Tag Archives: Charles Paris

Batman 163 – Bat-Girl becomes Batwoman II, and the Joker Jury

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An enjoyable Joker cover on Batman 163 (May 1964).

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Finger, Chic Stone and Paris have Alfred write one final tale of the second Batman/Robin team in this issue.

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Betty Kane is the central character in this story, now grown up, but still coming to see her aunt Kathy.  The sparks are flying between her and Dick Grayson once again.

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Batman goes into action against a gang that has a giant flying hand.  Betty adopts the identity of Batwoman II in order to help him, and is there when his mask falls off.  She sees that he is Bruce Wayne, and realizes that Dick must have been the original Robin.

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The second Batman and Robin team then go into action, with Batman and the new Batwoman, and catch the bad guys.

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The story ends with Betty and Dick now a couple, a happy ending to their storyline.

This is the final story of the second Batman/Robin team, and their final appearance, aside from a cameo in Hypertime in The Kingdom.

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Finger, Moldoff and Paris also spin a good Joker story in this issue.

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The Joker uses a giant vacuum in his latest crime spree, and sucks up Robin along with his loot.  Batman follows, but falls into a trap, with the giant Joker plants from the splash page.

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The best part of the story is the trial that the Joker holds, with duplicates in every single position in the court.  It’s almost Kafka-esque.

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Batman 162 – the Batman creature

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Another less than impressive cover mars Batman 162 (March 1964), for a story by Moldoff and Paris.

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A criminal scientist has built a machine that turns men into monsters.  He uses the beasts to steal for him.

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Batman tracks the monsters back to their lair, but winds up falling victim to the machine, and becomes a rampaging monster.

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Robin is unable to stop Batman, but Batwoman is able to tame the creature.

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Batman heads back to his master’s lair, so Batman and Batwoman use Bat-Hound to track him.  One they fin the cave, they hold off the beasts, and use the machine to restore everyone to normal.

This is the last story to feature Bat-Hound, aside from a small role in a World’s Finest story in a couple of years.

Batman 161 – the Mad Hatter’s revenge, and Bat-Mite’s own hero

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Bat-Mite and his new hero make the cover of Batman 161 (Feb. 64).

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The Mad Hatter returns in a story by Wood, Moldoff and Paris.  This is Jervis Tetch’s second appearance, following his debut in Detective Comics in 1956.

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While in his first story, the Mad Hatter was collecting hats, in this story he is using trick hats in his crimes.

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The crimes themselves are themed by the professions of the jury members who put him in jail after his first crime spree.  Once Batman figures out the logic behind the Mad Hatter’s thefts, he correctly anticipates his next victim.

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The Mad Hatter almost escapes thanks to a balloon, but Robin uses a hatpin to pierce it.  The Mad Hatter next has a small cameo in the late 60s, while this story was the basis for his first appearance on the Batman tv series.

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After his failures at working with Batman, Batwoman, Bat-Girl and Bat-Hound, Bat-Mite decides to create a hero of his very own in a story by Moldoff and Paris.

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Bat-Mite just randomly chooses a man and magically endows him with powers, but he proves completely useless next to Batman and Robin.  His next hero is a wrestler, and much better in a fight, but he still manages to mess up Batman’s plans, as they capture a hood Batman intended to trail back to his boss.

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Finally, Bat-Mite actually winds up giving powers to a member of the criminal gang that Batman and Robin have been chasing.

Bat-Mite does help the heroes take down the man he empowered.  But this marks Bat-Mite’s last appearance in either of the Batman books until the late 70s. He does continue to pop up in World’s Finest over the next few years, in team-ups with Mr. Mxyzptlk.

 

Batman 159 – Joker vs Clayface, and the youth of Bruce Wayne, Jr.

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Batwoman and Bat-Girl join Batman and Robin as they deal with a fued between the Joker and Clayface in Batman 159 (Nov. 63).  Finger, Moldoff and Paris are the creative team on this story, which features Clayface’s first appearance in this book.

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The tale begins as Clayface pulls off a robbery, even though his powers are not lasting as long as they used to, due to the synthetic version of the Clayface formula he has created.

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Clayface makes the news, which infuriates the Joker, who announces that he is a far better criminal.

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Somehow Clayface gets wind of this.  He makes himself look like the Joker for his next robbery attempt, only revealing that he is Clayface when he flees from the three Bats and Robin.

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The madness continues when the Joker adopts a series of tearaway costumes for his next robbery, trying to outdo Clayface in his ability to change during battle.

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The story’s resolution has Batman impersonate the Joker to capture Clayface, Batwoman and Bat-Girl having already caught the Joker on their own.  Not much gets made of this impressive feat, which is only revealed after the fact.

This is also Clayface’s last appearance before the big “New Look” change, although he does appear in World’s Finest Comics, teaming with Brainiac in a few months.

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Alfred writes the chronologically earliest story of the second Batman/Robin team, in a tale by Moldoff and Paris.

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The story delves into the early life of Bruce Wayne, Jr, beginning as Kathy Kane gives birth to the boy.

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Batwoman even gets some play in this tale, after being marginalized in the last few of Alfred’s stories.  Bruce Jr gives some good suggestions to his parents, but is not allowed to fight crime with them.

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At the climax of the story, Bruce reveals to some bragging teens that his father really is Batman.  Batman overhears this an intervenes, making his son look like a liar, and ensuring that the kids will never stop teasing him now.

Great story, Alfred.

Batman 158 – Bat-Hound gets super-powers

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Ace gets super-powers, and attacks his masters on the cover of Batman 158 (Sept. 63)as in the Moldoff and Paris story inside.

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Throughout much of the story, Batman and Robin have no idea how Ace gained his powers, and theorize that it has to do with some broken vials at the Batcave.  But the reader gets to see that Bat-Mite was behind Ace’s power up, and Bat-Mite invisibly follows the heroes and their dog around.

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As with many of Bat-Mite’s plans, it begins well, and the powered Bat-Hound proves useful and helpful.

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But then things take a turn for the worse.  The bad guys just happen to have a vial of something that causes Ace to suffer a complete personality switch.  So Bat-Hound winds up attacking Batman and Robin.  Good thing the guy just happened to have such a useful vial of unspecified fluid.

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Bat-Mite saves the day by removing Bat-Hound’s powers, which restores his normal personality.  Batman is not pleased.

Batman 157 – Mirror Man returns

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Floyd Ventris, the Mirror Man, returns in the pages of Batman 157 (Aug. 63), a full nine years after his debut, in the pages of Detective Comics.  Finger, Moldoff and Paris are the creative team.

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In his first outing, he had seen the face of Bruce Wayne, but was unable to convince anyone that Bruce was really Batman.  Now he has returned to prove it to the world.  Vicki Vale discovers Mirror Man’s plan, which reinforces her belief that Batman is Bruce Wayne.

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Batwoman has a small role in this story.  She is really just there to motivate Vicki into being “useful” to Batman.

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So Vicki hires an actor to play Bruce Wayne and mess up Mirror Man’s plans to expose his identity. Unfortunately, Batman also had made plans, having Alfred get into disguise as Bruce.  So while Batman falls into Mirror Man’s mirror trap, there are two Bruce Waynes on the loose.

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When Mirror Man discovers that Vicki hired an actor, this just backs up Mirror Man’s ideas.  But some more disguising helps confound the villain.  Alfred gets into the bat-costume, so when Mirror Man tries to reveal Bruce as a fraud, he winds up looking like a fool.

Mirror Man does make a comeback but not for over thirty years.

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.