Pretty sure that this one came from the 7-11 also, although I have a vague, nagging feeling that I may have sent away for it the same as ACTION #1. Either way, I next came into possession of this reprint of the first appearance of The Batman in DETECTIVE COMICS #27.
I think the oversized Treasury Edition format was somehow more forgiving to these golden age reprints. The larger size somehow compensated for the cruder artwork, making it more acceptable to my eyes. I could tell the difference between an old comic book and a new comic book, but that difference wasn’t off-putting to me. If anything, I was fascinated by the difference. And 1939 seemed like a whole other planet to me.
The first Batman (or Bat-Man) story was only six pages long, its plot swiped and compressed from an obscure SHADOW pulp story, most of its illustrations swiped by neophyte artist Bob Kane. That all said, and as stiff and crummy as most of the art was, there was something very appealing about this early Batman to me. I liked his black, stiff cape and his big, wide belt, and the fact that his ears looked more like antennae or something.
It of course didn’t bug me that Batman pretty much punches a guy to his death in this story. I don’t know that I especially noticed or cared. But it was this kind of behavior in the early Batman stories that would lead to the ushering in of a code of standards for DC’s burgeoning super hero line.
As with the ACTION COMICS #1 reprint, this issue of DETECTIVE COMICS contained a myriad of back-up stories, most of which I didn’t especially care about and not all of which I’ll touch on here. I did find the art on this Speed Saunders story eerie, though I didn’t connect it back tot eh guy who had drawn Zatara, Fred Guardineer.
Again, a few of the stories were printed in black and white, or in limited color, like this Buck Marshall story. They always looked weird and unfinished to me.
Spy by Siegel and Shuster had some of the appeal of the early Superman, though not as much as their other feature in this issue.
And the Crimson Avengers was kind of a super hero, tough at this point he shared more in common with the pulp crusaders such as the Shadow or the radio’s Green Hornet.
And I don’t think I even read The Mysterious Doctor Fu Manchu. Having the words underneath the images wasn’t comics to me.
But the winning strip in the issue to me was this Slam Bradley yarn, also by Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. It carried a lot of the same attitude that they would bring to the Man of Steel, but with a lead character who, while he was super-tough, wasn’t indestructible, and who had a comedy relief partner in Shorty Morgan. This one I enjoyed a lot.