Year Ten

1948

 

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Star Spangled Comics #116. Batman stops a smuggling ring in Havana, Cuba.

–NOTE: In references in Batman #44, Part 1. Joker escapes from prison. When we see him next he will utilize an elaborate oversize casino-games death-trap set-up on a private island in Gotham Harbor, so we must assume that his henchmen have been building it for quite some time already.

–Batman #44, Part 1
The Dynamic Duo is lured to Joker’s private island and put through a series of giant-size casino games, including a behemothic slot machine, a gargantuan pinball machine that uses balls with hostages trapped inside of them, a craps table the size of a football field (with equal size dice to match), giant playing cards, and a deadly jumbo roulette wheel. After Batman survives Joker’s casino of death, Joker pulls his classic “jumping off a cliff into water” to escape routine. Afterward, Batman puts the giant dice and giant Joker playing card into the Batcave as trophies. Batman also puts the giant mechanical dice cup into the Hall of Trophies as well (as referenced in Detective Comics #158). Batman also adds a giant ace of spades card into the Hall of Trophies too (as referenced in Batman #74, Part 1).

–Batman #44, Part 3
Bruce hosts a party at Wayne Manor and shows off the exquisitely framed portraits of his ancestors, including Winslow Wayne (a contemporary of Teddy Roosevelt), General Herkimer Wayne (who fought in the War of 1812), and the black sheep of the family, Silas Wayne (accused of being a criminal in Philadelphia in 1787). Bruce and Dick visit Professor Carter Nichols and jaunt back in time to 1787 to try to prove Silas’ innocence. In colonial Philadelphia, Batman and Robin meet both Silas and Ben Franklin and eventually prove that Silas is not a dandy highwayman. But for overwrought narrative reasons, Franklin and Silas, the only men who know Silas is innocent, cannot reveal the truth until a future date. Unfortunately, Franklin and Silas will eventually take the secret to the grave. And before the Dynamic Duo can obtain the written proof that Silas is not a robber baron, they phase back into the present. Back in the present, Bruce now notices a change in the frame of the portrait of Silas Wayne—there is now an inscription by Franklin that contains a hidden compartment, in which is a letter exonerating Silas.[1] Bruce delivers the letter to the media and it winds up as a permanent record of Silas’ innocence inside a museum.

–Detective Comics #135
Professor Carter Nichols, while time traveling to 1816 Switzerland in order to learn the true history of Frankenstein, runs into trouble and summons the Dynamic Duo to his aid. Nichols has obviously mastered his metahuman ability to time travel and send others through time via avatar projection. Before, he needed a the help of a special device. Furthermore, we’ve never seen him hone in on people in a specific location and time and pull them away to a completely different locale and era until now. Once Batman and Robin arrive in 1816, Nichols explains that Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s hulking assistant, Ivan, had suffered an injury. Nichols administered adrenaline to bring Ivan out of a coma, and Ivan recovered, but as a mindless slave. Shortly after that Frankenstein’s rival, Count Mettern, assumed control of Ivan and unleashed him upon the local village as “Frankenstein’s Monster” in a ploy to ruin Frankenstein. Let’s hear it for another awesome Nichols time paradox! Caught up to speed, Batman and Robin stop the monster and help him regain his senses. However, upset at the damage he has done, Ivan goes after Mettern and they both wind up seemingly dead after a chemical explosion. Afterward, Batman and Robin explain the crazy events to Mary Shelley, who decides to re-write it into a science fiction tale![2] Note that, despite his ability to now send avatars through time without the aid of a machine, Nichols won’t use this method every single time going forward (probably due to the the danger involved and also due to the fact that it probably drains him pretty quickly).

–Batman #50, Part 3
This story takes place a week after Part 1 of Batman #44 and in close proximity to Detective Comics #135. After making Robin stay at Wayne Manor two nights in a row, while he responds to Bat Signal calls, Dick begins to worry. Dick’s concerns are augmented when he spies on Batman training a boy named Jimmy in the Batcave to become a new sidekick! The next night, Batman and a domino-masked Jimmy (wearing street clothes) track down and apprehend some crooks at a movie studio, while a saddened Dick watches from the shadows. The next night, Dick confronts Bruce about Jimmy, but Bruce simply orders Dick to deliver a Robin costume to Jimmy’s home address. Meanwhile, a new glove-wearing mob boss aptly named Gloves kidnaps Batman and uses a lie detector test to find out that Robin is traveling to Jimmy’s house. At Jimmy’s place, Robin is shocked to discover that the “new Boy Wonder” is blind! Batman had met Jimmy recently and agreed to grant his one wish: to be trained as a criminologist by the Dark Knight. Robin’s relief doesn’t last very long though. Gloves’ men break in and kidnap him. Jimmy suits up in his Robin costume, and despite being completely sightless, is able to track down the Dynamic Duo, free them, and help them apprehend Gloves and his followers.

–Detective Comics #131
Batman and Robin have been cleaning up the shady warehouse district all week, but on this occasion things get ugly and Big Mike Roper is shot and wounded. His thug buddies, led by Trigger Joe Travers, drag him to Joe’s brother, a legit plastic surgeon named Steve Travers. Dr. Travers wants nothing to do with crime, but Joe forces him to not only remove Roper’s bullet, but to give the crook a brand new surgically altered face! Soon, against his will, Steve becomes the go-to plastic surgeon for most of Gotham’s underground, changing faces left and right. After Batman and Robin discover Scarface Nolan has a new mug courtesy of a facial operation, its not long (thanks to underworld disguises) before they run into Dr. Steve Travers, who is in the middle of bandaging-up his brother Joe, post op. Batman gets detained by the bandaged Joe, but Robin comes to the rescue. The Dynamic Duo fights Joe’s gang, but Joe puts a slug in Batman’s chest! Dr. Travers performs an emergency procedure and saves the Dark Knight’s life. Later, Joe takes of his bandages, revealing a cruel punishment—Joe has been given Scarface Nolan’s face and is quickly spotted and gunned down by police. A few days later, a wheelchair-bound Batman testifies on behalf of Dr. Travers and the jury finds him innocent.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #91. Late January 1948. Without Batman’s aid, Robin defeats a gangster known as The Fence (as seen in Star Spangled Comics #76). Afterward, Batman allows Robin to add a bicycle from the case into the Hall of Trophies.

