Author Topic: Mikishawm: I think I know who you are!
Scott Thiel
posted May 24, 2000 04:01 AM

I was looking at some old DETECTIVE COMICS from the early 80's and there is a letter in one them that blasts Gerry Conway fairly good. I disagree with your sentiments. I am biased because the Batman I grew up with was written by Len Wein, Conway, and Doug Moench.

How about some info on the following people, please!

Dr. Double X
Mad Hatter
Linda Page


John Moores
posted May 24, 2000 12:35 PM

Well, I'm not Mikishawm, but I can give you the info you require:

Mad Hatter :

Mad Hatter appears quite regularly these days, most recently in HOURMAN #1 and DCU 2000 SECRET FILES, but it's the story of three criminals. The original Mad Hatter appeared once, as a stooge to Tweedledee and Tweedledum in DETECTIVE #74, April 1943. He looked like a rabbit, with the Hatter's garb on.

The second Mad Hatter, Jervis Tetch, is the one we see most often today. He looks like Tenniel's drawings from the original Alice... books. He first appeared in BATMAN #49, Oct/Nov 1948, in the same story which introduced Vicki Vale. Tetch attempted to steal a trophy from Gotham Yacht Club, but was foiled by Batman and Robin. He didn't appear again until DETECTIVE #510, 1981, with a mind control thing going on, and a monkey. He appears next with many of Bats' foes in DETECTIVE #526, 1983; controlling the Scarecrow with a hat. Tetch seemingly dies under the wheels of a train, but apparently survived. He's made a few more appearances since, (ie. BATMAN #378/9, THE LONG HALLOWEEN) and has also been beaten by Starman, according to an early issue of that title. (#10?). He falls afoul of the JLA in HOURMAN #1, too, and almost the entire Batman family in DCU 2000 SECRET FILES.

The third Mad Hatter is a red head with a big mustache, and he first appeared in DETECTIVE #230, April 1956. He has an obsession with hats, and goes by the name Jervis Tetch, but that's just an alias in this case. He attempts to get Batman's cowl for his hat collection, but fails. He appears again in BATMAN #161, Feb 1964, attempting to avenge himself on the jurors that sent him to jail, by committing crimes based on their occupations. He is beaten again. He appeared on the 1966 Batman TV Show, played by David Wayne, who looked exactly like the comic book character, and made a few appearances in the comics between 1964 and 1979, including a stint as juror himself - at a trial where Bats' foes claimed to have killed the Dark Knight - which of course they didn't. He claimed to have gone straight in BATMAN #297, but he couldn't.

When the original re-appeared in 1981, he claimed to have "killed the imposter", but the Silver Age Mad Hatter returned alive, well and nutty as ever in DETECTIVE #573, 1987. I don't think he's been seen since, however.

Dr. Double X :

This villain is really Simon Ecks, a scientist with an energy duplicate. The energy duplicate is Double X, while Ecks himself is referred to as Dr. X. They have the same outfit, but the solid human form of Ecks wears one X, to the crackling energy form's two. In his first appearance, Dr. X is a well meaning guy, while Double X is the evil, repressed side of his personality given shape and form. (DETECTIVE #261, Nov.1958).

Dr. X is dominated by Double X, and forced to commit crimes, which X has no recall of afterwards. He turns resentful when he is captured by Batman and Robin for a crime he has no knowledge of. He appears next in DETECTIVE #316, Jan 1963, and this time Dr. X is portrayed as an evil mastermind, who suffers no dizziness or forgetfulness. Batman invents his own energy duplicate, Double Batman, to defeat Dr. Double X.

Appearances after this are sparse, until he is persuaded by a Prof. Andrea Wye to switch foes with the Rainbow Raider, to attempt to defeat the second Flash, Barry Allen. This ends in defeat also. (BRAVE AND BOLD #194, 1982).

Double X has electrical powers, and can 'fly' and turn intangible.

Linda Page :

Linda was a society girl and Bruce's girlfriend beginning with BATMAN #5, Spring 1941. Her father is an oil magnate, but she turns her back on society to become a war nurse. She is a redhead, but appears blonde in one story, and she also appeared in the 1943 'Batman' movie serial. Linda doesn't do much, except scold Bruce for being a waster, and occasionally, a coward, when he runs off from danger (to become Batman). She was captured by criminals a couple of times, but rescued by Batman, and uncovered the identity of one criminal, Mr. Baffle, which temporarily landed her in hot water. The last time she appears physically is DETECTIVE #73, March 1943, but Bruce is still with her in BATMAN #32, Dec 1945/Jan 1946, when it is mentioned Bruce purchased a sapphire for her birthday. There is no text which details the reasons for any break up.

Hope this helps!
If you need any info, don't hesitate to ask.

posted May 24, 2000 08:20 PM


I'm sure that was me in the letter column. I was rather opinionated as a teenager but I'd like to think I've mellowed a bit since then.

I certainly don't think as badly of the Conway run on BATMAN as I did at the time. Thinking back, the only stuff that still sticks out negatively are the Monk story and the episode in which Catwoman went bananas and tried to murder Vicki Vale.

Even though I hated the idea of Gerry's rehashing of Englehart's Rupert Thorne and Hugo Strange story at the time, I really enjoyed the climax of the Thorne plot with Batman on the lam and the bloody showdown at City Hall. The finale of the Jason Todd was really good, too. LOVE that Newton-Alcala art in both stories.

It would have been nice if Gerry could have done something with Batgirl, though. In a time period when her self-esteem and confidence were at a career low in her own series, the Barbara in Conway's BATMAN was portrayed as a tough, caring defender of her father.

And I LOVED the scene in DETECTIVE # 526 when Robin learns that Batgirl still knew his and Batman's true identities (she'd supposedly lost her memory in a truly AWFUL issue of DETECTIVE in 1980):

"I'm not STUPID -- and I AM a detective."

"But we were SURE you'd been thrown off the scent MONTHS ago ..."

"It seemed so IMPORTANT to you I let you believe you HAD."

Anyway, John Moores has answered all of your questions so I don't have much to add other than their appearances.

Doctor Double X hasn't been seen since BATMAN # 400 and, as John noted, the Silver Age Mad Hatter (implied to have been done away with by the Golden Age version) returned once in DETECTIVE and again in the final arc of the non-canonical BATMAN comic strip (compiled in COMICS REVUE).

The Jervis Tetch name first appeared in the Silver Age Hatter's debut (DETECTIVE # 230) but it's since been asserted that this was the Golden Age version's name and that the Silver version STOLE it. (By the way, the story that introduced the Mad Hatter in 1948 was ALSO the first appearance of Vicki Vale!)

Steve Englehart has created a new Mad Hatter who'll be debuting sometime soon in a format to be determined.

Linda Page showed up a few more times, once in a flashback in BATMAN # 208 (her only Earth-One appearance) and twice in THE BRAVE & THE BOLD. Marv Wolfman used her in a World War Two story with Batman and Blackhawk that was set on Earth-Two. Also on Earth-Two, Alan Brennert opened his famous Batman-Catwoman story in B&B # 197 with Linda's wedding in 1955.

Linda tells Bruce that "I had no right to try and CHANGE you. I just couldn't figure out why someone with your INTELLIGENCE would want to spend his life ... PLAYING POLO."

Batman # 400
The Brave And The Bold # 194
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 9-10
Detective Comics # 261, 316
Who's Who '85 # 6
World's Finest Comics # 276

DC Super-Stars # 13

This was published (as part of a Sergio Aragones spotlight) after all the others but features the "real" Mad Hatter that all the others based their identities on.

Detective Comics # 74

Superman (first series) # 41

Batman # 49

THE MAD HATTER IV (Jervis Tetch; Earth-One):
Batman # 378-379, 400
Detective Comics # 510, 526
Who's Who '86 # 14

THE MAD HATTER IV (current):
Animal Man # 10
Arkham Asylum
Batman # 491-492, 566
Batman 80-Page Giant # 2
Batman: No Man's Land # 1 (mention)
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat # 3-4, 78-79, 82
Black Orchid (mini-series) # 2
Doctor Fate # 18
Guy Gardner: Warrior # 29
Hitman # 2
Hourman # 1
Legends Of The World's Finest # 3
Nightwing # 35-37
Nightwing Secret Files # 1
Robin # 23
Secret Files & Origins Guide To The DC Universe 2000 # 1
Showcase '94 # 3-4
Starman (second series) # 24
Who's Who '90 # 5

THE MAD HATTER IV (Earth-992):
The Batman And Robin Adventures # 4 (behind the scenes), 14, 17
Batman: Gotham Adventures # 10
Superman Adventures # 25

Batman: Dark Victory # 1
Batman: The Long Halloween # 9-10, 13
Batman: Madness (A Legends Of The Dark Knight Halloween Special) # 1

THE MAD HATTER IV (variants):
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat Annual # 2
JLA: The Nail # 1
Plastic Man Special # 1

THE MAD HATTER V ("Jervis Tetch"; Earth-One):
Batman # 161, 201, 291-294, 297
The Batman Family # 5 (text)
Batman (Kellogg's Pop Tarts giveaway): The Mad Hatter's Hat Crimes
Detective Comics # 230
Who's Who '86 # 14

THE MAD HATTER V (current):
Detective Comics # 573
Secret Origins # 44
Who's Who '90 # 5

THE MAD HATTER V (variants):
Birds Of Prey: Batgirl # 1
Comics Revue # 63-65, 67

LINDA PAGE (Earth-Two):
Batman # 5-7, 9, 11 (behind the scenes), 15, 29 (behind the scenes), 32 (behind the scenes)
The Brave And The Bold # 167, 197
Detective Comics # 54-55, 57, 63, 69, 73
World's Finest Comics # 2

LINDA PAGE (Earth-One):
Batman # 208

John Moores
posted May 24, 2000 09:58 PM

Excellent as ever, Mikishawm!

I forgot about the Linda appearance in B&B, in the Batman/Catwoman story, which disappointed me as an eight year old, because the Scarecrow wasn't caught in the end. Co-incidentally, Crane was also the villain in the story which contained Linda's last Golden Age physical appearance, in 1943!

The listings were great, and no doubt the Mad Hatter III in the SUPERMAN story is part of "Alice's Modern Adventures in Wonderland" or somesuch, where the Man of Tomorrow aids a country girl turned heiress expose her crooked boyfriend, if I remember rightly. That was reprinted in a SUPERMAN 100-PAGE GIANT, I recall!

Doesn't the red-head/moustache, "Fake Tetch" also appear in cameo in UNTOLD LEGEND OF THE BATMAN, either issue #2 or #3?

One addition to the listings:
The "Earth-C" Mad Hatter, who is something very much like the original John Tenniel Mad Hatter, and who appeared in



Scott Thiel
posted May 25, 2000 06:23 AM

Thanks John Moores and Mikishawn.

Re-reading those old letter columns, Editor Len Wein kept mentioning they were going to re-vamp Batgirl. But it never happened. I really hated those Batgirl backup stories by Cary B. and Jose Delbo. In fact, I wasn't that fond of the Green Arrow series, either.

For me the high points of Gerry's run was:
1) The Scarecrow story in DETECTIVE #503
2) Hugo Strange, Boss Throne, Deadshot, Dr. 13, and Human Target story line.
I had not read the Englehart/Rogers issues yet. So, it seemed fresh to me.
3) Vicki Vale
4) DETECTIVE #526. Jason Todd'd origin was too much like Dick's for my tastes. Seeing all those villians together is what made my day. And the Batgirl and Robin exchange.

OK guys, here are some more.

Gentleman Ghost. I like his appearances in BATMAN #310, #319, and DETECTIVE #526. I think he fought Hawkman before that.

Prof. Milo.


Clayface II.

Mikishawn. You were a teenager back in '81?! WOW. I was thinking you were over 50. You know your Bat-History. Your letter appeared in DETECTIVE #525. I had a letter printed in BATMAN #399. I was complaining about the quotes from the Film Freak. Because of the Batman movie, I become interested in old movies. These days I like it when those old quotes are mentioned. Nice to know that I am not the only Iowan on these broads.

posted May 25, 2000 07:31 AM

Very interesting!


Apparently, Timely/Marvel had a Mad Hatter of its own. A while back, I got the Golden-Age cover of MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS # 80 off of eBay. The cover blurb reads: THE MAD HATTER MURDERS!

The cover shows a giant Mad Hatter coming out of a storybook, clutching a woman in his left hand. This Hatter has an orange-and-blue tophat, and wears a yellow bowtie with black spots, a green coat, a pink-and-black checkerboard bodysuit, green socks, and brown or orange shoes. He has fanged teeth, and pointed ears. His dark hair has a widow's peak.

The Human Torch and his sidekick Toro are flying at the Hatter, and the Sub-Mariner is running at the villain. The Mad Hatter is hitting the Sub-Mariner over the head with a wand or walking-stick. The stick breaks over Namor's head.

The cover also mentions that Captain America is in the issue, but I don't know if Cap also meets the Hatter.

Since Batman met Cap (and probably Subby) in DC VERSUS MARVEL, I thought Marvel's Mad Hatter was worth mentioning. Maybe someone else can fill me in on what happens in the story from MARVEL MYSTERY # 80.

As I once mentioned to Scott on another thread, the Mad Hatter appeared in at least one episode of Filmation's BATMAN cartoons from the late 1960s. Here the Hatter was voiced by Ted Knight, who of course voiced most of the male villains on the show. He had henchmen dressed up like characters from ALICE, including a Tweedledee and a Tweedledum, and a rabbit or hare. I don't think this version of the Hatter had a mustache, but I haven't seen the episode in a few months.

You guys probably also knew about this, but I thought it worth mentioning since Roddy McDowall's version wasn't the first DC version to be animated.

John Moores
posted May 25, 2000 01:44 PM

The Gentleman Ghost :

Once an English highwayman, "Gentleman" Jim Craddock vowed on the gallows to return... but his story is not quite as straightforward as that!

The "Earth-Two" version of this character, called simply The Ghost, first appeared in the Hawkman story in FLASH COMICS #88, October 1947. No real name or origin was given in this or any other Golden Age appearance (FLASH #90, 92, or 103 - all stories but the last were reprinted in the '70s), and indeed, no one was sure if the Ghost was a real ghost or just an elaborate prankster. Most clues pointed to the latter.

The "Earth-One" version, referred to as the Gentleman Ghost, first fought the Katar Hol Hawkman in THE ATOM AND HAWKMAN #43 and #44, June/July and Aug/Sept 1969. This time given an origin, as noted above; his real name and a love interest with, I think, a blind mystic called Zaza, or something very much like that; the Gentleman Ghost seemed more ghostly and less fraudulent; he appeared again during Hawkman's stint as a back-up strip during the 70s, before alighting as a Batman foe in BATMAN #310 and #319, 1979-80. The same old doubts re: his ghostly credentials appeared, and in one tale, as you know, the Ghost kidnapped and hypnotized Alfred. The Ghost next clashed with Batman in DETECTIVE #326, 1983.

His next appearance confirmed the Earth-One's Ghost as more of a rogue than a true villain (The Earth-Two Ghost was, I think, pictured killing someone, though don't quote me on that); when he appeared in HAWKMAN (second series) #6 onwards, 1987-1988, as something of a hero, swashbucklingly defeating evil-doers, and even protecting the injured Hawkman. It was in this "heroic" capacity that the Ghost, now definitely a real ghost, appeared in the SPECTRE (second series) #11, 1988, discussing the effects of 'Millenium' with other supernatural DC characters, like the Phantom Stranger. Bafflingly, the Ghost also appeared in FLASH (secod series) #19, 1989 as a supposed old foe of Barry Allen! I can only assume that Barry was the hero who replaced the now-non-continuity second Hawkman as the guy who faced down Craddock before he first clashed with the Batman..... I also assume the Silver Age Ghost had the 'Gentleman' added to his name due to the Captain Atom foe called the Ghost.

The Gentleman Ghost has appeared sporadically since then. Maybe he could support a mini-series, as a roguish ghost detective or somesuch?!!

Professor Milo :

The good Prof., with his 'Moe/Guy Gardner' haircut, first appeared in DETECTIVE #247, Sept 1957, drugging Batman with a phobia of anything bat-shaped, forcing him to come up with a new identity - Starman! In this guise, Bats wears the same costume used by James Robinson for the Starman of 1951, over in, well - STARMAN! Bruce uses a "starplane", "star-a-rang", etc, but Milo soon guesses the new hero's id, and attempts to use more paralysing bat shapes in his crimes, until Robin talks the Dark Knight into overcoming his fear. Starman and Robin then bring Milo to justice. (Co-incidentally, Bats also fought a villainous Star-Man, in DETECTIVE #286, Dec 1960!)

Milo returns in BATMAN #113, Dec 1957, with a different physical look, this time gassing Batty with a compound which causes the victim to lose the will to live, unless he is kept moving for 24 hours. To this end, Robin and Alfred pretend that Bruce is a loon, and not really Batman, so Bruce runs himself ragged, and therefore safe, proving that he is really Batman. Milo loses again.

Milo appears next in BATMAN #255, April 1974, a 100 page issue, manipulating lycanthrope Anthony Lupus into doing his twisted bidding. Lupus seemingly mauls Milo to death in the end, but the evil Prof. survives, and has control of Arkham Asylum by some means which escape my memory at the moment, in BATMAN #327, 1980. The Wolf story was adapted into an episode of the Batman animated series in 1993.

Letting out criminals from the Asylum, and attempting to make Batman (in disguise as an inmate) crazy through a gas, this plan backfires when Milo's protective helmet is smashed by Arkham's inmates, rendering him a gibbering wreck. Milo's appearances have also been sparse since then, but I may mention ARKHAM ASYLUM, 1989.

Clayface II :

Yeech! Matthew Hagen, treasure hunter finds a strange rainbow coloured goo in a grotto, which transforms him into a brown pile of malleable goo, who can change his appearance and shape into anything. This power lasts 48 hours, after which time Batman chins him and hauls him off to the pen. (DETECTIVE #298, Dec 1961). Matt appears again, in 'TEC #304, June 1962, posing as "John Royce", a member of an exclusive club to commit robberies due to idle gossip gleaned from conversations with other members. Batman, uncovering the plot, freezes the villain into suspended animation.

Matt, third time unlucky, is also bested in DETECTIVE #312, Feb 1963, when Bats trails him to his grotto, where Hagen receives his powers, receiving the powers himself, and overcomes the criminal, who'd planned to steal some art treasures. Bats seals off the grotto, but the crafty Hagen had also secreted some reserve goo away. Hagen appears next in BATMAN #159, Nov 1963, engaging in a feud with the Joker, each proving that they can easily adapt to the 'oafish' methods of each other, but they're both beaten by Batman, Robin, Batwoman, and Bat-Girl anyway. Clayface escapes jail and clashes with Batman, Robin, and Superman in WORLD'S FINEST #140, March 1964, when he takes on Superman's form (and, inexplicably, his powers) until Supes exposes him to some Red Kryptonite, which, equally oddly, makes Hagen behave erratically enough to facilitate his capture.

Hagen joins forces with Superman foe Brainiac in WORLD'S FINEST #144, Sept 1964, but both villains again meet defeat. Hagen also appeared in the credits of the Batman TV Show, but never in the show himself, because obviously, the SFX would have been far too primitive at the time.

The next important Hagen appearance is really the first part of the story of his sucessor, Preston Payne, who takes a sample from Hagen's body to become Clayface himself! (DETECTIVE #478, 1978). (The next Clayface to be seen is the original, Basil Karlo, who is killed by his own successor, Jonathon Carlinger, in 'TEC #496. This story was oddly ignored Post-Crisis, which is a bit of a shame, to be honest!)

Hagen appears next in DETECTIVE #526, and then in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #12, 1986, where he is killed, along with the original Bug Eyed Bandit, by the unearthly Shadow Demons. An attempt to revive Hagen by a rag tag bunch of Clayfaces (including Payne, Karlo, and "Lady Clay") dubbed the Mud Pack, ends in failure, and SECRET ORIGINS #44, 1990, brings his tale full circle, by revealing his origin, with a tongue-in-cheek slant.

Matt Hagen is the animated series Clayface, but he's an actor a la Basil Karlo. He finally looks sinister and a threat, however!

The Cavalier :

Leaving aside the Cavalier featured in LOTDK #32-34, we're talking about the chivalrous Mortimer Drake, who first spewed his flowery turn of phrase out at the Dynamic Duo in DETECTIVE #81, Nov 1943. Drake is a playboy and friend of Wayne's, who has a private museum, in which he places curios. In his first appearances, he steals a load of crap rather than anything valuble. He has an electrified sword and gadgets, which enable him to escape Bats, resurfacing in BATMAN #22, April/May 1944, where he manages to elude Bats in his curio-grabbing sprees. The Cavalier returns to steal an old typewriter in DETECTIVE #98, July 1944. He fails, yet escapes yet again, this time shooting himself in the foot by egotistically placing a clue to his real identity as Mortimer Drake at the club where Bruce is a member.

In his next appearance, Cavalier finally goes after something worthwhile, robbing a masquerade ball, before trying to make off with Gotham Museum's live whale(!). Finally, Bats captures him.

The Cavalier's appearances planed out after that, and now he starts his career as a bit of a joke, appearing in the 70s as a member of the jury in the "trial" for the "murder" of the Batman mentioned in my Mad Hatter ramble, or as a partner to Killer Moth and co. in BATMAN FAMILY #2. He also appears, out-of-character, in the big villain gathering in DETECTIVE #526, (attempting to harm a woman, which he steadfastly refuses to do - in one Golden Age story, the gallant rogue stops a caper to help an old lady carry her shopping!!!

WHO'S WHO #3, 1985 notes that the Earth-Two Cavalier paid his debt to society and lived quietly in retirement, till the white wall of Crisis took him away. "Our" Morty next appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #43-44, 1990, losing his sword to Wally Tortellini in a poker game. In this story Drake is, of course, a real turd, and is usually seen in a cluster of loser villains for comic relief. To think that in the Golden Age he considered himself superior to the Joker!!!


posted May 25, 2000 06:11 PM

Thanks again for the bios! Man, I can't believe I forgot THE OZ-WONDERLAND WARS! I appreciate it! The red-haired Mad Hatter did appear in UNTOLD LEGEND # 1 as part of an image depicting Batman and Robin's greatest foes but I don't count it as an official appearance.

Complementing John's post, here goes ...

Thirty years after his last appearance in BATMAN # 26, the Cavalier returned in Len Wein's first issue of WONDER WOMAN in 1974. In order to make the character a bit more formidible, Wein gave him a chemically-enhanced power to force women to his will, a detail that was abandoned when he returned to the Batman books. A few months after WW # 212, the Cavalier's last Golden Age appearance was reprinted in BATMAN # 258. His first and third appearances can be found in BATMAN ARCHIVES # 3 and 4.

In current continuity, Batman fought a Cavalier early in his career who died at the conclusion of that adventure. The affluent Mortimer Drake (who may or may not be related to Jack and Tim) later took the persona for himself and, despite no evidence of insanity in his pre-Crisis appearances, ended up in Arkham. He was freed during "Knightfall" and was last seen getting slammed in the face by the Dark Knight's feet (DETECTIVE # 661).

THE CAVALIER I (Hudson Pyle):
Legends Of The Dark Knight # 32-34

THE CAVALIER II (Mortimer Drake; Earth-Two):
Batman # 22, 26
Detective Comics # 81, 89
Who's Who '85 # 4

Batman # 291-294, 400
The Batman Family # 10, 15
Detective Comics # 526
Who's Who '85 # 4
Wonder Woman # 212

THE CAVALIER II (current):
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat # 3-4
Detective Comics # 661
Justice League America # 43-44

After first appearing with a group of villains in a battle with the Justice League in ACTION COMICS # 443, Clayface II narrowly missed out on being a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. He was in the original version of SSOSV # 1 (seen in AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS # 11) but was excised when the story was rewritten.

Possibly as a result of his blood transfusion in DETECTIVE # 478, Hagen was forced to immerse himself in the mystic pool each time he made a transformation (WORLD'S FINEST # 264), a rather severe limitation that he'd overcome by the next time he appeared ('TEC # 526).

The origins of the first four incarnations of Clayface appeared in SECRET ORIGINS # 44, continuing into the Mudpack serial in DETECTIVE # 604-607 (where a portion of the late Mister Hagen's clay corpse appeared throughout). The villain's spirit showed up in HAWK AND DOVE ANNUAL # 1 alongside other deceased baddies.

A 1996 LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT two-parter depicted a new origin for Clayface. In this version, Hagen was the first Clayface, fighting Batman before Robin came along. The story also provided a new origin for Matches Malone, contradicting Denny O'Neil's account in BATMAN # 242. The latter-day account may be regarded as a "legend" but Hagen DID show up as Clayface again in the pre-Robin era of JLA: YEAR ONE.

CLAYFACE II (Matt Hagen; Earth-One):
Action Comics # 443
Batman # 159
The Batman Family # 12 (text)
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 9-10, 12
Detective Comics # 298, 304, 312, 478, 526
Who's Who '85 # 5
World's Finest Comics # 140, 144, 263-264

CLAYFACE II (Earth-32):
The Amazing World Of DC Comics # 11

CLAYFACE II (current):
Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight # 89-90
Batman Villains Secret Files # 1 (text)
Detective Comics # 604-607 (corpse)
Detective Comics Annual # 2 (Who's Who)
Hawk And Dove Annual # 1
JLA: Year One # 2, 12
Secret Origins # 44
Who's Who '90 # 2

CLAYFACE II (Earth-992):
The Batman Adventures # 8
The Batman Adventures Holiday Special # 1
Batman: Gotham Adventures # 1

CLAYFACE II (variant):
World's Finest Comics # 148

The first three Golden Age Ghost stories were reprinted in 1973's SECRET ORIGINS # 1, WANTED! # 7 and DETECTIVE COMICS # 439, respectively. The Earth-One Gentleman Ghost was a Hawkman foe through 1975's JLA # 128 (where he had a cameo).

His entrance into the Batman rogues gallery was actually something of an accident. At the time, Len Wein was writing the Hawkman back-up in DETECTIVE COMICS as well as the lead in BATMAN. Wein was going to do a Hawkman-Batman team-up (with the Ghost as the villain) that began in 'TEC # 482 and ended in BATMAN # 310. When the DC Implosion shifted the contents of BATMAN FAMILY to DETECTIVE and left Hawkman homeless, Wein rewote the Batman story as a solo adventure.

Following the Jason Todd origin story, the Gentleman Ghost returned to the life of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, becoming their ally in the shadow war with Thanagar (HAWKMAN SPECIAL # 1).

After the Hawks' series was cancelled (and their history about to be rewritten), the Ghost fought to a draw with the Teen Titans in 1988 and appeared in an issue of FLASH (referring to "epic clashes" with Barry Allen and behaving as if he and the other members of the Flash's Rogues Gallery had joined forces often).

In 1995, a new Gentleman Ghost was introduced, this one a silver-haired "society jewel thief" who swept into his victim's homes as discreetly as a specter. This new version did not catch on and, after a cameo in IMPULSE # 54, the original recently returned in IMPULSE # 61.

THE GHOST (Earth-Two):
Flash Comics # 88, 90, 92, 103

THE GENTLEMAN GHOST I (James Craddock; Earth-One):
The Atom And Hawkman # 43-44
Batman # 310, 318-319
DC Comics Presents # 95
Detective Comics # 526
Hawkman (second series) # 1, 6-10, 14-17
Hawkman Special # 1
Justice League Of America # 128
Who's Who '85 # 9

Flash (second series) # 19
Impulse # 54, 61
Justice League Quarterly # 4
The New Teen Titans (second series) # 40
The Spectre (second series) # 11

Kingdom Come # 2

Hawkman (third series) # 21
Underworld Unleashed # 1

Both 1957 Milo stories were reprinted in 1962's BATMAN ANNUAL # 4 (coincidence?) and Len Wein explicitly identified them as one and the same in BATMAN # 255 (1974). Wein returned to Milo in the last story of his regular run on BATMAN # 326 & 327 (1980), which ended with Milo rendered insane.

As noted, Milo was still confined to Arkham in ARKHAM ASYLUM but has since been released. Now a trembling wreck, Milo agreed to provide information to Batman that the Joker secretly wanted him to reveal in BATMAN: JOKER's APPRENTICE # 1 (1999). Afterwards, Milo declared that "I am RETIRED as of tonight!"

Batman # 112, 255, 326-327
Detective Comics # 247
Who's Who '86 # 18

Arkham Asylum
Batman: Joker's Apprentice # 1

John Moores
posted May 25, 2000 07:39 PM

Yes, it was BATMAN FAMILY #10 in which the Cavalier appeared. I got it mixed up with an appearance by another third rate schmoe, The Cluemaster, who did appear in BF #2. Thanks!

The first comic I ever read, at the tender age of four, is from the Len Wein era; "The Riddler's 1,001 Crime Clue Caper!" from BATMAN #317, Nov 1979! I always had a fondness for the Riddler because of that, and though I like the "carny" suit, I wish we could see the green jumpsuit more often!

Lord of Chaos
posted May 25, 2000 10:28 PM

Miki and John (and Scott, too), you're making me joyfully re-live my childhood. You have no idea how much I need that right now -- I'm lovin' this, many thanks...

The Conway Scarecrow story in DETECTIVE is one of my absolute favorites, and one of a handful of Conway's Batman stories which I actually enjoyed... "Six Nights of the Scarecrow". Was that the title? I DO remember that it was illustrated by the great Don Newton, with a surprisingly stunning cover by Jim Starlin...

I LOVED those goofy Bob Rozakis-written Killer Moth/Cavalier team-ups in the pages of BATMAN FAMILY! Wasn't one of those drawn by Bob Brown?

Scott Thiel
posted May 26, 2000 03:04 AM

Thanks Guys.

You are right, Lord. "Six Days of the Scarecrow" is the title for DETECTIVE #503.

Wish I could help you Superstone. I rarely read any Marvel Comics.

I wish I would have kept all my comics. I had to get rid some of them like: WHO'S WHO, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, ALL-STAR SQUADRON, and first WONDER WOMAN series.

Okay guys, here are some more.

Kite-Man. I know he appeared in BATMAN #315 and HAWKMAN #4 (2nd series).

Crime Doctor. DETECTIVE #494-495. Mike W. Barr wrote a story for DETECTIVE. Don't recall the number. But it had quite possibily Norm Breyfogel's first Batman art.

Arthor Reaves. Wannabe Mayor and Batman hater.

Getaway Genius. Briefly appear in DETECTIVE #526.

Killer Moth.

Thats it. I will bother you no more.

Have a great weekend everyone. Love those 4 day weekends.

posted May 26, 2000 04:04 AM

You have a great weekend, too, Scott!

I went over to the Grand Comic Book Database to look up MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS # 80. It says the issue is dated January 1947. The Hatter story is called "The Mad Hatter Mystery", which sounds a bit tamer than the cover blurb of THE MAD HATTER'S MURDERS! It's a twelve-page Sub-Mariner story, so I guess the Human Torch and Toro only battled the Hatter on the cover. The Mad Hatter's real name in the story is Roy Clark (no connection to the country singer by the same name, I'm sure).

MAYBE in an untold story from the ELSEWORLD where Batman and Captain America's lives crossed in the 1940s, Batman and Robin battled both Roy Clark and Jervis Tetch.

Anyway, I'm always interested when DC and Marvel have characters with the same public-domain names, like how each company has a villain named "Scarecrow" and characters named "Sandman". Public-domain words, legends, and literary works certainly inspire a host of comic-book characters!

posted May 27, 2000 05:55 AM

Dear oldtimers
The first Batman story I read featured a runaway prisoner hiding in a family's house in the countryside. This family had a son who was born with the arms and legs of a seal.
What issue was this?

John Moores
posted May 27, 2000 10:03 AM

If I remember rightly, T5, that story was "A View From The Grave!", DETECTIVE #410, April 1971.

Anyway, I've got a few minutes to spare, before I'm put in an old folks home , so I'll try and give a little background on some of these characters:

Kite-Man :

Loser! He first appeared in BATMAN #133, Aug 1960, with his collection of gimmicky kites, "flash bulb" kite, "net" kite, etc. Batman and Robin beat him after he rescued some crooks from the big house. He next appeared in BATMAN #315, Sept 1979; this time with a visor over his eyes, which he didn't have in the original story. After betraying some of his hired goons, Bats beats him again, flying his own bat-shaped kite.

Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Zatanna beat him next, in HAWKMAN (second series) #4, 1987. In this story he was given a real name: Charles Brown (where's Peppermint Patti?) and one of those origins which begins "When he was a small boy, Charles Brown was fascinated... blah, blah, blah" and from this he got his page in WHO'S WHO: UPDATE #3, 1987. He may have appeared since, but he's so lame no-one should even care. Ironic, that he's actually the world's best at something; hang-gliding. Actually, he's far from the lamest villain Batman fought, i.e. Mr. Polka-Dot, Zodiac Master, etc...

Killer Moth :

Aha! The ol' K.M. is a little more meaty. When we first met him, in BATMAN #63, Feb/Mar 1951, he is posing as wealthy socialite Cameron Van Cleer, who is, once again, an acquaintance of Bruce Wayne. But when the "moth-signal(!)" is seen over Gotham, Van Cleer becomes Killer Moth, "Guardian of the Underworld!". (The signal means that a crook needs help). Mothy-boy has a mothmobile and sundry gadgets, and manages to overpower Robin, whose life he wishes to exchange for a chance to pick up a few more ideas for his moth-cave, with a visit to the original. Batman agrees, but Robin escapes on his own, so Killer Moth tries to make a getaway, knowing his hold on Bats is gone, but falls off a bridge and is thought dead.

He returns soon, in the very next issue of BATMAN (#64) using his influence as Van Cleer, on the museum board of directors, to import a moth collection from South America, so he can steal it, and therefore revive Moth's shattered image. He tries too, but is thwarted twice, becomes suspicious of Bruce being Batman, is then put off the scent by Bats, makes a slip revealing his own identity, and is finally arrested at home by B & R. Phew!

In DETECTIVE #173, July 1951, Killer escapes and, his Van Cleer i.d. useless, kidnaps a Gotham millionaire. You can guess which one. However, rather than ransoming Brucey, he hires a plastic surgeon to change his face into an exact double of Wayne's. Dick doesn't realize at first, so the canny Killer Moth works out Batman's i.d.! (This poses the question, is the real Cameron Van Cleer at the bottom of the river, while the Moth made his own face an exact duplicate of Van Cleer's?).

The Moth goes out as Batman, making it appear that Bats is scared of the Moth, but Wayne escapes, just in time to see the Moth riddled with bullets by one of his own gang, who thinks he's been doublecrossed. Moth's face is wrecked by bullets, and the portion of his brain which remembers recent events is removed, by necessity, at the operation to save Moth's life. Moth is none the wiser about Wayne.

Killer Moth gets a protection racket going in his next real appearance in DETECTIVE #359, Jan 1967, (having made his first Silver Age appearance in JLofA #40, 1965). This protection racket is thwarted by Batman, Robin, and in her "million dollar debut", Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon!

Moth was also apparantly the villain in the never seen "Batgirl" pilot from 1967, to introduce Babs into the TV show....

Mothy is seen at all the major gatherings; the "Batman murder trial", the losers first team up in BATMAN FAMILY #10, DETECTIVE #526, BATMAN #400, etc. He was a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains, briefly, and also appeared, with a host of losers, in SHADOW OF THE BAT #7-9. He was a dependable group scene face, nothing more, nothing less, until UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED, when Neron boosted his power and he became the fearsome man-moth Charaxes!

He also gained a "real name", Drury Walker. Walker/Van Cleer/Killer Moth/Charaxes was last seen in JLA #34, eating some prison guards! Yecch!

Interestingly, in BATMAN #141, Aug 1961, there is an unrelated green-clad foe called simply The Moth. He's got the wings, and a similar costume, but is brought down by Batman, Robin, Batwoman, and Bat-Girl. Maybe he was intended to be Van Cleer/Walker, but the "Killer" was dropped from his name in those sanitized, post-Comic Code days.....

The Crime Doctor :

The Earth-Two Crime Doctor, a.k.a. Matthew Thorne, first appeared in DETECTIVE #77, July 1943, dispensing prescriptions on how to commit better crimes, while posing as a regulr, respected surgeon. After Batman captures Thorne by tracking him to his home after a crime, he escapes, but is captured again soon after, reappearing in BATMAN #18, Aug/Sept 1943. He saves the prison warden, wounded in a jailbreak, then escapes himself, setting up mobile "crime clinic", traveling from city to city. Batman tracks him down, posing as a criminal, and traps him, but in the melee, a henchman shoots Robin, which outrages Thorne, who is ... "a doctor, not a killer!" Thorne performs surgery on the Boy Wonder, saving his life, and escapes soon after to California, where for the first time, he commits a crime, rather than trying to save someone's life; the sick wife of a henchman. She dies, and the henchman, Mocco shoots Thorne dead. Thorne dies with concern for Robin on his lips....

The Earth-One Thorne appears in DETECTIVE #494-495, 1980. At the end of this story, for reasons which escape me at the moment, he is turned into a mental vegetable by the crime boss Sterling Silversmith. I'll get back to you on the why. However, Crisis did him a favour, because he appears, shipshape, in DETECTIVE #579, 1987. (The first Batman art by Norm Breyfogle.) Again, a henchman proves his undoing, as his hands are crushed by a fire extinguisher by an unwilling guinea pig.

Has Thorne appeared since?? I can't recall, and I'm out of time, so I can't do Roy "Getaway Genius" Reynolds and co...

See you later, same Bat-Time, etc.

posted May 27, 2000 02:07 PM

My turn! John beat me again! I had already written up all the bios offline so, if you don't mind the repetition, I'll just run everything here:

Middle-aged physician Matthew Thorne professed to "love surgery ... yet crime excites me! It's like a drug inside my body! I can't help it ... but I ENJOY acting criminally!" And so he concocted the alias of the Crime Doctor, offering a "diagnosis" for crooks preparing a robbery or making a "house call" to those whose crime threatened to go awry. For all that, Thorne had a strict code against killing, as Batman learned first hand in the midst of their first encounter. Here, the Doctor stopped everything to operate on a patient suffering from appendicitis (1943's DETECTIVE # 77, by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and George Roussos).

The Crime Doctor was taken into custody but escaped only one month later (BATMAN # 18), now forced to operate across country in a trailer rather than set down roots and risk capture. The inevitable Batman & Robin encounter had horrifying consequences when the Boy Wonder was shot (against orders) by one of the Doctor's underlings. Thorne saved Robin's life before fleeing to California and hooking up with a gang, one of whom had a wife in dire need of surgery. Neglecting the woman to complete a theft had dire consequences for Thorne. The woman died and her enraged husband gunned down the Crime Doctor in retaliation. A dying Thorne told Batman that "any doctor who deserts a patient should be shot! Going to die now ... glad it's all over! Won't have to go on fighting myself anymore ..."

Years later, Michael Fleisher, who'd researched the series for his 1976 BATMAN ENCYLOPEDIA, revived the Crime Doctor in 1980's DETECTIVE # 494 and 495 (art by Don Newton and Dan Adkins). With much the same motivation and scheme as his Golden Age counterpart, Bradford Thorne made a fateful discovery that his Earth-Two double had not. Early in # 494, Thorne had treated Bruce Wayne for a shoulder injury. During a subsequent clash with Batman that tore the Dark Knight's costume, Thorne recognized his bandage -- and said so out loud.

In # 495, word of the discovery was relayed to smuggler Sterling T. Silversmith, who abducted Thorne and administered a potentially lethal dose of quicksilver, offering an antidote in exchange for Batman's real name. Before Thorne could reveal the secret, an unwitting Dark Knight crashed the scene, learning of the Crime Doctor's plight in time to rush him to a hospital but too late to prevent him from being rendered a vegetable. Still, doctors held out a slim hope for recovery and a man fitting the Crime Doctor's description later surfaced during a crisis of the multiverse.

Mike W. Barr confirmed the Crime Doctor's continued survival in 1987's DETECTIVE # 579 (drawn by Norm Breyfogle), though Thorne's continued knowledge of Batman's true identity was in doubt. He was now running an underworld hospital for criminals seeking low-profile treatment. Batman captured the Crime Doctor once more but his legacy continued a few more issues thanks to his transformation of actor Paul Sloane into a double for Two-Face.

Barr later co-wrote the 1993 episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES entitled "Paging the Crime Doctor". The story cleverly linked Matthew and Rupert Thorne as siblings, with younger brother Rupert forcing Matt to lose his medical license and become an underworld physician on his behalf. Allied with Leslie Thompkins, Matt finally escaped his brother's grasp.

THE CRIME DOCTOR (Matthew Thorne; Earth-Two):
Batman # 17
Detective Comics # 77

THE CRIME DOCTOR (Bradford Thorne; Earth-One):
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 9
Detective Comics # 494-495
Who's Who '85 # 5

Detective Comics # 579, 581

Reasoning that Batman and Robin were undefeatable, Roy Reynolds focused instead on devising foolproof escape routes for each crime that he prepared, quickly garnering a reputation as the Getaway Mastermind. Though Reynolds managed to stay out of the Dynamic Duo's grasp, his henchmen were more gullible and Batman and Robin managed to convince them that they had been brought down by a non-existent villain known as the Hexer. Capturing the crooks when they tried to kill the "helpless" heroes, the duo quickly got information on Reynold's whereabouts (1965's BATMAN # 170, by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella).

Six months later, Reynolds was broken out of jail by the Big Game Hunter, who held the Getaway Genius hostage in exchange for tips on capturing Batman. Though convinced that such a goal could not be achieved, Reynolds had no choice but to cooperate and happily turned himself over to Batman's custody after the Dark Knight defeated Hunter (BATMAN # 174). In 1968, Reynolds returned the favor when, as part of the major Bat-villains' plan to quell an incursion of a west coast crime syndicate, he saved Batman from a gangland execution by rigging a trap door (BATMAN # 201).

