Year Twelve

1950

 

–Batman #59 Part 1
While Bruce and Dick are away on a short vacation, newcomer Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) arrives on the wintery Gotham scene and proves himself a worthy vigilante crime-fighter, so much so that Commissioner Gordon puts a Bulls-eye Signal on the GCPD HQ roof next the to Bat Signal. Upon meeting Deadshot, Batman and Robin are immediately suspicious of Gordon’s new golden boy. After working a few cases with Deadshot, Batman and Robin are able to figure out his secret ID and his true intentions; to become ultimate crime lord of Gotham. Before setting up a ruse to lure Deadshot into a confrontation, Batman riggs his guns so that they will not aim correctly. During the ensuing confrontation, Deadshot is shocked when he fails to shoot the Dark Knight dead. In shambles, Batman exposes him as a fraud and sends him to jail.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #100. Bruce goes on unspecified business outside of Gotham for about three weeks. While Bruce is away, Robin adopts a crime-fighting dog named Duke—I guess this is the original Bat Hound! The Boy Wonder and the Boy Wonder’s Best Friend bring down the Flint Mob. Since we don’t ever see Duke again after this, we must assume the worst—or that Bruce doesn’t approve and gets rid of the poor mutt.

–Batman #56 Part 1
Jose Camaran, president of the small Latin American country of Mantegua, on a visit to Gotham, is nearly assassinated by one of El Papagayo’s henchmen. At the request of Camaran, Batman and Robin fly down to Mantegua and train the country’s first ever superhero, Bat-Hombre (Luis Peralda). Unfortunately, Peralda is in the employ of Papagayo and within a days time Batman outs him. After disguising himself as Bat-Hombre and paying his respects to the fatally ill Camaran, Batman defeats Papagayo and restores order to the small nation.

–Batman #56 Part 2
Penguin has just completed an eleven-month sentence in Gotham City Penitentiary. With a pat on the back, the new unnamed City Prison Warden[1] sends Penguin back out into the world. Penguin is surprised when confronted by one of his rivals’ mouthpieces, who tells him that his boss—the recently executed Squeeze Miller—has offered $250,000 to the Penguin on one condition: Penguin must commit seven zany bird-themed crimes in a row. Using the debuting Penguin Rocket Plane, Penguin successfully pulls off each heist, much to the chagrin of the Dynamic Duo. Afterward, Miller’s lawyer delivers the money, but it’s fake. A chuckling Penguin goes back to jail for nothing. When the case wraps and Penguin switches to prison stripes, Batman takes his patented tuxedo and top hat and displays them on a mannequin in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #155).

–Batman #56 Part 3
When crook Specs Rose runs amok all over Gotham, investigative journalist cum amateur detective Jack Starr is on the case. While unable to bust Rose, Starr does manage to prevent him from stealing some expensive hauls. Earning the respect of the big insurance companies, Starr is hired in lieu of the Dynamic Duo to deal with Rose. Vicki Vale tries to help the Dynamic Duo nab Rose, but she winds up getting in the heroes’ way. Later, when Rose tries to sabotage a bridge, Batman and Robin capture him and learn that the villain purposefully allowed Starr to close some easy cases early on so that the Dynamic Duo wouldn’t be assigned to track him.

–Detective Comics #155-156
Batman gives a blushing rubicund-cheeked Vicki Vale a tour of the Batcave Hall of Trophies. “If only that boorish layabout Bruce Wayne was as charming and adventurous as Batman,” thinks Vicki as she dines with Bruce later that day. Ha! In an effort to mold Bruce into Batman’s image, Vicki sets up the playboy with a temp gig as a private eye! Bruce is (obviously) a natural detective and he solves several cases. By week’s end, two business parties approach Bruce and ask about the whereabouts of one of Batman’s trophies—they ask Bruce because Bruce has publicly been regarded as one of the Dark Knight’s “closest friends” for a while now. The trophy in question is the late Tracks Carlin’s model train set, which Batman eventually learns has a train car with a hidden recording exposing the two interested businessmen of illegal activities. The Dynamic Duo easily busts the baddie duo. Later, on a date with Bruce, Vicki expresses her satisfactory with his achievements, but claims that he’s still no Dark Knight. Heh.

While chasing after crook Smiley Dix, Batman crashes the Batmobile and severely injures his leg, sidelining him for nearly a month! While Robin fights solo for this duration, a hobbled Dark Knight spends the entire time cooped up in the Batcave garage constructing the brand new “Batmobile for the 1950s.” When it is ready, this high tech beast of a machine terrorizes Dix and his men. Batman, from the new Batmobile, guides his teenage sidekick from inside the car—Robin wears a portable video cam on his chest. When the Boy Wonder bites off more than he can chew, Batman smashes the Batmobile into action and busts Dix and company. Back at the cave, Batman reveals that he is still far from one hundred percent, but he is able to walk without crutches. He’ll make a full recovery quite soon.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #44 and Detective Comics #158. Batman goes on an unspecified mission and winds up with a large red monster-faced tribal mask of some sort, which he hangs on the wall of the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #44). Batman will also collect half-a-dozen other smaller tribal masks and put them in the Hall of Trophies as well (as referenced in Detective Comics #158).

