Year Thirteen

1951

 

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #120. Bruce and Dick, while traveling across America, stay at the extremely fancy International Hotel, which is located in an unnamed large city far from Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #185. Planning for his eventual demise, Batman creates a special asbestos tablet that when doused with a special chemical reveals his true identity and the location of the Batcave. Batman plans to unveil this tablet if he feels his death is imminent.

–Detective Comics #185
February 1951—the final winter before Dick graduates high school. While fighting some thugs, Batman gets trapped near the giant furnace of a power plant. Before passing out, he activates his secret ID revealing tablet thinking this is the end. Robin, however, saves him. Later, Batman and Robin round up the thugs, but Batman loses his utility belt in the process, which contains the activated tablet. A few hours later, a dopey high schooler finds the belt, takes out all of the cool stuff, and replaces it with inane items like a lizard, some marbles, and some nuts. Dick sees the dummy wearing the belt at school the next day! Batman almost gets his belt back, but it winds up in the hands of a hobo—who is miraculously saved by the lizard before passing it on to a pawn shop. From there, it goes to a construction worker, who uses the marbles to save himself from a tragedy. The next day, the belt goes to a collector, who is immediately accosted by gangsters. Batman is able to save the collector’s life and give a fake belt (that holds a fake ID) to the gangsters. With the advantage gained from this ploy, Batman and Robin take down the bad guys.

–World’s Finest Comics #50
Batman inducts the newest member into the famed Bullet-Hole Club, an elite group whose membership is limited to law enforcement officers that have been shot in the line of duty and then had the bullet surgically removed. These bullets are then placed in cases in a fancy building complete with giant working (not replica) handguns. According to the commemorative plaque, Batman has been shot nine times. Since by my count Batman has been shot thirty-two times and grazed three times in twelve years, this number must mean that only nine bullets have been removed surgically and then logged into the official club record books. Over the course of the next week, Batman and Robin keep running into private eye Joe Flint, who is recklessly trying to take a bullet so he can obtain membership to the Bullet-Hole Club. Flint is actually a criminal posing as a private eye and wants to get into the club to assassinate one of its members. After Batman and Robin re-stage every single shooting incident linked to the club entries using elaborate false backdrops and the latest photographic equipment—an endeavor that must have cost thousands—Flint gains entry into the club thanks to a leg wound inflicted by one of his buddies. The next day, Flint tries to execute his target using a giant Colt 45, but the madman is apprehended by the Dark Knight and sent to the insane asylum. Afterward, Batman is gifted the giant Colt 45 from the Bullet-Hole Club and he puts it into his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #177‘s title page).

–World’s Finest Comics #51 Part 1
Batman and Robin give recently paroled criminal Boston Burns a grand tour of the GCPD facilities in an attempt to “scare him straight,” as it were. However, this tactic proves to have the opposite effect desired as Burns immediately starts up a training academy for criminals housed on a deserted island in the Atlantic.

–Star Spangled Comics #110
Commissioner Gordon and Robin take on “The Four O’Clock Criminal” Snaky James, who is able to capture them both. Robin forms a dummy version of himself with his Robin costume and winds up saving the day as good old Dick Grayson. A few days later, the FBI shows up at Wayne Manor and escorts Dick to the White House where he meets with the President of the Unites States of America, Harry S. Truman! The President tries to award Dick with a medal, but Dick says that Robin is the real hero. Afterward, Robin puts the medal into the Hall of Trophies along with various other medals. It is noteworthy to mention that while FDR had complete knowledge of Batman and Robin’s secret identities, it would appear that he never bothered to share that information with Truman. At this point, only a select few US government and army officials know that Bruce and Dick are the Dynamic Duo.

–Batman #81 Part 2
Late Winter 1951. Bruce and Dick set into motion a plan that will prove to the world once and for all that they aren’t Batman and Robin, something that Mr. Camera threatens to reveal in a month’s time, when his henchman gets out of jail and develops the supposed secret photos of Bruce changing into the Batman costume. Normally, Alfred would play dress-up like he always does, but on this day Alfred slips during a bad snowstorm and fractures his leg. Not to worry though, the Dynamic Duo comes up with a crazy plan that involves Dick showing up at school and publicly revealing his identity as Robin (and Bruce’s as Batman). The media swarms Wayne Manor, but Bruce tells them to meet him downtown to prove he isn’t the Dark Knight. There, Bruce tricks the reporters with a remote-controlled Batplane, a Batman made of ice, ventriloquism, and a cockamamie yarn about Robin helping Dick impress a girl at school by claiming to be Dick. Yeah, this story is really bad. Later, Robin finds Mr. Camera’s filmreel, which was overexposed anyway.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #63. Batman wears his fire-proof “Asbestos Bat-Costume” for a second time during a case, only this time his digs are colored bright red.

–NOTE: In Batman #63. Joker breaks outta the bin.

–Batman #63 Part 1
After viewing a charity show exhibit displaying Batman’s wardrobe (on loan from the Batcave) Joker is inspired to begin a series of costumed crimes. Over the course of the next week, Joker masquerades as different comedy characters from famous works of fiction—including Falstaff, Mr. Pickwick, the Connecticut Yankee, and King Cole—and is able to thwart the Dynamic Duo over and over. Finally, at a baking fair, complete with colossal holiday cakes and another giant penny, Joker—dressed as Simple Simon—is finally defeated by Batman and Robin, who dress as Santa Claus and Little Jack Horner.

–Batman #63 Part 2
A band of criminals put into action a highly elaborate ruse in an attempt to pilfer 100 tons of gold from the US Government. After falsifying evidence of an alien invasion from hostile humanoids from Saturn—by providing a corpse of a man who has two hearts and making him up to appear as an alien agent—the crooks draw the wanted attention of Washington DC. President Harry S. Truman sends a representative that personally recruits Batman and Robin to investigate the invasion story. Eventually, Batman and Robin are kidnapped by the “Saturnians” and taken to their “lair on Earth” which is a huge underground sound stage with fake flying saucer hangars, several men dressed in weird futuristic outfits, and a ” live telecommunications video linkup to Saturn.” Just as the US Goverment gives into “Saturnian” demand, Batman frees himself and exposes them as plain old human frauds. Afterward, Batman and Robin hang a model of the planet Saturn in the Hall of Trophies to commemorate this case (as referenced in Star Spangled Comics #126).

