Secrets of The Batcave

Today’s post revisits another Batman Giant: no. 203 from August 1968. Groovy cover by Neal Adams.

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At this time, Patrick Troughton began his final season as Doctor Who, just as I started going to Primary School. The following month, my favourite Power Comic, Fantastic would fold into Smash. In the US, the Silver Surfer, Stan Lee’s soliloquizing Space Jesus, debuted in his own giant-size comic. Meanwhile, DC was trying new takes on old concepts with Anthro, Bat Lash and the spooky House of Mystery.

Here are a couple of Bat-contemporaries:

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I bought this JLA issue in London’s Comics Showcase  near Covent Garden, 1982

The 1000 Secrets of the Batcave (1948): ruthless killer Wolf Brando takes refuge in the Batcave and holds off the Dynamic Duo with their trophy weapons. He drowns in a whirlpool when his “shrieking laughter” disturbs the bats. A macabre cave-based thriller from the late 40s. (1)

The Birth of Batplane II(1950): an exciting aero-duel and human interest story! Three Batplanes are flown by crooks and “Flying Tiger” Haggerty, a war veteran down on his luck, becomes first a stooge then the hero. (2)

* see below

The Secrets of Batman’s Utility Belt (1952): lost by a clumsy Caped Crusader, the belt passes from hand to hand- from a brainy kid to a crook called Drum ( inspired by Dick Tracy’s Flattop?) This is quite an entertaining quest as the belt could reveal Batsy’s identity.(3)

Flattop

The 100 Batarangs of Batman(1957) Batman wield Batarang-X- a giant version- in the hunt for a criminal named Jay Garris (no relation). We learn the Batarang was invented by an Australian expert, Lee Collins. (5)

The Secrets of the Batmobile (1956): a Vicki Vale story in which Bats is hunting a crooked driver called The Racer. Vicki’s Batmobile photo could reveal The Caped Crusader’s secret identity. What, again?  (6)

The Flying Batcave (1952): Bats is tricked into swearing not to set foot in Gotham. He foils the schemes of crooks nicknamed Diamond and Big Time by unveiling a giant helicopter-a flying Batcave (4)

*Secrets of the Batcave: a double -page spread followed by a schematic of the Dynamic Duo’s utility belts. I’d previously seen an earlier diagram in the 1968 Superadventure Annual- one of my earliest hardback collections of 60s reprints.

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This was a bit of a dull issue, I’m afraid; no super-villains, no aliens, but lots of gadgets and technical details for budding scientists and engineers. The next giant features something less appealing to the young hobbyist- stories about *ugh* girls!

All images considered copyright of their respective owners

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