–Batman #20, Part 3
Batman and Robin accompany the GCPD Harbor Patrol on a routine daily outing, which involves rescuing suicidal bridge jumpers, traffic duty, helping dumb kids, and fighting pirates led by the razor-toothed Shark “The Shark” Hawkey. The Shark gets away, but Batman and Robin join the Harbor Patrol the next day to continue the fight against him. Eventually, Robin gets kidnapped and taken to the Shark’s lair, a colossal sub-sea water lock. Batman battles his way into the underwater HQ and reveals its location to the Harbor Patrol, thus ensuring Robin’s rescue and the Shark’s defeat.
–Batman #20, Part 4
Dick’s relatives–his uncle George Grayson and his wife Clara–come from Europe to claim Dick under their legal guardianship! After a brief custody trial, a judge rules that due to Bruce’s playboy lifestyle, Dick would be better in the care of his aunt and uncle. Dick is awarded to George and Clara! After a sad parting of ways, Dick goes to live with his new parents and Bruce broods at Wayne Manor. At night, Batman fights Fatso Foley’s mob and is happily surprised when Robin joins him, having sneaked out of his aunt and uncle’s home. Uncle George and Aunt Clara then arrange a meeting with Bruce and reveal that they don’t give a hoot about Dick’s welfare. Now that they have legal custody, they want Bruce to pay them a million dollars and they will “act negligent,” thus ensuring Dick’s switch back to Bruce’s care. An angry Bruce suits up as Batman and returns to George and Clara’s house, threatening them to turn themselves in. George immediately goes to Foley for help. Foley’s gang captures Batman and tosses him into a decompression chamber. When George phones Wayne Manor to give news that Batman has been neutralized and that Bruce should pay up, Alfred joins up with Robin and they go to rescue the Dark Knight. Robin, armed with his fists, and Alfred, armed with a Penguin gas umbrella, are able to defeat Foley and his cronies and save Batman’s life. Afterward, George and Clara are outed as crooks, although Dick doesn’t have the heart to prosecute his only family. Disgraced, George and Clara leave Gotham for good. Meanwhile, Batman meets with the custody judge and personally vouches for Bruce, who is subsequently given custody of Dick once again.
–REFERENCE: Batman expands his underground bunker beneath Wayne Manor (as referenced in the first chapter of the 1943 Batman film serial, entitled “The Electrical Brain”). Discovering that large caverns filled with bats were adjacent to the already constructed underground hangars, Batman simply annexed the space and re-shaped the terrain. This is the official debut of the Bat’s Cave, better known as the Batcave! From this point on, the Batcave will be heavily featured in all Batman tales in film, radio, newspaper strips, and comics. As we learn in Batman #64, the caves below Wayne Manor are linked via a maze of underground passageways to the historic Anderson Caves that run for miles underground. The Anderson Caves were last inhabited by runaway slaves and Confederate spies during the Civil War. The actual Batcave itself was used as a hideout for lawman Jeremy Coe in the 1650s (as we learn in Detective Comics #205). Batman, in addition to camouflage already in place, adds protective motion-sensor triggered walls at the outskirts of the various cave entrances on the estate. Note that the Batcave also includes entry to a connected underground river—one of the longest underground waterways in the world—that leads into Gotham Bay and the Atlantic beyond.
–FLASHBACK: Batman and Robin install a giant big-screen TV in the Batcave (as seen via flashback in Detective Comics #205).
–Detective Comics #83
This issue takes place here because the Batcave has been already been established (as referenced in the 1943 movie serial). Detective Comics #83 also tells the tale of how Alfred gets skinny (to match up with his portrayal by William Austin in the movie serial). Alfred leaves to attend a health resort in an effort to lose his hefty extra pounds. A few weeks later, Dr. Goodwin allies himself with the mob boss Biff Bannon and concocts a scheme that involves causing non-lethal “accidents” to prominent businessmen. Goodwin treats the injured parties by administering a serum of his own invention that allows him to control them in their sleep, thus allowing free access to vast wealth. Batman and Robin intervene, but Batman is captured and Goodwin dopes him with the serum. The next day, the Dark Knight awakes and tries to rob a safe on behalf of Goodwin and Bannon. Robin follows Batman and is able to talk him out of the trance. The Dynamic Duo is then aided by a mysterious stranger, who helps apprehend both villains. Batman and Robin are shocked to learn that the mysterious stranger is the returning Alfred, fit as a fiddle and sporting his now-familiar modern pencil mustache.
–REFERENCE: Bruce becomes engaged to Linda Page (as referenced in “Chapter 13: Eight Steps Down” of the 1943 Batman movie serial). The details are never given, but based upon what we have seen of their relationship thus far we can only assume that Linda proposed to Bruce and he gave-in—and not the other way around.
—Batman “Ch. 1: The Electrical Brain” [film]
Yes, the 1943 film serial—starring Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft—is meant to be canon. However, there are some errors which must be noted. Primarily, in the film serial Batman and Robin are not working with the GCPD. Of course, by this point, the Dynamic Duo would already have been honorary officers. Likewise, Columbia Pictures did not have a budget to outfit a real-life Batmobile, so Batman either drives a regular sedan or is chauffeured around by Alfred in the movie. Just ignore that stuff. Our tale begins with Batman and Robin taking down the Collins Gang while on special assignment from the US government. The Collins Gang are a bunch of Axis criminals working for the Japanese supervillain Dr. Tito Daka (aka Prince Daka), who answers directly to Hirohito and runs the terrorist organization known as the League of New Order. Ironically, Daka is the only Japanese in the organization as the rest are all traitorous Americans. After busting the Collins Gang, Bruce and Dick meet Linda Page at her new job, working as a secretary for the Gotham City Foundation, a military science lab originally run by her uncle, Martin Warren. I should mention that Linda still keeps her nursing job on the side. Uncle Martin happens to have had some bad luck recently and has wound up in prison. However, he is paroled at the beginning of this chapter only to he kidnapped by Daka’s thugs. At the Little Tokyo HQ of Daka, the villain pumps Uncle Martin for information about radium at the Gotham City Foundation. Daka wishes to steal radium to fuel a ray gun and also to create a nuclear WMD. Daka reveals that he has already used his tech to lobotomize a small army of mind-controlled slaves via a bizarre Frankensteinian machine. Batman and Robin fight the League of New Order at the Gotham City Foundation and swipe the ray gun, but the villains successfully steal the radium.
—Batman “Ch. 2: The Bat’s Cave” [film]
Batman and Robin drag one of Daka’s thugs to the Batcave to interrogate him, but he’s so low on the totem pole he doesn’t have much info except a hotel safehouse address. Later that night, Daka’s men kidnap Linda Page and whisk her to the hotel where they torture her for information. The Dynamic Duo rescues Linda from the hotel, but Batman–with an unconscious Linda in his arms–falls while attempting to tightrope-walk across a live electric wire.
—Batman “Ch. 3: The Mark of the Zombies” [film]
Batman and Linda Page survive their fall thanks to Robin. Meanwhile, Dr. Daka uses his surgical implant device to turn Linda’s uncle, Martin Warren, into a mindless zombie slave. Bruce then puts out an anonymous newspaper ad claiming that the ray gun has been found. Daka’s men, aware that it is a trap, show up anyway and meet with a disguised Alfred before getting in a brawl with the Dynamic Duo. Later, Batman and Robin prevent the same thugs from bombing a train, although Batman is left unconscious in the wake of an oncoming locomotive.
—Batman “Ch. 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun” [film]
Robin saves Batman from getting crushed by a train. The League of New Order then tells Linda Page to meet them at a fortune teller’s shop with official radium delivery order paperwork for the Gotham City Foundation or they will kill her Uncle Martin. Bruce, Dick, and Alfred show up at the fortune teller’s shop first and knock out the swami. Bruce then dims the lights and poses as the swami, telling Linda to go home. However, Linda is still attacked by the League and they take the delivery order. Batman and Robin then engage in a high speed chase after the thugs, who don security guard uniforms and drive an armored car. Batman blasts the truck with the radium ray gun and wrestles his way into the vehicle. Robin watches in terror as the truck plummets off a cliff.