–Batman #63 Part 3
An ex-con and now wealthy socialite and acquaintance of Bruce’s, Cameron Van Cleer (real name unknown), decides to become the complete anti-Batman, the super-villain known as Killer Moth! With a Mothcave hidden beneath his palatial estate, a Mothmobile, a garish winged costume, utility belt, hired thugs, infra-red Moth Signals, and a bunch of guns, Killer Moth plans to end Batman and Robin’s careers forever. The Dynamic Duo clashes with the newcomer who is resoundingly defeated, captured, and taken to the Mothcave. With Robin swinging above a fiery deathtrap, Killer Moth forces Batman to guide him to the Batcave. En route, Robin escapes and radios Batman that he is safe. Batman and Killer Moth trade blows above a Gotham suspension bridge and in the end the Dark Knight is victorious, knocking Killer Moth into the river. The new super-villain washes away, avoiding arrest.

–Detective Comics #169-170
Bruce and Dick realize that a State Prison inmate is minutes away from being unjustly executed. With the exonerating evidence, Batman and Robin rush to the prison—(phones are dead due to a huge storm). After saving the innocent man’s life at the last second, Batman and Robin meet with Warden Downs, who reveals that he has gone nearly completely blind and must step down. Within twenty-four hours the governor approves Downs’ personal appointment to the position of State Prison Warden: Batman! As new State Prison Warden, Batman surveys the high profile inmates, such as Deadshot and Black Diamond, and oversees parole hearings. One such hearing grants inmate John Tolmar his freedom. However, the night before his release he inexplicably tries to escape, but fails, despite winging Batman with a bullet! When Tolmar later purposefully injures himself to get into the infirmary, Warden Batman decides to go undercover as a prisoner to see what’s up. After a few days as an inmate, Batman learns that Tolmar had discovered part of a message that gave the location of a large cache of stolen money hidden under his cell, hence his reason for wanting to stay inside the graybar hotel to find the rest of the address, hidden in the infirmary. After the case wraps, Batman passes the torch of leadership to a new unnamed State Prison Warden so he can return his focus to the crime still on the streets.[1]

Batman and Robin go after some submarine pirates, but get captured by a bunch of fugitive crooks aboard an old-timey schooner. The schooner crooks decide to play a betting game and guess Batman’s secret ID. After a week’s time Batman’s mask is to be removed (before his execution) so a winner can be declared. During the brutal week, Batman is forced to work like a dog and is summarily tortured as well. Eventually, Batman learns that the submarine pirates are linked to the schooner crooks. With Robin’s aid, Batman is able to escape from his heavily guarded cabin, radio the US Navy for support, and knock out the leader of the villains.

–FLASHBACK: From America vs. The Justice Society #1 and Adventure Comics #466. March 21, 1951. The JSA is subpoenaed by the US Government to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. However, on Earth-2, McCarthy dies in a car crash shortly before the JSA is scheduled to appear in Washington DC. The equally insane Senator O’Fallon replaces McCarthy as head of the re-named Combined Congressional Un-American Activities Committee and it’s not long before the JSA is seated face-to-face with an angry legislator. Bruce, Dick, and Clark Kent are all in the audience as Senator O’Fallon orders the JSA members to publicly remove their masks as part of a government-sanctioned Communist witch hunt. Rather than comply, the JSA disbands! The JSA won’t be seen or heard from again for another twelve years.

–FLASHBACK: From JSA #82. March 21, 1951. Superman meets with Batman in Gotham to discuss the disbanding of the JSA, which has just occurred early that morning. The Man of Steel and the Dark Detective then go to clean out the Gotham branch of the JSA HQ only to find that the place has been ransacked and files regarding the location of several priceless artifacts have been taken. Who is the culprit? None other than Jim Craddock, better known as The Gentleman Ghost! Gentleman Ghost steals precious items from under the noses of Superman and Wonder Woman. He even manages to steal a first edition Shakespeare tome from Wayne Manor’s library and defeat Batman in the process. Eventually, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a retired Jay Garrick put a stop to Gentleman Ghost’s crimes, but the ethereal villain disappears. Meanwhile, Batman closes up the Gotham JSA HQ permanently.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #227. The new State Prison Warden calls on Batman for help. Inmate Kane Rogers is supposedly planning an escape so Batman goes undercover as his cellmate Whitey Wills for a few days. However, Rogers notices that Batman’s hair is dyed white and takes him down. When Batman comes to, Rogers has vanished. Eventually, Batman finds Rogers still within the confines of the State Prison, hiding inside an old steam engine.

–Star Spangled Comics #114
Bruce is invited to join a bizarre club known as The Frolickers. His initiation rite into the group calls for him to act as a clown in the circus. Dick has some free time and as coincidence would have it, attends the very same circus. There, a horrible attempted murder in the exact vein of of how Dick’s parents died happens to trapeze artist son of the Flying Gibsons family trio, Jimmy. Thankfully the youngest Gibson survives, but Dick vows to find the would-be killer. Luckily for Dick, the Gibsons are doing a Batman and Robin act, so Dick dresses as Robin as fills in for the injured Jimmy. Eventually, with the aid of a mysterious hot dog selling clown, Robin outs and defeats some carnies that were trying to kill Jimmy to hide a hoard of stolen jewels. Back in the Bat-Cave, Robin puts the Flying Gibsons Bat-symbol drum into the Hall of Trophies and is shocked to see Batman putting a familiar clown mask into the Hall as well.

