Batman 156 – Dr. Hurt debuts

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An evocative cover for Batman 156 (June 1963).

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The Finger, Moldoff and Paris tale begins with Batman transported to an alien world.  He believes himself to be all alone until Robin suddenly appears.

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They get into a fight with a huge robotic alien, and Robin gets crushed by a boulder.

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Then the story takes an abrupt change, as we discover that Batman was undergoing a medical research test on the effects of sensory deprivation.  The doctor running the tests is not named, but many year later Grant Morrison would bring the character back under the name Dr. Hurt.

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He is not portrayed as a villain in this story, but he does seem to show a sadistic delight in the psychological trauma Batman has undergone, and muses about what the longer term effects will be.

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And, indeed, Batman winds up suffering from flashback hallucinations from the experience.

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He loses his nerve to such a degree that he has nightmares, and winds up having Ace the Bat-Hound sleep in his room for security.

Robin and Alfred are both worried about the situation.  But when Robin finds himself in actual danger, Batman snaps out of his mental state in order to rescue him.

The unusual nature of this story made it perfect for Morrison’s re-interpretation of it.

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