—Batman “Ch. 5: The Living Corpse” [film]
Batman jumps out of the runaway truck at the last second. At Wayne Manor, Bruce receives a coded message from the US Government telling him that an experimental airplane is under threat of being stolen at Lockwood Aeronautics Company. Not only does this reveal that at least some government officials know Batman’s secret ID, but it also reveals why Bruce was never drafted. Meanwhile, Daka receives a secret delivery from the Japanese Navy, a coffin containing a Japanese officer in suspended animation. Daka revives the man, who gives the orders to steal the airplane from Lockwood. This is really dumb and eccentrically unnecessary, especially since Daka talks to his government and armed forces constantly via radio. Daka then kidnaps two Lockwood mechanics and enslaves them using his brainwashing machine. At Lockwood, Bruce and Dick–undercover as mechanics themselves–come into contact with the mind-controlled mechanics. The villains steal the plane, but Batman stows away on board and fights them. The US Army is then forced to shoot down the stolen jet, which crashes to the earth below.
—Batman “Ch. 6: Poison Peril” [film]
After Batman survives the plane crash, Daka makes his primary focus on finding out Batman’s secret ID. One of his agents suggests that Batman is Bruce Wayne, but Daka scoffs at the idea! Daka then bugs Linda Page’s apartment and learns that an acquaintance of her uncle’s, mining tycoon Ken Colton, has just discovered a new radium mine. Batman and Robin are able to fend off the League of New Order when they attack Colton, but the latter is injured. Daka then arranges a meeting between Uncle Martin and Colton. Alfred disguises himself as Colton and attends the meeting in a chemical plant. Batman and Robin swing in and brawl with the bad guys, but our heroes are caught in an explosion that levels the whole building.
—Batman “Ch. 7: The Phoney Doctor” [film]
Of course, Batman, Robin, and Alfred survive the chemical factory explosion. Bruce and Dick then meet with GCPD Captain Arnold and finger one of the League of New Order’s suspects. Meanwhile, Daka’s henchmen kidnap a gun-toting Ken Colton. Later, Bruce and Dick find a chloroform rag with Japanese characters written on it accidentally left behind in Colton’s room. The rag leads them to a laundry store in Little Tokyo where they engage in a slugfest with the League of New Order. Batman is tossed down an elevator shaft and lands with a sickening thud. The baddies make their clean escape as a freight elevator lowers to crush the unconscious Dark Knight.
—Batman “Ch. 8: Lured By Radium” [film]
Robin saves Batman’s life as usual. Meanwhile, Daka tortures Ken Colton and forces him to guide the League of New Order to the location of his secret radium mine. Bruce, Dick, Alfred, and Linda Page also discover the location of the radium mine and go searching for Colton. While Alfred tends to Linda inside Colton’s cabin, Batman and Robin enter the mine and begin fighting the League of New Order. Concurrently, a crazed Colton, who has escaped, lines the mine with dynamite. During the underground melee, the detonation plunger is pushed and the mine blows up with everyone trapped inside!
—Batman “Ch. 9: Sign of the Sphinx” [film]
Batman, Robin, and Linda Page survive the mine explosion, but Ken Colton is killed. Batman and Robin capture one of Daka’s top men, Marshall, and interrogate him in the Batcave. The Dark Knight allows the crook to make a phone call and secretly monitors where the call is made–a dive known as the Sphinx Club. Disguised as the gangster “Chuck White,” Batman visits the Sphinx Club and gains an audience with the League of New Order. When the League of New Order tries to kill Batman, Robin lures them away onto a docked ship nearby. Batman fights five thugs at once, but the bad guys get the better of the Caped Crusader and seemingly leave the him for dead.
—Batman “Ch. 10: Flying Spies” [film]
Just like all the other chapters, Batman evades near death. After delivering Marshall to the cops, the US Government sends a message to Bruce and Dick saying that radium has been stolen from Chicago and is on its way to Gotham. Once again donning the “Chuck White” disguise, Bruce revisits the Sphinx Club and is recruited into the League of New Order. On a mission to retrieve the stolen radium, Batman’s cover is blown and he flees. Returning as Batman, he steals the villains’ car in an attempt to pick up the radium, which has been dropped from a plane nearby. However, one of the League of New Order thugs shoots out the tires causing Batman to careen off the road into a fiery crash.
—Batman “Ch. 11: A Nipponese Trap” [film]
Batman survives the crash. Once again donning the “Chuck White” guise, Batman gets arrested so he can get close to Marshall in the slammer. Marshall reveals the location of another secret League of New Order safehouse. After posting bail, Daka’s gang attempts to kill “Chuck White” by smashing into his cab with a large truck. Miraculously, Batman survives the horrific assassination attempt unscathed and is in and out of the hospital within hours. Batman and Robin then infiltrate the heavily fortified safehouse only to get knocked out by League of New Order goons. Batman is unmasked, but is wearing his “Chuck White” makeup and putty nose underneath the cowl, causing the baddies to believe that “Chuck White” is Batman. As usual, the chapter ends with a huge explosion that seemingly kills Batman and Robin.
—Batman “Ch. 12: Embers of Evil” [film]
The Dynamic Duo escape the safehouse explosion. Meanwhile, Daka delivers poisoned cigarettes to Marshall in jail. Bruce and Dick meet with Captain Arnold and learn that Marshall is dead in his cell. Across town, a mind-controlled Uncle Martin lures Linda Page into League of New Order captivity at the Ajax Metal Works. In a botched attempt at a rescue, Batman and Robin wind up burning down the entire factory.
—Batman “Ch. 13: Eight Steps Down” [film]
Batman and Robin continue their search for Linda Page. After apprehending another League of New Order stooge named Bernie at the Sphinx Club and interrogating him in the Batcave, the Dynamic Duo finally discovers the secret location of Daka’s Little Tokyo HQ. In Little Tokyo, Linda is strapped into the mind-wiping machine and Batman gets stuck in an old-school deathtrap–a room with spiked walls that slowly compact.
—Batman “Ch. 14: The Executioner Strikes” [film]
At this point Daka is fully convinced that there must be multiple Batmen. This belief is even further strengthened when Batman escapes his spiked-room deathtrap. Daka then finishes turning Linda Page into his mindless slave and destroys the entrance to his HQ, leaving Batman and Robin unable to locate the alternate entry. After a rumble with the League of New Order in a park and more Batcave interrogations, Batman is lured into a trap and captured by the villains.
—Batman “Ch. 15: Doom of the Rising Sun” [film]
Daka’s henchmen place Batman into a coffin-like box and await further instructions. Robin is able to free Batman and together they knock out one of Daka’s men and put him into the box instead. When the rest of the gang retrieves the box, Batman, Robin, and Alfred tail them to the secret entrance to Daka’s HQ. In the HQ, Daka dumps the box into a pit of crocodiles only to learn one of his own thugs is inside. Batman and Robin enter the inner sanctum of the League of New Order where the Dark Knight finally confronts Daka face-to-face for the first time. Batman is captured yet again and restrained in Daka’s mind-wiping machine–giving cause for him to angrily use the word “Jap” a bunch of times. Just as Daka is about to unmask Batman, Robin rushes in and kicks Daka’s ass. The Dynamic Duo then forces Daka to reverse the brainwashing process on Linda Page and Uncle Martin. Daka tries to escape, but falls into the pit of crocodiles, suffering a grisly fate. Meanwhile, Alfred leads the GCPD to Little Tokyo and Captain Arnold takes credit for shutting down the League of New Order. The End.
–Detective Comics #84
Bruce and Dick witness a daring robbery that involves escape via an autogyro. The Dynamic Duo trails the copter out into the countryside and later infiltrates a heavily fortified compound disguised as a sports club. In reality the compound houses Ivan Krafft’s underworld employment bureau, a criminal hiring agency and veritable supervillain training camp. After a hefty brawl, Batman chases after Krafft’s autogyro once again and prevents another grand larceny from occurring. Meanwhile, Robin stays behind and is captured. Batman returns to rescue him but is detained as well. Of course, all’s well that ends well as the Dynamic Duo shuts down Krafft’s operation.
–NOTE: Penguin executes a successful jailbreak (as referenced in Batman #21).
