I felt compelled to make that joke for the really long-time readers. Plus I still love Green Arrow’s delivery in this comic.

Giant Batman Annual #1

Do these come off as tabloid covers to anyone else?

Giant Batman Annual #1

DC Comics (1961/1991)

INKER: Charles Paris (for every story)
COVER ART: Curt Swan & various

Next week will be the last of these anthologies and considering the time it takes to review them I’m not sorry. At least I enjoy the reading.

“How To Be The Batman” Detective Comics #190

no writing credit PENCILER: Lew Schwartz

Our first story finds a scientist who has created amnesia-inducing gas. When Batman gets hit by it, it’s up to Robin to retrain the Dark Knight to be Batman. Luckily he had finished the formula for the antidote before being doused so everything is all right again. An interesting story if only to see Dick take on the mentor role.

“The Strange Costumes Of Batman” Detective Comics #165

WRITER: Edmond Hamilton PENCILER: Dick Sprang

In addition to devices on his utility belt, Batman also had various specialty costumes. And he’s forced to use every one of them against another scientist type. This includes the “strangest” costume of all, one that’s hinted that it’s too dangerous to use. For the build up, finding out it’s just a foam rubber costume Dick can use to impersonate Batman is kind of a let down, but still a good idea since Batman is shot in this story. Yes, kids, there was a time when Batman could be defeated. Shocking, I know.

“Untold Tales Of The Bat-Signal” Detective Comics #164

no writing credit PENCILER: Lew Schwartz

Not sure why they put one from #164 AFTER #165. This story has a reporter tracking down tales of how the Bat-Signal was used to foil a crime or save a life, but it keeps coming down to Batman and Robin doing the saving and just using the Bat-Signal as a light. Until Batman and the reporter are attacked and the reporter uses the Bat-Signal to blind the guy, thus creating the very angle he wanted. Not a bad story and it’s rare to see the Bat-Signal as anything other than Batman’s beeper.

“Origin Of The Bat-Cave” Detective Comics #205

WRITER: Bill Finger PENCILER: Sheldon Moldoff

And they got one of the time travel stories in…and it’s one some of you might be a bit put off by. The Dynamic Duo find a piece of pottery in the Batcave that leads them to go back in time to uncover the secret of an inscription on it. There they find a spy who keeps track of some savage Indian/Native American tribes in the area by disguising himself as one using tree bark dye. And it so happens his headquarters is the future Batcave (which he also called the Bat-Cave, the spelling used in the story). They help him set the cave up much like their own (just with 18th century representations) while Batman takes Coe’s place due to his being injured. Not that it matters because they burn down the cabin and may or may not know about the cave underneath. We don’t know if Coe kept the base, but there’s more evidence that it wasn’t just their professor friend using hypnosis. It’s mildly racist at best but on the other hand there’s some clever ideas for Coe’s operation and the retro-Bat-Cave, so I can’t hate it too much.

Also of note is how Bruce finds the cave not as a child but an adult. Bruce purchased a new home to begin his crusade, but in the barn he planned to use as his headquarters the floor gives way and he finds himself in the cave. I do like seeing the original origins and set-up for the Batcave.

“Batman’s Electronic Crime File” Detective Comics #22

no writing credit PENCILER: Dick Sprang

Batman agrees to let a film crew visit the cave because it would make people feel safer..somehow. However, one of the small crew is actually a disguised thief who takes the heroes’ microfilm crime files and the Duo have to get them back. Not much else to say about that. It was a decent story but nothing really stood out.

“Thrilling Escapes Of Batman And Robin” Detective Comics #221

no writing credit PENCILER: Sheldon Moldoff

This was a fun one. Batman and Robin are captured by a guy who wants to put them into an escape proof trap (because shooting them is too easy?) and gets Robin to tell him about four of their escapes. The reader gets to guess alongside the villain, but even when he used that info to create his own trap Batman still outsmarts him. I liked it.

“The Amazing Inventions Of Batman” Batman #109

WRITER: Edmond Hamilton PENCILER: Dick Sprang

Hey, one that didn’t come from Detective Comics. Too bad none came from World’s Finest like the Superman annual last week. Batman and Robin have a “flying eye” camera to spy on crooks because that wasn’t so scary in the 196os. (Drones and toy helicopters with built-in WiFi cameras hadn’t been invented yet.) Using it to spy on some crooks they learn one of their inventions has either been stolen or copied and they do yet another flashback to stories never told in comics prior to try to deduce which invention will be used for crime. It’s at this point that I realize that’s all this comic reprinted; stories where the heroes remember past cases and gear. Even the time travel story flashed back to when Bruce found and set-up the Batcave.

That’s not to say they’re bad stories, but a little more variety would have been nice to see. This whole comic was showing off Batman and Robin’s stuff. Still, there are plenty of stories worth reading if you come across this comic.

Next week the Secret Origins special and then we’re done with DC anthologies for a while.


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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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