called Man-Bat. And if they do that, they’re going to screw us here at DC.’ ‘Oh, right. Okay, fine. Are you going to draw it?’ ‘Sure, I’ll draw it.’ ‘You’re going to let Frank write it? Use the synopsis?’ ‘No problem.’ “So I handed over the synopsis to Frank and he did the story, basically the way I outlined it, and that was the beginning of Man-Bat.”
Soon Batman arrives, and when he discovers the intruder there’s another battle. After a spirited struggle, Man-Bat crashes into a wall, falling into unconsciousness. Our hero ponders what to do and ultimately decides that if Langstrom dies, he should at least be in his natural form, ending the story on a cliffhanger that will only be resolved in Detective Comics #407 (Jan. 1971), containing the final story in this trilogy. Batman arrives at a cathedral just in time to interrupt the nuptials of Kirk Langstrom and Francine Lee, revealing the Man-Bat by removing his disguise. The enraged Man-Bat flies off and Francine informs Batman that nothing can stop her from marrying him. It is then flashback time, and our hero recalls what happened with Man-Bat inside the Batcave and how Kirk revived just before the antidote could be administered. He declared himself superior to Batman and insisted his powers would not be stolen from him. Francine shares recollections of her own about that fateful night when her fiancé came to her, desperate to know if he still held Francine’s heart. She reassured him, but suggested that Batman could help restore him to his human form. Langstrom resists, presenting his own plan, so that Francine can prove her love to him. The flashback ends with Francine revealing to the Batman why nothing can stop their wedding, removing her own disguise, disclosing her transformation into a She-Bat. She ascends to where Man-Bat lurks, while our hero, determined to help the obviously mentally unbalanced couple, pursues them, antidote in hand. After a terrific struggle, the Batman successfully administers it to both creatures. Once restored to their human forms, the Langstroms are determined to forsake the obsession that drove them to the brink of madness. The next appearance of Man-Bat was in Detective Comics #416 (Oct. 1971), when a marriage ceremony again takes place, but with two very human figures
An auspicious beginning it was, too and a mere two issues later, courtesy of the same creative team, Man-Bat was back in the thick of things in Detective Comics #402 (Aug. 1970). This tale is a continuation, and we begin to learn some more of Kirk Langstrom’s nature and motives, including that he idolizes the Batman and desires to help him, but he is also increasingly desperate to change back to normal. A robbery of a biochemical laboratory is the backdrop of the latest meeting between Langstrom and Batman as the Dark Knight arrives to foil the caper. Kirk had witnessed the safecracking and was poised to use it to gain access to material necessary for a potential antidote, but when Batman arrived and the fracas began, Man-Bat intervened to help, then tried to gain what he needed from the safe. Batman objects, despite Langstrom’s insistence that he’ll neal adams leave cash behind. When Kirk explains that time is running out and the Gotham Guardian continues to resist, a scuffle ensues. During the course of it, Batman discovers that it’s not just a disguise Langstrom is wearing. Man-Bat successfully overcomes Batman, and as he flees with the chemical he ponders the possibility that he may not be able to reverse his physical transformation. When our hero recovers, he decides to return to the museum where he first encountered Man-Bat, and there we meet for the first time Francine Lee, Kirk Langstrom’s fiancée. She is worried to the point of tears about the whereabouts of Kirk, who, as it happens, isn’t far away. In an upstairs lab, Man-Bat is about to consume what he hopes is the antidote when Francine and Batman burst in, startling him into dropping the mixture onto the floor. Hurtling from the window, Man-Bat lands gracefully and runs into the night, cursing Batman’s interference. The World’s Greatest Detective examines the chemical compound and recognizes it. Realizing he can formulate it in the Batcave, he hatches a plan to help the tortured creature. Batman swiftly pursues Man-Bat and when he locates him, offers his assistance, but Langstrom’s rationality is slipping away. And then, in a fateful and dramatic moment, he abruptly develops wings that allow him to fly away into the night, following another bat and hoping to share its ultimate sanctuary. Ironically, the bat leads Man-Bat to the Batcave itself.
With These Wings I Do Thee Wed Extraordinary original art page by the one and only Neal Adams, courtesy of Heritage Comics Auctions (www.ha.com), of a heartgripping unmasking in ’Tec #407 (inks by Dick Giordano). TM & © DC Comics.
18 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Dig That Crazy Elf! Detail from Bat-Mite’s entry in Who’s Who #2 (Apr. 1985). Art by Marshall Rogers. (background) Detective Comics #267 cover, introducing Bat-Mite. TM & © DC Comics.
Let’s just get this out of the way right up front: Bat-Mite is a ridiculous character. As Robin exclaims upon seeing him for the first time, he’s an “elf dressed in a crazy looking Batman costume!” But like the annoying kid brother who won’t go away, Bat-Mite has somehow become ingrained in my consciousness and has endeared himself to a generation of comic-book fans. Beyond a four-panel story by Stephen DeStefano in The Brave and the Bold #200 (July 1983), Bat-Mite only appeared once in a Bronze Age comic, in the six-page “Bat-Mite’s New York Adventure” in Detective Comics #482 (Feb.–Mar. 1979). Though he gained wider exposure with the animated 1977 Filmation series, The New Adventures of Batman, the question remains: How has Bat-Mite endured?
SILVER AGE BEGINNINGS Created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, Bat-Mite made his first appearance in “Batman Meets Bat-Mite,” in Detective Comics #267 (May 1959). After having observed the Darknight Detective from his home in the fifth dimension, Bat-Mite appears in the Batcave and proclaims himself to be Batman’s biggest fan. Though rebuffed, Bat-Mite is single-minded in his desire to help Batman and Robin fight crime. As the Dynamic Duo leave the Batcave to go out on patrol, Bat-Mite follows and conjures up all sorts of mischief, almost causing Batman and Robin to lose the criminals they are trying to apprehend. At the end of the yarn, Batman insists that Bat-Mite return to his dimension. The imp agrees—but slyly hints at a return. Bat-Mite showed up three more times in Detective, most notably in “The Return of Bat-Mite” with special guest Batwoman in issue #276 (Feb. 1960). He then popped up in six issues of Batman, concluding with “The Bat-Mite Hero” in #161 (Feb. 1964). Our favorite imp also plagued the Superman/Batman team, partnering up with Mr. Mxyzptlk in World’s Finest Comics #113 (Nov. 1960) and 123 (Feb. 1962).
