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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When they combined DC and Marvel, did a butler named Alfred Jarvis appear anywhere, at least get a mention?

Actor. Writer. Detective. It does seem like only something like a very strong sense of family duty (like a promise to his dying father) would get someone so adventurous to choose butler for a career. And working for Batman gives him ample opportunities to indulge in all of his other opportunities.

Ron M. said:

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."

Since they introduced Alicia as the Puppet Master's step-daughter, whom he despised, I don't think it's automatic that he gave her his last name.

It's interesting Stan hinted he might have but never said definitely. Like he never told us who was stronger, Thor or the Hulk. I remember on a letters page in the 60s he said he didn't like saying too many things were definite because he wanted readers to use their imagination. Gary Gygax did that in the original first edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Later editions (after he was fired) spelled things out a lot more. The game became more ordered and less chaotic but also less creative.

This has no bearing on the answers, but I notice in the World's Finest Comics #141 story the oval (which was more a circle there) wasn't added to the flashback panels in pt 2 p.2, although it is there in the wall mural (photo mural?) on pt 2 p.4. Also, Superman had already appeared as Nightwing, and had a circle around his chest symbol in that role. Perhaps that's where the idea for the chest oval came from.

The cover of World's Finest Comics #100 seems to be a variation on that of EC's Weird Science #12. Pardon me if this has been pointed out on the board before. (They may have a pulp magazine model. I don't remember. Imagery of a little person standing on someone's palm is fairly common.)


If the not-yet-correctly answered question is 5, it occurs to me that the answer needn't be from a Bat-title. It could be from World's Finest Comics or Justice League of America (or even elsewhere, but they'd be the most likely places).

In the World's Finest Comics #166 story, set in the far future, the lift-beam to the Batcave on the asteroid Baltorr is behind a swinging bookcase.

...Luke , did you post the Link to Robby Reed's discussion of the Bat-series ? I skimmed it , could not get the first page ~ I have heard the story about " a full screening* of the Bat-serial* " (At the Playboy Mansion , it says , tho I've maybe heard of an NYC theatrical showing of it ? inspiring the series concept  ~ However , I've also heard a story of perpetually #3 ABC , after having success with the twice-weekly serial PEYTON PLACE , deciding to try an adventure serial (and , BTW , wasn't the series that BATMAN partly replaced , SHINDIG , itself twice-weekly by its end ???) ~ and first thinking of doing DICK TRACY , and then , when that fell through , going with the Bat-fella .

I believe in 1966 the Tracy strip introduced a rather Two-Face-ish+ villain , Haf-Face or similar (Probably could be called DT " paying themselves back for " inspiring " many of Batty's baddies ???)

*-Incidentally , I have heard of some theatrical showings of the CAPTAIN MARVEL serial during that period ~ I assume that DC's stomping down of the character precluded cutting together a featurization in  '66 when Republic did just that with many of their serials , creating uniform " 90-minute commercial TV slot " features of them ~ That the CM serial could be shown non-changed , but a new reworking of it was taboo ?

**-IMDB lists the BATMAN serial as being theatrically re-released as late as the early 60s ! Was this for the benefit of the most isolated markets/second-run-cheapo theaters or an early manifestation of  ' nostalgia/camp " ?

+-BTW , it must've been listed here , but I saw it first , and then bought it , up in Seattle during my sojourn there , I don't recall anybody mentioning it here - That deluxe/Prestige Format DC comic release BATMAN '66: THE LOST EPISODE that adapted a never-filmed Harlan Ellison BATMAN story submitted for the first season, Len Wein scripting and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez on art  (along with a reprint of Ellison's text-only outline from which the adaptation was done - which had been , in fact , printed in an Ellison book collection before , though something I checked just now said otherwise , and  G- l's noninked original pencils , all for $9.99) of Two-Face - an entirely different story from the also never-filmed Clint Eastwood Two-Face story planned for the third or nonmade fourth season that I've heard of and which  Ihad never heard of Ellison having any connection with , the story of this Ellison '65 one completely different from from the " Eastwood '68 " and Eastwood not even mentioned in the " liner notes " for the comic laying out the whole back story .

  Um.........DID anybody here buy it ??? I'm not that interested in th B'66 series in general myself , but many here seem to adore it-Oh , the Irony !

He was called Haf and Haf.

Pretty sure they released Captain Marvel on one of those Super 8 movies they sold in Famous Monsters. They were only a few minutes though.

...Thank you , Ron .

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Luke , did you post the Link to Robby Reed's discussion of the Bat-series ?

It was in the "Anything" thread. Would you be offended if I asked the moderators to move this discussion over there? I don't want to hijack this thread. The first page is here.

It says Bruce Wayne's Aunt Harriet on page three.

She calls Dick her nephew when she arrives at the mansion in Detective Comics #328.

If you ever wondered about the wisdom of changing one's uniform to include a bulls-eye over one's heart, Batman's logic is explained here, from Detective Comics #241, January 1957:

In this particular story, Batman wears a differently-colored uniform each time he appears, for a reason to be explained at the end of the story. Only his whities had a target on them, however.

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