Deck Log Entry # 183 The Silver-Age Challenge---So, You Think You Know the Batman?

The summer-quiz bug bit me again, gang, although I have to admit, the season almost got by me.  I got the idea for a couple of really good questions early in the year, but it took me several months to fill out my card.  By then, I had to finish my two-parter on Silver-Age mysteries.


But, hey, August---even the last week---counts as summer, right?


Last year, the subject of my quiz was the granddaddy of super-heroes, Superman.  So this year I thought it would be fitting to tackle DC’s second-biggest cash cow---the Masked Manhunter himself, the Batman.  Now, sure, all you veterans know the rules to how this goes.  But just to make it official---and for the benefit of new visitors . . . you know, folks who meant to click “Fluit Notes” and hit my link by mistake . . . who want to give it a try---here are the rules.


The big one is that only Silver-Age knowledge counts.  And you need to know that I define the Silver Age as beginning late in 1956 and ending in 1968.  That means my questions were sourced from DC comics published between the cover-dates of October, 1956 (Showcase # 4) and December, 1968.  Also eligible for plucking was any other literature published by DC---form letters, print ads, and so forth---during that period.  But you can breathe a little easier this time, because I got all my questions for this quiz from the comics alone.


Now here’s what trips up most of the quiz-takers:  post-Silver-Age information doesn’t count.  For example, if I ask, “How did Jonathan and Martha Kent die?”, the correct response is “From the Caribbean fever plague.”  Any revisions to the fates of the Kents that have come along since would not be correct as an answer.   I say this mostly as a friendly warning.  You see, I don’t prohibit anyone from researching my questions through a search engine---heck, I expect it---and that’s fine.  One of the characteristics I require for an acceptable quiz-question is that it be highly Google-resistant.


So, sure, run my posers through your favourite search engine.  But, beware!  The overwhelming majority of hits you’ll receive will reflect the modern information.  Time and time again, that has fouled up even the old pros.


Lastly, sure, I miss stuff, too.  If you submit an answer different from the one I had in mind and it accurately addresses the question and it comes from Silver-Age material, then I will gladly credit you with a correct response.  But you have to be able to cite your reference.  “But I always thought . . . .” answers won’t cut it.


Let’s see . . . I believe that covers it.  We’re ready to find out how much you guys know about the Silver-Age Batman.  By the way, I came up with only eight questions this time, but as always, I’ll start off with a lob . . . .



1.  In 1964, the “New Look” Batman’s chest insignia was changed by enclosing the bat-emblem in a yellow ellipse.  In what story did the Caped Crusader wear the yellow-oval insignia for the first time?


2.  Who was the first villain in Batman’s rogues’ gallery to actually appear, “on camera” and not behind the scenes, in an issue of Justice League of America?


3.  Who was given a Batgirl costume from the Dynamic Duo, and why?


4.  What foe did Batman and Robin help Superman defeat on the Dynamic Duo's first visit to the bottled city of Kandor?


5.   Also in 1964, Bruce Wayne finally got tired of trudging up that long winding staircase from the Batcave to Wayne Manor and installed an elevator.  In order to keep Aunt Harriet and any guests in the mansion from discovering it, how was the elevator disguised?


6. According to Alfred the butler's fictional accounts of the Second Batman and Robin Team, what was the adult Dick Grayson's occupation?


7.  What recurring character in the Batman mythos did not have a last name---until the Batman television show supplied one?  After that, it became the character’s surname in the comics, too.


8.  We started with a famous first; let’s finish with a not-so-famous last:  what story marked the last Silver-Age appearance of Ace, the Bat-Hound?



You’ll have the usual three or four weeks to come up with your answers.  Your time starts . . .




Good luck!

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In The Adventures of Superman there was only a few years difference between Jimmy and Clark.

Yes, that was what I needed, thanks. And even allowing for the vagaries of age in the DCU, Jimmy shouldn't have been young enough in JIMMY OLSEN 46 to pass for an orphan boy.

Commander Benson said:

Fraser Sherman said:

Did Weisinger or anyone give Jimmy a definitive age?

As a matter of fact, he did.  And you may find the previous discussion on that matter interesting.

You'll find it here:

5.Perhaps, there was a painting in front of the elevator? In the images I've found the door is shown open and there seems to have been nothing concealing it. But according to "The Two-Way Gem Caper" it connects to the Wayne living room, so you'd think they'd be something, and in some images there seems to be a frame around it, which is odd for a blank section of wall. In the TV show the bat-poles were behind a sliding bookcase, but I can't see room for one in the comics images.

I've a question for my fellow contestants, and a comment:

-I don't have the story from Justice League of America #5. Does King Clock wear Clock King's costume, and does he, as opposed to his robot, appear on panel?

-"Aunt Harriet" seems to be a legitimate answer to question 7. But there were two other characters who acquired surnames via the TV show.

The first is Mr Freeze, who in the comics started as Mr Zero. He only appeared once before he appeared in the show, but he's a recurring character now. His real name is Victor Fries, and that surname is a homophone for "Freeze". But the net tells me there was something in the show about his name being Dr Art Schivel.

