Tag Archives: Jerry Robinson

Batman 37 – the Jokermobile

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A great cover, which introduces the Joker’s versions of Batman’s signature car, plane and signal on Batman 37 (Oct/Nov 46).

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The Joker equips himself with this gear as he rents his services out to other criminals, who can call for his help with the Joker-signal.  Batman eventually uses it to lure the Joker out of hiding.

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The basic premise of the story would be re-written and used as the basis for the original Killer Moth story in the 1950s.  While the Joker-plane and Joker-signal would not endure, the Jokermobile would continue to appear, with various modifications, all the way into the 80s.

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Batman 36 – the Penguin opens a restaurant, Alfred solo stories end, and Batman joins the Knights of the Round Table

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Batman and Robin visit the Arthurian era in Batman 36 (Aug/Sept 46).

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But the lead story in the issue features the Penguin, by Schwartz, Kane and Burnley.

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The Penguin opens his own restaurant in this tale.  He has the customers write out and sign their orders, which is how he collects their signatures, using them for a forgery scam.

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It’s a pretty straightforward story, but the art is strong enough to carry it. The story was adapted for the Batman tv series.

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The Adventures of Alfred had gone from a regular feature to a sporadic one, and comes to an end with this tale by Robinson.

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It follows the standard pattern, as Alfred befriends the bad guy and tries to catch an innocent man.  The thief he is looking for is British, so Alfred hits up all the restaurants in Gotham that serve traditional English cuisine as he searches for the man.

Alfred remains a regular cast member, and is featured in a number of Batman tales, but will not get another solo story until Batman Family, in the mid 70s.

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Carter Nichols is back, as Batman heads to the time of King Arthur in this Finger, Kane and Burnley story.

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Nichols looks almost evil as he sends them back in time, and though hypnosis is credited, the panel makes it look like it’s a super-power he possesses.  In this story, it’s Nichols who calls on Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, asking for help. A “newly discovered list of the Knights of the Round Table” includes the name Sir Hardi le Noir. Nichols sends Bruce and Dick back to King Arthur’s time to find out who this mysterious knight was.

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There is some great art, and the story reflects the usual Arthurian tropes, with Morgan Le Fay and Mordred as the villains of the tale, framing Merlin as a traitor. The mysterious knight turns out to be Batman himself, but rather than take the glory, Bruce tells Nichols that they failed to learn anything about Sir Hardi Le Noir.

 

Batman 32 – the Joker’s college initiation robberies, how Batman trained Robin, Alfred falls over a turtle, and Batman meets the Three Musketeers

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Batman and Robin visit with the Three Musketeers in Batman 32 (Dec/Jan 45/46).

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But that’s not the opening story in the issue.  The Joker’s tale has that honour, by Cameron and Sprang.  The story has the Joker plan his latest spree on fraternity initiation pranks.

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Batman falls into the Joker’s hands, and he forces Robin to perform humiliating acts, which also helps his crimes.  Of course, Batman eventually gets free and takes the Joker down.

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Robin gets the focus in the second story in the issue, as Finger and Sprang delve into his early days in depth.

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The tale begins with a recap of his origin.  His parents’ deaths, and how he works with Batman to capture Boss Zucco.  We see that Bruce intended Dick to help him on only that case.  Dick pleads to be allowed to continue as Robin, and eventually convinces Bruce to allow him.  But we see that Dick then had to undergo much more, extensive, training.

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Batman winds up getting captured by hoods, and Robin goes into action solo, using the skills and techniques he has learned, to track down and free Batman, earning the right to continue in the role.

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Alfred gets a fun tale in this one, by Samachson and Robinson.  Alfred is walking a friend’s dog, when he hears a cry from a soup factory.

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Checking it out, Alfred finds slugged by thieves, and winds up falling over a turtle.

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Alfred shows a lot more competence in this tale than in most of his adventures.  He deduces that the thieves must be from a rival soup company, and draws the attention of the police, by faking the tracking skills of the dog.  For once, he has done everything right to capture the bad guys, but Bruce and Dick do not believe him, and think he just stumbled through the situation again.

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Carter Nichols is back for another time travelling adventure, by Cameron and Sprang.

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Nichols sends them back to the time of the Three Musketeers, and decide to stop Constance Bonacieux from being poisoned.  Cameron shows his familiarity with Dumas’ novel, which makes this story much more entertaining that it might be.

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With Sprang’s art to help it along, this is one of the best of the Carter Nichols tales.

Batman 28 – the Joker’s secret street, and Alfred plays with handcuffs

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Batman 28 (April/May 1945) has about as generic a cover as it’s possible to be.

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Cameron and Robinson spin a Joker story that should be better than it is.  I like Robinson’s art as a rule, but it just doesn’t make the most of the situation in this story.

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The Joker opens a gambling club on Shadow Street.  It’s as crooked as one might expect, and Batman learns about it and wants to close it down, but cannot find it.

