We're joined by special guest Steve Shives to take a look at the first batch of comic book covers featuring Batman.
Head on over to batlessons.com for all things Bat Lessons. Send us a letter or voice recording, find us on mastodon or youtube, read full transcripts and find show notes.
Podcast Artwork by Sergio R. M. Duarte
Podcast Music by Renzo Calma
[00:00:00] Steve: I mean, I would go a, just for the dude getting Blowtorched in the face. I mean
[00:00:11] Brian: welcome to Bat Lessons, the Batman History podcast. I'm Brian Anders.
[00:00:15] Alex: And
[00:00:15] Brian: I'm Alex Cash. And on today's episode, we're starting something new. We're calling it Judging by the Cover.
[00:00:25] Alex: That's right. There are many. Thousands of comic books containing Batman, and at the rate we're going, it will take several hundred years to cover it all. There's just no way to do it. So instead, we're doing what any learned and discerning connoisseur or critic would do. We're judging by the cover in this series
[00:00:41] Brian: of episodes.
We're going to start with the first appearance of Batman and Detective Comics, number 27, and look at every single cover of comics headlining Batman. We'll give it a letter grade based on how good we think the book we didn't read is. Best of all, we won't be going alone.
[00:00:57] Alex: We'll be bringing along other podcasters, YouTubers, artists, authors, and critics on the journey with us.
Whoever we can trick into thinking we're a legitimate media team, it'll be a great opportunity for us to learn more about Batman fandom and the comics community at large. For our
[00:01:10] Brian: inaugural episode, we couldn't be more thrilled to have Steve Shives joining us. Steve has an incredible YouTube career dating all the way back to 2010.
Perhaps most impressive is his body of Star Trek content, including retro reviews of old episodes, individual video essays, and hundreds of podcasts episodes, including Trek. Actually, not actually Trek, actually Trek reluctantly. Ensign Log and More Inc Oh, did I say wrong? Incense log. Yeah, sorry. It reads differently.
I haven't watched, watched all the episodes. I'll be really honest. Worries. I, I've watched some of your videos. They're really good, but I haven't watched all of them. I do think for our, our, our listeners, we're gonna have to write down, These titles cuz Trek actually followed by Not Trek Act. Not actually Trek.
Not actually, not actually Trek, actually. Yeah, that's a hard one to follow over
[00:02:05] Alex: audio. But he has so much more to offer with thousands of episodes across many video series. You may know him for riffing on Mail Call where Steve highlights and responds to wild letters sent to his local newspaper, or you might have known him for.
And now the good news where Steve told us about what was happening that wasn't total for years before that one guy from the office did the same thing and then sold it to Viacom After eight episodes, you might know him for five stupid things you had to ask Steven Stuffy. You might even know him for his essays on morality, ethics, politics, atheism, religion, wrestling, movies, and more.
We can't possibly mention it all, but what brought Steve to
[00:02:38] Brian: us is his phenomenal series. Best Batman Ever. Every episode covers a different creative take on Batman. Steve cuts right to the core of what makes the version tick opining. On what the, that creator has to say about Batman and what Batman has to say about us.
Steve's insight is unique, prescient and revelatory. By the end of each episode, he will convince you that this particular iteration of the Batman is the best Batman ever.
[00:03:09] Alex: And undergirding. All of this is an earnest and authentic personality. His Twitter bio, unlike this introduction, is incredibly succinct and includes a sentence that comes through in all of his videos.
Tries to do good. We're incredibly honored to have on this first episode of Judging by the Cover. Steve Shives, welcome to the show.
[00:03:26] Steve: Thank you for having me, and thank you for that introduction. That both makes me sound way better than I am, and also makes me sound like someone who just couldn't pick a thing like he does videos about everything he, you know, so thank you.
I'm glad to be here.
[00:03:42] Alex: Well, it's, uh, you know, I, I found you because of your Batman content, um, and it's, you know, I hit subscribe because it was really awesome. And you're right, there is so much, and I've, I've kind of, you know, fallen down the rabbit hole a little bit and, and there's, you have lots to offer.
So, that being said, you know that that is the angle. I know you, um, I don't know much about you. Can you, can you give us your pitch? You know, start at the beginning. How did you get into YouTube? Who are you?
[00:04:08] Steve: Um, it's, oh, I wish it was more interesting. Um, I, well, I got into YouTube. I, I had a blog, uh, like a live journal blog for years.
Nice. And I've, I've always been like a writer. I've actually, I, I started writing stories, what we would now call fan fiction. I didn't know that's what it was called back then, but like back in the, in the early nineties, I would write Batman stories and I would turn them in for English class assignments because I was so lucky that the, the years that I was in seventh and eighth grade, um, my school district was trying out a new English curriculum program called Writer's Workshop, where 75, 80% of English class was creative writing.
Wow. And you could, that's legit. And sometimes the tea. Yeah. Oh, it was amazing. And sometimes the, you know, the teacher would. Direct you and say, you know, here's a prompt, write something about this. But a lot of the time you could just write whatever you felt like writing. And for a lot of my classmates who were not, you know, writers and just wanted to have a normal class mm-hmm.
Or they took tests and, you know, did reading assignments and stuff, like they didn't really like it. Mm-hmm. But for me, I thought it was amazing. And so I, I, I, I became a writer just then, you know, or at least in my mind I did. And then when I, you know, as I continued to grow up and mature and go through school, I kept writing and eventually I graduated, went to college, uh, finished with that.
And I had a blog that I would write articles for. Uh, you know, every day that was part of my discipline was like, I'm going to write something every day, even if it's just like a paragraph about whatever, like I'm going to write something every day. And that gradually evolved into making YouTube videos.
Mm. Um, wow. And I don't do YouTube videos every single day cuz I mean, I'm, I'm, I work on them almost every single day. Uh, but I'm not actually in front of the camera making a video every single day. But, but that just became a part of the discipline of, you know, write something every day or work on something every day.
And YouTube is just an outgrowth of me liking to write and also being a big mouthed opinionated asshole who assumes that somebody must care what I think. You know, there's that arrogance of like, well, I'm sure somebody will find this interesting. Yeah. Yeah. And then you just sort of throw it out into the world and here we are, you know?
[00:06:38] Brian: Yeah,
[00:06:38] Alex: absolutely. Yeah. That's really interesting. Uh, I, I wish my English class in, in middle school had been like that. Yeah. I, I
[00:06:46] Steve: am grateful. I like, it's one of those sort of forks in the road that I didn't even realize until many, many years later because it really set me on a path, you know, not just in terms of just myself hadn't, you know, not in terms of, oh, what are you gonna do with your life?
What's your job gonna be, a blah, blah, blah. I had, I wasn't even thinking about that. But, you know, thinking when you, when you, when you write a lot and you think about things in terms of writing, it shapes the way you see the world. It shapes the way you interact with people. It shapes the way you view yourself.
And if I had not had those formative experiences when I was. 13 or 14 years old, I don't even know who I would be today, you know? So yeah, I, I was incredibly
[00:07:32] Brian: lucky. I, I feel like I. Called it correctly cuz when I was reading, cuz I only know you from your Batman YouTube stuff. Yeah. And so when I was reading through Alex's script, I was like, holy smokes.
He does a whole bunch of stuff. And I, I literally thought, I was like, this dude must be extremely disciplined to juggle so many things. I feel like I called that because you have the discipline to write something every single day for. Years is unbelievable to me. Yeah, that's amazing. A
[00:07:59] Steve: after a certain point, it just becomes a habit.
It just becomes part of, you know, and, and, and honestly, like, because of my u, because YouTube is my full-time job, so YouTube is like, there is a little bit of a grind to it where it's like, okay, what's the next video? And it's not just a fun thing of like, well, I'm gonna do a video this week. It's like, no, I have to do a video for Monday and for Wednesday, and I have to have things to talk about and you know, so when I'm not writing, I, it feels worse than what I am.
You know what I mean? Like, or at least if I don't know what the next thing is, like, I like knowing what the next thing is, as long as I know like, okay, I'm working on this, I'm gonna finish this, and then after that, it's this thing. As long as I have at least one or two videos ahead, even if I haven't started on 'em yet.
Even if I just know up here, like, okay, that's the next thing. Then I'm okay when I'm, when I'm looking at next week and I'm like, oh. What's next week, and I have no idea, and it's like Wednesday. Then I'm starting to think like, oh, okay. I'm starting to worry.
[00:08:55] Brian: You know? That's
[00:08:58] Alex: good. Yeah. It's like, um, you know, I, I don't have this with riding, but um, you know, what I do at my job every day and things like that, you know, I've, I've had this sort of like, have you ever done like a float trip where you, you could do all day long for like eight hours and then you go and you Oh, yeah.
You still feel like you're, you're going when you're not. Yeah,
[00:09:16] Steve: absolutely. You're absolutely right. Yeah. It's the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. We do that around here on Inner Tubes. Yeah. Oh, okay. Yeah, sure. Yeah. I have, oh God, I haven't done it for forever, but yeah, I haven't done it since I was a teenager, but yeah.
[00:09:27] Brian: Yeah, it kinda reminds me of like rollerblading or roller skating, like when you leave, like walking feels funny, right? Absolutely. Yeah. What about, um, Batman, the, something that we like to ask people is like, how were you first introduced to Batman? What were your earliest memories of Batman? So
[00:09:43] Steve: people ask me this about Star Trek a lot, and I always have to say I don't remember.
Mm-hmm. So it's not a very good story, but I do have a, I do have good stories about Batman because, uh, I, the story about Batman is, um, I think the first time I ever encountered the character was probably one of the later versions of the Super Friends cartoon, cuz I was born in 1980. So by the time I was old enough to be watching cartoons and paying attention and actually have some kind of recall of it, the Super Friends were pretty much over.
But I remember the Incredible Superpower Show, which was one of the last sort of versions of Su of Super Friends. And I saw, and Batman was on that. And so I had like a super friends. Batman action figure. And, but I was always, when I was a kid, a little kid, I was always more of a Superman guy. Mm. And, and I still love Superman to this day.