The second is Chief O'Hara. I don't have many New Look stories. It might be there was an unnamed character in them who can be identified with O'Hara, like the newsboy in early Superman stories who can be identified with Jimmy Olsen. He could be someone Gordon calls "Chief", as in one of the strip panels here. (But it was the show that relaunched the newspaper strip, so that panel doesn't precede it.) Wikipedia says some American cities have a chief of police who answers to a Commissioner, and Gotham might have one. There are a couple of "chief"s in Batman #1, in fact, in the Joker stories. But I don't mean this as an answer, as I've not documented the existence of such a character (and again, "Aunt Harriet" seems correct).

...Luke , what you link to rather counters the theory that Schwartz did not intend to make the Outsider Alfred before the TV series forced it .

  Oh and BTW ~ every aspect of the Outsiders' powers in all of his stories sure contradicts the traditional fandom narrative that the anew Look " threw out the wildly outlandish/non-Earthbound ' mad scientists and spacemen "'aspects of the Jack Miller era Batman " , huh ?

  Let's see , turning the Batmobile into a bucking bronco , starting to turn Robin into a coffin, I could go on at length I'm sure ~ One mad scientists' machine can turn a normal human into someone with powers like this ! Yes sir , film noir gritty realism at its finest...

  Oh , BTW , when was the concept that Alfred's skill with making up , etc. , came from being from an English family of long-time " storming the provinces " traveling hardscrabble actors well-trained in accents , etc. start ? Probably considerably post-SA , I suppose .

I once posted a theory of my own about the Outsider here (in the comments), but it's just a suggestion. My recollection is Alfred was depicted as having spent time in the theatre in his debut story, but it calls him a ham.

"Here Comes Alfred" did indeed establish Alfred as an actor, albeit a mediocre one. But even a mediocre talent could be good with stage makeup. I don't recall anything about coming from a family of actors,but I'm sure someone on this board will.

The Clock King in JLA was a Green Arrow foe, not Batman, though Robin did face an unrelated Clock—hmm, since the Commander mention the Batman "mythos" could he be the last-name character? I though of Chief O'Hara, but he seemed a stretch.

If Mr. Freeze got a name in the show, yeah, I think he'd count, even if it's not the one that stuck. I don't think calling himself Mr. Freeze counts though as it's presented as a nom du crime, no more a real name than Mr. Zero (likewise I wouldn't say Dr. Light's real name was given in his first appearance as there's no indication he is, in fact, Arthur Light Ph.D0.

There are several Batman clock foes; clockmaker villains in a story in Batman #6 (I owe this case to the GCD), the Robin foe, another Clock from Detective Comics #265 (the GCD says details of this story were recycled from one of the Robin Clock ones), and the Clockmaster (who I learned about from here). Bill Finger co-wrote the Clock King episodes of the TV show. The hourglass trap is from the Green Arrow Clock King story. This makes one wonder if all these stories were by Finger, but the GCD credits the Green Arrow story to Ed Herron, the Clockmaster one to Jerry Coleman, and the first Robin one, tentatively, to Don Cameron. If there's no ambiguity in how he (or his robot) is drawn King Clock must be Green Arrow's foe. Thanks, Fraser.


I think it was eventually established the Puppet Master's last name was Masters because Alicia's was, but Stan never gave him a real name and only said "First name unknown, but last name might be Masters."

Fraser Sherman said:

I don't recall anything about coming from a family of actors,but I'm sure someone on this board will.

There are panels here from his debut story, in which he says butlering is the family calling and he forsook it to be an actor, and Batman #216, in which he calls his older brother "Wilfred Pennyworth" a veteran actor.

Those stories seem to contradict each other, Alfred's father complaining about him becoming an actor if he already had a brother in the business, but it would make sense if Wilfred did poorly in his career. Boris Karloff's brothers all went into their family business and tried to talk him out of acting because he had an uncle who went into show business and was unsuccessful. After becoming famous he was afraid to visit them because he thought they'd be opposed to him playing monsters, and discovered they were proud he was famous, they'd been against his acting thinking he'd end up broke and borrowing money from them, not, as he'd always assumed, because he didn't go into the family business with the rest of them.

The implication was that Jarvis Pennyworth expected one of his two sons to follow the family business of being a gentleman's gentleman.  Presumably, Wilfred, the older son, opted for the theatre, instead. Thus, Jarvis Pennyworth pinned his hopes on his younger son, Alfred, to uphold the family tradition. However---probably lured by his older brother's experiences---Alfred, too, became an actor.

No doubt, when Jarvis lay on his deathbed, Alfred was the easier of the two sons to guilt into quitting the theatre and becoming a butler.

It's possible that Wilfred Pennyworth was a "Leading Man" while Alfred was more "Character Actor" thus making the decision to leave the stage a bit easier. Also since we know Alfred fought in WWII (and got Mlle. Marie pregnant, if you believe that and I have my doubts!) with no knowledge that Wilfred did the same, it can be inferred that Alfred had a stronger sense of duty and responsibility than his older brother.

While Bruce remembered Jarvis, he had no memories of Alfred. Either Jarvis left his family in England and worked in Gotham City or Alfred was an adult when his father worked for the Waynes.

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