–FLASHBACK: From World’s Finest Comics #44. Bruce meets with noted botanist Jacques Venta. Unknown to Bruce, Venta is actually an old rival of his in disguise. Back before Bruce even became Batman, he helped the police apprehend Venta in Paris after the criminal shot a man in a robbery attempt. Now, over twelve years later, Venta is in Gotham and ready to serve his revenge on Bruce. The crook does so by tricking Bruce into inhaling the fumes of the chemically engineered “Orchid of Madness,” a flower that causes Bruce to become Venta’s mindless slave for an hour or two beginning at ten o’clock each night for the next month!

–World’s Finest Comics #44
Ever since inhaling Jacques Venta’s “Orchid of Madness” Bruce has been committing petty crimes each night at ten o’clock for several days now. Bruce has not been able to recall his nightly ten o’clock blackouts, but manages to keep it a secret from Dick. After three weeks straight of Batman disappearing around ten o’clock to do “solo patrols,” Robin realizes that his mentor has turned to crime! Robin confronts Batman, who can’t explain his actions, but begs the Boy Wonder to give him one week to solve the mystery before turning him in. Four days later, and five more nights of crime without any answers. On the fifth night, Robin finally manages to tail the elusive Bruce and actually witnesses what appears to be Bruce committing a robbery. Bruce reminds him that he still has two days to figure out what is going on. The sixth night, Venta and his right-hand man attempt to frame Bruce for murder. On the final day, Bruce discovers that Venta has been controlling him every night for the past month. Back in control of his own mind, Batman busts Venta and his right-hand man, ending the month of horror. Afterward, Batman puts the “Orchid of Madness” into the Hall of Trophies.

–Batman & Robin Stand Up For Sportsmanship!
This is a one page public service announcement that appeared in several February-March 1950 DC books including World’s Finest Comics #44, Batman #57, and The Adventures of Alan Ladd #3. The Dynamic Duo spots some racist White football players trying to segregate a Black player. Batman scolds the White players and demands racial equality. Everyone agrees. The end. Yay!

–Batman #57 Part 2
When a professor working for the Gotham Museum brings a tomb full of gold relics and a sarcophagus-complete-with-mummy back to the States from Egypt, the “mummy’s curse” seemingly occurs as the mummy comes alive and attacks! After a string of altercations with the mummy, a proxy mummy, and a hungry lion, Batman unmasks the mummy as the professor’s greedy assistant. Oh, the batplane is destroyed during this case, but Batman mentions that a new-and-improved model is nearly ready for action back in the Batcave hangar.

–Batman #57 Part 3
The Joker escapes from Gotham City Prison by stealing the new unnamed warden’s car.[2] Two days later, he dupes the Dynamic Duo and robs the prize loot from a radio game show, escaping with a mini-Joker plane. The next day, Joker defeats the Dynamic Duo on live TV, captures the pair, and escapes via hot air balloon. Batman and Robin escape from a death trap and confront Joker at an open-mic comedy show hosted by comedian Harley Hapless—actually Batman in disguise. Naturally, Joker winds up back in the can.

–Detective Comics #157
In the Canadian Rockies, Batman and Robin bust the Masked Highwayman, Bart Gillis. Despite having murdered a man, the bullet is missing so Gillis only gets robbery as his sentence. Robin takes Gillis’ wild horse, which he later names Rocket, as a prize. On the way back to Gotham, an escaped Gillis attacks the Dynamic Duo, but gets away again. A few days later, Bruce goes horseback riding with Vicki Vale and Robin—the Boy Wonder is “renting stable space” from Bruce to store Rocket. Robin, planning on entering a steeplechase, spends the next few days (in vain) training Rocket. Gillis once again attacks and is fought off, and this time the Dynamic Duo realizes that Gillis is trying to kill Rocket since the missing incriminating bullet is lodged in his neck. A day later Gillis is busted. The day after that Robin, still not getting along with Rocket, enters the steeplechase and quickly discovers that the steed is scared of him because of his domino mask. The Boy Wonder, unmasks, covers his face with mud, and wins the race.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #158. The Dynamic Duo solves “The Case of the Chess Crimes.” For their troubles, Batman and Robin earn a gigantic complete chess set with pieces that are ten-feet-tall, which they happily add to the Hall of Trophies.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #158. The Dynamic Duo solves an unknown case and collects what appears to be some sort of Amazonian or Peruvian statue.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #242 and Detective Comics #158. Batman busts Rackets Reed, who had been using an oversize Buddha-like statue to smuggle stolen gold into the country (as referenced in Detective Comics #242). The oversize Buddha statue, which is taken as a trophy after the case wraps (along with an accompanying shrine enclosure), is first shown in Detective Comics #158.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #158. Joker breaks jail but soon gets sent right back. Afterward, Batman keeps and displays a huge Joker mask—approximately forty feet tall—in the Hall of Trophies.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #158. Batman and Robin deal with a case where a villain uses a “sound relay death gadget.” The gadget would kill folks who heard a certain musical note.

