Thursday, February 23, 2017

Flash Facts: Giant Flash Foes And More

It's a "Collector's Item Special", 80 Page Giant #9 Magazine (April, 1965) featuring the first classic meeting of Flashes Barry Allen and Jay Garrick...


...as well as the fantastic first appearances of Pied Piper, Dr. Alchemy and Captain Boomerang, as well as the end of the first trilogy of Flash's epic opening battle with Gorilla Grodd!



All this Silver Age goodness under a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson to dig into, so let's get to it fast!



Flash #123

"Flash of Two Worlds" from Flash #123 (September, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella is the first tale up....and it's a doozy, as well as being the foundation of the DC Multiverse!   Barry Allen is helping at a Central City community center when he vanishes while performing a trick to impress the kids there.  Barry ends up on a parallel world, where Jay Garrick had been the Flash for years (though not since Flash Comics #104 of February, 1949....our time, at least, which Barry knows thanks to Flash Comics he has read since he was a kid).  Barry tracks down Jay in Keystone City, they swap origin stories, readers learn Jay married longtime girlfriend, Joan, before this story, and the two heroes face off against Jay's old foes of the Thinker, the Fiddler and the Shade....with Jay being convinced to permanently come out of retirement, and helps Barry get home. 

Flash #106

Next up is "The Pied Piper Of Peril" from Flash #106 (April-May, 1959) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, which introduces readers to Flash's foe for the first time. 

Robberies are happening all over Central City, and Pied Piper is responsible, using his special flute to control criminals....yet nothing is being stolen. 

Barry has to work fast to defeat the noisy villain, and, does so after a few fast tries! 

More facts on the Pied Piper are here

This issue is also important, as it reveals that reporter Iris West is Barry's fiancee for the first time...


Showcase #14

Showcase #14 (May-June, 1958) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Frank Giacoia, features the story of "The Man Who Changed The Earth". 

This is the first appearance of Dr. Alchemy (though not cover featured), but not the first appearance of this Flash foe.  The doctor had appeared in the previous issue of Showcase as Mr. Element, and while in jail, learned of the Philosopher's Stone, which allows its user to manipulate elements, which the newly named Dr. Alchemy uses to rob banks. 

This pulls him into a battle with the Flash, who Dr. Alchemy is able to thwart for a time using the stone, but eventually Flash is able to capture Dr. Alchemy, with Flash supposedly ending Alchemy's threat forever, by throwing the stone into space (though this does not stop both Dr. Alchemy and Mr. Element from returning!).

Flash #117

"Here Comes Captain Boomerang" is the title of the story from Flash #117 (December, 1960) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson that introduces the Australian born villain.

W.W. Wiggins, the head of a large toy manufacturing company, decides to start marketing boomerangs in America, coming up with the idea of having a mascot to advertise boomerangs, with small time thief "Digger" Harkness answering the ad.

"Digger" uses his new identity as Captain Boomerang to disguise robberies that he performs, with Flash quickly figuring out the plan...at least until Flash meets an elderly couple that seemed to be Boomerang's parents who clear the man.  This works until Captain Boomerang tries another robbery....and to send Flash into space tied to a giant boomerang!  Flash escapes, and captures Boomerang (and his criminal cohorts who were pretending to be his parents....but, Captain Boomerang, like his namesake, continues to return, both facing the Flash and later, as a member of the Suicide Squad!).

Flash #108

Last, but not least, is the story from Flash #108 (August-September, 1959) of "The Super Gorilla's Secret Identity" by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, the last issue of the trilogy of Gorilla Grodd (though DC monkeyed around, not featuring Grodd on the covers).

Grodd escapes Gorilla City again, this time using an evolution-accelerator to become a man (with a super-evolved brain), adopting the identity of Drew Drowden, who is up for the man of the year award, having made a great deal of money in the stock market.  As Drowden, Grodd built a factory to make a pill that would give him the control of mind over matter, but Flash, investigating Drowden, finds him....and Drowden reverts to Grodd to face his foe, but is defeated, and returned to Gorilla City.  Grodd would return, many times!