Reynolds returned for a final foray in Gotham in the Frank Robbins-scripted BATMAN # 254 (1973), where Irv Novick gave the Getaway Genius a more stylish pair of tinted glasses and muttonchop sideburns to go with his mustache. Determining that Reynolds was behind a series of robberies, Batman directed his attention at finding his getaway vehicles. Unfortunately, he missed Reynolds' back-up, a helicopter that took him out of reach of the Dark Knight. Elsewhere, Kirk Langstrom had finally synthesized a serum that would enable him to control his Man-Bat identity and, for his trial run, he forced the Genius' copter back to Earth and Reynolds himself into the waiting fist of The Batman.

Batman # 170, 174, 201, 254

Introduced in a 1951 trilogy, the Killer Moth was born in the mind of an unnamed convict, who resolved to use his hoard of stolen treasure to become a virtual anti-Batman upon his release from prison. Like the Crime Doctor before him, the Killer Moth sold his services to the underworld. Tapping into the Batman mythology, he also created a mothmobile and a moth-signal, even a moth-cave beneath a Gotham mansion. Striking perilously close to the truth, the Moth even fabricated the persona of a millionaire named Cameron Van Cleer. The Moth's first encounter with Batman and Robin ended on a stalemate with the villain seemingly drowned (BATMAN # 63).

Within two months, he had returned but, this time, Batman finally unearthed his millionaire alias and had him arrested (BATMAN # 64). With his Cameron Van Cleer alias lost to him, the Moth decided to steal the identity of a pre-existing socialite -- and chose Bruce Wayne (whom he imprisoned in a vault). With plastic surgery altering his looks, the Moth fooled Dick Grayson and quickly learned just what an incredible piece of luck he'd stumbled onto. As Batman, he decided to enhance his criminal alter-ego's reputation by making it appear that the Dark Knight feared the Killer Moth. The true Batman escaped, returning in time to find the Moth with a facial disfigurement courtesy of a gunman's bullets and, conveniently, stricken with amnesia regarding recent events (DETECTIVE # 173).

Gardner Fox returned Killer Moth's COSTUME to action in 1965's JLA # 35 (it was animated by the Three Demons) but Fox didn't bring back the rogue himself until 1966's DETECTIVE # 359, the "Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!". Here, the Moth was extorting money from the same Gotham millionaires he'd once socialized with. He was exposed by fledgling heroine Batgirl.

Bob Rozakis revived the Moth as a Batgirl foe in late 1976's BATMAN FAMILY # 10 (illustrated by Bob Brown and Vince Colletta), pairing him with another former Gotham millionaire, the Cavalier. The union continued for one story (# 15) before the Moth took a step up as part of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, now charged with destroying the Freedom Fighters (SSOSV # 15). In the wake of that debacle, Killer Moth went solo against Batgirl once more (BATMAN # 311), returning to his roots as a paid defender of the criminal element in the Jack C. Harris-scripted DETECTIVE # 386.

Now regarding himself as a second-stringer, the Killer Moth resolved to come up with a scheme guaranteed to put him and other "misfits" like him (Calendar Man, Catman, Chancer) on top by abducting and seeking a ransom on Gotham's mayor, police chief and frequent Moth target Bruce Wayne. Once again, the scheme ended in failure (SHADOW OF THE BAT # 7-9).

The lure of power offered by the demonic Neron was, therefore, more than the Moth could resist (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED # 1). The enhancement came with a price: The Moth was now a six-foot-two insect with great flight and strength capabilities who discharged an acidic solution. Now overpowered by the primal drive for food, the rechristened Charaxes had lost most of his mental faculties but had become a dangerous threat to the world around him (ROBIN # 23-24). Charaxes has since been seen almost exclusively in the company of other, more lucid villains though he did have one brief solo clash with Starfire and Troia (TITANS SECRET FILES # 1).

KILLER MOTH (? a.k.a. Cameron Van Cleer; Earth-Two):
Batman # 63-64
Detective Comics # 173

KILLER MOTH (Earth-One):
Batman # 200, 291-294, 311, 400
The Batman Family # 10, 15
Cancelled Comic Cavalcade # 2 (Secret Society of Super-Villains # 16-17)
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 9
Detective Comics # 359, 486, 526
Justice League Of America # 35 (behind the scenes)
Who's Who '86 # 12

KILLER MOTH (Drury Walker, a.k.a. Arthur Leland and Cameron Van Cleer; current; also see CHARAXES):
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat # 7-9
JLA # 34
Robin # 23-24
Secret Origins # 20 (flashback)
Underworld Unleashed # 1
Underworld Unleashed: Patterns Of Fear # 1 (text)

KILLER MOTH (Earth-96):
Kingdom Come # 3-4
Kingdom Come: Revelations (text)

KILLER MOTH (variants):
Batman Annual # 15
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat Annual # 2
DC Special Series # 27
Justice League Of America # 35

CHARAXES (Drury Walker):
Batman & Superman: World's Finest # 10
Batman: Arkham Asylum - Tales Of Madness # 1
Batman Villains Secret Files # 1 (text)
The Creeper # 7-8
Detective Comics # 697-699
Robin # 23-24
Titans Secret Files # 1
Underworld Unleashed # 1
Underworld Unleashed: Patterns Of Fear # 1 (text)

Kite-Man was a one-shot villain from a Dick Sprang-illustrated story in 1960's BATMAN # 133. He possessed a variety of gimmicked kites, including a jet-powered hang glider that allowed for quick escapes and a mammoth kite that the Kite-Man used to shuttle criminals out of Gotham's prison. Using kites of his own, Batman tracked down and captured the criminal.

He might have remained in obscurity but for the reprinting of that episode in 1975's BATMAN FAMILY # 3. Len Wein brought the villain back in BATMAN # 315 (1979), this time setting Kite-Man's sights on a high-rise payroll heist. The more gimmicky kites were restricted to a fireworks display used as a distraction while Kite-Man primarily operated with a hang-glider.

In 1986, Tony Isabella brought the character back again for a light, change of pace episode of HAWKMAN (# 4). The Kite-Man's target was a treasure known as the Golden Eagle but the real point of the story was the villain's real name: On page four, he was referred to as "Brown" and on page sixteen as "Chuck." Crash-landing into a tree not unlike the "kite-eating" variety that Charles Schulz once drew, the Kite-Man cried, "Rats!" Outside of a couple walk-ons at a gangland bar, he hasn't been seen since.

KITE-MAN (Charles Brown; Earth-One):
Batman # 133, 315
Hawkman (second series) # 4
Who's Who '87 # 3

KITE-MAN (current):
Justice League America # 43
Justice League Quarterly # 4

KITE-MAN (variant):
Plastic Man Special # 1

When Denny O'Neil signed on to the Batman series in 1969, he tried to reinstate the mood of the early days but couldn't actually make the Dark Knight an outlaw again. Instead, he introduced a spokesman for the anti-Batman front in the form of Public Works Commissioner Arthur Reeves in DETECTIVE # 399 (art by Bob Brown and Joe Giella). Condemning Batman's decision to hide behind a mask, Reeves replied to the Dark Knight's questioning that he was "absolutely" in favor of full disclosure. Without another word, Batman peeled off Reeves' toupee and dropped it in the councilman's palm. O'Neil continued in that vein for five subsequent appearances through 1972, most hilariously in the Neal Adams-illustrated "Half An Evil" (BATMAN # 234). As Reeves regaled Commissioner Gordon with an account of how he'd take the Dark Knight "down a peg or two", Batman slipped up behind him, said "Boo!" and let a smile crack through his stoic facade as the councilman charged out the door.

Gerry Conway revived Reeves in 1976 for DETECTIVE # 463 & 464's account of the Black Spider, a much more sinister vigilante. Len Wein featured him briefly in BATMAN # 315 (1979) as part of a meeting on a possible move by a major Gotham business, informing readers that the councilman's life did not revolve entirely around tirades against The Batman.

Conway brought Reeves back into the picture in a 1981 subplot that found the councilman running for Mayor on an anti-Batman platform while his opponent, Hamilton Hill, wanted a shake-up of the Gotham Police Department (DETECTIVE # 503). Within days of the election, Reeves was provided with photographic evidence of the Dark Knight's real identity (BATMAN # 343), which he gleefully provided to the press. The pictures, alas, revealing Batman as a crime boss, were easily proven as fakes (# 344) and the ensuing scandal cost Arthur Reeves the election. And that was exactly what Hamilton Hill's backer, disgraced political boss Rupert Thorne, had wanted when he gave the photos to Reeves (DETECTIVE # 511). Weeks later, Reeves confessed about Thorne's role in the election debacle (BATMAN # 353). He has not been seen since.

Reeves turned up in the animated Batman continuity by way of 1993's "Mask of the Phantasm" feature film. Still a councilman with an anti-Batman agenda, Reeves was now the same age as Bruce Wayne and a potential rival for Wayne's lost love, Andrea Beaumont. Thanks to a shady past, Reeves fell under the shadow of the Joker and ended up laughing maniacally in a hospital ward, joker-venom coursing through his veins. A sequel in 1996's BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES ANNUAL # 1 (written by Paul Dini) found Reeves completely unhinged by the experience, his facial muscles contorted into a permanent smile. He took Andrea's Phantasm persona for his own and attempted to kill the young woman. Instead, she manipulated Reeves into leaping from a skyscraper balcony to his death before leaving Gotham forever.

Batman # 225, 234, 241, 247, 315, 343-344, 353
Detective Comics # 399, 419, 463-464, 503-506, 508, 510-511

ARTHUR REEVES (Earth-992):
The Batman And Robin Adventures Annual # 1
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm -- The Animated Movie

John Moores
posted May 27, 2000 02:58 PM

Mikishawm, I salute you!

I can only add one thing to that:
The Getaway Genius also appeared in DETECTIVE #526, where Croc beat the snot out of him, Catman, and The Tweeds!

posted May 27, 2000 04:30 PM

Thank you VERY much, John! I missed that appearance completely.

posted May 28, 2000 10:17 AM

Thank you for pointing me to this thread, John.

Mikishawn, you continue to baffle me. But I guess that's no big news to you.

How about:
The Gorilla Boss of Gotham?
The Mole?
The Monarch of Menace?
Zodiac Master?

posted May 28, 2000 01:18 PM

Oh, and could you please give me the brief history of one of my favourites (whom I have - sadly - only read the first appearance of)... THE TEN-EYED MAN!

posted May 29, 2000 08:14 PM

Mobster George "Boss" Dyke died in the gas chamber of the Gotham State Prison on a cold, rainy evening late in 1952. He was reborn the following morning, looking quite a bit worse for the wear. On Dyke's orders, his body was retrieved by members of his gang and presented to disgraced surgeon Doc Willard. Performing radical surgery, Willard transplanted the hood's brain into the body of a towering gorilla. Though no longer capable of speech, the Gorilla Boss continued to communicate with his men via pencil (a very BIG pencil) and paper.

Unable to stop the great ape's reign of terror, Batman began to realize that the creature was not merely well-trained. It was obviously in the service of a human brain. Having stolen a satisfactory sum of money, the Gorilla Boss captured Batman and returned to his lair, where he commanded Willard to put his brain in the Dark Knight's body -- and vice versa. Unaware of this, the Gotham Police Department converged when (straight out of "King Kong") they spotted the gorilla climbing a TV tower with an unconscious Batman in tow. As the disoriented gorilla fell to its death, Robin swept in and caught his mentor -- unmasked as Doc Willard! Batman had faked unconsciousness and switched places with Doc just as the enraged Gorilla Boss awakened (BATMAN # 75, reprinted in 1976's SUPER-HEROES VS. SUPER-GORILLAS # 1).

The latter-day Ultra-Humanite wasn't done yet, though, thanks largely to Batman's penchant for saving mementoes of his cases. One such display in the Batcave was the supposedly-dead brain of George Dyke. Through unknown circumstances, the brain was revived by alien colonists, who offered Dyke a new body if he would use the form to erase Earth's chlorophyll, which was toxic to them. Manipulating Batman into placing the brain in the disintegration pit of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, Dyke burst forth in a new form, a massive green flying manta-like entity made up of vegetable matter.

Still craving a human body, Dyke sought out Doc Willard, who actually fulfilled the Boss' long-held goal of acquiring The Batman's body. The fortuitous arrival of the aliens, angry that Dyke had reneged on their deal, alerted Superman to the swap and he hastily performed surgery that placed Bruce Wayne's brain back in Batman's body. In the meantime, Willard (with Dyke's brain in his possession) escaped (1978's WORLD'S FINEST # 251, by Bob Haney, George Tuska and Vince Colletta).

Willard returned in # 253, hoping to confirm that Batman was in fact Bruce Wayne, as he'd suspected ever since he'd seen the Dark Knight's face during the operation. Though frustrated in his efforts, he escaped custody once more. In # 254, Willard was finally apprehended, now an incoherent madman babbling about Dyke's brain being lost to aliens. The alien in question was no less than ex-Green Lantern Sinestro, who had expanded the cerebellum to the size of a planet (located in the anti-matter universe of Qward) and was using the mutated brain as a power source. With his x-ray vision, the Man of Steel destroyed the unnatural extension of George Dyke once and for all.

Late in 1955, a rumor uncovered by Gotham Gazette editor John Hall suggested that a figure known as the Mole was planning a major caper in the city. With Hall hospitalized from stress and overwork, Lois Lane and Clark Kent (on loan from the Gazette's sister paper in Metropolis, the Daily Planet) took over the case. With the aid of Bruce Wayne, details of the Mole were turned up in Batman's crime file. "An expert miner and tunneller", the Mole had successfully "tunnelled out of prison" and "never been caught".

It was Robin who broke the case. While investigating all businesses involved in excavation, he discovered suspicious details at Harrah Construction Company. Their sewage project was actually a cover to disguise their tunnelling into Gotham's major bank. Slipping ahead of the Mole (a.k.a. Harrah) and his gang, Superman carved a detour that led them directly into a prison cell (WORLD'S FINEST COMICS # 80, reprinted in WFC # 188 and WFC ARCHIVES # 1).

Years later, a new Mole appeared in Gotham, one who had much more in common with his namesake. He was humanoid but covered with fur, possessed of night-vision and capable of burrowing through the ground at great speeds. In a tip of the hat to MAD # 2's 1952 classic "Mole", writers Gerry Conway & Roy Thomas named the Mole's victims Kurtzman and Elder.

Trying to end the marauder's murder campaign, Batman finally connected him with Harrah, who had escaped from prison again after being turned down for parole. Discovering that the members of the parole board were Harrah's victims, Batman set a trap around the last surviving target at Wayne Manor. In a final battle with the Mole, Batman learned that Harrah's condition had been caused by a wave of toxic sewage that engulfed him during his prison escape. Knocked into a flooded cavern of the Batcave, the Mole was washed away, his ultimate fate still unknown (BATMAN # 340, 1981). If alive, his knowledge of what lies beneath Wayne Manor adds another element of danger should he return.

In the earliest days of Batman's career, the Monarch of Menace represented the Dark Knight's only failure. Dressed in a fur-trimmed red robe with a purple face mask and a gaudy crown, the so-called king of crime's appearance belied his true threat. A variety of devices, from adhesive released through his boots to poison gas emitted from his cloak to an electrified sceptre, were capped by his hypnotic crown. Virtually stymied, the novice crimefighter was left without closure when the Monarch left Gotham with a fortune in stolen goods.

Now living a life of luxury in a palatial castle in the tropics, the Monarch mocked his teenage son, whom he described as "a failure" and forced to wear a jester's costume. Determined to prove himself, the young man stole one of his father's outfits and headed for Gotham to launch a crime wave of his own. Instead, Robin handed him his head. Hoping to lure the boy's father out of hiding, Batman decided to play up the capture in the press as if he were the real Monarch of Menace. The plan worked and, using simple precautions, the Dark Knight evaded the villain's weapons and finally overcame his earliest failure.

Elsewhere, the Monarch's son found himself inspired by the heroics of Batman and Robin and vowed that, upon his release from prison, "I want to be a crimefighter --not a criminal." (1966's DETECTIVE # 350, by Bob Kanigher, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella -- underneath a great Joe Kubert cover)

In 1981, the Monarch learned of The Batman's involvement in a lengthy quest for Ra's al Ghul outside of the United States. Aware that the news wasn't public knowledge, the villain played a bluff and claimed to have captured the Dark Knight. In exchange for regular monetary tributes from the city's major criminals, the Monarch would keep Batman locked up. Sensing the scam had run its course, the Monarch announced his impending departure and passed around the collection plate one last time -- requesting a large enough sum of cash to induce him to kill his alleged prisoner. By this point, Batman had returned to Gotham and infiltrated the Monarch's "castle" in the guise of Spellbinder. Pulling the menacing one's cloak over his head, Batman activated its gas jets. End of story. (1981's BATMAN # 336, by Bob Rozakis & Roy Thomas and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez & Frank McLaughlin -- a GREAT read!)

Dressed predominantly in orange and yellow, the Spellbinder was a fashion nightmare, sort of a living representation of what the older generation imagined pop art to be in 1966. Indeed, the hypnotic bandit "was an art forger -- who discovered the trance-making effects of modern op art -- and decided to use his talents in direct and spectacular crimes. The Spellbinder sent Batman into a succession of trances, variously using body gestures and artificial devices before the Dark Knight finally trained himself to reverse his hallucinations (DETECTIVE # 358, by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella).

A retooled Spellbinder turned up in Metropolis in 1978, his costume design scaled back a bit and now equipped with a hypnotic propeller on his back. He also possessed a sonic chest plate that proved quite effective at blasting Superman but became his undoing when the Man of Steel manuevered him into a miniature echo chamber and the Spellbinder knocked himself into unconsciousness (SUPERMAN # 330, by Martin Pasko, Curt Swan, and Frank Chiaramonte).

The baddie returned to Gotham during a crime spree provoked by Batman's mysterious absence. Back in his original costume and using simplified hypnotic devices, the Spellbinder was the first of the rampaging villains to be captured by the Dark Knight (BATMAN # 336). An entry in WHO'S WHO '86 # 21 commemmorated his career.

A new Spellbinder popped up briefly as part of the League-Busters in 1994's JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL # 65 and JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA # 90. A mystic garbed in green and orange robes, his hypnotic powers were barely hinted at in the story.

Delbert Billings (a.k.a. Keith Sherwood), the original model, was still around but, by late 1995, was on the run along with his girl friend, Fay Moffit. He wasn't desperate enough to accept an offer of power from the demonic Neron. Unfortunately for Delbert, Fay was. She put a bullet in her lover's head and asked Neron if the deal was only open to Billings.

"Actually," the demon replied, "I wasn't talking to HIM."

As the new Spellbinder, Fay proved a profoundly dangerous enemy, capable of affecting "a section at the back of the brain called the occipital lobe. That's where our visual input is interpreted." Only by joining with Robin (hooked up in a virtual reality device) was Batman able to ignore what his senses were telling him and bring down the Spellbinder. Negating her power proved surprisingly simple: she only had to be blindfolded (DETECTIVE # 691-692, by Chuck Dixon, Staz Johnson, and Scott Hanna; a write-up on Fay appeared in UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: PATTERNS OF FEAR # 1).

The Spellbinder was sent to the Slab (GREEN LANTERN # 79), save for a brief transfer to Arkham, where she promptly escaped and, working on behalf of the Blockbuster, tried to find out the location of the Batcave from Oracle (1998's BIRDS OF PREY: BATGIRL # 1). Returned to the Slab, the Spellbinder was among several villains aboard a S.T.A.R. Labs transport that was shanghaied to Apokolips. She and the other convicts agreed to fight on behalf of their captors in order to escape the desolate world (1999's BIRDS OF PREY # 12-14).

In the world that's coming (at least for the animated Batman), Terry McGinnis will fight another Spellbinder. Dressed in a hypnotic red and black costume, he uses subliminal techniques along with cutting-edge technology to manipulate his victims. Outside the "Batman Beyond" cartoon, he can be found in BATMAN BEYOND (second series) # 1 and 7.

Vietnam vet Philip Reardon had been nicknamed "Three-Eye" Reardon when a grenade fragment left a scar on his forehead. Taking a job as a security guard when he returned to Gotham City, Reardon convinced a gang of thieves that he had eyes in the back of his head, too, courtesy of a discreetly placed hand mirror. Disoriented by a blow to the head and suffering blurred vision, Reardon unwittingly staggered onto the scene of an impending explosion at the warehouse vault. Arriving on the scene, Batman assumed he was a thief -- and Reardon believed the Dark Knight was his assailant. The explosion of the vault left both men blinded, Reardon permanently.

While Batman worked with Alfred to arrange technological tricks that would enable him to fake sight, Reardon was taken under the wing of a veteran mobster, who hoped to fan Reardon's newfound hatred of the Dark Knight into an inferno. "A rare natural phenomenon" made Phil eligible for a radical experimental surgery, one that "reconnected (his) optic nerves to the sensory cells in (his) finger-tips. In addition to the sense of touch -- (the doctor had) added sight!"

The ensuing battle between Batman and the Ten-Eyed Man quickly shifted in Reardon's favor when the Dark Knight's vision enhancements were disabled. Blinding one of his hands in the battle, Reardon lunged at Batman with his other fist, which was bagged in the crimefighter's cape at the last moment. While Batman left to summon help, Reardon regained consciousness and escaped (1970's BATMAN # 226, by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, and Dick Giordano).

Convinced that he could beat Batman on his "own" turf, Reardon covertly used his abilities to win a job as a civilian sky-marshall and then hijacked the plane for Vietnam when it was in the air. Demanding that Batman meet him there, the Ten-Eyed Man and the Dark Knight faced off amidst the swamps of the D.M.Z. The conflict seemed to climax when Reardon blinded his foe with a flare and moved in for the kill. Batman, however, had seen the Ten-Eyed Man hide his hands before the detonation and was prepared for the burst of light. Phil Reardon was finally taken into custody (BATMAN # 231, 1971).

Martin Pasko (with artists Pablo Marcos and Ricardo Villamonte) revived the Ten-Eyed Man (now dressed in an orange and brown costume with eyes down the front) in 1975's MAN-BAT # 2. Reardon had been released into the custody of the Civil Liberties Association, an organization run by a fanatic named Lovell. Imagining that Gotham was "under siege" by "strange bat-people", Lovell wanted the Ten-Eyed Man to capture Man-Bat. With Reardon's nerve-grafts "suffering tissue rejection", his blindness was soon going to return unless the CLA could find a way to replicate Man-Bat's sonar. Setting up a flare bomb to blind the bat-creature, Reardon took the brunt of the blast himself and, disoriented, staggered off the skyscraper roof to his death.

Or so it seemed. Reardon returned in 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 12 just long enough to die again, this time the victim of shadow-demons. The Ten-Eyed Man's life was summed up in WHO'S WHO '87 # 23.

Introduced in late 1963's DETECTIVE COMICS # 323, the Zodiac Master has a minor claim as the final new costumed villain that Batman and Robin fought before the advent of the Julius Schwartz-edited era launched in 'TEC # 327. Wearing a light blue cowl and body suit decorated by astrological signs, he first made his presence known in Gotham by accurately predicting a succession of disasters (all of which he'd secretly orchestrated). Having cemented his reputation, the Zodiac Master set out to become the Jeanne Dixon of the underworld set, offering odds on the relative success or failure of a gang's latest heist in exchange for 25% of the take. Batman quickly connected the mob's mysterious Mister Z with the Zodiac Master and took down the villain with one of his own weapons, a rocket-propelled goat's head. The story was reprised in BATMAN FAMILY # 14's "Bureau of Missing Villains" but the Zodiac Master has never returned.

John Moores
posted May 29, 2000 10:07 PM

Here's my obliglatory addendum: A (possible) second Zodiac Master - either the original or someone based on him appeared alongside Sondra (Lady Clay/Clayface 'V') Fuller in "Strikeforce Kobra" in THE OUTSIDERS (first series) #21-22.

Also, a "Post-Crisis Analogue" of the Gorilla Boss of Gotham City appeared in 1999's 'JLApe!' BATMAN ANNUAL!

Not to be confused with Animal Man's foe, "The Mod Gorilla Boss! Yes, really!!!!

I love this thread!

John Moores
posted May 29, 2000 10:13 PM

Originally posted by John Moores:

Here's my obliglatory addendum: A (possible) second Zodiac Master - either the original or someone based on him appeared alongside Sondra (Lady Clay/Clayface 'V') Fuller in "Strikeforce Kobra" in THE OUTSIDERS (first series) #21-22.

Oops! I goofed! That was in fact the second Planet Master not the Zodiac Master! Boy, is my face red! (It is 3:15 a.m. here though!) Just for the record, the original Planet Master appeared in DETECTIVE #296, Oct 1961.

posted May 30, 2000 03:33 AM

GREAT! Thank you very much!

Did I understand right the 1st app. of Spellbinder I is 'TEC #358?

Why did he call himself sometimes Delbert Billings and sometimes Keith Sherwood? Does there exist a reason why?

First appearance of The Ten-Eyed Man?

posted May 30, 2000 03:50 AM

The Gorilla Boss also returned in the SWAMP THING ANNUAL of... 1988, I think. He was imprisoned in a zoo in Gotham. Gorilla Grodd summoned him, Sam Simeon, Congorilla, B'wana Beast's Djuba, and Monsieur Mallah to help usurp the throne of Gorilla City. Here, Rick Veitch portrayed the Boss as a fanatic movie buff. It was a fun read, but I think the Gorilla Boss was probably way out of character.

posted May 30, 2000 04:04 AM

And the Ten-Eyed Man's first appearance was in BATMAN #226 (Nov 70), as Mikishawm said.

posted May 30, 2000 04:45 AM

Well, John - how about the story of the Planet Master, then?

And while we're at it, can you give me some info about
Doctor Tzin-Tzin?
The first Firefly?
Lady Lunar?

John Moores
posted May 30, 2000 09:12 AM

Not much time today so I'll just do:

The Planet Master :

He's really Professor Norbet, who commits crime using gimmicks based on the nine planets after inhaling a strange gas which turns him into a Jekyll and Hyde character.

Batman and Robin are on the trail of Planet Master, but Norbet's assistant, Edward Burke, has discovered his identity, and Burke wants to either join forces or appropriate Norbet's gimmicks for his own crime wave. The gas' effects wear off on Norbet, and the Planet Master then helps Batman and Robin bring Burke to justice.

DETECTIVE #296 is his only appearance, unless the Planet Master in THE OUTSIDERS is Norbet, but it's more likely to be Burke, now I think about it...

See you later!

Scott Thiel
posted May 31, 2000 02:28 AM

Maybe I can give Hellstone some partial answers.

Doctor Tzin-Tzin first appeared in DETECTIVE #354. He had another story that was reprinted in DETECTIVE #477. Also appeared in BATMAN #283? and 284?. One of them was a X-mas story. On the cover, Batman was fighting a bear in a X-mas tree. Next I believe the good Doctor showed up in the PEACEMAKER mini-series. That was so bad I put that out for recycling.

Over the weekend I went thru my entire collection of BATMAN and DETECTIVE. Re-reading the letters page was very interesting. A lot of letter writers went into the comic business. Mike W. Barr, Klaus Johnson, and Martin Pasko are some. I was amused by the comments that were stated about Bob Kanes' art. Some hated and some thought it had improved after the New Look started. I bet Sheldon Moldoff did most of the art.

I like the three-part Catman story in DETECTIVE #311, 318, and 325. It may surprise some people that Selina Kyle was not the only Cat-Woman.

Also the Elongated Man stories in DETECTIVE were very good and had nice art. Neal Adams did one story and Gil Kane did a few also. Kane also drew a few Batgirl stories.

I think the Mirror Man should be revamped. In the right hands he could be a formidable foe for Bats.

Lord of Chaos
posted May 31, 2000 03:16 AM

Wow -- Mirror Man. He popped up a number of times didn't he, during the early '60's? Then he abruptly disappeared. Did he ever appear again after 1963?

Scott Thiel
posted May 31, 2000 03:54 AM

I don't know how many times Mirror Man appeared. I have one of his stories. Batman and Vicki Vale trick the MM into capturing himself. Don't remember the issue number but it was in DETECTIVE.

As far as I know, MM has not appeared since 1963. Except in reprints. He might have been in one of those one-page villian recaps in the early BATMAN FAMILY issues. I do remember Calendar Man and Signalman being recapped.

posted May 31, 2000 04:30 AM

Still another one popped up in my head now: what about Atom Master?

posted June 01, 2000 07:22 AM

In the excellent BATMAN: HOLY TERROR there is a Clayface called Matthew. He has the same abilities as Clayface 2.

Whatever happen to Alan Brennett?

This is an interesting thread.

Lord of Chaos
posted June 01, 2000 01:20 PM

I believe Alan Brennert is writing an upcoming black and white story to appear in GOTHAM KNIGHTS ...

posted June 06, 2000 03:32 PM

I'm back from limbo! I'll try to hit the rest of the list one at a time ... starting with Doctor Tzin-Tzin.

On the surface, Doctor Tzin-Tzin seemed to be the stereotypical Asian menace personified by Fu Manchu. Behind the robes, the long mustache and elongated fingernails, though, there was caucasian, a man of American origin and an orphan discovered and raised by Chinese bandits. "He adopted their ways -- then entered the western world to rob and pillage in a grand style". Interpol had charted a long string of audacious crimes attributed to the mastermind, ranging from the seizure of a South African gold mine to the literal disappearances of a South American jet and a mid-Atlantic ocean freighter, its crew left catatonic and floating in lifeboats.

In 1966, the discovery of a dead mobster, literally frightened to death, signaled the worst: Tzin-Tzin had set his sights on Gotham. Assembling a band of local thugs, the Doctor's sole objective was to destroy the Batman. Never one to resist a challenge, the Dark Knight smashed through the gauntlet of villains while the mastermind viewed the proceeding via hidden cameras, all but drooling at the display. ("It's the GORE!", explained one underling. "The doc WALLOWS in a gory fist battle.") Finally coming face to face with Tzin-Tzin, Batman was confronted by the Doctor's fabled death-gaze. Deducing that the effect was enhanced by special lighting, the Dark Knight smashed the fixture and brought the international fugitive to justice (DETECTIVE COMICS # 354, by John Broome, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella).

Having lost face with the Tong, Tzin-Tzin became obsessed with revenge against Batman and Robin "but that luxury requires money and equipment". Accepting a commission from the League of Assassins in 1970, the Doctor attempted to fulfill his goal, luring the duo to a suburban Gotham mansion and attempting to drive them mad before finally imprisoning them in pressurized tubes that were timed to explode. Batman escaped the trap but, as he and Robin escorted him to the Batmobile, the so-called "master of illusion" vanished from their grasp in the blink of an eye. As a peal of laughter erupted from the mansion, the structure burst into flame, collapsing in a matter of moments (DETECTIVE # 408, by Len Wein & Marv Wolfman and Neal Adams & Dick Giordano; reprinted in # 477).

Wein (with artists Jose Delbo and Bob Oksner) returned to the Doctor in 1972's ADVENTURE COMICS # 418. Now based in San Francisco's Chinatown, Tzin-Tzin was rebuilding his organization, using brainwashed youngsters as the Dragon Tong. "An army of the young," he gloated to local private eye Jonny Double, "the wave of TOMORROW." The Doctor momentarily rebuffed Supergirl with a fire-breathing dragon until the Girl of Steel recalled the villain's penchant for illusions and directed her attention towards the real threat. Vowing that he "not be humilated again", Tzin-Tzin plunged into the Bay, his body vanishing in the undertow.

By December of 1976, Doctor Tzin-Tzin had learned to tap genuine occult forces, using intense meditation to create a reservoir of mystic energy (or tsal) within his body. After a practice run in which he replaced the legendary Sphinx with a copy and deposited the original on the ocean floor, the Doctor headed for Gotham, seeking (for reasons unknown) to steal the Gotham Stadium from beneath the Dark Knight's nose. ("What a magnificent opponent he is," the villain mused. "If there were no Batman, I would have to invent him.")

Batman had retrieved a small mystic artifact at the site of the Doctor's first attack on the city and used it to track Tzin-Tzin to the sports arena. With "his energy ... almost totally engaged" from levitating the stadium, Tzin-Tzin had left himself vulnerable to a physical attack and Batman wasted no time in subduing him and ensuring that he be placed in solitary confinement (BATMAN # 284, by David V. Reed, Romeo Tanghal, and Frank Springer).

After six days of meditation, Tzin-Tzin's tsal had been replenished and he used the opportune appearance of an ant to call thousands more to eat away the mortar between the stones of his cell. On December 23, he walked out of prison, the guards now in his thrall. Taking note of the season, the Doctor lured Batman to Gotham's massive Christmas tree, where he announced his intent "to rob this city of something infinitely precious ... irreplaceable ... something you can never recover -- because it exists only in the mind."

On December 24, the villain's plan had become apparent. With the Dark Knight deliberately excluded, Doctor Tzin-Tzin had used magic to steal all knowledge of Christmas from those within Gotham City. Playing to the mage's ego, Batman pretended to be affected by the spell, drawing Tzin-Tzin out of his base at the Gotham Steam Company. As he was approached by "dozens of demons", the Dark Knight blasted the assembly by opening several steam valves, scalding the Doctor and breaking the spell.

"The new skin he'll be growing will itch enough to make his tsal concentration impossible for months" (BATMAN # 285).

By mid-1977, Batman was forced to seek out the mystic in prison when an encounter with the villain known as Skull Dugger left him unable to fight crime without suffering excruciating pain. Disguised as a rogue guard, Batman offered to free Tzin-Tzin in exchange for a spell granting him an hour's immunity to pain, which he claimed to need in order to surmount an electric failsafe linked to a security vault. If the heist was a success, the "guard" would free the Doctor. Tzin-Tzin fulfilled his part of the bargain and, following Skull Dugger's defeat, a remorseless Batman justified his actions by saying that "I DID give him hope -- for an hour, anyway." (BATMAN # 290, by Reed, Mike Grell, and Vince Colletta).

More than a decade passed before Doctor Tzin-Tzin returned, now commanding a miniature army on "a small island, 17 miles southeast of Greece". His objective was nothing less than the overthrow of the Soviet Union, with the ensuing destabilization of its satellites creating a wealth of opportunities for the villain's league of terrorists. The prelude to the attack on Moscow brought the attention of the organization known as Project: Peacemaker. Its unstable namesake eventually found himself confronted by Doctor Tzin-Tzin's death-gaze aboard the villain's dirigible fortress while the Project's Dominique St. Claire invaded their ground base and redirected the nuclear missiles toward the airship. Given a degree of immunity from the mastermind's hypnotic power, the unhinged Peacemaker pummelled the Doctor into unconsciousness and took flight before the missiles struck (1988's PEACEMAKER # 1-4, by Paul Kupperberg, Tod Smith, and Pablo Marcos).

Doctor Tzin-Tzin's WHO'S WHO entry was in # 7 (1985), with art by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Check "Obscure DC Characters" on the "Other DC Topics" board for Ubu.

posted June 07, 2000 03:05 PM

The story of Lady Lunar began in 1958 when a United States astronaut named Brice Rogers orbited the moon in a rocket propelled into space by Superman. The flight was not without incident. The capsule passed through the tail of a green comet but Rogers returned to Earth seemingly unscathed. In truth, the radiation from the comet had given Rogers a split personality, one that became dominant each night as the moon rose in the sky. As the Moonman, Rogers had magnetic powers that enabled him to fly and propel objects at will. He commited a succession of lunar-inspired crimes, holding Superman at bay thanks to a kryptonite-derived green aura around his body. The effect finally wore off but Rogers agreed to don the green and yellow costume one last time to help Superman, Batman, and Robin round up the Moonman's gang (WORLD'S FINEST # 98, by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang, and Stan Kaye; reprinted in SUPER-TEAM FAMILY # 4).

Among those inspired by Rogers and astronauts like him was Stacy Macklin, who eventually achieved her dream of becoming a NASA trainee in Houston, Texas (1978's WONDER WOMAN # 252-253). Macklin never questioned her goals even as all manner of strange events took place around her, from being possessed by the goddess Athena (WW # 254) to being at ground zero of an attack by the Queen Bee (ADVENTURE COMICS # 463-464) to watching fellow trainee Mike Bailey arrested as the leader of the Royal Flush Gang. Things were much quieter after another trainee, Diana Prince, left the program (WW # 256) but her encounters with super-heroes continued when Superman saved her life in a training mishap (SUPERMAN # 339).

Stacy was eventually invited to a fundraiser in Metropolis for a joint NASA-S.T.A.R. Labs venture to establish space colonies on the moon. Macklin intended to discuss Brice Rogers' ground-breaking mission, even having his original space capsule transported with her as an exhibit. In some unknown manner, the cross-country trip reactivated the dormant radiation in the craft and Stacy was struck by its energy when it was bathed in moonlight. Like Rogers, Macklin developed an alternate personality and dressed in a green and orange costume loosely based on Moonman's. As Lady Lunar, she abducted the only witness to her transformation, S.T.A.R. director Jenet Klyburn.

Unaware of any of this, Superman and Batman made a futile attempt to reign in the villainess, whose goal was revenge for the threatened desecration of the moon. In addition to her magnetic-based powers and the kryptonite-glow that kept the Man of Steel stymied, the self-described "high priestess of the moon goddess herself" also possessed a "mesmerizing force" that led the citizens in the business district to riot.

Her ultimate plan was to use a S.T.A.R.-created bomb to destroy all of Metropolis. After a talk with the retired Rogers yielded no clues, Batman's investigation into Lady Lunar's identity led him to suspect Jenet Klyburn. He ended up alongside the S.T.A.R. administrator as another captive. With Klyburn's aid, the Dark Knight found the tools to escape and stopped Lady Lunar's last-ditch effort to trigger the explosive manually. Like Brice Rogers, the radiation effect was finite and Stacy was kept in a state of sedation until the effect wore off (1980's WORLD'S FINEST # 266, by Cary Burkett, Rich Buckler, and Bob Smith).

Macklin returned to a more normal routine at NASA, interrupted only by the effects of the great Crisis, which temporarily brought Lady Lunar back into existence again (CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 9). Her WHO'S WHO entry was in # 13 (1986) with art by Will Meunigot.

In current continuity, details of Lady Lunar's history have barely been hinted at. LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE 80-PAGE GIANT # 2 asserted that she was an inmate at Arkham Asylum whom Wonder Woman had evidently battled at some point in the last few years. In this story, she duped the Cheetah into believing she had a satellite map to Paradise Island.

To date, no connection has been established between Moonman and Lady Lunar and the predominant lunar villain, Eclipso.

Gotham Resident
posted June 08, 2000 12:16 PM

You guys know anything about the Outsider? From the 60's & 70's. Asked by new member Carlo in his thread.

posted June 08, 2000 03:05 PM

Sure do! I'll be there shortly. Meanwhile, here's today's villain:

Kathy Kane had been running late that summer evening in 1959. Overdue for a party of Gotham's elite, she arrived at Carson Mansion just ahead of the police. There had been a robbery and the gang had eluded Batman and Robin. The culprit was the Firefly, no relation to the villain who terrorized the city seven years earlier. The crook wore a green costume with yellow stripes, decorative wings on his back and a cowl that included antennae and a blinding spotlight on his forehead.

The victim was Ted Carson, heir to a fortune in gold, but, unlike his father, he'd never worked a day in his life. Bruce Wayne was more than a little surprised when a sympathetic Kathy started up a relationship with young Carson. Suddenly, Bruce realized that he might have been taking Kathy's attentions for granted. "As if the Firefly isn't giving me enough trouble, now I've got a RIVAL to worry about!"

The Dynamic Duo and Batwoman got another crack at the Firefly the next day but, once again, he escaped, using a sonic vibrator on his belt to shatter several displays at the Gotham Glassworks. Adding to the Dark Knight's anxiety was Kathy's revelation that she'd discovered who he really was. Suspecting that she might be bluffing, Batman held off on formally unmasking.

When she'd arrived at the party that night, Kathy had seen Ted Carson concealing a costume with his dress clothes and came to a logical (but mistaken) conclusion. As Batwoman, she asked Carson to put on his costume and was stunned when the outfit in question turned out to be that of the Firefly. Carson took the heroine captive but she escaped in time to help Batman and Robin defeat the rogue atop an Incan exhibit at the Gotham Museum.

Kathy also provided a motive: "Carson confessed that his family gold mine had petered out, and he needed money for gambling debts -- so he turned to crime." Dancing later with a more appreciative Bruce Wayne, Kathy considered another intriguing possibility: "Bruce does have the qualifications for Batman. He's athletic, rich and -- oh, that's silly! I'm not going to make THAT mistake again!" (BATMAN # 126, by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff)

A third Firefly fought the Blackhawks behind the scenes in 1962's BLACKHAWK # 175.

The Fox
posted June 08, 2000 04:56 PM

Could somebody please give me some background on what's going on in "The Siege" over in LotDK?

Scott Thiel
posted June 09, 2000 03:14 AM

I don't know what Alan Brennett is up to but he is one heck of a writer. He wrote some of my favorite BRAVE AND BOLD stories.

#182 with Robin, Batwoman, and Starman
#197 with Catwoman.
#181 with Hawk and Dove. DC should have let this story stand. It had the definite end for those characters.
#179 Creeper.
DETECTIVE #500. "To Kill a Legend".


To clear other stuff up.
The Mirror Man story I have was published in BATMAN #157. And his tales were never re-capped in the Bureau of Missing Villians feature in BATMAN FAMILY.

I said I would not bother you guys anymore but how about the Mirror Man story. I am fairly sure Bats tangled with him more than once.


I don't think this has been mentioned.
There is a Mad-Hatter story in SILVER AGE 80-PAGE GIANT #1.
It looks like the first Mad Hatter story was re-done.

posted June 09, 2000 07:16 AM


I haven't seen "The Siege" yet. I get my comics from a subscription service so I'm usually a couple weeks behind on my DCs.