–Batman #45, Part 1
When author Neil Weston writes a book about the most notorious female criminals in history, he fails to mention Catwoman. The angry villainess escapes from prison with bad intentions for Weston. Meanwhile, Weston has organized a promotional tour for his book (and subsequent movie that is to be filmed) that includes the fabulous Gala Kazon portraying famous fictional female villains in different formats and venues. Catwoman’s first strike involves stealing pearls from a stage performance of The Odyssey, starring Kazon as Circe, from right under the Dynamic Duo’s noses. Catwoman then further harasses Kazon, who stars as the Wicked Queen, in a live TV presentation of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Catwoman shows up with seven gun-toting midgets and is able to best Batman yet again. At Kazon’s next performance, as Delilah in Samson & Delilah, Batman plays Samson in order to get the jump on Catwoman. Catwoman is prepared for Batman’s intervention and captures him, but the tides quickly turn, and it’s not long before Catwoman lands herself back behind bars. In prison, Weston visits Catwoman and tells her he omitted her from his book because he is already writing an entire tome dedicated solely to her!

–Batman #45, Part 3
Batman and Robin team up with Fire Chief Brodie (incorrectly named Chief Brady) and his firefighters to bring a mad arsonist called The Match to justice. After apprehending one of the Match’s operatives, Batman and Robin soon meet the Match face-to-face only to get captured by him. Eventually, with the aid of the GCFD, the Dynamic Duo puts the Match behind bars. Afterward, Hook & Ladder Company Number 9 gives Batman a ladder to keep as a trophy in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #242).

–Detective Comics #139
February, 10 1948. Chinese New Year. Batman and Robin team-up with Chinatown Detective Ling Ho and go after some jade thieves. During their first encounter, the thieves murder a Chinatown resident and escape custody. While Batman pokes around the dockyard, Robin and Detective Ho visit top importer Shing Far only to realize that Far is the mastermind behind the robberies and get captured by Far. Robin shines a makeshift Chinese Bat Signal into the air prompting Batman to wind his way through the New Year’s celebration, disguised in ceremonial Chinese garb, to his partner’s location. There, Batman fights and defeats Far atop a giant Buddha statue and reveals Far as Caucasian gangster Nick Baily. Baily had kidnapped the real Far and played his role.

–Detective Comics #132
Batman and Robin contend with the pairing of costumed supervillain, The Human Key, and gangster Burly Graham. The villains escape, but the Human Key oddly leaves behind a clue to his identity that reveals himself as the man who taught the Dark Knight the art of safe-cracking nearly eight years ago, Paul Bodin. Batman catches up with Bodin and Graham at their next heist, salvaging treasure at the bottom of Gotham Harbor. Batman dons his brand new underwater frog suit, the latest in high tech scuba gear, but despite the advantage, he and Robin are captured by Graham. Bodin stops Graham from killing them, opting to put them in an escapable death trap instead. At Bodin’s home, Batman and Robin learn why Bodin has been helping them ever so slightly—Graham has kidnapped his daughter and blackmailed him into becoming the Human Key. The Dynamic Duo saves Bodin’s daughter, brings Graham to justice, and gets Bodin off the hook.

–The Adventures of Superman “The Mystery of the Stolen Costume” [radio show 3/10/1948 to 4/1/1948]
Clark Kent returns home one day to find his apartment ransacked and his Superman costume stolen from a secret compartment. Panicked, he calls Batman and Robin for help. Batman investigates and deduces, thanks to fingerprints, that the thief is local crook Willy Snyder. Meanwhile, Snyder has been shot and killed by police officers, but not before passing on the Superman costume and secret identity info of the Man of Steel onto gangster Biggie Conroy. While Batman and Robin fight Conroy’s gang, Clark bandages himself up from head to toe and pretends that he has been injured in a car accident to fool Conroy into thinking that there is no way he could possibly be Superman, a ruse which surprisingly fools the dumb crime lord. Together, Batman, Robin, and Superman jail Conroy.[3]

–Detective Comics #133
A fake clairvoyant named Arthur Loom makes public predictions of death and destruction, all of which come true thanks to his saboteur partners that orchestrate the chaos in order to commit various crimes. Batman and Robin aren’t fooled for a second and take down the saboteurs, but are unable to link them to Loom. Later, after a ruse involving a fake tornado created by a giant wind machine, Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon trick Loom into confessing.

–World’s Finest Comics #33
Batman and Robin have had many an adventure at the Gotham Museum, but only now do we finally learn that Bruce is on the board of directors of the museum. If you weren’t keeping track, let me remind you that Bruce is also head of Wayne Enterprises, majority stockholder in a clock company, majority stockholder in a shipping insurance company, author, producer, bank director, newspaper publisher, factory owner, stockholder in a book publishing company, automobile manufacturer, and director of an international brokerage firm. In this issue of World’s Finest, the Gotham Museum’s Curator of Gems, James Harmon is duped by a duplicitous auctioneer and purchases a false sapphire using $60,000 of the museum’s cash. As punishment for his gaffe, Harmon is fired and vows revenge on the board of directors. One by one, Harmon delivers giant replica gems to the homes of the board members, each one rigged to kill. Batman and Robin save two of the four board members before locating Harmon’s secret lair thanks to playing the sound of a gem-polishing machine on a radio show and getting a positive response from a caller. At Haromn’s hideout, Harmon tries to stab Batman, but falls onto his own dagger and dies.

–NOTE: In a reference in Detective Comics #134. Penguin escapes from jail again.

