Tag Archives: Joe Giella

Batman 214 – Batman the eligible bachelor

bat_14

Batgirl plays a role in the Robbins, Novick and Giella story in Batman 214 (Aug. 69).

bat_14_001

A criminal organization decide to get Batman out of the way by getting him married off, figuring that no wife would allow him to spend so much time out fighting crime.  They choose a woman, Cleo, to put their plan into action.

bat_14_002

The mob clearly has a lot of money behind them, as Cleo is able to hire an ad agency to promote the idea that Batman should get married.  It becomes a huge media blitz.

bat_14_003

Batgirl gets suspicious of the situation, and so she joins the group of women demanding that Batman get married, trying to find out what is behind it.

bat_14_004

Once the media blitz has taken hold, and every woman in Gotham is throwing herself at Batman, Cleo steps up the game, encountering Batman a couple of times, and showing herself to be strong and independent, while remaining aloof.  As Cleo planned, this makes her seem far more appealing than any of the other women.

bat_14_005

But as these stories tend to go, Cleo winds up really falling in love with Batman.  She turns on the mob when they move in for the kill, and Batgirl also helps out, exposing Cleo’s schemes.

It’s painfully sexist, but a bit better than many of the other stories along the same lines.

Advertisements

Batman 210 – Catwoman trains her crew

bat_10

Neal Adams did the cover for Batman 210 (March 1969), and designed her new costume.

bat_10_001

Robbins, Novick and Giella spin this tale, which sees Catwoman recruit a number of women about to leave prison.  I really love the names these women call themselves by.  Florid Flo is my favourite.

bat_10_002

Catwoman trains the women to be more athletic, making them her new gang.  There is a weird “women’s lib” element to this, forming a gang that is all female.  Batman and Robin have already deduced Catwoman’s goal, a large pearl being brought to Gotham by Nepalese royalty.

bat_10_003

While on the cover we see women dressed in a variety of cat-suits, in the story itself, Catwoman garbs her gang in costumes identical to hers.  This is actually a bit more practical, as the goal is to make it more difficult for Batman and Robin to determine which one really is Catwoman.

bat_10_004

As it turns out, her decoy gang is not really that important for the climax of the story, as Batman has laid a trap for her, with a fake pearl, and then telling her the real one is in a ball of yarn, which she traps herself with trying to unravel the sticky twine.

Catwoman next appears in the Black Canary story in Adventure Comics in three years.

Batman 209 – animals in the Batcave

bat_09

Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Joe Giella share the story that works hard to justify the bizarre cover for Batman 209 (Feb. 69).

bat_09_001

The story begins as Batman and Robin take the elevator down to the Batcave, and find it a jungle, filled with wild animals.

bat_09_002

The story then jump backwards, allowing the reader to see how this all came about.  We meet Brainwash, and see how he planted a subliminal device under a podium, which prompted Commissioner Gordon to call Batman and Robin late that night, sending them to a non-existent break-in, where Brainwash could plant a similar device on the Batmobile.

bat_09_003

It take Batman far too long to figure out that they are hallucinating.  Did he really think that the Batcave had become a jungle?  Apparently so.  He forces himself to work through the hallucination, even though he almost runs down Alfred while doing so.

bat_09_004

Batman and Robin find the device on the car, and realize that ear plugs will stop the subliminals from working on them.  The ear plugs also come in useful when Brainwash tries to deal them in a bank vault, jamming the door and preventing it from closing.  Brainwash get unmasked as Mr. Esper, who next appears, in the mid 70s, in Teen Titans.

Batman 202 – Alfred collapses, and Robin begins

bat_0

An evocative cover for Batman 202 (June 1968), but not a great story to suit it.

bat_0_001

Fox, Stone and Greene spin this story in which Batman and Robin deal with a series of robberies that seem to involve floating weapons and hidden enemies.  Alfred knows something about what is going on, but when he tries to tell the heroes, he collapses, after muttering about an “Eternal Gate.”

bat_0_002

Following that clue, Batman and Robin head to the Eternal Gate Cemetery.

bat_0_003

They find and defeat the bad guy.  Alfred wakes up, and give a long explanation about how he knew that the villain must be a mind reader who he knew years ago.  The man saved his life once, and Alfred’s internal conflict about turning him in caused his collapse.