I agree 100% on Alan Brennert's stuff. It was terrific! He also wrote the BATMAN: HOLY TERROR one-shot and, way back in 1977, he plotted the JSA-Osira story that appeared in WONDER WOMAN # 231-232.

Most of Brennert's work is for television. He did a number of episodes for "The Twilight Zone" in the mid-1980s, including a particularly nice one called "Her Pilgrim Soul". He's since adapted that into a stage play as well as prose in a short story collection called (naturally) "Her Pilgrim Soul". He has at least two other novels to his credit -- "Kindred Spirits" and "Time and Chance". The latter, especially, comes HIGHLY recommended!

As for Mirror-Man ...

The Joker. The Penguin. Two-Face. Killer Moth. In the years since he'd been sent to prison, Floyd Ventris had seen a new breed of criminal come to prominence. He was determined to share in the spotlight but a catchy name was not enough. He would commit flamboyant crimes, of course, but the achievement that would truly catapult him to fame would be the revelation of the face that an unmasked Batman saw in the mirror.

It had begun late in the summer of 1954 when Ventris had escaped from prison. Breaking a pocket mirror, Ventris used a fragment to reflect the searchlight into the eyes of a guard. Recognizing that that broken mirror had brought him good fortune, Ventris declared that "it's like an omen!" The Mirror-Man was born. He didn't wear a costume but his bald head, overbite and square reflective glasses made a strong impression.

Among his early thefts was a "two-way electronic mirror that x-rays anything covered by cloth". During his subsequent string of robberies, the villain used every opportunity to scan Batman and, finally, he succeeded. Hoping to preempt the disclosure, the Dark Knight arranged for the Gotham Gazette to interview Bruce Wayne about the instances in which he was mistaken for Batman. Ventris' gang laughed hysterically when their boss told them his discovery.

Convinced that he was correct, Mirror-Man planned his next crime to take place at the site of a live television broadcast. As the villain had anticipated, Batman intervened and Ventris held up his two-way mirror in front of the Dark Knight's face. Beneath his hood, however, was a second mask of warped mirrors that distorted his features too drastically for anyone to identify (DETECTIVE # 213, probably by Bill Finger & Sheldon Moldoff).

Shortly after the story was reprinted in 1962's BATMAN ANNUAL # 3, Finger and Moldoff brought back Mirror-Man in BATMAN # 157 (1963). Still fixated on Batman's true identity, Ventris arranged for one of his men to shadow Bruce Wayne while he embarked on his latest robbery. Bruce proved too quick for the thug and managed to slip into his Batman guise anyway.

Complicating matters further was reporter Vicki Vale's discovery of the Mirror-Man's objective. With Bruce scheduled to be a speaker at a book society meeting, Vicki knew that he wouldn't be able to change to Batman so she hired an actor to stand-in for him. Independently, Batman and Robin had made arrangements for Alfred to impersonate Wayne. Between the distraction of the two Waynes and another mirror diversion, the Dynamic Duo lost Ventris' gang again.

The discovery that an actor had portrayed Wayne at the meeting seemed to prove Mirror-Man's case and, after Batman finally captured him, he said as much to the assembled reporters on the scene. Denouncing the allegations as absurd, Batman insisted that Bruce Wayne be called to the scene to refute the claim once and for all. The moment Bruce showed up, Ventris began pawing at his face and hair for signs of make-up. There were none. Publicly discredited, the Mirror-Man was returned to prison, unaware that it wasn't Bruce Wayne who had been disguised -- it was Batman. Alfred had saved the day again.

The Mirror-Man was freed one final time in 1986, part of a mass jailbreak engineered by Ra's al Ghul (BATMAN # 400). He is still at large.

Lord of Chaos
posted June 09, 2000 07:14 PM

THANK you, Mikishawm!

Maybe I'm pushing it a bit, but could you (or anyone) please tell the tale of The WRINGER for me? What was the title of that story? "Please, Batman -- Stop Me Before I Kill Again?!" SOMEthing like that. I remember it containing a guest shot from some Scotland Yard police inspector -- I was under the impression that writer David V. Reed wanted to use the inspector again, but never got around to it.

I loved that stupid story when I was a kid, and can still remember some of the dialogue ("Speak up, man! What is it you want -- my autograph?"). Loved that, and the Captain Stingaree three-parter, too. Carried those issues around with me 'til the covers fell off.

The Fox
posted June 09, 2000 07:28 PM

"The Siege" has some details like Bruce moving into an apartment in Gotham (which you've already touched on), Wayne Manor closed, and Silver St. Cloud. Care to expand on these subjects? Thanks.

posted June 10, 2000 03:36 PM

Consider the Wringer added to the list. As for today ...

It's a moment that those who were there still talk about. A peaceful 1959 afternoon in downtown Gotham erupted into chaos when the packed streets were buzzed by the Batplane while a leering Batman and Robin laughed and hurled explosives at the masses. And yet ... it never happened.

Joining forces with Superman (who'd encountered a similar phenomenon in Metropolis), the Dynamic Duo raced to stop a new threat against Gotham -- a giant marauding crab. Reaching the beast, the Man of Steel discovered that it was intangible, a mirage designed to distract the heroes from a robbery elsewhere in the city. Aware that they were dealing with a sophisticated Illusion-Master, Batman and Robin were on their toes when they showed up at the scene of another robbery dominated by extraterrestrial beings. Spotting civilian-clad bandits fleeing in the opposite direction, the Dark Knight confidently pursued the aliens, noting that they cast shadows while the "real" crooks did not.

Ultimately, Batman and Robin arrived at the Illusion-Master's lair, where they learned his series of robberies had been designed to bankroll the construction of a more powerful transmitter. Up to that point, the villain had been using a bulky head-piece to project "thought-images into this machine ... to rearrange dust in the air to create any illusion I wished." Now, though, he could create solid, vastly more threatening images, altering "the ATOMS in the dust to create illusions -- and then MATERIALIZE them."

Before the plan could come to fruition, Superman raced in at super-speed, rendering the villain (whom he dubbed "the Atom-Master") unconscious and vowing that he'd wake up in jail (WORLD'S FINEST # 101).

Late in 1984, the Atom-Master resurfaced in Metropolis, finally using the advanced illusions that he'd developed as he fled a bank robbery. With his thought-projector streamlined to a smaller helmet, the villain held off everything Superman threw at him. When the Man of Steel dismantled his portable helicopter, the Atom-Master reacted instantly by creating wings on his back.

The villain was unexpectedly plucked from battle by Ultivac and Mister Poseidon, two obscure villains recently engaged by the Enchantress to help her in a quest for power. Furious that someone else had been drafted into the group against her wishes (and one who had attracted the attention of Superman, at that), the Enchantress threatened to kill the new recruit until Ultivac convinced her that the Atom-Master's power would be invaluable (DC COMICS PRESENTS # 77, by Marv Wolfman, Curt Swan, and Dave Hunt).

Clearly, there was no love lost between the two and the Atom-Master continued to needle the mystic as she pursued her quest to form an unholy trinity. When she was finally about to achieve her goal, the Atom-Master realized that "she'll NEVER share her glory with us. No -- unless we move, she'll DESTROY us!" Joining with Poseidon and Ultivac, the villain distracted the Enchantress in the present while one of her demonic partners, Yggardis, was defeated by Superman and the Forgotten Heroes in the future. Threatened with revenge by the Enchantress, the trio of Forgotten Villains made a quick exit (DCCP # 78).

Eventually, the Atom-Master and Ultivac were drawn back into the Enchantress' life, with all of them now working on behalf of the immortal Vandal Savage. During a showdown with the Forgotten Heroes some 1.93 million years ago, the Atom-Master was taken out of the game quickly, thanks to "a neural stunner" used by Dane Dorrance. He and the other villains were abandoned in the primitive era when Savage captured the crystal they'd been seeking and returned to the future alone. The Forgotten Villains "got back to the twentieth century thanks to [time master Rip] Hunter's good grace" (RESURRECTION MAN # 25, 1999).

posted June 11, 2000 06:24 PM

Bullets bounced off his chest. His fists were like steel. He could leap distances a mortal man never hoped to achieve.

"Incredible? No! For even today on our world exist creatures with super-strength! The lowly ant can support weights hundreds of times its own. The grasshopper leaps what to man would be the space of several city blocks." -- Jerry Siegel, ACTION COMICS # 1 (1938).

He was also, in the words of sensationalistic TV newsman Jack Ryder, "the most dangerous criminal alive! ... Remember ... HELLGRAMMITE is his name!" He was named after "the larva of the Dobson Fly. A dark deadly bug with a bite like a timber wolf that lives under rocks." (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: PATTERNS OF FEAR # 1 later identified one of his aliases as "Robert Dobson.")

Ryder had stumbled onto the existence of the villain while investigating the disappearance of an entomologist ("a bug scholar") named Roderik Rose. In Gotham, he learned that Rose had transformed himself into a living Hellgrammite via specially treated humanoid-size cocoons and had all the strength of an insect grown to human size, including a rugged exoskeleton. The effect wore off within 24 hours, requiring Rose to regenerate himself once a day.

Unfortunately, no one had actually seen the Hellgrammite and Batman and Commissioner Gordon gave the report all the credibility of an urban myth. Changing to the Creeper, Ryder took advantage of his alter-ego's fugitive status and led Batman on a merry chase back to the Hellgrammite's lair. The Dark Knight got a first-hand lesson in how tough the creature was when he smashed his fist against the grasshopper-like creature's rock-hard stomach and flinched in pain. Knocking Batman to his knees with a devastating punch, Hellgrammite threw him towards the Gotham horizon.

Declaring a truce, Batman agreed to work with the Creeper for the duration. In short order, the duo linked the Hellgrammite with three abducted gang leaders -- hoods that they found imprisoned in disturbingly familiar cocoons. "Super insect powers, combined with their criminal mentalities, would make them formidable allies for Hellgrammite." Freeing the hoods, the heroes resolved to bring down the super-bug once and for all. While Batman sprayed him with suffocating fire foam, the Creeper connected him with an electric cable. Knocked unconscious by a jolt that would have killed a normal man, the eight-foot grasshopper was taken into custody (1968's THE BRAVE & THE BOLD # 80, by Bob Haney & Neal Adams).

By 1977, the Hellgrammite had become much more comfortable in his new form, apparently no longer requiring daily rejuvenation. Indeed, he believed himself to be a veritible "Insect Lord" when he faced Black Canary that year, demonstrating a new enhancement when he wove an airtight, super-strong cocoon around her. Only the Canary's sonic cry prevented her from smothering in the deathtrap.

The villain was now running a low-profile Star City-based operation known as "Rebirth, Inc.". In exchange for a small fortune, Hellgrammite offered to use his "rebirth cocoon" to give new identities to millionaires in danger of losing their riches due to financial improprieties. In fact, the men who walked into the chamber didn't make it out alive. The seeming transformations that Hellgrammite demonstrated to prospective clients were elaborate charades carried out by his henchmen.

By nature a solo operator, the Hellgrammite began murdering the members of his gang once the scam had run its course. Hoping to learn Green Arrow's alter ego from a recaptured Black Canary, the villain decided that he'd "use a REAL 'rebirth cocoon' and assume Green Arrow's secret identity. What better disguise for a criminal ... than the secret life of a super-hero!" Instead, the real GA stepped in, grounding Hellgrammite with epoxy, dousing his cocoon jets with acid and knocking him cold with a punch to the chin. Hellgrammite may have had fists of steel but he had a glass jaw (WORLD'S FINEST # 248-249, by Gerry Conway, Trevor Von Eeden, and Vince Colletta).

Returning to the shadows of Gotham upon his inevitable escape from prison, the Hellgrammite became an assassin. On Thanksgiving Eve in 1991, he took a contract from a blackmailed Lexcorp executive named George Markham. In exchange for ten million dollars, the Lord of Insects would murder the head of the corporation himself -- Lex Luthor (ACTION COMICS # 673, by Roger Stern, Bob McLeod, and Dennis Rodier). After securing a base in Metropolis (# 674), the villain devoted several weeks to surveillance before finally striking at a reception in Metropolis Harbor. Hellgrammite and Superman proved evenly matched, with the assassin's strength, speed and epoxy discharge keeping the Man of Steel at bay.

In the end, the most the Man of Steel could claim was a section of the Hellgrammite's tail (# 676), causing "unspeakable pain and injury ... It took days -- DAYS! -- to regenerate the end of my tail!" Seeking "special materials and equipment ... to maintain my power", he broke into S.T.A.R. Labs only to find himself opposed by both Rampage (the alter-ego of scientist Kitty Faulkner) and Superman. This time, thanks to a solid punch from Rampage, the big bug didn't get away (# 681). Confined to a S.T.A.R. holding cell, Hellgrammite was impersonated by Supergirl several weeks later in a sting that tricked George Markham into confessing to have hired the assassin (SUPERGIRL/ LEX LUTHOR SPECIAL # 1, 1993).

Curiously, Hellgrammite wasn't featured on the cover of the issues where he was the central threat (# 676, 681) but DID appear on the cover of #673, where he appeared in only a two-page sequence.

Despite his formidable abilities, the Hellgrammite craved more power. Thanks to an unholy bargain with Neron (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED # 1, 1995), he got it. As with many of Neron's other customers, he lost a good deal of his reasoning abilities in the process. Now, the Hellgrammite was obsessed with the propagation of a race just like him. Deep within the Metropolis sewers, he sealed several victims within cocoons, transforming them into his servants. The Special Crime Unit's attempt to subdue the threat cost them two of their own, Officers Aaron Jase and Russell Tenclouds. Plunging a live cable into the murky waters, Tenclouds electrocuted himself and all of the neo-insects. Hellgrammite was only stunned, dazed just enough to be properly restrained (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN # 530, by Karl Kesel, Stuart Immonen, and Jose Marzan, Jr.).

Temporarily confined to Metropolis' Stryker's Island, Hellgrammite soon escaped and found himself teamed with another Neron-evolved insect-man, Charaxes (the former Killer Moth). The duo was taken down easily thanks to Nightwing's expert use of bug spray and the strong arms of Superman (BATMAN & SUPERMAN: WORLD'S FINEST # 10). Hellgrammite was subsequently sent to the Slab (GREEN LANTERN # 79), escaping only once since, during the Julian September crisis (JLA # 18, 1998).

Outside mainline DC continuity, the Earth-992 counterparts of Batman, the Creeper, and the Hellgrammite got together for a rematch (ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE # 17), while an amalgamation known as the Abominite appeared in DOCTOR STRANGEFATE # 1.

posted June 12, 2000 12:55 PM

Seeking the sort of bizarre mystery that Gotham City was notorious for, visiting Scotland Yard Inspector Clive Kittridge got his wish in May of 1976. Commissioner Gordon offered this tidbit while Kittridge was at police headquarters:

"Some maniac in a weird getup leaped on a stage at the Welles' Theatre earlier tonight -- grabbed this marionette -- wrung its neck and escaped."

Batman had found himself saddled with Inspector Kittridge (attired in a Holmes-ian deerstalker and cloak, plus mottonchop sideburns and mustache) thanks to an international exchange program. Just to complicate things a bit more, Kittridge was also an old classmate of Alfred Pennyworth and wormed his way into getting lodging at Bruce Wayne's penthouse suite. When the Inspector opined that he could out-detect the Dark Knight (and wagered $100 on it), Bruce took the bet. Alfred rolled his eyes.

Batman and Kittridge's first night on the prowl had been rather unremarkable in the Inspector's eyes, highlighted by the capture of a hijacking ring. In a baffling footnote, they were also approached by a red-haired man who tried to speak but uttered only gibberish.

The next evening began to bring all the threads together when Batman encountered a new villain (clad in a purple robe & hood and lime green body suit) at a Gotham nightclub. "The madman Gordon described -- attacking the ventriloquist's dummy -- twisting its neck." With his own neck in the maniac's strong grip, the Dark Knight shoved back his attacker's hood and saw the same red-haired man he'd encountered earlier.

Convinced the man was trying to send a message, Batman instructed Kittridge to "look what he did to this dummy -- wrenched its head completely around -- the wood itself ... wrung into splinters -- and this is Douglas Fir ... a very hard wood."

"Back in London, we once had a Jack the Ripper," the Inspector noted. "You might call this one Jack the Wringer."

"Good name -- the Wringer. You wanted something bizarre ... you've got it!"

Within the hour, the duo had spotted the Wringer again, this time threatening a little girl near the park. Close observation revealed the victim as "a doll! A walking, talking doll!"

The villain fled for the lake, both he and his boat vanishing as Batman and Kittridge followed. Using his strong fists, he'd smashed a hole in the craft and swam back to dry land underwater.

At Gotham's Bicentennial Expo, featuring animatronic replicas of the United States' patriotic heroes, Kittridge told Wayne that he had deduced the Wringer's next target: the President Wilson figure. "The clues fit perfectly! First. the dummy's name was Woodrow. Then, last night at the lake, the Wringer led us to were we WOULD ROW after him -- ergo, WOODROW WILSON."

"Furthermore, there's a progression --from marionette to dummy to walking doll -- and now this. Each one becomes progressively more human. This figure of Woodrow Wilson would be the next step -- just one step away from a real human -- his intended victim -- someone named Woodrow."

Indeed, the Wringer did show up that night -- but "Patrick Henry" was his victim.

And Batman? He was at the Park Avenue home of stock broker Douglas Walker, where a hysterical Wringer finally revealed his motive:

"My life's savings -- wiped out! Invested in your stock brokerage -- and you took every cent -- WRUNG me dry -- just as I'm going to WRING you."

Insisting that the loss was a stock market fluctuation that he couldn't have foreseen, Walker took refuge in a closet while the Wringer continued. "I TRIED to stop -- tried to tell The Batman ... to plead for HELP to stop me -- but it's too late ... TOO LATE! I can't help myself!"

It was Batman who exited the closet, engaging in a short scuffle with the strangler before subduing him with a blow to the base of the skull. Given the Wringer's incredible strength, Batman cuffed his hands to his ankles. "You'll have to wring your own legs off to get loose again."

Explaining his solution to Kittridge, Batman observed that "the dummy was made of Douglas Fir, so I theorized that the first name might well be Douglas. The second name and the address came from the doll -- a walker on a park avenue. I went to Douglas Walker and made my arrangements."

Perhaps most stunning was the explanation for how the madman had consistently known how to find Batman and Kittridge -- and that they'd dubbed him the Wringer: He'd circumvented Bruce Wayne's elaborate security system to plant a bug in Wayne's penthouse -- and eavesdropped on Alfred and Clive's nightly discussions of their itinerary.

The Inspector made good on his bet but immediately challenged Bruce to another, convinced that he'd outwit the World's Greatest Detective on a second go-round. "Poor Clive," thought Alfred, "he's going to be a lot poorer." (BATMAN # 278, by David V. Reed, Ernie Chan, and Tex Blaisdell)

Scott Thiel
posted June 13, 2000 01:51 AM


Do you have every BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS ever published?

Do you have almost every DC ever published?

You have a big THANKS from me. Take a bow.

I was wondering about WORLD'S FINEST (BEST) #1-70. The solo Batman (Robin) stories. I know the Scarecrow was introduced in #3. Did any other members of the rogue's gallery appear in those above issues?

I just haven't heard that much about those issues. I am hoping for an archive edition.

posted June 13, 2000 03:45 AM

For some more info on Ten-Eyed Man and another great lame-o-villain: THE ERASER - check out this site:

posted June 13, 2000 11:36 AM


Did you ever think about writing a book?

...I would buy one!

posted June 13, 2000 03:17 PM

Me, too.

posted June 13, 2000 07:17 PM

Now we just have to find a publisher ...

posted June 16, 2000 03:40 AM

Some more questions:
In SOTB #80 appear some guys I never saw before:
Solly Bean
Vernon Jamson

Is it the first appearance of them? Real names?
Were they seen after or before?
What happened to Pinhead? Did he survived the fight with Killer Croc?
Is Waxman dead? Who is the guy hanging in Solly Beans cell? (SOTB #81)
Who is 'Nimrod' (SOTB #82), the man killed by Joker?
Who of the Batman villains appear on the last page in SOTB #82? Crazy Quilt?

JYD Prime
posted June 16, 2000 01:46 PM

Waxman and Pinhead are both dead.

JYD Prime
posted June 16, 2000 01:46 PM

Solly Bean (I think) is a guy that appeared in "Knightfall" and later in "Shadow" -- he likes to eat hearts for their chemicals. Gets off on them or something.

posted June 16, 2000 09:00 PM

Actually, Solly Bean (along with Waxman, Pinhead, and Vernon Jamson) WAS first seen in SHADOW OF THE BAT # 80. The similar Cornelius Stirk (who also ate hearts) was the character seen in earlier issues.

The man hanging in Solly's cell was an Arkham orderly.

Nimrod the Hunter (a.k.a. Dean Hunter) was a prison escapee who'd been jailed on a false murder charge. As Nimrod, he tracked down the true killer, Chancer, but was taken back into custody himself (SHADOW # 7-9).

However, the Joker's comments notwithstanding, the guy he killed was NOT Nimrod. The person in SHADOW # 82 was named Wild (given name: Wilde Norton), who went nuts after the Joker slaughtered his family and tried to kill the green-haired one (SHADOW # 37-38).

Finally, on page 18 of SHADOW # 82, we see portions of Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, and Riddler out in front. Behind them are Mister Freeze, Vox, Crazy Quilt, Tweedledum (or Tweedledee), Cornelius Stirk, Poison Ivy, Ventriloquist & Scarface, and the Scarecrow.

By the way, for everyone who enjoys my work:

I have a new monthly column that should be debuting in THE COMIC READER any day now. It'll consist of bios like these, though not exclusively on Bats.

There will ALSO be a double dose of my material this fall in (I believe) COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE # 83. In addition to my regular DC Registry column, there's going to be an insert that'll be in THE O'NEIL OBSERVER # 2!

My contributions will include bios on Ubu (which you may have already seen), Matches Malone, Tim Trench, a couple obscure O'Neil locales (which will encompass Proteus' history), and a brief overview of Frank Robbins' contribution to Batman.

The issue hasn't even been solicited yet but I'll try to keep you posted.

posted June 23, 2000 09:39 PM

How about the history of Clock King and the Terrible Trio.

I have seen those guys on the animated series. I have yet to see them fight Batman in the comics.

Lord of Chaos
posted June 23, 2000 10:05 PM

A version of the Terrible Trio did indeed first appear in the comics, but Clock King -- the appeal of whom utterly escapes me -- never did.

Then again, what do I know? I liked the Wringer!

No one can give good history like Mikishawm, so I'll defer to him on these. I do hope he swings by soon, as he's missed.

NOW if we could only get him a publisher ...

posted June 25, 2000 03:17 PM

I'm back! LoC is correct about the Clock King. He was unique to the animated series. I did try to come up with a substitute, though.

For years, the convict named Kyle had been mocked by his fellow inmates. He had a truly unique claim to fame: Kyle was the first criminal captured by The Batman (DETECTIVE # 265, reprised in 1986's SECRET ORIGINS # 6). He vowed that he'd have revenge and spent his every waking moment studying clocks "because Batman made me do TIME in prison".

Early in 1959, Kyle was paroled and wasted no time in creating the persona of the Clock, a predominantly yellow costume (and clock face on the chest) with purple cape, gloves and boots. At high noon, the Clock introduced himself by destroying a timepiece mounted on a Batman statue in Gotham's park. The next three hours, he predicted, would see a string of sensational time-related robberies that would culminate in the Dark Knight's death.

Batman recognized the villain from his first case and a bit of investigation explained the 3:00 PM deadline: That was the hour that he began serving his prison sentence.

For his next crime, the Clock stole tiny watch screws, so small that "only experts can make them. They're worth over $100 an ounce -- and he stole POUNDS of them!" The villain lost his watch at the scene, enabling Batman to find an unusual accumulation of flour dust within it and trail the Clock to "that old flour mill outside of town."

The watch had been abandoned deliberately and the Clock got the drop on the Dynamic Duo when they arrived. At precisely 3 PM, the flour mill exploded into a fireball and a satisfied Clock drove off to steal jewels from a mammoth "cutaway model of a pocket watch" at the Clock Fair. Unknown to the time bandit, Batman and Robin had escaped, ironically using shards of broken crystal from the villain's own watch to cut their bonds. After being caught in the springs of the giant watch, the Clock was placed in a holding cell, appropriately one "that faces the prison clock" (DETECTIVE # 265, by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff).

There were other Clocks, of course, notably the Quality Comics hero, a second who fought Doctor Fate (MORE FUN # 81), and a third about whom (unfortunately) I know little. He fought Robin four times between 1947 and 1949 (STAR-SPANGLED COMICS # 70, 74, 79, 97).

William Tockman, the Clock King, first faced Green Arrow and Speedy in 1960's WORLD'S FINEST # 111 and returned briefly in 1961's JLA # 5. The reprint of his origin in 1972's WANTED! # 1 eventually led to a brief revival (in 1979 and 1982's WFC # 257 and 284) and WHO'S WHO entry (in 1985's # 5). 1988's JLI # 23 launched the Clock King's role as a member of the less-than-effective Injustice League, an association that continued through 1993's JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE # 49. After briefly linking up with like-minded rogues like Chronos, Time Commander, and Calendar Man (TEAM TITANS # 13-15 and SHOWCASE '94 # 10), the Clock King reinvented himself as the leader of several young metahumans known as the Clockwatchers. His team was captured but Tockman escaped (1998's CHASE # 4).

Temple Fugate, the animated Clock King, debuted in the September 21, 1992 episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. He blamed his fall from grace in the legal field on Mayor Hamilton Hill and adopted the punctual persona of the Clock King to get revenge. He returned in October 8, 1994's "Time Out of Joint", armed with an invention that allowed him to stop and start time at will.

The Terrible Trio was a band of inventors, each at the peak of their careers in 1958 and each seeking new challenges. A spectacular crime wave, they concluded, would give them the fulfillment they sought. And, this being Gotham, they needed a gimmick. Contrasted against their business suits were the cartoon masks of the Fox, the Shark, and the Vulture. Tapping into their respective areas of expertise, the Fox used a "burrow machine", the Shark employed an "eel machine", "a pilot fish machine", and a "swordfish machine", and the Vulture created a "missile machine".

Initially stymied by the trio, Batman soon recognized the pattern in their succession of sea, land, and air robberies and determined that their next target would likely be aboard a seafaring vessel. Deducing the likely target as a craft carrying Egyptian treasures, Batman and Robin hid themselves in mummy cases and allowed the trio to carry them back to their hideout. In the end, the Fox, the Shark, and the Vulture were captured (DETECTIVE # 253).

They escaped in 1963, quickly reestablishing their reputation thanks to long-hidden duplicates of their super-weapons. Their theme this time was smuggling -- first diamonds, then people. Batman, as escaped convict Archie Craig, managed to infiltrate the Trio's headquarters with Robin but the duo found themselves defeated and threatened with death in outer space -- courtesy of the missile machine. Another player -- Batwoman -- had chanced onto the deathtrap while trailing Craig and she worked quickly to transfer control of the missiles to their passengers. Returning to Earth, the Dynamic Duo joined Batwoman in defeating the Terrible Trio once and for all (DETECTIVE # 321).

The Trio was recalled in entries in 1977's BATMAN FAMILY # 11 and 1986's WHO'S WHO # 23, as well as a single exquisitely drawn panel by Brian Bolland in BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE # 4 (1996). In what had to represent a career low point, they (or someone resembling them) ended up as recurring "villains" in a show for tourists in the town of Littleville -- at least until G'nort showed up and, not realizing it was a put-on, captured the whole "gang" (1992's GREEN LANTERN CORPS QUARTERLY # 3).

Meanwhile, September 11, 1995 saw the debut of "The Terrible Trio" on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, where three bored associates of Bruce Wayne became criminals for kicks.

1999 saw the Trio return in the pages of Matt Wagner and John K. Snyder III's three-issue DOCTOR MID-NITE mini-series. As Fisk, Shackley and Volper, the Fox, the Shark and the Vulture ran Praeda Industries, a business that stood to make a fortune in real estate and related avenues when the Trio's sabotage of the city of Portsmouth came to fruition. Though their scientific prowess was still in evidence, the Trio now displayed a fascination with the occult as well. The physical conflicts that their activities attracted -- from the new hero known as Doctor Mid-Nite -- were mostly left to a bulky bodyguard named Mister Sham to resolve. Mid-Nite captured the villains but left them for the F.B.I., who'd been tracking them since their days of terrorizing Gotham.

posted June 26, 2000 06:19 AM

I'd just like to add to that great and timely article that Batman encountered the Clock King on Adam West's BATMAN show in the sixties. Walter Slezak played the Clock King.

Scott Thiel
posted June 28, 2000 02:29 AM

Speaking of the TV show; there is one thing that has me curious. FALSE FACE.

Was this a villian from the comics?

I know the Black Mask gang is called the False Face Society.

Does anyone know about Catman's appearance in FREEDOM FIGHTERS? Did it have any connection with Batwoman's appearance?


Lord of Chaos
posted June 28, 2000 03:19 AM

Scott, believe it or not False Face DID indeed first appear in the comics -- BATMAN #113, February 1958, which was his inaugural and, if I'm not mistaken, only appearance. Mikishawm? That's your cue, sir!

posted June 28, 2000 07:38 AM

On a possibly related note to False Face, Robin the Boy Wonder battled a villain called No-Face in STAR-SPANGLED COMICS # 66 (March 1947).

I don't have the comic, but on the cover No-Face wears white bandages over his face, like ones the Invisible Man from literature and DC's Unknown Soldier are often shown wearing. No-Face also wears a purplish long coat, and a brown coat underneath it. He has a brown hat, and in his hand a jar of nitro. Robin on the cover punches at No-Face, knocking a gun away from the villain.

Maybe someone else knows whether No-Face was a master of disguise, or if he just had a scarred face under the bandages.

How about a team-up of False Face and No-Face with all the Two-Faces and Clayfaces? Oh, yeah, and the Joker once used an alias of Mr. Whiteface on Adam West's BATMAN, so I guess he would try to join, too.

Scott Thiel
posted June 28, 2000 08:45 AM

Robin also battled a Two-Face like villian in STAR-SPANGLED COMICS. Can't remember the name but I saw the story reprinted in an old DETECTIVE.

posted June 28, 2000 06:10 PM

Interesting, Scott!

And here's a brief return to the Gentleman Ghost -- God rest his soul.

The Gentleman Ghost also battled the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl at Big Ben in London in a Joe Kubert drawing for the month of July on the 1977 SUPER DC CALENDAR. (Batman and Robin battled the Joker at Mt. Rushmore on the same calendar for the month of February.) Perhaps this was the only example of Craddock being merchandised, apart from the actual comics themselves.

The Gentleman Ghost also met the Super Friends on their animated Saturday-morning TV show. Here, the Ghost turned people (including some of our heroes) into ghosts, using a magical gem on his walking stick. At Hanna-Barbera, this villain was definitely portrayed as evil.

I haven't seen the episode in a while, but I recall Batman taking the offensive and vocally challenging Craddock. A trip around to some Super Friends websites tells me that this episode was called "The Ghost", which would originally have aired on THE ALL-NEW SUPERFRIENDS HOUR (1977-1978).

posted June 28, 2000 09:05 PM


Thanks for reminding me of Clock King's appearance on the '60s Batman show. I'd completely forgotten that! (I love the art on that DC calendar, too. The Batman piece -- with the Joker at Mount Rushmore -- eventually inspired the story in BATMAN # 253)


The Cat-Man appearance in FF # 10 had no connection to # 14-15's Batgirl-Batwoman story. In a six page sequence, we learn that Cat-Man returned to crime and headed for Minneapolis "so I wouldn't have to tangle with the likes of" heroes like the Freedom Fighters.

Cat-Man and his gang all exhibit cat-like attributes but they weren't enough to keep them from defeat. After Phantom Lady knocks CM on his head, the Human Bomb says "He can't be Cat-Man -- he didn't land on his feet!"

The Two-Face-esque villain that you recall was 50-50, from the Robin story in STAR SPANGLED # 128 (reprinted in BRAVE & BOLD # 76).

The Robin stories from SSC represent a real void in my study of the Bat-villains. I know the NAMES of the villains that Robin fought in most of those issues (No-Face, for instance) but nothing about them. The series ran from SSC # 65 to 130 but only nine stories have been reprinted, the oldest from SSC # 111 (in DETECTIVE COMICS # 444). A ROBIN ARCHIVES is long overdue.

And finally ...

False Face had a fairly simple m.o., one that initially proved quite successful. He shadowed a wealthy prospective victim, learned their routines and then arranged for them to be incommunicado for a few hours while he used his expertise in disguises to transform himself into their exact double. As eccentric tycoon P.S. Smithington, for instance, he charged a fortune in jewels to the millionaire's account. The real Smithington showed up two hours later, having been delayed by sabotage to his car.

With more than half a dozen successful robberies to the bandit's credit by late 1957, Batman and Robin began trying to look ahead to prospective victims. Learning that rockabilly artist Wally Weskit was trapped in an elevator, the Dynamic Duo headed to the site of Weskit's evening performance instead. Sure enough, there was "Weskit", ready to claim a barrel of charitable donations. False Face had prepared for the likelihood of Batman's interference and wore an outfit as "Weskit" that resembled a doorman at the function. The Dark Knight was distracted long enough for False Face and his gang to escape.

Now that Batman was involved, False Face tweaked his plans again, specifically allowing the Dark Knight to tumble onto his next impersonation as explorer Arthur Crandall and leading him into a sixty foot tank. With the hero knocked unconscious, False Face entered the vat, intent on learning their nemesis' true identity. Returning to his hideout, False Face's gang eagerly pulled off the mask to reveal ... Arthur Crandall! Batman hadn't lost consciousness, after all, having slowed his fall by grabbing plastic sheeting that hung down from the tank's rim. Trading places with False Face, Batman pretended to be the villain while his gang led him back to their lair.

False Face's costume (seen in only one panel) consisted of a tuxedo and a black hood (with blue highlights) that covered his head, ears, nose, and upper lip. Batman removed the make-up from his captive to reveal "the REAL False Face ... a nervous frightened criminal". Unmasked, he was a white-haired, toothless man (BATMAN # 113).

Malachi Throne played False-Face in the March 9-10, 1966 episode of the "Batman" TV show. In this one, the villain wore a plastic face mask and perpetrated a succession of robberies in which he stole valuables and left fakes in their place. DC reprinted "The Menace of False Face" in November, 1967's BATMAN # 198, commenting "You've seen him battle Batman on TV! Now read the story of the first clash ..." By this point, of course, DC had the much more versatile Clayface as a master of disguise in the Batman rogues gallery and False Face was never heard from again.

Scott Thiel
posted June 30, 2000 02:29 AM


I went looking thru my 60's DETECTIVEs and could not find that Robin vs. 50-50 story. Here it was in B&B. I agree a ROBIN ARCHIVE would be a bonus.

I know the Earth-1 Batman and the Earth-2 Batman never teamed up; but did they ever meet to shake hands?

I don't think this villian has been done yet. The original BLOCKBUSTER!!!!!

posted July 01, 2000 05:24 PM

On the George Perez cover of WHO'S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE DIRECTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE # 2 (April 1985), the Earth-One Batman is looking over his shoulder (almost in a double-take) at the Earth-Two Batman. The Earth-Two Batman naturally has a smile on his face. Was the Earth-One Bats surprised because he knew his Earth-Two counterpart had died years before, or was he just surprised to see another Batman at all? Maybe it was the smile. I'm sure they would've shaken hands soon after.

Since there are bolts of lightning or some other energy on the cover, who's to say this cover didn't happen during the CRISIS -- since the two series were being published in conjunction with each other. How else would so many heroes and villains from different time periods have come together in one place? I thought that all of the WHO'S WHO covers were supposed to fit together into one giant scene, too. No character was supposed to appear on more than one cover, but I read that at least one mistake was made in this regard. It probably happened after George stopped doing the WHO'S WHO covers. (And sorry, I can't recall which character/characters were duplicated.)

Before that, in BRAVE & THE BOLD # 182 (January 1982), I believe it was hinted that the Earth-Two Batman may have somehow been responsible from beyond the grave for bringing the Earth-One Batman to the spot on Earth-One which brought the younger Bats to Earth-Two. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Also during Zero Hour in SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL # 37 (1994), Superman met an incredible number of versions of Batman, including the Bat-Man from DETECTIVE COMICS # 27, the movie serial Batman, the 1950s Batman, the "New Look" Batman, Neal Adams's Batman, Frank Miller's Dark Knight version, and the Batman from BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. (Some Batmen appeared as just cameos in the story and/or on the cover, but others had more of a role.)

Now, Hypertime hadn't been named back then, so I don't know if it retroactively applied to this story. There are definitely panels where an Earth-One Batman is next to an Earth-Two Batman. Since time was going haywire, I figured back then that both pre-Crisis Batmen were plucked from multiple points in their lives and brought to this locale, and there joined by Batmen from still other realities.

Or, since the post-Crisis Batman is the Earth-One Batman in a different timeline/reality, maybe the Earth-One versions were ripped from the Modern Batman's mind or body. After all, over in the Legion's "End of an Era" storyline from Zero Hour, the post-Crisis Daxamite Dev-Em reverted to the pre-Crisis Kryptonian Dev-Em, and Shadow Lass remembered that Valor had once been called Mon-El.

At least the Golden-Age Alfred Beagle showed up during Zero Hour in BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 31 to meet the current Batman and the Tim Drake Robin.

posted July 01, 2000 09:23 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, SS!

As for Blockbuster, I did a short summary on the Dixonverse board last month but here it is in long form:

In another lifetime, Mark Desmond and Dick Grayson might have been classmates and friends. But everything that Dick had to work at in school came easily to Mark. The teen prodigy was a scientific genius, one who'd been awarded high school and college diplomas years ahead of his contemporaries. With no friends his own age, the socially awkward teenager seemed content to live with brother Roland on an island near Gotham.

"He was a scrawny kid," Roland later explained, "so he worked out a serum that would affect certain endocrine glands to make him grow big and strong. But he was over-anxious -- he never bothered to test his discovery first. What nature gave with one hand, it took away with the other. An over-active anterior lobe of the pituitary gland made him shoot up like a giant -- with tremendous strength! But simultaneously, a faulty endocrine gland retarded his mental development."

The end result was "The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City". At the command of the exploitive Roland, the monstrous simpleton began looting Gotham businesses, defying police as bullets bounced off of his chest and pummelling Batman and Robin into unconsciousness. A reporter on the scene seized on Robin's rhetorical question, "How does anyone fight a blockbuster like that?" and "The Blockbuster Bandit" was born.

Convinced that a more devious mind was behind the creature, the Dynamic Duo opted to let his next robbery pass without interference and followed him home. Batman was stunned when he recognized the Blockbuster's island hideaway as the site where Bruce Wayne had rescued Mark Desmond from a quicksand bog several months earlier.

The clue convinced the Dark Knight that their foe was a mutated Mark and he resolved to make a risky gamble. Removing his costume, Batman hoped the sight of Bruce Wayne would somehow break through the fog of Mark's memory. The ploy seemed to fail but, convinced he was correct, Bruce led the Blockbuster towards the quicksand, renacting the earlier rescue with himself in Mark's place. Hesitating for a moment, the Blockbuster held out a branch and rescued the man who had saved his life. Aware that Mark wouldn't remain docile for long, Batman hustled Robin and the captive Roland off the island as quickly as possible. When they returned, Blockbuster was long gone. He had walked into the sea (1965's DETECTIVE COMICS # 345, by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella).

The Blockbuster returned early in 1966, now in the thrall of the Outsider. Indoctrinated by Roland to hate Batman, Blockbuster seemed unstoppable -- especially after the Outsider's super-science prevented the Dark Knight from placating the beast by appearing as either Bruce Wayne or Roland. The Blockbuster was finally taken down by a punch to the jaw from Batman, his glove hardened by a calcium compound (DETECTIVE # 349).

Mark was left in the care of scientists at the Alfred Foundation until a cosmic phenomenon caused by the Anti-Matter Man caused the behemoth to be transported to the other-dimensional Earth-Two -- trading places with Solomon Grundy, whose hatred of the original Green Lantern rivaled that of the Blockbuster's loathing of Batman. In the end, Hal Jordan used his power ring to bring the two monsters together. They virtually knocked the hate out of one another, embracing as Grundy declared, "Us be friends!" to Blockbuster's gutteral "Gyaaa! GYAAAA!" (JLA # 46-47).

In the year that followed, Mark made remarkable progress at the Wayne Foundation, slowly reacquiring his speech patterns and possessing a degree of independence with an on-site job as a handyman and a modest salary. His hatred for Batman still existed, though, and a series of events set him off on another rampage in June of 1967 (BATMAN # 194; Fox's last BB story). The Dark Knight seemed to break Mark's Bat-fixation for good when he convinced Blockbuster that he was secretly Solomon Grundy!

"Batman good! Batman friend! ... Mask no fool me. Me know Batman has face of Solomn Grundy."

Blockbuster's association with villains from the 1940s would continue to plague him in years to come. 1976 found him under the control of Queen Clea (JLA # 135). Late in 1977, the Wizard abducted the Blockbuster from the Wayne Foundation facility to serve in his war against the Justice Society. Thanks to chemicals introduced into his system by the Floronic Man, Mark's manic hatred of Batman surged back to life (SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS # 12-16; JLA # 166-168).

The Wayne Foundation turned Mark over to S.T.A.R. Labs, who had developed a promising radiation therapy that would "cure him ... or kill him". The latter seemed to be the case but the announcement of Mark Desmond's death proved premature (BATMAN # 308). On Christmas Eve in 1978, he returned to the streets of Gotham, discovering a young woman who'd overdosed on sleeping pills. With his painful "death" at S.T.A.R. still fresh in his mind, Blockbuster was unwilling to take the woman to a hospital and, because his speech had been negated by the treatments, he couldn't explain to Batman that she needed help. In the end, Mark saved her life but he disappeared beneath the waves of the Gotham River in the process (BATMAN # 309).