–Detective Comics #134
Batman and Robin track Penguin to the Gotham Fair, a World’s Fair celebrating the city’s bicentennial. Batman deals with Penguin’s antics under the circus big top and then nearly nabs him after being shot out of a canon. Later, while Batman gives a speech about atomic energy, Penguin gasses the crowd and steals a cache of gold nuggets. Batman and Robin then chase Penguin and his henchmen atop a giant globe designed as the centerpiece of the fair. Penguin escapes again, but the Dynamic Duo captures his top man, Hagen. In the Batcave, Hagen submits to the mental and physical torture of being interrogated in the Dark Knight’s bizarre Truth Chamber, complete with flashing colored strobe lights and mirrored walls.[4] This awful torture device forces Hagen to reveal, what Batman surely must have already known, that Penguin’s next crime will be at the Gotham Fair again. Back at the fair, after some fisticuffs amidst the backdrop of dazzling fireworks and fountain displays, Penguin is captured and returned to the clink.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #164. Batman, Robin, the GCPD, and the FBI all team up to protect Gotham Harbor against international smugglers. From a GCPD patrol boat equipped with a Bat Signal, the heroes easily defeat the bad guys. Batman then uses the light from the Bat Signal to fish a wounded cop out of the harbor.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #61, Part 2. Trigger Thom shoots Batman. The bullet chips Batman’s right shin bone causing the Dark Knight to be out of action for a full month.

–Batman #47, Part 1 Intro
Bruce and Dick are lounging at home when they hear a radio broadcast that tells of Catwoman’s daring escape from women’s prison.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #81, Part 2. Late April. Batman and Robin meet the debuting Mr. Camera, a caped super-villain that wears a large box-shaped camera helmet with a giant lens faceplate.

–FLASHBACK: From World’s Finest Comics #68. Batman and Robin apprehend Rand Garrow.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #115. Diminutive ex-jockey turned superhero Reckless Reed saves Robin from certain death in Gotham while Batman goes on a secret government-sponsored mission overseas. We never learn what Batman’s mission was.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Star Spangled Comics #116. While Batman testifies against the Havana smugglers he busted a few months ago, Robin defeats the immortal Dante Leonardo in Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #40. Batman and Robin capture Jumpy Peters, Sailor Roggs, Careful Kyle, and Angles Manson.  All four men are sentenced to Death Row.

–The Adventures of Superman “The Crossword Puzzle Mystery” [radio show 5/3/1948]
While Superman pursues a gang of criminals out west, Batman steps in to round up the ringleaders in Metropolis.[5]

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #141. May 5, 1948. Batman and Robin apprehend Blackie Nason. The next day Batman is on hand to testify against Nason, who gets a ninety-nine-year sentence.

–Batman #46, Part 2
Commissioner Gordon meets with Batman and Robin to deliver a report: fifty percent of paroled inmates from the State Prison eventually return to crime, but only five percent of parolees from Gotham City Prison return to their wicked ways. Now, you’d think that Gordon would be more interested in sending Batman to clean up the penal institution with the worse rehab record, but instead Gordon is more curious to know why Gotham City Prison’s record is so good—he hopes to implement Gotham’s system at the State level. Thus, Batman volunteers to go undercover as a prisoner to get the scoop. Batman detains crook Whitey Harlan, chains him up in the Batcave, and disguises himself as the latter. “Harlan” then turns himself in and winds up behind Gotham City Prison bars. It isn’t long before crime boss Duke Kite, desiring info regarding the hidden location of a stolen money cache from one of the inmates, attacks the pen with a fighter jet and drops a shipment of rifles into the yard, inciting a riot. Batman, Robin, and Warden Williams quell the riot and the Dynamic Duo learns Gotham City Prison’s secret of success: the hard work of Chaplain Alan Channing. A few days later, the inmate that Kite was after reveals the location of the stolen cash and Batman and Gordon retrieve it.

–Batman #46, Part 3
Professor Carter Nichols reads a historical report about a magician called “Batman” that supposedly was active in Milan, Italy in 1499. Thus, Bruce and Dick time travel to 1499 using the Nichols method and get involved in a rivalry between gluttonous dictator Gian Trivulao and Leonardo Da Vinci! Batman aids Da Vinci and even poses as the great polymath while the latter plans the downfall of Trivulao. Eventually, Batman and Robin end Trivulao’s reign and help Da Vinci launch one of his intricate flying machines in the process. As Da Vinci soars, the Milanese citizens note that his winged device resembles a bat and refer to him as “Batman.” The mystery of the Batman of 1499 is solved—it’s Leonardo Da Vinci! Before Leo can properly thank the Dynamic Duo, they phase back to the present. Batman then puts some 15th century Italian garb on a mannequin, which he proudly displays in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #158).

–FLASHBACK: From Star Spangled Comics #86. May 22, 1948. Batman and Robin attempt to bring the bank-robbing Barton Brothers, Babyface, Moose, and Slim, to justice, but Batman gets shot in the chest. Robin rushes him to the hospital where the Dark Knight slips into a coma and hangs onto life by a thread. While Batman undergoes surgery, Commissioner Gordon oversees the procedure to make sure the Dark Knight’s mask is not removed. A pissed-off Robin vows to take down the Bartons on his own. Over the course of the next week, while Batman slumbers, Robin busts each Barton. When Batman wakes up, he is excited to hear Robin’s revenge story. The GCPD has a trophy made for the Dynamic Duo commemorating the defeat of the Bartons, but Batman orders Gordon to have his own name and statuette removed from the award since this was a Robin solo mission.