I would happily have skipped over this tale, except I had to write about the back-up story.

bat_0_004

After a number of stories in which Robin had played the lead, but not received the billing, he finally ascends to his own back-up series, which will jump back and forth between Batman and Detective over the next few years.

bat_0_005

Friedrich, Stone and Giella open this story as Dick Grayson heads out to run for school council.  Bruce is impressed, and agrees that he needs to devote a bit more time to his life as a teenager.

bat_0_006

On the way to the school, Dick gets attacked by a biker gang.  Switching to Robin, he follows, and then infiltrates them.  He succeeds in taking down the entire gang himself.

bat_0_007

But it proves to be a hollow victory.  He has missed the student council debate, and, as a result, lost the election.  Alfred and Bruce try to cheer him up, but it’s clear they do not succeed.

Dick Grayson has discovered the cost of playing the hero.

Batman 201 – villains protecting Batman

bat_01

Fox, Stone and Giella craft a really off-beat story in Batman 201 (May 1968).

bat_01_001

The story opens as the Penguin assembles a collection of Batman’s enemies, and tell them of a gangland plot to kill the hero.  Feeling that Batman is theirs to deal with, the Penguin enlists the Joker, Catwoman, Mad Hatter, Cluemaster, Johnny Witts and the Getaway Genius to work as secret guardian angels, helping keep Batman safe.

bat_01_002

It’s a strange grouping, of big name and really minor ones.  Sadly, the big name get the least play in this tale.  It also doesn’t really show Batman in a very good light, both because he needs the help of the villains to survive the various death traps, but also because he never figures out what is going on.

bat_01_003

Batman’s villains do succeed at their goal, and keep Batman alive until he can bring don the mobsters.

bat_01_004

The conclusion has another twist, as we discover that the mobsters hired Mr. Esper as part of their scheme, and he, in turn, prompted the Penguin to gather the villains to prevent it from coming off.

This sets up Mr. Esper’s return in a few issues.

Batman 200 – the Scarecrow’s fear serum

bat_200

Batman 200 (March 1968) features the Scarecrow, but he is not the only villain to appear in this anniversary issue.

bat_200_001

Mike Friedrich, Chic Stone and Joe Giella are the creative team on this Batman and Robin story.

bat_00

The tale opens as Scarecrow gets terrified by Batman – but in fact this is one of his own men, and the Scarecrow has been testing his new chemical creation, which makes whoever takes it induce fear in those who see them.

bat_200_002

It works well, the Scarecrow take his own potion, and Batman and Robin are so convulsed with fear they cannot stop him, and by the time they return to the Batcave are ready to hang up their capes and retire.

bat_200_003

Making the most of the fact that this is an anniversary issue, Alfred restores the confidence of the heroes by re-telling Bruce and Dick their origins.

bat_200_004

Both are faithfully retold, with nothing substantive about them changed.

bat_200_005

Batman and Robin build up their strength by facing other villains before they take on the Scarecrow again.  The Joker, Killer Moth and the Penguin all get small roles.  For some unexplained reason, these villains also are carrying straws on them, clues to the Scarecrow’s next crime.

bat_00_001

In the end, when Batman faces the Scarecrow he happens to use the exact same words that were used in the test Scarecrow underwent at the opening of the story.  This triggers the fear reflex in the Scarecrow, and Batman has little trouble taking him down.

A very good anniversary issue.

Batman 195 – a good villain with two terrible names

bat_195

A great cover for Batman 195 (Sept. 67), and an interesting villain, created by Fox, Moldoff and Giella.  But sadly, the title calls the character the Spark-Spangled See Through Man, while the story itself calls him Bag O’Bones.

bat_195_001

The villain with two bad names is also called Ned Creegan, a thief who breaks in to a radiation chamber to steal some gems being used int he experiment by Nevil Logan.

bat_195_002

Batman and Robin track Creegan when he tries to sell the jewels, but he winds up affected by the radiation, his skin turning invisible, and acquiring an electric charge that holds off the heroes.

bat_195_003

Distressed, Creegan returns to Logan, who gives him pills to control his changes.  He keeps Creegan’s crime secret, so that he can use him in his experiments to create a cure for radiation.  But he also informs the thief that when he is in his “Bag O’Bones” state, his life gets shortened dramatically.

bat_195_004

Unsure as to whether Creegan’s electric charge is positive or negative, Batman and Robin each arm themselves with some neutralizing gloves.  The charge turns out to be a positive one, but the power is so intense that Batman has to release his glove, or be stuck to him for good.

bat_195_005

They trail Creegan back to Logan’s lab, where the scientist pits the radioactive animals against them.  Batman and Robin manage to stick the oppositely charged animals together, and capture the thief and the scientist.

Creegan is sent to prison for ten years, but knows he will die during that time.  Which I suppose he does, as we never see him again.

But the look of the character, if nothing else about him, will come back with the introduction of Dr. Phosphorus ten years down the road.