Mark crawled out of the water in Bleak Rock, a rural coal-mining community in West Virginia. The mute young man was welcomed into the home of Willie Macon, finally gaining a bit of peace and acceptance with his adoptive family. A chance news report led Batman to Bleak Rock in 1980 but, after working alongside the behemoth to free miners from a cave-in, the Dark Knight concluded that "the Blockbuster is dead. He died in a dark mine shaft ... and when he reached the light, he was reborn" (DETECTIVE # 498-499).

Months later, while playing with one of the Macon children's computer games, Mark became one of several victims to fall under the spell of General Electric, leading to a brief clash between him and Wonder Woman (WW # 294). During the chaos of the Great Crisis, the teen titan was among those transported to the Monitor's satellite (CRISIS # 5) and, despite a brief clash with Hawkman (# 9), participated in a heroic mission on the planet Oa (# 10).

The promise of a cure pulled Mark from his safe haven with the Macon family to join the government's covert Suicide Squad in a mission to defeat the Apokolips-spawned Brimstone. Tragically, the Blockbuster would not live to regret his decision. The flaming giant plucked him from the Earth, crushed him in his fist and dropped his charred corpse to the ground (1986's LEGENDS # 3).

The story might have ended there ... but Roland Desmond was still around. In the wake of 1989's detonation of the Dominator's gene-bomb in Earth's atmosphere, Roland was wracked with seizures and rushed from prison to a hospital. Steroid treatments reacted with his genetically altered cell structure to enable him to become a hulking creature like his brother. Unlike, Mark, however, Roland had control of his transformations -- and his mind. The new Blockbuster soon lost his ability to revert to normal but was captured by Batman and Starman before he could do anything about it (STARMAN (first series) # 9-10).

After a stint with an anti-Suicide Squad (1992's SUICIDE SQUAD # 63-66) and a short prison stay (OUTSIDERS (second series) # 9), Roland accepted a deal from the inhuman Neron to gain the intellect that his brother had possessed (1995's UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED # 1, 3). Now a cunning criminal mastermind, Blockbuster tested himself against Impulse (IMPULSE # 8) and then prepared to establish a base of power in Washington, D.C. Opposed by Steel, the city's resident hero, Roland realized "that I would be better served finding another city" (1996's STEEL # 32). The metropolis in question would be a cesspool south of Gotham named Bludhaven (NIGHTWING (second series) # 1 (behind the scenes), 4-5 (voice), 6), home of Mark and Roland's elderly (but devious) mother (mentioned in NIGHTWING # 7 and introduced in # 11).

Blockbuster quickly built a criminal empire in his new home, staying behind the scenes even as Gotham emigre Nightwing moved to town. Roland and Nightwing finally met face-to-face (1997's NIGHTWING # 7-8), igniting a war that continues even now (# 11, 13-15, 21, 27, 29 (behind the scenes), 30, 32-34, 36, 39, 41-46; NIGHTWING 1/2). On another front, Blockbuster launched a hunt for the computer crimefighter known as Oracle (1997's BIRDS OF PREY: BATGIRL # 1). Oracle, who'd been keeping tabs on Roland ever since his demonic makeover (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: PATTERNS OF FEAR # 1), responded by bankrolling her own operations with funds electronically stolen from his own cache (BIRDS OF PREY # 3, 6).

Along the way, Blockbuster has also had run-ins with Young Justice (YJ # 8) and Encantadora (SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPER-VILLAINS 80-PAGE GIANT # 1).

Roland's recurring chest pains (NW # 32) eventually led doctors to conclude that he had a terminal heart condition and required a transplant (NW # 34). The discovery of a sentient ape named Grimm from Africa's Gorilla City seemed to be the miracle that Blockbuster was hoping for (1999's BATMAN ANNUAL # 23). Grimm proved incompatible with Roland (NW # 39) but Blockbuster made a deal with the evil ape to arrange a guide to Gorilla City in the hope of finding a match (# 43).

His first priority, however, is completing the hunt for Oracle (NW # 45-46; BOP # 18-21).

The first two Blockbuster stories were reprinted in BATMAN # 261 (and later GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER TOLD) and BATMAN FAMILY # 9 (and later in BATMAN IN THE SIXTIES) while JLA # 46-47 was reprised in a short feature in JLA # 146-147.

posted July 06, 2000 07:36 AM

Just felt like bumping.

Now that I got your attention, do any of you know anything about these forgotten bat-menaces?

- Ruby Raider (I remember her fighting Bats, Plastic Man, and Metamorpho, but they also referred to previous clashes)

- "Brains" Beldon (the father of Titans foe the Disruptor - did he exist before NEW TEEN TITANS #20?)

- The Network (from WORLD'S FINEST)

- The Bouncer

- Silken Spider

Also, can someone give me the brief story of the Electrocutioner(s)?

posted July 07, 2000 06:24 AM

Just a quick note before work.

"Brains" Beldon WAS around prior to NEW TEEN TITANS # 20. He appeared first in DETECTIVE # 301.

Oh, and it's Ruby Ryder (no relation to Jack), not Raider.

I'll be back ...

posted July 09, 2000 11:46 AM

"Brains" Beldon made his mark in Gotham during early 1962 when he and his gang pulled off a twenty million dollar heist, money that was en route to the new Gotham National Bank. The same period had found Batman transformed into a virtual biohazard. Because of a freak accident, the Dark Knight was generating so much heat that he had to operate from a shielded hovercraft. In the course of his pursuit of Beldon and company, Batman was struck by a powerline, whose electrical force restored the hero to normal. The thieves were captured in short order (DETECTIVE # 301).

By 1982, the paroled Beldon had returned to his Long Island mansion. Now aspiring to join the inner circle of the H.I.V.E., Beldon designed a red power-suit capable of disrupting the synapses in the brain of any metahuman opponent, inducing bodily spasms and preventing them from using their powers.

Beldon's son, Michael, wore the Disruptor costume and attacked the Teen Titans at his father's request. Michael craved approval from his father but the old man persisted in demeaning him, constantly referring to him as an idiot. In the end, the Disruptor was defeated when Raven showed him a horrific vision of his probable future and the young man collapsed in tears.

Michael refused to implicate his father and received a ten-year prison sentence. "Brains" dismissed his son as "an embarrassment" and vowed never to speak to him again. Left almost hysterical by his father's rejection (NEW TEEN TITANS (first series) # 20, by Wolfman, Perez and Tanghal), Michael vowed to prove himself by murdering the Titans when he was freed by the Wildebeest in 1988. Instead, he was rendered powerless when Jericho took control of his body and Danny Chase destroyed his exo-suit (NTT (second series) # 41-42).

Years later, Michael recreated the costume and sought revenge on the Teen Titans only to find himself opposed by the New Titans instead. The Disruptor held his own against the super-powered "losers" but was knocked cold by a punch to the jaw from Arsenal (TITANS SECRET FILES # 1).

"Bouncer Threatens Batman!"

"Is Batman Slipping?"

"Great Crime-Fighter Meets His Match!"

The headlines in Gotham during November of 1965 told only part of the story. For days, the city had been terrorized by a thief clad head to toe in a brown rubber suit. Wrapping himself into a ball, the aptly-named Bouncer seemed almost untouchable, ricocheting from every punch that Batman and Robin placed on him.

The villain had been a metallurgist who had discovered "an alloy of rubber, steel and chrome as the result of five years of long study". Molding the substance into a body armor, the Bouncer noted that "Elastalloy has the added property of protecting me from shock -- so that I can bounce tremendous distances or from great heights -- yet not be harmed at all!"

Batman concluded that the only way to defeat the Bouncer was to strain his costume to its "elastic limit", the point at which "an object is no longer able to regain its original shape and size". Equipping himself and Robin with electrodes, Batman and his partner circled the villain, allowing a cold beam to pass between them and quickfreeze the Bouncer's outfit. The collapse of the elastalloy came none too soon, with the Dark Knight narrowly escaping death from the villain's specially treated gun (DETECTIVE COMICS # 347, by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella).

The Bouncer returned in 1981, one of several villains who terrorized Gotham during a prolonged absence by the city's resident hero. Now wearing red, the Bouncer made another strike at Batman, intending to smash him at high velocity. Instead, a couple of kicks from the Dark Knight sent him ricocheting uncontrollably in the confined space until he was unconscious (BATMAN # 336, by Bob Rozakis, Roy Thomas, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, and Dick Giordano).

October 1980 saw a string of killings in Gotham City with a clear pattern. Each victim had been a felon who was released on a technicality. Batman's investigation turned up an electricity-wielding vigilante in an insulated black body suit (with lighting bolts on his forehead and chest). Like the Black Spider before him, the Electrocutioner had imagined himself augmenting Batman's own activities and was disappointed when his hero attacked him.

Capable of generating electricity from his hands, the villain had the Dark Knight on the ropes when a kick from Batman knocked him out of a window. Clutching a metal railing, the Electrocutioner sent "the electricity coursing back into (his) own body". A disabled Batman could only watch as his opponent plunged into the jagged waves below (BATMAN # 331, by Marv Wolfman, Michael Fleisher, Irv Novick, and Frank McLaughlin).

The Electrocutioner had survived, of course, returning to his old habits in New York City in 1984. Now wearing a modified costume that exposed his chin, ears and neck and had red highlights, the madman found himself opposed by Adrian Chase, the Vigilante, who had first operated with much the same motivation as the high-voltage criminal. After saving the Vigilante's life from Cannon and Saber (behind the scenes in VIGILANTE # 5), the Electrocutioner faced the man he'd hoped would be his partner. The conclusion of their first succession of battles was inconclusive (VIG # 8-9, by Wolfman & Ross Andru) and the villain escaped during a second round after a humilating encounter with several circus clowns (# 15).

Still perceiving himself as a hero, the Electrocutioner relished the acceptance he received the Great Crisis, when he joined other lightning-based heroes in fighting the threat of the Anti-Monitor and his Shadow-Demons (1985's CRISIS # 10, 12).

Meanwhile, Adrian Chase had abandoned his Vigilante persona only to have it usurped by an unknown party. When a new series of electrocutions began in New York, the paths of the three men began to converge. Outside of a gang stronghold in the Catskill Mountains, Chase, the new Vigilante and the Electrocutioner came face to face (1985's VIG # 24-26, by Paul Kupperberg & Tod Smith).

The Electrocutioner was gravely wounded by mob gunmen but it was Chase who fired the killing shot. Unmasking his adversary brought no closure. "He was nobody. Another face in the crowd." The Vigilante, also slain by Chase, was another story. He proved to be Adrian's friend, Alan Welles, who'd seen him abandon his costume weeks earlier. Adrian Chase left the area in shock, unaware that the entire turn of events had been witnessed by a bailiff named Dave Winston, soon to take the Vigilante identity for himself. (VIG # 27, by Kupperberg and Denys Cowan).

Unrepentant even in death, the Electrocutioner later joined other late villains in opposing Titans West in a hellish limbo (1990's HAWK & DOVE ANNUAL, by Barbara & Karl Kesel, Dave Hoover & Tom Artis, and Will Blyberg & Bill Wray).

A second Electrocutioner surfaced in early 1991, wearing a red, partially armored outfit. An artificial skeletal chin was exposed beneath his helmet and visor. The entire body of the high voltage assassin glowed with electricity and he cracked a lethal electric whip. Once again, the target was mobsters but the new villain emphasized that "I am NOT my predecessor. Neither in my purpose nor my powers. He was on YOUR side, Batman. I definitely am NOT!"

Detecting a pattern in the marauder's victims, the Dark Knight deduced that that the Electrocutioner was hired by the major Gotham gangs to keep the lower tiers in line "by clearly demonstrating what happens to those who go against each other". Wearing an insulated uniform, Batman had a final confrontation with the Electrocutioner at Gotham Hospital, overloading his circuitry with the blow of a metal bar to the chest (DETECTIVE # 626, by Wolfman, Jim Aparo, and Mike Decarlo).

A year later, a third Electrocutioner succeeded where his predecessors had failed, and actually killed The Batman while the Dark Knight and Robin were in pursuit of another electrified fugitive, "Buzz" Galvan (DETECTIVE # 644, by Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle, and Scott Hanna). The latest Electrocutioner was a vigilante in the mold (and costume) of the original and was trailing Galvan himself. Robin held his own against the rogue, forcing him to use his power to restart Batman's heart (# 645). In the end, while Galvan was subdued by Batman, it was the Boy Wonder who brought the Electrocutioner to justice (# 646).

Unmasked as Lester Buchinsky, the Electrocutioner was sentenced to Blackgate, where he soon formed an alliance with the Cluemaster and Czonk (1993's ROBIN (second series) # 1, by Dixon, Tom Grummett, and Scott Hanna). The trio escaped (# 2) and holed up in an apartment, where the Electrocutioner blasted the manager when he came to their room.

"What a CHUMP I was was working the other side of the street all these years! Who was I protecting? Annoying little maggots like HIM? And did I get ANY thanks? NO WAY! So now," he said firing a volley of bolts, "I just wanna be BAD!" (# 3)

The group's armored car heist drew the attention of Robin (# 4) and, for the second time in his career, the Electrocutioner was clobbered by a teenager -- this time, the Spoiler (# 5). When last seen, the electrified man was working for the Blockbuster in Bludhaven (1999's NIGHTWING # 33-34, by Dixon, Scott McDaniel, and Karl Story).

More to come.

By the way, if you haven't already seen it, be sure to check out my Batgirl Timeline on the BIRDS OF PREY board.

posted July 09, 2000 09:25 PM

In 1966, an anonymous pop artist catapulted three third-rate villainesses (with first-rate measurements) to stardom. The trio of minor costumed criminals were Dragon Fly (a brunette with artificial antennae, a purple cape, gloves & boots, and an exposed navel), Silken Spider (another brunette in a one-piece black bathing suit, fishnet stockings, and a spider web sheath over her shoulders and arms) and Tiger Moth (a blond with an orange and black top & artificial wings, a black mask, and bare legs). The artist dubbed them World Public Enemy No. 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

The display of the paintings at the Gotham City Museum attracted a parade of men, including Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. The duo was present when Poison Ivy crashed the scene, protesting that SHE was public enemy #1, her long career as a criminal overlooked because her crimes were TOO perfect.

Eventually, Ivy sent letters to the alleged world public enemies along with a plethora of other felons from the "Most Wanted" list, each message suggesting that their rivals were the superior criminal. The note invited them to a neutral site in the country to hash things out. The F.B.I. is still trying to figure out how Ivy got their addresses.

Incensed, Dragon Fly, Silken Spider, and Tiger Moth each vowed to arrive at the rendevous early and kill their rivals. Parachuting into a crowd of dozens of feuding criminals, Batman and Robin began a massive mop-up operation. Taking flight, Dragon Fly and company stopped long enough to fight over a gold crown that Ivy claimed she would present to "the REAL no. 1 wanted woman criminal of the world".

"How thoughtless of me not to mention that I used shock-proof gloves to hold the crown," Poison Ivy belatedly added. "It's electrified just enough to keep you dancing a sizzling frug until the police get here." Disgraced, Dragon Fly, Silken Spider, and Tiger Moth never showed their faces again (BATMAN # 181, by Bob Kanigher, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella).

In 1995, a flashback to Ivy's first appearance in Gotham revealed that Silken Spider and her cohorts hadn't started out as criminals. In the early days, they were a rock band called (yep!) World Public Enemy (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT ANNUAL # 3, by Alan Grant, Brian Apthorp, and Stan Woch). There's no word on how they became a band on the run.

She painted up her lips and rolled and curled her tinted hair ...

Oh, wait, that's another story.

Any history of Ruby Ryder first requires a mention of Copper Calhoun. The so-called "she-wolf of the stock market" was a red-haired millionaire and the first villainess to be introduced in Milton Caniff's ground-breaking STEVE CANYON comic strip in 1947. Over succeeding decades, she would return again and again, engaging in shady deals abroad, tormenting Steve and his friends and -- always -- staying one step ahead of the law.

The flame-tressed Ruby Ryder was, if anything, even more ruthless than Copper Calhoun, as Bob Haney and Nick Cardy's BRAVE & BOLD # 95 (1971) made clear. "The world's richest woman and top female tycoon" was an international businesswoman whose arrogance was reflected in the fact that her skyscraper complex was the tallest structure in Gotham, topped with a giant red pair of "R"s. Her chief confidant seemed to be her lawyer, Hinton, who was secretly carrying a torch for his boss.

Summoning Batman to her office, Ruby offered five million to charity if the Dark Knight agreed to locate her missing fiance Kyle Morgan. Regarding the money, she noted that could recoup it "in a weekend -- on any halfway decent deal". Batman agreed to the deal, found Morgan easily and handed him over to Ruby -- who, at point blank range, shot him four times in the chest!

With Batman briefly implicated in the slaying, Ruby had time to flee the country. After a round-the-world chase, Batman found her in the Moroccan Desert. When she pulled a gun on him, the Dark Knight gave her a solid punch to the jaw, observing that "I never hit females, but with YOU, I'll make a happy EXCEPTION!"

Ryder was tried, convicted, and sentenced to die in the electric chair before a series of strange events finally fell into place for Batman. Moments before a pleading Ruby was to die, the Dark Knight rushed in to expose the executioner as Kyle Morgan himself -- alias Plastic Man!

Weary of his cartoonish image, Plas had taken the guise of the handsome Morgan to "know a woman's love" and fell in love with Ruby. Once he'd experienced his lover's true nature, "Kyle" vanished and Ruby vowed to have revenge on the man who spurned her. The bullets had no effect on Plas' unique body but he remained in seclusion until Ruby was "humbled for once ... begging for mercy. But I'd NEVER have pulled the switch."

Ruby's dark side quickly reasserted itself when she sniffed that she was relieved she hadn't married a "freak". She stormed out of the chamber with Hinton as the D.A. called "Miss Ryder! You may face charges for ATTEMPTED murder."

"See my lawyers -- I'll be too busy!"

In 1975, Ruby and Hinton drew Plas into their web again, this time while the Pliable Policeman was impersonating an out-of-the-country Batman. Brainwashed into believing he WAS Batman, Plas went overseas to arrest Bruce Wayne on a trumped up charge -- leaving the field open for Ruby to buy an African totem that Wayne had been bidding on.

Alongside Metamorpho, Batman exposed the scheme and freed Plas from his trance moments before Hinton was to administer a lethal poison to their dupe. Charged with "conspiracy and attempted murder", Ruby and her lawyer were hauled away (BRAVE & BOLD # 123, by Haney and Aparo).

Leaving Hinton to take the rap, Ruby embarked on another scheme in 1977. The Metal Men's excavation of a time capsule between the Ryder and Wayne skyscrapers revealed a legal document that gave all Wayne property rights to the heir of 19th Century genius Thaddeus Morgan. Ruby had secretly dug up the capsule earlier and, learning of the will, manufactured a robotic heir and reburied him.

To her astonishment, the robot was quickly torn apart by Morgan's REAL heir, Jason, a synthetic man who'd been in suspended animation beneath the capsule. Ruby moved quickly to win Jason's affections and have the android declared a human being. With that accomplished, she and her new beau moved into the Wayne Foundation Building and evicted the current residents (BRAVE & BOLD # 135, by Haney & Aparo).

While Batman made futile attempts to infiltrate his own home, fighting off security such as pythons and the hulking Jason himself, his JLA pal Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen put the moves on Ruby. Claiming to be an excavator named J. Jacob Archer, GA suggested that Ruby might find further treasures if they continued to dig at the site of the time capsule.

To Ollie's astonishment, the excavation turned up a hidden laboratory of Morgan's. As Ruby embraced "Archer", Jason smoldered. He decided to wreck the lab with one of Thaddeus' ancient war machines but the device began to run amok. The collective forces of GA, Batman, and the Metal Men stopped the rampage but not before one of the R's atop Ruby's building toppled and began plunging towards her.

Jason shoved her out of the way only to crushed himself. "Ruby ..." he gasped, "I ... loved you ..."

As the case was wrapped up, GA revealed that they'd turned up more papers that "proved that old Morgan was certified insane -- so his will is invalid". Meanwhile, Doc Magnus had discovered technological secrets in the lab that would enable him to improve on his Metal Men.

"That witch Ruby's incredible scheme backfired on her," concluded the Dark Knight. "Well, she's too tough to shed any tears over it." A glimpse of Ruby, looking down from her fractured skyscraper, suggested otherwise (B&B # 136).

In the months leading up the Great Crisis, the Monitor had been using Earth as a testing ground for metahumans, often serving as a powerbroker for villains. He had little success finding a "sponsor" for a team of unproven criminals known as the Network and finally suggested they test themselves in Gotham City (WORLD'S FINEST # 311).

The sextet included:

Blue Matt, capable of turning invisible and generating invisible force barriers.

Cathode, "a living conductor of electricity. Anything I touch ... becomes a live wire."

Erase: "I'll force you to dissolve ... oh, so slowly."

Fast Forward: "I'll increase your speed ... since I can boost the kinetic energy of any moving body."

UHF: "I can take any sound and raise its frequency to wall-shattering proportions."

Volume: "I can increase 'most anyone's weight."

Collectively, the Network attacked a Gotham nightspot known as the Rockslide and initially managed to hold Superman and Batman at bay. When the Man of Steel seemed to have the upper hand, the villains joined hands to generate "the white noise", an effect than enabled them to escape through a space warp ... and take "the whole club with them".

Batman eventually learned that the members of the Network had been music technicians who used their metahuman abilities in their careers. "Too bad the record companies decided not to pay us ... forcing us to take ... what we helped their bands earn."

As they prepared to permanently exile Batman in the white noise dimension, Superman deduced that they were pulling their power from a satellite owned by "RTV, the rock video channel". A minor alteration of its frequency fouled the Network's joint power supply and the World's Finest team made quick work of the individual members (1984's WORLD'S FINEST # 312-313, by Joey Cavalieri, Stan Woch, and Alfredo Alcala).

posted July 10, 2000 11:02 AM

Wow. Thanks.

Don't you ever tire, Mikishawm? I'm afraid I'll exhaust you someday.

posted July 10, 2000 07:04 PM

You're welcome, as always!

Normally, I don't have the time to write as much as I did this weekend (both these bios and the Batgirl-Oracle timeline) but there were a LOT of personal problems taking place with friends and family this past weekend. There wasn't anything I could do about any of them so I welcomed the distraction presented here. (And, thankfully, most of the situations have been resolved today.)

The kind words from all of you mean a lot. These boards are as much a haven to me as LoC says my posts are to him.

Scott Thiel
posted July 11, 2000 03:40 AM

Correct me if I am wrong: didn't Batman fight villians called Mr. Baffles and Ali Babbles?

Thanks Mikishawm.

Hey, whatever happen to John Moores?

posted July 11, 2000 07:54 AM

Originally posted by Mikishawm:

These boards are as much a haven to me as LoC says my posts are to him.

Well, in THAT case,
how about:
Elemental Man
Colonel Sulphur
The Dagger?

posted July 11, 2000 08:50 PM

I've been wondering what happened to John Moores, too.

And, yep, Batman fought Michael Baffle in DETECTIVE # 63. Ally Babble wasn't actually a villain but he WAS a pest (BATMAN # 30 & 34). If someone else doesn't get to them first, I'll write up bios this weekend. In the meantime ...

Few things struck a cord with Batman like a good man pushed to the dark side by a disfiguring accident. Since the day "Boss" Moroni splashed acid on Harvey Dent's face, the Dark Knight had fought more tragic figures than he liked to think about. In 1961, the name of John Dolan was added to that list.

Dolan had been an assistant to the Gotham-based Professor Higgins, a long-time friend of Batman and Robin and, most likely, a behind the scenes contributor to their own hi-tech equipment. Higgins had been working on a device that would "alter the molecular structures of elements". Unknown to the scientist, the machine had been leaking radiation for weeks -- directly into the body of the unit's operator, John Dolan.

As a horrified Higgins watched, Dolan involuntarily changed to an aluminum man -- and then a being of gold. Using other components of the element machine, Higgins cobbled together a control belt, stablizing the young man's condition. The progressive effects of the radiation had taken their toll though, and, mad with power, John Dolan fled into the night, vowing to become the "king of the underworld".

Wearing a skintight red outfit (with white tights and boots), Dolan dubbed himself the Elemental Man and the so-called monarch initiated a reign of terror. Unable to trade punches with someone who could become a literal iron man, Batman returned to the lab where the tragedy had begun. Professor Higgins believed he could drain the Elemental Man's power back into his machine but, when Dolan was lured within range, he only laughed. "My power is TOO STRONG for your machine!" Changing to a diamond man, Dolan escaped once more.

If anything, the plan had made things worse. The over-heated device exploded, transforming Batman into a second elemental. Fearing that Batman would be corrupted by the change as Dolan was, Commissioner Gordon reluctantly imprisoned his friend in a jail cell. To a man who could change to liquid mercury, the prison offered no restraint. Soon, Batman was competing with the Elemental Man for the title of Gotham's most wanted thief.

Skeptical of Batman's offer of an alliance, Dolan finally agreed to join forces when he watched the former hero knock Robin to his knees. Grasping the Elemental Man's hand, Batman pulled his new partner onto the rooftop site of their next robbery ... and straight into a trap.

Jolted by a burst of energy, John Dolan shook off its effects and realized he'd lost both his powers and his inclination towards evil. Batman had faked his dementia and worked with Higgins on a second attempt at purging the energy from the Elemental Man's body. "Batman later realized that if he could draw off some of [Dolan's] power, then the machine would be stronger than [him]." By using his iron arm as a conduit, the Dark Knight explained that "your power flowed through ME -- and from me into the machine -- so that soon the machine drained us BOTH of power" (DETECTIVE # 294, by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff).

More than a quarter century later, the legacy of the Elemental Man was revisited when international terrorist Kobra began to study the significant number of strange transformations that had taken place in Gotham over the years. Many of the accidents, he discovered, could be replicated. He set about doing just that, creating a Strikeforce Kobra that menaced the Outsiders in 1987 (OUTSIDERS # 21-22, by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo).

Among their number was a blonde with a name, power belt, and costume similar to that of John Dolan (though HIS legs were bare). The Elemental Woman seemed a natural opponent for Metamorpho the Element Man but the limitations of her power doomed the villainess. Unlike the malleable Metamorpho, the Elemental Woman could only change shape as mercury -- and the Element Man swiftly demonstrated that "it'll freeze ... if it's exposed to super-cold liquid oxygen".

Interestingly, Professor Higgins' experiment was replicated in 1965 by a scientist named John Dubrovny. Like Dolan, Dubrovny went mad and embarked on a rampage as Mister 103 (later 104) in DOOM PATROL # 98 (by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani). Presumed dead on more than one occasion, Mister 104 continues to resurface. Divorced from his wife after his descent into evil, Dubrovny might want to consider asking the Elemental Woman out on a date one of these days.

John Moores
posted July 12, 2000 02:30 PM

Nice to be missed!

I've more or less stopped posting on the DC boards - for many reasons: time constraints (moving house, wedding plans, brand new kittens, music, etc. etc.), the repetitive nature of some of the boards - not this one! I just called in here by chance to see how this thread is doing.

Mikishawm does this thing much better than I ever could, so I'm even gonna leave Ally Babble (and the Fourteen peeves) and "Charles Courtly" a.k.a. the dashing Mister Michael Baffle to him...

I'll be hanging around now and again, though!

See you later! (Pretty soon, I guess)

Lord of Chaos
posted July 12, 2000 10:33 PM

Hey, John! Nice to see you're still around.

Thanks again, Mikishawm. You keep writing 'em, I'll keep reading 'em ...

Ally Babble. Man, talk about obscure. He's up there with Inspector McGonagle (sp?)

posted July 13, 2000 08:26 PM

The condemned man refused his complimentary blindfold, preferring to watch the sunrise one last time. Collapsing before the Nazi firing squad, the man whose jewel thefts had enraged Europe was left to rot as the gunmen marched away. At their outpost, the men coveted the jewels that their victim had given them to fire blanks -- while their commander inspected the treasures that he'd received for letting the rifles go uninspected. And the gentleman burglar in question? He rose from the frosty soil, muttering about his dirty clothes. "Oh, well ... must take the good with the bad. That's life, I guess!"

With Europe in the grip of a World War, Michael Baffle set sail for a more peaceful -- not to mention profitable -- environment. When he saw the gleaming spires of Gotham City in early 1942, he knew he'd made the right decision. On his first evening in the metropolis, Baffle was accosted by muggers. Still penniless, Michael offered his new acquaintances a partnership. "I'll figure out plans, case jobs. I'm rather talented that way, y'know!"

As a means of demonstration, the ace safecracker made his first outing the following evening, unwittingly choosing Wayne Manor as his target. Arriving home, Batman and Robin surprised their houseguest. Momentarily surprised, Mister Baffle quickly regained his composure, declaring "I know you. You're the clever Batman! And clever you must be ... for I don't know how you possibly guessed I would be robbing this home. But, be that as it may ... I must go now! ... It isn't good manners to overstay one's visit. Society frowns upon it, y'know!"

Baffle managed to evade the Dark Knight, but recognized that a change of plans was in order. Shaving his beard so that Batman wouldn't recognize him, Michael smooth-talked his way into a job as society writer Charles Courtly at Gotham's newspaper. Courtly's genteel persona quickly endeared him to the cream of Gotham, none of whom connected the subsequent robberies at their homes to the gentleman's earlier interviews.

Inevitably, Mister Baffle pushed his luck a bit too far at a society party, something he should have sensed early on when he was rattled by a joking Bruce Wayne's comment that "you've been to everyone's house but mine". With the guests occupied with a photo shoot, Courtly applied a fake beard and domino mask and Mister Baffle went to work. Batman seemed to have the jump on his nemesis this time but the untimely appearance of Bruce's girl friend, Linda Page, provided the villain and his thugs with a convenient hostage.

Baffle kissed Linda's hand as the young woman noticed his raw fingertips, subjected to sandpaper to improve his sensitivity in cracking safes. "Adieu, Batman!" he called. "By the way, I wouldn't have really let my man hurt that girl. I'm too much a gentleman to permit that."

The second clash with Batman was too close for comfort and Baffle decided that his tour of Gotham had run its course. "I respect him! He has an uncanny knack for putting people in jail -- and I detest jails! My last big coup tonight -- and then -- fresh fields of crime down South America way!"

Meanwhile, Dick Grayson had been doodling in the evening paper, scribbling beards and mustaches on unsuspecting photographs -- including Charles Courtly's. Recognizing the man who'd struck at their own mansion, Batman and Robin dug into their archives and finally found a match in their European files with a dossier on Michael Baffle. The Dynamic Duo took off immediately for the affair that Courtly was attending.

They arrived just as Courtly was assuring the ladies in attendance that he'd protect their jewelry -- because HE was Batman. Only Linda Page expressed any skepticism, asking about his mustache ("Oh ... er, a necessary disguise, beautiful lady!") and gasping when she recognized his raw fingertips.

"I'm afraid," Baffle said, "I'll have to gag that beautiful mouth of yours." Even as a captive, Linda managed to leave a trail of pearls from her broken necklace and the Dark Knight swiftly caught up with them. Challenged to a sword duel by his foe, "Batman slips ... on the very beads that served in his favor before!"

Instead of skewering his adversary, Baffle returned the sword to his hand. "Must give a fellow a sporting chance for his life, y'know!" Batman knocked the sword from Mister Baffle, declaring them even. "Now we can settle this with fists."

Distracted for a moment by the onrushing party guests, Batman took a kick to the jaw and watched as Baffle leaped from a window into the water below. "So long, fella! I would have wanted you for my friend ... but we're on opposite sides, so next time we meet, you've got a fight on your hands, Mr. Baffle!"

"Goodbye for now ... see you again some time, Batman!"

Mister Baffles was based on the fictional turn-of-the-century "gentleman burglar" known as Raffles, the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brother-in-law, E.W. Hornug. It seems apparent that Bill Finger's story in DETECTIVE # 63 was intended to be the start of a long-running battle of wits. The cover touted his debut, the splash page copy declared that "a new evil star rises in the night-sky of crime" and the inconclusive wrap-up seemed to assure a sequel. The recurring villains who were catching on, though, from the Joker to the Penguin to the Catwoman, all had bright costumes and gimmicks. And in the end, y'know, despite his domino mask, Mister Baffle was basically just a civilian clad crook. He never appeared again.

Scott Thiel
posted July 14, 2000 03:02 AM

Congratulations, John.

Here is a time consuming one.

The Scarecrow.

If you want to leave out his post-crisis history it is alright with me. Or, maybe just list his appearances.

posted July 14, 2000 06:00 AM

Yeah, the Scarecrow is a pretty big undertaking. For now, I'll just offer a list of his appearances which make for a long post in and of themselves.

THE SCARECROW (Jonathan Crane; Earth-Two):
The Brave And The Bold # 197
Detective Comics # 73
World's Finest Comics # 3

Batman # 189, 200, 262, 291-294, 296, 373, 400
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 9
Detective Comics # 389, 486, 503, 526, 540
First Issue Special # 7
The Joker # 8
Justice League Of America # 111, 143, 158
Limited Collectors' Edition # C-39 (text), C-45 (text)
Super Friends # 32
Who's Who '86 # 20

THE SCARECROW (current):
Anima # 2-3
Animal Man # 23
Arkham Asylum
Batman # 415, 455 (behind the scenes), 456-457, 491, 494-496, 523-524, 562, 564
Batman And Superman: World's Finest # 3
Batman Annual # 19
Batman: Arkham Asylum - Tales Of Madness # 1
Batman: Joker's Apprentice # 1 (behind the scenes)
Batman-Judge Dredd: Judgment On Gotham
Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight # 116
Batman: Mitefall
Batman: No Man's Land # 1 (mention)
Batman/Scarecrow 3-D # 1
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat # 1, 3-4, 16-18, 80-82, 84
Batman Villains Secret Files # 1
Captain Atom # 33
Catwoman # 58-60
The Creeper # 7-8
Detective Comics # 571, 661, 664, 0, 731
Detective Comics Annual # 2 (Who's Who)
Guy Gardner: Warrior # 29
Hawkman (third series) # 26
Legends Of The World's Finest # 3
Marvel Versus DC/DC Versus Marvel # 2
Nightwing # 9-11, 35-37
Nightwing Secret Files # 1
Sandman (second series) # 5, 7
Scarecrow (Villains) # 1
Secret Origins # 23
Secret Origins Special # 1 (behind the scenes)
Showcase '94 # 3-4
Underworld Unleashed # 1
Who's Who '90 # 1
Young Heroes In Love # 8

THE SCARECROW (Earth-992):
Adventures In The DC Universe # 1
The Batman Adventures # 4-5, 19
The Batman Adventures Annual # 1
The Batman And Robin Adventures # 5, 13
Batman: Gotham Adventures # 3, 14

Batman: Dark Victory # 1 (behind the scenes), 3, 7
Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight Halloween Special # 1
Batman: The Long Halloween # 8-10

THE SCARECROW (Earth-271):

THE SCARECROW (variants):
Batman Annual # 15, 20
Batman: Mitefall
The Batman Of Arkham # 1
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat # 51
Batman: Shadow Of The Bat Annual # 2
Birds Of Prey: Batgirl # 1
Dark Claw Adventures # 1
JLA 80-Page Giant # 1
JLA: The Nail # 1
JSA: The Liberty File # 2
Robin # 23

posted July 14, 2000 12:59 PM

I wonder how many other characters the literary Raffles has inspired.

For example, on the original run of THE FLINTSTONES tv show, Fred and Barney once battled master thief Baffles Gravel.

I felt this is worth mentioning here as a side note, since Robin the Boy Wonder knows Barney Rubble. Yes, in that SIDEKICKS promo short on CARTOON NETWORK, Robin the Boy Wonder is shown having lunch or coffee with Barney Rubble and some other sidekicks in a booth at a restaurant.

John Moores
posted July 14, 2000 03:24 PM

Hey, Thanks, everybody!

Bet Mikishawm's got Ally Babble all sewed up and is ready to spring on us.... and McGonigle? From BATMAN #3? Too much!

Hey, speaking of obscure characters from Bats' Golden Age, how about those guys from the beautifully drawn Sunday strips by Jack Burnley:

The Gopher
The Sparrow
Crooked Man
and that nefarious actor/criminal, Harvey Apollo, a.k.a. Two-Face!!!

Just teasin' ya......

See you around!

posted July 14, 2000 09:05 PM

And here's a third chorus of "congratulations!"

Yep, a certain chatterbox is the subject for today ...

Strong men quaked in his presence if they didn't run screaming. A shriek of terror echoed through the Gotham streets in mid-1945, the lone man begging his pursuer to relent. "Keep away! I can't stand anymore!"

"But, Joe, I only wanted to tell you what Pete said when Mike saw him and Bill, and how ... etc ... etc ..." The man with the crewcut and flapping jowls wouldn't take no for an answer. In 1945, horror wore a mismatched checked suit, striped pants, spotted tie, and rumpled hat ... and answered to the name of Ally Babble.

The super-hero strip had evolved during World War Two. Humor had become an integral part of most series, a necessary check to the unrelenting gloom of the real world. Batman, for instance, had welcomed a bumbling butler named Alfred into his home in 1943 and the would-be detective became a regular source of humor in the series over the next few years, even receiving a series of his own.

Ally Babble seemed poised to be the next comedic supporting character in the series, making his bow in 1945's BATMAN # 30 (by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang). A virtual chatterbox, Ally was described on the splash page as "that original individual who was vaccinated with a phonograph needle".

The set-up found Ally meeting an invalid millionaire named Jasper Quinch, who was infuriated by the tap dancing of his upstairs neighbor. The tapping turned to thumping before quiting altogether. When Quinch commented on the thumps, Babble explained, "That wasn't his feet! That was his head!"

Impressed, Quinch offered the young man five thousand dollars to provide similar solutions to all the other irritants in his life. Somewhere in a hail of verbiage, the so-called "human walkie-talkie" agreed to the deal and Quinch shoved him away before he went deaf. The story's title? "Ally Babble and the Fourteen Peeves".

Ally went to work on his list right away, giving one rude soul after another a taste of their own medicine. The driver who splashed mud on passersby, for instance, was yanked from his vehicle while at a stoplight and given as good dousing in a puddle.

The loquacious lunatic soon became a priority of Batman and Robin ... and a pair of hoods named Hoiman and Shoiman, who learned of the manhunt while listening to a police band radio and decided to turn the escapades to their advantage. While Ally knocked over the shelves of a man who never returned the books he borrowed, the thugs ransacked the rest of his house. The authorities now theorized that "Ally Babble is no lunatic, but built up this role to confuse and divert police while his confederates rob ..."

Learning of the chaos he'd unwittingly unleashed, Jasper Quinch begged Batman to reign in Ally Babble before any further damage was caused. Meanwhile, Ally had tied up the members of the Practical Jokers Society, preparing to give them each the hot foot, as Hoiman and Shoiman slipped in to loot the place. The Dynamic Duo made quick work of the thieves and returned Ally to Quinch's apartment.

Finally getting a word in when Ally took a breath, Jasper "realized there should have been FIFTEEN peeves!"

"Zatso, Mr. Quinch? Who's number fifteen?"

"YOU! People who talk too much!"

Quinch lunged from his wheelchair, intending to throttle Ally -- only to realize that he'd become so angry that he'd regained the use of his legs! His gratitude only went so far, of course, and when Ally started in again on the subject of psychology, Jasper's now mobile foot joined those of Batman and Robin in kicking his striped posterior out the door.

The gab-meister returned early in 1946, this time featured in "Ally Babble and the Four Tea Leaves" (BATMAN # 33). After a fortune teller assured him that the quartet of leaves in his tea cup would bring him prosperity, romance, a voyage, and the gift of bringing pleasure to others. Placing each leaf in an envelope, Ally turned them loose in the wind and watched where fate took it.

The leaf that promised wealth landed on a trolley where the Dynamic Duo stopped a robbery and declined the reward offered for the recovery of a stolen briefcase. The prize, a mere dollar bill, went to Ally. While pursuing the second leaf, Babble accidently saved a woman from being struck by a car and got a kiss of gratitude in response. Ally interpreted it as the start of a romance. The third leaf landed at a hospital where the garrulous gentleman inhaled pure oxygen and, in a state of dementia, helped Batman and Robin capture some radium thieves.

In the aftermath, Ally found himself unable to speak. A grinning Batman observed that the final prophecy had come to pass. All of Gotham would be happier now that Ally Babble had lost his voice.

Twenty-eight years later, in 1974's BATMAN # 257, the first episode in the short-lived series was reprinted, closing with a question: "Like to see another talky toon with Ally Babble? Write and tell us!!" As near as I can figure, DC is still waiting for a response.

posted July 15, 2000 01:15 PM

Gotham society was shocked in mid-1951 when Bruce Wayne found a new diversion -- boxing! Officially, the so-called Park Avenue Kid was fighting to raise funds for charity but, off the record, Batman was searching for a connection between Gotham gambling racketeer Ned Brann and the Dagger, the latest costumed crook to terrorize Gotham City (DETECTIVE # 174).

According to Michael Fleisher's BATMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA, the villain was "an elusive, knife-throwing criminal, his true identity concealed by a red hood, who commits his crimes aided by a gang of red-hooded henchmen. ... Ultimately, Batman and Robin take Brann into custody and prove that Brann and the Dagger are one and the same man."

Thirty years later, a second Dagger surfaced in Gotham, this one a motorcyclist in a purple costume with daggers strapped to his arms and legs. The outfit was accented by orange gloves and boots, a kerchief concealing his nose and mouth, and a "D" on his chest.

Dagger was running an old-fashioned protection racket and those who didn't pay up got a taste of his blade. Batman discovered him one evening as Dagger thrust his blade into the tire of a moving semi trailer belonging to a trucking company that refused him. The Batmobile fared little better, its engine punctured by another knife that sent the flaming vehicle into the Gotham River.

