Batman 22 – Alfred falls for Catwoman, Alfred solo stories begin, and the Cavalier returns

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Alfred gets a prominent place on the cover of Batman 22 (April/May 44), as his solo series begins.

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Alfred also gets a featured role in the Catwoman story in this issue, by Schwartz, Kane and Robinson.

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Calling herself Belinda, Catwoman has started working as a maid, while learning as much as she can from other domestics, giving the information to her gang so they can rob the rich.  She uses her wiles on Alfred, who is smitten with her.  To impress her, he claims to be Batman, and even dresses in his costume.

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When it comes time for the crime, she is back in her black cat outfit.  Batman and Robin figure out that Catwoman is Belinda from a poem Alfred writes her, expressing her feline qualities.

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Although Batman and Robin are in the story, and stop her gang, it’s Alfred in the Batman costume who confronts and captures Catwoman, giving her a spanking before turning her over to the police.

Catwoman returns in these pages, but not for a couple of years.  That spanking must have really affected her.

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Alfred begins his own solo series in this issue, in a tale by Mort Weisinger and Robinson, which sets the pattern for the rest of his stories.  While researching criminology in a library he encounters another man doing the same thing, but also overhears two men plotting a murder.

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The men Alfred suspected were really writers working on a script, while the man Alfred befriended is the actual criminal.  He stops the bad gut from robbing a safe, but more by accident than design.  Not that he admits to this, claiming his superior detective skills allowed his triumph.

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The Cavalier, who debuted a few months earlier in Detective Comics, makes his return in this story by Finger, Burnley and Charles Paris.

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The Cavalier displays a lot of arrogance in this story, toying with Batman and Robin.  He captures both of them, but allows them to escape, and only held them so that he could give them a clue to his next robbery.  They assume he is after a real gem, but in fact he steals a worthless fake.  The games in this story are emphasized by the fact that Mortimer Drake and Bruce Wayne dine together, with no idea that they are the Cavalier and Batman.

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This second appearance is on par with his debut, creating an excellent villain, an equal for Batman, who he is incapable of predicting or catching.

The Cavalier returns the following month in Detective Comics.

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