–Detective Comics #158
Batman adds a tuning fork that plays the fatal musical note when struck into the Hall of Trophies. This is the 1000th official trophy. Batman collected upwards of eight hundred or more trophies in his first four years of action. Thus, since this is only the thousandth, the Dark Knight must have gotten a bit more conservative lately, having collected less than two hundred in the past eight years. When our heroes hear that Dr. Doom has returned, they spring into action and stop one of the villain’s smuggling operations. Doom, however, hides inside a sarcophagus that Batman decides to take as a trophy #1001. Once in the Batcave, Doom rigs many of the trophies as deadly traps. Batman and Robin contend with Doom and the traps, but are able to defeat the villain. Doom, in an effort to kill the Dynamic Duo, throws a grenade and hides back inside the sarcophagus. The sarcophagus, however, locks and proves to be Doom’s undoing as he suffocates to death inside the coffin. I should mention that Bob Kane makes an error in this issue, inexplicably drawing the Tyrannosaurus Rex as an Apatosaurus.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #159. Batman prevents some bandits from raiding a yacht party. When the bandits report back to their boss, T. Worthington Chubb, the crime czar reasons that the Dark Knight must be one of the party guests and narrows down the suspects to half-a-dozen men. The next day, when Batman and Robin bust some gangsters pretending to be filmmakers, Chubb and his men are able to deduce that Bruce and Dick are the Dynamic Duo!

–World’s Finest Comics #45
Professor Ezra Dorn, also known as “The Historian of Crime,” is the world’s most preeminent scholar on and collector of criminal memorabilia and artifacts. His secretary, Simmons, locks him up, steals all of his collection, and begins a several-day crime spree utilizing the tools, costumes, and methodology of humanity’s greatest villains. At the grand Police Show at the Gotham Arena, the GCPD lures Simmons into their presence by having the Dynamic Duo give a presentation about criminal artifacts. Sure enough, Simmons arrives on cue and gets busted.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #81 Part 2. Mr. Camera makes a fool of and escapes from Batman and Robin at Gotham Palace’s Annual Camera Show.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #58. Batman and Robin are filmed by a news crew as they defeat the notorious Barracuda Brothers‘ River Gang. The action is immediately edited into a newsreel to be shown at prisons.

–Batman #58
Typical Penguin tale. Oswald Cobblepot is paroled (again!?) and quickly wreaks havoc all over Gotham, instituting a series of crimes based upon the state birds of America. Penguin successfully pulls off several capers over the course of a week, but eventually Batman puts him back in the clink. This time, Penguin is sentenced to the brand new Summit Penitentiary, a state-of-the-art prison on the outskirts of Gotham that is surrounded by towering cliffs. When we next see Penguin in Batman #61, he will be stuck in Summit Penitentiary.

An acquaintance of Bruce’s, Rex Spears III, had a great grandfather that struck it rich in a California gold mine in 1854, but on his way back East he vanished without a trace. When Lorenzo Bagg III, the relative of Lorenzo Bagg I, a friend of Rex Spears I, turns up with a branding iron that used to belong to Spears III’s great granpappy, a mystery is born. This is a perfect opportunity to screw with the past, so Bruce and Dick visit their old pal Carter Nichols and shoot back to 1854. After fighting Mexican bandits and meeting the original Spears and Bagg, Batman learns that Spears had gotten bitten by a rattlesnake. With his last breath of energy before passing on, Spears marked a secret spot where the money was hidden using the aforementioned branding iron. After his death, a rock-slide covered the spot permanently—until now! Back in the present, Bruce, Dick, Spears III, and Bagg III dig up the gold. Afterward, Bruce puts the branding iron into the Hall of Trophies.

The criminal mastermind known as Black Diamond breaks out several inmates to form a team of specialists designed to defeat Batman and Robin. His team consists of Bulls-Eye Kendall, the Barracuda Brothers, and Nitro Nelson. At the graduation ceremony for the newest GCPD Bomb Squad recruits, Batman and Robin speak and debut a machine that they have been perfecting over the course of the last year: the Bat Counter, the most sophisticated explosive detecting device on the planet. The device goes off instantly, exposing the presence of Nitro Nelson, who Batman and Robin easily defeat. The next day at the Gotham Regatta, Batman and Robin bring down the Barracuda Brothers. Later, Black Diamond poses as a French diplomat in need of protection in order to lure Batman into Kendall’s line of fire. The plan backfires in the end and both Black Diamond and Kendall are brought to justice.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #47. Batman and Robin tango with notorious South American crime lord, Ace Radko. The suave, sun glasses-wearing, mustachioed villain eventually gets nabbed and is deported back to his native country.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #169. A man named Downs is appointed the new State Prison Warden. Batman and Robin visit the prison to meet Warden Downs.[3]

–FLASHBACK: From the intro to Batman #67 Part 1. Killer Slade escapes from jail. Batman debuts his plastic-coated “disintegrating Bat-rope” and uses it to get the jump on the returning Slade, who winds up back behind bars. From this point on, whenever a Bat-rope, cord, or zip-line is left behind, it will later disintegrate so that there is no trace of it left behind (sort of like the way Modern Age Spider-Man’s webs disintegrate after a time).