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The Joker runs other clubs on this street, including a Cafe of a Thousand Terrors, where guests hope to meet exotic and deadly people, then complain when they get robbed.  Idiots.

Shadow Street turns out to be located underground, accessible only through a secret elevator that lowers a car while making the driver think he is moving forward, but this is not shown particularly well.

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Samachson joins Robinson for this chapter of the Adventures of Alfred, but it’s not one of the better ones.  Alfred heads over to a friend’s place to show off his new pair of handcuffs.

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But his butler friend is not around, and instead Alfred comes across some safecrackers.  It’s not a bad story, but isn’t as funny as the past tales.

Batman 27 – the Penguin takes an apprentice, and Alfred and the pearl

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The cover of Batman 27 would seem to refer to some holiday, though it’s not really clear which one.

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Cameron, Burnley and Robinson open the issue with a story featuring the Penguin.

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He forces a young boy, who wants to be a writer, to become his apprentice in crime.

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The story never really takes off.  The boy is not good at crime, so the Penguin makes him study it, and he writes a book about it.  The Penguin then decides to publish the book, and steals paper, which gets Batman on his trail.  The one good scene comes towards the end, as Batman and the Penguin fight on the face of a clock.

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Once again it’s the Adventures of Alfred story that steals the show, thanks to Cameron and Robinson.  Alfred spots a shady looking man at a diner, who finds a pearl in his oyster.  A bidding war opens for it among the other customers.

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Alfred notices that the man picked up Alfred’s bill by mistake, and rushes out to correct this.  He stumbles into a mugging, and winds up stopping the whole criminal escapade.  The arresting officer credits Alfred with knowing that the pearl could not have been just found, as it was all shiny, meaning its outer layers had already been removed.

 

Batman 26 – the Cavalier steals a whale, Alfred goes shopping, and the Batman of the Future

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Batman, Robin and Alfred take a ride on the Bat-snowmobile on the cover of Batman 26 (Dec/Jan 44/45).

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The Cavalier, whose identity was exposed in his last appearance, a few months earlier in Detective Comics, returns in a story by Cameron and Sprang.

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The Cavalier adopts a new identity in this story, altering his appearance when not in costume.

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He also garbs his men to all resemble the Cavalier, which works extremely well. At one point, Batman has the real Cavalier in his hands, but believes him to just be another gang member.

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His big crime in the story is stealing an actual whale. Not that there is any sort of black market for whales, it’s more a case of showing that he is capable of such a theft. But Batman and Robin do track him down and finally send him to prison.

It seems that unlike other Batman foes, the Cavalier gets a very long sentence, as he does not return again until the 1970s.

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Schiff and Robinson send Alfred grocery shopping in this story, although he forgets his wallet back at home, which both Bruce and Dick notice.

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So the reader is one step up on Alfred, who believes that he has been pickpocketed by a man who bumped into him at the store.  Following him, he prevents the man from being muggers.  The man turns out to be a French chef, so Alfred returns with not only dinner, but a cook as well.

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Greene and Sprang look into the distant future for this story, which introduces Brane Taylor, and charts how he becomes the Batman of the Future.  I first read this story in a reprint in Batman Family, and Sprang’s art made me just fall in love with it.

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Sprang shows us an idyllic future which gets threatened when Earth is invaded by Saturnians.

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The destruction they cause reveals a time capsule from 1939. Opening it, Brane Taylor discovers film footage of Batman, which inspires him to adopt the identity and lead the forces of Earth against the invaders.

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This Batman hides his identity from his girlfriend, and also has a kid sidekick who takes on the Robin identity.

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Unlike the Batman of the present, Brane reveals his true identity to his followers, to convince them that any of them could be capable of doing what he does.

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The final panel of the story reveals that he is the descendant of Bruce Wayne.

The character proved popular, and returned in a story in 1951.

 

Batman 25 – the Joker and the Penguin team up, and Alfred gets hypnotized

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Batman 25 (Oct/Nov 44) returns to a generic cover image.

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That’s a real shame, as the issue contains the only Joker/Penguin team-up for decades to come, by Cameron, Burnley and Robinson.

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The Joker and the Penguin meet in prison, after both had been captured by Batman while trying to steal the Van Landorpf Emerald. They decide to break out of prison together, and compete for the emerald, with the winner getting sole rights to steal in Gotham City.

Batman figures that the two will go for the emerald again, and lays a trap for them. The villains both fall for the set-up, but the combination of them proves a bit too much for Batman and Robin, who fall into their hands.

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Batman plays on the egos of the two felons, getting them to compete against each other to prove which is the best, while at the same time working to free himself. It’s not a bad story, but neither the Penguin nor the Joker get much of a chance to play their respective shticks.

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Alfred gets another entertaining adventure, by Cameron and Robinson.  Alfred volunteers to be the subject for a stage hypnotist, who puts him under and gives him the command to think he is a great detective.

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While under the spell, Alfred figures out that the man working the box office had stolen the receipts, and apprehends him.  But he has no recollection of any of this once the spell is lifted.