–World’s Finest Comics #34[6]
For the past few weeks a hitman named Joe Durfee has been terrorizing Gotham with a string of high profile executions. Batman and Robin have no idea who the mystery killer is, so they go about their normal business of patrolling Gotham. However, Durfee targets Batman and puts a bullet in his chest from three hundred yards away via sniper rifle. After emergency life-saving surgery, Batman is bandaged up, but is unable to fight crime for several days, during which time Durfee commits several more daring and spectacular murders, including the assassination of DA Tim Logan! A pissed off Batman suits back up and shakes down gangster Lou Lacey for info. Lacey doesn’t know who the hitman is, but he does know how to send him cash and hit-lists. The next day, Bruce initiates a plan to bring down the hitman, first inviting the news media to Wayne Manor and announcing that he is offering a huge cash reward for the capture of the hitman. Later, a disguised Batman delivers $2,000 to Durfee via Lacey’s contact method and puts a hit out on himself, Bruce Wayne! Durfee soon turns up at Wayne Manor and blasts a mirrored reflection of Bruce to smithereens, believing it to be the genuine article. After adroitly evading the Dyanmic Duo, Durfee proudly awaits the morning editions, which he thinks will herald Bruce’s death at his hands. However, Bruce has called his reporter buddies and had them write up stories about his good health just to taunt the hitman. At the Gotham County Fair the next day, Batman and Robin chase Durfee out into the open where he is gunned down by a cop. A few days later, Bruce and Dick discuss the case and Bruce seems particularly quick to dismiss what, up to this point, was probably one of his toughest opponents in Durfee.

–Batman #46, Part 2 Epilogue
Bruce and Dick read a newspaper article about the great work that Chaplain Alan Channing is doing with prison inmates.

–Detective Comics #136
It’s time paradox time! At a meeting at the Gotham Museum, the board of directors chews out one of its curators for purchasing a treasure map that supposedly once belonged to Captain Henry Morgan. Bruce is flabbergasted when he looks at the map and realizes that it is in his own handwriting! However, Bruce has no recollection of ever penning it. Thus, its off to Carter Nichols who sends Bruce and Dick to 1667 to solve the mystery. In 1667, Batman and Robin soon find themselves in captivity aboard Captain Morgan’s pirate ship in the Caribbean. After several piratey adventures and swashbuckling duels, Morgan employs Batman as his servant, threatening to kill Robin unless the Dark Knight obeys. On an island off the coast of Florida, Morgan buries his treasure and forces Batman to draft a map! Batman, however, draws the map incorrectly so that Morgan will never be able to find his booty again. Back in the present, Bruce, Dick, and the museum curator dig up the treasure using Batman’s map as a guide. Bruce and Dick then take a short vacation in Florida.

–Batman #47, Part 1
Catwoman has been loose for a month and in that time has launched a popular fashion magazine called Damsel using the alias of “Madame Moderne.” At her own televised Damsel fashion show, Catwoman steals the expensive stoles that are on loan from a furrier. Catwoman then escapes from Batman and Robin only to later return as “Madame Moderne” to act concerned and make-out with the Dark Knight. Two days later, after a necklace is stolen following a Damsel interview, Batman deduces that “Madame Moderne” and Catwoman are one and the same. That night at a gaudy fashion expo, complete with giant-size functional sewing machines, needles, and thimbles, Batman and Robin apprehend Catwoman and re-jail her.

–Batman #47, Part 2
Batman and Robin are called to out-of-state duty to help a rural town deal with the Whiskers Mob, a gang of bearded thugs. When Batman tracks the Whiskers Mob to Warden Beltt’s County Prison Camp, he decides to go undercover as a convict. After several hard days in the camp, sweating it out as a part of a chain gang, Batman learns that part of Beltt’s camp is a facade that masks the Whiskers Mob’s hideout. After being outed, Batman is put into solitary confinement, but is able to escape with Robin’s help. Later, Batman and Robin round up the local sheriff and his deputies and shut down Beltt’s shady operation. The Dark Knight then delivers and inspiring speech about prison reform, to which the inmates cheer.

–Batman #47, Part 3 Intro
Batman and Robin investigate the scene of a truck accident and are surprised when a hidden compartment opens revealing a fugitive who was trying to cross state lines in secret. Before the Dark Knight can question the fugitive, he is shot and killed by a long-distance sniper. At GCPD HQ, Batman confers with Commissioner Gordon and is given a photo of the crook that runs the trucking company in question. The Caped Crusader instantly recognizes the man in the photo as the man who killed his parents, Joe Chill!

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #235. Bruce leaves Commissioner Gordon’s office after viewing Joe Chill’s photo. Wanting to verify that the man in the photo is actually Chill, Batman spies on him and confirms what he angrily suspects.

–Batman #47, Part 3 Conclusion
Back at Wayne Manor (after verifying Joe Chill’s identity with his own eyes), Batman explains his history with Chill to Robin and says he will deal with this one on his own. Wanting to entrap Chill and catch him in the act of offering aid to known felonious fugitives, Batman shakes down the showboat gambling operation of Chill’s acquaintance Monty Julep. Sure enough, Julep goes running to Chill for help, but when Chill’s security system spots the Dark Knight lurking about, Chill immediately shoots Julep. The Dark Knight enters, but Chill claims the murder was self defense. The next day, Batman decides to try a more direct approach and visits Chill again. In possibly the most intense and gut-wrenching scene in all of Golden Age comics, Batman retells the story of his parents’ murders and unmasks with the resounding cry, “I am the son of the man you murdered! I am BRUCE WAYNE!” Batman then punches out Chill and threatens that he will haunt him and hound him for the rest of his life. Panicked, Chill turns to his thug friends and stammers that he killed Batman’s parents, thus creating the Batman. His trigger happy buddies, instead of calmly learning Batman’s secret ID, freak out about the fact that Chill “created” Batman and blast him with a barrage of gunfire. Batman, who has been tailing Chill, busts in, beats the bad guys into submission, and holds Chill in his arms until he dies.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #235. Batman covers the deceased Joe Chill, who has just been shot to death, with a sheet. The Dark Knight’s parents have finally been avenged. Well, sorta—Bruce will later discover that Lew Moxon hired Chill to kill his parents. Only until Moxon goes down will Bruce’s revenge be truly complete, but Bruce won’t find out about Moxon for many years yet.

