BHOC: BATMAN FAMILY #6

Another issue of BATMAN FAMILY bought at my usual 7-11. This issue once again featured separate stories for Batgirl and Robin rather than a team-up tale. It was also the first comic I bought that carried the special Bicentennial banner that had been promoted for a month or so–if you bought 25 of them and sent in the cut-off tops, you’d receive an exclusive Superman belt buckle. As there was no chance of me buying 25 titles in a given month (and there weren’t even 25 books on the enclosed checklist that I wanted) this was of no temptation to me.

The lead Batgirl story is a slight affair that sees Batgirl journeying to the Matituck Indian Reservation where she’s scheduled to appear in their annual rodeo at the same time that Congresswoman Barbara Gordon is going to the area on a fact-finding mission for a vote on the future of the land. Villainous Indian Jack Litefoot is ready to sell out his fellows for monetary consideration from the Abraxas Corporation that hopes to develop the land, but Batgirl puts a quick stop to his efforts.

Next up is the Robin adventure for this issue, and probably the most memorable story in the book, as this is the one that introduced the character of the Joker’s Daughter, who would go on to be a recurring mystery character both here and eventually in the pages of TEEN TITANS. A manuscript stolen from a locked vault seems to be the work of the Joker’s Daughter, who reveals herself in dramatic fashion…

….but despite some altercations with the Boy Wonder, it turns out that she wasn’t responsible for the theft at all. But the story ends with the Joker’s Daughter in the wind–and having vowed to uncover Robin’s true identity. (In the typical heroic style of the era, Robin couldn’t bring himself to “hit a girl”, s he was at something of a disadvantage.)

Next came a short Alfred solo story, played for comedy and featuring artwork by Jerry Robinson. The art is probably the best thing about this quick comedy caper, it’s thoroughly unmemorable apart from that.

The issue wrapped up with a reprinted Batman story from the early 1960s featuring the Mad Hatter. In fact, elements of this story were freely adapted for one of the character’s appearances on the 1960s Batman live action TV show, a fact that fascinated me. I can recall watching the episode when it came back around in the syndicated rerun rotation with the book on hand, comparing the two.

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