I do the best Superman ever video series too. And um, and I remember I was, it was, I think it, I, it was the summer before I was going to start first grade, and I asked my mom, I wanted a Superman backpack. And mom said, okay. So it was the, you know, I, she went to do our back to school shopping and I went somewhere else.
I went to a friend's house or went with my grandparents or something. And I came home and mom had been to the store and back and done all the back to school shopping. And she said, okay, listen, they didn't have a Superman backpack. I'm sorry, but, but I got you something that's even better. And I walked into my bedroom and on my bed was a Batman backpack.
Mm. And I threw the biggest fit you could imagine. I was the most ungrateful, entitled little shit. I was like, I wanted Superman. I didn't want Batman. And now here I am, you know, 35 years later. And Batman's my favorite character, you know? So it, it came around. But when I was, my, my first formative experience was I wanted Superman, and I got Batman, and I don't want Batman.
Uh, but then like the, you know, the, the Michael Keaton movie came out in 1989. Mm-hmm. And that was like the biggest thing ever. And I went to see that in the theater. And then Batman Returns came out three years later. And I went to see that. And that's really what started me doing, wanting to do the writing, was I saw Batman returns and something in it.
I just, something in it. With me clicked because I saw the movie, I had started reading the comics and I started thinking about it just in my little pre-teen brain of like, well, these are stories, and I could tell stories, you know, and you start to sort of think about it like that. And then the animated series came out, and I just kind of got pulled along by all of a sudden, Batman was all over the place.
Like when, when I was a kid in the, in the, the eighties, it was, well, there was the cartoons on Saturday morning, and there's reruns of the Adam West show, and that was great, you know, but that was it. And then all of a sudden after the Keaton movie hit and was like the biggest movie of the year, all of a sudden it was like, okay, now it's just gonna be Batman permanently forever.
Mm-hmm. And that's pretty much what happened. So, you know, I got spoiled with Batman content and I, you know, I've been a, a, uh, a and, and often critical, but always loyal Batman fan ever since.
[00:13:08] Alex: Yeah. I, um, I have a, a, a similar sort of, um, Gift experience, I guess it was back to school for you, but like, there was a, I was a, in Christmas day, I think, I don't know, second grade or something like that, and I had asked for a Game Boy, and I remember I opened up, the first thing I opened up was, um, donkey Kong 1993, the, the one that was on, on the Game Boy.
And it was just the cartridge. And I hadn't opened the console yet, and I started crying because I didn't think. I had gotten a game boy, I just like wake up in the middle of the night cold sweats. Thinking about how, what a just awful little
[00:13:38] Steve: shit I was. Yeah. I, yeah, you're just a kid. You don't know any better.
Yeah. But I do, I I, I think back on that, I think, oh my poor mother, good lord, like she went to the store, she's trying to make her kid happy. She did the best she could to fulfill my, like, she could have just got me a plain backpack. Kids just, Hey, you don't have to have a character on your backpack, kid.
But, you know, she was trying her best and I just was completely ungrateful.
[00:14:00] Brian: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, so. Well, and like, I'm, I'm a, I'm a parent too, and, and like the idea of like trying to like, make it sound better than it is to be like, I got you something better. That's even better. Even better. It's really good.
[00:14:15] Steve: Yeah. I, it did not work. It did not work because like, cuz you know, when I was a kid it was, there was the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Mm-hmm. And they were everything to me. Mm-hmm. As a kid. Mm-hmm. Like, I love the Chris. I still do, there's still some of my favorite movies. And so, I mean, and there was the Adam West Batman, which I have gone through phases with when I was a kid.
I loved it when I was a, a jaded teenager, I thought I was too good for it. And I was like, no, it's not my Batman. And then when I got older, I was like, actually, it's really funny and I love it. Uh, you know, so I've kind of gone back and forth with it before I finally accepted it. Um, but that was, you know, it was like, gee, Adam West Batman, Christopher Reve, Superman to like a six year old kid.
It's like, well, obviously you're gonna go with Christopher Reve. So, you know, that's where I was, that's where my head was at when I, when I, when I screamed at my mother for the backpack that she had very kindly bought for me.
[00:15:10] Alex: That's awesome. So you talked a little bit about like Batman kind of evolving with you.
Yeah. And like being ever present. Um, You know what, what keeps you interested as an adult? Is it, is it that study, study drum beat of like new interpretations and content or,
[00:15:26] Steve: yeah, kind of. I mean, it's what has, it's the idea that someone will do a, a take on the character. That is not at all what I would do if the blue ferry came down with the magic wand and said, you can write Batman for DC comics now.
Mm-hmm. Like, it's not at all what I would do. But there's something about the core of it that makes me go, oh, I wish that I had thought of to do it that way. Mm-hmm. You know, like when I saw, when I saw, um, I was not a big fan of Batman Begins, but I loved The Dark Night. When I saw The Dark Night, I thought, oh man, it's like, it's not at all the Batman movie that I would ever make.
Mm. But, but it's perfect. And it's, you know, it's, it's so good at what it does and it's such an interesting take on the character and it's such a good movie, just period, regardless of whether it's does Right by Batman or not. And I love stuff like that. And I felt the same way about the newer one, about the Robert Pattons one.
I thought, I, I, I saw it, and again, I thought, this is, it's different from the Dark Night. It's different from how well, you know, the Batman movie that I imagine in my head that I would make. It's not like that at all. But it's fantastic, you know, and I love things like that there. And I think because there's nothing really innate about Batman, but it's just because Batman is so popular and so many people, Want to get their hands on him and have a take.
And there are so many different versions of him from through the years and from so many different artists that it feels like you more than other characters you can expect, that you can know. Like, well, somebody out there is a really talented storyteller and they've got an for Batman that I've never thought of and, and isn't what I would do in a million years, but when I see it, I'm gonna think it's great, you know?
[00:17:12] Brian: That's cool. Uh, so I've noticed you cover a wide variety of Batman stories across different time periods. Um, that's something that we're doing too. We're starting really early. Um, yeah. So do you mostly read as research for the show or do you go back and read Gold and Silver Age comics just for fun?
[00:17:32] Steve: honestly, I. Lately, it's mostly for video research, but I went through a phase in my early to mid twenties where I went back and got a lot of those, like, you know, cheap news print, like Omnibus, omnibus editions, the D mm-hmm. Marvel did it too, but I DC would do it
[00:17:50] Alex: as well. You think they called them Essentials or something like that?
[00:17:52] Steve: Marvel, it was Essentials and DC it was something similar, but yeah, and they were like phone books and they were just black and white newsprint. And, um, and then I would also get stuff like, you know, they would do the, the compendiums of like, you know, the best Batman stories ever, volume one and two.
And, um, so I, I, I tore through like a bunch of Golden Age stuff and Silver Age stuff. So I've read, I mean, not even close to most of it. But I've read a ton of it. And, um, you know, and then I read the regular monthly, I read Batman and Detective Comics monthly for probably about 10 years in the nineties.
Wow. Fairly regularly. And then I, I kind of dropped off, you know, just sort of gradually life kind of takes over and you're like, oh, I don't have time to read comics as much anymore. Um, so I haven't really caught up. I haven't really kept up with the current, I mean, I, I sort of know vaguely what's going on.
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But I haven't read regularly for many years. Um, but yeah, I've, I've read, you know, I, I, and it's just like with like, you know, going in and out with like the Adam West Batman. Mm. Um, I think some of my favorite stuff now, especially when I go back and I'm looking for, for ideas to do videos. I love doing Silver Age stuff.
Like I love the, the absolutely off the wall goofy, you know, zany 19, late forties, early fifties through to the mid sixties, uh, late golden Age and Silver Age stuff with Batman cuz it's just, some of it is just so nuts. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. You know,
[00:19:25] Alex: and you read it, is it the sci-fi angle as well? Because I know you're re guy a lot.
[00:19:29] Steve: a lot of it. Well, I mean, yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's, it's the, the sci-fi angle and the goofiness of it because like there, I think there was one, there was, there was an issue of Batman, I can't remember if it was Batman or Detective Comics, but it was from the early, early Silver Age. And I did, it's one of the ones I did a video about where.
Batman and Robin are kidnapped by aliens, and they're taken to an alien zoo, and like they have to break out and stop the aliens from kidnapping other people. And, and they, I mean, it's just, it's ridiculous. Mm-hmm. Like it, if it was a Star Trek episode, you'd be watching it going, this is a little farfetched.
Like if it was Star Trek, you'd be like, this is a little out there, and it's Batman. Mm-hmm. And it's just like, there's something so wonderful about the, the attitude that, that those writers back then had where they just said, yes, screw it. We don't care. Mm-hmm. We're just gonna, we're had an idea. We're gonna do it.
Like it was, it was the, the early days of the comics code, they couldn't really do crime stories anymore. They couldn't really do anything with too much violence. Mm-hmm. You know, so they said, all right. Well, Batman's gonna get kidnapped by aliens. Mm-hmm. You know, who, who's gonna stop us. Right. And, and it's great.
Like you read it today, it's like, oh man, this is just, this is so much fun. Like, this is,
[00:20:43] Alex: yeah. Insane. They're like unburdened by expectation, right? Yeah. There's not this sort of like, uh, yeah. Sort of legacy that they feel like they have to live up to. They can
[00:20:51] Steve: just, it's the, yeah. It's the kind of experimentation that's harder to get away with today.
[00:20:56] Alex: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think, um, you're gonna find that you know more about, Batman than us. I don't know how much you know about the show, uh, but I think, I think it's kind of just an excuse for Brian and I to connect on something that we, we both have an interest in. And so like, um, try trying to take the sort of attitude of like, the best way to learn something is to teach it, right?
Mm-hmm. And so we're like trying to figure it out, out as we go along. We're reading books, we're researching, we're, so, um, maybe, maybe you'll have some, some, uh, nuggets that you can, uh, drop. Um, while we're going through some covers,
[00:21:28] Steve: we'll see.
[00:21:30] Alex: Alright, as, uh, we promised in the intro, we wanna do some judging by the cover.
So, uh, basically we wanna walk through every single cover of a Batman comic ever. Um, we're gonna use it as an excuse to bring on some guests. Uh, Steve, thanks for coming. Absolutely. And, and turn it into a little bit of a game. We'll take a minute or two, describe the cover to our audio listeners, and then we'll assign it a letter grade of, um, S A B C or
[00:21:50] Brian: D.
