Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bat-Mite History

Bat-Mite is all set to have a six-issue mini-series in the here and now at DC Comics thanks to writer Dan Jurgens and artist Corin Howell....

...and it seems odd to have an extra-dimensional imp in the world of Batman.

But, Bat-Mite has been around for decades!

A Long Time Ago

Bat-Mite came to be in Detective Comics #267 (May, 1959 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, and a beautiful cover by Curt Swan) in the story "Batman Meets Bat-Mite".

(Something to be said about truth in advertising....).

A fan of Batman's from another dimension, Bat-Mite showed up in the Batcave to help make Batman's adventures more fun..

...and, after finding a way to help a little, Bat-Mite heads back to his home (much to the joy of Batman and Robin!).

This little gem of a story has also been reprinted a few times, in Batman Annual #7, Batman in the Fifties, Batman: the Black Casebook and in DC Comics Classics Library: the Batman Annuals #2, so it shouldn't take too much magic to find and read it yourself!

He's Back

Bat-Mite soon returns in Detective Comics #276 (February, 1960, also by Bill Finger and Shelly Moldoff, under a cover drawn by Moldoff), in a story entitled "The Return of Bat-Mite"!

(Well, you can't say early comics weren't honest....).

This time, along with annoying the Dynamic Duo, Bat-Mite also meets and works with Batwoman (another Gotham City crimefighter, secretly Kathy Kane), who also really wants little to do with Bat-Mite, but they all put up with the pest, and solve crimes as well.

(Sadly, this story hasn't been reprinted as of yet).

Life Is Better With Friends

Bat-Mite was obviously taken by Kathy, as he became "Batwoman's Publicity Agent" in Batman #133 (August, 1960 by Bill Finger and Shelly Moldoff), and enlisted the aid of Ace the Bat-Hound as well...and Bat-Mite also met Superman (and his imp foe, Mr. Mxyzptlk) in World's Finest Comics #113 (November, 1960 by Jerry Coleman and Dick Sprang).

Batman #133 was reprinted in Batman Annual #7 and in DC Comics Classics Library: the Batman Annuals #2, and World's Finest Comics #113 can be found in Batman from the 30s to the 70s and in World's Finest Comics Archives #3.

More Mischief

Bat-Mite created menaces for Batman and Robin in Batman #136 (December, 1960) in a rare non-cover appearance for the imp with "The Case of the Crazy Crimes" by Finger and Moldoff, and actually helped criminals in his next appearance in Detective Comics #289 (March, 1961) with Finger and Moldoff's "The Bat-Mite Bandits".

Sadly, neither of these appearances have been collected as of yet.

The Imp Gets Around

The imp met yet another Batman family member with Batman #144 (December, 1961 by Finger and Moldoff) with "Bat-Mite Meets Bat-Girl".  Bat-Girl was Betty Kane, the niece of Batwoman, and Bat-Mite offered to help her woo Robin.  Bat-Mite continued along after, appearing in World's Finest Comics #123 (February, 1962), Batman #146 (March, 1962), Detective Comics #310 (December, 1962) and Batman #158 (September, 1963), all not collected in reprints except for Batman #144 (in Batman from the 30s to the 70s and Batman in the Sixties).

One Last Time

Bat-Mite's last hurrah was in Batman #161 (February, 1964 by Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff), wherein Bat-Mite became disillusioned with Batman, and tries creating his own heroes in "The Bat-Mite Hero"...

....with little success.

This must have caused Bat-Mite some level of upset, as he didn't appear to bother Batman in his own titles for a while..

....(or, maybe Bat-Mite was annoyed that this tale hasn't been reprinted either!).

Hiding In Plain Sight

Bat-Mite did come back a couple of times, in World's Finest Comics #152 (September, 1965 by Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan) and in World's Finest Comics #169 (September, 1967 by Cary Bates and Curt Swan) along with Mr. Mxyzptlk...

...but both times he was disguised as someone else (no spoilers, but the covers should give you a clue)!

Look for Showcase Presents: World's Finest Volume #3 for these two tales (though they are only in black and white).

Be Careful What You Ask For

Bat-Mite does finally get a solo feature in Detective Comics #482 (February-March, 1979) with "Bat-Mite's New York Adventure", wherein Bat-Mite decides he wants a feature in Detective Comics, and conjures up writer Bob Rozakis, penciller Michael Golden, inker Bob Smith, letterer Milton Snapinn, colorist Anthony Tollin, and production Todd Klein for editor Al Milgrom and Jack Harris...and they gave him this story.

