Friday, February 12, 2016

The First Time I Saw Batman Comics

The first issue of Batman Comics I ever bought, as opposed to Detective Comics, was 132 (June 1960). I was already familiar with Batman, having purchased Detective Comics 277 (March 1960) and World’s Finest 110 (June 1960).
Artist Sheldon Moldoff and Batman co-creator Bill Finger did the honors, and the cover-featured “Lair of the Sea Fox” was the primary attraction. With his underwater sleds countered by the Bat-Submarine, the purple-clad Sea Fox was an interesting though limited villain, confined to the seas and sewers and so forth.
Batman and Robin had by this time taken to wearing their capes while scuba diving, which was odd, but no odder than many other things they did, I suppose.
The Dynamic Duo also faced “The Martian from Gotham City,” actually a confused actor manipulated by criminals. His disguise should have been pretty easy to see through, given the fact that he in no way resembled Batman’s Detective Comics co-star the Martian Manhunter.
The issue also includes what I am confident is the only Batman story named after a Joanne Woodward movie, “The Three Faces of Batman.” An experimental device renders the Caped Crusader hors de combat when he hears a siren or bell. Actually, with Moldoff drawing them, Batman’s “three faces” look pretty much the same.
The issue included the relatively new feature of a letter column, and the questions illustrated the fact that Superman was the era’s dominant hero. Was Superman ever unable to rescue Batman and Robin? (Yes). Does Alfred know Superman’s secret identity? (No). Does Batman ever use robot duplicates like Superman? (Yes). 

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