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #81 Part 2. Batman and Robin apprehend Mr. Camera. Mr. Camera, before being taken to jail, claims that he has an undeveloped photograph that exposes Batman and Robin’s true identities, which is hidden away somewhere. Mr. Camera vows to develop the film and reveal their secret to the public when either he or his henchmen get out of prison.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #80 Part 2. Batman solves an unspecified case in Chicago.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #80 Part 3. Batman and Robin fight Sparky Watts and Ned Herzo. Watts and Herzo evade capture.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #103. Batman goes on an unspecified case and earns a miniature water tower, about twenty feet tall, as a trophy for the Hall of Trophies.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #103. Batman goes on an unspecified case and earns a model airplane as a trophy for the Hall of Trophies.

[4]

–FLASHBACK: From the intro to Batman #67 Part 1. Batman and Robin smash an international counterfeiting ring in the Middle East. For their troubles, they are gifted a cord made of solid gold. Back in the States, Batman and Robin chase after Megli the Mad Musician and construct a giant harp with strings made of the golden cord to lure Megli into a trap. Sure enough, Megli shows up several days later and gets easily busted.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #165. Batman wears the glow-in-the-dark “Luminous Bat Costume” to confound a criminal. The cover of Detective Comics #165 (drawn by Win Mortimer) states that the Luminous Bat Costume was used against one of the Professor Radiums, but this just isn’t true. Within the text of the issue (written by Edmond Hamilton), Dick says it was worn while warring against an unnamed “superstitious crook.” The latter version must be the true version.

–Batman #60 Part 1 Intro continued
Bruce’s brand new skyscraper Gotham Museum has been under construction for nearly a year. Lately, however, saboteurs have been causing lots of “accidents” at the site. Batman and Robin prevent a fatality atop the steel framework of the tower and finger museum board member Lyons and disgruntled business owner John Pendray as top suspects, although they can prove nothing.  The Dynamic Duo will routinely patrol around and protect the new museum until its completion in approximately three months’ time.

–Detective Comics #159-160
T. Worthington Chubb sends word to Wayne Manor that he knows the secret IDs of Batman and Robin. Knowing that Chubb’s men will be watching in order to confirm their beliefs, Bruce sets up a projection of himself and Dick while they sneak out to fight crime. A day later, Chubb’s men are still watching Wayne Manor like hawks. In order to sneak away to fight crime this time, Bruce organizes a last second “dress up as Batman and Robin” masquerade at a hotel. Frustrated, Chubb simply abducts Bruce and Dick later that night. While in captivity, Bruce knocks-out one of Chubb’s henchmen, does the old switcheroo with makeup, sneaks out, and foils Chubb’s illegal activities at a nightclub. Batman then leads the cops back to Chubb’s HQ—the henchman is still knocked out and made-up to look like Bruce—dispelling any thoughts whatsoever that Batman might be Bruce Wayne.

Commissioner Gordon hosts a gathering of “The Police Officers of the World” at a Gotham hotel to honor the overseas sentencing of international criminal Henry Guille III, who Batman and Robin nabbed in Paris last November. After giving trans-Atlantic testimony via short-wave radio, the Dynamic Duo arrives at the special gathering and receives a special trophy.

–World’s Finest Comics #46
Batman and Robin chase public enemy number one, Jud Lukins, into the Gotham Shipyard, but the villain escapes without a trace when the Dynamic Duo is attacked by a mystery murderer. Batman, under the pseudonym “John Bruce” takes a job as a riveter in order to investigate the shipyard for suspects. After a ton of swerves and red herrings, Batman exposes one of the workers, Charley Stark, as the killer who has been aiding and abetting Lukins. While Robin busts Stark, Batman busts Lukins.

–NOTE: In Batman #59 Part 3. Joker escapes from the can.

–Batman #59 Part 2
Gotham College has decided to turn an old estate on its campus into a new library, but before they can, rumors of a haunted presence in the cellar have to be investigated. When several men enter the cellar and each emerges in a wild homicidal rage, Batman has his work cut out for him. While Batman is away testifying at night court, Professor Vincent enters the cellar, goes insane, and kills Dean Hedge. The Dark Knight soon deduces that Vincent has placed in the cellar a rare mushroom that emits spores that cause a temporary blind rage. Using the “haunted cellar” as a cover and plugging his nostrils upon descending into the basement, Vincent was able to pretend to be crazed in order to murder Hedge, who had caught him swindling funds from the school. Batman then enters the basement, with his nose similarly plugged, and like Vincent, fakes his insanity, only to later appear in a Gotham court room the next day to expose Vincent. After the case wraps, Batman and Robin place the poisonous mushroom into the Hall of Trophies.[5]

–Batman #59 Part 3
Batman and Robin send Joker back to the big house and then visit Professor Carter Nichols. Nichols accidentally sends the duo one hundred years into the future, despite Bruce’s wish to visit 1850. In 2050, Batman and Robin face a hyper-futuristic Gotham complete with bizarre clothes, spaceports, and Rokej—Joker’s descendant that is now Gotham’s Chief of Police! After learning that someone has been sabotaging spaceships on behalf of a league of space-pirates, Batman and Robin enter into a rocket ship race across the Solar System in a brand new Bat-Spaceship constructed for them by John Milman’s Comet Company. The Dynamic Duo not only wins the cosmic regatta, but also outs one of Milman’s engineers as the saboteur before phasing back to the present.