This was the second of two 80 Page Giants featuring the Flash, all stemming back from the first Flash Annual (which includes Mr. Element's and Grodd's first appearance) and Flash continues oversized reprints in his own title as well after the 80 Page Giants end as a separate entity...

...and you can take a look at Jay's stories in them here!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Legends Lore: Special Rip Hunter Tales

Rip Hunter was a character introduced back in Showcase at DC Comics, and he considered himself a time master, traveling to various times with his crew to explore historical mysteries....

...a little different than the character found on DC's Legends of Tomorrow....

....yet maybe not so different, as you will see from these tales from Rip Hunter's comic book past.

Prisoners Of 100 Million B.C.

The first tale of Rip Hunter, from Showcase #20 (May-June, 1959) by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira, sees Rip assemble his team, with lab assistant Jeff Smith, his friend Bonnie Baxter and her brother, Corky Baxter.  Rip had built two time spheres, and took off in one of them with Jeff, to check out the dinosaurs.  Criminals Hoyt and Keegan break into Rip's lab, and force Bonnie and Corky to take the other Time Sphere out for a spin, ending up at the same time, but damaging their Time Sphere.  The crooks go searching for and finding Rip's sphere and hide it, but get swept away in a roaring river.  Rip and Jeff are reunited with the Baxters, and look for the hidden Time Sphere, finding it, and Rip sends Bonnie and Corky back to their home time (while taking extra parts with him as well).  Finding the criminals and braving this prehistoric world, the four men get back to the broken Time Sphere, with Rip fixing it to enable them to return home.  The first recorded time travel of Rip Hunter....and already he seems to bring more trouble with him!

The Criminal League Of Time


Rip and his crew get green uniforms in Rip Hunter, Time Master #16 (September-October, 1963 by Jack Miller and John William Ely), but seem to still get into trouble with criminals.  Lars Kreel kidnaps Corky, forcing the boy to take him to Harry Hawkins, a famous rogue highwayman.  Rip, Jeff and Bonnie follow in their second Time Sphere, but Lars, Harry and Corky have already taken off to another time period by the time Rip's team arrived.  Rip and his crew follow, finding the criminals attempting to recruit the Black Knight, with Rip dueling the rogue in place of Count de Grammond.  After the battle, Rip follows the Black Knight to Kreel and Hawkins, and one of the Time Spheres is destroyed.  Everyone races back to the other, that has Bonnie guarding it, and the villains are defeated, being returned to their correct times.

Seems alliances over time don't work well for the villains, do they?



Adolf Hitler's Greatest Secret

One of the greatest fears of time travel is it falling into the wrong hands, and, while going back to get footage of World War II, the Time Sphere is shot down on the eastern front, with the team being captured by the Nazis (all related in Rip Hunter, Time Master #20 of May-June, 1964 by Jack Miller and John William Ely).  Adolf Hitler forces Rip to retrieve Napoleon to help in his battle with the Russians, and Rip must comply or Hitler will kill Jeff.  Rip saves Napoleon from the Prussians, and returns with the leader to Hitler.  Rip and Napoleon take charge of the German army, but lead them into a trap over a frozen lake, then return to Hitler's headquarters to free Jeff, and in doing so, leave this time, and Hitler, to his fate.

 
Sometimes enemies seem to control Rip, but sometimes, Rip can control them, and usually has a plan.



George Washington -- Enemy Agent

Documents are discovered that prove that George Washington was a traitor, working against the colonies during the Revolutionary War for the British in Rip Hunter, Time Master #23 (November-December, 1964, by Jack Miller and John William Ely).  As author Brad Meltzer and his Decoded team weren't yet available, the United States sends Rip back in time to explore these new historical facts...with Rip confronting Washington, who doesn't deny the charges, and tries to capture Rip and his crew, who escape and return to their home time, with the father of their country now known as a traitor.  Rip and his crew go back to the incident in question, finding George Washington conspiring with General Cornwallis of the British Army to steal continental money.  Things look grim, until Rip inspects the money on the ship, finding it to be counterfeit.  This was part of a plan of Washington's to lure the British away from Chesapeake Bay, which Rip's interference has now threatened, but Rip disguises himself as Cornwallis, leading the British Army away, then returning to his own time, knowing Washington wasn't a traitor.