Quite a bit of fun, and can also be found in the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told (1988 Hardcover and 1989 Softcover).

Bat-Mite's last hurrah pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths came to us in Brave and the Bold #200 (July, 1983) (where Batman was working with the original Batman, and the Outsiders were being introduced, continuing tales of a more serious Batman, and sadly a world where Bat-Mite just didn't fit...).

Stephen DeStefano gave us this 1 pager, wherein "Bat-Mite Speaks His Mind"...and says it well enough for himself!

Post Crisis Bat-Mite

Bat-Mite returned a few times after this...once as a drug-induced hallucination of Bob Overdog in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #38 (October, 1992) with the "Legend of the Dark Mite" by Alan Grant and Kevin O'Neill (and, thankfully that dark vision of Bat-Mite was amended, making him again a friend of Mr. Mxyzptlk with Batman and Superman: World's Finest #6 of September, 1999 by Karl Kesel and Peter Doherty) after Bob's death in Batman: Mitefall #1 of 1995 by Alan Grant and Kevin O'Neill.

Bat-Mite also vexed Ambush Bug, and quite a few Elseworlds and other alternate Batmen (including the 1 Million version), until Superman and Batman: World's Funniest #1 (2000 by writer Evan Dorkin and a Who's Who of artists including Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Mike Allred, Sheldon Moldoff, Stuart Immonen, Frank Cho, Jaime Hernandez, Scott Shaw!, Stephen DeStefano, Jim Woodring, Frank Miller, Joe Giella, Bruce Timm, Phil Jimenez, Ty Templeton and Alex Ross) which truly established Bat-Mite as he and Mr. Mxyzptlk messed around many of the worlds of the DC Universe!

An Inspiration

Bat-Mite was there for the end of a major storyline in Superman/Batman #25 (May, 2006 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGunness) along with Batzarro and Mr. Mxyzptlk for a reality bending adventure with Superman and Batman, and as an inspiring hallucination (or was he real?), encouraging Batman to go on during 2008's Batman R.I.P. storyline by writer Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel (which also brought back other 1950s Batman elements like the Batmen of Many Nations and Zur En Arrh, and those tales are in Batman: The Black Glove and Batman: R.I.P. the Deluxe Edition, and the 1950s tales that inspired Grant Morrison are in Batman: the Black Casebook).

Bat-Mite sneaks around the corners of the DC Universe...

...showing us all its okay to have heroes, and to inspire us all to keep going!


  1. Thank you! The first Batman comic I ever bought was Detective Comics #267 and it was love at first sight. Bat-Mite or Metamorpho struggle for 1st place in my mind as my favorite character (with Bizarro to complicate it). I've always wished DC would issue Archives or Showcase Presents collections of Bat-Mite & Bizarro and I will forever treasure Superman and Batman: World's Funniest #1. Thanks for the reminder. Maybe I can create my own treasury from the downloads I have.

    1. My first Bat-Mite was in Batman Family, with the New York Adventure being my first exposure to buying him fresh off the rack. I'm hoping the mini generates enough interest into a collection of Bat-Mite stories!

  2. This is great! I've always wanted to see a Bat-Mite primer like this. I actually had no idea of some of those post-Crisis ones.

    You should do the same for Ace the Bat-Hound, as well.

    1. Thanks, I did!

  3. Wait a minute... you actually skipped listing specific issue #'s for later appearences. Makes tracking them down hard for someone who hasn't kept up with DC much after Crisis.
    By the way, need something like this for Gorilla Grodd

    1. The later appearances weren't much...put up the appearances where anything happened. Most of the others like Ambush Bug #3 (August, 1985), Who's Who #2, Outsiders #6 (April, 1986), Superman & Batman Generations #2 (Feb, 1999), DC One Million 80 Page Giant #1000000 (August, 1999), Superman/Batman #25 and #41 and #52, Batman #672, #673, #674, #678, #679, #680, Gotham Underground #2 and Detective #853 were little more than cameos or the "Bat-Mite as hallucination" stories....mostly, I wanted to concentrate on "real" Bat-Mite stories?

    2. Oh, and I love Grodd as well, but he has quite the publishing history so he'll take some time, but eventually....I've done a bit with Reverse-Flash, Bizarro Batman, some Flash Rogues, some Green Arrow villains...and will work on more! Suggestions are always appreciated!