Batman and Robin travel out West to help local authorities deal with masked cattle rustlers. Batman eventually dukes it out with one of the rustlers atop a windmill, but gets knocked off into a water trough and knocked out. The rustler then feeds Batman some locoweed. When Robin and the local sheriff find the Dark Knight, he is tripping balls and freaking-out like a retarded eight-year-old on acid. Once Batman comes down from his insane drug trip, he shares an emotional cry with Robin. After some expert deception and detective work, Batman solves the crimes and fingers one of the victims, a rancher named Brule, as the mastermind behind the cow-nappings.
Gang boss Chopper Gant tricks master of military science Hannibal Bonaparte Brown into planning crimes for him. When Batman interferes, Brown comes up with a plan to capture him too. The crooks then try to kill Batman, Robin, and Brown, but Batman escapes in time. Brown then assists the Dynamic Duo in preventing the crooks from robbing a tank factory.
Bruce Wayne attends a society party where a visiting British lord is scheduled as the guest of honor. When Bruce meets Lord David Hurley Burleigh, he is startled to discover that the man is his butler Alfred. Alfred doesn’t reveal his reason for impersonating the lord, so Bruce follows him. Crooks crash into Alfred’s car and try to kill him. Batman and Robin stop them. Alfred then explains that he visited Lord Burleigh earlier in the day. Burleigh is a recluse and thought Alfred was an actor sent to fill in for him at the party. Batman then pays a visit to Burleigh, only to discover the man who hired Alfred was not the British lord, but his assistant Stevens, who is after Burleigh’s plans for a cannier rubber-making process. Batman and Robin are captured by Stevens and tossed into the basement with the real Burleigh. Batman eventually tricks Stevens and his goons and defeats them in a fight. The next day, Bruce and Dick profess their love for good ole Alfred.
Penguin and his hired goons rob an elderly rich man and leave Batman and Robin choking on knockout gas. After recovering in the hospital, Batman and Robin go after Penguin again. The supervillain manages to rob a mansion in nearby Belleville and dispose of the Dark Knight into some quicksand. Robin is able to save Batman’s life, but the score is Penguin 2, Batman 0. Two days later, Penguin attempts to burglarize the countryside castle of the eccentric millionaire John White. However, White has been dead for a year, causing Penguin to alter his plans, thus allowing the Dynamic Duo to get the jump on him and send him back to prison.
–NOTE: Penguin immediately escapes from prison (as mentioned in Detective Comics #87).
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 8: The Mardi Gras Mystery” [Sunday newspaper strips 8/6/1944 to 9/17/1944]
Late February, 1944. Bruce and Dick are invited to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans by their host Mr. Bagley. Ironically, since Bruce and Dick are Bagley’s only guests from Gotham, he gives them Batman and Robin costumes to wear. Bruce and Dick don their own costumes and join the party, where the beautiful Anne Lacey gives them (thinking they are the legit Dynamic Duo) a secret letter that reveals part of a plot against her life and the whereabouts of a secret treasure. After fighting costumed thugs and nearly getting outed as Bruce and Dick, the Dynamic Duo meets with Lacey, who reveals more details. The trio then travels to an abandoned riverboat that holds a lost treasure. Mr. Bagley trails them with his goons and unveils himself as the villain of this episode. Batman and Robin defeat Bagley and company in the usual way–getting captured and then rebounding.
–Batman #22, Part 2
April 7, 1944. It’s Bruce’s 29th birthday! Star Spangled Comics #91 shows us that Bruce celebrates a birthday party on the 7th, World’s Finest Comics #33 states outright that Bruce’s b-day was in April, and America vs. The Justice Society #1 shows Bruce’s tombstone the year of his birth on it—hence why I’ve placed this story here. Dick, having spent all of this allowance already, takes on a job as a telegraph boy—a job that involves not only delivering messages but golf caddying and mowing lawns as well. While Batman fights crime solo, Dick works his ass off to earn those big bucks so he can buy Bruce a b-day gift. After Dick learns that Mike Optik and his Ghost Gang have taken over the Gotham Observatory and have been using its powerful telescope to assist them in robbing banks, Batman and Robin pay the crooks a visit, but are taken prisoner. Of course, they escape just in time to assist Commissioner Gordon and the Observatory professor in an interrogation of one of the detained Ghost Gang members. Using an elaborate ruse involving a planetarium, Batman and company learn the location of Optik’s lair. Optik winds up coming to the planetarium anyway and the Dynamic Duo promptly sends him to jail. Afterward, Dick and Alfred give Bruce presents.
–NOTE: Joker escapes from prison yet again (as referenced in Detective Comics #85).
–Detective Comics #85
When a Joker impostor commits two brutal murders in separate parts of the US, Batman and Robin are on the case. Not only that, the real Joker is pissed that someone is mimicking him. Bruce quickly realizes that the actual Joker is innocent, and the Dynamic Duo tracks him down, only to get temporarily trapped in his secret lair. When the faux Joker kills again in Fayetteville, West Virginia, both the Dynamic Duo and Joker converge upon the faker. In the crumbling remains of a burning factory, Batman and Robin watch in astonishment as Joker fights Joker. Our heroes are even more shocked when the real Joker pledges his allegiance to the side of good (for this case only). When the faux Joker escapes, Batman and Robin still feel uneasy about teaming with the Clown Prince of Crime. Thus, the Joker drugs the pair and drags them back to his lair to prove himself. At Joker’s Gotham HQ, we learn that he has a giant Hall of Trophies just like Batman. Eventually, Joker defeats his doppelganger, a criminal named Mr. Hart. With Hart sent to jail, the Dynamic Duo tries to put the real Joker away too, but he escapes, vowing to move his Hall of Trophies to a new secret location. Afterward, Batman, Robin, and Alfred help collect and bundle paper to be recycled–to help with the war effort!
–World’s Finest Comics #13
Three US Merchant Marines return home to Gotham, having been swindled by a North African conman into delivering lucky rabbit’s feet to a swami in the States. The rabbit’s feet, unknown to the sailors, contain stolen diamonds. When one of the sailors gives his rabbit’s foot to a blind man, the conman’s associates in America beat up a bunch of blind guys looking for the goods, thus attracting Bruce’s attention. Batman and Robin bring the heat to the swami, but he initially gets the better of them. With a some help from the Gotham Fire Department, the Dynamic Duo apprehends the Swami and his henchman.
–Detective Comics #86
On his way home from school Dick sees Gentleman Jim Jowell and his team of gangsters robbing a fur store. He suits up as Robin and tries to bust them himself, but gets knocked out and kidnapped. A cop witnesses the scene and within minutes the news of Robin’s abduction hits the radio news. Alfred hears the story and decides to attempt a rescue without Batman’s assistance–Bruce happens to be on a fishing trip and is unreachable–but gets captured as well. An hour later in Gotham Harbor, Bruce witnesses Jowell hijacking a freighter. He swoops in as Batman, but gets nabbed too! Batman, Robin, and Alfred are able to escape from captivity. Later, at the airport, Jowell attempts to crash a plane into a giant net of steel cables, but Batman uses the powerful motor strength of the Batplane to literally push the much larger plane out of harm’s way. Batman then leaps from the Batplane onto the tail of Jowell’s getaway plane, forcing it to land. On the ground, Batman, Robin, and Alfred kick some bad guy ass.
–NOTE: Catowman escapes from jail (as referenced in Batman #22, Part 1).
–Batman #22, Part 1
For days Alfred has been a wreck, and his work at Wayne Manor as a butler has been subpar. Why? Alfred is dating his unrequited love, the beguiling femme fatale, Belinda. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin investigate a series of high society robberies and learn that a beautiful maid named Belinda is dating several servants at the homes that have recently been robbed. As Bruce and Dick discover that Belinda is none other than Catwoman, Alfred, while on a date with “Belinda” and desperate to impress her, tells the villainess that he is pals with Batman. Later, to prove it, he dresses up as the Dark Knight and sings the praises of their (Batman’s and Alfred’s) relationship. Catwoman and her thugs knock out Alfred (whom they believe is Batman) and lock him up. Catwoman then later kidnaps Bruce and Dick and goes to rob Wayne Manor. Bruce, Dick, and Alfred escape and return home to interrupt Catwoman and her gang. While Batman and Robin defeat Catwoman’s gang, Alfred dons the Batman costume once more, proceeds to nab Catwoman, spank her, and intimidate her into surrendering.