–The Adventures of Superman “The Secret of Meteor Island” [radio show 6/14/1948 to 7/6/1948]
When deadly radioactive diamonds are smuggled into the United States from an island off the coast of Shanghai, Batman, Robin, and Superman are on the case. Our heroes take on a mysterious group called KIL-Shanghai, and eventually bring down all of its members, including a hulking Indian named Singh, a Cockney British agent named Limehouse, and Batman’s old foe Charlie Fox. Eventually, Batman, Robin, Superman, and Inspector William Henderson unmask KIL-Shanghai’s leader, known only as The Count, as international gangster Roger Kilfern. Kilfern is brought to justice.[7]

–The Adventures of Superman “The Voice of Doom” [radio show 7/7/1948 to 7/30/1948]
Bruce visits a scientist friend who is experimenting with sonic waves. During the visit, escaped convict Butcher Stark breaks into the lab and is struck by a radioactive current that endows him with the superhuman ability to emit a destructive screech from his throat. After Stark uses his new powers to defeat Superman, the rookie super-villain teams up with veteran villainess Scarlet Widow and they begin a nationwide crime spree that seems unstoppable. When Stark and Scarlet Widow go on a rampage in Chicago, injuring Dick—who is visiting friends there—in the process, Batman and Superman have had enough. In Nebraska, Stark begins to realize that his power is waning. Eventually, tensions mount between Stark and Scarlet Widow—especially as Batman and Superman tighten their noose around the villains—to such an extent that Stark murders Scarlet Widow. Stark then retreats back to the lab where he first got his powers, hoping to rejuvenate his ability, but by the time he gets there his banshee scream has all but disappeared, allowing Batman and Superman to bring him down with ease.[8]

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #141. July 1948. Blackie Nason escapes from jail. Batman works with the GCPD to track Nason and distribute wanted posters. Feeling the heat, Blackie will soon change his face with some underground plastic surgery.

–Detective Comics #137
Joker has been on the loose for months but has stayed low until now, when he decides to initiate a rebus-riddle-themed crime wave. Before successful encounters against the Dynamic Duo at the sub-treasury, the home of a millionaire, and the Gotham Zoo, Joker sends a rebus-riddle clue about the crimes. Eventually, Joker debuts his brand new Joker-nosed Jokerplane in an attempt to hijack a freight plane carrying gold bullion in mid-air. The Batplane outmaneuvers the Jokerplane and the Clown Prince of Crime winds up back in jail.

–NOTE: In a reference in World’s Finest Comics #35. Penguin escapes from the State Prison.

–World’s Finest Comics #35
Batman and Robin put Penguin back in jail, but a few days later Warden Doyle allows him to send some pages from his new bird book to his publisher—the bird book pages are actually instructions for his henchmen. Eventually, Penguin starts a riot and breaks out of prison Shawshank Redemption-style. The Dynamic Duo halts the prison riot, but Penguin gets away. Penguin then first defeats the Dynamic Duo after shutting down power to a section of the city and later defeats them again at a construction site. At a charity bazaar at the luscious Rockingham Estate, Penguin and his men dress up as Alice in Wonderland characters and replace the stage actors scheduled to perform. Batman—as the Mad Hatter—and Robin—as the White Rabbit—show up as well and a fight breaks out. Penguin winds up on the losing end and winds up back in prison.

–World’s Finest Comics #38
Summer, 1948. When “Father Time” and “Jack Frost” show up to cause trouble at high-profile events—both of which are attended by Bruce and Dick—it isn’t long before Batman and Robin pay a visit to the Folklore Society, a group of cosplay LARPers that dress as tall tale characters. “Jack Frost” explains that each member was simply trying to garner publicity for their group, but someone has been using the harmless pranks as a decoy to steal stuff. In Timber Country on the outskirts of Gotham, Batman and Robin come face-to-face with the crooks, who have commandeered a giant Paul Bunyan robot! The Dynamic Duo is able to topple the towering behemoth and send the crooks to jail.

–NOTE: In a reference in Detective Comics #138. Joker escapes from jail.

–Detective Comics #138
Joker steals an invisibility elixir newly designed by Dr. Timmins, drinks it to become transparent, and goes on a crime spree. Joker runs circles around Batman and Robin, stealing from banks and disrupting sporting events. Batman and Robin find one of Dr. Timmins’ test subjects, an invisible dog, and use him to locate Joker’s lair. The Dynamic Duo then tries to counteract Joker’s new power by dumping a vat of ink on him, but to no avail. Seeing no other option, Batman drinks the invisibility elixir as well and is able to catch Joker at the Stacy’s Department Store Anniversary Parade. Don’t worry, the invisibility serum is only temporary.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #141. Blackie Nason, with a new false identity thanks to a surgically altered face, begins compiling photographs for his own personal anti-Rogues Gallery, a “Gallery of Undercover Cops.” Posing as a news reporter, Nason snaps a shot of two plainclothes officers chatting with Batman outside of police HQ. Nason will gather this treasure trove of valuable underworld info and begin distributing it among his seedy associates in Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #54, Part 2. Batman and Robin chase criminal Dan Morgan and his gang to the Everglades in Florida. Morgan manages to evade the Dynamic Duo and disappears without a trace in the small hovel of Duchess Corners, Florida.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #103, Part 1. Late August. Batman is the guest of honor at Gotham’s annual “Batman Day” celebration.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #48 and Batman #100, Part 1. Batman and Robin complete the “Stolen Space Rocket Case,” earning them a red rocket for the Hall of Trophies.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #48. Batman and Robin complete an unknown mission and wind up with some rather strange and random trophies: a spiked sarcophagus and a giant drill.

–Batman #48
Batman and Robin check up on Penguin in jail. Two days later, Penguin escapes with the plan to never commit bird-themed crimes again because they are too predictable. In Chinatown, Penguin tries a straight robbery, but Batman and Robin chase him off when he mistakes pigeons with the noise of police sirens. Later, at a synthetic ice factory, Penguin is defeated by the Dynamic Duo again when he runs into a bunch of actual penguins on loan from the zoo. Next, Penguin tries to steal some diamonds from a train, but when a gaggle of baby chicks swallows them up, he is forced to bag the birds. Eventually, the yapping chicks give away the fugitive Penguin’s location and he is delivered back into the waiting arms of the law.