Shannon E. Riley
By late 1963, the Batman titles were facing flagging sales and purportedly, cancellation. It was a dire situation for one of DC’s biggest properties. Carmine Infantino summarized the dilemma for online magazine Dial B for Blog (www.dialbforblog.com): “The book was at 32 percent sales. Which is a heavy loss. [Batman creator] Bob Kane hadn’t even been doing the work—he was farming it out to others. He hadn’t touched the drawing for years. What he was turning in was too old-fashioned.” As DC publisher Irwin Donenfeld told Infantino and editor Julie Schwartz: “It’s this simple: Batman is dying. We’re giving you two guys six months to fix it. If not, it’s over.” In a last-ditch effort, Schwartz jettisoned many of the Darknight Detective’s supporting characters with Batman #164 (June 1964). This was the “New Look” Batman: gone were the aliens, dinosaurs, and crazy multi-colored Bat-costumes of the 1950s. Poor Bat-Mite just didn’t fit in anymore. He would make one last Silver Age appearance, again teaming with Mr. Mxyzptlk in “The Supergirl-Batgirl Plot!” from World’s Finest #169 (Sept. 1967), before seemingly returning to the fifth dimension for good … until TV came calling.
“STAY IN YOUR OWN WORLD AND OUT OF OUR HAIR!” It seems you can’t keep a good imp down. With the arrival of The New Adventures of Batman in 1977, Bat-Mite had returned. The 16-episode animated series featured the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward, reprising their star-making roles as Batman and Robin. Also featured were Batgirl and Catwoman, both voiced by Melendy Britt (who later went on to become the voice of She-Ra). In the premier episode, appropriately titled “The Pest,” Bat-Mite shows up once again to help apprehend the Joker. Frustrated by Bat-Mite’s continued interference, Batman retorts, “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” Though the Joker is ultimately captured, it’s through no help from Bat-Mite, who fumbles and bumbles his way through the caper. Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 25
Voiced by Filmation founder Lou Scheimer, Bat-Mite was a recurring character in the series. He appears in every episode, culminating in “This Looks Like a Job for Bat-Mite!” Given the fact that he hadn’t shown up in a DC comic in ten years, I was curious how Bat-Mite came to be featured in The New Adventures of Batman. For answers, I spoke with USA Today bestselling author and fellow BI contributor, Andy Mangels, who co-wrote the stellar book Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation (2012). As Mangels explains, “Filmation had had a history of including ‘impish magical sidekicks’ in a lot of their series. They had done characters like that in The Brady Kids, Mission: Magic!, and so forth. It wasn’t just that the magical little character represented ‘magic,’ per se— it was also that they represented a child. Bat-Mite was kind of a perfect example of that. He was magical but he was basically a little kid. He wasn’t a teenager like Robin or Batgirl, he was actively a child. He did the same types of things that a child would do: He wanted to tag along, he had a crush on Batgirl, he ended up doing things wrong that sometimes caused trouble, but oftentimes in the end [things] turned out for the better because of him. Bat-Mite lou scheimer was kind of a ‘wish-fulfillment character’ that allowed children an ingress into the show.” Mangels goes on to explain that there’s a literary precedent for including a character like Bat-Mite: “The appearance of the talking animal or the youthful scamp is pretty much as old as comedy. Shakespeare had comic-relief characters, as well. The fact that [Filmation] took it into a younger arena was a pretty smart move because it allowed children to identify with those characters.” Given that Bat-Mite was voiced by Scheimer, I asked Mangels if Scheimer played a part in bringing the imp into New Adventures. “It was most likely Len Janson and Chuck Menville, who were the story editors,” Mangels posits. “Arthur Nadel was in charge of the story departments for a lot of the Filmation shows. Lou ran the company and would oversee things, but a lot of the staff members that he had hired knew the kinds of things that he wanted in his shows. And he worked very closely with them, so it’s doubtful that Lou was responsible for bringing Bat-Mite in, but he would have wholeheartedly supported the idea given that it was the type of character that Filmation liked to do.” Of Bat-Mite’s inclusion, Scheimer wrote in Creating the Filmation Generation, “…I think we may have added that he had a crush on Batgirl. We also changed up the costume some so that he didn’t look exactly like a shrunken-down Caped Crusader, and we gave him a greenish tint to his skin, yellow eyes, and buck teeth.” The animation legend went on to explain, “I was the voice of Bat-Mite (and the BatComputer and Clayface), but I didn’t work with the other voice actors in an ensemble setting. I worked by myself after-hours. I felt uncomfortable working with those people because they were the veterans. I didn’t hide that I did it from them. I just told them I wasn’t good enough to do it with them around watching me and laughing at me. “Doing the voice of Bat-Mite was the first time I think I used a machine called a ‘harmonizer.’ It was a way that we could control the pitch of the audio without altering the speed of the sound. I couldn’t really talk as high as Bat-Mite, though I did try to record it as closely as possible to that sound, so that we didn’t have to mess with it too much. ‘All I wanna do is help!’ was the phrase Bat-Mite said in almost every episode.” Mangels concludes, “Interestingly, when Filmation created the animated series for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe based on the
Animated Annoyance The pointy-eared pesterer joined the Dynamic Duo on the Saturday morning cartoon The New Adventures of Batman, from Filmation Studios. Courtesy of Andy Mangels, shown here are the series’ title card, a Bat-Mite model sheet, and storyboards. Batman and related characters TM & © DC Comics.
26 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Drive-By History From 100-Page Super Spectacular Batman #255 (Mar.–Apr. 1974), an illustrated history of Batman’s wheels. Special thanks to Al Bigley for reminding BI of this two-pager. (For loads of comics rarities, check out Al’s awesome blog: http://albigley-theblog.blogspot.com/). TM & © DC Comics.
Over the years, one of Batman’s most effective partners has not been another superhero, but a vehicle … his powerful, high-tech Batmobile, throughout its many incarnations. Due to the Batmobile’s high profile in TV and film interpretations of Batman, the car is almost as well known to the general public as its owner!
ORIGINS After using various anonymous roadsters in early issues of Detective Comics, Batman unveiled the first “real” Batmobile in Batman #5 (Spring 1941). This was a large sedan with a distinctive “Bat-head” battering ram over the grille, fared-in wheels, and a large “Bat-wing” dorsal fin. Depending on the artist, the 1940s Batmobile could range in appearance from a slightly modified 1941 Ford through to a heavily armored, almost tank-like vehicle with porthole windows. This design of Batmobile lasted for several years until it was destroyed in Detective Comics #156 (Feb. 1950), and replaced with the “Batmobile of 1950,” which Batman and Robin built themselves. This large, sleek car looked to be inspired by the contemporary Studebaker, but had a wraparound windscreen and roof-mounted light in addition to the traditional Bat-head battering ram and rear fin. It also featured radar and a full laboratory at the rear. Over the years, however, this streamlined design evolved into a very strange version, with slab sides, a clear dome canopy, and a Bat-fin mounted on the trunk. With Batman’s “New Look” in 1964, a smaller, more realistic Batmobile was introduced in Batman #164 (June 1964). This light,
open sports car was more like a Corvette or MGA, and instead of a heavy battering ram at the front had only a Bat-head painted on the hood. This agile little car did not last long, because when the Batman TV series made its debut in 1966, the George Barris-designed Batmobile from the show was soon carried over to the comics. The complex design of this car, with its strange angles and front and rear twin windshields, proved difficult for artists to draw, so simplified versions were used in the comics. The first type was a boxy convertible with a very angular Bat-shield on the grille, plus very large, sharp tailfins (Detective Comics #362). This design was later standardized as a modified version of the TV car, but with a more sloping nose, front air intakes, a painted Bat-logo on the nose, and faired-in headrests replacing the rear windscreens. This car remained in use until Batman closed up the Batcave at Wayne Manor and relocated to the Wayne Foundation building in late 1969.