–Detective Comics #161-162
A mystery killer known only as The Avenger sends a letter to a businessman stating that he will die at exactly midnight. Sure enough, he drops dead. Two days later, the same thing happens to one of the businessman’s associates. When it occurs again, to yet another member of the same company, Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon hit the streets and round up the suspects, which include a bunch of red herrings. Whodunit? Why the third victim of course, who faked his murder to throw Batman off the trail. But how did he commit the crimes and why? He was their crooked partner and had distributed watches that pricked poison into their veins at the stroke of twelve o’clock.

Batman and Robin spend a day shadowing Special Agent Kip Naylor of the Railroad Protective Association. Various adventures on the railway ensue, such as: the trio beating up train-hopping hobos, sending truant runaway kids back to school, protecting an ex-wife from an abusive homicidal husband, capturing a loosed circus leopard, and busting the evil midget gangster known as Midge—who disguises himself as a dog, attempts to hijack a locomotive, and later abducts Batman. I can’t make this stuff up. Thankfully, Naylor rescues the Dark Knight.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #105. Batman and Robin go on an unspecified case and net a statue of the devil holding a chalice for the Hall of Trophies.

–Detective Comics #163 Part 1
Batman and Robin chase after Slippery Jim Elgin, better known as “The Man With a Thousand Faces” due to his ability to disguise himself as nearly anyone. As the heroes chase the villain past an experimental lab, a freak explosion occurs. Elgin escapes in the bedlam, but a magnetized splinter is lodged into his brain making it so that he cannot go near any metal for fear of instant death.

–World’s Finest Comics #47
When a stranger rolls into town and immediately begins commiserating with the lowest criminal element, Batman and Robin trail him. The dubious man boards a plane with a wildly gimmicky travel concept attached to it—the destination is unknown, but for $300 you get a round-trip that promises to be a surprise and an adventure rolled into one! Batman and Robin don disguises and board the flight, which seems to hold numerous shady types. After takeoff, one of the passengers attempts to hijack that plane, forcing Batman and Robin to shed their disguises. Eventually, the plane lands in South America and we learn everything thus far has been orchestrated by the Dynamic Duo’s old foe, the South American crime lord, Ace Radko! Radko throws Batman, Robin, and the other passengers into imprisonment and plans to ransom the Dark Knight to the US Government for $1 billion. Batman reluctantly exposes his secret ID to elderly big-game hunter Rogers in order to disguise himself as Rogers to escape and bring a dogfight to Radko. Batman, Robin, and Rogers defeat a horde of Radko’s bandits and save the day—although Rogers has a heart attack and dies, taking Batman’s secret to the grave.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #238. Batman and Robin escape a death trap set up by the motorcycle-riding super-villain calling himself Wheelo. Wheelo is promptly put behind bars.

–Batman #60 Part 1
Bruce’s new skyscraper Gotham Museum—also known as the Hall of Ages—has its grandiose grand opening. However, on opening night, Batman and Robin chase some crooks into the building and one of the exhibits is badly damaged. The very next night, Batman and Robin chase the same crooks back into the museum and another exhibit is ruined. The night after that, Batman and Robin wait inside the museum to ambush the crooks and learn that they have been using secret passages inside as their hideout, courtesy of their leader, the construction boss, Smithers. Smithers and company go down hard.

–Batman #60 Part 2
Bruce attends a masquerade ball where invitees must pick a costume out of a bin at random upon entering. As fate would have it, Bruce picks a Batman costume! Bruce, dressed as the Dark Knight, then slides down a rope for charity. The next day, Shark Marlin and his gang, having read about the masquerade stunt in the paper, bust into Wayne Manor. Marlin restrains Dick and orders Bruce to pretend to be Batman in order to scare away his rival, mobster Duke Kelmer, or else Dick will get capped. Later, Bruce does as he’s told and intimidates Kelmer and his gang, while simultaneously switching back and forth between pretending to be Batman and actually being Batman. As Marlin begins to realize that Bruce really is Batman, Dick escapes from captivity and joins his partner at a World’s Fair-esque exhibit outside of Gotham—a giant size house complete with fifty-foot-tall furniture and props. Amidst the bizarre humungous surroundings, Batman and Robin lay the smackdown on both Kelmer and Marlin. Afterward, Marlin tries to out Batman as Bruce Wayne, but Batman came prepared, wearing a Bruce Wayne mask under his mask, which covered another mask underneath. He’s done this trick before—I’m not sure how it worked then, and I still have no idea.

–Batman #60 Part 3
Bruce and Dick visit Lucky Hooton’s famous touring auto circus, which features car stunts and demolition derbies. A few days later, Hooton is nearly killed in an accident orchestrated by some car thieves that have infiltrated his troupe. After the car thieves dupe Batman, the Dark Knight, at Commissioner Gordon’s behest, disguises himself as the driver extraordinaire Hooton, and “returns” to the show. That night, Batman and Robin confront the crooks in a backstage garage, and nearly get killed for their trouble. The next day as Hooton’s show moves a state over to Connecticut, Bruce is still playing the role of Hooton himself. Batman puts on an amazing driving display worthy of the best daredevils on the planet and then rejoins Robin to bust the baddies, who are dressed as circus clowns, in a nearby cave.

