Silver Sightings: When Batman was Engaged, Had His Heart Broken, Got Framed and Arrested....oh, and ECLIPSO was There, Too!

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It's no wonder that Bob Haney's B&B stories were so popular. They were completely crazy and didn't give a damn about any past continuity, personality or plausible scenarios.If those stories weren't already designated as taking place on  Earth-B, I'd say they happened on Earth-Mopee. It's a fun place to visit.

-- MSA, 

When I first read this story (such as it was) in Super-Team Family #5 (Jl'76), I knew that something was...off. I knew about Eclipso from Justice League of America #109 and Metal Men #48-49 so a battle between he and the Darknight Detective was going to be cool, right?

Ah, well. Best some lessons are learnt early.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #64 (Ma'66) Batman Versus Eclipso by Bob Haney and Win Mortimer, edited by George Kashdan.

The story opens when Batman saves a young woman from an arrow by lassoing it, which sets the tone right away! Apparently archery is the preferred method of assassination this season. Batman goes to the victim's aid only to be shocked that it's MARCIA CROSS, his ex-(and previously unknown) fiancé! After a passionate lip-lock, she explains that her last fiancé stole the Cat Emerald to become wealthy and prove that he was Batman's equal. However an international crime syndicate, CYCLOPS wanted the emerald, hunting them down and eventually killing him. Marcia is back in Gotham City to ask Batman to put the Cat Emerald back in the museum to clear his name and reverse his crime, instead of just returning it!

We get a flashback where Marcia was a spoiled (and possibly stoned) playgirl, climbing up a bridge when Batman brings her down and spanks her! This makes Batman worthy of her respect (and a clue that she needs some sort of therapy). She later saves his life, kinda, because she's a "crack pistol shot" and becomes his new PARTNER! Holy Third Wheel! Batman decides that he wants to marry Marcia as Batman! She accepts only to leave Gotham for Europe, breaking his Bat-heart into a million jagged little pieces!

Back in the present, thinking with his utility belt and not his cowl, Batman agrees to "unsteal" the Cat Emerald, which he does rather easily. Later he goes to rendezvous with Marcia as he's been lonely since Robin's been away! Yikes!

Unfortunately he gets all dressed up with no place to go as Marcia never shows up but Commissioner Gordon does, to arrest him for stealing the Cat Emerald, complete with a photograph of him doing it! The Confused Crusader tries to explain that he wasn't taking the gem but putting it back but the emerald is missing! Gordon gets a good laugh out of that statement but is utterly convinced of Batman's guilt! Batman goes into custody quietly

His heart shattered again and his spirit broken, Batman sits distraught over Marcia's betrayal. His famed utility belt is taken from him but apparently no attempt has been made to unmask or fingerprint him. Suddenly he overhears two prisoners in the adjoining cell, GORILLA GRIMES and Frankie Malone, speaking about a MISTER E arriving to meet with a QUEEN BEE and that they know about Batman's arrest!

Next: Isn't There Supposed to be Someone Else in This "Story"? or Talk About Planning for the Future! 

...Did Mortimer draw that original B&B cover , too ?

No, it was Gil Kane.
 
Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Did Mortimer draw that original B&B cover , too ?

B&B # 64 (Part Two)

As Batman sits in his jail cell, onlookers are amazed that another new skyscraper has been built. It's named Apis Enterprises and it is in reality the criminal base of operations know as "The Hive".

By an amazing coincidence, all this is going on the same time as a solar eclipse This causes a big commotion at the ruins of Solar City where DOCTOR BRUCE GORDON is strapped into  chair by Professor Bennett and his daughter (and Bruce's love) MONA. They are about to set off a high intensity light burst as the evil being known as ECLIPSO is beginning to emerge from Bruce's body. Suddenly jet-pack wearing BEE-MEN smash into the lab, disrupting the procedure and fly off with the Demon of Darkness who seems to be expecting this to happen!

Back at the HIVE, the QUEEN BEE begins "the complete criminal domination of Gotham City" by introducing Mister E ho is none other than Eclipso! He has a plan in mind but is missing one person: Gorilla Grimes. So they start a crime spree while waiting that drive Gordon and the GCPD  into an impotent haze in one day! If only they could release Batman to do all the work as usual help stop the crime wave but they can't but have to let Gorilla Grimes go. Batman immediately breaks out of jail and trails Grimes to the Apis Building where he gets ambushed by Grimes. After a brawl, Grimes knocks Batman into a gas trap. As he lays unconscious in front of Eclipso and the Queen Bee, she is now fearful that CYCLOPS will punish them for the Caped Crusader's escape. The Sinister Split-Face does not care as he drops Batman down a chute into Gotham River to drown but the plunge revives him. As he rests on a barge, he's spotted by a police boat who shots first trying to get promotions!

Gordon is enraged by news of Batman's demise (and the coming lawsuit!) but quickly cams down as Doctor Bruce Gordon and company arrive to offer assistance with their Eclipso problem. The Commissioner makes a joke about the two being related but shockingly they're not!