BRONZE AGE As Batman returned to his dark and gritty roots in 1970, he moved away from showy Batmobiles to more realistic-looking cars. (Of course, that was when he drove at all; during this period he mainly seemed to swing around Gotham on his Bat-rope, like an urban Tarzan.) The first of the new-style Batmobiles was seen in Detective #394 (Dec. 1969). This was a futuristic, rear-engined coupe, similar to the concept cars of the era. It had two-way mirrored windows, a thick GT stripe along the top, and, rather unusually, a yellow Bat-shield on the roof! Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 29
“To stop me, you’ll have to kill me.” It was with these words that Batman quit the Justice League of America and headed off for the small European nation of Markovia.
P h i l i p Yo u n g m a n
“NO TEAM BOOKS!”
Bye-Bye, Two-Bit Justice League
Barr had always been a fan of team books. As a reader, that is mike w. barr … writing them was an entirely different matter. All those What could possibly have led to the shock resignation characters to coordinate, remembering the different of one of the founding members of the JLA? To find the speech patterns, the creation of villains who could answer, we need to go back in time to late 1982. present a credible threat every month—who needed Readers have thrilled to the adventures of the that sort of headache? Darknight Detective teaming up alongside almost every However, any doubts he may have had were cast conceivable DC superhero for more than 120 issues of aside one afternoon in the office of editor Len Wein The Brave and the Bold (B&B). when he learned that B&B was indeed headed toward But the sand is running out, with #200 to be its cancellation, with plans to replace it with a new last. Batman is graduating to another book—only this book starring the Dark Knight. Perhaps lured by the time, he is going to lead his own team. opportunity to write an issue #1 of a Batman title, While perhaps to the relief of many, Batman and Barr found himself volunteering for the assignment. the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City never saw the light Not surprisingly, the reason for B&B’s cancellation of day, but what instead followed was Mike W. Barr’s was a financial one—what is surprising, however, is the creation of a “new group of heroes for our troubled creation of the replacement title was also. Barr explains: age”—the Outsiders. Batman’s Partners Issue
From Mike W. Barr (MWB) and Jim Aparo’s Batman and the Outsiders #1 (Aug. 1983): (left) its gripping cover, and (right) from the MWB files, a photocopy of the splash page’s original art. TM & © DC Comics.
BACK ISSUE • 33
“One of DC’s foreign publishers—I believe it was in South America—was publishing Batman, Detective Comics, World’s Finest, and The Brave and the Bold under an umbrella title as a weekly Batman book. So when B&B was canceled, DC needed another Batman book.”
ENTER THE OUTSIDERS
Marvelous Team-Up (left) A Halo/Ms. Marvel sketch done for Mike W. Barr by Dave Cockrum in 1985. From the MWB files. (right) This George Pérez sketch established the basic looks of siblings Terra and Geo-Force. Halo, Terra, and Geo-Force TM & © DC Comics. Ms. Marvel TM & © Marvel Characters, Inc.
Once it was decided the new book would feature a team led by Batman, Barr set about creating the lineup. “I had originally proposed that Batman take a leave of absence from the JLA,” he tells BACK ISSUE. “I didn’t think DC would let him resign, but editor Len Wein (who was also the JLA editor) thought it would be stronger to have him resign. He was right, and it was awfully good of him to give me that kind of latitude.” Barr began with two existing characters—Metamorpho and Black Lightning—who on the surface may have seemed a strange fit. They did len have however have something in common with Batman—they had also turned their backs on JLA membership. [Editor’s note: Metamorpho said “no!” to the JLA in Justice League of America #42, while Black Lightning told them to “forget it!” in JLA #173.] It was now time for Mike Barr to create some new members: “All three of the first wave probably came to me in a two-or-three day period of mad creation, though I do recall the exact moment I came up with the idea for Geo-Force (Prince Brion Markov). He was intended as
34 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
a version of Siegel and Shuster’s Superman, a mainly physical character who wasn’t threateningly intelligent. “Halo (Gaby Doe/Violet Harper), I realized, years later, was another variation on a theme. Earlier I had created Arisia, a cute, teenaged girl who became a Green Lantern. Arisia was a kind of dry run for Halo. “I have always been fascinated by Japanese culture, so Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) seemed a natural outgrowth. I would not have expected that she would be merchandised more than any of the other new Outsiders.” Barr continues, “Naming of characters is absolutely crucial. Halo was an ideal name; despite its masculine ‘o’ ending, it sounded feminine, it described her powers, and it’s impossible to mispronounce. “Geo-Force was a little trickier. Len and I both thought of the name ‘Magman,’ playing on the word ‘magma,’ but Len shook his head and said, ‘It sounds like a man who wein sells magazines.’ Neither of us were 100% happy with “Geo-Force” when I submitted it, as it sounds a little clumsy, but I later realized that sometimes names take on meanings of their own. ‘The Punisher,’ for example, is an almost laughable name when taken literally, but due to the character it’s connected with it’s taken on a meaning of its own over the years. By the way, Geo-Force’s alter ego of Brion Markov was named after Brian Bolland, the artist of Camelot 3000. I changed the spelling of the name, but it was always intended as a tribute to a friend and one of my favorite collaborators.
“Katana was the biggest challenge of the three. I thought it was a perfect name for the character. Both a name and a proper noun describing her main weapon, it ended in a feminine ‘a,’ and it was also nearly impossible to mispronounce. But Len claimed he hated it, calling it ‘a terrible name,’ and he said he would think of another. I left the office, determined not to yield on this. And when I next saw Len, a couple of days later, he said, ‘I thought of the perfect name for the samurai—Katana!’ I cocked an eyebrow at him, skeptically—did I really have to remind him of our earlier conversation?—then he grinned, cueing me to the joke, and we both enjoyed a hearty laugh.” It all seemed perfect, except for one small hitch. As fate would have it, Geo-Force strongly resembled a character about to be introduced into The New Teen Titans—Terra. What could have spelled a very quick end to Geo-Force instead became a plot point. At the suggestion of then-Titans writer Marv Wolfman, Geo-Force and Terra became brother and sister. The team was in place, but who was to draw their adventures? It was never in doubt—the duties were to be given to veteran B&B artist Jim Aparo. “Jim was a little leery about the idea, but soon grew to love the new characters. His only advice to me was: ‘Let’s have plenty of the Batman in there.’ And I tried to oblige.” Given character outlines and a sketch of Terra and Geo-Force by George Pérez, Jim Aparo designed the look of each of the remaining characters inside of a week. The team was ready to meet the world. In B&B #200, readers finally saw the (sort of) team-up of the Bronze and Golden Age Batmans (also scripted by Barr), but an arguably even more important 16 pages followed. Tantalizingly, it introduced readers to this mix of familiar and brand-new characters—and the news that Batman was no longer part of the JLA. Their curiosity piqued, readers were primed for an ongoing series, and thankfully they wouldn’t have to wait long with Batman and the Outsiders #1 hitting the stands just one month later on May 19, 1983.
