Silver Sightings: Batman's Silver Age: What Took So Long?

Beyond Commander Benson's examination of Batman's "New Look" period which began in 1964, I was always puzzled that the Caped Crusader was so behind the times as far as his Silver Age "entry" in Detective Comics #327 (Ju'64). View the cover of Detective #326 and #327 and Batman #163 and #164 below. They are a month apart but could be years apart for all anyone might know!

The Silver Age proper began with Showcase #4 (O'56) with the revised Flash and it took three years until Flash #105 in 1959. By that time, we saw the debut of the new Green Lantern, changes in Aquaman and Green Arrow and Superman evolve throughout that time with the introduction of Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Bizarro and other elements into his mythos.

Yes it could be said of Batman as well with Batwoman, Bat-Hound and Bat-Mite but they corresponded, more or less, to the additions of Superman and were not innovative to the character.

But by 1964, we had the Justice League, Adam Strange, the Atom, Hawkman, Metal Men and Doom Patrol. Lois Lane got her own title. None of the new Bat-spinoffs did. Batman was being left behind despite appearing in both World's Finest Comics and Justice League of America. Indeed, Batman was already "revised" by being in those titles. Yet his own books were hardly on the same level, being stuck as they were in the 1950s. Truth be told, I enjoyed the reprints on those 50s tales but I was given the best of them to read.

So why the five-year wait to something different with Batman? They made changes to Superman albeit not artistically though you could see a maturation to Curt Swan's work. 

When Julius Schwartz began a new age of Super-Heroes in 1956, the higher-ups at DC/National were not convinced. That's why it took the Flash three more tryouts in Showcase (#8, #13, #14) to achieve his solo book again. When he did, Mort Weisinger didn't want Superman to appear staid and boring so he and his writers contrive to introduce something new to the various Super-titles every six months or so to see what was successful or not. But they always could be easily dropped.

With Batman, perhaps they did not want to make such drastic changes to their Number Two Guy. If all these new titles bombed, at least Batman stayed the same, a comforting constant to their readers! But with the stunning books coming out of DC in the early 60s, sales on Batman and especially Detective were getting dangerously low. Rumor had it that Detective might get cancelled! Finally the Caped Crusaders replaced his sci-fi alien adventures and his copycat supporting cast and gained a yellow oval on his chest and more cerebral stories fitting the Darknight Detective!

Could anyone see them doing a TV series based on the Pre-New Look Batman? And did that thematic changes help pave the way for Teen Titans? And if there was no change, would Batman have become DC's Ant-Man?

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Two amusing things are that the youth serum got rid of Gordon's mustache and that Gordon and White are inside the Batcave, somehow not learning Batman's secret identity.

 ...I have read that in the mid-60s, then-perpetually number three network ABC had great success with the twice-weekly nightime soap opera (Thrice-weekly at it's height) soap opera PEYTON PLACE. Following that up, ABC decided to try a likewise-split adventure serial...and first wanted to do DICK TRACY - a more respectable newspaper comic, not comic book, character and one who had had far more media visibility in the preceding years. When that didn't go through, ABC/Dozier decided to try the Caped Crusader.

A DICK TRACY pilot was shot in 1967 with Victor (King Tut) Buono as the villain, Mister Memory. And Bonnie Braids was to have been played by Eve (Jan Brady) Plumb!

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

 ...I have read that in the mid-60s, then-perpetually number three network ABC had great success with the twice-weekly nightime soap opera (Thrice-weekly at it's height) soap opera PEYTON PLACE. Following that up, ABC decided to try a likewise-split adventure serial...and first wanted to do DICK TRACY - a more respectable newspaper comic, not comic book, character and one who had had far more media visibility in the preceding years. When that didn't go through, ABC/Dozier decided to try the Caped Crusader.

They used the amnesia standby where Perry and Gordon don't remember what occurred when they were evil!

And ask the Golden Age Air Wave and the Jaguar about reappearing mustaches!

Richard Willis said:

Two amusing things are that the youth serum got rid of Gordon's mustache and that Gordon and White are inside the Batcave, somehow not learning Batman's secret identity.

Mustache?  Did someone say mustache?

Which I NEVER noticed as a kid. Only did that when we got a better TV!

Dave Palmer said:

Mustache?  Did someone say mustache?

...I've heard of such a pilot, but I'm not referring to that.



Philip Portelli said:

A DICK TRACY pilot was shot in 1967 with Victor (King Tut) Buono as the villain, Mister Memory. And Bonnie Braids was to have been played by Eve (Jan Brady) Plumb!

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

 ...I have read that in the mid-60s, then-perpetually number three network ABC had great success with the twice-weekly nightime soap opera (Thrice-weekly at it's height) soap opera PEYTON PLACE. Following that up, ABC decided to try a likewise-split adventure serial...and first wanted to do DICK TRACY - a more respectable newspaper comic, not comic book, character and one who had had far more media visibility in the preceding years. When that didn't go through, ABC/Dozier decided to try the Caped Crusader.

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