Apart from the odd reprint/collection here and there I never really read any of these.

For those in the know what was the major difference between the two or was there any real difference?

Also on a side note I'm trying to remember a Batman story,the villains I think were a brother and sister team with maybe some incestuous relationship,maybe they were thieves.

The female was very pale skinned and possibly had something to do with the moon,I think she had some kind of hypnotic beauty thing going on and had Bats hooked which annoyed the brother?

Not much to go on I'm afraid but I've give less info out before and the members here have come up trumps ;)

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For those in the know what was the major difference between the two or was there any real difference?

There really wasn't a lot of major differences, imo.  Julius Schwartz had been editing both books since 1964 and would continue to do so until the end of 1978 (edit: except for a brief time when Archie Goodwin edited Detective, issues 437-443, as noted by Luke Blanchard below), when he was succeeded by Paul Levitz.  Under Schwartz, most creators were not exclusive to one book or the other, with the notable exception of Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers on Detective 471-476.  A story featuring, for example, Denny O'Neil, or Neal Adams, or both teamed together might have shown up in either book.

I'm not an expert but if you have other questions about that era, I'd be happy to try and answer them. :)

Also on a side note I'm trying to remember a Batman story,the villains I think were a brother and sister team with maybe some incestuous relationship,maybe they were thieves.

The female was very pale skinned and possibly had something to do with the moon,I think she had some kind of hypnotic beauty thing going on and had Bats hooked which annoyed the brother?

That sounds like Nocturna and Night-Thief, from Doug Moench's run on both books in the mid 80s.  They were lovers, not brother and sister exactly - she was adopted as a child by his father, but they didn't meet until after the father died.  After Night-Thief went to prison, Nocturna and Batman had a fling; Night-Thief was annoyed enough to change his name to Night-Slayer and tried to kill them both.  Moench tried to make Nocturna a major player in the books but after he left (his last issues were just before Crisis on Infinite Earths) she wasn't mentioned again.  According to wikipedia, Nocturna was brought back in 2002 with a different back-story.  She's also been seen a bit in the New 52, but only in crowd shots with other villains afaik.

Detective Comics remained the monthly, and Batman on a eight-times-a-year plus reprint giants schedule, until the first issues cover-dated for 1974. Then they became bimonthly giants with new lead stories and reprint back-ups and appeared alternating months for over a year.

When they went back down to a standard size they both went monthly. Detective Comics apparently went to an eight-times-a-year schedule for its issues cover-dated for 1977, and to a bimonthly one the next year.

With the first issue cover-dated for 1979 Detective Comics was combined with Batman Family and became a bimonthly dollar giant (with all-new contents). The "Batman Family" logo was dropped after three issues but it remained a multiple-feature giant and became a monthly again in 1980

In the second half of 1980 Detective Comics went down to standard size.

I think Nocturna came back in the New 52 as a vampire -- she was the major villain in later issues of Batwoman. I didn't read the issues where she appeared, but that's my impression.

Prior to that, Kurt Busiek brought her back briefly in his Trinity weekly series. 

Batman began 1970 carrying only "Batman" stories (often two), but a few months on "Robin" became the normal back-up feature. (It sometimes skipped issues.) For a period in 1971-72 it also carried a reprint story like other DC titles of the period.

"Robin" was dropped after the first issue of the giant bimonthly period. When Batman went monthly again there was no back-up series. By that point DC titles were down to 18 story pages and they later went to 17.

1978 was the year of the planned DC Explosion. The plan was to increase the length of DC titles and add back-up features. Some issues with that format appeared but the line was suddenly cut back (the DC Implosion) and the plan dropped until 1980. Four Batman issues from 1978 had the format. Three of these had ""The Unsolved Cases of the Batman" back-up stories, and the other "The Public Life of Bruce Wayne". (This title is a variation on that of the long-running "The Private Life of Clark Kent" feature from the Superman titles.)

Elongated Man's Silver Age back-up series in Detective Comics ended in the issue cover-dated for Jan. 1969, and the title subsequently carried "Batgirl" or "Robin" back-up stories. An exception is #387, which was a thirtieth anniversary issue and instead reprinted the first Batman story. #401-#402 had "Robin and Batgirl". "Batgirl" became the regular back-up feature in the second half of 1970, when "Robin" moved to Batman. Like Batman the title also carried reprint back-ups for that period in 1971-72.

When the period ended so did "Batgirl". (In the last instalment she became a congresswoman. The feature subsequently came back in Batman Family.)  "Jason Bard", "Hawkman" and "Elongated Man" and "The Atom" then irregularly alternated in the back-up slot for a bit. ("The Atom" only appeared once.)