Convict Wolf Brando escapes from prison and randomly breaks into Wayne Manor, takes Dick hostage, and accidentally discovers the Batcave beneath the house. Batman and Robin battle Brando all over the Batcave, damaging the Tyrannosaurus Rex and giant penny in the process. Eventually, Brando is cornered, but he laughs maniacally at the fact that he will soon expose Batman and Robin’s secret identities to the public. Brando’s laughter causes a bunch of startled bats to swarm upon him, knocking him into the waterways deep beneath the cave. The cops later find Brando’s body washed up onto the shores of Gotham’s East River—a whirlpool sucks up anything that falls into the pools beneath the Batcave and then a underground current carries it into the downtown river system.[9]

Batman and Robin go after the “Future Bandits,” a group of oddly-dressed bandits that use bizarre technology and claim to be from the future. After the Bandits elude the Dynamic Duo in a high-tech submersible speedboat, Batman and Robin visit inventor James Lewes, who points them in the direction of the “World of the Future Fair” where they learn the Bandits are from present-times. At the World’s Fair event, amidst a fully constructed “city of the future,” Batman is conked out by a robotic flying eye and Robin is kidnapped by the Bandits. The next day, the Bandits use radio-controlled wrecking machines to begin destroying the city. Batman not only stops the Bandits, but outs the secretary of the World’s Fair as their ringleader. After the case wraps Batman puts the Future Bandits’ mini helicopter-auto into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #158).

–REFERENCE: In Batman #51, Part 3. Batman and Robin defeat an escaped Joker in the “Case of the Practical Jokers.” Joker winds up back behind bars.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #51, Part 3. Batman saves Robin from the clutches of an escaped Penguin during the “Case of the Fowl Birds.” This case is not to be confused with the “Case of the Fowls of Fate” in Batman #48. Penguin is jailed following this adventure.

–World’s Finest Comics #36
Batman busts some truck hijackers but takes a bullet in the shoulder that sidelines him for three weeks. After making a nearly full recovery, Bruce takes a cruise ship vacation to complete his rehabilitation. Naturally, an on board mid-trip robbery is committed and the wrong man is thrown in the brig, prompting Bruce to suit up as Batman and solve the crime. But when the Dark Knight outs the real crooks, the cruise strikes an iceberg and all hell breaks loose Titanic style. Eventually, Batman and a select group of lifeboat riders take down the crooks, who take control of a speedboat after the liner sinks. Back in Gotham, Batman ties up all the loose ends and wraps the case.

–Detective Comics #140
Enter Batman’s newest and cleverest foe, Edward Nigma, better known as The Riddler! Riddler challenges the Dynamic Duo with a riddle before each crime. When Batman and Robin figure out the Riddler’s first puzzle, they rush off to protect the new unnamed Mayor of Gotham only to realize that the puzzle answer was a lie and Riddler has successfully robbed a bank across town. The next day, after fitting together a preposterously-sized jigsaw puzzle, Batman and Robin finally meet the Riddler face-to-face in penthouse nightclub. Riddler escapes while Batman frees the club owner from a wild lethal contraption. Later, after a clue sent via a tractor trailer in the shape of an ear of corn and a subsequent chase through an amusement park fun maze, Batman and Robin emerge victorious. In an explosion, Riddler is blown off the pier into Gotham Harbor and leaves only a question mark from his costume floating on the surface of the water.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #49. Batman and Robin apprehend John “Lippy” Fabian, Arthur “Boodle” Benson, Jeff “Nitro” Blake, and Ned “Weasel” Harris, but the money they stole a year prior is still missing. The four crooks get sentenced to life in jail.

–Detective Comics #142
Only a few days have passed since the debut of the Riddler. And now, the Riddler returns and challenges Gotham to a puzzle contest with big cash prizes. Batman and Robin are only too happy to oblige, but so are thousands of money-hungry Gothamites. A large crowd gathers at a drive-in movie theater after a riddle is delivered on a giant electronic billboard. A lucky winner gets a cool thousand bucks, but the chaos allows Riddler to steal five grand and escape Batman and Robin. Later, Batman and Robin foil Riddler’s attempt to rob the Rainbow Club after delivering a rebus riddle via blimp. However, the Riddler parachutes (twice) to make a safe getaway. When Riddler shows up on live TV and delivers his next clue, a mass of people swarm the Gotham Museum. Despite more chaos, Batman and Robin apprehend Riddler and send him to jail.

–Star Spangled Comics #85
Batman and Robin take the Batplane on a long-range test flight over the North Pole, but when the plane struggles and requires a dramatic loss of weight to maintain altitude, a reckless Robin parachutes down into the Arctic tundra. While Batman returns to Gotham to alert the media of Robin’s selfless act and begin planning a rescue operation, Robin manages to survive in the wilderness and runs into his old nemesis Ace Pollard, who is no longer a crook and lives peacefully with an Inuit tribe. However, Ace’s twin brother Mike is still a criminal down to the bone and he just happens to be around too. Robin easily takes down Mike just in time to get rescued by the returning Dark Knight.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #108, Part 3. Batman and Robin come up with the idea that, from now on, they will play fake sound recordings of various things (like distant trains, boats, and factories, etc…) inside the Batcave in order to throw-off any visitors that try to guess the location of the Batcave. Thus, an ambient sound machine is set up inside the Batcave that plays these noises while Batman and Robin are away.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #49. John “Lippy” Fabian, Arthur “Boodle” Benson, Jeff “Nitro” Blake, and Ned “Weasel” Harris concoct a scheme where they murder a fellow inmate in order to get their sentences switched to Death Row with the idea of forcing the prison doctor to fake their executions, allowing them to escape without a trace. Batman and Robin investigate the prison murder, quell a riot, and finger the frightful foursome as the culprits. The Dynamic Duo is on hand in court as the four crooks curiously happily accept the death sentence.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #110, Part 2. Batman and Robin are set to hunt some river-pirates, so Alfred makes them special inflatable costumes. The Dynamic Duo opts not to wear the awkward costumes, instead casting them aside. The river-pirates see the costumes floating in the water and think that the current has gotten the better of the heroes, allowing the real Batman and Robin to get the jump and arrest them.