The dagger in question proved to be a custom tailored knife manufactured by Rennington Steel, a business based north of the city in rural Stokely. Batman arranged a midnight consultation with the firm's owner to look at sales records. David Rennington, a curly-haired, bearded Len Wein lookalike, explained that the operation had fallen on hard times.

"My family CREATED the market for craftsmanship quality blades here in America -- carrying on a tradition that extends back six hundred years. ... NOBODY cares about quality anymore. 'Too expensive,' they say. 'Not enough demand.' I'm glad my father isn't alive to see -- Never mind."

Excusing himself, Rennington returned a few moments later -- as Dagger. Initially, Rennington had the advantage, operating as he was in a plant that he'd known since childhood. Gradually, though, he realized that he'd threatened to doom the family business to scandal by revealing his plan to refinance the company to Batman. Distracted, Dagger failed to see Batman swing up behind him on a giant sword replica hung in the display room. Leaving Rennington for the local authorities, Batman drove into the night (1981's BATMAN # 343, by Gerry Conway, Gene Colan, and Klaus Janson).

Dagger was among dozens of villains freed in a mass jailbreak engineered by Ra's al Ghul in 1986. Accompanied by the Cavalier and another ace marksman, Deadshot, Rennington joined in a rampage through Gotham but never had a chance to confront the man who'd captured him. Ra's' daughter, Talia, took down Dagger with the sharp thrust of the elbow to the back of his neck (BATMAN # 400, by Doug Moench and company).

David Rennington continues to serve out his sentence at Blackgate.

posted July 16, 2000 01:07 AM

In case anyone hasn't seen it and would be interested, here's an interesting site devoted to Raffles (the character, and not raffle contests):

It even has links to other Raffles sites.

posted July 16, 2000 02:44 AM

Dr. Mikishawm line 1
Dr. Mikishawm line 1

Dr. John Moores line 2
Dr. John Moores line 2

"...please report to the 'What do we know about Alfred Penneyworth' topic on the Batman board please..."

posted July 16, 2000 02:25 PM

It was touch and go there for awhile but I believe the patient will make a full recovery. The doctor recommends a day of rest (for himself, natch!) and will be spend the rest of the afternoon chatting with Rex Morgan about how it feels to be drawn by the great Graham Nolan.

For those who absolutely HAVE to reach the doctor today, please leave your name and number at this link:

Doctor Miki, M.D.

See you tomorrow!

Junk Yard Dawg
posted July 16, 2000 04:29 PM

I think the strip looks better than ever (now that it's done by Nolan). Still, I bet he's craving for some action scenes or some vigalantes to draw!

posted July 17, 2000 07:51 PM

I agree! I liked Tony DiPreta's art just fine but Nolan has absolutely knocked my socks off! He's managed to do dramatic layouts in VERY tight quarters and, to top it off, has enhanced the color in the Sunday strip enormously.

Today's villain:

"I have a fetish about sunrise. I believe the rising of the sun brings me luck. Thus, to escape punishment, I commit no acts of violence except during the morning's earliest minutes. During such minutes, I can be quite violent indeed! ... A physician once termed me insane -- correct verdict, I fear!"

Colonel Sulphur was a man who knew the value of psychological terror and he used it to good effect when he abducted Mary MacGuffin in March of 1972 (BATMAN # 241, by Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick, and Dick Giordano). Holding the young woman as a hostage, the villain ordered her husband to steal top-secret documents from the Pentagon, which Sulphur, as "head of a free-lance spy-ring", would then sell to a foreign government to embarrass the United States.

Evidence at the crime scene linked Howard MacGuffin to the theft and Batman tracked him to a Gotham apartment, where he learned of Mary's kidnapping and intercepted a phone call meant for the young diplomat. A voice of unknown nationality expressed his "doubt (that) you're really Howard MacGuffin. Am I privileged to speak with the illustrious Batman? You see ... I gave MacGuffin a password to say -- and you didn't! As a result, I shall be checking out of these unsavory premises shortly -- leaving behind a corpse! It's been a pleasure outwitting you, Batman. Goodbye!"

Horrified, Batman desperately played back the phone conversation in his mind, keying in on the phrase "checking out" and the sound of an elevated train. Aware of Sulphur's penchant for committing murders at dawn, Batman raced the clock to find a hotel adjacent to an "L" track.

Colonel Sulphur was a middle-aged man with thinning black hair and a goatee but his most distinguishing feature was his black-gloved artificial right hand. The replacement appendage had included a little something extra -- a razor-sharp knife that could be ejected in an instant from the middle finger. The blade was an unexpected element in the pre-sunrise encounter between Sulphur and Batman and its thrust into the hero's bicep left the Dark Knight reeling.

Determined to slay SOMEONE at dawn, the Colonel raised his hand to deliver the killing blow -- only to be momentarily blinded by the reflection of the rising sun off of his knife. Seizing the opportunity, Batman decked the villain and rose to his feet as Commissioner Gordon arrived with another piece of news.

The so-called classified documents were going to be released to press. "By noon, the news media will carry the full text of them. Some bigwig decided they weren't so 'dangerous' after all. Any comment?"

"Nothing printable, Commissioner."

O'Neil later described Sulphur as "a ruthless opportunist, willing to sell anything -- or anyone -- if his price is met" (BATMAN # 248) and called him "one of those characters ... that you just make up to serve the needs of your plot and decide he's worth using again" (AMAZING HEROES # 50). For Sulphur's second outing, one year after his first, he was clearly secondary to the central story of a man still haunted by his act of treason during the second World War. The Colonel had intercepted the traitor upon his release from prison and demanded the location of a diamond the Naval officer had hidden aboard an aircraft carrier in 1943.

Sulphur managed one brief scuffle with the Dark Knight, observing that "at our last meeting, I underestimated you. I was ignorant of your prowess. This mistake I shall not make a second time. You remember my bladed finger -- I have been practicing with it!"

Batman's response? "I've practiced, too ... every single day since I was twelve!"

"To be really good, you should study ... where the nerve centers are located, for instance," he said with a pinch to Sulphur's shoulder. "You've got to be prepared to improvise when your weapon fails. There are a thousand ways to disable a man ... you've got to learn them all!" Tossing his overpowered foe against the wall, Batman declared, "Lesson's finished, Colonel Sulphur -- as are you!" (1973's BATMAN # 248, by O'Neil, Bob Brown, and Giordano)

Upon Denny's departure for Marvel in 1980, his assignments on DETECTIVE COMICS and WORLD'S FINEST went to Cary Burkett, who felt that Colonel Sulphur still had some life in him. Burkett first used the villain in late 1979's BRAVE & BOLD # 160, crisply illustrated by Jim Aparo. The Colonel was in pursuit of the formula for an experimental rocket fuel that S.T.A.R. Labs was developing and, to that end, he'd abducted a scientist working on the project -- Fred Danvers.

Danvers' adoptive daughter, however, was secretly Supergirl, who immediately sought out the World's Greatest Detective when her dad disappeared. With the Girl of Steel decoyed, Sulphur imprisoned Batman in the inevitable deathtrap alongside Danvers, an explosive device scheduled to detonate at sunrise. Stripped of his utility belt, the Dark Knight made the most of the materials at hand to escape and directed Supergirl towards the villain's submarine escape craft. Sulphur's artificial hand was no match for a Kryptonian and his blade snapped like a twig against her skin.

Burkett revived the Colonel once more in a trilogy in 1982's WORLD'S FINEST # 279-281, this time using him as part of a quartet of villains intent on establishing a citadel of crime in Gotham. Leading the operation was recent Batman villain General Scarr, who had recruited Sulphur and costumed baddies Captain Cutlass and Major Disaster to act as his lieutenants. Sulphur's mission was the procurement of super-weapons at an underworld auction in Metropolis, but the event was raided by a certain Man of Steel. Thinking fast, Sulphur threw the first weapon he could lay his hands on at Superman and managed to teleport him into an other-dimensional limbo with a Duranian Time-Bomb. The Man of Steel escaped the trap and joined Batman in turning back the invasion. Sulphur proved easily beaten by the Dark Knight.

Despite a long absence, Colonel Sulphur is most likely still out there, brokering deals in picturesque countries like Transbelvia and Koroscova. And, certainly, he must think often of sinking his blade into the Dark Knight's heart some bright morning.

"Consider this a vow -- and be aware that Colonel Sulphur is famous for keeping vows."

posted July 18, 2000 05:54 PM

Someone requested info on this character at the Dixonverse board and I thought you might appreciate it too:

"His head was rather small at the top and wide at the jaw. The rest of him was elephantine, particularly his hands, which were as large as Sunday hams." -- Dennis O'Neil, KNIGHTFALL novelization (1994).

"Helzinger, Aaron a.k.a. Amygdala. The amygdala's an almond-shaped mass of nerves in the brain that controls feelings of rage. Usually, when it's surgically removed, the patient becomes exceptionally calm and placid. In Helzinger's case, something went badly wrong." -- Jeremiah Arkham (via Alan Grant), SHADOW OF THE BAT # 3 (1992).

With the passing of Batman's Hulk-surrogate, the original Blockbuster, Amygdala seemed a tailor-made successor, over-muscled and full of rage. The Dark Knight first fought Helzinger in Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle's SHADOW OF THE BAT # 3, where Arkham administrator Jeremiah Arkham decided that new inmate Batman needed to "be taught a lesson". Responding to hoots from other inmates, Arkham insisted that "this is a scientific demonstration, NOT a public spectacle". Reluctant to fight someone who was truly mentally ill, Batman fought for his life nonetheless and put down his attacker as painlessly as possible.

Amygdala clashed with Batman again in 1993, when Bane and his associates unleashed the asylum's inmates into the Gotham streets. Aaron found himself paired with the Ventriloquist, who found that his looming shadow gave him instant credibility: ("You're laughing at my little friend? NOBODY laughs at my LITTLE FRIEND!") Once again, Batman was forced to subdue the giant with a blow to the base of the skull (DETECTIVE # 659, by Dixon and Breyfogle).

Imprisoned temporarily at Blackgate Prison (SHOWCASE '94 # 3, by Grant and Tim Sale), Amygdala was included in a baseball game between the Arkham inmates and the other Blackgate prisoners.

"Amygdala," team captain Doc Faustus said, "your sense of direction stinks -- "


"But your STRENGTH is UNMATCHED! You will be our star hitter!"

"Yeah! A star!"

It all came down to this: "The bases are loaded -- and it's Amygdala at the bat." Taunted by the other team, Aaron took off after them -- bat in hand. In the wake of the ensuing riot, all the inmates were confined to their cells (SHOWCASE '94 # 4).

Amygdala had a cameo in 1995's GUY GARDNER: WARRIOR # 29 prior to being engaged in another riot at Arkham during the Neron-induced madness (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: BATMAN - DEVIL"S ASYLUM # 1, by Grant, Brian Stelfreeze, and Rick Burchett). He came narrowly close to killing Jeremiah Arkham in the melee before guards overpowered him with tazers.

Aaron's violent outbursts continued for a time (as seen in flashback in 1998's BATMAN VILLAINS SECRET FILES # 1, by Grant and Frank Teran) but the appearance of the New God known as Highfather in the Arkham hallways seemed to have a profound effect on him: "Great one! Our father. TAKE Amygdala to Heaven with you!" (1996's NEW GODS # 5). Suddenly, Helzinger began responding to treatment and his last reported flare-up (1997's BATMAN # 550) was attributed to an unprovoked attack on his cell.

Thanks to an implant, Amygdala was released from Arkham, later explaining that "I'm not dangerous so long as I have my medicine. And I can never FORGET to take it because the doctors put it inside me" (NIGHTWING # 18). Moving south to Bludhaven, Aaron took an apartment in a building managed by Bridget Clancy (1998's NIGHTWING # 17, by Dixon, Scott McDaniel, and Karl Story). Initially caught off guard by his new neighbor, Dick Grayson soon welcomed him to the building (NW # 18).

Aaron's new life hit a snag almost immediately when tremors from the Gotham earthquake damaged the apartment and he and his neighbors were sent out into the streets. When the owners announced their intention to condemn the structure, Aaron was invited to take part in a tenants' uprising but he demurred: "I am not allowed to get into confruth -- con-fron-TASHUNS, Mr. Law. The doctor told me that. Yes." In the end, the building was purchased by Haly Enterprises, secretly owned by Dick Grayson, and the residents got free room and board in a downtown hotel until it was rebuilt (NW # 21).

Today, Aaron Helzinger has a job and a spacious basement apartment (NW # 26 and 31). Life is good. "But can his residence in Dick's building be a coincidence?" (NW SECRET FILES # 1) Stay tuned.

Scott Thiel
posted July 19, 2000 02:37 AM

Captain Cutless question. Was his appearance in WORLD'S FINEST #279-281 his only appearance to date?

Who voiced the Scarecrow on "The Superfriends"?

posted July 19, 2000 06:13 AM

WFC # 279-281 was Captain Cutlass' only appearance that I'm aware of, although an earlier villain by that name appeared in BLACKHAWK # 160.

posted July 19, 2000 07:39 AM


The late, great Don Messick (as you know, the original voice of Scooby-Doo, Boo Boo Bear, Astro Jetson, Papa Smurf, Dr. Benton Quest, Hamton Pig, and so many others) voiced the Scarecrow from the Legion of Doom on CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS (1978 - 1979). Don Messick also voiced Sinestro in many -- but not all -- of the Legion of Doom episodes.

The Legion of Doom Scarecrow certainly was creepy the way he would open his jagged mouth to talk, especially when helping the team try to gain supernatural power in episodes like "Monolith of Evil" and "Swamp of the Living Dead".

Some years before that, as I recall, on the Jonathan Winters episode of THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, Scooby and the Gang had encountered a costumed villain named the Scarecrow. Of course, this Hanna-Barbera character had no direct connection to the Batman villain of the same name; but I find this encounter awfully intriguing since Scooby of course met Batman and Robin back then on two other episodes of the same SCOOBY series. Batman recognized Fred and company as true junior detectives and crime-fighters.

I wonder if this Olan Soule version of Batman (most likely the same Olan Soule version who would later go on to the SUPER FRIENDS show) ever heard off-screen about the different Scarecrow that Scooby and Mr. Winters once met.

As far as the version of the Scarecrow who appeared in "The Fear" episode of THE SUPER POWERS TEAM: GALACTIC GUARDIANS goes, one source I had read in the past credited Don Messick for that appearance as well. But another source credited an actor/voice actor named Sidney Miller for this Scarecrow appearance. If it were Messick here, then Don certainly used a different voice from the one from the Legion of Doom. I don't think it was Messick here, so I will support Sidney Miller. If anyone else has more info on the subject, please let us know. Thanks!

As you know, Scott, the Scarecrow in "The Fear" (certainly one of the best episodes of all of Hanna-Barbera's DC work) is drawn differently from the version on CHALLENGE. In "The Fear", the Scarecrow also appears out-of-costume as J. Crane. As I recall, the Batman here isn't supposed to have PREVIOUSLY known that the Scarecrow and Crane are one-and-the-same.

"The Fear" is of course also the first time Batman's origin (and death of his parents) was ever presented in moving pictures. In the episode's flashback, the movie that young Bruce and the Waynes go to on the night of the tragedy is ROBIN HOOD, by the way.

posted July 19, 2000 07:42 AM


posted July 20, 2000 10:00 AM

Originally posted by Lord of Chaos:

This thread NEVER gets buried, not while I still draw breath ...

Well, we'd better come up with some more villans for Miki, John, and the others to explore, then. I'm running out of them, myself.

With the last powers of my imagination I can squeeze out:
Dr Phosphorus

plus a more modern menace that I know next-to-nothing about:
Frederick Rhino

Scott Thiel
posted July 22, 2000 02:04 AM

How about a listing of Batwoman and Bat-Girl appearances?

To get in you the mood. Here is a drawing of the twosome that I found.

Who voiced Riddler, Joker, and Penquin on "Superfriends"?

posted July 22, 2000 09:28 PM

Here you go, Scott!

BATWOMAN I (Kathy Kane; Alias CAT-WOMAN II; Earth-One):
Batman # 105, 116, 119, 122, 125-126, 128-129, 133-134, 139-141, 144, 147, 150-151, 153-155, 157, 159, 162
The Batman Family # 10, 13-14, 17
Detective Comics # 233, 249, 276, 285-286, 292, 302, 307, 309, 311, 318, 321, 325, 485
Freedom Fighters # 14-15
Justice League Of America # 7 (Kathy)
Super Friends # 5 (Kathy: behind the scenes)
Who's Who '85 # 2
World's Finest Comics # 90, 104, 117, 136, 139

Shortly after a battle with the Catman during which she adopted the alias of Cat-Woman (DETECTIVE # 325), Batwoman retired only to be inspired to resume crimefighting years later after an encounter with Batgirl (BATMAN FAMILY # 10). Soon after, however, Kane was murdered by a brainwashed Bronze Tiger, as part of a scheme concocted by Ra's al Ghul (DETECTIVE # 485).

BATWOMAN I (Kathy Kane Wayne; Earth-40 -- as Kathy in all):
Batman # 131, 135, 145, 163

Following her marriage to Bruce Wayne, the Earth-40 Kathy Kane retired her Batwoman identity.

BATWOMAN I (Kathy Kane Wayne; Earth-154 -- as Kathy in all):
World's Finest Comics # 154, 157

Following her marriage to Bruce Wayne, the Earth-154 Kathy Kane retired her Batwoman identity.

BATWOMAN I (Kathy Kane; Earth-Two):
The Brave and The Bold # 182, 197

A partner of Batman during the mid-1950s, the Earth-Two Batwoman eventually sensed that he had married and decided to retire, eventually marrying and raising a family of her own. She resumed her Batwoman identity for a single case in 1981 (BRAVE AND BOLD # 182).

BATWOMAN I (Kathy Kane; current -- as Kathy):
Beast Boy # 3 (behind the scenes)
Suicide Squad # 38 (mention)

The current incarnation of Kathy Kane, like her Earth-One counterpart, was said to have been murdered by the Bronze Tiger. Described as a friend of The Batman's, it remains unknown whether this version of Kane ever had a career as Batwoman (SUICIDE SQUAD # 38). More recently, however, Bette Kane has made reference to evidently-alive aunt (BEAST BOY # 3), leaving the true whereabouts of Kathy Kane unresolved. It seems likely that Ra's al Ghul employed the Lazarus Pit to revive Kathy and used her survival in some as-yet-undisclosed plot against Batman.

"BATWOMAN" I (? Wayne; Earth-3839 -- as Mrs. Bruce Wayne):
Superman & Batman: Generations # 1, 2 (behind the scenes), 3

BATWOMAN I (variants):
Batman # 122
Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight Annual # 6
JLA: The Nail # 3
The Kingdom: Planet Krypton # 1

BATWOMAN II (Bette Kane; Earth-40; also see BAT-GIRL I: E1 and FLAMEBIRD III: C):
Batman # 163

Super Friends # 10

BATWOMAN IV (Barbara Gordon Kent; Earth-353; also see BATGIRL II: E1, C):
Superman (1) # 353 (Barbara), 358 (Barbara), 363

Kingdom Come # 2-3 (photo), 4
Kingdom Come: Revelations (text)

BAT-GIRL I (Betty Kane; Earth-One; also see BATWOMAN II: E40 and FLAMEBIRD III: C):
Batman # 139, 141, 144, 153, 159
The Batman Family # 16
Detective Comics # 322
Tales Of The Teen Titans # 50
Teen Titans # 50-52

After a few years years in retirement, Bat-Girl briefly returned to action as part of the short-lived Teen Titans West (TT # 50-52).

FLAMEBIRD III (Mary Elizabeth "Bette" Kane; current; also see BAT-GIRL I: E1):
Beast Boy # 1-4
Guy Gardner: Warrior # 29, 39
Hawk And Dove Annual # 1
JLA/Titans # 1-3
The New Titans # 56
Secret Origins Annual # 3
Superboy (third series) # 65
Team Titans # 22, 24
The Titans Annual # 1
Titans Secret Files # 1
Who's Who '90 # 2
Young Justice # 20-21
Young Justice: Sins Of Youth # 2

FLAMEBIRD III was part of the short-lived Teen Titans West (SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL # 3).

posted July 23, 2000 09:14 AM

You rock, Miki! THANKS so much for including the vampiric Batwoman from another world in SUPER FRIENDS # 10.

If someone out there has never seen her, there are some pictures of this perhaps rarest Batwoman at

I just wanted to add that --

Lois Lane of Earth-One dresses as Batwoman on the cover and inside the pages of SUPERMAN'S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE # 14 (January 1960). There's a cover scan of it temporarily on eBay at

The story was reprinted in LOIS LANE ANNUAL # 2 (1963). Lois also wears the Batwoman costume on that annual's cover.

Michael Bell voiced the Riddler from the Legion of Doom on CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS. Back then, Michael Bell also voiced Zan, the Wonder Twin. Today, Michael may best be recognized as the voice of Drew Pickles (Angelica's dad and Tommy's uncle) on RUGRATS.

As mentioned previously, CHALLENGE started airing in 1978. It was of course on ABC-TV. I've been reminded that the Riddler also appeared in the opening credits of Filmation's animated 1977 CBS show, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN. But the Riddler never appeared inside any of THE NEW ADVENTURES episodes. I don't know if this was because Hanna-Barbera was preparing CHALLENGE at the time, and so Filmation no longer had the rights to animate the Riddler (as Filmation did in the 1960s). But somehow the Riddler made it into that opening sequence!

As many of you recall, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN was the show with the purple-cowled Bat-Mite. It was rerun as part of THE BATMAN/TARZAN ADVENTURE HOUR and TARZAN AND THE SUPER SEVEN on CBS, and even later as part of BATMAN AND THE SUPER SEVEN on NBC.

What's cool is that Adam West and Burt Ward were being heard in new stories as Batman and Robin on NEW ADVENTURES on CBS while Olan Soule and Casey Kasem were voicing Batman and Robin the same season on ABC in THE ALL-NEW SUPER FRIENDS HOUR. Saturdays 1977 - 1978 should have been called BAT-urdays!

On SUPER POWERS, both the Joker and Penguin were voiced by Frank Welker (of course best known as Fred Jones from SCOOBY-DOO and also the man who took over as Barney Rubble after Mel Blanc passed away). Frank Welker had also voiced the Toyman on CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS, and also Mr. Mxyzptlk over the years of the SF show. He also voiced both Darkseid and Kalibak on SUPERFRIENDS: THE LEGENDARY SUPER POWERS SHOW and THE SUPER POWERS TEAM: GALACTIC GUARDIANS.

Welker certainly is an artist gifted with both high and low voice characterizations.

I was thinking that Welker voiced the Joker here, but I wasn't initially sure about the Penguin. I have the Joker/Royal Flush Gang adventure on tape, but not the Penguin/Felix Faust episode. To save time of pulling out the Joker episode to make certain it was Welker, I checked a posting from Yesterdayland by a very knowledgeable poster there named Arthur Yee.

He confirmed my thoughts about Welker's Joker and also informed readers that Welker was the Penguin. (I haven't seen the Penguin SUPER POWERS episode in a few years.) So I just wanted to say thanks to ARTHUR YEE!

posted July 24, 2000 07:43 AM

Oh, I thought of one other Batwoman. Maybe you also remember her.

In SUPERMAN (first series) # 349, Mr. Mxyzptlk had experienced a brief, failed marriage and so wanted to make Superman share in his misery. He wanted the Man of Steel to live in a world without the beloved Lois Lane. So Mxy used his magic to replace everyone on earth with opposite-sex counterparts of each person.

In other words, Wonder Woman was replaced by a male named Wonder Warrior. Lois Lane was replaced by Louis Lane. Batman was replaced by a female named Batwoman. And so on. This Batwoman wore a costume copying that of the Earth-One Batman at the time. She had long black (or should I say "blue") hair. This Batwoman was only seen in two panels in the story, both up on the JLA satellite.

To make things tougher for Superman, Mxy's magic also made Superman be declared an outlaw on the planet; and the imp had a "heroine" named Superwoman lead the fight to capture Superman.

Needless to say, Superman eventually found out who was responsible for this strange turn of events; and thereafter found a way to command the imp to return to the fifth dimension and set things right with the world once again. Supes wrapped Wonder Warrior's lasso around Mxy, and Mxy had to do what Superman commanded. Up on the JLA satellite, Batwoman disappeared and Batman appeared in her place.

As I understand it, all the counterparts were magical creations. It wasn't that Batman had been turned into a woman. Where Batman and the rest of the earth's population went while Mxy's spell was under way shall remain a mystery....

Scott Thiel
posted July 28, 2000 02:07 AM

Funny you should mention SUPERMAN #349, Superstone.

A couple of weeks ago I read a fanfic about the Batwoman of that story. I wouldn't post the link here because it is a PG-13 story.

The other night I was listening to the old radio show "Let George Do It" and on the closing credits it listed Don Messick as the voice of a carpenter. Do you know if Messick did a lot of radio work?

I should give an apology to Hellstone. His request did not get answered because of my question.

Here is his list again.

Crazy Quilt
Dr. Phosphorus

posted July 28, 2000 08:24 AM


Thanks for letting me know about that show you heard! Offhand, I'm not sure how much radio voicework Don "The Scarecrow" Messick did. In case you haven't already read it, at

there's an excerpt from an interview that Don Messick once did in which he talked about how he got started doing voicework. He also talked about his friendship/partnership with Daws Butler.

There, Don talked about practicing his craft as a young man with radio professionals, but he didn't exactly talk about himself working in the radio business. I went over to a few old-time radio sites, but Messick's name didn't produce any links in their radio search engines. When I get a chance, I'll ask some of my friends who know more about OTR than I do. If anything comes up, I'll report back to ya!

posted July 28, 2000 07:44 PM

I'll bet you all thought I'd left the country, didn't you? Anyway, thanks Superstone for carrying on in my absence. The animation info is fascinating to me.

Here's tonight's bad guy:

Your high-tech machinery has just irradiated your body and given you super-powers. What are you going to do? For one criminal scientist in late 1959, the answer was obvious: you go on a crime spree (DETECTIVE # 275). But this is Gotham City and any self-respecting super-villain has to have a splashy name.

Well, you can twist steel doors off their hinges and raise a sunken freighter of gold bullion from the sea. Magneto? Naw, the "lines of force" that your hands emit could control more than metal, attracting or repelling wood, stone, or human flesh with the same ease. And besides, who'd know what "magneto" meant?

Then, too, there's your physical appearance. Your red skull cap and orange body suit has been replaced with black and white stripes highlighted by a glowing aura. Taking into account your polar powers, perhaps "Negative-Man" might be a better. Scratch that. There was a report of another Negative Man earlier in the year (HOUSE OF MYSTERY # 84, specifically).

Okay. Black and white stripes? You'll be the Zebra-Man!

Fleeing the site of his gang's first robbery, Zebra-Man craned out of the back of the getaway car (an ... um ... station wagon) and forced Batman and Robin to give up their pursuit when he thrust a water tank into their path.

Inevitably, Batman accumulated enough physical evidence to track down the gang's lair but circumstances would prevent a simple capture. As would happen more than once in his career (as in the case of 1961's Element Man, for instance), Batman was accidentally bathed in the same energy that created his foe. Without an inhibitor belt like the Zebra-Man had created for himself, the Dark Knight was incapable of controlling his powers and repelled anyone or anything that came near him ... including his adversary. "We both have the SAME charge, Batman -- and like charges repel each other!"

With trees uprooting as he neared them and boulders flying from his path, Batman begged Robin to "finish the job I couldn't do. I can't ever work with you again." Miraculously, Batman devised a solution and challenged the Zebra-Man, pulling towards him instead of away. The Zebra-Batman decked his opposite number, repelled the gang towards Robin and the GCPD, and put on the control belt himself, purging the energy from his body.

"A little while ago," he explained, "I was surprised to find myself being drawn towards a junk yard's electro-magnet. I realized that the electro-magnet's force field was opposite to mine, because OPPOSITE forces ATTRACT. That gave me an idea. Knowing you were coming here, I charged that manhole cover so that it would reverse your force field, making it OPPOSITE mine."

The Dynamic Duo laughed that the villain would still possess his stripes "... only this time they're from prison bars!"

In 1987, Kobra successfully duplicated the experiment that created the original Zebra-Man and provided the villain's long-dormant control belt to the successor. The new Zebra-Man lacked the aura of the first and had a mohawk that evoked the image of his equine namesake. As part of Strikeforce Kobra, the villain put his powers into action against the Outsiders but chafed at his alias: "The name 'Zebra-Man' don't inspire much fear ... but people stop laughin' QUICK!"

"Is that right?" asked Black Lightning with a swift kick to his jaw. "First thing that comes to MY mind is to ask if you're a black man with WHITE stripes ... or a white man with BLACK stripes!"

The conflict was never resolved to anyone's satisfaction and Zebra-Man ended up fleeing the scene with the Elemental Woman, the Planet-Master, Eve, and Kobra himself (OUTSIDERS (first series) # 21-22). To date, they remain at large, though Kobra seems to have severed his ties with the Strikeforce long ago.

Scott Thiel
posted July 29, 2000 06:13 AM


On "The New Adventures of Batman" (70's) who voiced the following villians:

Mr. Freeze

As you said, Riddler did not appear on the show except on the opening credits. Am I remembering this right? Riddler was wearing a red costume?


posted July 29, 2000 05:24 PM

"I'd give a pretty penny to know who The Batman really is! But as sure as me name is McGonigle ... one of these days I'm going to find out!"

Decades before Renee Montoya or Harvey Bullock or Patricia Powell had made the scene, the Gotham City Police Department had a recurring police officer in the "Batman" series -- for exactly two episodes. That person was an Irish plainclothesman in a bow tie, suit, and derby with a ubiquitous cigar perched below his Hitler-style mustache. Much to Commissioner Gordon's chagrin, Detective McGonigle also had an ego that surpassed his ample belly in size.

The comic foil of an Irish cop was a staple of the pulps, movies, and early comics and McGonigle quickly established himself as part of that tradition at the start of the second story in BATMAN # 3 (dated Fall 1940, by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, and George Roussos). The detective had been attacked by the Ugly Horde, men whose features had been mutated by a madman named Carlson. Rescued by Batman, he explained "Well, sir, as sure as me name is Detective McGonigle, I seen them monkeys tryin' to set fire to the museum. So, as befittin' me rank as officer, I tried to stop 'em!"

It finally dawned on McGonigle that he should be trying to arrest the vigilante, not striking up conversation. The Dark Knight would hear none of it and left the detective sprawled on the sidewalk. McGonigle blamed his failure on Batman's "three men that jumped me from behind" but his fellow officers laughed in his face.

Despite another humiliating encounter with Batman that left him floating off the end of a Gotham pier, McGonigle got a measure of satisfaction from the case when he ended up gunning down Carlson himself, who'd been on the verge of putting a knife in Batman's back. The Dark Knight handily evaded capture once more but the cop vowed that "as sure as my name is McGonigle, I'll get him yet!"

His next opportunity came in the issue's fourth episode. With the GCPD rendered a laughing stock by the Cat-Woman's string of robberies, Commissioner Gordon was forced to turn to the department's latest hero: "You, McGonigle ... you managed to round up that 'Ugly Horde' mob last month when no one else could -- Heaven knows how! Anyway, I'm assigning you to bring in The Cat!"

"Yessir! And as sure as my name is McGonigle ..."


"(gulp) Y-y-yessir."

Once again, McGonigle was presented with a providential chance to capture Batman when he discovered the Dark Knight unconscious after a scuffle with thugs. Awakening to discover himself in handcuffs, Batman swung both hands into the cop's chin, knocking him cold. In the end, Batman and Robin were no more successful in capturing the beautiful jewel thief than the police --though they did recover her stolen gems. Batman tossed the loot to McGonigle, complete with a note signed "your old pal". The detective was still muttering as Batman swung away.

For whatever reason, Detective McGonigle never appeared again and a year later, in BATMAN # 7, Batman and Robin were officially deputized by the Gotham City Police Department. The Dynamic Duo's fugitive days were over.

And what of McGonigle? He moved over to Empire City in Alex Kotzky's "Manhunter" strip in POLICE COMICS in 1942. Issue # 10's episode found Dan Richards working on a case with Chief McGonigle, virtually identical to the Gotham detective except for a healthier mustache. After Manhunter had defeated the Voodoo Queen and Xaxol, Dan returned to police headquarters to hear the Chief take credit for everything. McGonigle's presence in the strip failed to extend beyond that one story (though he seemed to appear, unnamed, in issue # 8's pilot) and he was replaced as the series' comic relief by Officer Patrick Clancy in POLICE # 13.

Lord of Chaos
posted July 29, 2000 07:10 PM

As always Mikishawm, thanks! Whether a person's read Batman from 1989, 1999, or 1975 (when I started), your encyclopedic knowledge puts every single Batman fan I've ever encountered to shame. All pale in comparison to you, sir...

One of these days, your head is going to explode, and all that Batman knowledge is going to come oozing out of your ears...

posted July 30, 2000 12:15 PM

Now THERE's a colorful image! But I thank you sincerely for the compliments.

On with the show ...

The bouncer at the Ventriloquist Club on Gotham's Electric Street was enormous. Rhino was tall and wide enough, in fact, to block the entrance of two obese mobsters one late fall evening in 1987. Only one made it out of the Ventriloquist's chambers alive. The other made the mistake of referring to Scarface, the Ventriloquist's dummy, as "a stupid blocka wood". Rhino disposed of the body (DETECTIVE COMICS # 583, by Alan Grant & John Wagner, Norm Breyfogle, and Kim DeMulder).

The Ventriloquist's drug operation had already attracted the attention of The Batman and, for all of his bulk and muscle, Rhino was no match for the Dark Knight. A sharp uppercut to the bodyguard's jaw left him down for the count (DETECTIVE # 584). He, Arnold Wesker (the Ventriloquist), and Scarface found themselves in new quarters at Blackgate (DETECTIVE # 510, by Grant, Breyfogle, and Steve Mitchell).

It was in Blackgate that the unlikely alliance had first taken root. During his first prison sentence ("twelve months for assault"), a much slimmer Rhino had taken notice of the mousy Wesker, the subject of harrassment from fellow prisoner Skull Bolero and his stooges. Impressed at how Wesker (via Scarface) was standing up to the thugs, Rhino took the Ventriloquist's side when the inevitable fracas broke out.

Afterwards, Scarface snarled at Rhino for not killing Bolero but vowed that "I'LL teach ya. Ya got a jog, Rhino."

"A JOG? What do you mean?"

"I mean a JOG, knucklehead! WORK! From now on, yer MY personal bodyguard."

Working on the Ventriloquist's behalf, Rhino made it appear that Bolero was working as an informant for Batman while Wesker mimicked the Dark Knight's voice. Skull didn't survive the night. "See, Rhino?" Scarface explained. "Ya gotta learn to CHANNEL yer anger." (1998's BATMAN 80-PAGE GIANT # 1, by Grant, Dylan Teague, and Bill Reinhold).

Rhino and Wesker were eventually released from prison when a criminal lawyer got their convictions "overturned on a technicality". In the interim, the Ventriloquist Club had been condemned and their one-time ally Brute had turned over the structure to the Street Demonz -- a gang that had no use for Wesker. Emphasizing their point, the young gunmen blasted Scarface into splinters. Horrified that "the boss" had been "killed", Rhino gently picked up Scarface. "Least I can do is show him a little respect -- give him a decent burial."

As a drunken Wesker professed relief that Scarface was dead, Rhino placed the dummy in a makeshift coffin -- and was delighted when he heard a muffled voice coming from the box. Ecstatic that Scarface was still "alive", Rhino hurriedly rounded up medical supplies (" -- greasegun -- pack of screws -- pliers -- can of white paint -- you sell cigars ...?") and the dummy was restored (1992's BATMAN # 475, by Grant and Breyfogle).

Rhino and the Ventriloquist wasted no time in reforming their gang (DETECTIVE # 642, by Grant and Jim Aparo) and taking revenge on the Demonz. Brute was singled out, his feet encased in cement before Rhino threw him to his death in the Gotham River (BATMAN # 476, by Grant and Breyfogle).

The Ventriloquist Club was reopened soon after and Wesker attempted his most audacious scheme yet. He and Rhino broke the Joker out of Arkham, intent on forcing the Clown Prince of Crime to reveal where he'd stashed twenty-five million in loot after a robbery. The Joker's mockery of Scarface's syntax won him a nasty punch from Rhino. A wild card was thrown into the operation when the Joker was also targetted by an Eclipso-creature. As the police tried to sort out details in the aftermath, Wesker insisted that he was innocent and that the Joker had taken HIM hostage (1992's DETECTIVE ANNUAL # 5).

The Ventriloquist and Rhino were finally taken into custody when they attempted to murder U.S. Senator Lowry for refusing their extortion demands (1993's BATMAN/JUDGE DREDD: VENDETTA IN GOTHAM, by Grant & Wagner, and Cam Kennedy). This time, the trio was split up. Wesker went to Arkham, Rhino to Blackgate, and Scarface to an evidence box at the GCPD. Freed from Arkham thanks to an assault by Bane (1993's BATMAN # 491), Wesker used Amygdala as a provisional bodyguard (DETECTIVE # 659) before seeking out Scarface's whereabouts (# 660-661), rescuing him (# 663) and finding a hideout (# 664).

By the time he'd reunited with Rhino, Scarface discovered that his territory had once again been seized by others and revenge was, as before, the first order of business. Wesker ended up in custody thanks to Batman (a.k.a. Dick Grayson) and Robin, but Rhino escaped with Scarface to a secret vault set up for emergencies. Opening the door, the bodyguard found only a book -- "How To Throw Your Voice." (1994's BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 32, by Grant and Bret Blevins)

Rhino still hadn't mastered the secret of ventriloquism by early 1997 and seemed destined for an early death when vengeful mobsters from the Ventriloquist's last assault arrived on the scene. The bodyguard was prepared to go complacently to his death until Scarface, discarded behind him, gasped "R-Rh... Rhino. Kill da gums!" His confidence bolstered, Rhino made quick work of the three thugs, tossing their bodies into the river and rushing to the boss' side.

"I made ya SPEAK! I guess it must've been the stress, or somethin'. Did I do do good?"

"Yer a great stooge, Rhino -- gut dat's ALL ya'll ever amount ta. If I wanna ge number one crime-goss again -- I gotta get da Ventriloquist gack!"

Scarface briefly had second thoughts when the bodies of two of the men Rhino had killed floated to the surface. Convinced that the third man was still alive, the dummy accused his bodyguard of sloppiness and suggested that it "mayge gest if I just gump ya off now ...!"

"No, boss -- please! I've always been LOYAL to ya. I'd do ANYTHIN' for ya, you know that!" Moments later, the third body surfaced and Scarface brightened: "Ya done good, gig guy!"

Rhino had freed Wesker and, reunited with the Ventriloquist, Scarface vowed to kill an albatross, the bird that Wesker blamed for all the grief in his life. Rhino managed to capture the bird but the sudden appearance of Batman threw all present into a turmoil. As Wesker dived off the pier in pursuit of a "drowning" Scarface, he insisted that his bodyguard kill Batman.

"But ... he always beats me -- ."

"So we'll break you out of jail!"

Rhino aimed his rifle at the Dark Knight -- only to have the freed albatross foul his sights. His vision cleared, he had only enough time to see Batman's boot rocketing towards his jaw (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 59-60, by Grant, Dave Taylor, and Stan Woch). He was swiftly returned to Blackgate (BATMAN 80-PAGE GIANT # 1).

In the wake of the Gotham earthquake, Rhino escaped from Blackgate and laid low in the weeks that followed, missing out on the Ventriloquist's attempt at extorting money from the city as the Quakemaster (BATMAN: SHADOW # 74, NIGHTWING # 20, BATMAN # 554, DETECTIVE # 721, and ROBIN # 53). Wesker was confined to Arkham, but soon escaped with the other prisoners in the newly declared "No Man's Land" (BATMAN: SHADOW # 80-82).

Eventually, Rhino and Wesker were reunited and Scarface carved out his own territory in Gotham. Batman freed the area from their control only to find the residents in a state of panic that their rations would be cut off.

"But they weren't bad men. They protected us. They took care of us. And Rhino's not a bad man. He made sure no one got more than anyone else."

"It ain't about good guys and bad guys anymore, Batman," the big man observed. "It's just about survival ..."

The Dark Knight acknowledged that he had a point and requested that "whatever you were told to do this morning? Keep doing it. I'll be back, Rhino." While the "No Man's Land" was in effect, Scarface's men would work for Batman, providing food and protecting the citizens (1999's DETECTIVE # 730, by Bob Gale, Alex Maleev, and Wayne Faucher).

Rhino surfaced only once more during Gotham's period of anarchy, when he served as bait in a scheme of the Penguin and Two-Face to temporarily remove the threat of Batman. Spying Rhino trying to kill a woman accused of stealing food, the Dark Knight swooped in but was swiftly defeated himself -- by the supposed victim, actually a Russian metahuman known as Echo (BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT # 119, by Greg Rucka, Mike Deodato, and Wayne Faucher). Rhino's subsequent activities are unknown.

posted July 31, 2000 05:13 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Master Mikishawm!

Lennie Weinrib voiced the Joker, Penguin, and Mr. Freeze on THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN. Weinrib voiced most of the male villains on the show, with an exception being Clayface. This hearkens back to Filmation's original BATMAN series, in which one voice artist (Ted Knight, of course) had voiced most of that show's male villains.

Lennie Weinrib (also the voice of Commissioner Gordon on NEW ADVENTURES) was the original voice of Scrappy-Doo (before Don "Scooby" Messick took over Scrappy's role). Lennie voiced Scrappy as a tough little New Yorker with a bit of a lisp or else babytalk.