–World’s Finest Comics #51 Part 2
Nearly six weeks have passed since Boston Burns was released from prison. When the law becomes aware of his secret crime academy, Batman goes undercover as a thug to try and get recruited so he can find its secret location. Batman eventually is indeed recruited and winds up on the island only to get exposed. For several days, Batman survives in the harsh wilderness that surrounds the training camp, striking at the villains from time to time and stealing their supplies when possible. Using makeshift weaponry and various means of trickery, the Dark Knight is able to run circles around Burns’ men and is also able to signal a passing plane. Later, a Navy destroyer, with Batman and Robin aboard, shells the island with heavy artillery until Burns and his super-villains-in-training have no choice but to submit.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #64. Batman and Robin capture the notorious Benson Gang.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #64. Vicki Vale dumps Bruce, but they remain very close friends.

–Batman #64
Vicki Vale introduces Bruce to her wealthy photo-collecting friend, Gregory Bota. Bota secretly is a bit insane and has a morbid fascination with obtaining photos of Batman and Robin dead. To make his dream a reality, the murderous Bota assembles Gotham’s top mobsters—Killer Dawes, Larry the Lip, Big Jim James, and Lefty Williams—and attempts to blackmail them into helping him. Batman and Robin attack all the villains head-on and are victorious as Bota’s mansion, along with all of his photos, burns to the ground. Bota then holds Vicki hostage in her own home, threatening to kill her sister, Anne Vale, unless she plays ball and protects him. Later, at a downtown photography exhibit, Batman confronts Bota, who shoots Batman and Robn to death and simultaneously snaps pictures of it. Unfortunately for Bota, Batman previously switched Bota’s gun with a fake. The next day, the newspapers report the deaths of Batman and Robin. With Anne safely secured, Batman and Robin reemerge and bust a shocked Bota.

Elderly gangster Pop Davies gets out of Northern Penitentiary and joins the mob of top hood Jockey Gans. When Batman and Robin chase off some of Gans’ gang, an angry Gans takes his frustrations out on Davies and fires him. Davies then recruits a team of retired thugs. With his new group, known as “The Nine Old Men,” Davies starts a gang war with the Gans mob. Batman and Robin are able to shut down Gans’ operations. The brazen “Nine Old Men” then begin announcing their crimes before pulling them off. When they claim they will rob Wayne Manor, Commissioner Gordon posts himself at the house to help out his friends, much to the dismay of Bruce, Dick, and Alfred. Batman and Robin manage to sneak-off—using chess-playing dummies of themselves—and stop the “Nine Old Men” from infiltrating Wayne Manor via the caves beneath it (i.e. unknown to them, the Batcave).

Batman busts some mail robbers and then attends a Gotham Museum board meeting with his associate Cameron Van Kleer (secretly the Killer Moth). Later that night, Killer Moth steals everything from a priceless Aztec moth statue exhibit causing Bruce to realize that the super-villain is one of his fellow board members. When Killer Moth strikes at the museum again, Batman is there to stop him. However, Batman’s quick appearance causes Killer Moth to realize that the Dark Knight is also a museum board member. Killer Moth soon deduces the Batman is Bruce, but when he spies on Wayne Manor, Bruce and Dick use the chess-playing dummy trick again to fool the vile crook. After an altercation with the Killer Moth at Gotham Railway Terminal, the Dynamic Duo nabs him and unmasks him outside of Electricity Hall. Speaking of Killer Moth’s mask, it goes into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #173).

–FLASHBACK: From the intro to
Batman #67 Part 1. Batman and Robin chase mobster Biff Hedges’ number one man Eddie High into the mountains upstate. High watches as Batman and Robin fake their deaths by falling into a river. However, Batman and Robin debut their “hollow-ropes” and use them to breathe under water. With the element of surprise on their side, our heroes easily bust Hedges and High.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #68. Alfred designs the Sky Sled, a motorized one-man glider. Batman and Robin scoff at his invention, but Alfred rides the Sky Sled into action by secretly attaching it to the top of the Batplane. When some car-riding criminals are about to escape from the pursuit of the Batplane, Alfred detaches the Sky Sled and takes out the bad guys, earning proper respect for his flying machine. Afterward, Batman proudly goes for a flight in the Sky Sled.

–Star Spangled Comics #115
With Batman out of town on business in Canada, Robin goes after gangster Vest Dupro, who has kidnapped the father of America’s favorite pint-sized hero, Reckless Reed. Batman returns to the States, speaks at an artists’ ball and then helps Robin and Reckless Reed defeat Dupro.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #197. Batman and Robin send the Denton Brothers to Death Row. The youngest Denton, Skip Denton, escapes capture.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #87 Part 1. When Batman learns that a European king (King Zabot of Morbania) has been imprisoned by his twin brother in an iron mask for a full year, the Caped Crusader is on the case. Batman flies to Morbania, ousts the evil twin, and restores the throne to the good King Zabot.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #57. May 1951—the last possible time any stories involving Dick being in high school can feasibly and realistically be placed, and this is assuming that Dick graduates at age twenty due to missing so many days of class because of costumed adventuring. Thus begins a section of my own creation: “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School.” Any stories post June 1951 that feature or reference Dick being in high school take place here and now, beginning with World’s Finest Comics #57 and ending with Star Spangled Comics #111. In this note, Batman and Robin begin the practice of filming themselves in action while they bust criminals. For instance, Robin films Batman disassembling the Waterfront Rackets of the masked newcomer known as The Kingpin. The footage will be edited together for a TV program that will be shown live from the Batcave called Underworld, Incorporated.

