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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73 – Ol’ Long Ears

By the fourth Batman story in Detective Comics #30 (July 1939), Bob Kane had lengthened the cowl’s ears and straightened them, giving The Batman a more streamlined and deadly appearance, despite the stiff, winged-looking cape. The comics from the 1980s and early 1990s featured a return to the look of this cowl and I loved […]

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70 – Batman’s Gadgets

In June 1939, Detective Comics #29 is the first story to feature The Batman‘s use of gadgets. This much longer story (10 pages) featured Batman’s first “arch criminal”, Doctor Death and lots of action: Batman swinging around the city on his rope, Batman scaling a building, Batman getting shot, and finally vanquishing his foe. I […]

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63 – The Bat-Man!

In April 1939, Bob Kane (and Bill Finger) published the first story about The Bat-Man in Detective Comics #27, bringing DC what would be its second big hit. Certainly his dramatic appearance had something to do with the character’s success, but I thought the first story was interesting by keeping him mysterious: He was not […]

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58 – Slamming Through Time

The normally grounded Slam Bradley and Shorty encounter a scientist who has invented a time machine, joining Bobby and Binks as time travelers. They meet bird and flower men in 2 Billion A.D. I must have missed the story where Slam water skiied over a shark…

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54 – The Crimson Avenger!

September 1938 also saw the debut of The Crimson Avenger in Detective Comics #20 by Jim Chambers. Basically the Crimson Avenger was a knock-off of The Green Hornet, having a mask, a gas gun and an Asian sidekick named Wing – but he is DC’s first masked hero, so I guess he deserves a mention.

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41 – The Blood of the Lotus

After The Claws of the Red Dragon, Bruce Nelson continued his “yellow peril” adventures in Detective Comics.  Above shows a panel from the second chapter of “The Blood of the Lotus” in Detective Comics #10 (November 1937).  In it, they depict the heroin being drugged (with opium presumably), perhaps the second time drug use was […]

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34 – The Dripping Claws of the Red Dragon

Detective Comics brought not only lengthier stories, but also stories of a more graphic nature.  April 1937 featured the continuation of “The Claws of the Red Dragon” by Tom Hickey.  This series followed Bruce Nelson through a “Yellow Peril” story.  Like other forms of period racism, reading these stories can make one uncomfortable.  We are […]

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33 – The Spy’s Just Not That Into You

By 1937, Siegel & Shuster had five comic strips going in National Allied Publications / DC Comics.  “Spy” debuted in Detective Comics #1, but the dynamic between Bart Regan (newly minted spy for Uncle Sam) and his ex-fiance Sally Norris started taking shape in the second issue, March 1937.  Sally became Bart’s reluctant sidekick / […]

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