A few tales from the early days of Rip Hunter, and more information on Rip Hunter and his 1980s teammates of the Forgotten Heroes can be found here....
  
...as well as information on where to find the few reprints of Rip Hunter's original tales can be found here
 

With 4 issues of Showcase and 29 issues of his own title, seems to me, with the popularity of the CW's time traveling series, the Legends of Tomorrow (featuring Rip Hunter in tales related to tales in the comics), it is time to see all of these legendary tales collected in Omnibus form (including the ones above, as the TV Show has encountered dinosaurs, seen villains unite, gone to World War II and even met George Washington).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Strange Adventures Of Our Presidents

Remember when George Washington stopped the Civil War, or Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1789?



No?  Means you got a better education than you think, as actors looking like Washington and Lincoln proposed this as an interesting "what if?" with Washington and Lincoln switching places as Presidents in "Assignment In Eternity" from Strange Adventures #83 (August, 1957) by Otto Binder, Sid Greene and Joe Giella, under a Gil Kane cover  Odder still, that just starts the story of time traveling adventure, involving the teacher at the board....pretty high concept for 6 pages!

Better still, this story was reprinted in Strange Adventures #231 (July-August, 1971) under a Sid Greene cover, with reprints of stories of Adam Strange, the Atomic Knights...


...and flying gorillas!


You can also find the presidential tale in Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures Volume #2, which came out in 2013....but, the tale is reprinted in black and white.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Super DC Giant Brave and The Bold

To be fair, this issue was labeled, "The Best of the Brave and the Bold"....

.....a bit of a stretch for the two issues that were featured (and that also hardly made Super DC Giant #S-16 of September-October, 1970....

....a giant; after all, it was little more than two issues!).


Still, it was two pretty interesting issues, with an edge and bottom of the cover by Murphy Anderson, two classic comic covers by Carmine Infantino and Ramona Fradon, and some additional material to make it worth a look back at!



Brave and the Bold #67

"The Death Of The Flash" was featured originally in Brave and the Bold #67 (August-September, 1966) by Bob Haney, Carmine Infantino and Charles Paris, and has Batman and the Flash facing off against "the Speed Boys", a gang of crooks working through Gotham with sneakers that give them super-speed.  This gang helped run the Flash to his death (as he had a heretofore unknown condition that was killing him as he used his speed), forcing Batman to work alone to stop them (though, thankfully, the radiation of the sneakers was enough to revive the Flash, cure him of his condition and allow him to stop his foes).

This story was also reprinted in the Brave and the Bold Annual #1 of 2001, and in black and white in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups #1 of 2007.  This was the first of many Batman/Flash team-ups, and makes one think why is DC not collecting Brave and the Bold Team-Ups: the Silver Age (which could feature stories from Brave and the Bold #50-56, #59, #61-64, to accompany the Brave and the Bold Bronze Age Omnibus, which starts with issue #87)?

Brave and the Bold #57

Why not reprint Brave and the Bold #57 (December-January, 1964/1965) in a B&B team-up collection?  Well, it had a solo story, "The Origin of Metamorpho" by Bob Haney, Ramona Fradon and Charles Paris....which introduced readers to archeologist Rex Mason, who, while agreeing to dig in a forbidden Egyptian temple (to get millionaire Simon Stagg to allow Rex cash, which Rex would use to date Simon's daughter, Sapphire), was knocked unconscious by Simon's caveman Friday, Java, and left for dead in a room with the Orb of Ra.  The Orb changed Rex into Metamorpho, who could control the elements of his body (and leading to another solo appearance in the next issue, then 17 solo issues of his own in the 1960s).