–World’s Finest Comics #57
May 1951—again, part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time stories involving Dick in high school can be correctly placed, assuming Dick graduates late at age twenty. In our tale, Batman, Robin, and a TV crew air the first national broadcast of Underworld, Incorporated, which emanates live from the Batcave. The next day, the episode is the talk of the town, especially at the posh Court Club, where Bruce and Dick rub noses with Gotham’s richest socialites. When the Bat-Signal flashes in the sky, Bruce dashes away. The Dynamic Duo finally meets The Kingpin, but the latter escapes. After another broadcast of Underworld, Incorporated, and yet another quick exit from the Court Club, Bruce’s friends Arrington and Spotswood Hartley assume Bruce must be the Kingpin. In actuality, Hartley is the Kingpin and wishes to pin his crimes on Bruce. Hartley even fools Commissioner Gordon and Vicki Vale into believing that Bruce is the Kingpin. With the world against him, Bruce enacts a ruse to lure the real Kingpin out into the open, fully adopting the façade of Gotham’s top crime boss. After some more crime-busting, filming, the secret arrest of a small-time crook named Willie Mars, and another Underworld, Incorporated, Batman then masquerades as Mars to meet with the Kingpin, exposes him as Hartley, and exonerates Bruce Wayne as a crook.

–Batman #80 Part 2
May 1951—again, part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time stories involving Dick in high school can be correctly placed, assuming Dick graduates late at age twenty. Batman and Robin upgrade the Bat-Plane by adding new jet engines to it. Batman then leaves to go attend and testify in a murder trial in Chicago, a trip that will take two weeks. While Batman is away, Dick has to vacate Wayne Manor since a major renovation is scheduled. I guess Alfred can stay? Dick temporarily moves into the spooky cottage of Bruce’s friend, mystery writer Freddy Hobbs, who lives on the adjacent property but is away on business in Europe. While Bruce is gone, Dick falls prey to an elaborate plot by Hobbs, who utilizes a team of bizarre crooks who dress in wild circus outfits, including a magician outfit and a devil costume. The plot makes Dick seem nuts in the eyes of the GCPD when he tries to report the crimes, so when the bad guys begin to rob a nearby warehouse, Dick looks silly when he reports the new crime. Eventually, after a week, Robin busts the bad guys. When Bruce returns a week after that, Commissioner Gordon meets with him and they chat about Dick’s wild stories.

–FLASHBACK: From Star Spangled Comics #118. May 1951—part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time any stories involving Dick being in high school can realistically be placed, assuming Dick graduates late at age twenty. Robin accidentally addresses Batman as “Bruce” while on patrol. Batman tells him never to make that mistake again.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #118. Shortly following the previous flashback from Star Spangled Comics #116, Bruce “goes fishing” i.e. goes on unspecified Batman business outside of Gotham for a week. While Batman is gone, Dick shuts down a criminal organization that has nearly outed him as the Boy Wonder.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #120. Batman and Robin go on an unspecified mission and wind up with a gangster’s fedora that they put into the Hall of Trophies.

–Star Spangled Comics #120
May 1951—part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time stories involving Dick in high school can be placed, assuming Dick graduates late. In this tale Batman goes away on a special government mission so secret that even Robin doesn’t know what it is. Dick checks back into the International Hotel, in an unnamed American city far from Gotham, to attend the School Class Presidents’ Convention. When Señor Ramirez, the chairman of the convention, is nearly assassinated, Dick takes a job as a bellboy to be able to start an in-depth investigation. Robin is able to prevent the murder of Ramirez several more times and capture the would-be killer, Juan Fernando. After the convention ends, Robin meets the hotel’s special interim chief of security: Batman! Batman reveals that catching Ferndando red-handed was his secret government mission and that he helped Robin from the shadows the whole time. Robin puts his bellboy hat into the Hall of Trophies after the case wraps.

–Star Spangled Comics #127
May 1951—part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time stories involving Dick in high school can be placed, assuming Dick graduates late. Gordy Benger captures Batman and Robin and orders his henchmen to execute the Dark Knight. Batman survives the shooting, having slipped Benger’s diary under his costume (using it as a makeshift bulletproof vest). Batman and Robin, with the surprise advantage, take down Benger.

–Batman #82 Part 1
May 1951—part of “The Saga of Dick Grayson’s Final Month of High School,” the last possible time stories involving Dick in high school can be placed, assuming Dick graduates late. Batman and Robin are knocked out and when they awake they have been taken to a strange land, the “Lost Valley of the Bird-Men,” where men surgically graft angelic white feathered wings onto their backs and war with each other. The good guys recruit Batman into their war against the evil Gravios Clan and do so by grafting giant bat wings onto his back. The winged Dark Knight defeats the Gravios and then undergoes wing removal surgery that leaves no visible scars. The Bird-Men then knock out Batman and Robin and when they awake they are back in Gotham. Was this all a vivid hallucination? Is there really a secret Valley of Bird-Men? Did Batman and Robin go to an alternate Earth? Who cares.

–Star Spangled Comics #111
Late May 1951—one week before graduation. Dick takes an aptitude test in school and it ranks him highly as a future detective. After being paired up with Detective Dave Wilson for an internship of sorts, Dick begins going after Peg-Leg Baxter, a criminal that has a gun for a leg. Dick purposefully bungles the investigation to make everyone disassociate himself from Robin, who winds up aiding Wilson in Baxter’s apprehension. Afterward, Robin puts Baxter’s peg-leg weapon into the Hall of Trophies and chats with Batman.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #111. Dick finally graduates high school. Bruce presumably attends his graduation ceremony.

–Detective Comics #241
This issue goes here because Bruce is referred to as the legal guardian of Dick. Assuming legal guardianship in Gotham means that Dick is a ward until age 21, then somewhere in Year 13 is one of the final spots that this issue can go. Dick, in civilian attire, spots some thugs stealing some TV camera equipment, but opts to let them go so he can save the life of a little girl, badly injuring his arm in the process. Dick is hailed as public hero, but his arm injury is exposed on live TV. Batman worries that the thugs will attempt a big strike involving a heavily televised event and can’t have Robin on the sidelines since he’s the only one who can properly identify them. However, if the public sees Robin with a damaged wing they would know his secret ID thanks to the newscast. Thus, Batman comes up the the lamest idea in the history of his career: He decides to wear gaudy new multi-colored Batsuits while out solving highly public cases until Robin is healed up—red, blue, green, yellow, bullseye motif, and rainbow Batman costumes are all worn. Eventually, Rainbow Batman knocks out the thugs and saves the day. Why the color deal? Well, it took all the attention away from the Boy Wonder and placed it on Batman so that no one even noticed Robin’s injury! Yeesh.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #75. Batman solves the “Case of the Martier Diamond Robbery” and puts a shoe into the Hall of Trophies.