Meanwhile Eclipso makes a move on the Queen Bee who is repulsed by the thought. As he contemplates her elimination, they are confronted by a  CYCLOPS agent who informs them that he is taking over and that they're out! Angrily, Eclipso attacks the agent, planning to kill him before they can be killed. Suddenly the CYCLOPS agent is unmasked as Batman! As he's trapped on a fast-moving walkway, he's rescued by the Queen Bee who in the least surprising twist is actually Marcia (Almost Mrs. Batman) Monroe! She gives some story about getting involved with CYCLOPS to save her father whose apparently no saint either! And she said that she framed him to keep him out of the way and safe! The amazing thing is that Batman buys it! She gives him the Cat Emerald (remember) and he tries to escape the building only to get attacked by Eclipso with the elevator!

Batman breaks to the outside via a glass wall, glides to safety, knocks out two Bee-Men with a batarang and sees Eclipso arrive on a window-washer's car! Below Bruce Gordon convinces Commissioner Gordon to let him confront his Bitter Half on a fire truck ladder! Bruce Gorgon hurls a light grenade which blinds everyone so they can't see Eclipso driven back into Bruce's body as he dives into a firemen's net!

In the end, the HIVE is cleaned out, Batman hands the Cat Emerald to Comm. Gordon which somehow clears him, Eclipso is rendered harmless for now, Bruce Gordon's secret is safe and Marcia Monroe fades into Comic Book Limbo or Earth-B, if you prefer!

My thoughts:

  • In my opening statement, I wrote that Marcia's last name was Cross. It is, in fact, Monroe! I must have Sex In the City on my mind!
  • The lassoing the arrow bit was unbelievable even as a kid! Unless it was Wonder Woman!
  • The Cat Emerald? And Catwoman didn't steal it already?
  • What's with Batman and spanking??
  • Sorry, Batman would never work with someone who used a gun.
  • He wanted to make Marcia "Mrs. Batman"! Take that, Vicki, Selina and Kathy!
  • And he loved her so much but he never revealed his secret identity to her, thankfully!
  • Bet no one brought this up with Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and John Broome!
  • If Eclipso being trapped in Bruce Gordon was a secret, how did the HIVE know when and where to get him? And how does Eclipso agree to the HIVE when he's not corporeal at the moment? How much long-range planning does he do?
  • Take over Gotham City? What about the Bat-Villains?
  • Gordon and the GCPD are really helpless without Batman, aren't they?
  • And despite everything Batman has done for them, they will shoot him dead without a second thought! #SuperHeroesLivesMatter!
  • Marcia Monroe was forced to become the Queen Bee to save her father who probably spoiled her rotten in the first place!
  • Giving Gordon the Cat Emerald doesn't prove that Batman was framed! It proves that Batman had it!
  • Batman never meets Bruce Gordon.
  • You could have used Mirror Master or Sinestro and had the same kind of story!
  • If this was a way to promote Eclipso's series in House of Secrets, it didn't work. #77 (Ap'66) was out around this time but his feature was dropped after #80 (O'66).
  • The last page footnote mentioning PRINCE RA-MAN, MIND MASTER was the closest he ever got to a Justice Leaguer!

...Marcia , Marcia , Marcia :-0 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...Bob Haney liked characters talking in this sort of " hipster "/" swinger "-isms , didn't he ? Baby .

He was probably encouraged to do it because he could connect so well with the hep cats in the audience. Their attempts to sound current were pretty painful, no matter where it showed up.

-- MSA

Eclipso could have arranged his abduction with CYCLOPS the last time he was out. He could be certain that if he were forced to remerge with Bruce he would re-emerge during the eclipse.

The story was briefly retold, using panels from the original issue, in Batman #208. This was a giant on the theme of the women in Batman's life which had a mix of retold stories, reprinted stories, and partly reprinted stories, with a framing narration by Mrs Chilton, who raised him.

I like Marcia for her pistol and fur coat approach to crimefighting. The scene makes me wish she'd had a longer time as his girl. I know Batman doesn't like guns, but he likes women, she's beautiful, she's rich, and he doesn't have to be a fanatic about it.

Gordon and the GCPD are really helpless without Batman, aren't they?

I was just starting high school when the Batman tv series came on, but I remember my wise old World History teacher wondering "What do they pay that police commissioner anyway, fifty grand? And anything worse than some kid playing hooky comes up, they have to call in Batman."

It wasn't just Batman. We've discussed already on this site how Reed and Ben tried to spank Sue in an early FF. Also saw it in a number of old comedies, usually when a woman decided she wanted a job and kept putting off her boyfriend's attempts to get her to marry him and quit. And Desi spanked Lucy in an I Love Lucy episode for getting into his show after he'd ordered her not to. Clearly it was considered a good thing to do at the time, or the Comics Code wouldn't have permitted it.

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