Treasure Island Treasury of Comics #2: The Caped Crusader, Batman!
Next up in the TREASURE ISLAND TREASURY OF COMICS curated reading list is THE CAPED CRUSADER… THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE… THE DARK KNIGHT… THE BAT-MAN!
Introduced to the world in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (Spring 1939) by BOB KANE and BILL FINGER – he is millionaire playboy and industrialist BRUCE WAYNE by day and crimefighting hero THE BATMAN by night. Inspired in part by costumed crime fighter THE PHANTOM (a man with no super powers) – he also has a secret identity, much like THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL and ZORRO. Key contributors JERRY ROBINSON and DICK SPRANG helped develop the character early on.
Armed simply with his fists, batarangs, utility belt and keen mind, he works tirelessly to protect GOTHAM CITY from his sinister ROGUES GALLERY – featuring classic villains such as THE JOKER, TWO-FACE, THE RIDDLER, THE PENGUIN, CLAYFACE, THE SCARECROW and CATWOMAN – just to name a few! He is aided by his ever-loyal butler ALFRED PENNYWORTH and POLICE COMMISSIONER JAMES GORDON.
He operates each night out of the BATCAVE, located on the outskirts of GOTHAM CITY and hidden below stately WAYNE MANOR. The BATCAVE acts as a secret headquarters, containing his computer and forensic labs, his arsenal of gadgets and weapons and his many vehicles (the BATMOBILE, BATPLANE, BATBOAT, BATSUB, BATCYCLE, etc). It has many mysterious trophies and pieces of memorabilia displayed within, the most well-known being the oversized JOKER card, the giant penny and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Early GOLDEN AGE stories were considerably dark and grim, but the mood became “sunnier” after the arrival of his adopted ward ROBIN (orphan and child acrobat DICK GRAYSON) in DETECTIVE COMICS #38, April 1940. Created to be the WATSON to BATMAN’S SHERLOCK HOLMES, his introduction doubled sales of the comics and kicked off a rash of copycat kid sidekicks.
These “sunnier” BATMAN stories continued into the SILVER AGE with a focus on science fiction (and aliens!) and led to the introduction of classic costars BATWOMAN (the wealthy Gotham heiress and circus acrobat, Kathy Kane), BAT-GIRL (her niece, Betty Kane), ACE THE BAT-HOUND (Krypto’s pal) and BAT-MITE (a 5th dimension imp who idolises BATMAN, a counterpart to MISTER MXYZPTLK in the SUPERMAN books).
[BATWOMAN and BAT-GIRL were introduced to dispel the rumours of BATMAN and ROBIN being gay, as suggested by psychiatrist Frederic Wertham in his book: SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (which blamed comics for contributing to the juvenile delinquency of American youth). Arguments presented in this book would lead to the creation of the COMICS CODE AUTHORITY in 1954, a group of publishers that worked to self-censor comics content, making them “safe” for children. It was largely abandoned by the comics industry in the early 2000s.]
The introduction of the NEW LOOK BATMAN changed all of that in the early 1960s, returning the focus to detective work and getting rid of BATWOMAN, ACE THE BAT-HOUND and BAT-MITE. Only BATGIRL (now Jim Gordon’s daughter, BARBARA) would continue in the comics, as she had proven to be popular on the BATMAN TV show, where she was played by YVONNE CRAIG.
ADAM WEST and BURT WARD would star as the DYNAMIC DUO on the BATMAN TV show, which produced 120 episodes over 3 seasons (1966 – 1968). The show is known for its version of the BATMOBILE, catchy THEME SONG and all-around campiness.
In 1969 DENNY O’NEIL and NEAL ADAMS would team up and revamp the character further, introducing the immortal “Demon’s Head” R’AS AL GHUL, his LAZARUS PIT and the LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS – his band of eco-terrorist ninjas. His daughter TALIA AL GHUL would have a son with BATMAN – DAMIAN WAYNE, who would become the fourth ROBIN decades later. NEAL ADAMS would give us another classic character at this time with KIRK LANGSTROM, a zoologist whose experiments in trying to give man a sonar-sense instead turn him into the monstrous MAN-BAT.
STEVE ENGLEHART and MARSHALL ROGERS would close out the 1970s – their iconic run on DETECTIVE COMICS re-defining THE JOKER (with his LAUGHING FISH) for decades to come and influencing the version of the character portrayed by JACK NICKOLSON in the 1989 film with MICHAEL KEATON.
FRANK MILLER would revamp the character again, returning him to his grim dark roots and setting the template for all future versions of BATMAN with his seminal work THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS in 1986 and BATMAN: YEAR ONE in 1987. We’ll leave things here for now and will come back to cover the modern history of BATMAN in a future TREASURY OF COMICS…
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 01 [JAN198062] $29.99 MSRP
These original stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #27-45, BATMAN #1-3 and NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR COMICS #1 include the origin of the Dark Knight, as well as the debuts of Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Professor Hugo Strange, The Joker, Catwoman and more!
