Thursday, June 30, 2016

When Batman Really Sprang Into Action (Comics)

Dick Sprang, the best of the early Batman artists, once said something heretical: that what he liked drawing best were the World’s Finest stories involving Superman.
Why? Because the soaring, science fictional exuberance of Superman’s challenges expanded what he could play with in his art.
Sprang got more of what he wished as the 1950s wore on, because Superman — now a television star — was the dominant figure at DC Comics, the template for success. Even the most unlikely characters temporarily gained powers identical to the Man of Tomorrow’s — not just Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, but also Batwoman, Blackhawk and even the 18th century pioneer Tomahawk.
Batman acquired his pal’s powers several times, notably in Batman: The Superman of Planet X (Batman 113 Feb. 1958). Teaming with the Batman of the planet Zur-En-Arrh to repel a enemy invasion, the Caped Crusader luckily finds he has super powers there. What are the odds?
The issue also offered a parody Batman (“Fatman”) and the first appearance of a Batman villain who would appear on TV a decade later (False Face, played by Malachi Throne). That was a lot of value for your dime. 

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