Uh, y s Why not just A, B, C, D?
[00:21:54] Alex: So I had to do research on this. I had no idea. Um, it turns out that this is a Japanese thing. They, they have, um, a grade that is above a, like in school if you go, um, and it's, um, exemplary or shu. So S for Shu is the, the, the Romaji. Got it. Okay. The romanized version of it. Um, it's every, every cheer maker ever.
Like this is a thing. I guess it comes from, from, from the gaming sphere. Um huh. I have no idea. So how do you do fellow gamers? Um,
we're, we're also have a bucket for disqualification. Um, and that's where we're gonna put stuff that is, uh, problematic for whatever reason. Usually racist. Mm-hmm. Um,
[00:22:35] Steve: it's a bit of an experiment, so if there's any fu man chew covers in here. Yes.
[00:22:40] Alex: Spoilers. There will be. Um, so yeah, this whole thing, it could go horribly wrong, but at least we'll have a good story to tell.
Are, are you guys uh, ready to do it? I'm ready. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So here we go. We got, um, detective Comics number 27, the first appearance of Batman. Um, we talked about this one on, on the show. You've got, uh, sort of Batman swinging into frame with, you know, a dude and headlock his, his, um, bowler hat. Is that a bowler hat?
I don't know what type of hat that is. Is, uh, falling off? Yeah, no idea. And, um, two thugs in the foreground, one with a gun kind of looking in his direction. Um, what do you guys
[00:23:18] Steve: think? Well, I mean, it's one of the most iconic comic book covers ever. Mm-hmm. You know, I mean, I love looking at it now cuz I, I mean, it's one of those things, like, I've seen this cover so many times, it kind of, my eyes glaze over.
Mm-hmm. You know, it's like the, it's like the cover of Action Comics number one, where Superman's lifting the car. It's like, I've seen that, you know? Mm-hmm. But like, I love how Batman has sort of subtly popped out because his bat line is, is in front of the Detective comics logo. Yeah. So it's like he's swinging above the page.
Mm-hmm. Which is a really cool detail that I somehow didn't really notice until just now. Um, so I love that.
[00:23:59] Alex: Yeah. I, I, I, I also think this is, um, fairly well composed. I, I, I think one of, one of the things that Brian and I like to point out is, is, is typefaces. I think like you've got. 1, 2, 3, 4 type settings, which is fairly tame.
Like, uh, in golden Age they would go crazy. They'd have like a bunch of different, um, cuz they're drawn it by hand, right? Oh
[00:24:18] Brian: yeah. We've seen some elevens and twelves for Oh, like number different typefaces. Especially when Robin shows up cuz like Robin, the boy wonder has his like, own typeface because it's like old English Robinhood Robin.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, so that throws, throws a, a curve ball as well. I, I really dig How. Um, like right outta the gate, they were like, we can't make it entirely black because Batman obviously takes place at night all the time. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So they made the sky like this bright yellow and like all the shadows come out of this, like the, the brightness.
Almost like how I, well bats have echo location or whatever, but like, if you had like very good night vision, this is probably a lot like what you you'd see is the sky would be kind of, it wouldn't be yellow, but it'd be like, everything would be quite a bit brighter because of the moon and stuff. Mm-hmm.
Um, and so I think they like really nailed that one on the head.
[00:25:09] Alex: Yeah. It's pretty cool. Um, I should say as well, we don't know a hundred percent who drew all of these. It's, it's a little touch and go for the first year or two. Bob Kane claims.
[00:25:18] Brian: I think it was Bob Kane. It was definitely
[00:25:19] Steve: Bob Kane quote unquote Bob Kane
[00:25:22] Alex: discoveries.
He drew everything. Um, I'd love to know. Cause I think this is, it is a really good drawing. Okay. What do you guys think? Is this? Is this I I, I, it's obligatory, right? We have to, this has to go t here.
[00:25:33] Steve: I would think so. I mean, it's not only just for how historically relevant it is, but I mean, it's like it tells you everything you need to know about Batman in one picture.
Mm-hmm. You know, it's got, he's, he's doing something incredibly acrobatic. He's swing on a, on a rope. He's got a dude in a chin lock with one arm, a above. It's an urban scene. Oh, yeah. So, you know, he's a city character. You know, there's the two crooks in the foreground. One of them is packing heat, packing a rod.
So, you know, he lives like a dangerous life. It's just, it's, yeah. I mean, can you imagine being a kid in 1939 and seeing this on a, a newsstand and going, oh, what is that? Yeah. Like, I've gotta see what that is.
[00:26:12] Alex: Absolutely. All right. No, no, no arguments here. We'll, uh, go ahead and put it up in, in Es here, detective 28.
Do you want to talk about it, Brian?
[00:26:23] Brian: Sure. Um, so this is June, 1939, uh, detective Comics and you've got a couple of police officers jumping out of a car, um, and holding up a, uh, dude in a, a suit. He's got his hands up in another dude holding some kind of a briefcase, uh, and in front of some sort of, probably like a bank or, no, it says bank.
Yeah, it says bank. It says bank, uh, in front of a bank. So that's what we're
[00:26:51] Alex: at. Yeah. So no Batman, that is something that happens. Um, yes, somewhat frequently in these, in this first view. Um, You know, the, each epi, um, each issue of Detective Comics has like, you know, five or six stories in it. You've got like Slam Bradley and you know, other, other things going on.
So this is probably a reference to something else. And the art style is pretty different too. Um, if you look at 27, it's, it's fairly sort of organic and a lot of curved lines and things like that. Um, these guys are very, you know, sort of straight lines down the sides of the suits. And, uh, angular, I guess is a good way to describe it.
[00:27:25] Steve: Yeah. Well, and it's, it's just, it's, it's interesting to think of Batman in this context because Batman, especially in the early years, especially in the, in this, the, the first year, you really get the sense that he is a hybrid of an adventure character. Mm-hmm. And a crime comic. Um, of course now we think of him as a superhero, but, and, but you know, back when Batman was created there, superheroes was Superman.
That was basically it. I mean, there was a whole bunch more coming down the pike really, really soon. But Superman had kind of invented a new sub genre, so Batman, and he was still thought of as like, well, that's an adventure character. You know, it's like the shadow or mm-hmm. You know? Right. Um, or Doc Savage or something like that.
And, uh, so Batman is very much in this context of, yeah, he's an adventure character. He's a costumed hero, but he's also in Detective comics, which is the crime comic. And, you know, this is a classic scene from a crime comic. The cops have just, you know, uh, apparently got the drop on some guys that are on their way out of a bank mm-hmm.
With some loot. And I love the little note at the top though, for all the disappointed kids who bought the last issue and fell in love with Batman. There's that little title that they had to slam on there and be like, oh shit, what if they wanna see Batman? We have to re, we have to reassure them that there is a Batman story in here.
So, you know, this month and every month, Batman, even if he's not on the front, please continue to buy the comic.
[00:28:57] Alex: Yeah, it definitely feels like an afterthought, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Um, do you guys have an opinion on, on, on, on where you would slot this kind of standing on its own, on merits?
[00:29:07] Brian: So it's, it's cool, but since I, I'm here for the Batman and the only, the only Batman was that tiny little stamp at the top.
I would probably throw this like C tier or something, cuz it's just like, there's Batman's not there. It's probably not a Batman reference and there's nothing there that's Batman except for the title. So that's where I'm gonna land.
[00:29:28] Steve: I wouldn't, I wouldn't argue with that. I was gonna say B or C because I mean, it's not like, it's not bad, but the scene itself is a little generic.
It's, you know, literally cops and robbers and there's nothing about it that feels revolutionary or, you know, I mean, there's a reason why this isn't one of the most remembered comic covers, but there's nothing wrong with it. You know, it's, it's fine. So, yeah.
[00:29:51] Alex: Yeah. I think, um, I'll, I'll go ahead and, and we'll, we'll put it and see.
I, I agree with kind of that take, it's, um, in, in one of an upcoming episode, we're gonna, um, cover a couple shadow stories. Um, and this reminds me of that. It's, it's very, you know, um, of that sort of like, sort of feel. But, but I agree. I'm, I'm here for, I'm here for Batman. Steve, I don't wanna put you on the spot.
You're the, you're the guest. You can, yes. You can take a shot at describing one of 'em if you want. Um, or I
[00:30:17] Steve: can do it, absolutely. Yeah, go for it. No, I can, I can, I can take this one. This is a great one. This is, uh, so this is Detective Comics 29, uh, street date, July ni, or, or cover date, excuse me, July, 1939.
Um, and we have Batman. Swinging through the window of what looks like a castle. And, uh, his body is fully extended and his cape is out on either side of him. It l like bat wings. He's like his own logo come to life. Uh, and he's kicking a big guy down and in the foreground, turning to look over his shoulder at the scene from some mad scientist instruments is a guy who a lot of modern readers might assume is Dr.
Hugo Strange? That is not Dr. Hugo Strange. He hasn't been introduced yet. Right. So I think we're gonna, we we'll get to the issue where Dr. Strange makes his first appearance in a little, in a few more issues here. But this is actually Dr. Death. That's right. Um, yeah. One of Batman's first villains that was important enough to have a scary name.
[00:31:14] Alex: Mm-hmm. So, yeah. And this is the first issue where on the cover we're seeing what happens inside the book. Before it, it's just kind of generic stuff. And also this is the first Gardner Fox issue. Um, so the first two stories are, are Bill Finger, Gardner Fox writes this one. Um, I think this is pretty incredible.
I love it. Mm-hmm. Um, we, we, we on a previous episode, um, talked about how Batman is inspired by Dracula. And I think this is of the, if the previous one was sort of the, you know, 1920s, 1930s sort of, um, you know, mob, uh, crime story genre. This is like, you know, uh, 1850s sort of like, got horror, like, you know.
Yeah. You, we've been transported to Europe. We're in a castle. There's, um, a moon out the window bats flapping in front of it. This ticks the boxes for me, for sure. Yeah,
[00:32:04] Brian: absolutely. I love it. He's, he's swinging in through, through the castle windows and you've got Frankenstein and Frankenstein's Monster right there, right?