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

–Detective Comics #163 Part 2
Its been weeks since Slippery Jim Elgin’s accident. Now, with protective headgear, Elgin returns to crime but soon has to ditch his headgear to escape the Dynamic Duo. A few nights later, Batman and Robin encounter Elgin again and learn of his apparent fear of metal. A few days later still, Batman and Robin engage with Elgin and are captured. Elgin fits Batman with a plastic neck brace filled with explosives that will detonate if it goes near any type of metal and then sets him loose on the streets of Gotham. Batman simply runs to the Batcave, neutralizes the bomb, switches it with a fake bomb, returns to Elgin’s place, and rescues Robin. A panicked Elgin runs away, but dies when he gets too close to a metal-lined opera hat.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #164. Batman and Robin nab the Purple Shoes Gang.

–Detective Comics #164
Batman and Robin hand out medals at the GCPD awards ceremony for outstanding service. Afterward, they are interviewed by Gotham Gazette reporter, Dave Purdy, who is doing a story about the Bat Signal. The next day at the Hall of Scientific Marvels, the Bat-Signal is put on display. Batman and Robin, along with Purdy, are there to show it off to the public. Escaped convict Tiger Bishop arrives and plugs Batman in the chest with a bullet. The injured Dark Knight manages to blind Bishop with the Bat Signal and then Purdy punches out the villain. The next day, while Bruce is recovering, Dick reads Purdy’s article to him.

–NOTE: In World’s Finest Comics #48. Joker escapes from the correctional institution yet again.

–World’s Finest Comics #48
Composer Joseph Macklas has written an orchestral tribute to the Dynamic Duo called “The Batman & Robin March,” which debuts at the Gotham City Concert Hall with Batman himself as the guest conductor! However, Joker turns up to interrupt the proceedings. Over the course of the next few days, Joker unveils a series of musically-inspired crimes that baffle Batman and Robin at every turn. These crimes include the following: canons, knockout gas, bells, a giant bust of Beethoven, a trained organ-grinder monkey, time-bombs, a musical staff notation sheet that when put over a map of Gotham becomes a clue to where Joker will strike next, and various giant-size musical instruments courtesy of Stanart Music Props’ “Giant Designs” warehouse. Joker eventually gets tied to a fast-moving metronome and goes back behind bars. Batman then returns to Gotham City Concert Hall to finish his guest conducting before a sold out audience.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #107. Batman busts some cowboy bandits out West. While Bruce goes away on business right afterward, Robin travels west and ties up some loose ends from the case.

–Batman #61 Part 1
Batman and Robin are called upon by the US Air Force to test out some new weaponry. During the test, the Batplane malfunctions and the Dynamic Duo bails out. The Batplane, meanwhile, crashes many miles away and is recovered by a gang of bad-news siblings, the Boley Brothers. While Bruce and Dick begin designing the brand-new Batplane II, the Boley Brothers not only fix up the original Batplane, but they force former military ace Flying Tiger Haggerty to fly it for criminal purposes. In response, Bruce and Dick double their efforts and construct the new-and-improved needle-nosed Batplane II—which can also transform into a submarine and a helicopter—in record time. The Boleys respond in turn by building two more versions of the old Batplane. Shortly thereafter the skies above Gotham are a ballistic nightmare as three Batplanes take on the sleek Batplane II. With a little help from Haggerty the Batplane II takes down its predecessors.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #234. Batman tests out the new Batplane II and saves an errant biplane that has lost control during an exhibition flight.

–REFERENCE: In Star Spangled Comics #127. Batman and Robin teach Alfred how to pilot the new Batplane II.

–FLASHBACK: From Star Spangled Comics #127. Late September 1950—seven months and one week prior to the main action of Star Spangled Comics #127. Batman and Robin take on the Benger Brothers (Skull Benger, Gordy Benger, Babe Benger, and Gypsy Benger). When Skull Benger is killed, the rest of his kin swear revenge.

–FLASHBACK: From Star Spangled Comics #127. Early October 1950—exactly seven months prior to the main action of Star Spangled Comics #127. Batman and Robin take on the Benger Brothers again. This time, Babe Benger is accidentally killed.

–Batman #61 Part 2
Penguin escapes from Summit Penitentiary and starts a series of “winged people” crimes. Batman and Robin foil Penguin at a TV game show that involves actors playing Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother. After that, the Penguin distracts the Dark Detectives at the museum with a homemade Cupid statue, while he steals a valuable painting. The next day Batman and Robin set up surveillance at the Gotham Stadium, but Penguin—along with a henchman dressed up as Mercury—robs a carnival across town instead. Later still, after Robin leaves a party being thrown by his fan club, Penguin ambushes the Boy Wonder and kidnaps him. By threatening to kill Robin, Penguin forces Batman to surrender and unmask. However, realizing that Penguin would order him to unmask prior to this, Batman had smeared makeup grease on his face. Penguin is shocked to learn that Batman is Bruce Wayne, but then sees the makeup grease and thinks Batman is tricking him. Batman then frees Robin and they send Penguin back to the hoosegow.