–REFERENCE: In the intro to
Batman #69, Part 1. Against his unnamed investment lawyer‘s advice, Bruce pours money  into a friend’s movie production company, Apex Corporation.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #177. Batman and Robin use a helixometer in the Batcave lab to examine the inside of a murder suspect’s gun barrel. Upon finding damning evidence, criminal Bingo Leeds is prosecuted and sent to Death Row.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #66 Part 2. Batman and Robin travel to Hollywood to act in the upcoming movie serial Crime Crushers.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #54. Batman and Robin film a newsreel in which they demonstrate new advanced bulletproof vest technology.

–REFERENCE: In the intro to Batman #67 Part 1. Batman gives a detailed interview to a science magazine about his emergency zip-cord that reels out of his utility belt.

–REFERENCE: In the intro to Batman #67 Part 1. Batman busts expert jewel thief Jinx Boley.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #66 Part 3. Batman and Robin chase after crook Foxy Fenton, but the villain gets away.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #177. Batman and Robin use an iodine fume gun to bring out some hidden fingerprints at a crime scene. These prints link Phil Argon to the crime, thus condemning the man to prison.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #177. Batman and Robin use a dactlyscope in the Batcave lab to examine fingerprints on a murder weapon. These prints link Slim Dooley to the crime, thus condemning the man to Death Row.

–Detective Comcs #171-172
Penguin is paroled from State Prison—why do they keep letting him go!?—and swears he’s turning a new leaf. Using his vast personal wealth, he constructs a downtown bird aviary and also begins returning items that he has stolen over the years. Batman and Robin are perplexed at Penguin’s chivalry, but eventually the truth comes out. The returned items have all been rigged with timed-smoke bombs that simultaneously go off allowing Penguin to rob the saps of all their other possessions. Batman and Robin—in the Batplane—chase after Penguin and his henchmen—in giant bird-copters and a bat-copter (to mock the Dark Detective). Penguin runs to his aviary and hides himself in a giant egg, but soon is found and is hauled back to the joint.

Stage magician and illusionist Paul Gregorian decides to pull a publicity stunt that involves declaring publicly that he has nine lives. The masked and costumed Gregorian then proceeds to “kill himself” using various means, each time right in front of Batman, who cannot save him. Gregorian’s brother, mob boss Hoofer Martin, forces him to join his ranks and adapt his illusionist methodology to big jewel heists. After a daring robbery and successful escape, Gregorian’s lives run out. At the Modern Museum of Gotham, Batman and Robin nab Martin and a panicked Gregorian dives out of an open window, hits his head on a brick wall, and dies.

–REFERENCE: In the intro to Batman #67 Part 1. Joker escapes from jail, but is beaten by Batman and Robin and sent right back. The Dynamic Duo uses an elastic cord from Batman’s utility belt as a giant slingshot to fire a tire at Joker and his henchmen.

World’s Finest Comics #52
Illusionist Lorenzo Dumont holds a party for the six highest insured celebrities in Gotham: himself, pianist Paul Bond, physicist Curt Alderson, model Olga Craig, baseball player Lefty Stone, and dancer Tony Cutler. Days later, failed destitute painter Jan Makri decides to take his angst and frustrations out these celebs. After trapping them in a deathtrap-filled mansion with security cameras everywhere, Makri begins to orchestrate their slow collective demise. However, Bruce is able to switch into his Batman togs and unite the celebs. The group easily outwits and defeats Makri. A week later, Bruce dines with Lorenzo Dumont and Olga Craig.

–Batman #65
After busting the Dexter Gang with Batman, Robin slips and breaks his leg. With Robin stuck in a cast for the next six weeks, plus at least a week of recovery, he won’t see any action for the next two months! Meanwhile, Batman begins training a new superhero, Wingman, on behalf of a Northern European nation (Sweden). After three weeks of Wingman’s training and three weeks of Dick having terrible anxiety and nightmares about being replaced by an adult (someone over twenty-one), Wingman debuts alongside Batman and proves himself a success on two separate occasions. A tearful Robin cries to Batman about his fears, and the Dark Knight puts his sidekick at ease, saying that his job was never in jeopardy and that Wingman has already returned to Sweden. (NOTE: In later comic book age timelines, Wingman is an important reoccurring character that is linked to the “Batmen of All Nations” and the “Club of Heroes.” However, in the Golden Age, he is merely a one-shotter.)

Batman and Robin, along with help from Five Star Thorpe, chief of the Gotham Gazette, bust a waterfront mob.  A few days later Thorpe, for a charity bet, invites Bruce to become a staff reporter for the newspaper.  Dick comes along too as a copy boy.  As a cub reporter, Bruce investigates several fluff items over the course of a week, including the Municipal Garden Gang’s robbery of some tulips.  Robin ribs Batman by putting the tulips in the Hall of Trophies as a joke.  At the Gazette, Thorpe orders Bruce to expose the leader of the most notorious and elusive criminals in Gotham, the gang known only as The Artisans.  Eventually, Bruce exposes the leader as none other than Thorpe himself.  Bruce then ends his tenure as ace reporter by writing the headline story about Thorpe’s defeat.  A copy of the paper goes into the Hall of Trophies.