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 02 [NOV160325] $29.99 MSRP
In these Batman tales from the Golden Age of Comics, the Dark Knight Detective faces the evil of The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face and more of his greatest foes. This title collects DETECTIVE COMICS #46-56, BATMAN #4-7, WORLD’S BEST COMICS #1 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #2-3.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 03 [MAY170333] $29.99 MSRP
In these classic tales from the 1940s, the Dynamic Duo faces off with The Joker, the Conjurer, the Penguin, Two-Face, Tweedledee and Tweedledum and more! Collects BATMAN #8-11, DETECTIVE COMICS #57-65 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #4-6.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 04 [NOV170361] $29.99 MSRP
The 1940s tales that cemented Batman’s reputation as the world’s greatest crime-fighter, including the Caped Crusader’s run-ins with the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face and more! Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #66-74, BATMAN #12-15 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #7-9.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 05 [JUN180565] $29.99 MSRP
This fifth volume of BATMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE collects more of the Dark Knight Detective’s adventures from the late 1940s, including battles with evildoers including The Joker, the Penguin and Catwoman, plus a tale in which the Caped Crusaders join Robin Hood’s band of merry men. Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #75-81, BATMAN #16-20 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #10-11.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 06 [JAN198062] $39.99 MSRP
The adventures of Batman and Robin reach the mid-1940s with these tales, collected in trade paperback for the first time. In these stories from the pages of Batman #21-25, Detective Comics #82-92, and World’s Finest Comics #12-14, the Dynamic Duo stop a gang of cattle rustlers, untangle the upside-down crimes of The Joker, and face a gang of crooks who use football plays to inspire their crimes.
- BATMAN TALES OF THE DEMON HC [DEC190561] $49.99 MSRP
In this new printing of a classic collection, meet one of Batman’s most formidable adversaries; the founder of the League of Assassins known as Ra’s al Ghul! This volume includes Ra’s al Ghul’s famous debut in “Daughter of the Demon”! Plus, Bruce Wayne goes undercover as Matches Malone to track down the Demon’s Head! Collects Detective Comics #411, #485, and #489-490; Batman #232, #235, #240, and #242-244; and DC Special Series #15.
- TALES OF THE BATMAN GERRY CONWAY HC VOL 01 [MAR170431] $49.99 MSRP
Get ready for some of the greatest Dark Knight tales ever in this new title featuring Two-Face, Deadshot, Killer Croc, the new Robin, Jason Todd and more! These tales written by Gerry Conway are collected from MAN-BAT #1, DETECTIVE #463, 464, 497-499, 502-504, BATMAN #295, 305, 306, BATMAN FAMILY #17, WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #250, 269, BRAVE AND THE BOLD #158, 161, 171-174.
- TALES OF THE BATMAN GERRY CONWAY HC VOL 02 [MAY180593] $49.99 MSRP
In these tales from BATMAN #337-346 and #348, WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #270 and DETECTIVE COMICS #505-513, Batman tries to uncover the true identity of the villainous Snowman terrorizing Gotham City. The city doesn’t rest as Wayne Manor is rumored to be haunted, and when the GCPD investigates against Bruce Wayne’s wishes, they find none other than Man-Bat!
- TALES OF THE BATMAN GERRY CONWAY HC VOL 03 [MAY190515] $49.99 MSRP
In these 1980s tales from BATMAN #349-359 and DETECTIVE COMICS #515-526, the Dark Knight takes on evil with the help of the Human Target, Jason Bard, Batgirl and others and faces the threats of Catwoman, Hugo Strange, Deadshot, Solomon Grundy and more. Plus, it’s the introduction of Killer Croc!
EXTRA CREDIT READING:
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 [NOV188404] $99.99 MSRP
The stories that catapulted Batman to legendary status are collected here in a single, massive volume. These original stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #27-56 and BATMAN #1-7 include the origin of the Dark Knight, as well as the debuts of Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Professor Hugo Strange, The Joker, Catwoman and more!
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 [MAR160262] $75.00 MSRP
This second Golden Age collection includes stories from the early 1940s in which the Dynamic Duo battle evildoers including the Penguin, the Joker, Two-Face, the Scarecrow and many more. Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #57-74, BATMAN #8-15 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #4-9.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 03 [NOV160324] $75.00 MSRP
This third BATMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS includes dozens of stories from the early 1940s in which the Dynamic Duo battle evil-doers including the Penguin, the Joker, Two-Face and many more from the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS #75-91, BATMAN #16-25 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #10-14.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 04 [JUN170396] $75.00 MSRP
This fourth Golden Age collection includes dozens of stories from the mid-1940s in which the Dynamic Duo battle evildoers including the Penguin, The Joker, Two-Face and many more. Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #92-111, BATMAN #26-35 and stories from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #15-22.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 05 [NOV170360] $99.99 MSRP
In these tales from the late 1940s, the Dynamic Duo battle evil-doers including the Penguin, The Joker, Catwoman and many more. Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #113-132, BATMAN #36-45 and stories from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #23-32.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 06 [MAY180571] $125.00 MSRP
In these tales from the late 1940s, the Dynamic Duo encounters villains including Two-Face, The Joker, the Penguin and more! These stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #132-153, BATMAN #46-55 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #33-42 include the debut of the Riddler, a retelling of Batman’s origin and an unusual tale in which Batman and Robin reenact the story of Frankenstein.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 07 [OCT180558] $125.00 MSRP
In these tales from the start of the 1950s, the Penguin commits a series of crimes inspired by state birds and Catwoman becomes empress of the underworld! Plus, the debut appearances of Deadshot and Killer Moth, and the origin of the Red Hood. Collects Detective Comics #154-173, Batman #56-66 and stories from World’s Finest Comics #43-52.
- BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 08 [APR200658] $125.00 MSRP
In these stories from the early 1950s, Batman and Robin venture into the underworld bank, meet the underworld crime committee, explore an undersea hideout for criminals and investigate a rash of robberies in the Batcave. Plus, The Joker starts a newspaper of crime, Catwoman meets the King of Cats and the Penguin claims to go straight…by opening an umbrella shop! Collects stories from Detective Comics #174-195, Batman #67-77 and World’s Finest Comics #54-63.
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