Archie Goodwin took over editing the title with the last issue before the alternating bimonthlies period. The back-up series became "Manhunter", written by Goodwin and drawn by Walt Simonson. This ran for six instalments and ended with a Batman-Manhunter team-up by the same team the next issue.

Then Schwartz became editor again and "Elongated Man", Robin" and "Hawkman" began to irregularly take turns in the back-up slot. They continued to appear when the title went back to standard size.

In 1976 a couple of "Man-Bat" and "Tim Trench"(1) instalments appeared. Then, after another "Elongated Man", the Calculator series of stories started. Each episode featured a different member of the JLA fighting the Calculator, culminating in a book-length Batman/Calculator story in #468.

Steve Englehart's run on Detective Comics started the next issue. #469 had an "The Origin of Dr. Phosphorus" back-up. Possibly the lead story was commissioned before the decision was taken to drop the back-ups. The stories then became book-length until the last two issues issues before it became a multi-feature giant. These were DC Explosion issues and had "Hawkman" back-ups.

Julie Schwartz relinquished the editorship of Detective Comics after the first "Batman Family" multi-feature giant issue in 1978, and Batman a few months later. His replacement on both titles was Paul Levitz.

When Detective Comics went back down to a standard size in 1980 "Batgirl", which had been running in it during giant period, continued as the normal back-up feature.

My apologies for any errors. Information from DC Indexes and the GCD.

(1) The first Tim Trench was a private eye character from the early Sekowsky issues of Wonder Woman who double-crossed Diana. The Detective Comics Trench was also a PI but arguably different. The instalment I read tried for a Mike Hammer vibe (without the sex) and was awful.

(corrected)

Very comprehensive Luke!  I tip my hat to you.  I feel like I did 1% of the research you did. :)

It's my pleasure. I read a lot of these features in Australian comics, and I like to find out where things actually came from.

Wow thanks guys,I knew this board wouldn't let me down.

I remember also reading I think Batman when I was a lad,and there was a short story bit where there would be a crime and basically you would see the clues and you'd turn over the page to see if you had worked it out right,this probably would have been early 80's.I don't know if this was just a one off story I remember or a regular feature

The Legionnaires have covered most of the facts. From a personal perspective, I have to note that when I was going to college in the mid-1970s, I began to toy with dropping comics. They weren't very good, especially my beloved Spider-Man titles, and it seemed like a good time. Then along came the Steve Englehart-Marshall Rogers Detective, and I remembered what I loved about the medium. They were head and shoulders above anything else I was reading at the time -- except Uncanny X-Men, maybe -- and it inspired me to hang in there until a renaissance of quality in the 1980s.

Also, Nocturna was indeed a villain in the recently canceled Batwoman. She wasn't a vampire, although she was really good at hypnosis. She also has some sort of light allergy, so she's essentially nocturnal and is physically pale like Batwoman herself.

I'm pretty sure that the idea of making Nocturna into a vampire came from a proposed episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

The producers have mentioned in a number of interviews that they turned in a script featuring a vampire version of Nocturna, and that FOX network standards and practices rejected it outright, telling them that they couldn't show any "bloodletting" in what was supposed to be a children's cartoon.  If you look around online, you can find some of Bruce Timm's concept sketches for the episode.


Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I think Nocturna came back in the New 52 as a vampire -- she was the major villain in later issues of Batwoman. I didn't read the issues where she appeared, but that's my impression.

Prior to that, Kurt Busiek brought her back briefly in his Trinity weekly series. 

donovan5 said:

I remember also reading I think Batman when I was a lad,and there was a short story bit where there would be a crime and basically you would see the clues and you'd turn over the page to see if you had worked it out right,this probably would have been early 80's.I don't know if this was just a one off story I remember or a regular feature

It's a traditional type of story. There was even a comic strip like that called Lance Lawson. James Lileks has many examples, and makes fun of it, here.

Apparently a one page story titled "Whodunit" starring Commissioner Gordon appeared in Batman #334. A two-page "Just A Moment Mystery" story appeared in Batman #341, and three more appeared in #347. According to the GCD, the #341 one featured Batman, and the #347 ones respectively starred Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Alfred. (The GCD gives the feature title of the #347 ones hyphens - "Just-A-Moment-Mystery" - which I mention because affects searches.) I've not read these, so I don't know for sure they were of that type, but that's how I'm betting.

Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty did one-page "Mike Mist Minute Mist-ery" stories in various places in the same period.

I've run across more bad ones of those than good ones. Not that I really blame anyone for that; I imagine they're hard to write. You've got to give enough information so that the reader really can figure it out, but not so much that it's obvious. Given that the audience isn't remotely homogeneous, that's tough.

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