–Batman #22, Part 3
While at the library, Alfred meets Professor Dyke. Later, Alfred learns that the professor is a notorious criminal at large. After finding himself held at gunpoint by Dyke and his accomplice, Alfred switches into superhero mode and (with a little luck) apprehends the villains all by himself. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred brags to Bruce and Dick about his crime-fighting success.
–Batman #22, Part 4
The Cavalier is back! Round one goes to the dashing villain, who locks Batman in a trunk. Later that night at a high society club dinner, a bored Bruce and a bored Mortimer Drake chat with each other completely unaware of their secret alter egos as Batman and the Cavalier. The next night, the Cavalier tries to rob some diamonds, but the Dynamic Duo prevents him from doing so. The Cavalier’s gang is apprehended, but the supervillain once again makes a clean getaway.
–Detective Comics #79, Epilogue
The Bruce Wayne-produced stage play starring Judy O’Casson and Tremaine Wentworth, entitled Tides of Chance, debuts in Gotham. The play is a huge overnight success. The next day, Bruce and Dick visit fortune teller Madame Calagra, who is unable to see a clear vision of their futures.
–REFERENCE: Batman sends a scoundrel named Danny the Dip for a yearlong stretch in the pen (as referenced in Batman #28).
–REFERENCE: Goldplate Gorney is paroled, but Batman and Robin return him to jail when he continues his normal criminal activities (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #23).
–REFERENCE: At a US Army war bond drive, Batman and Robin meet ace pilot Flying Tiger Haggerty (as referenced in Batman #61, Part 1).
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin send the murderous duo of Monk Bardo and Randy Roose to jail (as referenced in Batman #26).
–The Brave and the Bold #146
May 26, 1944. Before we begin a synopsis, I must list two of writer Bob Haney’s continuity mistakes in this issue. Error #1; Batman is not in league with the GCPD. Error #2; the T-Rex and giant penny are shown in the Batcave. Okay, with those gaffes out of the way, here we go. Batman witnesses the murder of a professor (who has been working on the atomic bomb) by a mystery man and begins an investigation. Batman then meets with his government contacts and is introduced to The Unknown Soldier! The Dark Knight learns that Nazi villain Count Klaus Von Stauffen is behind the murder and theft of atomic secrets. Two days later, the Unknown Soldier and Batman tangle with Von Stauffen at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, but the latter escapes to the safety of diplomatic immunity within the Embassy of San Pedro. A day later, Batman and Unknown Soldier try to nab Von Stauffen in Albuquerque, NM, but the Nazi escapes with the atomic memo again. On Memorial Day (May 30, 1944) Batman and the Unknown Soldier prevent Von Stauffen from assassinating FDR in Washington, DC, but Von Stauffen escapes yet again.
–Detective Comics #87
Bruce and Dick enjoy a nice day at the beach. Bored, they decide to travel all over the city in a horse and buggy repairing umbrellas–the idea is to entrap Penguin, who has been at large for several months now. Eventually, Bruce and Dick are hired to fix Penguin’s trick umbrellas and are invited to his lair. That night, the Dynamic Duo returns to Penguin’s pad and apprehends his entire gang, but the Penguin escapes. The next day Penguin initiates a plan that involves distributing free umbrellas across Gotham in order to confuse Batman. Of course, this doesn’t confuse anyone and Batman attacks Penguin again. The Dynamic Duo is caged in Penguin’s umbrella store, but while he is out on another caper, the Dynamic Duo escapes and waits for his return. Ambushed, Penguin is easily returned to jail.
–FLASHBACK: June 4, 1944. In London, Bruce meets with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who seems to be aware of his identity as Batman (as seen through flashback from The Brave and the Bold #84). Churchill tasks Batman to infiltrate Count Klaus Von Stauffen’s operations and shut them down. Bruce, under the James Bond-esque guise of secret agent Jack Pimpernel, accompanies Sgt. Rock and his platoon known as Easy Company into Nazi-occupied France. While Sgt. Rock and his men blow up a bridge and gun down Nazis, Bruce pretends to be a foreign wine connoisseur and gains an audience with Von Stauffen, where he learns that Von Stauffen has hidden nerve gas in wine bottles. The bumbling Easy Company attacks Von Stauffen head-on, forcing Batman to assist them from the shadows. Eventually, Batman and Sgt. Rock come to blows, but earn the repsect of one another, teaming to prevent Von Stauffen from delivering nerve gas to the front lines of the D-Day Invasion, which begins on schedule (June 6, 1944).
–Detective Comics #88
For the past several weeks, mysterious murders have plagued a small section of Gotham. Batman and Robin investigate and learn that gangster Big-Hearted John has been running a loan shark scam that involves rubbing out the people he loans money to. Going undercover has working class stiffs, Bruce and Dick move into a rundown tenement flat and meet borrow some cash from Big-Hearted John. When Big-Hearted John’s thugs try to machine gun our heroes at their apartment, Batman and Robin are ready and waiting to kick ass. Unfortunately, the Dynamic Duo is captured and thrown in a safe. After blowing out of the safe, Batman and Robin confront Big-Hearted John at a skycraper under construction. During the ensuing fight, Batman takes a bullet in his shoulder, but Big-Hearted John is defeated when he falls to his death.
Joker begins committing a bunch of upside-down-themed pranks. When he steals a precious jewel, Batman chases after him, but gets captured. In Joker’s new lair, which has a magnetized ceiling, Batman and Joker have an upside-down duel until Robin enters and helps tie up the villain. While the Dynamic Duo returns the priceless jewel, Joker escapes. A few days later, Joker tries to rob a celebrity lookalike costume party, but Batman and Robin stop him. Although foiled in his scheme, Joker does manage to escape again.
Batman and Robin prevent Bugs Conklin from robbing a gem shop. Later, Dick goes to meet his new girlfriend (!), fellow classmate Marjory Davenport. At the Davenport home, Dick is surprised to find Marjory’s father, Dr. Davenport, with one of Conklin’s gang members. Dr. Davenport sends Dick away, but slips him a note explaining that trouble is afoot. Conklin has suffered a bullet wound at the hands of the police and now holds Marjory hostage. The crook is forcing Dr. Davenport to operate on him with threat of Marjory’s death. Robin tries to rescue Marjory solo, but gets captured. Batman tries to rescue Robin, but gets captured. Eventually, they escape and save the day. Unfortunately for Dick, Marjory slows their relationship to a crawl, citing her new love for his alter ego, Robin.
When Bruce’s neighbor, Mrs. Van Upsitart, holds a weekend-long party, Alfred is loaned out to work the affair. During the weekend event, someone robs the Van Upsitart safe and Alfred uses his keen detective skills to solve the crime.
Bruce and Dick go on a vacation to the snowy Northwest Territories of Canada, near the Hudson Bay, where they bring down some poachers. Batman and Robin team-up with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to arrest several more poachers, who work for an American named Skinner Short. The next day, the Dynamic Duo and the Mounties bring down Short and his gang once and for all.
–World’s Finest Comics #14
When a cargo ship explodes in Gotham Harbor, Batman and Robin are on the case. A day later, the Dynamic Duo assists Cap’n Moss in the salvage of the sunken ship. When one of Moss’ deep sea divers is attacked underwater, the Dynamic Duo suits up and goes down below where they engage in an undersea fight with a shirtless, helmeted warrior who bests them. The following day, Batman and Robin suspect eccentric millionaire Fishin’ Chipps as the undersea bandit, but cannot prove anything. Another day passes and Batman and Robin are on hand to witness an altercation between Chipps and ex-convict Jib Buckler in Gotham Harbor. Diving back into the watery depths, Batman has a rematch with the undersea bandit and unmasks him to reveal Jib Buckler. Buckler tries to escape in his custom-made submobile—an underwater tank—but gets blown to smithereens by his own torpedo. Afterward, Batman collects a spiked naval mine dud as a trophy in his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #72, Part 2). I’m pretty sure Batman has encountered an old-school naval mine in a another story, but for the life of me I can’t recall which one. However, it seems apropos that he could have collected one now as well.