–Batman #49
The prison doctor fakes Jeff “Nitro” Blake’s execution, but the doc has already alerted the warden and Batman about Blake’s plan. Batman trails Blake to his hiding place and retrieves the stolen money and sends him back to jail.

Photojournalist Vicki Vale finally meets Bruce (!) and takes a few shots of the millionaire playboy at the yacht club only to be interrupted by one-shot newcomer, The Mad Hatter (Jervis Tetch), who robs the joint. Batman chases after Mad Hatter, but the super-villain gets away. The next day, on assignment from her magazine, Vicki arranges a meeting with Batman via Commissioner Gordon and becomes Batman’s “official photographer.” When Mad Hatter hints that he will rob a society horse show, Batman and Robin plan to attend in secret. Vicki throws Batman a curve ball when she says she will ask Bruce to the show. Sure enough, Mad Hatter shows up. Robin fights Mad Hatter and his henchmen solo, until Bruce can sneak away to change into his fighting togs. Mad Hatter is able to escape again. Later, curious as to why Bruce has sneaked off both times Batman appeared, develops her pictures of both the Dark Knight and Bruce and discovers that the chins and mouths are exactly the same—Vicki learns Batman secret ID! Playing dumb, Vicki, in a blindfold, is escorted to the Batcave to photograph the Hall of Trophies. While there she coats the inside of one of Batman’s gloves with fluorescent make-up. Later, Batman fights and finally defeats Mad Hatter. Bruce then meets Vicki for a date afterward, but coats both his hands with fluorescent powder, claiming that it rubbed off from novelty flowers that he has brought her as a gift. Vicki still isn’t quite convinced that Bruce isn’t Batman, but Bruce’s secret is safe for now. (Bruce and Vicki will start seeing each other on a regular basis shortly after this. However, the first outright mention of them being an official couple isn’t until Bat Year Twelve in Detective Comics #164.)

Bruce purchases a thousand-year-old Arabian rug at an auction that appears to have the Joker’s face on it. Curious as to the origins of the carpet, Bruce and Dick travel—via the Carter Nichols method—to 10th century Baghdad. In Baghdad, the Dynamic Duo matches wits with a master thief known as The Crier, a green-haired bleached-skinned dead-ringer for Joker, except this version is constantly sobbing instead of laughing. The Crier and his man kidnap Robin, but Batman soon finds him in a mountain hideout that looms over the city thanks to the Boy Wonder’s creation of a fake Bat Signal. Meanwhile, the Crier sets the Tigris River ablaze with oil and starts a loot and plunder campaign. Batman and Robin create a makeshift glider that looks like a flying carpet and glide into the city below to apprehend the Crier. Afterward, Batman realizes that the rug they bought in 1948 is the very rug they used as a glider, and it has the image of the Crier on it. Back in present day, Batman puts the Crier’s rug into the Hall of Trophies.

–Detective Comics #167
This story takes place shortly after Bruce and Vicki meet for the first time. While at the museum, Bruce, Dick, and Vicki notice a frieze from Ancient Egypt that seems to depict the Bat-Signal. Bruce and Dick go to approximately 52 BCE Egypt using Professor Carter Nichols’ time-travel method to solve the mystery. In the past, Batman and Robin earn the admiration and intrigue of Cleopatra. Batman and Robin then learn of a plot against the life of the Queen of the Nile and spend a few days protecting her against various assassination attempts. Eventually, the Dynamic Duo knocks-out the villain, but gets trapped inside a pyramid. Before phasing back to the present, Bruce is able to create a makeshift reflective light signal with a golden scarab, which resembles a Batman symbol. Mystery solved/created/solved.

–Detective Comics #141
An undercover cop is outed thanks to the “Gallery of Undercover Cops” compiled for Gotham’s underworld courtesy of Blackie Nason. Batman and Robin save the cop and then turn their task toward trying to discover who is responsible for alerting the criminal element about the names and ID’s of undercover officers across the city. Eventually, Batman and Robin track the intel-operation to a “Mr. Jones,” Nason’s new surgically altered identity. At Nason’s HQ, Batman is shocked to witness Nason reveal his secret ID to a room full of thugs! Nason, while not one-hundred percent sure Bruce is Batman, thought is was enough of a possibility to share with his associates. At Wayne Manor, Batman sets up his Bruce Wayne dummy (as he has on several previous occasions) to fool the thugs into thinking he isn’t the millionaire playboy[10], and then learns that “Jones” is actually Nason. At the airport, the Dynamic Duo chases after Nason, who runs into the path of an airplane and gets killed.

–Star Spangled Comics #90
November 25, 1948. Bruce and Dick celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and later investigate the murder of a prominent geologist. The case leads the Dynamic Duo to the Southwest, where disguised as cowboys Montana and Maverick, Batman and Robin obtain jobs at the notorious Rancho Fear. Eventually, Batman is exposed and captured by the murderers, who reveal that they killed the geologist in Gotham and learned of a secret gasoline deposit at Rancho Fear. Now they illegally control the lucrative Rancho Fear refinery. The villains then try to kill the Dark Knight with gas fumes, but Robin cleverly saves the day and apprehends the whole gang by himself.