Like, I mean, I'm just like judging him by his cover. You're walking down the street and you're like, wow, there's a lot going on on that cover. It's, it's, it's evocative. Yeah.
[00:32:23] Steve: It's dynamic. Yeah. And, and like you were saying, it, uh, you know, the, the, the Detective comics 27 cover was an urban scene. He's swinging on a rope above buildings in a city and now this one, yeah, he's, he's like, it's like a scene from a horror story.
And it just shows you the versatility of the character that I'm sure Bob Kane and, uh, Bill Finger and his collaborators were, were not necessarily holding really detailed creative meetings going, we need to show the versatility of the character. And we did a city story last time. You know, they were, they were young artists that had a great gig and were just wanted to tell stories and um, wanted to come up with something that would grab people's attention.
And they were completely unfettered by expectations and it was their brand new character. They could do whatever they wanted and they came up with this and it's, you know, it's fantastic.
[00:33:13] Alex: Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah, definitely. They, they're, they're thinking about deadlines, right? Like, uh, yeah. You know, bill is, is busy writing clip Carson.
He doesn't have time. Who, who's gonna write it? Let's get this other guy. You know? Um, and they're, yeah. Making it up as they go along. Yeah. I, I would say that this, I would, I would probably slot this in, in a tier. I could see arguments for other, you know, rankings. What do you guys think?
[00:33:35] Brian: I'd probably go est personally.
I mean, this is legit. This is, it's got everything. Yeah. It,
[00:33:40] Steve: I, it could go either way with me. I would probably say I. A for now, just because I know there are a few coming up that are even better, but I mean, if I, like, I, if if you guys say yes tier, I'm not gonna fight you on it. I mean, it's fantastic. Well, it sounds like you
[00:33:55] Alex: got two.
Let's do a for now. Yeah. And we can come back. Okay.
We've got Detective comics number 30, um, cover date August, 1939. Um, kind of got a a, a red field, um, and what a frequent, uh, appearance in, in early Batman comics. We have, um, active construction of a, of like a skyscraper or something. There's a steel I-beam with this like wooden scaffolding that's hanging off of it.
Um, and we've got one man with like, what looks like a, like maybe. I don't know, like a, a blow torch. It's like a butane blow torch or something. He's got a gigantic, you know, pressurized tank on his back, and he's holding it with both hands. There's this big yellow sort of like sunburst of light, um, and he's firing it straight in a dude's face.
Um, and he's, that guy's falling backwards off the, off the scaffolding hats falling off.
[00:34:50] Steve: It's, it's just wonderful. Like, talk about a great, like pre comics code. Oh yeah. Comic book cover. Oh, yeah. You know, like, just think of like the cover artist, you know, the, the, uh, the publisher is like, you got that cover for Detective Comics number 30.
Oh, yeah, boss, don't worry. I got it covered. I got a great idea. And it's a dude getting blowtorched in the face.
[00:35:11] Alex: Yeah. No, I think, I think it, this, this only works as a sort of a, a, a, a comic cover. I, it is just if in any other context that just the level, the gruesome is just off the charts.
[00:35:24] Steve: That's true. If it was a movie, you'd be like, you'd be thinking about what that would really do to somebody.
Right. And you'd be like, oh, I don't know if I can watch that. But with this, it's like, oh, it's, it's, it's, I mean, I laugh out loud when I see it. It's like, oh yeah. That
[00:35:37] Brian: guy's not happy. I do think they were a little bit strategic with their, their illustration here, because like, it doesn't show the face melting off.
Like it's it's hidden behind the shoulder. Right. It's tastefully framed.
[00:35:49] Steve: Exactly. The guy who just got torched to the face, his back is to us. So we're spared any of the, uh, the ec comic style gore.
[00:35:58] Alex: Exactly. Uh, and again, we have the call out for people who are disappointed. Maybe that that Batman's missing a comer, but I, you know.
Mm-hmm. I don't know how you could be disappointed with this. It says, uh, another thrilling episode of the Batman in this issue. I think this has gotta be, this has gotta be pretty high. I mean, even though it doesn't have Batman, this is, yeah.
[00:36:18] Steve: I mean, I would go a just for the dude getting blowtorched in the face.
I mean, it's like, and cuz there, there, it's there. I mean, we, there's other things you, we can talk about. It's really well lit. Like, you know, it's, it's very dramatically lit, very atmospheric. Mm-hmm. It looks like. Mm-hmm. The blowtorch is like the only light source and the shadows are all kind of falling from that.
And it's just agree. I mean, it's a really dramatic scene and you know, it's a dude getting blowtorched in the face.
[00:36:41] Alex: Yeah. I hadn't even noticed that until you pointed it out. Um, that like, there's, there's, the shadows are sort of like going away from it, but there's so many folds in the fabric. They almost look like speed lines.
Like it's a, it's a fast shadow. It's kind of good point. Impressive.
[00:36:55] Brian: Yeah. I would, I'd probably go A or B tier because it, it is certainly is attention grabbing. No question about that. Um, but no, no Batman and just like what we talked about in the second issue above, we don't know if this is for the Batman comic that's inside or for a
[00:37:13] Alex: different issue.
Yeah. I didn't, actually didn't, I didn't research If this is a, a snippet, I would guess not, but, but I
[00:37:18] Steve: would guess not. Yeah. Although now I kind of wish that we eventually would get the big showdown between Batman and the blowtorch guy. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:37:27] Alex: You know, that, that could go really wrong with a, with a well-placed, uh, battering for sure.
[00:37:34] Steve: Well, especially year one, golden age Batman. I mean that he would feed that guy, that torch. Yes. Oh yeah. He didn't care. He had not yet discovered his moral code. Yeah, that was,
[00:37:44] Brian: that was one of my thoughts on that. That first issue was like golden age Batman. He's got a, he's swinging with a dude. He's only holding him by a headlock.
Yeah. Like that's, that's on brand for like
[00:37:54] Steve: music. He's not too worried about what's gonna happen to guy.
[00:37:57] Brian: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:38:00] Alex: So I, I think I agree. I'm gonna, we'll start with at a tier and like maybe if we feel like we need to do a bell distribution or something, we can. We can come back, but that's, that's pretty hard to top for, for non Batman, uh, including cover.
Uh, Brian, I'm jealous you get to describe this one.
[00:38:18] Brian: I've actually described this one before. You did. That's true. Um, so, so this one's really cool. It's like, um, I mean, Batman is silhouetted in the background larger than life. He's, he's got his head, head tilted down. He's got the big bat ears, and he is, and I, and I say larger than life is in, like, he's like a thousand stories tall behind this massive view of a, a castle at the top of, uh, uh, a mountain.
And we've got a dude in like a, I don't know, what do you call those? There's like red holocaust robes or something
[00:38:56] Alex: and it's Yeah, like a, uh, like a, like a monks outfit. Yeah. Yeah. I mean,
[00:39:01] Brian: yeah, it's the monk, right? Oh, he's the man monk. So, yes. Yeah. And he's, and he's carrying like a damsel in distress. And uh, and there's like some misty smoke and there's like, the moon is up over Batman's shoulder.
He is kind of like, um, I can't think what it's called. It's like the devil on, on Bald Mountain or whatever from uh, yeah, you described it like the Fantasia from Fantasia. Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, and then, and then this, uh, this red Monk, he also reminds me of, um, he's the, the, I can't think of his name right now.
He's the bad guy in GI Joe. Um, oh, Cobra. Cobra Commander. Cobra Cobra Commander. Yeah. He looks like Cobra commander to me.
[00:39:37] Steve: Yeah. I didn't, I never thought about that, but you're right, it does look like Cobra Commander. Yeah. It's one of the, this is one of the ones I was, this was the one I was thinking of when I said, maybe let's hold back on putting Batman swinging through the castle window on the S here, because this, uh, maybe other than, Detective Comics 27.
This is maybe the most famous and the most imitated early Batman comic cover that there is. I mean, it's just, yeah, and, and you can see why like it's just, it's. Incredible. I mean mm-hmm. It's, it's the first one that is, uh, figurative instead of literal. Mm-hmm. Cuz Batman's not actually that tall in the story.
Um, it's not, it's not the story of Batman, you know, taking a, a growth potion and becoming like, you know, a mild tall Yeah. It's represent, it's not representational, it's symbolic and, but it's like, there's so, it's so moody and so mm-hmm. Eye-catching. Mm-hmm. And, you know, Batman talk about like Dracula influence.
Yeah. Like, Batman not just, you know, the way his cloak is over his front and the way his head is kind of down, he looks very vampiric, very bat like, but also it's like, oh, bat Batman looming large over the bad guy, you know? Mm-hmm. Like, he's, he's coming for this guy, you know? Um, it's, yeah. It's, and it's, it's, it has been recreated by, Subsequent artists more times than I can remember.
Yeah. To this day, justly. So yeah.
[00:41:06] Alex: DC does these like, uh, variant covers, right? Like if there's, if there's a big issue of Batman, there'll be like six covers. And it is not unusual for another artist to be hom aging it again, you know? Uh, yeah. On a regular basis, this is probably one of the most popular, um, or most, most famous covers.
Again, this is, this is Gardner Fox story. Um, so in instead of the Bill Finger sort of like, uh, you know, protection rackets and confidence schemes and things like that, we've got, um, yeah. The, the sort of gothic horror, you know, Dracula inspired, um, Batman that, you know, I think is a really interesting, uh, tone to bring to the mix mm-hmm.
For that foundation of the
[00:41:44] Brian: character. Yeah. Much more like fantasy and fantastic than like organized crime. Mm.
[00:41:50] Alex: Yeah. Uh, no argument for me. S Tier, easy. S Tier
[00:41:54] Brian: a hundred percent.
[00:41:55] Alex: Steve, do you wanna do this one? Yeah,
[00:41:57] Steve: sure. So this is, again, completely different style from, uh, any of the ones we've looked at so far.
First of all, now Batman has a, has a picture. On, on the title. This, the, the cover, it's the main cover image Does not depict Batman, but we have a little Batman logo above the Detective comics title with Batman's head in a circle and the Batman, so the kids all know, okay, no, seriously batman's in this one.