In the earlier 1970s, Weinrib had been the voice of Inch High, Private Eye and also voiced one of the sons on THE AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN (Hanna-Barbera's version of Charlie Chan). So I guess all that animated detective work and crime stories prepared Weinrib for the world of BATMAN and the role of Commissioner Gordon.

In live-action, Lennie Weinrib played the genie Magic Mongo on THE KROFFT SUPERSHOW.

Clayface was voiced by Lou Scheimer (Filmation's co-master).

Scheimer also voiced Bat-Mite on NEW ADVENTURES, later using a very similar voice to Bat-Mite's as the voice of the implike Orko on Filmation's HE-MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. I believe Yesterdayland's NEW ADVENTURES credits page lists Weinrib as Bat-Mite, but that must be wrong.

Scheimer also voiced the Batcomputer.

Melendy Britt voiced Catwoman and Batgirl on NEW ADVENTURES. Jane Webb (Filmation's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) had voiced both Catwoman and Batgirl in the late 1960s for Filmation.

Of course, on NEW ADVENTURES Catwoman had long brown hair and wore a golden (or yellowish) costume and a black eyemask. Melendy Britt went on to voice Plastic Man's girlfriend (and later wife) Penny on the Ruby-Spears PLASTIC MAN episodes. Melendy also became the voice of the animated She-Ra, Princess of Power at Filmation.

As to the riddle of why the Riddler's costume was red (as you correctly remember, Scott), I don't have a definite answer. It may have been to make the Riddler appear differently from his green comic-book incarnation, in case, as I speculated earlier, Hanna-Barbera already had the rights to the Riddler for CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS. Or else Filmation just liked to play with costume variations, as they also deviated from the comics with Bat-Mite's and Catwoman's costumes. Also, Filmation used the color red often on NEW ADVENTURES (as in Barbara Gordon's hair, Batgirl's cycle, and the bat emblem on the Batcomputer), so maybe they just wanted to use red one more time.

posted July 31, 2000 05:39 AM

Originally posted by Mikishawm:

The comic foil of an Irish cop was a staple of the pulps, movies, and early comics....

Shades of Pat Patton, Chief of Police from DICK TRACY!

Mikishawm, do you have a comics checklist for Chief O'Hara? (I'll bet you do!) I think this might be a cue for O'Hara's entrance into this thread.

I know there was an Earth-Two O'Hara in the 'Huntress' series from WONDER WOMAN (but I'm sure I don't have every issue of that series), and that he's also shown up recently in BATMAN: DARK VICTORY and SILVER AGE. Did he first appear on Adam West's "Batman" show?

What's neat is that he wasn't the first Chief O'Hara in comics history! Anyone else remember Mickey Mouse's friend and confidante Chief O'Hara from years of Mickey Mouse's (often serious) adventure and detective stories? Disney's Chief O'Hara first appeared in 1939. Here's a link for anyone interested:

posted July 31, 2000 06:16 AM

Believe it or not, I already had this one written. O'Hara was one of the subjects of my first "Historama" column in IT'S A FANZINE. All I had to do was add a paragraph about recent events. Enjoy!

Created for the 1966 "Batman" TV series, Gotham City police chief O'Hara made only a handful of appearances in comic books. A voice on the phone in WORLD'S FINEST # 159 (1966) and a behind the scenes presence in SWAMP THING # 7 (1973), even O'Hara's first on-panel appearances in DETECTIVE COMICS # 461 (1976) and as part of Steve Englehart's Batman opus in 1977's DETECTIVE COMICS # 470 and 476 found his features partially concealed by devices like hand gestures and window panes.

Also in 1977, Paul Levitz inserted O'Hara cameos into his chronicles of DC's Golden Age heroes in ALL-STAR COMICS # 67 and 70. This O'Hara (sporting a thick white mustache) became Gotham City's new police commissioner in the 'Huntress' series in WONDER WOMAN (beginning with # 281 in 1981) and he remained a recurring presence for the next few years.

In current continuity, O'Hara first surfaced in THE SILVER AGE # 1 (2000), still equipped with the Levitz-era mustache. Meanwhile, the out-of-continuity BATMAN: DARK VICTORY # 1 featured O'Hara (given the first name of Clancy) as the first victim in that series' sequence of murders by the Hangman.

Ironically, though the features of TV's Chief O'Hara, Stafford Repp, were never used on his comic book counterpart, Jim Aparo used him as the model for Sergeant Harvey Hainer in DETECTIVE COMICS # 444's Batman story.

CHIEF O'HARA (Earth-One):
Batman # 301
Detective Comics # 461, 470, 476
Swamp Thing # 7 (behind the scenes)
World's Finest Comics # 159 (voice), 309 (behind the scenes)

Adventure Comics # 461, 465 (behind the scenes)
All-Star Comics # 67, 70
Wonder Woman # 281, 296-297, 308, 314 (behind the scenes)

CHIEF O'HARA (Earth-353):
Superman # 363 (voice)

CLANCY O'HARA (Earth-10):
Batman: Dark Victory # 1, 7 (mention)

CHIEF O'HARA (current):
Silver Age # 1

CHIEF O'HARA (variant):
Batman: Masque

posted July 31, 2000 07:59 AM

I believe it! WHAT SERVICE! Thanks! You made my day, pal!

I was looking at some cover scans recently, and saw the cover of BATMAN # 71 (from way back in 1952). On it, as you must know, different lawmen (including Batman and Robin) have been jailed by a mobster. The jail cells are labeled with the names of the lawmen. Though the sign to the far left of the cover is partly blocked from view, it looks like that cell contains a Sergeant Hanson and an Officer O'Hara. One of those two policemen is shown clean-shaven in uniform below the sign.

I wonder if this could have been a relative of Chief O'Hara -- or even, perhaps, an unofficial first appearance of the Earth-Two Chief himself before he became Chief. If the name of this character isn't "O'Hara", I'll have to forget the whole idea. Just please let me down gently.

As another member pointed out on these boards recently, Chief O'Hara's voice (and hand shadow) was also "seen" in one of Fred Hembeck's strips. I guess it came from Hembeck's regular strip in the DAILY PLANET that was used by DC to describe coming comics back in the day.

Maybe when DC didn't show O'Hara's face, they didn't have to pay the character full royalties.

posted August 01, 2000 06:17 AM


I haven't read that BATMAN issue and the brief write-up in Fleisher's encyclopedia offers no clues. I agree, though, that if one of the officers is named O'Hara, it would be neat to make this the Chief's first appearance.

With a neon sign on Gotham's Broadway as his backdrop, Crazy-Quilt announced to the crowds below that he had returned. Panic did not ensue. The confusion that Quilt had intended to allow his gang access to the area night spots did not come to pass. In fact, standing amidst the bright lights, no one noticed him at all. That would change.

The madman's gang was well aware of their boss' eccentricities, exemplified by his lair, a "Color Dome" that was equipped with a Color Organ ("From my fingers, I release fabulous symphonies of color!"). Still, his latest plot seemed to have no profit element at all: Crazy-Quilt announced his intention to steal color from Gotham City. At a seaside party, he and his men bleached the color from the bright flags at the event. The local TV network's demonstration of color television also found itself the victim of sabotage. The vandalism continued when three priceless paintings at the Gotham Museum were left blank. And, when Robin interfered, he found his red, green, and yellow costume rendered virtually white.

Observing that his uniform had shrunk, the Boy Wonder tumbled onto his scheme and, after escaping a sun-lamp death-trap, captured Crazy-Quilt. The villain's early misdemeanors had been a ruse to convince people that the paintings had been destroyed. Robin realized that, if his costume had shrunk, it had to have been affected by a dye, not bleach. Investigation proved that the paintings had actually been coated with a water-soluble dye that was easily removed (1951's STAR SPANGLED COMICS # 123, by France Herron and Jim Mooney).

Although the adventure marked Crazy-Quilt's first outing in Gotham, he'd already chalked up an impressive resume against a quartet of teen heroes, the Boy Commandos, beginning in 1946. He'd originally been a renowned painter with a secret life as a crimelord. An attempt on Quilt's life went awry and damaged his eyesight. With his underlings holding a surgeon at gunpoint, Quilt underwent surgery but awoke to find himself afflicted with a unique form of color blindness, one that permitted him to see only bright colors. The doctor was gunned down and the painter adopted a multi-hued costume and a helmet equipped with multi-colored spotlights. As Crazy-Quilt, he faced the Boy Commandos four times between 1946 and 1949 (BOY COMMANDOS # 15, 18, 22, 33, the first and last pencilled by Jack Kirby).

In late 1962, an underworld fence named Paul Dekker stole Crazy-Quilt's identity for his own but, in the absence of a helmet, he wore a simple hood. Dekker used his relatively harmless crimes to establish his reputation as a lunatic while secretly recovering innocuous items in which he'd hidden stolen valuables. The Blackhawks exposed his plot in short order (BLACKHAWK # 180, art by Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera).

A late 1973 reprint of the original Crazy-Quilt's sole outing against the Boy Wonder (in BATMAN # 255) forever cemented him as a member of Robin's rogues gallery. Len Wein revived the character in 1979's BATMAN # 316 (art by Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin) with the revelation that the paroled Quilt was now losing his eyesight altogether. Determined to prevent such a fate, Crazy-Quilt raided the Gotham branch of S.T.A.R. Labs to capture an experimental laser gun and held off Batman and Robin by disorienting them with his color helmet. Once again, Quilt's gang seized an optical specialist, this time providing him with the stolen laser intensifier to perform the delicate surgery.

Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo ran a gauntlet of hypnotic and downright lethal light weapons to reach the room where Quilt was recovering. Leaping into the fray to defend himself, the villain found his own helmet spotlights reflected back at him by an instrument tray in Robin's hands. Crazy-Quilt maniacally fired his guns until the bullets were exhausted and he was taken into custody. With his eyes still sensitive from the surgery, Crazy-Quilt had achieved exactly what he hoped to avoid. The reflected light had left him blind.

By 1983, Quilt had found yet another surgeon that would take his case. Small holes were drilled into his skull and electrodes were linked between his brain's optic nerves and his color helmet. The helmet now enabled Quilt to see through the headgear's lenses!

"Put the helmet on backward," the doctor explained, "and you will literally have eyes in the back of your head. But the lenses are also projectors, capable of emitting the same blindingly intense light they ever did. And, as promised, I have equipped them with the additional feature of high-resolution laser beams able to burn right through a bank vault door." For his efforts, Doctor Kinski was the first person to be killed by Crazy-Quilt's laser beam.

Before embarking on a crime spree, the madman was first determined to have revenge on the person who blinded him -- Robin. Unknown to Quilt, there was a new Boy Wonder, and Jason Todd had only had the role officially for twenty-four hours. Quilt ambushed the teenager, handing him a severe beating and placing a post-hypnotic suggestion to come to the villain's lair -- where he would be killed. Unaware of the hypnosis, Batman forbid Jason from going out again. The Boy Wonder had no choice but to defy Batman -- but he did leave a note about his destination. Trailing Robin, Batman watched as Jason blinded Quilt's lenses by reflecting his color beams off of a makeshift rotating fan and separated the helmet from his optic nerves, smashing the device to pieces (BATMAN # 368/DETECTIVE # 535, by Doug Moench, Don Newton and Alfredo Alcala/Gene Colan and Bob Smith).

Crazy-Quilt was one of dozens of criminals freed from prison by Ra's al Ghul in 1986. Despite being provided with a replica of his helmet and costume, Quilt displayed the same gratitude that he'd shown to his doctors. He walked off into the night rather than fight someone else's battles. And they said he was crazy (BATMAN # 400, by Doug Moench and George Perez).

Ironically, after Quilt was recaptured, he DID end up confined to Arkham Asylum for a time (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 3-4). He was imprisoned at Louisiana's Belle Reve prison in 1995 when Neron offered him and dozens of other villains the opportunity to grant their fondest wish -- in exchange for their souls (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED # 1). Quilt evidently turned down the chance to regain his vision and he wound up back in Arkham (THE CREEPER # 7), escaping on the eve of "No Man's Land" (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 82). When last seen, he was incarcerated in Belle Reve once more, though his attack on the warden during a riot wasn't likely to qualify him for an early parole (JLA # 34).

posted August 02, 2000 06:20 AM

I got my latest box of comics from my subscription service yesterday so I'm going to spend the next couple days reading. (No more avoiding the posts related to BIRDS OF PREY # 21, ROBIN 80-PAGE GIANT, et al.)

To tide you over, here's another "Historama" piece:

One of the forgotten geniuses behind the early-1970s mood shift in Julius Schwartz's Batman titles was writer-artist Frank Robbins. It was Robbins who created Man-Bat and Jason Bard in the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS. His final recurring character was Steve "Shotgun" Smith, introduced in issue # 428 (1972), a cop with clear parallels to Eddie Egan (the real-life model for THE FRENCH CONNECTION's "Popeye" Doyle).

That first story established Smith as "the toughest cop in Gotham" as well as the widowed father of a teenage daughter, Maryanne. Cast in an adversarial role there and in # 436 (1973), both of his clashes with Batman proved to be hoaxes of sorts. Each episode was pencilled by Bob Brown.

Robbins left DC soon afterwards and, unlike the more established Bard and Man-Bat, "Shotgun" Smith was forgotten in the ensuing two decades. Indeed, it wasn't until ROBIN (second series) # 1-5 (1993), that Smith was revived by writer Chuck Dixon. Now Smith was the sheriff of the county in which Gotham City was located and he was less than cordial to Gotham police officers that stepped out of their jurisdiction. By issue # 15, Smith had been partnered with a young police officer named Cissy Chambers. Although primarily used in minor roles, "Shotgun" and Chambers were prominently featured in the manhunt for the creature once known as Killer Moth (# 23-24).

Shotgun was again spotlighted in the late 1996/early 1997 mini-series, BATMAN: GORDON'S LAW. Issue # 2 provided the crucial link between Robbins' version of the character and Dixon's. Here it was revealed that Smith had been kicked off Gotham's police force after being accused of corruption. Only Commissioner Gordon had testified on his behalf. Eventually, Smith returned to public service by way of the county sheriff's department. The story also established that Smith was divorced.

Batman # 560
The Batman Chronicles # 13
Batman: Gordon's Law # 2-4
Birds Of Prey: Batgirl # 1
Detective Comics # 428, 436, 680, 688
The Joker: Devil's Advocate
Robin (second series) # 1-5, 15, 17, 19-20, 23-24, 42, 46, 54 (behind the scenes), 56-57, 59-61, 66, 79
Robin Annual # 6

Scott Thiel
posted August 04, 2000 03:13 AM

I remembered I had an old book that listed the number of performances for OTR actors. But it is only for the sound library of one company and that company is no longer in business. Too bad it does not give the name of the shows the actors appeared in.

Don Messick 5 appearances.
Daws Butler 66 appearances. Stan Frebreg Show.
Olan Soule 153 appearances. Mostly on the First Nighter Program.
Mel Blanc 318 appearances. He played the happy postman on Burns and Allen. On Jack Benny he was Maxwell the car, Polly the bird, Carmichael the Polar Bear, and Prof. LeBlanc. His own radio series was called "Mel Blanc's Fix-It Shop".

Batman on the Radio.

Batman and Robin appeared on about a dozen or so storylines on "Adventures of Superman".

In the first storyline, Stacy Harris played Batman. Harris is best known for playing Special Agent Jim Taylor on "This is Your FBI". He also acted in one my favorite Suspense edisodes with William Conrad, "A Study in Wax".
Matt Crowley was Batman on the other storylines.
Ronald Liss was Robin in all adventures.

There were two auditions for a Batman radio series.

The first audition was done sometime in the war years. Reportedly Scott Douglas was Batman.
Douglas in 1943 played the Black Hood.
Robin's id is unknown.
It was titled "The Case of the Drowning Seal".

It pitted Batman and Robin against the Nazi agents who had killed Dick Grayson's parents.

I would like to hear that but it has been lost to time, unfortunately.

The 2nd audition tape was in 9/5/1950.
Batman and Robin in The Monster of Dumphrey's Hall.
John Emery played Batman and Ronald Liss once again played Robin.

In this story, Batman tells the young members of the Batman Mystery Club a haunting locked room mystery from England. I feel it was an average story.

An interesing item is that Don Cameron wrote the radio play. He wrote many Batman stories in the 40's and 50's for the comic books.

The 2nd audition can be heard on The Smithsonian Collection called "Showbiz Teams".

Thanks to The Smithsonian Institution, Radio Spirits, and Anthony Tollin.

posted August 07, 2000 07:48 PM

I was all set to start on the Doctor Phosphorus history this evening when it dawned on me that STARMAN # 70 is already out (though I won't see my copy until at least next week) and conceivably (don't spoil it for me!) something of significance to the character might happen in that issue.

So, I'll pose the question to you, Hellstone, would you rather I do the bio now or wait until "Grand Guignol" is over? If the former, is there any reason I should wait until I've read STARMAN # 70?

Scott Thiel
posted August 08, 2000 01:50 AM

Hey, Old-Timers. Remember Adrienne Roy?

She colored BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS in the 80's.

She is now working for Radio Spirits. She is involved in Graphic Production and Photo Restoration.

How about a Tweedledee and Tweedledum Bio?


posted August 08, 2000 03:36 AM

I'll read STARMAN #70 anyway, Miki. I'm more interested in the early history of Dr P., but you do it the way you prefer. I'm happy for what I get.

If you plan to wait with it, I have another challenge here: MISTER ESPER.

By the way, that was an AMAZING Black Canary timeline on the 'Birds Of Prey' board.

posted August 08, 2000 06:22 PM


Murray Ward checked BATMAN # 71 and, sad to say, Officer O'Hara does not appear within.

Scott & Hellstone:

Expect Mister Esper and the Brothers Tweed in a few days. I may go ahead and do Dr. Phosphorus over the weekend, too.

posted August 09, 2000 03:20 AM


COUSINS Tweed, isn't it? Hmmm?

(Sorry, couldn't ignore the chance to correct the Great Mikishawm)

posted August 12, 2000 03:07 PM

Mikishawm, allow me to add my praises to those who came before me.

(I kneel and bow before you. "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" ... Well, at least I'm not ...)

I know you've got a backlog going, but might you consider a few more?

Killer Croc (I realize this might be too big for an entire entry; if so, I'm interested in his first few appearances. Also, I understand that at one time, Crock was mob boss of all Gotham or something. True?)


Also I seem to remember there was some guy all dressed in black running around with Nocturna (or concurrently with her). What was his name and is he still around?

Again, man, thanks. You're doing some truly awesome work, and I look forward to your future entries.

posted August 12, 2000 07:12 PM

At the rate I'm going, it may be a week or two before I get to 'em but -- I promise -- I will do something on Nocturna, the Night-Thief, and Killer Croc. Glad you like my stuff!

Ah, Hellstone ... glad you're here to keep me honest. I guess I can take comfort in the fact that Bats himself originally thought the Tweeds were brothers, too. Expect the entry on them tomorrow, Scott -- knock on wood.

As for today ...

In April of 1966, Batman was hearing voices in his head. Nothing as memorable as "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot" or "Holy Hole-In-A-Doughnut", mind you. Rather, on two consecutive nights, the Dark Knight got "hunches" about robberies-in-progress that proved to be right on the money. The third premonition, however, failed to pan out and, once the Dynamic Duo learned of a simultaneous bank robbery on the opposite end of Gotham, Batman realized that he'd been had.

Because his last hunch had come as the Batmobile was passing the bank in question, Batman realized that the mastermind had most likely been stationed on the roof of a building in the vicinity. Atop one of them, he discovered a novelty stick match that the Black Cat Club used as a promotional device. Playboy Bruce Wayne swept into action, sending a disgruntled Dick Grayson to bed while he took a delighted blonde named Lynda to see the nightspot's floor show.

The featured attraction was a red-haired mentalist named Mister Esper who claimed to be able to read minds. The illusion of Esper's flawless telepathy was created through a system of words and phrases used by his partner in the act but, nonetheless, the list of numbers on a card that Bruce asked him to reveal left the performer momentarily tongue-tied. 1,073,486 represented the exact amount of dollars stolen earlier in the evening.

Over the protestations of his worried partner, Esper insisted that they stay in Gotham to complete their engagement rather than risk unwanted questions. By now, though, Batman's suspicions had been aroused and he and Robin quickly captured the villains, providing the GCPD with evidence of their involvement.

Batman learned that Esper had created a bronze-colored megaphone that he used "to influence a person's mind by projecting a super-sonic whisper -- out of the range of human hearing -- repeated over and over again". When Esper's attempt to use the device in his stage show failed to pay off, he decided to orchestrate a robbery instead. Batman's eagerness to find crimes worked to the villain's advantage and the Dark Knight completely embraced the subliminal messages that he was receiving (DETECTIVE COMICS # 352, by John Broome, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella, entitled -- I'm not making this up -- "Batman's Crime Hunt A-Go-Go!" Guess what TV show was at the top of the ratings?)

In early 1968, a major West Coast crime syndicate had aspirations to move into Gotham. To pave the way, they set up a series of death-traps for Batman and engaged Mister Esper's services in leading the Dark Knight into them. Esper eagerly took their money, but he wanted the satisfaction of killing Batman himself.

Realizing that Gotham's most notorious felons shared his feelings and wouldn't appreciate out-of-town rivals, Esper planted the details of each trap in the Penguin's mind. Gathering the Catwoman, the Joker, the Cluemaster, the Mad Hatter, the Getaway Genius, and Johnny Witts, the Penguin explained that "the syndicate will hardly permit US to continue operating here -- cutting in on their profits. So they'll knock us off too! Ergo -- we must join forces -- team up to spare Batman's life. By saving Batman's life, we'll actually be saving our own." The villains succeeded, though they never figured out how the information had fallen into their grasp in the first place. Likewise, while Batman eventually deduced that Esper must have been responsible for luring him into each ambush, he never ascertained the identity of his mysterious guardians (BATMAN # 201, by Gardner Fox, Chic Stone, and Joe Giella).

By the end of the year, a new criminal had begun to gain dominance among Gotham's evil elite. Known as Brainwash, his black hair, long mustache, and sunglasses concealed the face of Mister Esper. Finally ready to act on his vow to kill Batman, the villain would force the Dark Knight to see what he wanted him to see as well as hear what he wanted him to hear. He began by attaching a "thought-control-bug" to Commissioner Gordon's phone, subliminally urging him to call Batman and Robin into action that evening to stop a crime. With the Dynamic Duo occupied by the carefully-orchestrated heist, Brainwash connected a second bug to the Batmobile's ignition.

Upon turning the key, Batman found himself compelled to return to the Batcave, where he and Robin became convinced that they were being menaced by tigers and elephants in the jungle. Robin unwittingly broke the spell when he referred to seeing an African elephant alongside an Indian tiger. The always-logical Batman realized that the two beasts couldn't share the same habitat -- and that he and the Teen Wonder must be sharing a delusion. Returning to the location of the still-in-progress bank robbery, Batman and Robin captured the gang and unmasked Brainwash as Esper (BATMAN # 209, by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, and Joe Giella).

By 1977, Mister Esper had developed much grander goals than mere wealth. Now, he sought power as well. His subliminal electronics had been integrated into a bronze exoskeleton, including a helmet with antennae and microphone. Covering the metallic frame was a loose gray costume with a dark blue cape and boots. The equipment enabled Esper to tap the mental powers of the former Teen Titan known as Lilith.

The amplified Esper created a mental duplicate of himself and his twin took the persona of Captain Calamity, clad in a blue costume with orange cape and cowl. Calamity's crimes were each preceded by seemingly impossible disasters, from an East Coast locomotive whose tracks "suddenly dip and curve like a roller coaster" to "an aircraft carrier (that) rises from the sea and flies through the air" off the West Coast. The current roster of the Teen Titans faced the Captain at the site of the train robbery while several former Titans, included Lilith, and other teen heroes dealt with other menaces in California.

With each successive disaster, Mister Esper's access to Lilith's power was increasing -- as were his own now formidable abilities. When the assembled Titans East and West began to close in on him, Esper pushed their already-jangled nerves to the edge and created a full-scale brawl among the heroes. Once Wonder Girl had calmed down the crowd, Lilith revealed that she had mentally traced the tap on her powers to Mister Esper.

The villain's ultimate objective was to mentally drag Long Island itself out to sea and declare himself its ruler. "Then, with my international reputation established, I can move in on the world powers ... and slowly but surely gain control over every nation on Earth."

When a team of Titans seemed to have him on the ropes, Esper vanished. As a failsafe, he'd replaced himself with another duplicate while he "hid" as Captain Calamity. The would-be Major Disaster was felled with a single punch from the Harlequin (TEEN TITANS # 50-52, by Bob Rozakis and Don Heck. Joe Giella, the only constant in the Esper stories, inked # 50 but the villain's on-panel appearances were embellished by Frank Chiaramonte (# 51) and Bob Smith (# 52).

To date, Mister Esper has not returned, but his role in current DCU history has been reiterated in the retelling of TT # 50-52 in 1989's SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL # 3.

posted August 13, 2000 05:09 PM

"Sometimes the wiliest brains are found in the most sluggish bodies -- and as you have already discovered, men who hate exertion are notoriously clever at inventing ingenious mechanical devices with swift effectiveness." -- Don Cameron, DETECTIVE COMICS # 74.

Early in 1943, Batman and Robin stumbled across a fur robbery commandeered by a short, bald -- and very fat -- man in a suit, tie, and derby. While his gang did the work, the boss observed from a chair at the back of their storage van. He wasn't unprepared, though, and caught the Dynamic Duo by the ankles in metal wolf traps. Hoping to apprehend the gang, Batman caught a report of a second robbery at a jewelry store, seemingly perpetrated by the same rotund rogue they'd just faced. Sporting a tuxedo and top hat, the villain took B & R down with an electrified cane this time.

By this point, the Dark Knight suspected what was going on and began making inquiries at the Fat Man's Emporium about any plump twins they might have among their clientele. The only siblings that the owner could recall hadn't spoken to one another in years -- but there was another possibility. "There are the Tweed boys -- Dumfree and Deever -- who look so much alike they're often mistaken for twins, although they're only cousins. I don't know what business they're in, but they seem to have plenty of money."

Batman had found the identities of the thieves but, in their home, the Tweeds suspected as much. "I only hope he comes here," Deever commented. "It will be his last stop in this world. All the traps are set, cousin Dumfree, and the boys are on their toes." Sure enough, Batman and Robin found themselves captured and immobilized when they entered the Tweed household.

With their adversaries imprisoned, the cousins dressed up as "Alice In Wonderland"'s Tweedledum and Tweedledee (with their gang outfitted as the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter) and left "for the War Bond masked ball -- a benefit performance -- for our own benefit!" The Dynamic Duo escaped in time to capture the entire troupe at the ball. "They were too big for the paddy wagon, but there'll be cells to fit at the big house" (DETECTIVE COMICS # 74, by Don Cameron, Jerry Robinson & Bob Kane and Robinson, George Roussos and Charles Paris).

"We'll stay in prison just long enough to plan a finish for you -- Batman!"

"And then we'll be back!"

True to their word, the boys returned only four months later, this time operating a scam out of the rural Hunter's Inn far from Gotham. Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Alfred Beagle had paid a visit to the vacation spot after several wealthy men had been robbed there. Almost immediately, Batman and Robin stumbled onto a theft in progress but the plump, bearded proprietor helped the thugs get away when he tossed a globe of bees at the heroes. ("I may add that I'm immune to them.") The arrival of a second fat man tipped Batman off to the rogues he was dealing with, but the Tweed cousin knocked them out with poison gas and left them for dead.

The quick-thinking Alfred snuck his charges out of the Inn and drove away. They returned the next morning to find no sign of the Tweeds. There were other discrepancies, too, notably the fact that "this hotel entrance faces south, but last night, judging from the moon," the hotel faced north. Incredibly, Tweedledum and Tweedledee had converted a vacant house into a replica of Hunter's Inn. Using a mechanical switchboard, the cousins concealed the true route to the Inn -- while opening a path to their own -- by electronically moving several artificial trees. Secretly using the switchboard, Batman was able to give the police a clear trail to the false lodge (BATMAN # 18, by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson).

The Tweeds escaped once more and, still determined to avoid Gotham, they set up shop in "the remote village of Yonville" in 1944. The cousins ran for mayor as "the two-in-one candidate" ("Get double efficiency!") and handily won the election. Attracted by the publicity, Batman and Robin found their old foes were back at work. The heroes were tossed in the local hoosegow on a misdemeanor (courtesy of one of the Tweed's new laws) and Batman, declaring "we never fight the law", decided to stick around until he figured out what the boys were up to.

It didn't take long. Gold was discovered on the Tweed's new property and the cousins magnanimously gave the riches to the townspeople. Once the mine paid a dividend, the Tweeds offered to let the citizens reinvest their money. Draining their life savings and mortgaging their homes, the people of Yonville did just that. To Batman and Robin, the scheme was obvious: Tweedledum and Tweedledee had planted gold in the worthless mine to separate the locals from their money.

The Dynamic Duo broke out of jail and confronted the Tweeds in their mine. Partially buried by the villains' pre-arranged trap, B & R were due to be killed once dynamite was detonated throughout the cavern. "Instead of thirty days in jail, you'll spend eternity here!" Using a fallen board as leverage, the heroes pried the debris from their bodies and escaped, but the entire town was rocked by the explosions. Thrown into a crater as they sped away, the Tweeds were horrified when Robin spotted "gold! A vein an inch thick and who knows how long and wide?"

The grateful community unanimously declared Batman their interim mayor and the Caped Crusader agreed to hold the post long enough to pass sentence on the swindlers. In a surreal scene, Batman sat behind a judge's platform as Robin, wearing a police chief's hat and badge, directed them to "step lively, boys. The pleasure of locking you up is all mine" (BATMAN # 24, by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang).

Thirty years later, DC reprint czar E. Nelson Bridwell reminded everyone of Tweedledee and Tweedledum's status in Batman's rogues gallery when he reprinted their three appearances in WORLD'S FINEST # 209 (1972), DETECTIVE # 443 (1974), and LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITION # C-25 (1974), respectively. Still the Tweeds evidently weren't regarded as much of a challenge to the 1970s Dark Knight and they were reduced to cameos in an audience of criminals in BATMAN # 291 and 294 (1977). An appearance with other villains in 1983's DETECTIVE # 526 proved little better and found the boys "beaten half to death" by Killer Croc.

The cousins escaped from prison in 1986 (BATMAN # 400) but had been returned to Arkham by late 1987. "In an experimental treatment, parts of the Tweed brothers' [SIC] brains had been replaced with electrodes and transistors (they can't afford silicon chips here). Deever and Dumfree tended to twitch a lot after that, and the lights in their eyes surged and dimmed with the current in Arkham's ancient wiring ... They smelled like ozone and machine oil and filled the air with static electricity" (SECRET ORIGINS # 23, by Rick Veitch and Brett Ewins).

Still in Arkham, Tweedledee and Tweedledum were a behind-the-scenes presence as pals of the Mad Hatter in 1989's BLACK ORCHID # 2, a logical partnership that no one ever followed up on. The Tweeds were still hooked up to the asylum walls in 1990's ANIMAL MAN # 24 but escaped with the Joker a few months later in WORLD'S FINEST # 1-3 (by Dave Gibbons, Steve Rude, and Karl Kesel). Rendered virtually mute, the cousins displayed uncharacteristic agility (to say nothing of humility) as they carried out all of the Joker's plans. It was back to Arkham again in BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 3-4 (1992). A flashback in LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT # 38 established the boys in the asylum (performing custodial chores) quite early in Batman's career.

A few years before Neron made his offer of power to a multitude of villains, Tweedledum and Tweedledee made their own deal with the devil, specifically a former lord of hell named Asteroth who'd fallen on hard times and was reduced to the status of a vagrant in a Gotham back-alley. There, the demon met the Tweeds, who proposed an alliance:

"With OUR knowledge of Gotham and its criminal set-up, and YOUR hellish abilities ..."

" ... we'll have this city eating out of our hands in no time!"

The electrified cane that Dumfree Tweed used once back in DETECTIVE # 74 was revived as the cousins' weapon of choice. They used it not only to supply the flesh-eating Asteroth with victims but to force the demon's gang to swear allegiance to THEM as well as 'Roth.

The Tweeds also provided valuable fashion advice, observing that prospective gang members would "never accept you looking like THAT, Asteroth. They'll think you're a rock musician. Hoodlums are nothing if not conservative. We need traditional gangster apparel." One burst of sulphuric flame later, the trio was dressed in the requisite hats, suits, and ties -- plus violin case --that one might have seen in an old crime movie.

In no time at all, the Tweeds had provided 'Roth with a gang that he appropriated from another would-be mob boss and took his base ("The Devil-Spawn Club") as their own. Asteroth soon ran afoul of Etrigan the Demon when he attempted to steal the mystic Eternity Book and decided to maintain a low profile for a time (1993's THE DEMON # 31-33, by Alan Grant, Rich Hedden, and Tom McWeeney).

Within a year, Tweedledum and Tweedledee were once again huddled around a flaming metal barrel in an alley, kicked out by a demon who no longer required their services. Consequently, they were only too happy to provide hitman Tommy Monaghan with plenty of details on Gotham's demon crimelord. With 'Roth out of the way, the Tweed's imagined that they could fill the void ("after the precautionary removal of Hitman") and asked to join Tommy on his outing. The telepathic Hitman knew exactly what they were thinking and envisioned their tombstone, complete with epitaph: "Tragically shot thirty or forty times."

The end result was a firefight between various forces in a Gotham cemetary -- plus a monstrous Gothodaemon summoned by 'Roth. Etrigan banished the demon back to Hell and Hitman was forced to make a quick retreat, much to the delight of the cousins (1994's THE DEMON # 43-45, by Garth Ennis and John McCrea).

"And now the way is clear for us to rule the Gotham mob!"

"Oh, yes! Oh, happy day!"

"Let's take a look at it, brother [SIC] mine!"

"You got it! Big, beautiful Gotham City --"

In unison: " -- and it's all ours!" Staring directly into the faces of a dozen police officers, the Tweeds added, "Oops." It was back to Arkham for the boys (THE CREEPER # 7), at least until they and the rest of the inmates made their escape on the eve of "No Man's Land" (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT # 80-82). With Gotham soon to be cut off from luxuries like food and electricity, the cousins decided to head for more civilized territory. They haven't been heard from since.

The Tweeds were the subject of two separate WHO'S WHO entries, one in WW '87 # 24 (art by Bill Sienkiewicz) and the other in WW '91 # 7 (art by Norm Breyfogle). The classic Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Lewis Carroll-Sir John Tenniel fame appeared in 1985's THE OZ-WONDERLAND WAR # 1.

posted August 13, 2000 06:39 PM

THANK YOU MIKISHAWM!!! This was one of the most entertaining texts yet. Someone better bring back the Tweeds soon.

What was the feature of SECRET ORIGINS #23?

posted August 14, 2000 12:50 AM

I liked the character of Nocturna a lot. She was sexy, smart, and drove old Bats wild with her perfume. He was putty in her hands. The man in black she hung around with was her brother ... I think! I haven't read that story in many years. I'll have to dig it up out of my Batman closet. The artwork in those comics was super! They don't draw like that anymore. It takes too much time and costs too much money.

posted August 14, 2000 03:55 AM

How about international allies such as:
Knight and Squire

posted August 14, 2000 06:00 AM

It may be the weekend before I get back to the bios but 'the Batmen of Many Nations' are on the list. First up, though, will be Doctor Phosphorus.


Glad you liked the Tweeds piece!

The feature in SECRET ORIGINS # 23 was the origin of the Floronic Man. The opening gave capsule comments on several of the Arkham inmates.

posted August 15, 2000 05:12 AM

How about denizens of Wayne Manor?
Alfred's Outsider career
Harriet Cooper
Alfie's French daughter
Thomas and Martha Kane Wayne
Ace the Bat-Hound
Midnight the Wayne Manor cat

posted August 15, 2000 08:14 AM

The mighty Mikishawm had covered Alfred's career as the Outsider (including much info about Aunt Harriet Cooper, then in the Manor) at


posted August 15, 2000 08:42 AM

I'm not sure if the above link had a complete checklist for Aunt Harriet, but it certainly gave many examples of her appearances. Miki can tell us for sure.

Also, Mikishawm wrote a great biography of Alfred at


This included info about Alfred and Mlle. Marie's pre-Crisis daughter, Julia. Other members on that thread also touched on Alfred's war years and his daughter.

Of course, the master Mikishawm may very well want to add more about Julia and Aunt Harriet on this thread. I'm just giving out these links in the meantime, as I know he's always hard at work preparing bios for us. In fact, I personally count his Outsider page and his Alfred bio page and his Birds of Prey timelines as unofficial extra pages of this thread.

posted July 16, 2000 01:03 PM

Well, you asked for it ...

Alfred was introduced by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1943’s BATMAN # 16, portrayed as a rotund, comical Englishman who had forsaken his acting career to serve as butler to the Wayne family as the result of a promise to his father, Jarvis, on his deathbed. Batman and Robin met Alfred first, when the amateur detective became tangled in a case at the docks. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were horrified when Alfred showed up at their doorstep and made himself at home. Out of respect to his beloved Jarvis, Bruce resisted sending his new butler packing. Eventually, Alfred helped B&R crack a case and followed up by telling Bruce and Dick that he knew who they really were. The butler credited his “deductive abilities” but he’d REALLY accidentally stumbled onto the Batcave entrance the previous evening.

Swearing him to secrecy, Batman declared that “you’re one of us now, Alfred.”

“I understand perfectly, and you may rely utterly on my discretion.”

Nine months after his debut, Alfred’s appearance was remodelled to reflect the actor in the forthcoming “Batman” movie serial. He was now pencil thin and had a slim mustache. The official explanation, in late 1943’s DETECTIVE # 83, was that Alfred had gone to a health resort when he “felt (he) lacked a certain dash and elegance that would enhance (his) value as your crime-fighting assistant.”

Alfred went on to enjoy a solo series of four-page installments in BATMAN # 22-32, 34, and 36 (1944-1946). He was provided with a last name, Beagle, in DETECTIVE # 96’s “Alfred, Private Detective”. Alfred remained in the Wayne household until Bruce’s daughter, Helena, had moved out and Bruce died. He subsequently managed the New Stratford Repertory Theatre (1982’s WONDER WOMAN # 294-295) and continued to assist Robin when the need arose (1984’s INFINITY, INC. # 9). The roly poly 1943 incarnation of Alfred Beagle returned briefly during “Zero Hour” in SHADOW OF THE BAT # 31 (1994).

The origin of Earth-One’s Alfred was presented in 1957’s BATMAN # 110. This account found an already slim Alfred answering Bruce Wayne’s classified ad for a butler and discovering the identities of Batman and Robin one night when Dick summoned him to the Batcave to help a wounded Bruce. Len Wein presented a variation on the story in 1980’s UNTOLD LEGEND OF THE BATMAN # 2, also adding the revelation that Alfred had “help(ed) countless Nazi refugees escape the Nazi oppression.”

BATMAN # 104 (1956) identified Alfred’s middle names as Thaddeus Crane and issue # 216 (1969) provided him with the last name of Pennyworth. The latter also introduced his actor relatives, brother Wilfred and niece Daphne. Daphne returned in BATMAN # 227 as did Wilfred, behind the scenes, in SUPER FRIENDS # 5.

Alfred “died” in DETECTIVE # 328 (1964), belatedly revealed to have been the Outsider (1966’s ‘TEC # 356), who menaced Batman and Robin in ‘TEC # 334, 336, 340, and 349 when the “Batman” TV series included the butler in its cast. He co-starred in a story with Commissioner Gordon in BATMAN FAMILY # 11 and had subsequent solo adventures in DETECTIVE # 486 & 489 and BATMAN # 347.

Gerry Conway picked up on Alfred’s World War Two service record in 1981’s DETECTIVE COMICS # 501-502. Batman learned that Lucius Fox and Alfred had both worked with Mlle. Marie during the war, “Fox in 1943, on behalf of the O.S.S. and Pennyworth, in 1944, as an officer in British Intelligence.” In the course of the story, Alfred and Marie were revealed to have had an affair that produced a daughter, Julia. Marie was murdered soon after and Julia’s foster father, Jacques Remarque, revealed the child’s existence to Alfred when she was two. Alfred sent financial support for years with the agreement that she never learn of his existence or relationship with Marie.

Doug Moench returned Julia to the series in late 1983, wherein Jacques Remarque was murdered and avenged (BATMAN # 364, 366, 368-369; ‘TEC # 532, 535-536). In 1984, Julia moved into Wayne Manor (BATMAN # 370) and got a job with Vicki Vale at Picture News (BATMAN # 373). She left the series when Moench did (1986’s BATMAN # 400).

Meanwhile, Frank Miller had enjoyed using the sardonic Alfred in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS so much that he couldn’t resist breaking with tradition and establishing him in the Wayne household from the outset of Batman’s career in 1986’s “Batman: Year One” (BATMAN # 404-407). The details of Alfred’s early days have been sketched in gradually over the past fifteen years.

The Pennyworths had a long history in the service of the Wayne family. Jarvis Pennyworth had served as butler to Thomas Wayne and his father, Patrick. Jarvis’ father had been the Wayne retainer before him. Jarvis intended for his son, Alfred, to follow in his tradition but the young man had other plans (1989’s BATMAN ANNUAL # 13; script: Kevin Dooley).

Both Alfred and his mother spent much of each year in their native England, where the boy received “a traditional British education, graduating third in (his) class, although (his) main interest in school was stage acting” (1994’s BATMAN # 0; script: Doug Moench). Jarvis and Alfred were reunited on regular vacations, however, and it was during their summer hunting outings in Essex that Alfred became adept at handling firearms (1997’s BATMAN SECRET FILES # 1; script: Scott Beatty).

Once her eldest son, Wilfred, had begun to achieve success in the theatre (1969’s BATMAN # 216; script: Frank Robbins), Mrs. Pennyworth succumbed to the lure of the stage and returned to acting in Britain. After a stint in the military, where he enhanced his weaponry skills and received extensive medical training, Alfred followed his mother and brother’s career choice (BATMAN ANNUAL # 13).