–World’s Finest Comics #37
Chicago super-hitman T-Gun Jones relocates to Gotham and immediately becomes the object of interest not just of the Dynamic Duo but of rival mob bosses, Neon Syne and Stogie Bevans. After a truce is called, Jones, Syne, and Bevans visit the secret underground Museum of Crime, a “hall of trophies” for the gangsters of Gotham, which includes an empty case that will supposedly soon hold a defeated Batman. Jones says that he will offer his services to the mob boss that can retrieve the best Batman-related trophy by the next night’s end. At the Gotham City Museum, Syne and his men dress as Norse gods, fight Batman and Robin, and are able to escape with one of Robin’s pixie boots. However, during the chaos, Bevans manages to kidnap Robin himself! But before Bevans can claim victory, Syne lures Batman into a trap and restrains the Dark Knight, trumping Bevans’ move. At the Museum of Crime, Batman is placed in his case and displayed to a room full of gangsters. Syne then unmasks the Dark Knight, who ridiculously is wearing a Bruce Wayne mask over top of a random alternate-face mask that is over his actual face. Thus, the gangsters initially think he is Bruce Wayne, but then think that he isn’t when they peel off the fake Bruce layer. It’s stupid—let’s not dwell on it. Batman then breaks free, saves Robin, and busts Jones, Syne, and Bevans. Afterward, the Dynamic Duo puts the entrance sign to the Museum of Crime in their own Hall of Trophies.

–The Adventures of Superman “Superman’s Secret” [radio show 12/20/1948 to 12/29/1948]
Batman once again helps Clark Kent protect the secret of his dual identity from his suspicious friends, who have set an elaborate trap intended to prove that he is Superman.[11][12]

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman #50, Part 1. Joker escapes from jail.

–Batman #50, Part 1
Vicki Vale has really made a name for herself as Gotham’s top photojournalist. And Miss Vale is on hand to document the latest capture of Joker, this time by the FBI (thanks to a tip from Batman). Batman agrees to let Vicki accompany him on his next case (as she has done before). At the Gotham shipyard, Batman shakes down recent parolee Tom Macon, who explains that he took the fall a decade earlier for his boss, the ten foot tall gangster named Stilts Tyler, in exchange for ten grand, which he hid atop a familiar Gotham lighthouse. Now, fresh out of jail, Macon had just been diagnosed with a fatal heart condition and wants to make sure Tyler never gets his hands on the cash if its the last thing that he does. Suddenly, Tyler shows up, Macon drops dead, and Batman, Robin, and Vicki are held for interrogation by the gangster. Batman refuses to spill the beans as to the hidden location of the money, so Tyler lets him escape in order to tail him. In the beacon room of the lighthouse, Batman and Robin (with help from Vicki) defeat Tyler and his gang and send them all to jail.

–Batman #50, Part 2
Harvey Kent, ever since shedding his Two-Face persona five years ago, has been has been living a quiet peaceful life with his wife Gilda and rebuilding his career as an attorney. However, Batman and Robin happen to pay Kent a visit one night when the former supervillain is freaking out about a nightmare involving Two-Face. Kent’s butler Wilkins assures the Dynamic Duo his master is fine and ushers them away. The next night, Two-Face returns and duels Batman and Robin at a motorcycle show! Later, Batman and Robin go to arrest Kent, whom they believe has reverted to his wicked ways with the aid of a little makeup. When they arrive, Kent freaks out and attacks the Dynamic Duo before running off. After yet another confrontation with Two-Face at a circus sideshow, Batman begins to realize that all is not as it seems. At the art studio of Gilda Kent, Batman and Robin nab “Two-Face” and out him as Wilkins dressed up in Two-Face makeup. Kent isn’t crazy or evil after all—he was simply being taken advantage of by his manservant.

 

 

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Remind anyone of Grant Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne?
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: While Frankenstein’s Monster aka The Frankenstein Monster aka Spawn of Frankenstein aka Frankenstein is a long-running and important character in every other comic book age, he is a mere one-shot character in the Golden Age. Interestingly, in the Golden Age, Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t even an undead patchwork behemoth—he is nothing more than a big guy named Ivan that has been doped up by Carter Nichols.
  3. [3]Credit to JAMES LANTZ.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Grant Morrison had the audacity (or balls) to make Batman’s Truth Chamber canon in the Modern Age during his run on Batman & Robin.
  5. [5]Credit to AARON SEVERSON.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: Even though it has nothing to do with the narrative of World’s Finest Comics #34, but since we have been keeping track of Bruce’s job obligations, we can now add Chairman of a utilities company to the list, which includes head of Wayne Enterprises, majority stockholder in a clock company, majority stockholder in a shipping insurance company, author, producer, bank director, newspaper publisher, factory owner, stockholder in a book publishing company, automobile manufacturer, director of an international brokerage firm, and Gotham Museum trustee.
  7. [7]Credit to JAMES LANTZ.
  8. [8]Credit to JAMES LANTZ.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: The list of trophies in the Batcave that have come from unknown cases: a blue claw staff or extend-o-reach claw grabber, a projector or movie camera of some kind, a piece of torn paper or stone tablet containing hieroglyphics or Sanskrit, a large wheel with spikes on its hubcap, and a green beanie or skull cap with a pom pom on its top. We can now also add: a small red rocket, a spiked sarcophagus, a staff with an eagle on its head (possibly of Nazi origin), and a giant drill. As I have done previously for this chronology, I have added notes for these items (see above). Since the eagle staff appears to possibly have come from WWII, I’ve added my own retcon regarding that item closer to the wartime era (in Year Six).
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman refers to an old case that involved the dummy, “The Case of the Long Distance Crime.” While Batman has indeed used the dummy on more than one instance, there never was a “Case of the Long Distance Crime,” unless he is referring to the the time he used the Bruce dummy in Batman #4 or World’s Finest Comics #17. However, neither of these cases seem to fit that description. He also utilized the Bruce dummy in the “Case of the Prophetic Picture” and its copycat-killer sequel case, but obviously neither of these cases fit the bill either. Thus, the “Case of the Long Distance Crime” must be a different episode altogether.
  11. [11]Credit to AARON SEVERSON.
  12. [12]SEAN GREEN / COLLIN COLSHER: Like other Adventures of Superman radio show episodes, parts of “Superman’s Secret” were never aired again after 1948, nor were they preserved or archived, thus making parts unavailable. Thus, the synopsis is brief and partly conjectural, based upon plausibility.

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