Okay? Mm-hmm. We, we didn't put 'em on the cover cuz we needed to throw the other guys a bone, but, but Batman's in it, but. The main image is, it's, it's really a striking image. It's um, it's plain white background, just two figures isolated, and they're struggling. There's a cop reaching over from behind a crook and he's got his, his, his arm over the crook's throat.
Like he's grabbing him in kind of a headlock from behind. And his other hand is reaching and grabbing the guy's Tommy gun by the barrel. The crook is holding a Tommy gun and he's dressed in like a pinstriped suit and a fedora, and he's, you know, a gangster with a mustache. And the cop has clearly surprised this gangster in the act of some dastardly deed and is in the process of apprehending him.
And, yeah, and it's, it's a really, it's a very. Action packed, uh, seen, and it's rendered in a much more realistic art style. It's very, it's what, what you would call Little foot as opposed to Bigfoot. Mm-hmm. Uh, comic book, art style. It's a lot of really realistic rendering and shading. And they both look like they're kind of sweaty cuz they're glistening, I guess.
Mm-hmm. Because they've been, they've been struggling for a bit. Yeah.
[00:43:37] Alex: But he's got, the police officer has his hat perfectly on. Of course. Even so. Of
[00:43:41] Steve: course, of course. It was the thirties, you know, people cared more about their appearance back then.
[00:43:46] Alex: Yeah. Very much. It's like pul art, like I would expect to see this inside, um, you know, a pulp magazine.
Um, and I think, I believe the figures are Yeah, easily, easily the closest to sort of the figurative, um, camera that we've had. So we get lots of detail of their faces, you know, the cops looking right at us. Uh, kind of an smug, you know,
[00:44:12] Steve: I didn't catch that, but you're right. Like the cop the cop is like, check this out. Yeah,
[00:44:16] Alex: yeah,
[00:44:18] Brian: yeah. The, the artistic quality on this is another level. I don't think we've seen artistic quality like this. I mean, just like the shading and the highlights and the, the hat and the gun and like, you can see all of the, the, um, the pattern in the bad guy, well, presumably bad guy's suit.
You can see the veins in the back of his hand. Mm-hmm. The, the artistic quality is really, there's a lot high fidelity here. It's really good. Something
[00:44:45] Alex: else to call out is that this is the first one that we've looked at that has, um, sort of advertisements for other characters in the corner. It says, uh, also, also in this issue, slam Bradley Speed.
Saunders Buck Marshall Spy. I can't quite make it out. Larry Steele and Cosmo.
[00:45:02] Steve: And others worth 10 cents? I would say
[00:45:05] Alex: a hundred percent. I would, you know, I wish I could get that much story for 10 cents. I would say that this is, this is a B to me. I think it definitely has to be above the other Batman lacking.
[00:45:17] Steve: Uh oh yeah, I would say, yeah.
[00:45:19] Alex: Yeah, I agree. Kind of cops and robbers scenario.
[00:45:22] Brian: Yeah. B B is right to me. Okay. Great. Artistic quality, really interesting. Not quite as good as like someone having their face blow torched off.
[00:45:31] Alex: Pretty good.
[00:45:32] Steve: Not quite, not quite. It's right
[00:45:34] Brian: right there.
[00:45:36] Alex: So, uh, now we've got Detective Comics 33 cover date November, 1939.
And, um, we have Batman sort of jumping off a bridge onto a car that is speeding under, under that bridge with kind of speed lines behind it. And we have two, you know, two guys in their suits and bowties and Buller caps looking up. Kind of shocked that that Batman's coming down from above. And I believe, I just noticed this.
I'm, I'm glad I, I, um, I, I looked at this multiple times before so that every time I come back to it, I catch something else. It looks like he's got like a big knife hanging off of his utility belt.
[00:46:09] Steve: I think that might be a gun holster. Oh wow.
[00:46:12] Alex: Yeah, I think that's a gun
[00:46:12] Steve: holster. Yeah, it could be because again, this was year one, so he had not, that's one of the interesting things about.
The early, early, early Batman. Mm-hmm. Is that a lot of the thing, the, the traits that he would later acquire that would become definitive parts of him, like his anti-gun stance mm-hmm. Had not yet been added. So there are occasions in 1939 Batman stories where he's packing heat and you're like, whoa.
Mm-hmm. Batman. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:46:42] Alex: And then in the background, we've got like a really kind of sad half-hearted, um, tree. Looks like it's got some broken
[00:46:49] Steve: branches. It's, it's almost looks like it's growing, like against a building or something. Mm-hmm.
[00:46:54] Brian: It's like a Halloween tree. It's like one of those ones no leaves.
It looks dead. Right. Just angry.
[00:47:00] Steve: Oh. Gotham City. You know, it's just such a sad place. Yeah. What, what I, what I find interesting about this is you can see how the look of Batman is starting to evolve. Mm-hmm. Because the last time we saw him, He was still what we sort of instinctively imagine as 1939 Batman where, you know, the ears are a little longer and they're coming off his head at more of an angle.
They're sort of jutting out. Mm-hmm. And he's skinnier. Mm-hmm. And he doesn't really have the utility belt. And the cape is a different shape. And now in this one, this looks like, I don't know, I, I don't know off the top of my head who did the art for the, the cover, but I would guess Jerry Robinson might've had something to do with this because, um, it's starting to look more like the classic Jerry Robinson, Batman.
The ears are shorter. Um, the proportions in the body are a little bit more realistic. He's and a little, a little bit more muscular. And he's got something closer to the, what we would say is the recognizable utility belt. So the look of Batman is, is coming along in this. Mm-hmm.
[00:48:08] Alex: Yeah, I think you're right.
It, it, it could be Jerry Robinson. It could also be, um, Shelley Muldoff. He spent a very brief time being That's true. Bob Kane's assistant Right, right. In
[00:48:16] Steve: this block. That's true. And would go on to become one of the definitive artists a little bit later than this, but yeah. Yeah. He,
[00:48:25] Alex: we, we talked about it a little bit on a previous episode.
He would take a, a 20 year hiatus from the character. Yeah. You can believe it. Um, and then, and then became very prolific with Batman later to me, and I'm interested to hear your guys' thoughts. This is probably my least favorite, um, cover featuring Batman thus far. It, it is interesting because it, it has that checkpoint of sort of the progression, but mm-hmm.
Just in terms of like, you know, rack
[00:48:49] Steve: appeal. Yeah. I can kind of see what you mean. I ki I mean, it's, it's an exciting scene. Like it's Batman jumping into a car from a bridge, but you're right. Like, I guess com compared to Batman, the spirit of Batman looming over the castle. Mm-hmm. You know? Yeah. Or, or Batman swinging through.
The castle window. It's not quite as, you know, attention grabbing. Yeah.
[00:49:13] Brian: It, there's action. That's, that's interesting. Like the, the way that the, the cape is pluming up behind behind him while he is jumping down, he is jumping into a car. It's a convertible like that. I think that's got some good appeal, but like, it's not the monk, right?
Mm-hmm. It's not, it's not some like, mysterious figure. It's like, it's at best a couple of, of twins or
[00:49:36] Steve: something, you know? Like, and also I, I, I think Batman may be a victim of his own, uh, skill there, because it, it just, from Batman's body language and demeanor, it doesn't look like it's that big of a deal to him.
Mm. Like, he's just sort of, I gotta jump in this car, be right back. It's like he's, it's like, this is the third one. This, you know, tonight that he's done this. Yeah. You know, so it, and also I think it's not an, you can't tell from the cover, but I, I think this is, this issue is the first appearance of Dr.
Hugo Strange since I mentioned it earlier. Um, I think. So how do you
[00:50:06] Alex: guys feel about like a C I'm just throwing it out there.
[00:50:12] Brian: Uh, it seems a little rough. I'd probably go with a, I would say B. A b?
[00:50:15] Alex: Yeah. Okay.
[00:50:16] Steve: Yeah. Yeah. I think C's
[00:50:18] Alex: a little low. Okay. We'll, we'll, we'll slot it in B.
[00:50:21] Brian: So this is, uh, detective Comics number what, 34?
That's right. It's actually blocked for me. There we go. 34 December, 1939. Uh, and it's, it's an interesting one. We've got, I'm guessing some kind of a boat based on the, the background and, and there's like a, one of those little life preservers and stuff, and there's a, uh, dude all in red with a fedora. And he's got a what, like a domino mask on.
Mm-hmm. With another dude up over his head. Like he's holding this dude up over his head, like he's gonna throw him overboard. And he looks like he's dressed like a sailor. So he is got like the white cap that's falling off. Mm-hmm. He's got blue jacket and blue pants, white shoes. Uh, and this dude's gonna have a bad day cuz he's gonna be throwing bodily off of a ship.
He's getting chucked.
[00:51:13] Steve: Yeah. No ticket.
[00:51:17] Brian: No ticket. That's right.
[00:51:19] Alex: Yeah. I had to look this up. This is the Crimson Avenger, which was another hero that had been running at the time in Detective Comics. Um, Steve, are you familiar with the Crimson Avenger?
[00:51:28] Steve: I've heard the name and I've seen this cover maybe once before, but I, I'm not super, I don't know like who he is or what his story is at all.
[00:51:35] Alex: Yeah, me neither. J just, just researching for this episode. First. First time I've, I've even heard of him, but he's kind of, yeah, he's got like a red trench coat kind of Dick Tracy style.
[00:51:43] Steve: Yeah, I, I was thinking like the Green Hornet. He looks like the green hornet's, like, you know, uh, alternate universe Counterpart.
[00:51:52] Alex: You know, he's got a kind of like a weird scarf thing going on, or is that a tie? What
[00:51:56] Steve: is that? Yeah, I'm not sure what that is. It's
[00:51:59] Alex: kinda like blowing in the wind around his neck. Yeah,
[00:52:03] Steve: it do. It doesn't really go with the crimson motif, does it? No, no.
[00:52:07] Brian: I, at first I thought it was like a Python or something.
Yeah. Because of what kind of the pattern. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:52:14] Steve: Uh, maybe that's why he's throwing the guy off the ship. Maybe, maybe it's that guy's snake. And he's like, you throw a snake at me, and he's just chucking him.