–Detective Comics #89-90
Bruce hangs out at the society club with his acquaintance and fellow playboy Mortimer Drake–still unknown to Bruce that Drake is secretly one of his arch nemeses, the Cavalier. At the club, Professor Helmar Helstrom runs his mouth about a new typewriter that he has designed. Later that night, the Cavalier tries to steal Helstrom’s typewriter, but Batman and Robin are there to stop him. Coincidentally, Stinger Sloane and his gang also show up to rob Helstrom’s lab, forcing the Cavalier to temporarily team-up with the Dynamic Duo. After escaping from Sloane’s clutches, Cavalier makes off with the typewriter. The next day, Bruce deduces that the Cavalier must be his chum, Drake. At Helstrom’s lab, Batman confronts the Cavalier again and reveals that he knows who he is. After a daring departure by the Cavalier, Batman and Robin visit Drake’s mansion where they receive a telegram from Drake. Drake’s message states, now that his secret ID has been compromised, he will live somewhere else under a new alias. However, the Cavalier will be back.
Dick reads about a series of robberies that have occurred along the Mississippi River wherever a showboat called the Mississippi Mermaid has docked. It’s off to Mississippi where Batman and Robin quickly encounter the robbers, but the villains get away. Batman boards the Mississippi Mermaid and demands the arrest of one of the performers, Henkel, whom he recognizes as one of the crooks. However, the ship’s captain, Captain Ben, and his crew all give Henkel an alibi and Batman is forced to leave. A week later, Bruce and Dick attend Henkel’s synchronized swimming performance and Bruce discovers a key to solving the mystery. After putting on a swimming exhibition of his own, Batman reveals to the crowd that the intermission clock runs slow, thus giving Henkel and Captain Ben enough time to commit the burglaries. However, when Batman tries to turn in Henkel and Captain Ben, the latter uses his silver tongue to convince the local yokel sheriff that Batman is the bad guy. The sheriff arrests Batman, but quickly realizes the error of his ways. Batman and Robin eventually track down Henkel and Captain Ben in the bayou, successfully fight-off hungry alligators, and finally arrest the villains.
–REFERENCE: Late August. Batman is the guest of honor at Gotham’s annual “Batman Day” celebration (as referenced in Batman #103, Part 1).
–Batman #24, Part 2
Alfred stumbles across a package intended for a crook and delivered from a female mob mole in the DA’s office. The package contains a coded message implicating banker Sam Caldwin in an embezzling scheme. Batman and Robin visit Caldwin only to be attacked by his henchmen. Caldwin then flees the country. Bruce, in conjunction with Commissioner Gordon, is placed on the DA’s books as an embezzler in order to lure out the mob villains. The gangsters quickly contact Bruce and offer him safe passage to South America in order to avoid arrest in exhange for ten thousand bucks. While en route to South America, Bruce learns the fate of Caldwin and is similarly dumped overboard by the racketeers. Robin picks up Bruce in the Batplane and the Dynamic Duo lands on the villains’ ship, kicks ass, and calls the Coast Guard to wrap up the case.
–Batman #24, Part 3
Alfred views a police line-up in order to further learn the intricacies of detective work. Later, Alfred spots on of the criminals and tails him to his hideout. In pure Inspector Clouseau fashion, Alfred bumbles his way through a room full of gangsters and is able to single-handedly apprehend them all.
–Batman #24, Part 4
For several months a “Two-in-One” mayoral candidate has been campaigning in the small village of Yonville. When Bruce and Dick learn that the candidate is named Tweed, they realized that Tweedledum and Tweedledee are up to their old tricks. When Tweed is elected mayor, Batman and Robin visit Yonville. Upon arrival, the Dynamic Duo prevents a bank robbery attempt by Tweedledum and Tweedledee’s old henchmen. The Dyanmic Duo is surprised to learn that Tweedledum (as mayor) and Tweedledee (as the appointed chief of police) are running the town properly and lawfully, as they prosecute their old pals to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately for Batman and Robin, they caused some collateral damage while fighting the goons, and Tweedledum uses this fact to prosecute and jail them as well. But the villains’ real plan begins now, as they trick the townsfolk into thinking that there is a large gold vein running through a mine in town. Tweedledum and Tweedledee begin collecting huge amounts of cash from the citizens of Yonville, who hope to buy stock in the development of the mine. Batman and Robin break jail and go after the villains only to get trapped in the empty mine. Tweedledum and Tweedledee blow up the mine in a failed attempt to kill Batman and Robin, which inadvertently causes their car to crash and also reveals an actual giant gold vein. With the mayor and chief of police exposed as swindlers, and impromptu special reelection is held and Batman is voted the new mayor of Yonville. After appointing Robin as the new chief of police, the Dark Knight sentences Tweedledum and Tweedledee to prison.
–NOTE: Joker is apprehended and returned to jail (as referenced in Detective Comics #91).
–Detective Comics #91
Bruce reads in a newspaper that Joker has become the victim of various pranks and practical jokes in prison. Sensing something is afoot, Batman kidnaps a prison guard and enters the penitentiary disguised as the guard to keep an eye on Joker. Batman learns that Joker has been both the cause and victim of his own pranks in an effort to set the stage for a bold escape. Joker is indeed able to escape when the Dark Knight is accidentally winged in the ankle by a bullet from prison guard friendly fire. A few days later, Joker places an ad in the paper that says he will commit a crime publicly in Gotham Square. Thousands of people gather in the square hoping to get a glance at Joker, and sure enough Joker shows up and bests the GCPD and steals a million dollar model of Gotham City. Batman fights Joker, but Joker bests him as well. Robin saves Batman’s life, but Joker gets away. A few days later, Joker brags that he will commit another public crime in Gotham Square. However, this is just a diversion that Batman sees right through. Across town, Joker attempts another robbery, but Batman, Robin, and the GCPD are waiting. Joker winds up back where he started–in jail.
–World’s Finest Comics #15
Batman and Robin apprehend Killer Halsey, Machine-Gun Kale, and Lynx Larsen. Despite being immediately sentenced to death for various murders, the criminals believe that they are protected by a rabbit’s foot, a magic ring, and a lucky diamond stickpin that they collectively possess. A few days later–thanks to Gotham’s “fast track” legal system, the trio is executed in the electric chair. Yet the very next day, the supposedly executed trio turns up alive and well and robs a bank. Batman and Robin meet with Commissioner Gordon and prison physician Dr. McFloy. McFloy reveals that one the day of the execution (which he was to oversee), he was kidnapped and replaced. Batman and Robin then battle the villainous trio at a diamond exchange. The trio escapes, but Batman learns that they are a different group of thugs made up to look like Halsey, Kale, and Larsen. After meeting with expert makeup artist, Mennekin, Batman and Robin show up across town just in time to witness Halsey, Kale, and Larsen get gunned down by police. Surprisingly, these are the real Halsey, Kale, and Larsen, meaning that they did avoid execution and escaped prison. After further investigation, Batman deduces that Mennekin kidnapped McFloy and impersonated the doctor during the execution in order to help the gangster trio escape. Mennekin then drugged the trio while sending out their impersonators to commit robberies. Once the real trio was gunned down, Mennekin and his fake trio would be in the clear. However, when Batman cracks the case, Mennekin’s perfect crime unravels and he winds up behind bars. Later, Bruce puts the rabbit’s foot, magic ring, and diamond stickpin into the Hall of Trophies.
–Detective Comics #93-94
This story goes here in the chronology just to keep it in order with ‘tec #94, which clearly takes place in the early Fall (county fair time). When gangsters rob a loan company, the Dynamic Duo catches them all except for the crook who holds the cash. The villain sneaks aboard a sightseeing tour bus and, at a stop, phones his buddies who hijack the bus. Holding the entire bus hostage in a secret garage, the baddies begin filling the room with water in an attempt to drown the passengers. Batman and Robin locate the garage and with the help of the passengers, they defeat the gang. Afterward, Batman flies some lucky tourist kids home in the Batplane.
Early Autumn, 1944. When a group of murdering thugs running a fake brokerage company run afoul of Batman and Robin they skip town to rural Meadowvale where they run into old thief pal George Barrow, who has gone straight and has been for the past twenty-four years. Of course, the vile thugs begin blackmailing Barrow. Batman and Robin travel to Meadowvale, kick ass at the county fair, and earn Barrow a pardon in the process.
