131 – Bat-Silliness Begins

Robin’s dream story in Detective Comics #44 (September 1940), foreshadows what I consider to be the worst era of Batman story-telling. With the introduction of Robin to the Bat-mythos, the character deviated from his noir, grim and gritty feel towards silly, fantasy stories and stayed that way for the next 25 years.

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118 – Clayface!

Detective Comics #40 (May 1940) introduced another Batman rogue: the original Clayface, whose alter-ego is Basil Karlo, a movie actor that goes crazy.

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114 – Two New Bat-Rogues

Before the introduction of Robin only one month earlier, Batman’s rogues gallery consisted of only three villains: Doctor Death, the Mad Monk, and Hugo Strange. In April 1940, DC released Batman #1, its second comic book dedicated to just a single superhero. In it, they recount the Batman’s origin and then feature not one, but […]

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109 – Robin, the Boy Wonder!

In Detective Comics #38 (March 1940), Batman gains a youthful sidekick as he rescues the newly orphaned Dick Grayson and trains him to become Robin, the Boy Wonder. Robin was co-created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and inker Jerry Robinson. This issue marks the start of shift to a lighter tone for Batman, one in […]

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104 – Bat-Night-Vision

The “gadgeting” of Batman continues in Detective Comics #37 (February 1940) with Bruce adding a night-vision device to let him see in the dark. Note that this is only a couple months after Germans started experimenting with nightvision goggles in World War II!

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96 – Bat with a Gat

In Detective Comics #35 (December 1939), Bob Kane decided to show the provocative image of Batman holding a smoking gun in the splash page of the story, even though Batman never uses a gun in the story itself! But more importantly… wtf is going on with Batman’s body below the belt?!? Also, the cover of […]

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88 – Batman and Not The Question

In Detective Comics #34 (November 1939), Bruce Wayne meets up with a woman whose brother had his face burnt away by a terrible ray… those pesky terrible rays. The mad is not The Question, but I thought he looked similar enough to the character created thirty years later that I would include it here. While […]

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86 – Become The Bat

In Detective Comics #33 (October 1939), the Batman is finally given an origin story – and wow, what a powerful page and half that is! Apparently Bill Finger wrote this part of the story (the rest being written by Gardner Fox) and the words combined with the iconic imagery of Bob Kane continue the dark […]

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76 – The Batarang!

The Batman introduced two new gadgets in Detective Comics #31 (August 1939): The Bat-Gyro and the Bat-arang. It is also revealed that Bruce Wayne has a fiance named Julie Madison who is hypnotized by the second villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery: The Mad Monk. In just five issues, Gardner Fox and Bob Kane have done […]

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