The 200th ‘Optikon post looks at the final Batman Giant before the Super-Spectacular issues began. In the near future, we’ll look at some issues of Batman Family.
This issue (no. 233) is cover-dated August 1971 but I actually read it the following year. Again, I’ve given numerical rankings to indciate how much I liked the individual stories,
The Death-Cheaters of Gotham City (1952) The premise involves a club who believe themselves to be living on borrowed time, like the Challengers of the Unknown. Gangster Little Dougy (!) is rejected by the club; then the members start to die in re-enactments of the perils they had previously survived. Unusually, the revelation of the killer’s identity is printed upside-down. (1)
The Other Bruce Wayne (1957): Bruce’s older cousin is a private eye who wants to teach his trade to the idle playboy. Batman has to keep his identity secret in this fairly ho-hum story. (4)
The Murder of Bruce Wayne (1952) Bedridden after an accident, deranged Roger Keep wants to witness the deaths of his “enemies” remotely. A tense tale about the power of television. (3)
Bruce Wayne’s Aunt Agatha (1955) This doting, early incarnation of Aunt Harriet is yet another of Bruce’s relatives, not Dick’s aunt. Bizarrely, the elderly comedy relief aunt disguises herself as the Joker at one point. The flying Rotor Robber bandits add menace to this whimsical trifle. (5)
The Crime of Bruce Wayne (1957) at last, a Batwoman story! Bruce goes undercover posing as The Collector, a masked crook but ends up on Death Row. Robin has to work for Batwoman to prove Bruce’s innocence but is shown to be the superior detective. Kathy has to swallow her pride after a showdown among the Collector’s exotic treasures. If not for putting Batwoman ” in her place”, this would be my favourite story. (2)
I was given this comic to read during my first-ever hospital stay: a week in late May to early June, 1972. I know that because I missed episode one of The Time Monster on Dr. Who.
I was given these comics also:
Aside from the fact that they were just chosen by my parents at random ( really, does a 9-year-old need to see Adams’ lurid overdose scene? I much preferred the Golden Age GL/Icicle reprint), what’s interesting is they hail from 1968 and 1971. I presume they were on sale in the cafeteria in Stonehouse Hospital ( it was still selling comics, including Harvey Comics, in 1974).
I knew at the time they were “old”- the Black Panther in this final issue of ToS had not yet joined the Avengers and Sue Richards was wearing a mini-skirt.I think it’s likely that these issues had been ships’ ballast that had finally made its way to South Lanarkshire. I didn’t find a shop selling back issues until I went to Edinburgh’s Science Fiction Bookshop in the early 80s so all these comics represent an unexpected trip back in time.
Coming soon: The Joker’s Daughter
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