–Detective Comics #92, Part 2
Brainy Bulow, Slug, and Slim are released from prison and start a new racket that involves nabbing wanted crooks and turning them in for the rewards. When they run out of crooks to turn in, they begin breaking them out of jail in order to turn them in later. After breaking out gangster Nick Rossi, Brainy and his goons show up at his hideout to recapture him, but Batman and Robin are there with the same idea. The Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder fight Rossi, Brainy, Slug, and Slim, but the villains get away. Later, Batman circulates a wanted poster for a fake criminal that includes a hefty rewards. Naturally, Brainy, Slug, and Slim try to apprehend the fake criminal only to run smack dab into the waiting arms of Batman and Robin.
–NOTE: Penguin escapes from jail (as referenced in Batman #25).
Batman and Robin send Penguin back to jail, where he winds up cellmates with Joker! A week passes and Joker and Penguin help each other escape from prison. When Penguin and Joker both try to steal the same priceless emerald, they begin fighting each other. Batman and Robin join the fracas and apprehend a bunch of henchmen, but the main villains beat it and vow to form a partnership. After a bunch of daring robberies, Penguin and Joker collar the Dynamic Duo. However, the supervillains can’t decide on a method of killing the heroes, giving Batman and Robin enough time to turn the tables and send them back to prison.
Batman and Robin are assisted by cabbie Sidi Ben Hassen in the capture of a bunch of gangsters. Ben Hassen is injured during the brouhaha and taken to the hospital. The next day, Bruce drives Ben Hassen’s taxi to the hospital. Along the way, he decides to play cabbie and picks up a fare. The fare leaves his wallet and address in the backseat, prompting Bruce to visit the address where he immediately gets jumped, gagged, and tied up by Arab thugs who have mistaken him for Ben Hassen. It turns out that Ben Hassen is the rightful heir to the sheik of Baghdad and has been in exile for the past ten years while usurpers have taken his position. Now the usurpers are trying to tie up loose ends by offing Ben Hassen. Robin saves Bruce’s life and the Dynamic Duo readily defeats the Iraqi villains.
Alfred visits a magic show and gets hypnotized. While under the spell, Alfred manages to solve a mystery involving the robbery of a cash register till.
Batman and Robin are called by Commissioner Gordon into a meeting with the owner of the Rocky Dam Light and Power Company, who is having trouble with copper wire thieves. The Dynamic Duo travels to the deserts of the US Southwest and begins their investigation. Robin gets kidnapped by the copper wire thieves, but Batman–with some help from a pair of company linemen–rescues him and busts the baddies.
–The Brave and the Bold #162
Autumn, 1944. While on business in London, one of Bruce’s friends is killed at a munitions depot, prompting Batman to chase the murderer to Nazi-occupied France. Upon arrival in France, Batman meets up with Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. After fighting Nazis left and right, Batman infiltrates a chateau and is captured by the Nazi supervillain known as The Iron Major. Sgt. Rock and his soldiers blast their way into the chateau and rescue Batman. Together, the heroes defeat the Iron Major.
–REFERENCE: This is pure conjecture (and a bit of fun “grandfathering” on my part), so choose to either ignore or applaud this addendum. In Batman #48, we first see what appears to be a staff with an eagle on its top. Admittedly it is hard to make out visually, but I think it resembles a traditional Nazi eagle. Thus, we can assume that Batman, on this recent trip to war torn Europe (or possibly on a side-mission of his own) collects this WWII item to place in his Hall of Trophies.
–Batman and Robin “Intro/Ch. 1: What a Sweet Racket!” [newspaper strip dailies 10/25/1943 to 1/8/1944]
Spike Durphy escapes from prison and holds Commissioner Gordon hostage on the pier. Batman rescues Gordon, but Spike evades capture and boards a ship with his accomplice, the eye-patch wearing villain known as Blackie. Robin stows away on the vessel but is found out and snared. After Robin is dragged to Blackie’s hideout, he radios Batman for help. Batman makes a daring rescue attempt but, of course, gets captured as well. Blackie takes off, leaving the bound heroes with Durphy. Famous cigar-smoking private detective Dan “Hard” Tack then shows up and saves the Dynamic Duo. Durphy is apprehended by Tack, who gets a cool ten grand in reward money. Batman eventually deduces the sinister truth–Blackie and Tack are one and the same. In a scam similar to a recent racket by Brainy Bulow, Blackie busts crooks out of jail for a fee only to turn them back in (in the guise of Tack) to collect reward money. Blackie’s next move is to break his pal Frisco Fred out of the State Pen. Later, Tack–unaware that Batman knows his secret identity as Blackie–meets with the Dark Knight. Batman punches him out and disguises himself as Blackie. The disguised Batman meets with Fred, but Fred is on to Blackie’s racket and tries to kill him. Eventually, the real Blackie shows up and Batman and Robin apprehend the whole bunch.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 2: The Phantom Terrorist” [newspaper strip dailies 1/10/1944 to 3/18/1944]
A mysterious “phantom terrorist” sabotages the opening night of the Broadway musical Let’s Go Crazy starring Rita Rollins and produced by Claude Towne. Batman and Robin chase the vandal into the sewers and subway, but the latter hops a train and gets away. After an investigation into the whereabouts of theater watchman Ben Wilkes, Batman and Robin spy on former theater producer and ex-convict John Corliss as he meets with Rollins’ understudy, Carol West. The Dynamic Duo then trails Corliss to Rollins’ apartment where Corliss accosts the actress. Corliss then flees the scene. At the next show, Corliss confronts Rollins backstage, but Batman and Robin apprehend the crazed man. Corliss reveals that Rollins can no longer dance due to an injury and West has been substituting as her for the show and not getting any credit. Wilkes shuts the lights off in the theater causing a panic and a chance for his pal Corliss to escape. However, with help from Alfred, the Dynamic Duo catches Wilkes and Corliss. In a twist, Batman correctly deduces that neither Wilkes nor Corliss is the “phantom terrorist.” The villains in our tale are actually Rollins and Towne. Several days pass and Let’s Go Crazy is revamped into Twinkle Toes–produced by John Corliss and starring Carol West.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 3: The Joker’s Symbol Crimes” [newspaper strip dailies 3/20/1944 to 6/3/1944]
Bruce and Dick tour Gotham’s newest “escape-proof” penitentiary and witnesses Joker freaking out in the yard. Joker’s antics get him transferred to the State Prison for the Criminally Insane. En route, Joker escapes from his prison van and sends Commissioner Gordon his calling card–a joker playing card with a note bragging about his escape. A week later, Joker causes a ruckus at a semiotics lecture by Professor Matthew Cleek and then murders a shopkeeper with his patented Joker Venom. After meeting with Cleek, Batman determines that Joker plans to commit crimes based upon his lecture. Batman and Robin tangle with Joker next at the clock tower building. When Joker retreats, the Dynamic Duo consults with Cleek and continues planning for Joker’s next move. After lengthy detective work, Batman and Robin catch up with Joker as the mad villain kidnaps a movie star to get to her valuable jewels. After getting foiled again, Joker flees again. The Dynamic Duo meets with Cleek again and awaits Joker’s next strike. In a bold move, Joker attacks Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon at GCPD HQ. Bold as this maneuver may be, it is just as foolish, and Batman competently shackles Joker. A the conclusion of this case, Batman puts Joker’s playing card into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #112).
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin are assisted on an undisclosed case by GCPD Sgt. Bill Randall (as referenced in the 6/29/1944 Batman and Robin daily newspaper strip, which is a part of “Ch. 4: The Secret of Triangle Farm”).