TM & © DC Comics.
“A BUNCH OF OUTSIDERS LIKE US? IT MIGHT WORK…” Batman and the Outsiders opens on the familiar skyline of Gotham City. jim aparo We are in the Wayne Foundation Tower, the scene a farewell dinner Portrait by Michael Netzer. for Lucius Fox. However, what started as a simple business trip to the small European nation of Markovia would end in a revolution and Fox’s abduction.
The Youngest Outsider (top) Our pal Joe Staton—no stranger to DC heroines, most notably the Huntress and Power Girl—drew this Halo sketch for Mike W. Barr at a convention in Philadelphia in 1983. (bottom) The artistry of Jim Aparo, as seen on the splash to Batman and the Outsiders #4 (Nov. 1983). Both images from the MWB files. TM & © DC Comics.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 35
Tony’s Tones (left) Courtesy of Heritage Comics Auctions (www.ha.com), the color guide to the Aparo-drawn cover of BATO #10 (May 1984), signed by color artist Anthony Tollin. (right) Katana’s biggest challenge, in issue #12. TM & © DC Comics.
Katana had often been seen by readers as quite a cold and brutal character. Even the one running gag in the letters column about her involved her handing the writers of negative comments their “lungs in a bucket.” This view would finally begin to change as readers finally learned her tragic origins, though the “Bucket-lung Brigade” would be around for the entire BATO run. As a young woman, Tatsu Yamashiro had displayed a proficiency in martial arts. Courted by two brothers— Takeo and Maseo—she married the latter and they had two children. However, the evil Takeo (who by this time was a member of the Yakuza) did not take rejection well. Having come into possession of two identical swords forged by a mad 14th-Century swordsmith— one of which, the “Soultaker,” possessed the ability to absorb the souls of its victims—he murdered the Yamashiro children and his own brother. Vowing revenge and now wielding the sword herself, Tatsu would take the name Katana.
38 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
When Katana loses the Soultaker to Takeo, she pursues him to Tokyo, though she will not face him alone as the Outsiders follow closely behind. Before she arrives, though, Takeo and the Oyabun of the local Yakuza perform an ancient ritual, one that brings forth spirits of those slain by the Soultaker, returning them to life but forever under their control. Among them is Tatsu’s husband Maseo, who is then ordered to slay her. Katana would eventually kill Takeo, whose spirit, along with that of her husband, would return to the sword. However, they would not be the only casualty of the battle, with Batman struck by a blowdart laced with an ancient poison. As the issue closes, he lays unconscious—“He is dying,” declares Katana, “…and there is no antidote!” The Jim Aparo-less “In the Chill of the Night!” in BATO #13 (Aug. 1984) essentially becomes a retelling of Batman’s origin. When the Outsiders learn the blowdart’s poison must run its course, Black Lightning removes the mask from the feverish Batman, learning his true identity. They re-stage the events of the night Wayne’s parents were killed in an effort to keep him active, allowing the poison to work its way through his system. They are instead left with a delusional Darknight Detective, who they in turn must bring down. By far the most important event in this issue is the revelation of Batman’s secret ID, which—unaware they already know—the Caped Crusader shares with them upon his recovery. They “deserved to know,” says Batman. Of course, some readers would argue that this would not be the first time Metamorpho would learn Batman’s identity, which had been integral to the story presented in B&B #123 (Dec. 1975) … a fact Barr would strongly refute in the coming months.
JOHN TRUMBULL: First, a little background on how you guys got together. How was Alan selected as Jim Aparo’s replacement artist on Batman and the Outsiders? ALAN DAVIS: I had penciled the first issue of an Aquaman miniseries for Dick Giordano. He phoned, said he liked what I had done, and offered me BATO. TRUMBULL: Were you two familiar with each other’s work before you started working together on BATO? MIKE W. BARR: I wasn’t really familiar with Alan’s work, but I quickly familiarized myself with Harry 20: On the High Rock and other series Alan drew [for 2000AD]. I don’t know if he was familiar with my work. DAVIS: Of course. I had followed BATO from the first issue. TRUMBULL: How did you two get the Detective Comics assignment? Did you submit a pitch or were you selected for it by editor Denny O’Neil? DAVIS: Mike asked me. That was all I knew. BARR: I actively campaigned for the ’Tec assignment, rather than waiting to be selected, as I had before (and which didn’t work out well). I recall trying—convincingly, I guess—to persuade DC to drop the plan of having Batman and ’Tec tell one long story, saying this wasn’t working, and it was driving away readers who didn’t like that approach, but it may have been that this decision may have been made in-house. With two separate creative teams, readers would be offered two choices. I suggested Alan as the penciler, and gave Denny a few copies of BATO. He agreed. I think we lured Alan away from some other assignment; if true, this gave me a great deal of satisfaction. DAVIS: I’m afraid I’ll have to let Mike down, because there wasn’t one. I had accepted a single annual from the X-office [Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, 1987] in anticipation of my run on BATO ending, then felt pretty bad when I discovered DC had miscalculated the length of [the] run and I had to tell Mike I couldn’t do the last two issues of BATO. I had enjoyed working with Mike and loved drawing Batman so I was very enthusiastic about Detective. BARR: Denny and I discussed the approach to the book, which I probably described as “classic Batman and
50 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
J o h n Tr u m b u l l
TM & © DC Comics.
