The Strange Lives of Batman and Robin

Today’s Batman post looks at the second 1966 Batman 80-page giant in my collection. It was a cover I saw many times in copies of 1966 DC Comics but I bought it only last week. Happily, it’s a pretty enjoyable collection. These are mostly stories with a mad scientist theme, although two are somewhat science-fictional.  This time, I’ve ranked the stories from most to least entertaining, rather than in publication order in the comic.

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The Joker Batman: Bats and the Joker swap bodies when exposed to an “epsilon ray” device. The Joker almost unmasks “himself” in a giant magnifying glass but Batman’s id is preserved.

The Villain of 100 Elements: lab assistant John Dolan becomes a bizarre foe whose powers antcipate Metamorpho. Batman is similarly transformed in this sci-fi tale. Batman and the Outsiders, one of my favourites in the mid-late-80s, featured an Elemental Woman as a member of Strike Force Kobra.

 Strike_Force_Kobra

 Batman Junior and Robin Senior: B’n’R are exposed to gases that reverse or increase age but also remove life experience. I felt this story was an influence on the grown-up Robin of the Brave and Bold tv series- more so than the rarely-seen JSA member of the Sixties -to-Eighties.

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The Experiment of Prof. Zero: the Dynamic Duo are reduced to doll-size via a shrinking ray concealed in the Bat-Signal. This 1949 adventure is older than the rest and reminded me of 1940’s horror, Dr. Cyclops– which feels like it should’ve been part of a BBC2 double bill but wasn’t, to my knowledge.

Batman, Robot: Robin attempts to cover up Batman’s “death” in a mine disaster rigged by the Night Owl Gang. The Robot Batman exhibits super- strength spinning a carousel, like the scene in Strangers on a Train. Otherwise, somewhat slow,

The Rainbow Batman: Batman wears different-coloured costumes to distract attention from Robin, injured as Dick Grayson. The eponymous variegated costume appears finally on the last two pages. A bit dull. I would have preferred a Batwoman adventure.

Next time, we’ll revisit the first 80-page Batman I ever read, as a small boy at the height of Bat-mania- and I may thrown in a couple of other Sixties Giants for fun.

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One comment on “The Strange Lives of Batman and Robin

  1. Kid Robson says:

    I think I may have that Annual, I’ll have to check. I never quite took to ‘SF’ Batman, but they do have a charm all their own. I remember reading some of them in primary school in the ’60s, in the classroom during breaks. (Perhaps it was raining heavily outside and we were kept indoors during the intervals.)

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