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 4: The Secret of Triangle Farm” [newspaper strip dailies 6/5/1944 to 8/12/1944]
Batman gets shot three times in the chest while chasing after fur robbers led by the enigmatic Silver Fox. Robin drags a bloody Batman to a remote woodland cottage belonging to Alicia Armistead and her dad. A doctor is fetched and life-saving surgery is performed, but Batman is incapacitated and bed-ridden. Robin calls upon GCPD Sgt. Bill Randall to temporarily wear the Batman costume! Batman (Randall) and Robin then tour Theodore Tate’s Triangle Farm, a fur trapping establishment near where the real Batman was shot. Soon after their visit, Batman (Randall) and Robin stop the Silver Fox from robbing some Triangle Farm trucks. Of course, the injured Dark Knight–after being told all of the details and scientifically examining some of the Triangle Farms goods–is able to deduce that Silver Fox is Tate and the villain was robbing his own stock to throw our heroes off his trail. A headstrong and gun-toting Batman (Randall) charges into Triangle Farm only to get shot and killed. Robin shows up just in time to witness Randall’s murder and evades his own untimely death with a little help from Tate’s bleeding-heart daughter. Tate and his gang trail Robin back to the Armistead cottage, where Batman uses what little strength he has left to rise up and intimidate the bad guys, who are shocked to see Batman alive again. The confused villains are then overwhelmed by the arrival of Commissioner Gordon and his troops, just as the Caped Crusaders passes out. The Dynamic Duo later mourns the death of Randall.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 5: The Missing Heir Dilemma” [newspaper strip dailies 8/14/1944 to 10/28/1944]
Batman and Robin visit West Coast gangster Percy Swann–along with his assistant known as The Spaniel and his henchman named Tiny–at their fancy Gotham hotel suite. Swann and the Spaniel claim that they have gone straight and now work as private investigators that search for missing persons. With nothing to bust them for, Batman leaves. Of course, just as Batman exits, writer Alvin Schwartz immediately has Swann brutally murder a kitty to let us know that he is indeed still a pretty evil dude. Swann and the Spaniel soon concoct a plan that involves using an actor to pretend to be the long lost heir to the William Jenkin fortune. Thus, after the death of Jenkin the trio will split the money. While picking up fiancée Linda Page from her nursing gig at the hospital, Bruce bears witness as “Eddie Jenkin” reunites with his fatally sick, senile old pop, who believes it is him. A week later, William still hasn’t kicked the bucket and looks like he might be making a recovery. Swann isn’t pleased with this turn of events and orders the assassination of the elderly man. Swann’s thugs try to cause an ambulance accident, but serendipity is on the side of good and Bruce (as Bruce) saves the day. When Old Man Jenkin’s butler turns up dead, Swann’s plan begins to unravel. Bruce goes undercover as Swann to talk with “Eddie” and learns not only more of Swann’s plan but that “Eddie” no longer wishes to participate. Meanwhile, Swann gets in an argument with the Spaniel, who winds up with a knife in his heart. The Dynamic Duo arrives at the Jenkin estate just in time to save William and Linda from Swann and Tiny. Tiny betrays Swann (for killing his kitty earlier!) and gets an angry bullet for doing so. Swann drowns in a swamp.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 6: The Two-Bit Dictator of Twin Mills” [newspaper strip dailies 10/30/1944 to 1/27/1945]
Bruce is not only head of Wayne Enterprises, majority stockholder in a clock company, majority stockholder in a shipping insurance company, author, producer, and bank director, but also majority mortgage-owner of the Twin Mills newspaper The Sentinel. When Twin Mills’ corrupt mayor Tweed Wickham visits Bruce and tries to buy out his mortgage shares in The Sentintel. When Bruce refuses, Wickham begins a literal terror campaign against the news agency. Batman and Robin travel to Twin Mills and beat on some of Wickham’s thugs, but quickly become the targets of the mayor’s corrupt police force and false legal authority. Despite being outlawed, Batman and Robin continue their war on Wickham, causing the latter to hired expert hitman Jojo. Jojo kidnaps Bruce and the editor of The Sentinel. Later, while Batman fights corrupt cops, Dick disguises himself as a homeless orphan to infiltrate police HQ and raid their files. Dick finds a ballistics report that could send Jojo to jail for a long time if brought out into the open. With Jojo exposed, Wickham severs ties with him and orders his execution. Batman and Robin save Jojo from being assassinated. Jojo immediately goes after Wickham, as Batman has planned. In rapid succession, the Dark Knight brings down Jojo, Wickham, and all of Wickham’s crooked accomplices. The Sentinel editor opts to run for mayor to replace Wickham. Two weeks later, the editor contacts Bruce with the desire to stay on as editor of the paper.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 7: Bliss House ain’t the Same” [newspaper strip dailies 1/29/1945 to 4/28/1945]
Recent college graduate Martin Bliss returns home to find his stately home under the control of the deformed Frankenstein monster-esque gangster named Pomade. When Martin’s girlfriend, Corinne Dale, visits and turns up missing overnight, Martin and his mother know Pomade is to blame, but they can do nothing because Pomade has a photo of Martin committing a hit-and-run manslaughter that he uses as blackmail against the family. In actuality the photo is doctored, but Martin, who was drunk on the night in question, believes it to be authentic. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin track down the killer John “Skipper” Keane, who happens to work for Pomade. After saving Corinne’s sister from Keane, the Dynamic Duo scours the underworld for Keane, but he has gone off the radar. Bruce then, in conjunction with Commissioner Gordon, puts his reputation and company on the line in order to help solve the case. Bruce allows the entire world to believe that he has embezzled money from his company and goes to jail where he befriends one of Keane’s partners on the inside. They escape prison together and meet up with Keane. Bruce and Dick try to apprehend Keane, but the latter escapes yet again. The Dynamic Duo finally goes to the Bliss mansion where they discover that Keane has been killed by Pomade. After an epic first fight, subsequent investigation, lengthy chase sequence, more investigation, more chasing, and a second epic fight, Batman defeats one of his most charismatic and monstrous foes in Pomade. The supervillain dies after suffering horrible burns after falling into a furnace.
–NOTE: Penguin flies the coop (as referenced in Chapter 1 of the Batman and Robin Sunday newspaper strips, specifically the 11/7/1943 edition).
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 1: The Penguin’s Crime-Thunderstorms” [Sunday newspaper strips 11/7/1943 to 12/12/1943]
Batman and Robin are on hand as Penguin robs a truckload of umbrellas. The fiend–along with two trained emperor penguins–later attempts to rob the wealthy Amos Q. Pinchbeck, but the Dynamic Duo stops him and puts him back behind bars.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 2: The Secret of Cap’n Plankton’s Ghost” [Sunday newspaper strips 12/19/1943 to 1/9/1944]
Bruce and Dick take yet another vacation, this time to a resort known as Pirate Lake. Naturally, Batman and Robin find themselves skirmishing against ghost pirates. After discovering that the ghosts are actually human beings, led by Ross Plankton, and their ship is a fake schooner mounted atop a camouflaged modern diesel yacht, the Dynamic Duo escalates their warring tactics. Of course, our heroes defeat the villains with grace.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 3: Jesse James Rides Again!” [Sunday newspaper strips 1/16/1944 to 2/13/1944]
In 1844 Jesse James and Billy the Kid committed a famous train heist. Now, railroad officials are celebrating the centennial anniversary of that robbery by staging a reenactment, only this time Batman and Robin will stop James and Billy the Kid. However, crooks Hamlet and Packy replace the actors set to portray James and Billy the Kid, show up for the reenactment, and catch the Dynamic Duo off guard with an actual train robbery. When the modern versions of James and Billy the Kid try to rob a bullet train, the Dynamic Duo brings them to justice.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 4: The Undersea Bank Bandits” [Sunday newspaper strips 2/20/1944 to 3/19/1944]
Batman and Robin encounter a group of underwater divers that blow into bank vaults and stores that are constructed atop the piers of Gotham’s waterfront from the depths below. After analyzing a bootprint left on Robin’s costume after the encounter, Batman discovers the bandits will strike from a tunnel being built underneath the West River. The Dynamic Duo fights the bandits in the tunnel, but lets them flee in order to help the workers plug a leak. The bandits, however, are nabbed by the cops when they enter a Batman-rigged compression chamber and pass out.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 5: Liquid Gold!” [Sunday newspaper strips 3/26/1944 to 4/30/1944]
Ruth Parker, head of an oil refinery in Texas, puts out a national advertisement calling for Batman and Robin’s help against the corrupt gangster tycoon Big Tim Hale, who has been sabotaging her rigs in an attempt to drive her out of the business. Batman and Robin answer the call and, with minimal difficulty, defeat Hale and his goon squad.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 6: Cap’n Alfred” [Sunday newspaper strips 5/7/1944 to 6/4/1944]
Every year, once a year, Alfred’s friend Herbert lets a member of the Beagle family captain a river ferry. This year it is Alfred’s turn. Batman and Robin travel aboard the ferry in disguise as a blind man and a shoeshine boy to keep tabs on Alfred. When silk hijackers take over the ship, Batman, Robin, and Alfred are captured. Eventually, they escape and bust the hijackers. Alfred then gets seasick and pukes his ever livin’ guts out.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 7: Death Row’s Innocent Resident” [Sunday newspaper strips 6/11/1944 to 7/30/1944]
Warden Doyle now replaces Warden Keyes as the head of the State Prison–wardens come and go quite quickly (as they should since it seems that prisoners are constantly escaping). Sentenced murderer and Death Row inmate Bower is set to be executed at the stroke of midnight, but he swears that he is innocent, framed by one Frederick Steele. Batman and Robin have just over three hours to solve this mystery. After investigating Steele and escaping the death trap of a bunch of thugs who let slip that they work for Steele, Batman is convinced that the real criminal is Steele. The Dynamic Duo apprehends Steele at the home of Horace Hawkins, who further implicates Steele in criminal activity. Steele denies everything, and thankfully Batman agrees with him, seeing holes in Hawkins tale. Due to some clever detective work, the Dark Knight deduces that Bower is indeed the homicidal criminal and had ordered his gang, which includes Hawkins, to set up Steele at his eleventh hour on Death Row. With the case closed, Bower fries as the clock strikes twelve.