[00:52:22] Brian: I'm sick of these snakes on this ship, on this ship.
[00:52:28] Steve: I didn't, I didn't know that was a comic book movie, but now I know.
[00:52:33] Brian: So you will appreciate. I did a quick search Google search of, uh, the Crimson Avenger. Yeah. And he shows up in the Justice League and when he shows up in an animated Justice league, he is, uh, uncredited voiced by Kevin Conroy. Oh, wow.
[00:52:48] Alex: That's pretty cool. There you go. As far as the art, we've got the weird kind of, um, snake thing around the neck, but also I didn't, Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, I would not have known that this was a boat.
Had you not pointed out that there's like a dinghy and like a life preserver. Yeah. Um, yeah, the framing's a little odd.
[00:53:06] Brian: I agree. The framing is odd. At first, like first blush, I thought he was on top of a building until I started to pick up on some of those other details.
[00:53:15] Steve: Yeah. The framing, the position of the figures is a little awkward because like, I guess they want, they wanted to make sure they had room in the frame for the dude's hat to fall off.
Mm-hmm. So as a result, they're kind of pushed over to the left. So there's not quite as, there's not as much distance, like for him to throw the guy, they're just kind of crowded off, you know, off center there. Mm-hmm. Um, I mean, it's not a, it's, it's, again, it's a very dramatic scene. Mm-hmm. You're sort of, you're, you're sort of led to wonder what, uh, what's the deal with this?
Mm-hmm. Why is, why is the dude in the red suit throwing the dude in the blue suit off the boat? Yeah. You know? Um, but yeah, it's not, again, kind of like the, the cops and robbers one from number 28. It's, it's just sort of, nothing wrong with it, but nothing that you're gonna, you know, be telling people about.
I wouldn't think, yeah.
[00:54:07] Brian: I, I'd probably give it like a C or a D, just, uh, because even like the artistic quality isn't like really there. It seems a really gestural and, and sketchy in comparison. Yeah.
[00:54:18] Alex: I'm not gonna argue with that. I think, uh, yeah, we, we, it would be our first d and so if we feel confident that this is, this is our least favorite, we could do that.
I do think in the, in the sort of pro column, it has a little bit of, of intrigue. Right. Especially, especially for a modern readers action. For sure. Yeah. Who's the Scarlet Avenger person? Mm-hmm. Um, so may maybe a C because of that. Okay.
[00:54:42] Steve: So, uh, this is Detective Comics 35. Uh, we're in 1940 now for the cover dates, January, 1940.
And it is, uh, Batman reach. It looks like he's leaning through an open window and grabbing a guy around the throat from behind. And then, uh, I'm grabbing his, the guy's arm with Batman's other arm, kind of in like a chicken wing maneuver. It's, it's, he's, he's putting him in the cross face chicken wing for my fellow wrestling fan.
Um, he's going for the submission. Um, and the guy is like a, he's a mad scientist, uh, looking to, he actually, he looks like the mad scientist from the Fleischer brothers Superman. Short. Mm-hmm. Uh, oh, you know, um, he's got like the la the lab smock and he's, uh, injecting another guy who looks like he is, uh, uh, sitting possibly secured to a chair who has his shirt pulled open and his shoulder is bare and he's being injected by the guy that Batman is reaching through the window to grab.
So, mm-hmm. Lot going on.
[00:55:46] Alex: Yeah. Batman's looking real angry. The doctor's looking really, really surprised. And and the, the guy is sweating the guy that's getting the injection. Yeah. Uh,
[00:56:00] Steve: he's like, no, Batman, it's okay. This is just a vaccine.
[00:56:07] Alex: He's kind of got the, the, the perspective problem with the, like the Rob Liefeld, captain America ps um, he looks kind of
[00:56:15] Steve: jacked. Yeah, yeah. The, yeah, the, uh, the, yeah, the figure drawing isn't the best and bat. Also Batman's head looks a little big for his body. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Um, I don't know. I think may, maybe they were trying to do like a perspective thing cuz he is leaning in the window.
Right. So maybe they want his to try to. Suggest some of that, but it just looks like Batman's, you know, he, he's been starved unfortunately, and he's lost his, he's lost all his muscle mass, but he's determined to go out as Batman, so he put on his costume and went for it, even though he's been, he's had some rough times and his head looks too big for his body.
[00:56:47] Alex: Steve is, is this Hugo Strange, do you know? Um,
[00:56:52] Steve: I don't think the doctor is Hugo Strange. Let me look it up. No, I don't think it
[00:56:57] Alex: is. Um, I, I did look in, in inside the issue and it didn't seem like there was any doctor inside the issue. This didn't have any, anything to do with it. Um, no. Which was
[00:57:06] Brian: confusing me.
I just looked up. The first time Dr. Strange shows up is in 36. Okay. And his cover photo is like his full face. Then
[00:57:16] Alex: it's later on. Oh, like on the, on the title page, you mean?
[00:57:20] Brian: Uh, I think it's the cover photo. I can, I can double, double check that. Yeah.
[00:57:25] Steve: In fact, when I, I'm looking at a summary of it right now, it doesn't look like.
Uh, yeah, the cover image is a, a scene from the previous issue. Okay. Which is some, which is something that the ear, those the early detective comics would do sometimes, like the, the, the cover image would actually not be a scene from the story in that issue, it would be from the previous issue, which is a little counterintuitive, but
[00:57:49] Brian: Yeah, it's really irritating to me.
Like whenever I see that's, uh, we, we've seen some like really bad ones. It's Yeah.
[00:57:55] Steve: Yeah. Cuz it's like, you imagine nowadays, you know, you see like a, a comic book and it's like Batman and the Joker. You then you, you open it up and there's no joker and like what the, oh, the Joker was last month.
[00:58:08] Alex: Well, you're telling me I have to read a Mad Hatter story.
What? Well then put him on, put him
[00:58:12] Steve: on last month's cover. Dude, what do you, what do you.
[00:58:16] Brian: Yeah, we, we did a Origins episode where I went through like a bunch of, bunch of different comics and, and stuff where it talks about Batman before, when he was just Bruce Wayne before he was Batman. And one of them was, uh, Superboy and Alex was just, he hated it all entirely.
Um, but the cover has picture. I'm not a big super boy fan, I'll be honest of like, of Superboy talking to a young Bruce Wayne wearing a Batman suit without the Batman logo. And we're like, what is this? And you read about it and he like, does wear a suit at some point, but it is not the Batman suit. It's not even close.
So like, what he wears in the issue is like completely different than what they put on the cover, which I think is, is a little bit tricky.
[00:59:02] Alex: I think that was 1950s. This is very much clickbait.
[00:59:05] Steve: There were such liars. There were such liars. Or like, sometimes it would be like the cover would show because the, the covers got like, uh, there were.
Times where they were just flagrantly deceptive, you know? Like it would be like, it would be a cover of, you know, Batman, like laying on a couch looking like he's dead. And Robin stumbling into the room with like a shock face. And the text would be like, what has happened to Batman? And then you read the story and it's like he was taking a nap, you know?
And you're like, okay, technically they didn't say anything false, but they definitely led you in a direction, right? Yes.
[00:59:47] Alex: And it's like one panel, right? The editor has come to the writer Yes. And said, Hey, we we're doing this thing for the cover. You see?
[00:59:54] Steve: Yes. If, if you could give us something that we could take and maybe take it outta context and make the kids think the Batman was dead in Batman, the comic that's named after him, maybe the kids will think we killed him in his own book.
I don't know. It's so terrible.
[01:00:11] Brian: So, so back to this cover. Yeah. I, there's like a lot of really cool stuff going on. Like, there's, there's so many details to like, laugh at also, cuz we've got like this, this dude who's tied to a chair, his shirt's open, he looks surprised and shocked. He's like sweat sweating bullets, like big beads of sweat going up.
Now we've got this, this doctor scientist, whatever he is, and you know, he's some kind of a doctor scientist cuz there's like a, a, a settling tanks or something right there in the shot. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And he looks possessed. His eyes are like full white, no pupils, no irises at all. He's got the, the like deepest widow's peaks I've ever seen in my whole life, right?
Yes. Uh, and, and then bat. And if you hadn't said he was coming out of a window, I don't think I would've even seen it. But then you've got Batman behind him just like, just go into town like he does. Uh, this one has, there's like a lot of intrigue here. I, I dig this. This covered quite a bit. Yeah.
[01:01:10] Steve: No more injecting people with steroids for you.
[01:01:14] Alex: right. Yeah. I like this one a lot too. I think, um, even, even for the sort of like perspective and proportion flaws, it's, it's got the intrigue for sure. Oh, definitely. What do you think, do you wanna put this in a, that would be with swinging in the window and blowtorch to the face, say
[01:01:30] Brian: A or B.
[01:01:31] Steve: I was gonna say B, but I mean A again.
Okay. Like it's, I, I do, I I do like it and it's, it's a lot of fun. Um, yeah. I would say
[01:01:40] Alex: b. All right, let's, we'll do B. So here, uh, we have Detective Comics, number 36, uh, cover date February, 1940. And we have, um, just really awful, um, stereotypical, um, yellow peril, um, you know, uh, racist drawings, trope of, of, uh, Asian, you know, generically Asian characters in the foreground.
They're both holding, uh, knives and we have Batman sort of swinging from, I don't even know what it is. It's kind of a pole coming out of nowhere to attached to nowhere.
[01:02:16] Steve: Like what, where, what's that, that, that crossbar attached to at a weird angle. Yeah. Like, how's that? Yeah, there's the, the, the physics of that make no sense
[01:02:25] Brian: at all.
And what's the purpose of
[01:02:26] Alex: it? And it's at place. Right? Why is that? There we have like stone stone work, like they're in a castle or a dungeon or something and all of a sudden there's like a log cabin railing and like log cabin
[01:02:37] Steve: backwards. Yeah. You know, they forgot, they forgot to put the railing. They, they, the inspector came and said, this isn't gonna be up to code and it needs a railing.
And they were like, we don't have any stone left for a railing. What are we supposed to do? And he is like, it's not my problem. Just put a
[01:02:49] Brian: railing up. Yeah. Yeah. You can certainly tell that these illustrators were not architects. Based on how, how this stuff goes together.
