The Treasury Edition became the format of choice for my Father, who would occasionally bring me home a comic book from one of his frequent cigarette runs. It wasn’t long before this BATMAN treasury edition appeared. The Neal Adams figure used for this cover was only a few months old, but was dramatic as hell, especially when backed up by the bright red background–a startling and powerful color choice.
Batman was never my favorite character–right from the start, I was always more of a Superman man. But I could still enjoy his stories.And this Treasury Edition ran the gamut, much as the previous 100-Page Special had done. This Joker story, for example, is a relatively early one, and the Joker is positively scary in it.
The story I best recall from this book is this one: “The Case Batman Failed To Solve.” It contained some lovely and evocative artwork by Jerry Robinson, and a plotline that mirrored Murder By Death, in that great sleuths from all over the world are summoned to solve the murder of one of their own. Only Batman is able to work out that the whole thing was a suicide, but he keeps the secret to protect the reputation of the demised detective.
I also remember the next story, but only because of how much I hated its twin criminals Tweedledum and Tweedledee. There was something about them that just set my teeth on edge.
Next up was a beautiful Carmine Infantino story, about which I recall almost nothing. It didn’t stick with me at all.
And neither did its follow-up, in which Batman fights a fire and destroys a sinister magical idol a veteran has brought back from Vietnam.
The final tale, however, was Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ tribute to Joe Kubert and in particular the Enemy Ace series, and that one stuck with me. I hadn’t encountered Enemy Ace before this, so I didn’t have any real context for it, but I loved it all on its own merits.
In particular, I remember Batman having to leap from the cockpit of one WWI-era biplane to another. Although in my mind’s eye, this was a much larger shot than it is in the book–could be the size of the Treasury Edition helped to create this false memory, or could just be that I found the moment memorable.