On a bright day in flaming June, a Christmas Batman post. It’s taken me six months to reach and read the last of the 100-page Batman super-spectaculars. As we know, these were great value in 1974-75, packed with Golden and Silver Age material for pennies. However, this last hurrah, from March 1975, is quite disappointing. Issue 261 was, again, not one I read at the time- I picked it up in November 2013.
The Mystery That Never Was: retired cop Hal Hemingway sacrifices himself to save Bats in a workaday, er, mystery. Moody pictures by Novick. Wisely, O’Neil has abandoned the campy tone of his recent villain revival stories but his dialogue is still non-naturalistic. (3)
Crime’s Manhunt (1944): Brainy Bulow runs a racket to capture crooks and collect the reward. Lots of action but not really my cup of tea. (5)
1001 Inventions of Batman(1957): mob leader Verne Hainey recalls Bat-writers Bob Haney and David Vern Reed. An uninvolving story that looks at Batman’s technology including a “flying eye” device. (6)
A Christmas Peril ( 1945): B&R re-enact “A Christmas Carol” when they meet Scranton Loring, the Richest Boy in the World. Corny Xmas fun, as the boy millionaire learns The Secret of Real Happiness. Batman and Robin end the story by breaking the fourth wall with festive greetings. Quite rightly. (1)
The Great Batman Contest( 1956): Bats sponsors kids with the prize of a criminology course for the best new bat-weapon invention. The winner is Jeff Keating and instructions to build his Bat-Kite are rather charmingly featured in a one-page Batman(sic) Workshop. We meet Stilts Morgan, the Harbor Pirate, mentioned in “The Doors that Hid Disaster” (2)
The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City( 1965): “He’s more dangerous than anyone here ever thought”. The Sweet sang about Blockbuster in the memorable Glam Rock hit of my childhood. Bruce wayne saves a boy named Mark Desmond from quicksand; puny Mark experiments with SCIENCE! and become the Blockbuster, a Hulk rip-off. The moody cover was reprinted in a Double Double comic I had as a child. It featured the debuts of Batgirl and Spellbinder but this story (by Fox/Infantino) is dull. The gimmick is a villain who trusts Bruce Wayne, which forces Bats ro unmask when they meet. Robin coins some Haney-esque slang: “freep”, a combination of “freak” and “creep” (4)
The Women in Batman’s Life: double-page feature that condenses the contents of the 1969 giant, Batman 208, which we’ve previously discussed. There are two additions, Virginia Jenkins (star of the 1968 hoax marriage story “Marital Bliss Miss”) and Talia al Ghul.
With the next issue, which oddly seemed to have a Gothic, Hallowe’en theme, Batman returned to monthly publication but in a slimmer format.
Coming soon: 1976
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