[01:02:58] Alex: So yeah, I think this, this has to go in the disqualification, uh, bucket for sure.
Uh, I, I wouldn't feel comfortable giving it a rating. Yeah.
[01:03:06] Steve: Well, it's a shame because like the, the, the action in the scene, other than like the nonsensical arrangement of the railings, like the action in the scene is kind of, is kind of exciting. It's like, you know, a classic Batman swinging in and kicking ass thing, but mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's like, oh, but he's, he's fighting racial stereotypes. Mm-hmm. Oh, that's not, oh, that's right. It's 1940. You know? Yeah. One of those unfortunate things.
[01:03:32] Alex: He's, uh, I, I just realized as well, I think this might be the first time he's smiling.
[01:03:40] Steve: Yeah. We kinda have the jolly, he's going morphing. He, he's morphing into the familiar.
Golden age Batman at this point. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And you see like the, the, the points on the top of the boots and uh mm-hmm. The, the, the gloves are scalloped. He doesn't quite have the bat fins yet, but they're flaring out a little bit, so it's Yeah. He's getting there.
[01:04:02] Alex: Yeah.
[01:04:03] Brian: Yeah. If, if you hadn't said that they were Asian stereotypes, I would've thought they were like the undead, cuz like that, that's just like that, that yellow color is zombies to me.
Yeah. But you can tell by
[01:04:14] Steve: the, by the eyebrows on the guy in the forth right there and like the kind of pointed ears that they Yeah, it's is, there's a lot of uh, uh, uh, red flags as far as Asian stereotyping there. It's Oh,
[01:04:25] Brian: absolutely. No, no question. Yeah. We're gonna
[01:04:27] Alex: do an episode soon on the serials, the 1943 and 49.
[01:04:32] Steve: Oh boy. They're bad. Talk about talk, talk about, uh, anti-Japanese stereotypes.
[01:04:38] Alex: Good lord. Yeah. We'll probably have to do a whole second. It's propaganda kind of the history there.
[01:04:42] Brian: Yeah. Um, The o the other, this is like totally not a big issue compared to the, the like elephant in the room issue, but like his cape's been split in half, right?
[01:04:54] Alex: Yeah. They switch back and
[01:04:55] Steve: forth. Yeah. It's a little bit like, like, uh, whether or not Spider-Man has webs under his arms or not. Right. You know, like it depends on the artist. Sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he doesn't, and there's no consistency and nobody really cares. But yeah, and yeah, you're right. It does, it seems like they seem, it's like they, he couldn't decide whether he had wings.
Or whether it was a cape and mm-hmm. Right. It kind of goes back and forth.
[01:05:21] Alex: Yeah. The on 27, they, they look like wings and they, they kind of look like the, the bat whisper wings. I don't know if you've ever seen that movie, Steve, that, um, was one of the inspirations that, that Bob talked about, um, where they're kinda like waxy, like they're sticking straight out.
Yes. It's less of a cape. Um, but then just two issues later on. 29, it's, it's a full cape. Like it's clearly connected all way. Feels more across. Feels like a cape. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But this is more in the wings camp. All right. Brian, do you wanna do number 37? Sure.
[01:05:48] Brian: Thing number 37. March, 1940. We've got, uh, okay, let's see.
We've got Batman, uh, is in the midst of action. He's fighting a couple of goons on a, what is this? Like a pier? Yes. And it looks like to me, yeah. Yeah. And he's flipping one up over his shoulder, like no big deal. And it's like head over heels. Like his, his feet are up in the air and he is dropping a gun, and Batman is assuredly going to snap this guy's arm in the process.
Mm. And then we've got another dude in the foreground who's running towards Batman, uh, with a big knife, well, it's kind of a tiny knife compared to the handle size, but he's with a knife in his hand. Um, and it's at night, there's the moon and it is kind of, I guess, foggy, I'm guessing that's fog. Uh, it's pretty, pretty dynamic scene.
[01:06:48] Steve: Really atmospheric, uh, clearly meant to be set at night. Mm-hmm. And Yeah, I mean, it, yeah, it looks like a, it's, and it's very lurid, very crime comicy. Very like pulpy. Uh, yeah. And yeah, and, and very, very dynamic. Like it's, it's, we've seen Batman in action, like in midair, like swinging or jumping, but this is, he's on the ground, he's in the middle of a scrap, you know, he's fighting.
Mm-hmm. It's not just he's swinging in to kick somebody or drop into a scene. Like he's, he's in the midst of hand-to-hand combat with people.
[01:07:24] Alex: Mm-hmm. I like the setting too. I don't, I don't, uh, reach for, but just sort of Batman on the pier A as, as kind of one of the things that, you know, I'm thinking about the city or the, or the, or the castle or the, you know, um, so it's kind of an interesting, um, unlike the others that we've looked at.
Yeah. What do you think where you wanna slot it?
[01:07:44] Brian: I'd probably B tier. This one I could get with that. Yeah, I could. I could agree with that. B, B or C, like it's good, but it's not amazing.
[01:07:52] Alex: We, I guess we didn't have as much to say about it,
[01:07:54] Brian: which I think, yeah, we had a lot less to say about this one. Yeah.
That's why I was saying B or C.
[01:07:58] Steve: Yeah. Which it's, yeah, it's like's a, I think it's a cool overall scene, but there aren't as many details to kind of pick out. You know what I mean?
[01:08:06] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. All right. Uh, Steve, this is the, the last one we wanted to talk about, uh, today. And you're, you, you got the honors, uh,
[01:08:14] Steve: take us home.
Yes, I, I sure do. Cuz this is another one that is an all time classic. Um, this is Detective Comics 38 and, um, if you're a super-duper Batman fan, I don't need to tell you the significance of that. But this is the debut of Robin. The Boy Wonder, the first sidekick in superhero comics, and it couldn't be simpler.
It's Batman standing off to the right side of frame, uh, posed proudly as though he's presenting this to the reader with one hand on his hip, and the other hand is holding a, a paper drum and through the drum is bursting. The figure of Robin with his cape, his yellow Cape fla out behind him and above him, and the familiar classic Robin costume with the red chested tunic with green sleeves and green gloves and green little elf boots.
Um, and the r on the chest. And he is jumping through the drum and it's, it, it, the, the text says the sensational character find of 1940 robbing the boy wonder and comics and Batman would never be the same. And, um, and he is, he is, I think we can say he's fully golden age Batman at this point. The ears are, are the familiar shape.
The, the, the bat on the chest is about the right size. The utility belt is yellow. The cape is clearly a one piece cape. Mm-hmm. He's got the, the fins, the bat fins on the gloves, like this is mm-hmm. Basically the look that he would have in the comics. Um, For the next 10 years, and then with slight alterations for 10 years after that at least.
Mm-hmm. Um, you know, this, this, it's, it's classic Golden Age Batman and it's classic Golden Age Robin. Mm-hmm. And, uh, yeah, two, two of my all time favorite comic book characters.
[01:10:06] Alex: Yeah. It, it, it, it's really interesting how fast things snap into focus here. Like there's a lot of sort of, um, characters quite aren't what they're, what they're gonna be.
You know, Batman has a, has a fiance for his hot second, you know, where doing weird, you know, he's globe trotting, which he doesn't do as much of later, you know, he's got, you know, a lot of different stuff and then all of a sudden we get to this point and it's very much, oh, this is Batman and this is Robin.
And the story is pretty good. We did it, covered it just a couple episodes ago. Mm-hmm. Um, and it is exactly what you expect, you know, um, And you're right, the art does evolve. Like people change Batman's costume a bit, but there's not a lot of yada, yada yada between this. And like Neil Adams even, like, it's pretty, it's, you know,
[01:10:50] Steve: he's Yeah.
The, the, the, I mean, every, every artist has their own style. Mm. But in terms of just the gen, the general look, the costume and, you know, the sort of configuration like this is, this is how he stays for a good, long time. Mm-hmm.
[01:11:03] Alex: Yeah. Brian, do you have any thoughts
[01:11:05] Brian: on it? Well, I, I, I think that, like, compared to the other ones, this one is like a little bit, uh, it's not so dynamic.
It's a little bit more lame because it's like presenting. He pops out of like his dare you, his circus drummer, whatever. Um, I, I do, I do think it's kind of funny that it says the sensational character find of 1940. Like, they found him
[01:11:25] Steve: somewhere. Like, like he, like he showed up at the office.
[01:11:28] Brian: Yeah. Oh, look, we found
[01:11:31] Steve: somebody saw him, you know, panhandling at the train station.
Mm-hmm. And they were like, Hey, he'd be a great comic book
[01:11:37] Brian: character, wouldn't he? Exactly. But, but no, I agree. It is, it is classic. It is, uh, it is very important. Um, part of the history and stuff, uh, it's, it's the first one where we see them like, well, we, them in general, but we see Batman just like standing and smiling, like, look what I got, you know?
Mm-hmm. So there's like, it's, it's, um, fresh in that kind of take. Yeah. Uh, but it's not, it's not as tear to me. Yeah.
[01:12:05] Alex: There's no, there's no villains. There's no, he's not fighting. This is like lunchbox material for sure. It's brain. Yeah, totally. Yes. Lunchbox
[01:12:12] Steve: material. Yeah, he's, that's what I was gonna say.
Like the thing about, especially when you compare it to the earlier Batman covers that we've talked about, it's not grim at all. Like he's still Batman, he still wears the Batman costume. There's still like elements of sort of, you know, scariness about just mm-hmm. Batman, but there's nothing grim about this at all.
It's very bright. Batman is smiling. He's like, Hey, check it out. Check out. Hey, I've got a kid. I guess he's my son. Or maybe not my little brother. He's something and he's gonna fight hold. He's getting away. Yeah, he's, look, everybody I've enlisted help in my fight against violent crime, a young child. He's, I'm going to be bringing this child with me out on the streets every night to fight the most dangerous criminals in the city.
Isn't this great? Yes. Um, yeah. So, yeah, it, it, it, it, it both lightens, Batman up a good bit and also makes him even goofier than he already was. Mm-hmm. Because now it's like, okay, there's no, there's no hint of realism here. Like, I mean, it was never realistic to begin with, but now it's like, oh, oh. And he's, his sidekick is a 12 year old kid dressed like a circus acrobat.