Bruce and Dick visit the “reformed” Selina Kyle—still pretending to have had amnesia and a split personality disorder—at her pet shop.  When a week-long series of cat-themed crimes plague the city, everyone suspects that Catwoman has returned to her wicked ways.   Gangster Whale Morton, responsible for framing Catwoman, recruits her into his mob thinking he has control over the master thief.  Catwoman, using a Cat-Signal, secretly helps the Dynamic Duo on two different cases.  During the second case, Catwoman eventually exposes Morton’s illegal activities, after the villain captures Batman and Robin, on live television.

–Batman #67 Part 1 Intro
July 8, 1951. Commissioner Gordon informs Batman that Jinx Boley has escaped from jail. He also tells Batman that the Gotham Historical Society wants to do an exhibit on Batman’s various “ropes, cords, and zip-lines” that he has used in action over the years. A few days later, Batman donates a spool of ordinary telephone wire to the Society, angering its board members who were hoping for a more exotic Bat-rope. A few days later still, the exhibit opens and is a flop.

–NOTE: In World’s Finest Comics #55. Penguin flies the coop once more.

–World’s Finest Comics #55
Summer, 1951—(because of the trees, weather, etc…). It’s Penguin’s b-day and instead of gifts he gets a bunch of jeers and insults from fellow criminals who tell him to cool it with the lame bird-themed crimes. Of course, the angered Penguin does just the opposite and decides to augment the ornithology within his schemes tenfold, ushering in a week’s worth of crime based off of proverbs that have bird references in them. Batman and Robin battle Penguin, who also crates out a plethora of actual birds as well, all across the Eastern seaboard, eventually sending him back to jail.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #72 Part 2. Batman is invited to join the Maskers Club, a group for people that wear masks that holds an annual gala every summer. At the Maskers Club meeting, Batman is introduced to the other members by the doorman Biff. Among the members are deep sea diver Sven Thorson and fencer Joseph Pardo. After the gala, Pardo is kicked out of the club for using it to promote his matches.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #68 Part 2. Bruce, Dick, and Alfred take a vacation to Florida. There, Alfred is kidnapped by mobster Big Cal Devers and forced into slave labor aboard his yacht—Devers always wanted his own personal butler, and who better than the famous servant to Bruce Wayne. Batman and Robin eventually save Alfred and the reunited trio kicks Devers’ ass.

–Detective Comics #173
Killer Moth, escaped from prison and in need of a new secret alias, decides to steal Bruce Wayne’s identity! After Bruce competes in a charity boxing match and visits a sick man at the hospital, Killer Moth, now surgically altered to look exactly like Bruce, ambushes Bruce and locks him in an underground vault. Upon arriving at Wayne Manor, Killer Moth is shocked to discover that Bruce is Batman! For several days, Killer Moth masquerades as both Bruce and Batman, fooling Dick and Commissioner Gordon. Killer Moth, as Batman, even defeats the Whitey Casey’s gang just so he can later, now as Killer Moth (having retaken his mask from the Hall of Trophies), convince the gangster to work for him. Eventually, Bruce escapes and reemerges startling both Killer Moth and Casey. Sensing apostasy, Casey riddles Killer Moth with bullets. Killer Moth survives, but suffers severe brain damage that results in the loss of recent memory. Thus, Killer Moth forgets Batman’s secret ID.

–Batman #67 Part 2 Intro
July 25, 1951. Batman meets with the board of the Historical Society and is chastised for ruining the Bat-rope exhibit. Later, Jinx Boley tries to rob the Society, he grabs the wire donated by Batman, but gets an electric shock that sends him reeling. The only reason Batman delivered such a crappy wire to the exhibit is because he was using it as a trap to catch Boley the whole time.

–Detective Comics #174 Part 1
The Dynamic Duo bust some small-timers. Later, Bruce knocks-out a mugger in the park and earns sensational headlines for doing so. This act, combined with his recent charity boxing match, catches the eye of a local fight promoter, who promptly signs Bruce to a one-time contract! Bruce juggles training for his first professional fight with tracking the elusive new knife-wielding super-villain known as Dagger. After a month passes the fight is on; Bruce “Park Avenue Kid” Wayne handily defeats Joey Lang by KO! When crooked big-time promoter Ned Brann swoops in and offers Bruce a contract to fight for the number-one contendership for the heavyweight title, Bruce signs on the dotted line—but only because he realizes that Brann is Dagger! Brann tells Bruce that he’s gotta throw the fight. Bruce must wait until fight night to make his move against Brann, but that isn’t for a month from now.

World’s Finest Comics #53
When one of Commissioner Gordon’s old arch-enemies, Sheik Hanson, escapes from jail, Gordon goes into hiding upstate. Meanwhile, Batman goes in-disguise as Gordon and does such a superb job, he even fools Gordon’s wife, Barbara Gordon, and their nineteen-year-old son, Tony Gordon. Yes, it’s been less than thirteen years and only now are we finally meeting Gordon’s family! At one point, Gordon has an opportunity to learn Batman’s secret ID, but opts to respect his friend’s privacy. Eventually, after several harrowing days, Batman busts Hanson, only to reveal that the real Hanson had died during his prison break and was replaced by racketeer Big Dave Ravage, who played the part in an attempt to assassinate the commish and place the blame on his rival. After the case wraps, Batman puts the Sheik Hanson costume on display in the Hall of Trophies.

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

–REFERENCE: In Batman #66 Part 1. Batman travels to California and busts a criminal named Burke.

–NOTE: In Batman #66 Part 1. Joker busts outta the pen.