In 1986, the DC Universe was being redefined in the wake of the crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, and DC Comics was looking to reinvigorate its flagship characters. After years under the editorial watch of Len Wein, the Batman books were now under the stewardship of Denny O’Neil. And Detective Comics, the book that gave DC its name, received a new creative team fresh off a bestselling run on Batman and the Outsiders: writer Mike W. Barr and penciler Alan Davis. While Barr and Davis only stayed together on Detective for seven issues, they certainly didn’t waste any time. In these issues, Batman and Robin encountered the Joker, Catwoman, the Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, new villain the Reaper, and several surprise guest-stars. Batman’s origins were redefined, a new Leslie Thompkins was introduced, and the book celebrated its 50th year of publication. For everyone who followed them on the Dark Knight, Barr and Davis cast a long (bat-shaped) shadow. This interview was conducted via email over the summer of 2013. – John Trumbull
Robin stories,” “classic” referring to the approach. We discussed strategies if this didn’t work, like guest-starring some of the Outsiders which, with the creative team of Barr and Davis, would have been a natural. Fortunately, we didn’t have to do any of that. The title was an instant hit, and quickly became DC’s bestselling Batman title, a stunt Alan and I had done with BATO a year or so earlier. In fact, the only acknowledgement of the Outsiders was in the Mad Hatter issue (#573), where we briefly used Warden Fisher, who had been introduced in BATO #4 (Nov. 1983). This certainly isn’t because I disliked the Outsiders; we just wanted Detective to sell on its own. TRUMBULL: How did you two typically work together? Was it full-script, Marvel-style, or somewhere in-between? BARR: Every issue of Detective—as well as every issue of BATO—was written full-script, with Alan understanding that he could change anything he wanted as long as the story was told. DAVIS: Always full-script. And I was grateful for that at the time because I had no training or experience so was learning on the job. As I have said on many occasions, I was very lucky because Mike is the most visual writer I have worked with. His panel descriptions are always on the money. I would sometimes try something different, but almost always quickly realized Mike’s staging was the best way. TRUMBULL: What do you feel you each bring to your collaboration, and what do you bring out in each other?
DAVIS: For my part, it was a steep learning curve. Thankfully, Mike was patient and generous with his knowledge and experience. BARR: I have worked with many, many great artists, and I feel the collaboration of Alan and myself really became an example of the end product being greater than the sum of its parts. Alan seemed to know what I was trying to bring out in the scripts, no matter how hamhandedly I might have written it, and did his best to improve on it. And his sense of humor is second to none. With most artists I indicate a humorous bit with the notation [humor], just to make sure they get it. I soon realized this wasn’t necessary with Alan—he always got it.
DETECTIVE #569: “CATCH AS CATSCAN” When the Joker learns about Catwoman fighting crime with Batman and Robin, he kidnaps her and brainwashes her into resuming her criminal career. BARR: Denny wanted me to come on the title with #568, which was a Legends crossover. But I begged off because Alan couldn’t start until #569, and I realized the only way to peak sales on a long-running title was for the new creative team to all come on in the same issue. “Start Collecting NOW!” TRUMBULL: How was it decided to make Catwoman a villain again? BARR: My first marching orders from Denny O’Neil were: A) Make Catwoman a villain again, and: B) Erase from her memory any knowledge of Batman’s secret identity. We decided a story using the Joker would be the best way to do this, as having Batman and Catwoman working together would drive him crazy (or crazier). And, since the Joker and Catwoman first appeared in Batman #1, it was also a very subtle tip to the readers that we were starting over again. TRUMBULL: Alan, how did you approach drawing Catwoman and the Joker? Did any particular artists influence you? DAVIS: No, I was following Mike’s direction. The only deliberate deviation on my part was to give Catwoman a sort of Gaucho culotte instead of a skirt—just to make her a little more modern and sleek. BARR: Alan’s Joker is one of the best versions. Someone referred to him as “a deranged praying mantis.” TRUMBULL: You had both done Batman by this point, but now he was joined by the Jason Todd Robin. How did you approach Jason, and how was he different from Dick Grayson? BARR: I never really saw him as any different than Dick Grayson. I believe it was later that his backstory would be rewritten to include
Two-Face, which was utilized in issues #579–580 [drawn by Jim Baikie after Davis’ departure]. DAVIS: Again, I was following Mike’s direction. No significant difference from the classic Dick Grayson; he was a young Jiminy Cricket. TRUMBULL: Commissioner Gordon is called “Captain” in your first two issues. Was this the original post-Crisis plan for the character, as he’s promoted to Captain at the end of Batman: Year One? BARR: I guess so. I was told to call him “Captain,” and obliged. TRUMBULL: How did you decide on using Dr. Moon as the agent to turn Selina Kyle evil again? BARR: We needed someone to do the dirty scientific work and I thought using Dr. Moon (who was created by editor O’Neil, of course), who already existed as a character, would root the book more deeply in the DCU than creating a new character. The comedy stylings he and the Joker exhibited on pages 18–20 were not plotted, they came to me as I wrote the script. I loved the idea of a Joker who would appreciate having a gag played on him, as a contrast to the relentlessly grim (and dull) mad killer Joker that had been prevalent in the Batman titles for years.
Holy No-No! (top) Jason Todd Robin gets a dressing-down after channeling the Burt Ward Robin in this hilarious sequence from Detective #569. (left) Mike W. Barr communicates with readers in the lettercol of Detective #569. TM & © DC Comics.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 51
DETECTIVE #570: “THE LAST LAUGH!”
Enough!! Batman reacts to Catwoman being turned into a bad kitty on this powerful original art page from Detective #570, with Alan Davis inked by Paul Neary. Courtesy of Heritage Comics Auctions (www.ha.com). TM & © DC Comics.
Batman and Robin track down the Joker in the hopes of reversing Catwoman’s brainwashing, while Catwoman returns to her life of crime. TRUMBULL: This issue saw the introduction of McSurley’s, a criminal bar where Batman gets information. Was it influenced at all by the real-life McSorley’s in New York City? BARR: I have no recollection of such an influence, but since I did live in NYC in those days, I have to wonder if I was aware of McSorley’s existence. TRUMBULL: The scene with Batman intimidating Profile is a real standout. BARR: I was trying to make Batman as formidable as possible. And if this included threatening to frame
a criminal to get what he wanted, that was the way he rolled. (Also, do you know how strong he’d have to be to break a glass the way he did on page 6?) Profile came from the desire to have a unique criminal agent we could turn to if Batman needed info. TRUMBULL: Where did the Joker’s henchman Straight Line come from? BARR: Straight Line was, I blushingly admit, copied from the character “Gaggy,” from “The Joker’s Original Robberies” [in] Batman #186 (Nov. 1966), written by John Broome. TRUMBULL: Did you have any plans for Selina Kyle/Catwoman beyond her “revillainization”? BARR: No. I assumed her fate would be controlled by editor O’Neil, who would allow her appearances as needed.
