Thursday, 10 January 2013


Images copyright DC COMICS

In the May 1969 issue of DETECTIVE COMICS #387, the first
BATMAN adventure was re-presented to readers of the time.  Note
that I said 're-presented' and not 'reprinted', because the story featured
was a re-creation, a 'tracing', effectively, of enlarged copies (in all likeli-
hood) of the printed pages from issue #27 in 1939, and not from sur-
viving period-proof copies from the editorial files.

At the time, this was common practice whenever NATIONAL/DC
didn't have proofs or original artwork from which they could reprint a
particular tale.  This tracing was reused  in Batman FROM The '30s
To The '70s, Detective Comics #627, and Batman ARCHIVES.
I don't recall whether it was used in the FAMOUS 1st EDITION,
so perhaps someone out there can let me know.

Out of all the 'reprints' of this tale, the only one I've got which
seems to come from more accurate proofs is the MILLENNIUM
edition published in 2000.  Strange that it took thirty-one years for
DC to republish the original story (in standard comic-sized editions
at least), instead of what was essentially a forgery.

Anyway, just for you, here's the re-created and original pages
side-by-side, so you can play 'spot the difference'.   Also included
is a photo of a page from an actual, original 1939 issue (as printed
in Batman THE GOLDEN AGE), so that you can compare it
to the other two examples on view.

Go on, play 'Dark Knight Detective', and see if you can spot
all the subtle (and not so subtle) distinguishing points between both
versions of the pages.  Unfortunately, the fact that a tracing of the
premiere story was used in the Archive Editions volume makes
a mockery of its claim to be the "definitive collection".

If you happen to own the afore-mentioned Famous 1st Edition
issue of this tale, take a look at the story's second page.  If the middle
of the top two tiers are out of alignment then the tracing was used as
the source, not proofs of the original printing.  Unfortunately, I can't
remember if I've got it or not, otherwise I'd check for myself.

As promised, below is a slightly angled photo of page 3 from an
original 1939 issue, as reproduced in the excellent book on Batman
by writer and comics historian, the late LES DANIELS.

So there you have it.  Unless you're lucky enough to own an original
issue of Detective Comics #27 or the Millennium Edition reprint
(the jury's still out on the Famous 1st Edition), then the chances are
that you've never actually seen the first Batman tale - only a mere paltry
imitation.  Just think - "You wuz robbed!"  Better call Batman.  Oh, and
 just for completists, here's the cover to ol' Bats' debut appearance.



Click on images to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.
(Extra-large images will reduce on first click, then increase to
full size on second click.) 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...