–Batman #66 Part 1
Yes, this is the famous “boner” issue where the word “boner” is used a million times and Joker begins a series of “boner-themed crimes” after erring egregiously in a caper against Batman and Robin. First, Joker commits a crime by reenacting the running aground of the Battleship Missouri. A week later, it’s a leaning Tower of Pisa heist. A week after that, Joker busts one of his henchmen out of jail using a ruse perpetrated by John Dillinger several decades earlier. A few days later, Joker scores again with a Trojan Horse crime at a movie studio. A week after that, Batman and Robin depart during a terrible storm en route to the California to testify against Burke. Joker uses a powerful electric transmitter that screws up the navigation systems on the Batplane. The Dynamic Duo are seemingly made fools of when they fly all the way to England by mistake. However, our heroes immediately fly back and bust Joker, revealing that they were playing along the whole time while they were tracking the signal source of the transmitter. Back behind bars, the Joker scowls while the new Mayor of Gotham, Bradley Stokes, shakes Batman’s hand. BONER. [2]

–NOTE: In Batman #67 Part 2. I know he just went back in, but Joker escapes jail yet again.

–Detective Comics #174 Part 2
Bruce “Park Avenue Kid” Wayne fights Young Vincent for the number-one contendership for the boxing heavyweight title. Bruce, as much as he hates to, does as he was told and throws the fight. He loses the bout, but in the process exposes Ned Brann as Dagger. Batman and Robin easily bust Dagger. The next day, an officially retired Bruce—with a record of one win (KO), one loss (KO)—puts his “Park Avenue Kid” gloves on display in the Hall of Trophies.[3]

–Batman #66 Part 2
Batman and Robin attend the Hollywood premiere of the film serial Crime Crushers, of which they are the stars. Afterward, the public is shocked when the film’s two other stars die in the exact same way they died on screen, in a violent car crash. In the week that follows, after Batman visits the studio, three more Crime Crushers actors die exactly as they do on screen. Batman eventually learns that the actors aren’t dead—they’ve instead been kidnapped by crazed eccentric silent-era director Griffin Balfor and forced to make an epic silent movie in the Hollywood Hills. Batman and Robin descent upon Balfor, but wind up being forced into the film as well, which includes stunts involving live crocodiles and the explosion of a dam. The insane Balfor actually drowns in the flooding water from the dam while trying to get the perfect action shot. After the case wraps, Batman and Robin get their own footprint tile (next to Balfor’s) on the Grauman’s Chinese Theater Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard.

–Batman #66 Part 3
In a duel with Foxy Fenton, Robin disobeys a direct order from the Dark Knight to hold back and nearly gets killed as a result. Fenton gets caught, but Batman isn’t pleased and admonishes Robin back at home. That night, a troubled Dick has a nightmare that it is 1975. In the dream, Dick is the new Batman, his son is the new Robin, and Batman is the UN appointed “Police Commissioner of the World.” Dick Junior disobeys his pop and it winds up getting both of them killed. A sweaty and shaken Dick awakes with a start, just in time for Bruce to punish him by making him mow the lawn.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #236. Batman puts evil scientist Wallace Waley behind bars.

–Detective Comics #175-176
Despite the Gotham City Crime Commission holding a special hearing, Batman is unable to unearth the location of millions of dollars worth of stolen loot. Later however, Batman and Robin discover the underworld bank, an institution illegally operated by Kangaroo Kiley that serves as a storage place for crooks’ loot, a place for crooks to borrow funds, and a place where stolen bills can be exchanged for clean ones. While Robin gets locked in a giant vault, Batman goes undercover as a teller, only to get exposed and used as a pawn to further the power of the bank. Eventually, Robin escapes, saves Batman’s life, and helps him shut down the bank.

Powerful national mob czar, Mr. Velvet, who controls nearly all the mobs in the entire United States, watches on TV with disgust as Batman and Robin apprehend key figures in the Blue-Eyes Baker mob and the Fog Nelson mob. A day later, Batman busts up a bank job by Velvet’s top safe-cracker Bragen. As more and more of his mobs fall apart, Velvet suspects a mole at the top of his organization. In response, Velvet holds an Underworld Crime Committee where he essentially puts all of the top capos and crooks on trial, halting all crime in Gotham for a few days. Eventually, Velvet’s men kidnap Robin and use the Boy Wonder to blackmail Batman into appearing at the Committee hearings. There, Batman is forced to act as Velvet’s personal prosecutor. Over the course of several days, Batman exposes stool pigeon after stool pigeon, garnering the admiration of crooks all over the country. Once the trial ends, Velvet turns on Batman and attempts to execute the Dynamic Duo. However, the Dark Knight gets the jump on Velvet and busts him. A day later, Batman testifies in actual court against Velvet.

World’s Finest Comics #54
Batman and a team of doctors decide to help poor young philanthropist Peter Dodson who has gone insane and believes himself to be the Dark Knight. How do they do so? In what is quite possibly the direct inspiration for Shutter Island, they construct a gigantic fake Batcave set, build a new Batmobile, offer Dodson an authentic Batman costume, and even hire an actor to play his Robin. While Dodson is meant to simply play a fake version of Batman’s life until he is hopefully cured, he winds up responding to the actual Bat-Signal, much to the chagrin of the real Dynamic Duo. The bungling fake heroes get in the way of the real ones, causing the crooks to escape on three consecutive nights. Batman and Robin eventually discover that Dodson, his hired Robin, and his doctors are all actually criminals that are in cahoots—Dodson isn’t nuts, its all be a charade designed to foul-up the real Batman and Robin’s crime-fighting efforts. Dodson battles Batman and Robin and succeeds in capturing them, but bumps his head in the process causing him to actually go permanently insane, believing he is Batman. The Dark Knight uses this to his advantage and busts Dodson and the other crooks.

–Batman #67 Part 2
Joker has been loose but quiet for a month now, due to the fact that he’s been suffering from writer’s block (meaning he can’t think of a good scam). Seeking to end his block, Joker hires some gag-writing crooks, who each concoct a scheme for Joker to set into motion. First, Batman and Robin ruin Joker’s plans at the Opening Day Parade for the Gotham State Fair, but are left looking foolish holding a giant potato bag. A few days later, the Dynamic Duo breaks up Joker’s plans again, but Joker gets the last laugh by forcing them to wear jackass costumes. A few nights later, Joker kidnaps Robin at the Gotham State Fair and uses him as blackmail to force Batman to write a funny gag that will make a fool out of himself in public. Joker also forces Batman to plan the perfect crime for him, the robbery of a chewing gum factory. Of course, Batman and Robin turn the tides on Joker and the villain winds up stuck in a pile of sticky gum. Afterward, Batman and Robin put the jackass costumes into the Hall of Trophies.