DETECTIVE #571: “FEAR FOR $ALE” The Scarecrow returns with a new extortion scheme— having his victims pay for the antidote to a drug that removes fear. TRUMBULL: Judging by your comments in the Scarecrow article in BACK ISSUE #60, you’re both quite fond of this issue. And going by the number of reprints it’s had, it seems that lots of others agree. Is this issue your favorite from the run? BARR: Well, it’s one of them. It’s just one of those swell little stories where everything seems to fall in place as you’re writing it. I knew I’d done something good when I finished the script, but I had no idea it would prove to be as popular as it’s become. DAVIS: I think as a standalone Batman story it is a brilliant piece of writing. I have always believed I wasn’t good enough to draw it at the time—and would love to have the opportunity to redraw it. I’m sure that if Neal Adams had drawn it, a wider audience would recognize it as one of the very best Batman stories. TRUMBULL: Was it tough coming up with new twists on the villains’ motifs, like the Scarecrow removing fear or the Mad Hatter going hatless? BARR: Tough? Hmm … I never thought of it that way, it’s just what I was paid to do. My approach with the Batman villains harkens back to when I grew up reading them in the ’50s and ’60s. Every time an established villain reappeared, the plot would ring a change on his classic motif. With the Joker it was comedy, with the Penguin it was birds or umbrellas, with the Mad Hatter it was hats. I used this approach, trying to think of a new variation on the villain’s motif. With the Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter, it turned out well to have each villain temporarily reverse his usual tactics. Believe me, this is as much fun for me as it is for you. I think I was grinning every minute I was writing “Fear for $ale.”
52 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Aidan M. Mohan
Commissioner James Gordon has been a part of the Batman family longer than any other character. It’s strange but true that the commissioner was in the books before Alfred, Robin, or even Batman’s origin! He appears alongside Bruce Wayne on the very first page of “The Case of the Chemical Crime Syndicate,” Batman’s debut tale in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and he’s been an integral part of the Bat-mythos ever since. However, there wasn’t always as much to the character as there is today, and that development came over time. At first, Gordon was a social friend of Bruce Wayne’s who would discuss his most unusual cases with him over dinner in a manner very similar to Lamont Cranston and Commissioner Weston’s “relationship” in The Shadow. With the advent of the ’40s came the first use of the Bat-Signal by Gordon to summon Batman in Detective Comics #60 (Feb. 1942), and then in the family-friendly ’50s Gordon and Alfred became the adopted uncles, of sorts, to the Batman family. And who can forget the comically ineffective Commissioner Gordon on the 1966 Batman TV show?
He’s Got Batman’s Back Although their relationship has been contentious at times, Batman and Commissioner Gordon generally are the staunchest of allies. Original cover painting to Batman: Shadow of the Bat #49 (Apr. 1996), by the remarkable Brian Stelfreeze. Note that the art was flopped in the published version (inset), reversing the characters’ positions. Courtesy of Heritage Comics Auctions (www.ha.com). TM & © DC Comics.
From a storytelling perspective, Gordon serves an absolutely vital role within the context of Batman. Bruce Wayne has no legitimate law enforcement ties of his own, and as a result, neither does Batman. Superheroes tend to be very reactionary characters, and without anything to react to there is nothing for them to do … and coincidence can only go so far. Spider-Man and Superman work at newspapers to hear news of crimes and accidents, The Shadow has a series of agents all around the city, and Sherlock Holmes has an open-door policy toward interesting cases. Commissioner Gordon serves the role of alerting Batman to the story and giving him valuable information about it. Basically, he’s Batman’s “M.” The genius of the Batman comic books of the ’70s ushered in by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, and company was the fact it was often either a gothic crime/horror tale or it was a globetrotting adventure. Those are two types of tales that a character like Batman can easily fit into. And how did Gordon fit into those stories? Well, the same way he fit into every other Batman story: to exposit information to Batman about the plot. From his initial appearance through to the beginning of the ’70s, Gordon was mostly a cipher … a very good cipher and sometimes a very interesting cipher, but a cipher nonetheless [see sidebar 1 for info about Gordon’s personal life—ed.]. What changed? How did the character of Commissioner Gordon get any meat on his bones? It started with the aforementioned mood change of the Batman books and Gotham City as a whole. Gotham was, in the ’50s and ’60s, a normal major metropolitan city … excluding, of course, the activities of the Dynamic Duo and their rogues’ gallery. Criminals Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 59
Information Broker (top) Gordon and socialite Bruce Wayne, in Batman’s first story, from Detective #27 (May 1939), by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. (right) A rare Gordon cover appearance, on Batman #212 (June 1969). Cover by Irv Novick. (bottom) The commish fills in his Bat-buddy in Brave and Bold #115 (Oct.–Nov. 1974). By Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. TM & © DC Comics.
struck, but their crimes were often very cartoony, and the police made honest efforts to stop them. The Gotham PD was not corrupt but simply outmatched by some of the fantastic threats that plagued the city. In the early ’70s, the police department of Gotham City stayed pretty much the same even though the city turned into a gothic, foggy, and almost mythic place. Batman worked closely with Commissioner Gordon, and the police force mostly regarded Batman as an ally. [Editor’s note: In one over-the-top example, The Brave and the Bold #102 (June–July 1972)—which may or may not be regarded as part of the Bat-mythos of the day, depending upon your tolerance of its continuity-averse scribe—writer Bob Haney has the deputized Batman flash a badge, cementing his professional bond with Gordon and the force.] Batman #219 (Feb. 1970), featuring “The Silent Night of the Batman,” depicts an optimistic Gordon who wants to spend his holiday with his unofficial partner. Other Christmas stories from the era depict the two exchanging gifts, with Batman giving Gordon distinctive tobacco. However, as the decade progressed, American culture became cynical and questioning, and you need only look at cinema from the period to see that. In Dirty Harry (1971) and Death Wish (1974), the real-world public that was frustrated by law enforcement’s ineptness over increasing crime and street violence was given a release through vigilante heroes. The main characters of both those films step outside the law to create what they perceive to be justice. Even cinema cops who played more by the rules had a harder, more skeptical edge to them, and the noir detective with human foibles became fashionable in films like Chinatown (1974). These attitudes began to slowly creep into Batman stories. A noteworthy example is the one-time appearance of a grizzled detective named “Bullock” in the Archie Goodwin-penned Batman tale in Detective Comics #441 (June–July 1974), who resents the Caped Crusader’s interference and the license-to-meddle afforded him by “weak sister” Gordon. Before long, in 1975, readers witness the first time Batman disappeared during a conversation with Gordon, which has since become a staple with their characterization. In 1980, Batman’s story was updated in Untold Legends of the Batman, and so was Gordon’s [see BACK ISSUE #50—ed.]. The second issue of the three-issue miniseries tells the updated story of how Batman came to earn Gordon’s trust. In their first real moment of bonding, shortly after Batman saves Gordon’s life for the first time, an agreement between them is formed as Batman explains how he can act for justice outside of the law while Gordon cannot.