Eventually, the young man fell in love with an actress named Joanna Clark and the couple made plans to wed. The ceremony was interrupted by a cad named Jonny Forsythe, who’d been having an affair with Joanna for months. When she admitted that Jonny was telling the truth (“I just didn’t want to hurt you.”), Alfred punched his rival and stormed out of the church (1995’s NIGHTWING: ALFRED’S RETURN; script: Alan Grant).

Within months, Alfred suffered a second blow when Jarvis became terminally ill. With his father on his deathbed, Alfred agreed to abandon acting and travel to the United States to become Thomas Wayne’s butler (1996’s BATMAN CHRONICLES # 5; script: Alan Grant). “Mother, on the road, couldn’t attend father’s funeral” (BATMAN ANNUAL # 13). Grieving for his father and angry over being forced to abandon his beloved career, Alfred became drunk for the first time in his life on the eve of his departure for America (NIGHTWING: ALFRED’S RETURN # 1).

Still, Alfred made the best of the situation, putting on his best face when he arrived at Wayne Manor and delivering a crisp summary of his credentials:

“While my accomplishments are modest, Sir and Madam, I assure you they fulfill all the requirements of valet, butler and waiter. My background consists of a traditional British education, graduating third in my class, although my main interest in school was stage acting. I specialized in character roles requiring makeup disguise and vocal mimicry. After school, among other pursuits, I performed medic duty in the service. Medical advances remain a keen area of interest to this day.

“I am also a fully trained chauffeur, four-star chef, and quite the all-purpose Mr. Fix-It and auto mechanic, if I daresay so myself. In summation, my sole ambition is to carry on in my retired father’s place, serving the Wayne family for as long as I am fit” (BATMAN # 0).

Alfred’s optimism lasted for exactly one week, at which point he tendered his resignation. “As you know, I took this position because of a promise I made to my father on his deathbed. As your family retainer for many decades, he made me SWEAR I would follow him. But I am not a man who likes to be forced into anything. I feel that I am here under false pretense. ... The past -- and England -- is behind me. I don’t know WHAT I shall do -- only that it must be something I positively WANT!”

Alfred’s conversation with Tom and Martha was interrupted by the arrival of young Bruce, sporting a black eye and bruises -- and refusing to divulge their origin. The butler discreetly brought a meal to the boy’s room and pulled a copy of “Zorro” from his jacket. “I found THIS in the library, sir. Knowing your parents don’t approve of such literature, I wondered if it might be yours?”

A mutual passion for Zorro broke the ice and Alfred responded to Bruce’s query as to how “the little things (could) ever beat the big things.”

“By using the mind, Sir. Know what you want -- and then think how you can achieve it.”

Taking Alfred’s advice, Bruce plotted an elaborate revenge that climaxed with a bucket of molasses on the head of the bully who’d been terrorizing him. As Alfred and Bruce shared a laugh over the turn of events, Martha entered the kitchen with a copy of Zorro, demanding to know why Bruce had been reading such “corrupt” literature. Insisting that “the offending article is mine,” the butler assured her that he would make penance by “retir(ing) to bed for a week without supper.”

“But I thought you were leaving ...?”

“Mrs. Wayne, my father once told me that the perfect butler is allowed to change his mind only ONCE in his life. For Alfred Pennyworth, that occasion MAY be afoot” (BATMAN CHRONICLES # 5).

The murder of Thomas and Martha added a new responsibility to Alfred’s shoulders, that of surrogate father. Learning from Leslie Thompkins that “the state intended to assume his custody and care,” Bruce “quickly prepared and filed various forms and documents - a blizzard of paperwork. The bureaucracy somehow lost track of him and young Bruce remained in Wayne Manor” under Alfred’s tutelage (BATMAN # 0).

Alfred and Leslie cared for Bruce as he grew up and prepared to avenge the deaths of his parents. Several lonely years in Wayne Manor while Bruce traveled abroad seemed to take their toll of the butler. When his now-adult charge returned, Alfred announced his intention to resign and return to the stage. Once again fate intervened and Pennyworth awoke a few months later to discover a trail of blood leading to a wounded Bruce -- who had decided to become a bat! Putting his medical training to use, Alfred observed that “by some nod of fate, we have the same blood type” (BATMAN ANNUAL # 13).

Now the servant of The Batman, Alfred found a new series of challenges ahead of him, preparing a costume for the fledgling crimefighter, training him in the art of make-up, “coach(ing) him in the ‘role’ of Bruce Wayne”, and deflecting suspicion away from Bruce’s secret life. In the end, he told Bruce that “being your butler COULD be fulfilling. An actor convinces the audience of a reality. Every day I’ll be CONVINCING people you are LESS than you ARE.”

“But you know, Alfred, as your father was to my father, you could NEVER be JUST a butler.”

“I also realize there’s no shame in being a butler, to serve someone you care for,” he thought to himself. “I will even act as if your nocturnal excursions don’t bother me, that my heart does not CRY with each wound. I’ll KNOW I am doing the good one man can do” (BATMAN ANNUAL # 13).

John Moores
posted July 17, 2000 06:17 PM

Don't know what I can add to Mikishawm's excellent version...

Alfred Beagle harboured an ambition to be a private detective, and was seldom seen without the book "How To Be A Detective". Beagle's acting career had consisted of low rent, music hall (what the U.S. calls "vaudeville") plays with exaggerated cockney dialogue. Alfred attended "Wheeton" public school - (DETECTIVE #82 - a play on Eton) where he excelled at rugby.

Alfred Beagle once wooed a beautiful maid called Belinda, who not only was being squired by other butlers in town, but was also the Catwoman in disguise, hoping to get info about the butlers' masters' houses! Alf dressed as Batman to impress "Belinda", but was captured and had to be rescued by the real Batman!

According to the Sunday newspaper strip of May 7, 1944, one of Alfred's ancestors "was first around the Horn"; however Alfred doesn't share his nautical aptitude, becoming very seasick!

Alfred has a niece, Valerie, whom he writes to and tells fanciful stories of being an industrial magnate. An unscrupulous female crook posed as Valerie, only to be captured by Batman, Robin, and her "uncle".

Alfred Pennyworth gained super-powers in 1959, and took up the name The Eagle. These powers thankfully didn't last long.

Interestingly, Alfred is considered by the Joker to be a thorn in his side, which is strange considering he doesn't know Batman is Bruce Wayne. Alf has had a few encounters with the Joker, most notably in a 1977 B&B co-starring Black Canary (can't rememeber the number but I guess it'd be in the #120-140s) - which was enough for Alfred to be a part of Joker's "Victim-Go-Round" in BATMAN #324 (? - 1980).

Alfred's full name is Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth.

That's all I can think of, at the moment, and with most of my comic's packed away, I'm doing this off the top of my head....

Hope it helps a little....

posted July 17, 2000 08:05 PM

Just a quick note to thank John for his excellent follow-up! I'd completely forgotten about Alfred's OTHER niece! Anyone want to assume Daphne has a sister?

By the way, that Batman-Black Canary-Alfred-Joker story was in 1978's BRAVE & BOLD # 141 and is a real treat!

posted December 06, 2000 05:59 AM

When Julius Schwartz became editor of the Bat-books in 1964, he shook things up with a more realistic art style (personified by Carmine Infantino in DETECTIVE # 327), added a circle around Batman’s chest emblem (all the better to trademark), updated the Batcave (with an elevator replacing the steps behind the grandfather clock, plus a hotline to police headquarters) and Batmobile, introduced a prospective romantic interest (the GCPD’s Patricia Powell) and launched a new recurring series (the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City).

And, to break up the all-male household in Wayne Manor, he ordered the death of Alfred, who heroically died while shoving Batman and Robin out of the path of a falling boulder. In honor of their friend, Bruce created a charitable organization, the Alfred Foundation. Arriving on the scene within days of Alfred’s death was Dick Grayson’s aunt, Harriet Cooper, who announced her intention to take care of the boys in the manner to which they’d been accustomed (DETECTIVE # 328, by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella). Over the next several months, she nearly tumbled onto details of Bruce and Dick’s other life, such as the hotline (‘TEC # 331, 340) and the elevator to the Batcave (# 351).

Batman and Robin had a more serious problem in the form of the Outsider, a man whom they’d never seen but who vowed that “your days will be filled with unimagined perils. It will end when I take away your most prized possession -- YOUR VERY LIFE!” Through intermediaries such as the Grasshoppers (‘TEC # 334), a witch (# 336, later revealed as a brainwashed Zatanna in JLofA # 51), and the Blockbuster (# 349), and on his own (# 340), the Outsider menaced the Dynamic Duo into early 1966.

And then came the “Batman” TV show -- with both Aunt Harriet and Alfred as part of the supporting cast. Schwartz felt he had no choice. Alfred had to return to the comic book and the Outsider would be his vehicle. In the summer of 1966, ‘TEC # 356 (by Gardner Fox, Moldoff, & Giella) revealed the “Inside Story of the Outsider”, finally seen on-panel as a hairless albino covered with white lumps clad only in purple briefs.

For reasons unknown, Alfred had not been embalmed but was buried in a refrigerated mausoleum. It was there that a scientific genius stumbled onto readings of life with his audiometer. Retrieving Alfred’s body, Brandon Crawford attempted a radical experiment to revive him -- and created a new lifeform instead. Suffering a complete personality reversal, the new being hated Batman and Robin as much as Alfred had loved them. “I don’t feel HUMAN anymore. I am OUTSIDE the human race. Yes! I -- am -- the -- Outsider!!”

In a desperate face-to-face encounter, Batman knocked the Outsider beneath the rays of the regeneration machine -- and watched his foe transformed into Alfred. Fearing that their loyal friend would be traumatized if he learned of his double life, the Dynamic Duo vowed to keep the Outsider’s identity a secret.

The final page tied up loose ends, with Crawford offered a post in the Alfred (soon to be Wayne) Foundation and Aunt Harriet invited to stay on in the household to help with Alfred’s convalescence.

The threat of the Outsider was not quite over. Before his restoration, the villain had set one last long-range plan into motion. On March 4, 1967, Batman and Robin would be executed in a death-trap during Gotham’s Founder’s Day parade. Subconsciously recalling the plot, a sleep-walking Alfred left clues to the trap in the days leading up to the parade and enabled Batman and Robin to evade their deaths (‘TEC # 364).

Soon after, Aunt Harriet’s health took a turn for the worse and she was rushed to Gotham General for emergency surgery (‘TEC # 373). She recovered at Wayne Manor (appearing for the last time in 1968’s # 380, plus a mention in # 383) but, not wanting to be a burden and regarding herself as redundant alongside Alfred, Harriet moved out. She continued to stay in touch, though, sending a housewarming gift when Bruce moved into his Wayne Foundation penthouse (mentioned in BATMAN # 226) and visiting during the Christmas seasons (BATMAN FAMILY # 4).

In 1977, a blow to the head reactivated Alfred’s evil alter-ego and a mysterious figure named Mister O began challenging Man-Bat in New York City with a new string of villains, including Snafu (BATMAN FAMILY # 11) and the Sunset Gang. Meanwhile, he made arrangements to draw Batgirl and Robin into his web (# 12), planning to kill them and supernaturally destroy Manhattan as a warning to Batman that he would be next. Instead, one of the Outsider’s own weapons caused him to split into two separate beings -- himself and Alfred! Mister Pennyworth knocked the Outsider off a bridge into the water below and promptly passed out. He regained consciousness with no memory of what had occurred (# 13, which also contained a two-page recap of the Outsider’s 1960s appearances).

In what must have seemed an irrestible combination, the Outsider returned one final time in 1985’s DC COMICS PRESENTS # 83 to face Superman, Batman, and ... the Outsiders. Seeking revenge against the World’s Finest team because of an earlier encounter in BRAVE & BOLD # 192, Ira “I.Q.” Quimby had learned of Alfred’s alter-ego -- and his relationship to Batman -- and revived the Outsider under his control. With encouragement from the Man of Steel, Alfred (in a transitional state) shook off the mind-control before forgetting recent events.

The Outsider’s final appearance to date was his entry in WHO’S WHO ‘86 # 17.

posted August 15, 2000 11:35 AM

Were can I buy BLACK ORCHID #2? Is it Vertigo?

posted August 15, 2000 05:20 PM

BLACK ORCHID # 2 (by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean) was part of the pre-Vertigo line, but the trade paperback collection of # 1-3 that I got through the Science Fiction Book Club is stamped Vertigo. The ISBN number on the trade is 0-930289-55-2.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll get to all of them eventually. My friend Mike Tiefenbacher just bought 150+ old DCs for me (including BATMAN # 175, 177, 178, DETECTIVE # 302, and BATMAN ANNUAL # 2) so I'll be spending the next week reading those.

Mondo thanks to Superstone for providing the links!

Midnight the Wayne Manor cat?!?!

posted August 15, 2000 09:45 PM

First named in the "Goodnight, Midnight" story in BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE special, appears to be Alfred's pet cat, not Bruce's.

Jo Sef31
posted August 15, 2000 10:29 PM

Mikishawm, I have been sitting in wonder reading this thread for the last thirty minutes. You have brought back a lot of memories for me. I too enjoyed the Conway/ Newton stories of the late '80's. I have been reading Batman since 1982 when I discovered BATMAN FROM THE 30's TO THE 70's. I thought that I knew a lot about Batman but you leave me quite humbled. Two questions though, which story was The Monk which you disliked so and also how about a history of Calendar Man. Thanks, love your work.

posted August 15, 2000 10:57 PM

Is there also a Vertigo title called BLACK ORCHID? Because I found #2 of BLACK ORCHID, but it said it was Vertigo on the cover, I'M VERY CONFUSED!

Thanks for the info the TP, by the by.

posted August 16, 2000 08:05 PM

DeNile -- There was an ongoing BLACK ORCHID series from Vertigo after the original square-spine mini-series. That's the issue # 2 that you have.

Jo -- The Monk and Calendar Man. Check! (Boy, this list is getting long.)

Korbal -- Thanks for tipping me off as to the whereabouts of Alfred's cat.

Carlo -- Thanks for the job recommendation. After the day I've had, I REALLY want a change! Somehow, though, I think Joseph Illidge and company might have other ideas.

posted August 18, 2000 02:47 AM

To Whom It May Concern at DC...

I don't know if anyone over there has read any of this board, but if you check out the length of this thread and the entries herein, you may come to the conclusion that there is some kind of a market for a "Who's Who in Gotham City" and that this Mikishawm cat should be the one to do it.

Now I solemnly swear that this is an unsolicited opinion, and I do not know Mikishawm. I've been following his threads for quite some time, and his timelines and histories are the most well thought out and researched essays I've seen. Another point is that his histories are far more detailed than any published Who's Who entry I've ever seen from DC.

Anyone agree?

DC - Please consider.

posted August 18, 2000 07:01 PM

Fafhrd -- Wow! I am REALLY flattered! A "Who's Who In Gotham" would be a lot of fun to do. I don't know if DC's interested, but everyone here has certainly convinced ME that there's an audience hungry for it. Thanks again!

And a tip of the hat, Hellstone, for your vote of support. I finally got my box o' comics with the new STARMAN today so I'm aiming to have the long-promised Doctor Phosphorus bio posted here on Saturday.

Meanwhile, expect to see my Frank Robbins and Matches Malone articles in THE O'NEIL OBSERVER # 2 -- still planned as an insert in COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE # 83 late this year. Scott McCullar will be well represented there, too.

posted August 19, 2000 03:32 PM

A leering skeletal face -- projected by lasers -- leered down at the audience of a rock concert at Gotham's Sprang Stadium. Toxic phosphorus fumes were being pumped through the ventilation system into the sealed dome. The audience's life span, the madman cackled, could now be measured in minutes. The death toll from the ensuing stampede for an exit and the poison is unknown, but Police Chief O'Hara would later shudder that "it was TERRIBLE!"

Nearly twenty-four hours earlier, in the wee hours of a winter morning in early 1977, Gotham General Hospital had unexpectedly been thrust into crisis mode when more than four dozen citizens were admitted in the span of an hour. Among the victims rendered comatose by a fast-acting poison was one Alfred Pennyworth, butler to millionaire Bruce Wayne. Three minutes after Wayne had brought Alfred to the hospital, The Batman was on the case.

The Dark Knight soon learned that the police had already received a note claiming credit for the outbreak: "Phosphorus BURNS when exposed to the AIR! The good citizens of Gotham City have earned my RIGHTEOUS WRATH, and THEY will BURN for it -- for I am -- Dr. Phosphorus."

Systematically checking off possible avenues that might have spread the virus, Batman hit on the source just as he prepared to drink a glass of water. "Of course! Gotham's a twenty-four hour town, so it must be only night-workers who have drunk water so far. But there'll be SEVEN MILLION MORE PEOPLE getting up in the next two hours -- !" The alert reached Commissioner Gordon too late -- he'd already been infected -- but a call to the Assistant Commissioner enabled the water system to be sealed off before the count of victims began to multiply into the hundreds of thousands.

Batman himself headed for the Gotham Reservoir and found the instigator of the Phosphorus Plague was still on the scene. The madman was a ghastly sight, a glowing skeleton whose nearly invisible flesh surrounded him in a white outline. The aura, he proclaimed, was "living phosphorus" and the flaming man proved more than an unprotected Batman could withstand. Suffering from multiple burns, the Dark Knight could only watch as his deranged foe fled. "You never say die, Batman! That is why I cannot kill you now ... not on our first encounter. The thrill of the game would be ended too soon!" (DETECTIVE COMICS # 469, by Steve Englehart, Walt Simonson, and Al Milgrom)

Although the radioactive burns represented a clear problem, the Dark Knight was determined to see the case through to its conclusion. The Gotham City Council didn't help matters when they inexplicably banned Batman's activities during the recovering Commissioner Gordon's absence. In the wake of the Sprang Stadium massacre, Batman realized that a nuclear power plant three miles offshore was the only facility in the area capable of concealing the radioactive villain.

Hoping to solve both of The Batman's problems, Bruce Wayne invited much of the City Council and other influental Gothamites to a weekend dinner party aboard his yacht -- that just happened to sail near the plant. Making his apologies to a lovely young woman named Silver St. Cloud, Bruce slipped into a radiation-shielded costume and confronted Phosphorus in the nuclear facilty. With his burning touch no longer effective, the villain made a feint intended to cast Batman into the reactor core -- only to plunge to his apparent doom (DETECTIVE # 470).

The Dark Knight didn't piece together the full story until a week later, when he eavesdropped on a meeting of Councilman Rupert Thorne's cronies (DETECTIVE # 471). After Phosphorus' first encounter with Batman at the Reservoir, he'd had an intimate conversation with Doctor Bell, a practioner at Gotham General and, more importantly, a member of the City Council. Bell had induced his friend and fellow physician Alexander James Sartorius into joining the inner circle of Gotham's influential Tobacconists' Club and convinced Sartorius to invest in a forthcoming nuclear power plant.

Eventually, protests from the city's citizens forced the reactor to be constructed outside the city limits, three miles offshore. "Now, the plant needed more money to cover the structural changes -- and there was no more money. We had already dangerously overextended ourselves -- so we had to cut corners elsewhere." While checking out the site in a private tour in November of 1976, Sartorius witnessed the newly-installed reactor core beginning to break open.

It was far too late to flee so the doctor took cover behind a blockade of sand bags " -- and then everything let loose!! Five million slivers of red-hot sand were driven through my body! But not -- hee hee -- ordinary sand. No! RADIOACTIVE sand -- blasted upward one level on the chemical scale. Atomic number fifteen -- silicon -- became number sixteen -- phosphorus. Phosphorus -- which must forever BURN!"

Under penalty of death, Bell was instructed by Phosphorus to muzzle Batman by declaring his activities off limits in Gotham (DETECTIVE # 469). Thorne was determined to leave Batman's outlaw status intact and the Dark Knight, whose wounds were still radioactive, was in no position to fight back. Over the next few weeks, Batman's burns were healed -- by Hugo Strange, remarkably enough (DETECTIVE # 471-473). Thorne, meanwhile, suffered a complete breakdown soon after murdering Strange and confessed to decades of wrongdoing -- including his role in hampering Batman's activities (DETECTIVE # 476).

Englehart's eight-issue run on DETECTIVE COMICS was a tribute to the entire span of the Batman series, with nods to the pre-Robin days (Hugo Strange), the detective stories of Bill Finger ("The Malay Penguin") and, in the case of Phosphorus, the science fiction era of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Before taking a sabbatical from comics, Englehart had left several stories in inventory, one of which proved to be a sequel to 'TEC # 469-470. It appeared in BATMAN # 311, with art by Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin.

The return of Doctor Phosphorus was heralded by flaming footprints outside the power plant in early 1979. After paying a brief visit to Thorne at Arkham Asylum, the skeletal terrorist prepared to punish the citizens of Gotham for once again threatening to close down "his" nuclear facility. Proclaiming to Batman that the core had given him even greater power, he shouted that "Dr. Phosphorus shall reign over all!"

While chatting with Congresswoman Barbara Gordon at a nuclear protest rally, Batman keyed in on Phosphorus' likely means of attack when Babs mentioned the chance of rain (read: reign). The Dark Knight concluded that "Phosphorus HAS to try seeding the clouds with material he's irradiated. There's no other way!" Batman -- again clothed in an anti-radiation uniform -- and Batgirl raced for the airport and, as anticipated, the villain was preparing to take off in a private plane. Batman disabled the craft by ramming it with the Batmobile, but he was rendered unconscious as a result. Doctor Phosphorus had no such problems.

With no protection from the burning man, Batgirl could do little more than dodge his attacks -- until she remembered Batman's costume. Pulling off his shielded cape, Batgirl encircled Phosphorus with it and tightened its grip with her lasso. The villain's flames were extinguished and a groggy Batman awoke to find "the situation well in hand".

Doctor Phosphorus soon joined Rupert Thorne in Arkham but spent a period at large after being freed from Arkham by Ra's al Ghul (1986's BATMAN # 400). He was soon back in his custom-made glass cell at the asylum (1989's BLACK ORCHID [first series] # 2).

By 1995, Phosphorus had been transferred to the Belle Reve facility in Louisiana and it was there that he and the other inmates were unleashed by the demonic Neron, who offered to fulfill their greatest desires in exchange for their souls. Sartorius agreed to the deal and was transformed. Now he glowed with an orange-red flame that he could control with such skill that he could wear clothing (a quaint, gangster-derived suit and tie) without burning it off (UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED # 1, by Mark Waid, Howard Porter, and Dan Green). His power, Phosphorus claimed, was "twenty times what it was" and he was now capable of projecting bursts of fiery energy from his fists.

Later the villain would wonder whether the bargain had been worth it. "Ahh, but the joy of a cigarette ... that he can hold one again" (2000's STARMAN # 67). Now a chain-smoker on the order of Infinity, Inc. ally and current DEO director Mister Bones, Phosphorus kept a cigarette clenched between his teeth as he stalked Ted (Starman) Knight through the old man's observatory home on his first outing as a free man. Sartorius had been approached by the female Mist while in Belle Reve and, newly enhanced, he agreed to work on her behalf to murder the foe of the original Mist -- Knight.

Having failed to stop the burning man with water, Ted -- already burned on the arm -- gambled on a final strategy and used his cosmic rod to knock Phosphorus into the room where he prepared his unique liquid coolant. The fire was extinguished as the fluid poured over Phosphorus and Knight knocked him out with a blow to the head by a steel bar (STARMAN [second series] # 12-13, by James Robinson, Tony Harris, and Wade Von Grawbadger).

While awaiting trial in Opal City's Cray Prison (STARMAN # 16), Phosphorus was among several flame-based beings who suffered ill health or had their powers temporarily negated by invading white Martians (mentioned in 1997's JLA # 4). Faking a relapse in 1998, Phosphorus engineered a horrific escape from Cray. "Seventeen guards were killed in the breakout, many dying hours afterwards from a severe and advanced form of radiation poisoning." A baffled Ted Knight wondered why the radiation had failed to affect him in their earlier clash (STARMAN # 41, by Robinson and Gary Erskine).

The desire for revenge against the elder Starman burned in Phosphorus but he vowed to bide his time (STARMAN # 56) and entered into an alliance with other enemies of the Knight family and their friends (# 68 and 63). Phosphorus struck the first blow against Mikaal Tomas (# 64) before making his long-awaited second attack on Ted Knight. Ted fought to a draw with an enhanced cosmic rod before making a retreat (# 65). The battle had not been without its repercussions. This time, Ted had not escaped the villain's radioative aura unscathed. "I think last time Phosphorus' powers were newly altered. He seemed unsure of their use. This time he was ready." Knight made it to a hospital, using his rod "to drain the burns' intensity" and hoping "to know the extent of my injuries" (# 67).

Taking the offensive, the dying Knight sought out Phosphorus -- in the process of looting the ravaged Opal City and quickly brought him to his knees with several quick bursts of his cosmic rod (# 70).

Although Doctor Phosphorus' ultimate fate remains unchronicled, Oracle suspects that there may be more to the villain's story than what has been revealed. Having fought him while she was Batgirl, she was initially skeptical that he was even the same person. "While this Doctor Phosphorus appears to have recovered somewhat from the tragic madness that had afflicted James Sartorius, his mental state is still far from sound. As noted, he has adopted a bizarre style of dress and the demeanor of a b-movie gunsel" (1995's UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: PATTERNS OF FEAR # 1, by Roger Stern, with illustration by Tony Harris).

Sartorius' earlier identification as Alex (DETECTIVE # 471) and his more recent name of James (PATTERNS OF FEAR # 1) may be evidence of a split personality or even bodily possession by some demonic entity.

Or maybe ... Doctor Phosphorus is just bats!

posted August 20, 2000 09:46 PM

By 1950, the legend of Batman had circled the globe. The tale of the man who built himself into a crime-fighting icon inspired imitators not just in the United States but across Europe and beyond. These are the stories of a few of them.

An English village known as Wordenshire was home to the Knight and Squire, a father and son team who were secretly the Earl of Wordenshire and Cyril. The Knight was clad in gold armor and chain mail while the Squire wore a matching tunic and archer's cap. Inspired by the story of the Bat-Signal, the duo arranged for the townspeople to sound the rectory bell whenever they were needed. These modern cavaliers rode into battle on unique motorcycles with horse's heads mounted on the front -- their war horses!

A few years earlier, Nazi spies had been captured near Stonehenge and were rumored to have hidden a fortune in stolen gold somewhere in the area. In the latter half of 1950, a band of Gotham crooks led by Matt Thorne (no relation to the Crime Doctor) learned of the gold and headed for the site of the spies' trial -- Wordenshire.

Batman and Robin pursued the gang to England and, inevitably, met their British counterparts. It was not an auspicious occasion. The Knight and the Squire entered the fray between the Dynamic Duo and the Thorne mob and unintentionally allowed the crooks to escape. Batman tried to lessen the embarrassment of the situation by suggesting that the foursome swap partners, allowing the relatively inexperienced British heroes to observe their idols in action.

Even this solution proved less than ideal. The Squire ended up a temporary hostage of Thorne, forcing Batman to stand idle while the gang fled from Stonehenge. Soon after, the Knight was nearly electrocuted, requiring Robin to save him while permitting Thorne to escape yet again.

Capping the whole disastrous affair was Thorne's discovery of the gold beneath the Earl of Wordenshire's own castle. Batman and Robin deferred to the Knight and Squire, allowing them to capture the villains on their home turf. Unfortunately, Thorne had spotted the war-horses in the Knight's version of the Batcave, deduced the hero's true identity and said as much to the assembled reporters and police. The theory failed to hold up under scrutiny, though, especially after the Earl and Cyril appeared opposite the Knight and Squire to inquire what was going on. As always, Batman and Robin's expertise with make-up and disguise was flawless (BATMAN # 62, art by Dick Sprang).

Within six months, another European Batman surrogate made his entry but, learning from the Knight and the Squire's mistakes, his country requested that the Dark Knight train him first. The prospective hero was a naturalized American who belonged to the European nationality. Simultaneously, Robin had suffered a broken leg and was forced to the sidelines for six weeks while Batman took Wingman (clad in a red and yellow costume) as his partner.

Almost immediately, paranoia sunk in and Dick Grayson became convinced he was going to be permanently replaced. Fueling his fears were comments among Gothamites that an adult made a more appropriate ally for Batman than a child and, even more devastating, a snatch of conversation that Dick overhead on his belt radio from Commissioner Gordon: "We don't need any Robin, Batman!"

The final blow came when Dick watched television footage in which Wingman flawlessly rescued Batman from a rooftop robbery. Back in the Batcave, the new hero refused to reveal his identity to the unmasked Robin. In tears, Dick confronted Batman later that evening only to learn that the Wingman he'd met earlier was Batman himself. He and Wingman had swapped identities for the night and Bruce had met Robin in that guise to test its effectiveness. If the Boy Wonder couldn't see through it, no one could. Commissioner Gordon's earlier comment, Batman added, had simply been a statement that the European nation didn't require a substitute Robin.

Embarrassed over his jealously, Dick couldn't help but express his elation that he and Batman were still going to be the Dynamic Duo (1951's BATMAN # 65, by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, and Charles Paris).

By late 1954, "The Batmen Of All Nations" had proliferated to a great enough degree that Batman decided to hold a formal conference for his counterparts in Gotham City -- inspired by a letter from Australia's Ranger. In addition to the Ranger, a masked man in a brown shirt and hat, those in attendance included France's sword-wielding Musketeer (clad in the trademark uniform), Italy's Legionary (armed with a lance and dressed like a Roman centurion), South America's Gaucho (renowned for his skill with the bolo) and, finally, the Knight and the Squire (DETECTIVE COMICS # 215, by Edmond Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff, and Charles Paris).

The heroes arrived in Gotham to a spectacular tickertape parade and Batman began a quick overview of his techniques. Casting a pall over the proceedings was the boast of a mobster named "Knots" Cardine "to commit unprecedented crimes under the very noses of these great lawmen". Rising to the challenge, the heroes took off in the direction of Cardine's first reported robbery, the Gaucho and Ranger riding their horses, the Knight and Squire astride their vehicular counterparts, and the rest crammed into the Batmobile.

The gang managed to escape and, incredibly, evaded multiple roadblocks. Only the Legionary seemed to have spotted anything -- a distinctive series of scratches on the side of the getaway car, "as though by bushes -- so their hideout must be in a thickly-wooded country region". The fact that Batman had missed the clue -- and seemed to be at a loss to explain Cardine's getaway -- shook the confidence of the other Batmen, but they kept their opinions to themselves.

Riding with Batman and Robin, the Legionary spotted the bushes that he imagined had scratched Cardine's vehicle. Batman went ahead to investigate an abandoned house in the wooded area and the other heroes could only watch helplessly as the structure exploded in a fireball. The Dark Knight, it seemed, was dead.

With Gotham in a state of shock, the international heroes vowed to avenge him. Taking over as their leader, the Legionary observed that Batman "was a great man -- but only human. ... I believe 'Knots' Cardine set this death-trap to remove Batman so he could strike at that bank currency transferal Batman was to guard".

The Legionary offered to ride with the armored van and, at an opportune moment, pulled a gun on the driver. Cardine's gang poured out of the woods and the door of the truck was opened to reveal -- Batman! With the aid of the now-arriving Robin and the others, the thieves were quickly rounded up. The Legionary was unmasked as Cardine, who'd abducted the true Roman hero the moment he landed in the United States.

"His first 'clue' made me suspect him ... he was on the dark side of that getaway car and couldn't have seen those scratches on it." Suspicious, Batman allowed the Legionary to take the lead in the investigation. As a precaution, the Dark Knight threw his batarang into the supposed hideout and, when it exploded, he allowed Robin and the others to believe him dead until he could draw Cardine's gang into the open. "Knots" had kept his mob abreast of the heroes' plans thanks to "a walkie-talkie mike inside his helmet, with his spear for an aerial".

"To think that for a moment I doubted your ability, Batman!" the Musketeer admitted. "I apologize."

"Si," added the Gaucho. "There is, after all, only one real Batman in the world!"

In 1957, the international heroes (minus the Ranger) were gathered in the United States once more, this time at the invitation of Metropolis millionaire and philanthropist John Mayhew. Years before Maxwell Lord funded the Justice League, Mayhew offered Superman, Batman, Robin, and the others a skyscraper complex that he dubbed "The Club Of Heroes". He offered to sign over the deed for the property to whomever the group chose as their chairman (WORLD'S FINEST # 89, by Ed Hamilton, Dick Sprang, and Stan Kaye).

Superman and Batman each insisted that the other was most deserving and Mayhew was forced to suggest a solution: "Whoever performs the greatest feats in the next few days will be your chairman." In an amusing display of modesty, both Superman and Batman performed their subsequent crimefighting activities with as much discretion as possible -- even as the international heroes were downplaying their own efforts in favor of the two icons.

Abruptly, though, Superman was laid low by a mysterious illness reminiscent of Kryptonite poisoning and a new hero named Lightning-Man, clad in an orange costume with a purple cape and cowl, came on the scene. Even as Lightning-Man's displays of heroism racked up, from dispersing a tornado to preventing an airplane crash, Superman and Batman suspected the worst. They feared the new crimebuster wanted to claim the chairmanship of the Club -- and the property -- for himself.

As Superman's sick spells continued at twenty-four hour intervals, Batman began to form a new conclusion, one that the Man of Steel ultimately confirmed. A fragment of a Kryptonite asteroid had entered Earth's orbit. As it passed over Metropolis each day, Superman fell into a sickly, amnesiac state. "Your strong instincts to prevent disaster, and to keep your identity secret, still moved you to action," the Dark Knight explained. "And so, unaware who you really were, you yourself became Lightning-Man. And each time, when the Kryptonite amnesia-influence passed away, you couldn't remember that you'd been Lightning-Man."

To the cheers of the other heroes, Batman told the Man of Steel that "you won the chairmanship fairly as Lightning-Man ... so we insist that as Superman, you keep it."

"I might have known all the time," added Lois Lane, "NO ONE could ever top Superman, except himself!"

In 1958, Bill Finger (with Jack Kirby on the art) rewrote the DETECTIVE # 215 episode as a Green Arrow story in ADVENTURE COMICS # 250. "The Green Arrows Of The World" included the Bowman of the Bush, the Phantom of France, and archers from Japan, Mexico, Polynesia, and Switzerland. The fake hero in this episode proved to be the Bowman of Britain.

That was then.

This is now.

In the revised history of the DC Universe, the international heroes still existed but were no longer inspired by Batman and Robin. The earliest of these heroes was Percy Sheldrake, the young man destined to be the Earl of Wordenshire. His history was related in the Roy Thomas-scripted YOUNG ALL-STARS # 22 (1988):

"My father was ... killed in North Africa (in 1940). Just prior to my twentieth birthday (in early 1942), mother and I moved from Wordenshire village to London -- where we were promptly caught in one of the Luftwaffe's bombing raids." The Shining Knight rescued Percy but his mother had perished. With Winston Churchill at his side, "Sir Justin vowed at once to take me as his Squire, so that I could serve Great Britain in a very special way. He worked with me since then, whenever he was in England ... but kept me a secret, until quite recently."

With chainmail armoring his torso and a red bandana as a mask, Percy took the identity of the Squire and joined other international heroes in June of 1942 on a "morale-building" tour of the U.S. with the Young All-Stars. The All-Stars' Tigress became enamoured of the young Englishman but he quickly brushed away her advances, revealing that his wife and young son, Cyril, waited for him back in Britain. Riding astride the Shining Knight's flying horse, Winged Victory, the Squire fought off an attack by agents of Axis Amerika but was too late to save the life of the Tigress (YAS # 23).

In the wake of the final battle with Axis Amerika (YAS # 25), the Squire prepared to return to England (YAS # 26), first joining the Shining Knight and the Seven Soldiers of Victory in their battle with the Skull (YAS # 27, a post-Crisis account of LEADING COMICS # 5). "Just wait till (Cyril's) old enough to realize his dad was once Squire to the Shining Knight, from the days of King Arthur. Say -- perhaps, one day, I'll be a Knight, and my son will be MY Squire. Wouldn't THAT be a corker?"

During the same time, the Justice Society had embarked on a good will mission to Europe to deliver "food to starving patriots" (YAS # 27, based on ALL-STAR COMICS # 14). As explained in Thomas' 1986 INFINITY, INC. # 34 (using "historical concepts created by R.J.M. Lofficier"), "during the early 1950s, several recipients of the JSA's kindness, while having no super-powers themselves, became some of the first real costumed heroes to emerge outside the borders of the United States itself:"

"The Legionary, who had been a young anti-fascist Italian in the early 1940s; the Knight and the Squire: as a British subject, the father had spent the war as a P.O.W.; The Gaucho, who, though an Argentinian, had spied for the Allies inside Nazi Germany itself; The Musketeer, who'd been a member of the French Resistance, at home with either sword or firearms; and Wingman, who, though born in neutral Sweden, had fought as a youth with the Norwegian Underground."

In 1957, the metahuman immortal known as Doctor Mist urged the creation of "a supra-national organization code-named the Dome, headquartered in (a) mansion in Paris. ... At first, only the five masked Europeans operated under the Dome's supervision, the Gaucho having returned to Buenos Aires." As the years passed, more international heroes joined and eventually the team became known as the Global Guardians.

At least two of the original heroes were still semi-active in recent years. The Legionary was part of a Global Guardians investigation of a pharmaceutical company's role in the resurrection of Agent Axis (1987's BLUE BEETLE # 20, in an R.J.M. Lofficier subplot), while the second Squire (now Sir Cyril, Earl of Wordenshire) was a British spymaster (1988's NEW TEEN TITANS # 44, also scripted by the Lofficiers).

DETECTIVE # 215 and WORLD'S FINEST # 89, by the way, were reprinted in 1968's WORLD'S FINEST # 180 and 179, respectively, while ADVENTURE # 250 was reprinted in 1982's DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST # 23.

A personal note: I've always taken a tiny bit of pride in the fact that, most likely, I played a role in the creation of the 1950s Global Guardians. In 1984, I had an article published in AMAZING HEROES # 50 that listed all of DC's international heroes. In addition to the relatively recent Global Guardians, I also included the Batmen of Many Nations and the truly obscure Wingman, whose sole 1951 appearance has never been reprinted. Imagine, my surprise, then, when Wingmen and the other 1950s heroes turned up in that issue of INFINITY, INC. I wonder if the Lofficiers read that article?

I'll be back next weekend. Still to come are ...

Aunt Harriet
Calendar Man
Julia Remarque
Killer Croc
Midnight (Alfred's cat)
The Monk
Nocturna and the Night-Thief
Thomas and Martha Wayne

Pleasant dreams, everybody!

posted August 22, 2000 11:38 PM

How about a list of business associates?

The Skeleton claims to be a close acquaintance of Bruce Wayne, but the only name which comes to mind is Lucius Fox.

Can you compile a list of other possibilities?

posted August 23, 2000 07:28 AM

The latest sighting of Sir Cyril / Squire II was a one-panel appearance in JLA #26 (Feb 99) where he had taken the identity of Knight II and had a third, female Squire on his side. They were both part of the Ultra-Marine Corps of Superbia. (They were not identified/named in this story, but Grant Morrison later explained it in an interview.)

posted August 25, 2000 12:37 AM

How about covering Alfred's extremely brief career as the costumed hero, the Eagle?

posted August 26, 2000 05:24 PM

Today's presentation, sponsored by Harvey Dent, is a two-part double-feature:

He used the darkness of the evening as effectively as The Batman, melting into the Gotham backdrop like a gray-black shadow. He plundered Gotham during that 1983 summer ... but not for himself. "I have long since stolen the night's dark secrets ... and she loves me for it. I am the night's lover, her obedient courtier, clad in the color of her eternal mystery." The Thief of Night was nothing if not melodramatic.

The looter possessed remarkable acrobatic abilities, as well, managing to strike a few sharp blows to The Batman's body with the ball of his heel and escaping after their first encounter. A second clash found the Dark Knight once again stymied. While the Gotham media had a field day with Batman's "failure", the Night-Thief returned to his lair, pulling off the mask of his bodysuit to reveal long, reddish-brown hair and a mustache. Handing the necklace from his latest heist to a receptive white-fleshed woman, he observed that "as ever, I do it for the love of night ... I do it for YOU, Nocturna" (DETECTIVE COMICS # 529, by Doug Moench, Gene Colan, and Dick Giordano).

Nocturna had grown up as a street person in Gotham, her parents long dead. At the age of twelve, the girl crossed paths with a millionaire named Charles Knight. The child touched Knight's paternal instincts and he took her to his palatial home to raise. Knight became a devoted father to the girl he named Natasha but he never pursued adoption procedures, aware that a single man would never be allowed formal custody of a teenage girl.

Charles Knight had other secrets that an adoption inquiry might have exposed as well. His fortune was fueled entirely from his life as a gang lord, a fact that Natasha only learned of when her father was assassinated by rivals. At the funeral, the young woman met Knight's natural son, Anton, who'd returned to Gotham after years of traveling in the Orient and becoming a martial arts master. He admitted that he was well aware of Charles' secret life, adding that "when his money runs out ... we can always follow in father's footsteps" (BATMAN # 363, by Moench, Don Newton, and Alfredo Alcala).

Long fascinated by the stars that she'd gazed at on so many nights as a child (and inspired, perhaps, by a famous astronomer named Knight in Opal City), Natasha found a rewarding career at the Gotham Astronomical Observatory. Natasha Knight had been studying the properties of stellar light in a vacuum when "she was indirectly exposed to a high level of laser radiation" in an accident. "There was no IMMEDIATE injury, but over a period of time, her skin was gradually leached of its natural complexion." Her flesh became chalk white and she developed "a high sensitivity to light -- indeed, direct sun in anathema to her" (DETECTIVE # 529).