–Batman #61 Part 3
Batman injures his legs while chasing down some prowlers. At the office of Dr. Chubb, the gifted surgeon tells Batman his legs are both broken! After fitting Batman with leg casts and putting him into a wheelchair, Batman returns home. At Wayne Manor, Vicki Vale—trying to expose her boyfriend as Batman—shows up, but Bruce hides his legs within the confines of a steam cabinet in his gym. Vicki invites him to go dancing later. Batman—still in his motorized wheelchair—and Robin then go after Babyface Fulop, who has had his face altered by plastic surgery. Despite being in a wheelchair, Batman is able to beat the tar out of Fulop’s gang. Back at Wayne Manor, Robin has a startling realization. The Boy Wonder smashes off Batman’s casts and orders him to rise up. Batman does so and surprisingly is able to walk! Robin explains that Dr. Chubb is the underworld surgeon that has altered Fulop. The doc lied to Batman and stuck him in casts. Later, Batman, Robin, and the GCPD bust Chubb, Fulop, and his entire gang. Afterward, Bruce plays a dancin’ fool for Vicki—although when she hears a news report that Batman was misdiagnosed, she remains suspicious of Bruce.

–Detective Comics #168 Part 1
Batman is invited by Dean Chalmers to teach a month-long course of criminology at State University. Class begins and Batman meets his most driven students, Paul Wong and Jimmy Kale. Batman will teach this course every morning for the next month Monday through Friday (provided he is available to do so).

–Detective Comics #165-166
Batman and Robin take inventory of the many different Bat Costumes that hang in the Batcave wardrobe. Later, when a new “corporation of crime” led by Dr. Robert Darcy threatens the city by sending incendiary packages that cause high-rise fire downtown, Batman dons his “Asbestos Bat Costume” to save the day. The following morning, Batman and Robin tango with Darcy in the sky. Batman falls from a helicopter but luckily is wearing his “Glider Bat Costume.” The next day, after Darcy robs a liner in Gotham Harbor, Batman makes a public vow to catch the crook and dons the “Underwater Bat Costume” to sneak up on him at his HQ. However, Darcy is waiting and plugs the Dark Knight in the stomach with a handgun. When news hits Gotham that Batman will be out of action for a week due to the injury, the populace begins to panic. Robin dons a special Bat Costume specially made for him to be used in such an instance. The Bat Costume—identical to Batman’s normal costume in every way except for a red-breasted robin icon on the chest instead of a Batman symbol—is a rubber molded suit that Robin wears like a body cast to impersonate the Dark Knight. While Darcy dumps poison gas on the city, Robin, pretending to be Batman, stands tall and defeats the villain’s gang. Oh, in this issue, like Bob Kane has done before, Dick Sprang erroneously draws the Batcave Tyrannosaurus Rex as an Apatosaurus.

Haly’s Circus is in town and Bruce and Dick attend. Afterward, Dick introduces Bruce to an old family friend, John Gillen, “The Man With a Million Faces.” Gillen is a constantly-masked master of disguise that can make himself look like anyone in seconds, from the new Mayor of Gotham[6] to any Hollywood celebrity. Later, a series of crimes happen across Gotham, each one pulled-off without a hitch thanks to Gillen impersonating celebs to form a distraction for the circus-based criminals who are blackmailing him. When Gillen runs off, Batman impersonates him and goes on tour with the circus to get close to the perps—as does Dick, who gleefully relives his old days as an acrobat again. Eventually, the crooks are caught and Gillen is vindicated.

–World’s Finest Comics #49
Penguin breaks outta the pokey and vows to publicly humiliate Batman. Step one: Penguin sends Batman an envelope containing a white feather and a challenge that he will begin a series of “feather-themed crimes.” Unknown to Batman the envelope secretly contains psittacosis bacteria, and the Dark Knight contracts the virus. Over the course of the next few days, Penguin enacts his feather-crimes and runs circles around the Dynamic Duo, especially as Batman begins to weaken and succumb to the rare avian disease. Eventually, Batman is taken out of the equation, but Robin nabs Penguin and rushes his mentor to the hospital for care.

–FLASHBACK: From Star Spangled Comics #127. Early November 1950—exactly six months prior to the main action of Star Spangled Comics #127. Batman and Robin take on the Benger Brothers again. This time, Gypsy Benger is accidentally killed. The final enraged Benger Brother, Gordy, blaming the Dark Knight for his brothers’ deaths, vows revenge.