GOTHAM GETS GRITTY It was in the early ’80s that it all started to really get interesting, with a shift in attitude between those elected and hired to protect and serve Gotham City and their relationship with its Darknight Detective, with Gordon often finding himself caught in the middle. Writers Gerry Conway and Doug Moench implemented those changes. Conway introduced Gotham’s untrustworthy mayor, Hamilton Hill, in Detective #503 (June 1981). A political puppet of Gotham City Councilman (and crimeboss) Rupert Thorne, Mayor Hill is not a fan of Batman or Gordon and systematically complicates Gordon’s life to push this unbendable good cop out of office. Hill’s campaign against Gordon goes overt in the pages of Batman #346 (July 1982) when he installs
60 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
The 1980s were a pivotal decade for Batman, from seeing his former sidekick become the leader of DC Comics’ most popular team, to becoming an icon of the big screen all over again. One major shift during this time concerned his relationship with his most venerable, long-lived ally: Superman.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD’S FINEST DUO As DC’s two most prolific superheroes of all time, Superman and Batman have often crossed paths, though many have considered the concept of the two working together rather strange. “Pairing Superman and Batman made sense financially, since the two were DC’s most popular heroes,” wrote Les Daniels in his book DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes. While Superman and Batman shared the covers of many issues of a series entitled World’s Finest [Comics, originally World’s Best]—which featured solo stories of each—according to Daniels, “production economics had shortened the page count and forced them to share the same story,” so in 1954, Superman and Batman became a regular team. DC Comics teamed the two icons for the first time in Superman #76 (May 1952). The two had shared many comic-book covers, and even a cameo in All-Star Comics #7 (Oct. 1941), but never officially teamed up in the comics, though they had on the Adventures of Superman radio series. Starting with issue #71 (July 1954), World’s Finest became a platform for Superman and Batman’s new joint adventures. Their stories often featured sci-fi themes, and at times they battled their more famous foes, such as Lex Luthor and the Joker. Occasionally new villains were introduced to challenge “Your Two Favorite Heroes—Together,” none more fondly remembered than the Composite Superman, first seen in World’s Finest #142 (June 1964); he was the Superman Museum janitor who gained the powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes, wore a half-Superman/ half-Batman costume, and made Superman, Batman, and Robin duck for cover. As the Bronze Age began in 1970, DC editor Julius Schwartz, who oversaw most of the titles in the Batman and Superman franchises, put the two heroes through some rather pivotal changes. Bruce Wayne moved from Wayne Manor to the Wayne Foundation penthouse, while Dick Grayson went to college, joining Batman sporadically, and enjoying a solo backup feature. Meanwhile, Clark Kent found a new vocation as a TV anchorman instead of a newspaper writer, while coping with a temporary reduction in his powers. By the end of 1970, World’s Finest became a team-up series, pairing Superman with various superheroes from the Flash to the (Western) Vigilante, paralleling the
The Superman/Batman Split Your two favorite heroes say goodbye to their partnership on the Denys Cowan/Dick Giordano cover of World’s Finest Comics #323 (Jan. 1986), the series’ last issue. TM & © DC Comics.
64 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Batman team-up title The Brave and the Bold. Batman returned to the book every few issues, but the modernizations visited upon the characters in their own titles often seemed absent from World’s Finest. Case in point: issue #202 (May 1971, inset). Its Neal Adams/Dick Giordano cover depicted Superman strangling Batman, with a blurb promising that it was “Not an imaginary fight scene, nor a symbolic picture! Nor any other sort of cop-out!” Yet the “Superman” on the cover was, in reality, one of the Man of Steel’s many Superman robots. Murray Boltinoff took over as editor with World’s Finest #215 (Dec. 1972), which featured the permanent return of the Superman/Batman team to the title. Yet this issue had a distinct twist: Writer Bob Haney and penciler Dick Dillin introduced the rotating SuperSons feature, co-starring Superman and Batman’s teenage offspring. Their mothers were never revealed, and many fans scratched their heads in disbelief over how these previously unseen sons could exist—although sales increased on Super-Sons issues. (In 1980’s World’s Finest #263, the Super-Sons were revealed to be an elaborate computer simulation, and they sacrifice their lives during the course of the story— while cleaning up a continuity conundrum in the process.) Throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, World’s Finest soldiered on, through different editors and through a host of format changes from a traditional comic to a 100-Page Super Spectacular, back to the regular 32-page format, then to the giant-sized Dollar Comics format … before returning to the traditional format yet again. The Dollar Comics era [covered in BI #57—ed.] featured backups starring other superheroes such as Hawkman, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, and Black Canary.
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?? A new era for the Batman/Superman team in World’s Finest starts when the Composite Superman reappears in #283 (Sept. 1982), written by Cary Burkett and penciled by George Tuska. The story begins with the villain attacking each hero while disguised as the other, leading to a hostile confrontation between the real heroes Doug Moench, who would soon when an enraged Superman confronts doug moench continue on to be a prolific writer of Batman in the Batcave. The Composite Batman comics [see Commissioner Superman shows up in the cave to Gordon article—ed.]. Moench’s first challenge both heroes, which comes as a shock as they issue was #289 (Mar. 1983). He tells BACK ISSUE, believed him to be dead. “Doing an issue of World’s Finest becomes a frustrating Because the Composite Superman was imbued exercise in answering the question, ‘Why does with the powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman need Batman?’” Superman travels into the future to gather help from Moench’s two-parter in World’s Finest #290–291 that team. However, this Composite Superman was introduces a love interest for Batman named Yumiko, not the original, but a villain from the future known as who suspects that he and Bruce Wayne are one in the Xan, who is also known as the Amalgamax. The heroes same. Superman and Batman travel to a deep cavern (along with Legionnaires) thwart him in #284. to face Kryptonite-powered mutations. After the This two-parter served as a reminder of how an heroes return from their adventure, Superman and adversarial Superman and Batman relationship makes Batman play an identity-thrwarting ruse on Yumiko, a more dynamic mix than the two “best friends” we’d with Superman masquerading as Batman. seen over the decades. The following issue served as a summation of Several issues went by, with Superman and Batman Superman and Batman’s relationship up to this point. usually battling magic-based threats with other During a radio interview, Batman reacts negatively superheroes joining in, before a new writer signed on: to being called a “vigilante,” reminding listeners that Batman’s Partners Issue
The Grin and the Grim Gil Kane deftly delineates the differences in our heroes’ personalities on this cover to WFC #289 (Mar. 1983). Original cover art courtesy of Heritage Comics Auctions (www.ha.com). TM & © DC Comics.
BACK ISSUE • 65
THE FALLEN HERO
TM & © DC Comics.