The Knight fortune was quickly exhausted as medical bills piled up and she finally "submitted medical bills for compensation -- mostly from dermatologists -- dating back several years to the time of the accident". Wayne Foundation bureaucrats debated over making a settlement, with Lucius Fox suggested "she might be entitled to even FURTHER compensation". Recalling Anton's suggestion at the funeral, Natasha realized that crime was her only alternative. Having tasted wealth and privilege, she vowed to her new lover that "we shall maintain the standards to which we have become accustomed" (BATMAN # 363).

Officially, Natasha (or Nocturna, as she now called herself) would be the brains and Anton (as the Night-Thief) would be the brawn. Nonetheless, the couple's sparring sessions as Anton built up his physique transformed Nocturna into a formidible opponent as well (cited in DETECTIVE # 547). Her athletic prowess was augmented by an assortment of fashion accessories, including large earrings that doubled as throwing stars, a necklace of hollow faux pearls that contained knockout gas (DETECTIVE # 530), a stiletto hairpin (BATMAN # 377), and a belt of metal crescents that could be employed as a razor-edged whip (BATMAN # 378).

After the Thief of Night's initial forays proved a success, Nocturna decided to strike back at the Wayne Foundation for continuing to delay her financial restitution. At a weekend soiree for employees, Natasha met the elusive Bruce Wayne himself and the millionaire quickly found himself captivated by the pale woman and her penchant for romanticism.

"You can appreciate the sensation of dwelling in darkness around the clock," she told him. "If the night is made for dreams, you see, I prefer to experience them awake."

"And dream away the day? Which dreams, then are real?"

"The ones I choose to MAKE real ... under the stars."

"And what about the philosophy contending that darkness is evil?" Bruce asked.

"I fully agree. It IS evil."

As if on cue, the Night-Thief burst through a window, liberating the party-goers of their valuables while Bruce searched for an exit. Natasha merely smiled. Within hours, The Batman paid a visit to the Knight townhouse, where Natasha didn't even attempt to deny her part in the robbery. After relating her history to the Dark Knight, Nocturna stepped back while a gun-wielding Night-Thief held the hero at bay. As a farewell, she opened her compact and blew a cloud of sleep-dust into Batman's face.

Trailing the duo to the observatory, Batman found the Thief of Night's martial arts skills to be just as dangerous as ever. "It's insane! Every time I try to counter -- he fades away -- only to return with an even deadlier attack!" Seeking to neutralize the edge that the villain had in the darkness, Batman flipped a power switch and flooded the chamber with light. As he finally succeeded in rendering his foe unconscious, the Dark Knight turned to see a balloon rising from the observatory aperture. Nocturna had escaped (BATMAN # 363).

Nocturna took refuge in a cavern near Gotham where Anton had hidden their stolen treasures. It was near there that she crossed paths with a youngster named Jason Todd one evening. The Batman had had second thoughts about the boy becoming the new Robin and Jason, in response, had decided to run away. Alluding to his problems, he was advised by the mysterious woman to go back home.

Nocturna left Jason to discreetly attend Anton's trial but was spotted in the courtroom by Batman. She escaped, thanks to her knockout gas necklace, and engineered a breakout for the Night-Thief as he was driven to prison, dropping a grenade to the highway below as she watched from her airship. This time, the flight for freedom would not succeed. Batman punctured the balloon and Nocturna and the Night-Thief crashed to Earth (DETECTIVE # 530, art by Colan & Giordano). The love-struck Anton testified that his adoptive sister's "sole involvement was that of victim to his kidnapping" and Natasha was cleared on all charges (BATMAN # 377).

Can it be? Will Nocturna escape scot free for her crimes? Tune in tomorrow. Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!

posted August 27, 2000 12:38 AM

Wow, a two-parter, yet.

I knew a little bit about this storyline (and liked what I'd heard) but never found any kind of recaps or references to back issues. Thanks for filling in the blanks.

posted August 27, 2000 04:56 PM

You're welcome! Picking up where we left off yesterday:

With the Night-Thief in prison, Nocturna formed a new alliance with Sturges Hellstrom in 1984, a thief otherwise known as Nightshade. She conceived the plan -- a business that hosted horror theme parties as a cover for getting the layout for Gotham's palatial homes -- and Hellstrom carried out the crimes (BATMAN # 376, art by Newton & Alcala). Once the scheme had run it's course, Nocturna called it quits -- despite Nightshade's insistence on one last heist.

Nocturna still craved a partnership that would sustain her wealthy lifestyle and chanced on a new plan while reading the Gotham News. Bruce Wayne's guardianship of Jason Todd had been challenged and the pale woman decided to file adoption papers for the boy she'd met months earlier. In a confrontation outside the courtroom, the woman now known as Natalia Knight informed Bruce that he could spare himself his legal expenses by simply allowing her adoption request to go unchallenged -- and marry her afterwards (DETECTIVE # 543, art by Colan & Alcala).

She was unwittingly aided in her plot by two other parties, one of them the very person she sought to adopt. Jason expressed his approval of Natalia to child welfare authorities, secretly intending to expose her criminal past once the adoption had gone through. Meanwhile, Mayor Hamilton Hill, who still resented Bruce's opposition to his election, pulled strings of his own to provide Knight with custody (BATMAN # 377, art by Newton & Alcala).

Meanwhile, the Night-Thief had regained his freedom, thanks to an unexpected summer thunderstorm that temporarily rendered the prison yard as "dark as night", providing him with sufficient cover and confusion to escape. In short order, the Night-Thief killed his perceived rival, Nightshade, with a dagger to the heart. He had become, in Batman's words, "a Slayer of Night" (DETECTIVE # 543).

Nocturna was ecstatic to see her lover -- until she learned that he'd murdered Hellstrom on her behalf. Horrified, she insisted that she "chose to steal wealth and elegance from the shadows, yes, but not death -- NEVER MURDER! You've RUINED the night, cheapened its elegance! You've murdered its allure -- its very heart of romance! Leave me, Anton -- now and forever!" She threatened to "ALSO murder the night" if he failed to do so.

Crestfallen, Anton choked, "You ... have ALREADY killed me. I am ... gone."

Later that night, Batman confronted Nocturna on her balcony, where he immediately detected the scent of a narcotic that she had perfumed herself with. "I wear it in the hours of darkness," she explained. "When I am immune to its spell, bound in the embrace of a deeper intoxication." She put her arms around the Dark Knight just as a dagger flew by his ear.

"Anton -- !"

"No, Nocturna -- merely the GHOST of Anton. You see, Batman, I have been SLAIN by Nocturna herself ... but since my love for her cannot die, I will permit NO ONE ELSE to taste that love ... and so you must ALSO become a ghost -- just as Nightshade did ... and join us both in Hell!"

The battle that followed was a brutal one and the Night-Slayer seemed to finally have the advantage as he raised his dagger to stab a reeling Batman. Aghast, Nocturna fired a bullet into Anton's back and rushed to the still delirious Dark Knight, giving him a lingering kiss (BATMAN # 377). Behind them, the Night-Slayer had vanished.

Batman was staggered again when Nocturna revealed that she knew he was Bruce Wayne. "I DO want to marry you -- and not just for Bruce Wayne's wealth. Now there are reasons both dark and delirious ... reasons of the moon and the stars and the night. ... I will tell NO ONE -- and to prove that I possess a certain measure of honor, I will not even use the knowledge as a lever against you. It will remain ... a secret of the shadows. Marry me and the boy will be OURS. Refuse, and we shall fight -- but only in the courts ... only as Natalia Knight versus Bruce Wayne. This I pledge" (DETECTIVE # 544, art by Colan & Alcala). Batman rejected the proposal, of course, and Natalia Knight was granted custody of Jason Todd (BATMAN # 378).

Meanwhile, Nocturna's ties to the Night-Thief -- proven to the authorities or not --attracted the attention of the Mad Hatter, who hoped to use his unique headgear to learn the whereabouts of their hidden treasure. The plan failed but a temporarily brainwashed Nocturna, fighting Batman in sustained combat for the first time, proved to be a fierce adversary (BATMAN # 378, art by Newton & Alcala). Garbed in a blue-black costume with matching cape and slippers, Nocturna followed Batman and Robin into their battle with the Hatter's gang, capturing the ringleader herself (BATMAN # 379, art by Newton & Alcala).

Elsewhere, the wounded Night-Slayer had floated down the river Styx (a.k.a. the Gotham sewer) and was discovered by a dog named Cerberus and his master, a blind young woman named Tina who lived in a desolate shack on the outskirts of Gotham. Convinced that she'd rescued Batman, Tina nursed the man back to health and Anton didn't disabuse her of her fantasy (DETECTIVE # 545-546, art by Colan & Bob Smith).

Batman finally traced the Night-Slayer to the hovel just as Anton had made his departure. Tina refused to even permit the stranger to tell her his name and insisted that she had not seen the murderer that he was asking about. The Dark Knight returned to Natalia's penthouse to find Jason and Nocturna bound and gagged, a distraction that nearly allowed the Night-Slayer to get the jump on him again.

Batman had Anton on the ropes when a new figure crashed the party, a hitman named Doctor Fang who was hired by Mayor Hill to slay the Dark Knight. With his foe distracted, the Night-Slayer grabbed the gun that Nocturna had shot him with earlier -- and fired. The bullet killed Fang and grazed Batman's skull. Bleeding and disoriented, the hero became convinced that he'd slain Doctor Fang himself: "...and now I've ... KILLED one ... a slayer in the night ... I'm a night-slayer." Seizing the moment, Anton traded costumes with Batman -- failing to recognize Bruce's face -- and sent the "fugitive" running into the night (BATMAN # 380, art by Rick Hoberg & Alfredo Alcala).

Anton, in his new cosume, began a four night spree of terror and The Batman became public enemy number one. Nocturna and Robin joined forces in an attempt to stop him but only ended up with bruises for their efforts (DETECTIVE # 547, art by Pat Broderick & Klaus Janson).

"My training was interrupted by this whole adoption fiasco you started. And THAT'S why I'm so eager to spend my nights with The Batman -- to LEARN from him, and to live up to his EXAMPLE."

"While MY example," Nocturna replied, "means NOTHING to you."

"YOUR example, lady -- was summed up by the creep who just split in The Batman's costume."

Jason's anger hadn't eased when they returned to the Knight penthouse and the restless Boy Wonder began looking around his new home. He quickly located Nocturna's cache of stolen jewels and announced that he was going to place a call to Commissioner Gordon. Natalia insisted to an incredulous Robin that she'd never steal again ("You're a thief and you KNOW it -- reformed only as long as the bills are paid.") but refused to stand in the way of what he felt was right. Cooling a bit, Jason decided to postpone legal action.

Returning to her room, Nocturna was confronted by the Night-Slayer or, rather, Bruce Wayne in Anton's costume, having laid low since regaining his wits. Batman requested her help and the couple left the penthouse, a departure that the Dark Knight had scheduled to coincide with the arrival of a child welfare representative. The social worker was appropriately horrified to see Natalia in the company of the notorious Night-Slayer.

In the end, Batman managed to expose both Anton Knight and Mayor Hill's string of misconduct in one fell swoop. A phone call from Nocturna brought a mob of policemen and reporters to the site of "Batman's" latest crime, where a gloating Hill claimed victory. "Except for one thing, Mr. Mayor," called a voice from above as a silken lasso pulled off "Batman's" cowl, "Anton Knight -- once known as the Thief of Night and now as Night-Slayer -- is NOT The Batman ... I AM."

The two Batmen fought a short round until they fell into the Gotham River. A disappointed Dark Knight lost his foe in the water and could only take solace in the fact that the scheme had been exposed and, at that moment, an informant was revealing many of Hill's crimes to the press. "Still," he thought, "it's good to be back."

Nocturna arrived at the Batcave with the intention of surrendering but, for her heroic efforts, the Batman allowed her to go free. "Then I'll leave you, Jason ... HERE ... where you belong."

Nocturna and the Night-Slayer returned to Batman's life for the last time in July of 1985, even as Gotham -- and the entire world -- was threatened by a cancerous destruction of the multiverse that was reflected by red skies and fierce thunderstorms. The fugitive Night-Slayer was murdering members of the False Face Society, convinced that Nocturna MUST be leading the gang since the arrest of Black Mask.

Nocturna, however, was merely in seclusion in the long-abandoned observatory. She was not exactly innocent, though, having seduced a married security guard into allowing her to go unmolested. A lonely Jason learned of Natalia's whereabouts and paid a visit, referring to her for the first time as "Mom" (BATMAN # 389, art by Tom Mandrake).

Natalia was convinced that she might be able to learn something of value about the celestial phenomenon if she could get the observatory up and running. Inspired by Anton's delusional belief, she decided that she WOULD offer to lead the False Face Society (DETECTIVE # 556, art by Colan & Smith). Their targets would be "politicians ... or political stooges -- who have gotten rich at the expense of the public programs and vital research" (BATMAN # 390, art by Mandrake).

Soon after, Batman paid a visit to the observatory, investigating the False Face connection. "It's strange," Natalia observed. "I ... I still love you so much ... as much as night itself ... and yet I just realized ... we've only kissed ONCE, on that rooftop, when you were wounded by Night-Slayer ... and probably too delirious to even FEEL it."

A beat passed and the Dark Knight spoke. "I'm fine now."

Against a crimson sky, Batman and Nocturna embraced (DETECTIVE # 556, art by Colan & Smith). Regaining his composure, the Dark Knight told her that "I just can't buy the Robin Hood rationalization". When he failed to arrest her, Nocturna challenged him, saying, "You love me because I'm dark and dangerous ... yet if I DO something dark and dangerous -- you can't love me."

The Catwoman, then mapping out a career as a crimefighter, was in pursuit of the False Facers herself -- in part to clear herself of accusations that it was she who was killing their members -- and trailed their leader's balloon to the observatory. To her astonishment, Batman defended Nocturna. Standing atop the giant telescope, Catwoman told the Dark Knight that their own love affair was "finished!". Moments later, a bolt of lightning struck the telescope and Selina Kyle was nearly electrocuted.

The horrified Batman grabbed her body and rushed away from the observatory with Robin even as a quake opened up a chasm that left the structure "completely cut off". Meanwhile, the Dark Knight was in agony. "Why did he not realize how much he cared for Catwoman, for Selina Kyle? How could he forget her so quickly? Is it because ... she changed? Because she was no longer dark and dangerous? Because, God help him ... she reformed? Because she actually did what he has tried to convince Nocturna to do?" (BATMAN # 390, art by Mandrake)

Batman kept a vigil at Selina's bedside even as Robin stood guard in the pouring rain near the newly-created observatory cliff (DETECTIVE # 557, art by Colan & Smith). The Boy Wonder was no match for the Night-Slayer, who made his way into the tower and plunged his dagger into Nocturna's shoulder. Nocturna was prepared to acquiesce until Anton knocked Robin away once more. Her maternal instincts aroused, Natalia began to fight back. Already wounded, though, she was no match for her ex-lover and survived only thanks to the fortuitous arrival of Batman, summoned by his junior partner.

Catwoman had risen from her hospital bed, as well, and arrived via a stolen helicopter that crashed into the observatory. While Robin sent the now unconscious Nocturna aloft in her balloon in the hope that she'd reach safety, Catwoman took over the fight with Night-Slayer from Batman, who had suffered a deep stab wound himself. The two combatants plunged from the burning structure into the river below and a victorious Selina dragged Anton out of the river (BATMAN # 391, art by Mandrake). He was placed in his prison cell still vowing to kill Nocturna (DETECTIVE # 558, art by Colan & Smith).

Sadly, Nocturna may have already been dead. The balloon had sailed into the heart of the storm and the craft had been ripped to shreds. Her body was never recovered (BATMAN # 391). A grief-stricken Robin could only murmur "I ... I only wanted to save you, Nocturna ... not lose you." Adding to the tragedy was the suicide of the guard who'd been infatuated with Natalia (DETECTIVE # 558).

Anton Knight was freed from prison in 1986, part of a mass breakout engineered by Ra's al Ghul. Vowing allegiance to no one, the Night-Slayer flatly stated that "I care about nothing but Nocturna ... about finding her, somewhere in the night ... and slaying her." He stalked off into the darkness he loved (BATMAN # 400, art by George Perez) and is, presumably, searching for her still.

posted September 01, 2000 10:26 AM

I know you are a very busy man, Miki, but can I add three more to your list?

The Spook
Johnny Witts
Mr. Polka-Dot

posted September 01, 2000 04:09 PM

Actually, I did an entry on the Spook way back when Ed Brubaker asked for info on older Bat-villains (wonder if Ed's reading this?) and I recycled it for my first column in THE COMIC READER. Johnny Witts and Mister Polka-Dot are added to the list.

As for who's next, I'm planning on doing the Monk and Bat-Hound this weekend. Stay tuned!

posted September 02, 2000 01:55 PM

Julie Madison awoke with a start on a 1939 summer evening to find herself on the streets of New York City in her bathrobe -- and staring at a giant Bat-Man. She was stunned to learn that the strange figure had just prevented her from a killing a man while in a trance. As the silent mystery man drove her home, Julie made a futile attempt at getting answers ("How do you know where I live?"; "Won't you tell me who you are?"). With Julie safely returned to her apartment, The Batman finally spoke: "Tell your fiance, Bruce Wayne all that happened. G'night!"

Bruce was appropriately horrified and rushed his future wife to her physician, Doctor Trent. The doctor was certain that the young woman was the victim of "an expert hypnotist" but, to Bruce's trained eyes, he displayed the same glassiness of expression when he suggested "an ocean voyage to Paris ... and perhaps, later, to Hungary -- the land of history and WEREWOLVES."

1939's DETECTIVE COMICS # 31 was a momentous issue in The Batman's early career, one in which writer Gardner Fox initiated a series of firsts. In the course of the episode (illustrated by Bob Kane), readers were introduced to Julie Madison, the first of many love interests to come, and witnessed the inaugural flights of the Batarang (spelled "Baterang") and the Batplane (as the Batgyro). And the Dark Knight faced his first costumed foe -- the Monk.

The Batman shadowed Julie's cruise ship from above via the Batgyro and, with the craft on auto-pilot, jumped to the deck below just as Julie was menaced by a stranger in a crimson robe and hood (with yellow skull & crossbones on the forehead). With his arms outstretched, revealing elongated, clawlike hands, "the arch-criminal known as the Monk" fixed his gaze on The Batman. To the astonishment of the hero, he found himself succumbing to a hypnotic spell himself but, with the desperate thrust of a batarang, he broke the robed man's spell. The Monk vanished and, unable to find a trace of him, Batman returned to his plane.

The Dark Knight lost track of his fiancee when he reached Paris, but finally trailed her to an ancient residence. Batman discovered Julie sleeping soundly while a gargantuan ape grabbed him and threw him through a hidden doorway into a cavernous sub-basement that resembled a medieval torture chamber. The hero had been captured in a net as the chuckling Monk lowered the "rash mortal" into a snake pit.

Even as Batman escaped, the Monk threw up more obstacles -- from a steel gate to a return clash with the great ape. "Die here, you fool, while I send the girl, Julie, on to my castle in Hungary to feed my werewolves!" The Dark Knight evaded the perils and rescued his fiancee from the speeding car that one of the Monk's agents was driving. He placed her unconscious body next to him in the Batgyro. "With Julie safe, The Batman plans on vengeance ... and sets the automatic controls for Hungary."

By DETECTIVE # 32, Batman had left Julie in a Hungarian hotel while he went in search of the man who had hypnotized her. Instead, the detective's trail turned up only another prospective victim of the Monk, a black-haired woman named Dala whom Batman rescued from a speeding horse-drawn carriage.

In what proved to be an incredibly misguided decision, Batman offered to conceal Dala in Julie's hotel room. The Dark Knight was stunned when he heard "sobbing moans" come from the chamber and watched Dala, her lips stained with blood, emerge from the room. Seemingly in a trance, the strange woman sent Batman reeling the moment his back was turned, striking him over the head with a small figurine. Recovering, the Dark Knight rushed to Julie, "whose throat shows two red spots ... marks of the vampire."

Batman swiftly captured Dala, who asked, "You want to know where the Monk is? You fear him -- well, I do, too. I'll tell you where you may find him if you promise to kill him!" The Dark Knight agreed to the deal and reluctantly left Julie behind, providing her with money and urging her "to fight against the power that calls you to this Monk."

Arriving at the castle stronghold "in the lost mountains of Cathala", Batman was no match for a second assault by the Monk's mental powers. Nor was Julie, whom the duplicitous Dala urged her master to summon to the fortress: "Make The Batman suffer, knowing to what fate the girl is doomed."

With his captives enchanted, the Monk transformed himself into a wolf and, arching his neck, the beast howled an invitation to his army of werewolves to come forward and rip the Dark Knight to pieces. "As you are screaming in death, remember that Julie will be a werewolf herself in time. To run with the pack on moonlight nights."

Gas capsules from Batman's utility belt kept the beasts at bay and the Caped Crusader emerged from his prison to find that it was daylight and his vampiric captors were sleeping. Melting down a silver statuette, Batman fashioned a pair of bullets, located the crypts of the Monk and Dala, and fired the deadly projectiles into their hearts. The threat of the Monk had been ended and, with it, the spell that had kept Julie Madison enslaved. The grateful young woman was given safe passage back to America.

The Monk two-parter was reprinted by DC in late 1972's 100-PAGE SUPER-SPECTACULAR # 14, but the villain wouldn't return in a new story until nearly a decade later. In 1981 and 1982, writer Gerry Conway's credo on BATMAN and DETECTIVE seemed to be "Everything old is new again". Batman and Robin were together again and living in the long-abandoned Wayne Manor. Pre-Robin villains like Doctor Death and the Scarlet Horde were being dusted off for new stories. Near the end of 1981, Dala joined that list.

Dick Grayson had returned to college at Gotham University that fall and immediately fell hard for an auburn-haired student named Dala (1981's DETECTIVE # 511, art by Don Newton & Frank Chiaramonte). Like the red-headed Barbara Gordon that Dick had had a crush on a few years earlier, Dala was an older woman but age wouldn't stand in the way of love (BATMAN # 345, art by Gene Colan & Klaus Janson).

It ended as quickly as it began, with Dala dumping her new boyfriend and riding off in a vehicle driven by another man. Obsessed with the woman, Dick jotted down the license number while Dala looked in the rear-view mirror and smirked that he'd responded "exactly as we planned" (1982's BATMAN # 346, art by Newton & Chiaramonte). On one level, Dick (now dressed as Robin) recognized the immorality of stalking his ex-girlfriend "but I can't HELP myself". Robin arrived at "a rambling Victorian mansion" north of Gotham and slipped into her bedroom as soon as Dala changed into a violet-colored robe and left the room. A blow to the head by a stranger in a hood and identical robe brought the Teen Wonder's investigation to a close (DETECTIVE # 515, art by Newton & Chiaramonte).

Robin awoke to find himself bound and gagged while Dala, caressing his cheek, assured her "poor Dick" that "it'll all be over very soon now". After she left to join her brother, Robin succeeded in knocking over a lit hurricane lamp and freeing himself when the flames burnt through his rope bonds. In response, two shrieking robed figures smashed through the heavy wooden doors, the fire reflected in their fangs and blood-red eyes.

Dala had now been joined by a bald man with pointed ears. "The Monk promised me a chance to seduce you ... but you have stolen that chance -- and must accept the consequences." Tearing the woman's fangs from his neck, Robin fled into another room only to find "two human beings -- trussed like sheep in a slaughter house, and their throats" displaying the telltale marks of a vampiric attack.

Shaking off the Monk's iron grip, Robin threw him into the inferno and fled into the night. He was discovered by a priest named Father Green, who, as a director at St. Jude's hospital, requested that the Teen Wonder's presence and vampiric throat wound be kept a secret (BATMAN # 549, art by Colan & Alfredo Alcala). Though still groggy and his reflection in the mirror a blur, Dick insisted on leaving St. Jude's and returned to the Batcave, ominously silent about the events of the night. Watching Dala and an unsteady Dick together at a subsequent dinner party, Bruce Wayne realized that something was wrong and trailed them as The Batman. Instead, he found only the Monk, who left his mark on the Dark Knight's throat (BATMAN # 350, dialogue by Paul Levitz; art by Colan & Tony DeZuniga).

Alfred was horrified by the sight of the vampire Batman, who pulled the shaken butler towards him, screaming, "I have NEEDS now, Alfred -- dirty horrible needs -- needs I can't control!" Regaining a degree of composure, the transformed Batman went out into the Gotham darkness and satisfied his need for blood with a would-be jewel thief.

Meanwhile, Alfred's nerves took another blow when Father Green arrived unannounced at Wayne Manor, noting that "I rather suspect there's someone in this house very much in need of my care". Alfred refused to divulge the Dark Knight's secret but the story that the priest revealed was harrowing.

A New Orleans plantation owner named Louis DuBois had refused to acknowledge the end of the Civil War and his vengeful ex-slaves resolved to have revenge. A mesmerized DuBois was summoned to a voodoo ceremony even as his sister, Dala, secretly trailed him. "I cannot be sure why she followed through the swamps in his footsteps, nor the secret of the love that bound them. Whether it was the scared love of sister for brother or something profane, I cannot know."

In any event, DuBois was commanded to "come fear the Obeah Woman's Curse" and thrust his hand into a basket -- where a snake bit down. Dala raced after her screaming brother, imagining that the serpent had been poisonous. In fact, the bite had been the culmination of a ceremony designed to transform Louis into a vampire -- and Dala DuBois became the first to join him among the undead (DETECTIVE # 517, dialogue by Levitz; art by Colan & DeZuniga).

Meanwhile, Batman had narrowly prevented Dick from biting Vicki Vale, who instead imagined that her boyfriend's ward had made a pass at her. The Dark Knight brought the young man back to the Batcave, strapped him to a table, and began searching for a cure. Recognizing that Batman couldn't fight his dark impulses indefinitely, Alfred summoned Father Green, who suggested two solutions: "a complete blood transfusion -- or a serum from the monster's own blood."

Father Green and Batman found the vampiric siblings in an abandoned church. Between the Monk's superhuman strength and hypnotic power, the Dark Knight seemed to be faltering until Dala made her own assault on the priest. Tapping into another reservoir of strength, Batman sent the monster reeling with a solid punch and then delivered a second blow to his sister (BATMAN # 351, dialogue by Levitz; art by Colan & DeZuniga).

Afterwards in the Batcave, Father Green assured Alfred and the already-recovered Robin that "the serum and the transfusion will have (Batman) restored to normal in hours". The priest left with Dala and the Monk, strapped to gurneys, in his care. "We shall do our best for their poor troubled souls at Saint Jude's. Oh my, yes. I have waited so long to help them. Yes ... so VERY long."

"There's something very strange about Father Green and the way he knew about the Vampiri, Alfred," observed Robin.

"Perhaps, Master Dick ... but had we not better AVOID looking a gift horse in the mouth, as they say?" (DETECTIVE # 518, dialogue by Levitz; art by Newton & Bruce Patterson). The secret of Father Green was never revealed.

The story of the Monk was revisited by Michael T. Gilbert in 1997's LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT # 94, wherein Gilbert had Batman rescue Julie from the Monk again in a cute take-off on the original adventure, complete with Bob Kane-esque art. Details of the Monk's history with The Batman in the current DC Universe remain unchronicled but there's no doubt that such an encounter DID take place. In 1994's DETECTIVE # 676 (by Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, and Scott Hanna) and other subsequent issues, a conspicuous artifact can be seen among the exhibits in the Batcave. Beneath a glass dome resides the 1939-model "hood of the Monk".

posted September 02, 2000 04:26 PM

In that 1997 story, was she Julie Madison or Portia Storm (her stage name)? Thought she got left behind til the 'Batman and Robin' movie.

posted September 02, 2000 06:58 PM

In the LEGENDS OF THE DK story, she was Julie, an elderly woman in the present who remembered a chronologically impossible (in the current DCU) 1939 meeting with Batman.

posted September 03, 2000 10:13 AM

John Wilker struggled desperately against his captors but to no avail. With his master unable to fight off the kidnappers, Wilker's dog jumped to his defense. Ace put up a savage attack but was beaten into unconsciousness by the thugs. Disoriented but determined to rescue his master, the brave canine dove into the river in search of Wilker. And that's where Batman and Robin came in.

While on patrol that night, Robin spotted the dog struggling in the water and joined Batman in plucking the dazed animal from the river. The dog soon recovered its energy and Bruce Wayne put an ad in the newspaper, believing that someone would recognize the brown german shepherd with the distinctive diamond patch of fur on his forehead.

The grateful dog raced the Batmobile out of the Batcave on a subsequent outing and, rather than return him, the Dynamic Duo took him along. Ever protective of his alter ego, Batman feared that the animal's forehead mark would lead someone to connect him with Bruce Wayne. When the Dark Knight returned from a conference with Commissioner Gordon, he discovered that Robin had come up with a solution: "I cut him this mask from our black cloth toolbag ... and made a bat-symbol for his collar."

The dog proved his worth immediately when he zeroed in on an escaped convict at a carnival. "Look," motioned Robin. "He's got Bowers by the coat-sleeve, holding him in true police dog style." Bowers' own cry of dismay ("Leggo you -- you BAT-HOUND!") officially gave the newest resident of the Batcave a name.

Meanwhile, a response to the advertisement had revealed the dog's true name and origin. A neighbor explained that the missing John Wilker had "bought this trained dog because he lives alone and is away from home all day". While Bat-Hound used his acute sense of smell to help Robin locate a missing child, Batman began his investigation of Ace's missing owner.

The trio reunited at the site of a paper theft and Robin was startled when Ace suddenly began snarling. Batman had already suspected that the thieves were connected with John Wilker's abduction and Bat-Hound's reaction clinched it. Wilker, it turned out, was an engraver and the Dark Knight theorized that his kidnappers hoped to force him to counterfeit money. The Dynamic Duo caught up to the bandits when they were stealing ink from the Eastern Printing-Ink Company only to be taken captive.

Creating a makeshift Bat-Signal in the sky above the villains' lair, Batman was able to get Ace's attention. The Bat-Hound came running, nudged open a window with his nose, and bit through Robin' bonds. The trio of crimebusters made quick work of the would-be counterfeiters.

Predictably, a reporter on the scene of the mop-up couldn't resist pulling off Bat-Hound's mask and immediately connected Ace with Bruce Wayne. Holding a photo of himself, Bruce Wayne and Ace, Batman explained that the millionaire had simply loaned him the dog as a favor. Unknown to all, the Batman in the picture was actually Alfred.

As they bid John and his pet farewell, Batman commented, "He's a great dog, Mr. Wilker. It was HE who really saved us."

"And if you ever want to be a Bat-Hound again, Ace," Robin added, "the position is open." (1955's BATMAN # 92, by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, and Stan Kaye).

Ace returned to the Batcave late in 1955, on loan from John Wilker to help the Dynamic Duo capture a gang using a trained dog to commit a series of diamond robberies. A two-way radio on Bat-Hound's collar enabled Batman to eavesdrop on the bandits and issue commands to Ace (BATMAN # 97). For the next three years, Wilker continued to loan his pet out on occasion. Bat-Hound had the opportunity to appear with Batman and Robin in a movie (BATMAN # 103), track down a deadly explosive (DETECTIVE # 254), and pursue a "fugitive" Batman (BATMAN # 123).

By mid-1959, John Wilker's role in the series was eliminated altogether when he took a new job that would keep him on the road. Bruce Wayne happily agreed to take permanent responsibility for Ace. "The Secret of Bat-Hound", narrarated by the canine crimefighter himself, added another component to Ace's costume, a "tiny receiver" within the dog's collar that emitted a high-pitched signal whenever Bat-Hound was needed. Batman also created a device that would enable Ace to pull his mask over his head at his convenience (BATMAN # 125, by Finger and Moldoff).

Soon after, Bat-Hound was stricken with that hoariest of plot devices -- amnesia. His memory fogged when his skull was grazed by a masked gunman, Ace developed a deep hatred of all masked men -- including the Dynamic Duo. After rescuing their pet from a group of thugs who'd taken command of Bat-Hound, Batman arranged for Ace to have an operation to restore his memory (1960's BATMAN # 131).

In short order, Bat-Hound met the other members of the burgeoning Batman family, notably Batwoman (BATMAN # 125) and Bat-Mite (# 133). At one point, in fact, the other-dimensional imp bequeathed Ace with Krypto-level super-powers, but a side-effect of the spell made Bat-Hound susceptible to the commands of others -- including criminals. After realizing that he'd made Ace the pawn of a gang of thieves, Bat-Mite restored the dog to normal (1963's BATMAN # 158).

One of the more touching episodes in the series, though indicative of the period's science fiction influence, was BATMAN # 143's "Bat-Hound and the Creature" (1961, with Moldoff pencils). In the Gotham countryside, Batman and Robin came to the aid of state troopers who were fighting off an attack by a mammoth insect but were mystified when Bat-Hound jumped on one of the officers to knock the gun from his hand. The creature escaped and Ace refused to pursue it.

Within minutes, the Dynamic Duo had discovered a space craft on a nearby farm and, next to it, two sets of footprints near a trapper's snare, one of them Ace's. "This is why Bat-Hound ran away before," Batman realized. "It heard the animal, chewed the trap's ropes off it, then came back to tell us." Observing that the second set of tracks became progressively largely, the Dark Knight realized that Earth's atmosphere had mutated the extraterrestrial.

Robin theorized that the being was an animal launched by its race in an experiment and Batman concurred. "That poor creature ... can you imagine how bewildered it must be by its giant size and our strange world? It never meant any harm ... it was only trying to defend itself. Bat-Hound sensed that and tried to protect it. Good work, fella ... now it's up to YOU! We've got to pick up your friend's trail -- so we can get to him first, before the troopers find and kill him."

Before they could find the creature, Batman and company were captured by the Lippy Yates gang -- only to be freed by the giant insect when he heard Bat-Hound's frantic barking. Batman, Robin, and Ace were imperiled again when they pursued the gang across a railroad trestle bridge that Yates destroyed with dynamite. Once again, the alien came to the rescue, holding the bridge up with his shoulders. As the trip defeated the gang, a horrible crashing sound was heard behind them. The creature's strength had given out and it was crushed beneath the bridge's steel girders.

Days later, the Dynamic Duo erected a stone monument to the being, using its spacecraft as the headstone. "The creature was a stranger in a strange world," eulogized Batman, "yet it gave its life to save ours." The final panel found a prone Ace in front of the memorial. "That night, Bat-Hound keeps a lonely vigil before the resting place of one who was his friend."

On the eve of incoming editor Julius Schwartz's purge of the offshoot Bat-characters, Bat-Hound made his last appearance in the core Bat-titles in early 1964's BATMAN # 162, where he led Batwoman and Robin to the lair of several hybrid "animal-men". Three months into Schwartz's "new look", Bat-Hound made his final bow, a two-panel cameo in the Mort Weisinger-edited WORLD'S FINEST COMICS # 143.

Ace's Silver Age appearances consisted of these issues:
BATMAN # 92, 97, 103, 123, 125, 130-131, 133, 140, 143, 146, 152, 156, 158, 162;
DETECTIVE # 254, 280, 287, 294, 306-307, 318; WORLD'S FINEST # 134-135, 143.
BATMAN # 92's origin was reprinted twice in the 1970s in BATMAN FROM THE '30s TO THE 70s and BATMAN FAMILY # 5.

In the grim and gritty 1980s, Bat-Hound was remembered as a joke, popping up in 1985's AMBUSH BUG # 3 (a reprise of BATMAN # 92's origin, plus laugh track) and 1990's ANIMAL MAN # 25 (set in comic book limbo, where Ace was seen pursuing Marvel Bunny and getting knocked for a loop). Contrasting the innocence of the original character was 1990's DETECTIVE # 623 and 624. The samples of a 'Batman' comic book as written in the DC Universe presented Bat-Hound as a slavering demonic dog with telepathic powers and an appetite for criminals.

The legend of the Bat-Hound was updated in a 1991 trilogy by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, and Steve Mitchell in BATMAN # 462-464. A 130-year-old Indian shaman had preached hatred against the white man for most of his life, all in response to an atrocity that U.S. soldiers had perpetrated against his tribe in 1863. Now, in the twilight of his life, Black Wolf watched as his grandson and others prepared to gather the descendants of those soldiers and execute them. He implored them not to do so and, in response, they cast him out of the tribe.

In his youth, Black Wolf recalled that the "Manitou showed me my totem -- the beast which would be my ally, my protector. The bat! But far in the distance, piercing even the thunder's roll, I heard the wolf cry. I turned my back on the great spirit's gift. I chose my own totem. I allied with the black wolf's power. I followed my own trail." Blind and alone in the Nevada desert, Black Wolf prayed to the Manitou for a way to atone. That night, a dog arrived at the shaman's side. Black Wolf took the arrivial of the genial mutt as a sign.

Meanwhile, The Batman had traveled to the American southwest in search of the solution to a murder that, he would later learn, was connected to the execution plot. Turning a corner on the highway, Batman was forced to bring the Batmobile to a screeching halt. A dog was sitting in his path and refused to budge. Against his better judgment, the Dark Knight followed the dog and rescued Black Wolf from assassins from his own tribe. The blind shaman regarded the presence of The Batman -- the symbol of his long-rejected totem --to be nothing short of a miracle.

Taking Black Wolf and the dog with him, Batman headed for Las Vegas and, as Bruce Wayne, hit the casinos in search of clues to the whereabouts of the executioners. Returning to the Batmobile, Bruce jumped a bit when the canine snarled at him: "Hey, what IS this? It's ME!"

"You -- but not you," explained the shaman. "Dog is suspicious. That's all."

In the end, Black Wolf's grandson was defeated but his supporters were unmoved. Taking the initiative, Black Wolf killed the young man before a stunned Batman could react. Declaring the curse lifted, the blind elder emphatically ordered the tribe to "release those people! I am shaman here again! DO IT!" With his destiny achieved, the old man decided that it was time to die himself: "Goodbye, dog. Your stay with me is done. Go where your destiny leads."

Reluctantly, Batman left Black Wolf to his fate and returned to the Batmobile, phoning ahead to the West Coast branch of the Wayne Foundation: "This is Bruce Wayne. Re-schedule that board meeting for tomorrow morning. I want a dozen suggestions as to how we can help Native Americans. ... I'll be flying back to Gotham in the afternoon. Warn the aircrew -- I'll have a dog traveling with me."

By BATMAN # 465, the canine now known as Ace was happily entrenched in the Batcave, rushing up to the Batmobile as it pulled in and slobbering over the face of the smiling Dark Knight. Late in 1991, Batman and Ace went out on their first mission together, with the hero using his dog's sense of smell to track down Killer Croc in the labyrinthine Gotham sewer system (BATMAN # 471). A year later, in December of 1992, Ace put his tracking skills to the test again, helping Robin locate the kidnapped Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, and Armand Krol (SHADOW OF THE BAT # 9).

Eventually, Ace found a closer relationship with the Batcave's resident electronics whiz, Harold. The mute young man delighted in creating toys for the dog like a mechcanical mouse (BATMAN # 480). Ace, in turn, displayed intense loyalty to Harold, following him deep into the caverns beneath Wayne Manor, providing a sense of security as the genius went exploring in the darkness (DETECTIVE # 650). The displacement of Bruce Wayne by Jean Paul Valley in 1993 changed the entire atmosphere in the Batcave and a disgruntled Ace took up permanent residence in Harold's quarters (BATMAN # 500). By the time Nightwing and Robin set-up a war-room in the cave (DETECTIVE # 676), the latter day Bat-Hound was gone. Alan Grant, who'd written all but two of Ace's 1990s appearances (Dixon's 'TEC # 650 and Moench's BATMAN # 500) never used him again. Ace's place in Wayne Manor has been taken by Alfred's cat, Midnight, a black and white feline glimpsed only once (a Klaus Janson episode in 1996's BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE # 3).

Still, the spirit of the Bat-Hound lives on, whether its as the bat-canine hybrid of Jack C. Harris and Bo Hampton's 1994 CASTLE OF THE BAT, or the New Genesis-derived winged dog (with a white diamond patch on his forehead, yet!) in Mark Waid and Alex Ross' 1996's KINGDOM COME # 2-3 (in photos) & 4 and KINGDOM COME: REVELATIONS, or the guard dog of Bruce Wayne in the late 1990s' BATMAN BEYOND animated series.

Batman Fan 31593
posted September 06, 2000 09:54 AM

Mikishawm: Great post on Ace! I swear, I don't know how you can know that much! A question: have you ever done a post on "Matches Malone"?

I recently bought BATMAN: TALES OF THE DEMON (a TPB which reprints the early Ra's al Ghul stories by Denny O'Neil from the seventies), and was suprised to see Bruce's "Matches Malone" disguise being used! I had thought M.M. didn't come along until the 90's!

So if you haven't done one already, could you please do a post on Matches Malone sometime? I would really be interested in seeing it!


posted September 06, 2000 12:35 PM

Whoo. Great work. I just love Ace.

Where is the Brubaker thread with the Spook presentation?

posted September 06, 2000 09:24 PM

I've written a "Matches" Malone history but it'll be running in THE O'NEIL OBSERVER # 2 in a few months so, I'm sorry to say, it's off limits here. ONO # 2 is supposed to be an insert in COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE # 83 but I haven't got 100% confirmation on that yet. Scott McCullar will be prominently represented there, too, so it's definitely something that you'll want to look for.

As you've discovered, though, Matches has a long history, dating back to BATMAN # 242 in 1972. He made a number of appearances between 1976 and 1987, capped with SUICIDE SQUAD # 10. After a long absence, Chuck Dixon revived him in 1994 and has had almost exclusive control of the character ever since.

As for the Spook, I posted it in March or April, I believe, but I had no luck in finding the thread. I actually recycled that bio (coupled with the piece on Ted Knight's kid sidekick) for my "Mikishawm's Reservoir" column in THE COMIC READER # 1. Their website is at:


Someday, I'll get all these collected in a book for all of you.