–Batman #62 Part 1
Super-villain Mr. X (actually small-timer Mousey trying to make it as the next big crime boss) breaks Catwoman out of the slammer and recruits her into the fold. Batman and Robin capture Catwoman, who initially eludes the Dynamic Duo but backtracks to save the Dark Knight’s life from a collapsing building. During the implosion Catwoman is knocked unconscious. Batman nurses Catwoman back to health in the Batcave and when she awakes, she finally reveals her true identity as Selina Kyle. Not only that, Selina claims that for over fifteen years—the entire duration of her criminal career—she has been suffering from amnesia. You heard it correctly; Selina tells Batman and Robin that this entire time it was her split-personality brought about by head trauma that was the Catwoman! Naturally, Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon buy this cockamamie story and pardon Selina for all of her previous crimes. In order to further the ruse, Catwoman helps Batman and Robin bring Mr. X and his gang to justice. Afterward, Selina retires from costumed chicanery. We eventually learn (via a reference in The Brave & The Bold #197) that Catwoman’s tall tale about amnesia and split personality is in fact just that; a tall tale told to expunge her record and start fresh with a clean slate. However, Batman and company won’t learn that for a while.

–NOTE: In Detective Comics #168 Part 2. Joker escapes from the cooler again.

–Detective Comics #168 Part 2
Batman’s criminology course at State University has reached its month-long end. Batman decides to give a final test to his students: Solve the ten-year-old cold-case mystery behind who the Red Hood was. Later, everyone on campus is shocked when the Red Hood returns! Batman and Robin square-off with the villain and the Boy Wonder breaks a finger when he punches his solid metal dome. After some investigative work and some assistance from Paul Wong and Jimmy Kale, the Dynamic Duo captures the Red Hood and unmasks him as crook Earl “Farmerboy” Benson. However, Benson is twenty-two-years-old and couldn’t possibly have been the original Red Hood. When questioned, Benson reveals that he captured the real Red Hood, tied him up in a shack, and took his place. Batman, his students, and Robin eagerly enter the shack and discover the truth. The Red Hood was and is none other than the Joker! Ten years ago, Batman inadvertently created his own arch-enemy when he forced the Red Hood into the slimy brew of chemicals at the Monarch Playing Card Company. The rest is, as they say, history.

–Batman #62 Part 2
Batman and Robin track criminal Matt Thorne (not to be confused with the deceased Crime Doctor of the same name) to England where they meet their British counterparts, Knight (Percival Sheldrake) and his son/sidekick Squire (Cyril Sheldrake). After some sidekick swapping, the heroes fight all over the British Isles and eventually nab Thorne and his gang.

–Star Spangled Comics #112
Robin has fought his arch-enemies, the Green Cowl Gang, for years now. Over a year ago, Robin trapped their leader, The Grand Rex, and ever since then the Green Cowl Gang has had it out for the Boy Wonder. Batman finally tackles the Green Cowl Gang himself and fearing for Robin’s safety orders him to stay away. However, Robin disobeys the order. Later, and irate Batman suspends Robin for thirty days! Batman is then immediately called away on an unspecified mission for the US government. While Batman is gone, Robin obeys his punishment and doesn’t suit up in his fighting togs, but manages to war against the Green Cowl Gang in other various tricky ways. When Batman returns a few days later, he is immediately captured by the Green Cowl Gang. Once again, without wearing his costume, Robin fights the villains and saves Batman. Afterward, Batman commutes Robin’s sentence and the Boy Wonder puts the new Grand Rex’s emerald hood into the Hall of Trophies.

 

 

<<<PREVIOUS: YEAR ELEVEN<<< | | | >>>NEXT: YEAR THIRTEEN>>>

 

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Warden Williams, who has been warden of the Gotham City Prison (not to be confused with the State Prison) for eleven years, has finally been replaced by a new unnamed man.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The recently appointed new Gotham City Prison Warden has already been replaced by a new unnamed man. This means Warden Williams was in charge for eleven years, followed by a short few-month reign by an unnamed replacement, followed by our new current unnamed appointee.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Okay, so there has been a lot of shuffling at the State Prison this year. The history, for a reminder (even though the previous footnote has us up to date): Warden Higgins (Year 1-5); Warden Keyes (Year 5-6); Warden Doyle (Year 6-11). At the very end of Year Eleven, Doyle is then replaced by an unnamed interim prison-head. This year (Year Twelve), that interim warden is quickly replaced with another interim warden before Warden Downs officially takes control now.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: While Batman isn’t a part of Star Spangled Comics #103 (which occurs now), it is worth noting that in this storyline one of Dick’s acquaintances at high school, a girl named Mary, becomes a superhero called Roberta the Girl Wonder.  Roberta not only teams with Robin for a few days, but they become romantically involved as well, until Roberta’s secret identity is exposed on live television, ending her career short.  Roberta, along with her “utility compact,” is clearly an early inspiration for the upcoming superhero antics of Katherine Kane and Betty Kane that will begin four years from now.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Even though it has nothing to do with the narrative of this issue, but since we have been keeping track of Bruce’s job obligations, we can now add member of the Gotham College Board of Directors 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, Gotham Museum trustee, chairman of a utilities company, and board member of United Chemical Corporation.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: How about a mayor’s list update! From Year One through Year Six, Gotham is blessed with the services of a Fiorello LaGuardia lookalike who goes unnamed. In Year Seven, Mayor Carfax is elected as the new top official in Gotham. (Carfax is the man that briefly replaces Commissioner Gordon with Commissioner Vane in Year Nine). In Year Ten, Carfax is replaced by a freshly elected but unnamed new Mayor of Gotham. After a mere two years in office, this unnamed man is replaced by a new unnamed official here in Year Twelve.

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