Comics readers learned in 1986 that it takes a real woman to be Robin. This was year that Frank Miller’s megahit Batman: The Dark Knight saw publication, and with it, the world was introduced to Carrie Kelley. While other women had donned the Robin costume for various ruses (see next page) Carrie was the first female to actually take on the role of Robin. Throughout the book we, the readers, see how Carrie Kelley grows in her role and her support of Batman. It becomes clear throughout the work that Batman needs a Robin just as much Robin needs Batman. As Bruce Wayne and Carrie Kelley work together, we see how the Dynamic Duo develop into a team that is similar to a single parent/single child household. Miller’s Robin also allows us to see how twisted and dark the idea of a child sidekick can be, as she is placed in constant danger. With her placed in the story, we see that the fantasy of Batman might be interpreted as sick and disturbed. Before Carrie Kelley is introduced in Frank Miller’s series, we find ourselves in a world without Batman. We see that Bruce Wayne has grown older. He is mustached and reckless, and has given up the life of a costumed vigilante. It is clear that our protagonist has grown even more haunted by the past as he tries to move forward without being Batman. As Bruce relives the discovery of the Batcave, he awakens to find himself there. The oncevibrant crimefighting center is now obsolete and neglected. The computers and trophies are all covered, except for one. We find this on page 19 of the first issue. Yet a Robin uniform has remained exposed. It stands alone and under a spotlight. Bruce thinks, “I was only six years old when that happened when I found the cave. Huge, empty, silent as a church, waiting, as the bat was waiting. And now the cobwebs grow and the dust thickens in here as it does in me. And he laughs at me, curses me. Calls me a fool. He fills my sleep, He tricks me. He brings me here when the night is long and my will is weak. He struggles relentlessly hatefully to be free … I will not let him. I gave my word. For Jason. Never. Never again.” The words and images combine to let us see that some traumatic event has forced Bruce away from his crusade on crime. It is also clear that that something had happened to Jason Todd, the then-current Robin in DC Comics’ regular Batman titles. We then turn the page: Wayne’s meditation is broken by the intrusion of Alfred Pennyworth. The butler has been awakened by the alarm tripped by Bruce as he entered the cave. After a short time reminiscing, the pair adjourn upstairs. It is important to note that the discussion is interrupted by a single panel that focuses on the empty Robin uniform. This reinforces that fact that Robin’s absence is deeply felt and a part of why Bruce Wayne has tried to leave this part of his life behind. It is a battle he is losing: Alfred points out that his master’s mustache is gone, and by the look we see on Bruce’s face, this is an act of the subconscious crimefighter who is fighting to the surface of Bruce Wayne’s psyche. Batman will return … but for him to be complete, it is clear he will need a Robin.
Batman’s Partners Issue
BACK ISSUE • 69
What a Way to Go-Go (top left) Julie Madison donned a Robin costume to trick Clayface in “Clayface Walks Again!” in Detective Comics #49 (Mar. 1941). (top right) Holy Halloween! Jill St. John, playing the Riddler’s gun moll, has infiltrated the Batcave in a Robin disguise! From the conclusion of the two-part Batman TV pilot, originally aired on January 13, 1966. If you know of any other pre-Carrie Kelley female Robins, contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share them in a future issue. (bottom) Carrie learns of her predecessor’s legacy. TM & © DC Comics. TV Batman © Greenway Productions/ DC Comics/20th Century Fox.
Carrie’s world is filled with child neglect. This darkness THE GIRL WONDER We meet Carrie Kelley on page 30 in the first issue is then shattered as the Bat-Signal appears. Carrie lights of the four-issue miniseries. Like a lot of women in up, as the sky does. This closes Carrie’s role in the superhero comics, she is at first the damsel in distress. first issue of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight. It is clear She and her friend Michelle are walking home through that this young woman has not just been rescued by an arcade on a stormy night. Our early impression Batman … but inspired. Carrie Kelley returns on the second page of the of the young woman is that she is bold and unafraid of the dangers the city possesses. Michelle tries to second issue, entitled The Dark Knight Triumphant. convince her that the path they are on is dangerous, We do not see her face in this introduction. We find her as the arcade is considered Mutant territory. The suiting up in a Robin costume. It appears this costume Mutants are a gang that has risen to power in the is something akin to a store-bought costume for vacuum left by the Batman’s absence. They also serve Halloween. It is a bit too large for her as she stands in as one of the series’ three main antagonists. Most of front of mirror. In this sequence, the reader sees the IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW, Gotham is terrified by this menace, but Carrie is not. young woman’s excitement, and is treated a sense CLICK THE LINK TO ORDER THIS She believes the storm has driven them away and of nostalgia if they are a longtime Batman fan. The ISSUE IN PRINT OR DIGITAL FORMAT! that she and her companion can travel through their sequence is reminiscent of any child who has donned territory without fear of reprisal. She is wrong. The a Robin costume on Halloween. The excitement of the lights go out in the arcade, and our young characters idea that one can be alongside Batman if they are in find themselves surrounded and taunted by the this costume is expressed in this opening scene. It is gang. Batman enters and comes to their aid. In this clear from this point on, Carrie Kelley will be our entry exchange Batman says nothing and simply stalks and point into the world of the Dark Knight. Carrie Kelley quickly learns it takes more than attacks the gang. This removes Carrie and her friend putting on the costume to become Robin. As she from harm’s way. The scene closes and we do not see an immediate ventures out in her new garb, she quickly comes face reaction from anyone involved. Batman has returned. to face with her own mortality. As she explores the As we watch the Batman’s return to his war, we once Gotham skyline in the green fairy boots, she wraps herself again find our young, future sidekick at home on on to a rainspout to maneuver around a corner. The page 45. The reader is treated to insights into Carrie’s pipe gives and Carrie plummets. She is able to catch homelife. We never see her parents; we just read herself on a fire escape so she manages to avoid death their words as Carrie looks out longingly at a Gotham this one time, but it is clear she is going to need practice if she isISSUE to take on the role of Robin. covered by the night. Her parents’ conversation suggests BACK #73 “Batman’sin Partners!” MIKE W. BARR and ALAN DAVISthen on theirfollows two plot points: The second issue they are former hippies who had been involved Detective Comics, Batman and the Outsiders, Nightwing flies The reader sees Batman’s protesting the government. They are clearly notsolo, fans of Man-Bat history, Commissioner Gordon, the last days of return and the escalating Finest, Bat-Mite, Darkprimary Knight’s girl target is the Mutants. As war the onBatmobile, crime.plusHis Batman, as they describe him as a “fascist.” World’s It never Robin! Featuring work APARO, BUSIEK,Miller DITKO, KRAFT, thisbywar rages, cutsMILaway to show that Carrie is is stated explicitly, but drugs also seem to be involved GROM, MILLER, PÉREZ, WOLFMAN, and more, with a cover by improving. ALAN that DAVIS and MARK FARMER. The next time we find her, she is now in the situation, and the reader is left to see (84-page FULL-COLOR magazine) $8.95 (Digital Edition) $3.95
70 • BACK ISSUE • Batman’s Partners Issue
Published on Jun 14, 2014
Published on Jun 14, 2014
This is a free sample of Back Issue issue "#73" Download full version from: Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id739028056?mt...