I’m pretty certain that this issue of BRAVE AND THE BOLD came from one of those 3-Bags that were sold in supermarkets and department stores. I can’t imagine that I would have chosen it for myself–but as with the LOIS LANE issue earlier, there don’t seem to be any other comics that would have shared that bag space. Which isn’t a make-or-break–I had little to no interest in war comics or weird comics or most of the other genre fare that DC was then putting out, so in all likelihood I would have traded those comics away, or handed them over to my younger brother.
As was typical for both BRAVE AND THE BOLD and for Bob Haney in particular, this issue presented a very specific vision of Batman, somewhat far removed from the incarnation that would appear in other (non-Haney) DC Comics. This Batman was essentially a TV Cop, whose outlandish outfit everybody simply takes in stride, and whose abilities, while good, are in no way superhuman. This was an approach to Batman and his world that you either loved or hated
The story is more of a crime/espionage saga than you’d typically find in a Batman book as well, as Bats and Ted Grant, former Wildcat and now Oil Company Executive, team up to get to the bottom of a new fuel additive that Ted’s company is being sued over, by someone who claims to be the rightful inventor of the process.
The real attraction here is the evocative artwork of Jim Aparo. Aparo not only penciled and inked the book, he produced the lettering as well, which is something that I think people overlook when discussing his work. He was adept at making the balloons and sound effects a part of the composition of every page.
Take a look at this largely-silent action sequence. It packs a punch.
This is another instance where, at the age of six or perhaps seven by the time I laid hands on this issue, I couldn’t have cared less about the story or what was going on. I was interested in simpler, more straightforward fare, of the kind I was seeing in the Schwartz titles. So this BRAVE AND THE BOLD largely left me cold.
I did kinda love Ted Grant riding a motorcycle into battle without bothering to suit up as Wildcat, though. It may simply have been that the art for that panel was so great.
I mentioned paying attention to the letters page for the first time in that FLASH issue. Well, here I began to put together a pattern by studying the letters page in this B&B. In the comics I liked best (the Schwartz ones, though I didn’t realize that) the letters page ran only full letters and responses. But in the comics that I found a bit weird and odd and off-putting (the Murray Boltinoff-edited ones, though I didn’t know that either) the letters pages tended to run a lot of excerpts of different letters. This gave me a handy way of checking certain comics before I bought them, to figure out ahead of time whether or not I might like them.