Great. But it's fantastic. And yeah, I, and notice, speaking of dishonest covers, you have Bob Kane's signature down there. Mm-hmm. There's no way Bob Kane drew this. And then, but down at the bottom, and I think this might be a modern edition, it says Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. Mm-hmm. Well, that's a little closer.
I'm pretty sure this is mostly Jerry. Bob Kane might have looked at it and said, yeah, that's good. That might have been Bob Kane's contribution to this cover. I'm pretty sure this was most, if not all, Jerry Robinson. Yeah.
[01:13:54] Alex: I think it's a, it's a slam dunk that this is Jerry Robinson just from the art style alone.
[01:13:59] Brian: So to, from like on second thought, I also think like, I'm a kid walking down the street and you see this, right? Yeah. And that's more exciting because we've got target audience, we've got a, a character now that's my age, and we've got Batman working with a character that's my age. Right. And it, it becomes more relatable and that, I think that would be quite
[01:14:20] Alex: exciting.
So are you, you're saying if you're 12, this is Ste.
[01:14:26] Brian: Sure.
[01:14:27] Alex: Uh, uh, I think, I think you got it then, right?
[01:14:31] Brian: Well, we gotta hear from everyone. Oh,
[01:14:34] Alex: but Steve's in case, Steve. No,
[01:14:36] Steve: uh, I I would go as tier with it for sure. I mean, the, I would say if, if we were doing, if we were putting it, because there's, there's a, uh, another early Robin cover.
He's, he's, he and Batman. He, he's on the cover with Batman pretty much regularly from this point on. Mm-hmm. Um, and they're, they're on the cover of one of my all time favorite comic book covers that I actually have framed on my living room wall and like a big poster. It's the, the, um, Batman number one, which is, uh, Batman and Robin.
And they're, they're both swinging. And that's, and that, so that of the early Robin covers, I prefer that one to this one just because it's just a more dynamic action pack scene. And it's like, you know, Batman and Robin swinging on ropes and they're above the city and they're kind of looking at each other and smiling.
Yeah. And it's just like, mm-hmm. Oh, come on. How do you not love that? Um, but I mean, of judged among, you know, the other detective comics covers we've looked at and just for its historical value and its importance and how different it is from the others. Um, you know, I, I would have to go Este with it for sure.
I mean, it's a classic.
[01:15:45] Alex: Yeah, I agree. Uh, and, and I've decided that Brian agrees too.
[01:15:52] Brian: Works for me. S unanimous works for me.
[01:15:56] Alex: Um, so that's, that's everything we had planned, but um, just a moment ago, Brian suggested that we take a look at one more together. Do, do you wanna describe it? Me.
[01:16:07] Brian: Sure. So, uh, did we catch what year this one is?
[01:16:12] Alex: think
[01:16:13] Steve: you said it was 64. Okay.
[01:16:15] Brian: That sounds right. Yeah. So over what, like 15 years or so am I, am I doing that math right? No, 2020 years. 24, 20 64. Yeah. Yeah. 24 years later. And the price has only gone up 2 cents. I would like to see that kind of wow. Inflation again. Um, it's got the approved by the Comics Code Authority up in the corner.
So this is, uh, detective Comics number 3 26, April of, I think we said 1964. Mm-hmm. I think someone's gonna be looking this up. And, uh, and it's captive of the Alien Zoo is the name of the issue. And what we have here is, uh, apparently a bunch of alien people with, like, they really look really strange that they've got, um, Human ears.
They've got two eyes. They look like, like small, small and stature people. And then they've got, um, like beaks. Mm-hmm. Like, like from eagles or hawks or something. Um, uh, but otherwise they actually look quite a bit like, like humanoid figures. Mm-hmm. We've got in the background, um, some really strange alien looking, um, animal inside of a cage.
And, uh, closer up we've got Batman and Robin in a cage as well. Uh, they're obviously on some other kind of, um, world because of the shape of the mountains in the background. And the, the ground is purple, which I think is intentional. And they have speech bubbles. And so Robin is saying, let us out of here, we're human beings.
And Batman is saying they don't understand us, Robin, they think we're some strange earth creatures That alien animal hunter brought back alive for his zoo. Which is like those bananas. There's a lot, there's craziness going on here. I
[01:18:08] Steve: just, I, I wish the Adam West TV show had had the budget Oh yeah. To do stories like this to do just at the most absolutely bonkers.
Silver age stories because like, I mean, this is one of the more out there ones like Batman and Robin didn't go to alien planets like every month. It happened more often than modern readers might think, but it wasn't like a regular occurrence. Um, but yeah, it's just, it's fantastic. It's so, and again, like, especially when the way we're doing it here where we're just sort of looking at this one out of context after we just got done looking at 1939 and 1940 and it's like, and also aliens like, yeah, yeah.
They fought, they fought gangsters and there was, you know, maybe there were like some mad science, like gothic horror stuff, like that's over here. And then they got kidnapped by aliens and taken to a zoo on another planet. And
[01:19:05] Alex: that happened too. Yeah. Um, it's like, yeah. Totally, completely different. Um, and they look so ridiculous.
They've got like kinda like gremlin hair, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, green pink dude
[01:19:18] Brian: up front. He's got, he's got like, um, tintin's hair. Oh
[01:19:24] Alex: sure. Right? Yes,
[01:19:26] Steve: yes. Totally. Totally. Yeah. It's just phenomenal. I mean, um, and the story I i's, I can't, it's hard for me to remember all the fine details of it, but I did, it's one of my best Batman ever video subjects.
Um, and I love doing videos about these Silver Age stories cuz they're just so much fun and such a great departure. Cuz like, I love, like I grew up with super serious modern Batman, like I love super serious modern Batman, but there's something so much fun about Off the Wall, zany goofy. 1950s, 1960s, silver Age Batman.
It's just so much fun. And to think like it's the same guy. Mm. Like even though, I mean, technically, it's like, no, they're not technically the same character anymore because they split the universes and you know, it's the, you know, it's like technically he's not the same guy. Yeah. But who, he's basically the same guy.
Mm-hmm. You know, and oh no, his parents were murdered right in front of him in an alley outside of a theater. Oh God. How horrible. Now he is on an alien planet. And he's, and he was kidnapped by aliens and he's in a
[01:20:35] Alex: zoo. Isn't that crazy? Yeah. I mean, it's conceivable at this time that someone's been reading it the whole time, like Yeah.
You know? Absolutely.
[01:20:43] Steve: I'm sure there were, I'm sure there were people that got into it when they were kids and they just kind of still kept up with it. And they're like, they had like a moment of clarity at some point where they're like, can you believe this shit? He was fighting
[01:20:54] Alex: gangsters. Yeah. Talk about the journey.
He was fighting gangsters in the forties and now he is. Yeah.
[01:20:59] Brian: He used to kill people.
[01:21:02] Steve: I remember when he had a gun. Sure Grandpa. Sure you do. He did.
[01:21:10] Alex: Uh, do you, do you want to do, do you wanna rank this? Like, I feel like it's so hard to compare it against everything else we did. Um, if you had to give it a letter, a letter grade, what would you do?
[01:21:20] Brian: I'm giving this to Steve.
[01:21:22] Steve: I mean, I can't, there, I, there's no justification for going s here with it. Like, it's not that good. Um. I would go either A or B with it. I mean, I, I do, I really like it, and it's really funny and it's, it's, it's really representative of this period of the character's history. Um, but the thing is, is like as, as crazy as it is, like, it's not that remarkable compared to the other covers from this era, right?
Cause they were all like this, right? Like, they were all nuts like this. So I, I would say maybe I, maybe B. Mm-hmm.
[01:21:57] Alex: Maybe B, yeah. I, I think there's, there's, there's the ones that everyone knows. Like, there's the one where, you know, Batman's in a zebra suit for some reason, you know, or the rainbow, you know, suits or, yes, I did that one too.
Yes. Um, and yeah. But, but, so it's easy to think that those are so wild and out there, but there's dozens and dozens of others just like this. They're all, you know. Yeah.
[01:22:25] Brian: Well, it's been an absolute pleasure having you here. Um, thrilled, thrilled to meet you. And I'm, I'm like so excited that you were able to come on. Um, You were the first person that Alex reached out to, and you answered right away. Yes. And which was, was so amazing. Yeah. Thank you. Um, and then, yeah. Do you wanna, do you wanna plug anything, Steve?
[01:22:48] Alex: Yeah.
[01:22:48] Steve: Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me. I had a great time. I love, it was, it was really cool to look at these old detective comics covers and, and, and talk about 'em with you guys. And, uh, it was like, it was like Batman mixed with art appreciation class. I loved it. But yeah. Okay. You can find me on YouTube, uh, youtube.com/steve Shives, where you can see me make videos about all the stuff, uh, that was mentioned in the intro.
Um, and one of, one of which is Best Batman ever, which I think I've done 11 or 12 of those at this point and more to come. And also I co-host a couple of podcasts, which you can just Google. Uh, they're part of the, let me listen. Podcast family. Uh, there's late seating. The movie review podcast I do with, uh, my buddy Jason Harding and also the ENSs Log, which is a Star Trek themed comedy podcast that I do with Jason and with our good friend Dana Cole.
So those are my plugs. Awesome. Nice. Yeah.
[01:23:45] Alex: Well, thanks for coming.
[01:23:46] Steve: Absolutely. Anytime. This was great.
[01:23:51] Alex: If you liked the show, then please leave a five star review for us on Apple Podcasts. If you write us a review, we'll read it on the show. We've been growing an audience, which is awesome, and the more people who listen, The more we'll be able to put out episodes. What did we get wrong? What do you want us to talk about?
You can send us a voice recording or write us an email and we'll reply on the show. Just head on over to bat lessons.com. You can contact us there. That's also where to find details about episodes, like transcripts and show notes. All of our social media, like Instagram and Mastodon, Twitter and TikTok, and our video content from YouTube is posted on bat lessons.com too.
Until next time. I'm Alex Cash. And I'm Brian Anders. Thanks for listening.