–Batman #68 Part 3
Autumn, 1951—still baseball season. Batman and Robin play themselves in an live episode of True Crime Television Playhouse opposite actor Paul Sloane, who will play Harvey Kent in the Two-Face origin story. During the pivotal scene where Kent gets acid thrown on his face, Sloane is unaware that a jealous prop man has put actual acid in the vial. Sloane’s face is half-burned and he goes insane akin to how Kent did before, becoming the brand new Two-Face! Sloane goes on a criminal tear, committing various double-themed crimes left-and-right. Harvey Kent then broadcasts a plea on live TV, supplicating Sloane to turn himself in. Kent cites that, with plastic surgery, any Two-Face can be cured and returned to the way he was. But Kent’s message only further infuriates Sloane, who increases his criminal efforts. After donning the Frog-Man Costume, Batman confronts Sloane aboard a mini-sub and defeats him with the aid of a trick coin.

–Batman #67 Part 3
While Batman is away on unspecified business, Robin is visited in the Batcave by the Batman of the year 3051, Brane Taylor, who travels to 1951 in a time-sphere! Taylor explains that his Robin (Ricky Taylor) has been injured by super-criminal Yerxa and he needs the Robin of 1951 to substitute. Robin agrees and goes to the future. Brane and Robin track Yerxa to an asteroid mining colony/penal colony called Vulcan, which hangs in orbit between the Sun and Mercury and is complete with robot guards, strange dinosaur-like creatures that have human faces, and a breathable atmosphere (likely due to some sort of oxygen bubble). Once there, the heroes pose as convicts and slave away with the other prisoners, known collectively as the Lost Legionnaires. Eventually, Brane and Robin defeat both Yerxa and the telepathic super-villain known as The Dome. At Yerxa’s trial, the calculated criminal, having been informed by the Dome, reveals Future Batman’s identity as Brane Talyor! Luckily, Robin has used the time-sphere to retrieve Batman from 1951, who shows up and dispels everyone’s belief that Brane is the Dark Knight. Afterward, the Dynamic Duo of 3051 drops the Dynamic Duo of 1951 back home. Before departing, Brane leaves his current day counterpart a super-radio that can be used to contact him in the future (as referenced in Detective Comics #216).

–Detective Comics #177-178
Upset by the idea that the Dynamic Duo might have sent innocent men to prison over the years, Robin panics. He is so troubled by the idea—specifically referencing the Rudley Bates cold case from 1947 where they accidentally fingered Monroe Peel only to later rescind the accusation following a forensic blooper—that he begins sleepwalking at night, stealing various items from the Batcave crime lab that are linked to forensic testing and dumping them into the Gotham River. Eventually, Batman reopens the Bates case, figures out that Peel was guilty after all, and busts him. Afterward, Batman puts Dick’s mind at ease and explains to him his unconscious behavior as of late.

Commander Barton Swane and his Underworld Army lay siege to Gotham, turning the entire city into a certifiable war zone. For days, Batman and Robin lead Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD against a highly organized militia of thugs. As the city begins to crumble, Batman is forced to surrender. However, Batman’s incarceration doesn’t stick and it isn’t long before he takes down Swane’s battalion and exposes a mole within Gordon’s ranks.

–Batman #69 Part 1 Introduction
Bruce learns that Apex Corporation has gone bankrupt and due to his financial ties to the company, he is now the sole owner. He trots down to Apex’s Gotham movie studio with the intent of shutting it down, but decides to bankroll it instead, so that he won’t have to lay anyone off. By happenstance, the current Apex production is auteur writer/producer/director W. W. Hammond‘s million dollar picture called The Batman Story. When the film is officially green-lit, a message from Gotham’s gangland arrives at the studio, threatening the entire production unless they stop the movie from happening. A few days later, after Batman and Robin bust Shutter Wilkins and put his machine gun camera into the Hall of Trophies, Bruce and Dick disguise themselves and audition for the roles of Batman and Robin in The Batman Story. Sure enough, they get the roles and production starts a few days later. On several occasions gangsters attack the studio, but Batman stops them each time.[4]

–NOTE: In Detective Comics #180. Unbelievably, Joker is paroled and let out of jail. Don’t ask me how or why this happens.

 

 

<<<PREVIOUS: YEAR TWELVE<<< | | | >>>NEXT: YEAR FOURTEEN>>>

 

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER:
    List of State Prison Wardens:
    -Warden Higgins (Year 1-5)
    -Warden Keyes (Year 5-6)
    -Warden Doyle (Year 6-11)
    -unnamed interim warden (Year 11-12)
    -unnamed interim warden #2 (Year 12)
    -Warden Downs (Year 12)
    -Batman (Year 13)
    -unnamed warden (Year 13-present)
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER:
    Gotham Mayor’s list update!

    -Year 1-6: unnamed mayor one (Fiorello LaGuardia lookalike)
    -Year 7-10: Mayor Carfax
    -Year 10-12: unnamed mayor two
    -Year 12-13: unnamed mayor three (interim due to short tenure)
    -Year 13-present: Bradley Stokes

  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: It’s interesting to note that if Bruce would have defeated Young Vincent, he would have gone on to challenge the current heavyweight champ, Ted Grant, better known as Wildcat. Now, that would have been somethin’!
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Updated Bruce Wayne Job Titles List: 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, Gotham Museum trustee/board member, chairman of a utilities company, board member of United Chemical Corporation, board member of Gotham College, and owner of Apex Corporation movie production company/studio.

2 Responses to Year Thirteen

  1. Angus Livingstone says:

    Just a heads up–there are some 1952 dates at the bottom of this year.

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