–Batman and Robin “Ch. 9: An Attic Full of Art” [Sunday newspaper strips 9/24/1944 to 11/5/1944]
Bruce and Dick attend a rural county fair and spend the night at the Cobb Farm along with art dealer, Maxwell. When Maxwell discovers that Old Man Cobb has a cache of never-before-seen paintings by the late Homer Benson–America’s most famous artist of the early 20th century–he begins plotting on how to force the obstinate farmer to sell them. First, Maxwell murders a circus trapeze artist from the fair and poses as him to burn Cobb’s grain supply silo to the ground. Although now broke, Cobb still refuses to sell, claiming that his racehorse can win him cash. Maxwell sabotages the race, but Batman fills in and finishes the derby. Meanwhile, Robin and Cobb catch Maxwell. Batman then convinces Cobb to sell the paintings to a museum. A week later, Bruce and Dick view the paintings at a show in Gotham.
–World’s Finest Comics #16
Bruce and Dick travel to some backwoods mountainous part of the US to check up on a string of robberies at a war production plant, of which Bruce is majority stockholder. Bruce and Dick are immediately nearly killed when they drive over a landmine. Miraculously they survive, suit up, and find themselves in the middle of a redneck war between the Chatfield clan and the McKee clan. Amidst the chaos, Batman and Robin are also attacked by a mysterious masked man on horseback. After a long investigation and a spooky ghost sighting, Batman is ready to end this case and does so by nabbing the masked rider–city crook Nocky Johnson. Nocky had been robbing the factory blind while using the local yokel war as a cover. Oh, and the ghost was a fake, of course.
The Cavalier is back and makes an appearance at a costume party that Bruce and Dick attend. Together with a bunch of hired men who also dress as the Cavalier, Mortimer Drake—now going by “Albert Foster”—flees the scene. The Cavalier’s escape is guaranteed when a mob of eager kids show up—having been alerted by the Cavalier—looking for free Batman and Robin autographs. In the chaos, the Cavalier kidnaps Robin and sets him up in a deathtrap. While Batman saves Robin, the Cavalier steals a live whale from Gotham’s Whaling Museum. Following a trail of bulk-purchased fish, the Dynamic Duo locates the Cavalier’s lair and busts him. The Cavalier, for the first time in his life, goes to jail! Afterward, much to their dismay, Batman and Robin are forced to sign thousands of autographs for the children. The Dynamic Duo, following this case, places a pair of The Cavalier’s rapiers into their Hall of Trophies (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #37).
Alfred goes to the grocery store and mistakenly believes a pickpocket has snatched his wallet. Following the suspect into an alley, another man begins shooting at them. Alfred winds up saving the supposed pickpocket’s life and apprehends the mystery shooter, who turns out to be the brother of a well-known criminal. The other man turns out to be a famous chef who had dirt on the crook’s bro. Afterward, Alfred brings the chef home and he cooks a fancy meal for Bruce and Dick.
Batman and Robin don’t appear (only in a film) in the third part of Batman #26.
Monk Bardo and Randy Roose escape from prison and hideout in New Mexico. Batman and Robin fly to New Mexico where they wind up in Lost Mesa, a secret ancient Pueblo city that has remained hidden for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the Pueblo tribe, in full ceremonial garb, has already been reached by Bardo and Roose, who warn them that Batman and Robin are evil. The Dynamic Duo is thrown in a pit and left to rot, but when Bardo and Roose try to rob the Lost Mesa temple they are exposed as villains. Nachee, the chief’s grandson, helps the Dynamic Duo escape captivity and they defeat Bardo and Roose. Batman and Robin are hailed as heroes by the tribe before dropping the knaves back in prison.
–Batman #27, Part 4
Christmas Eve, 1944. Teenager Scranton “Young Scrooge” Loring has just inherited several million dollars. Being the scrooge that he is, Loring financially backs a criminal network that includes his butler Gulliver, his attorney Eggers, and mob boss Happy Hoggsby. Hoggsby’s men torch several Christmas tree stands in an attempt to take over the holiday market. When Batman and Robin learn of young Scranton’s link to the crimes, they pay kidnap him to teach a lesson! By showing Scranton the people who have been negatively affected by his sponsored crime wave, the teen repents and storms off to confront Gulliver, Eggers, and Hoggsby. Of course, Eggers has robbed the boy blind, kidnapped his Uncle Tim who happens to be dressed as Santa, and threatens to kill Scranton. Batman and Robin enter the scene and right all the wrongs with fisticuffs. Later, as Christmas dawns on Gotham, the Dynamic Duo pimps out the Batplane in Yuletide decor (as they have done in the past) and flies around distributing presents along with Scranton and his Uncle Santa Claus.
- COLLIN COLSHER: I had to quote the eclectic genius madman of “comicbook” history, Jim Steranko, in regard to the Batman serial, which is very hard to sit through in its entirety and set the bar extremely low for Batman pictures in the 40s. Here’s what Steranko has to say about the Columbia Studios releases: “It’s always baffled me why the Columbia serials, with their superior budgets, personnel, and licenses were so wretched they defy categorization! While Poverty Row studios were cranking out a profusion of solid, entertaining cliffhangers, Columbia’s releases were like the black plague.” Big money equalling big crap. Some things will never change.↩
- Credit to MIKE VOILES↩
- Credit to MIKE VOILES↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Up to this point, most of (if not all of) the issues on the chronology have taken place during or near the months of the issues’ publication dates. For no reason, other than to make it a bit easier on myself, the daily and Sunday newspaper strips have been lumped together with disregard for their publication dates–although some strips make specific topical references and have been placed accordingly.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman and Robin “Ch. 10: There was a Crooked Man…” [Sunday newspaper strips 11/12/1944 to 12/31/1944] originally occurred here. However, the arc, which debuted Hugh Mellville’s “Adventure Incorporated” company, was later re-written and updated in World’s Finest Comics #83 (1956). The WFC #83 story made this Sunday strip arc non-canon.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Part 3 of Batman #26 takes place in the 3040s and details the Saturnian invasion and occupation of Earth by an army of aliens led by the malevolent Fura. Fura has ruled Earth since the year 3000. Finally, after over forty years of brutal oppression, a Gothamite calling himself “Bruce Wayne”—Bruce’s future namesake, actually named Brane Taylor—and his young nephew Ricky unearth a time capsule from the 1939 New York World’s Fair, which contains film of Batman and Robin in action. Inspired, Brane and Ricky become the Batman and Robin of the 31st century and lead what will ultimately become the revolution that frees Earth and ends the reign of Fura and his Saturnian hordes.↩