A Metamorpho: Silver Age collection featuring his two solo B&Bs, a team up with the Metal Men, a team-up with Batman and the first 8 issues of regular series would be welcome (or perhaps a Metamorpho: Omnibus, having all 17 of Metamorpho's issues, as well as the B&Bs, including a few later ones, and maybe including his Action Comics and World's Finest Comics back-ups, as well as 1st Issue Special one-shot and Superman team-up from DC Comics Presents), would also not be unwelcome (and would cover most of his appearances before joining Batman's Outsiders).


Plus! 

There were a few additional pages with Batman and Flash, leading into the reprints, and, best of all, a drawing by Dick Dillin, featuring the characters who had been featured in team-ups in B&B up to that point...

...but, that drawing was missing a few folks, like Speedy of the Teen Titans (colored in Green Arrow's original costume colors), as well as having Starman and Black Canary (with Black Canary only recently meeting Batman in B&B), as well as Supergirl (who only worked with Wonder Woman, in B&B #63 at the time...and Wonder Woman was there, but in her Diana Prince look (as Diana had a few team-ups with Batman), also missing Batgirl, who worked with Wonder Woman and Batman in B&B #78 against Copperhead).  Still, it is a great little drawing....



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Flash Facts: Marine Marauder

Something a little different today....a villain who ended her career facing the Flash, and he started it facing Aquaman.

It's nothing odd, it's just that there were two villains who used the identity of the Marine Marauder, one who faced Aquaman, and the second, who faced first the Outsiders, then Flash and Aquaman!


Marine Marauder I

The Marine Marauder started (and ended) his career in Adventure Comics #449 (January-February, 1977, by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo) in a story appropriately entitled "The Menace Of The Marine Marauder".


The Marine Marauder was a marine biologist who was a little crazy, using his technological ability to control air breathing marine life to menace Aquaman, stealing a shipment of vaccine bound for Europe in a blackmail attempt, with Aquaman and Mera being called in to stop him (failing, but tracking him down and retrieving the vaccine (but being too busy trying to find Aquababy, whom Aquaman's octopus friend, Topo, took off with, to capture the villain). 


Marine Marauder II

The original Marine Marauder didn't return, but, in Adventures Of The Outsiders #37 (September, 1986 by Mike W. Barr and Trevor Von Eeden, under a cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez), a new, female Marine Marauder first appeared.

Dr. Marlene Simmonds was a competitive marine biologist, who used the money she made in business and a talent for oceanography, taking that money (and some of her unnamed brother....who might have been the original Marine Marauder?), starting her career as a super-villain, with an attack on a cruise ship (which just happened to be one the Outsiders were taking a vacation as they were moving from Gotham to California) in ""Won't You Let Me Take You On A -- Sea Cruise?".  Marine Marauder captured new Outsider, the telepathic and telekinetic Looker in this issue.....

...and, with Adventures Of The Outsiders #38 (October, 1986, also by Barr and Von Eeden, with a cover by Garcia-Lopez), Marine Marauder thought to find a way to take Looker's powers, but was stopped by the rest of the team of the Outsiders, being taken away in the clutches of an octopus (which she didn't seem to be able to control), all in the first story of two in this issue (with this being "Many Brave Hearts Are Asleep In The Deep").

The second story dealt with the Outsiders arriving in Los Angeles, setting up for their appearance in the baxter paper stock version of the Outsiders #1 (November, 1985, which also introduced Looker, though her back story evolved over the last issues of Batman and the Outsiders, starting in #27, and Adventures of the Outsiders), and preparing for the reprints of that direct only book to appear in the next issue of Adventures Of The Outsiders (where the team first faced the robotic Nuclear Family!).

Marlene Simmonds next appeared in a story in Flash #66 (July, 1992)....in fact, it was a "Fish Story", by Mark Waid, Michael Collins and Roy Richardson...with a race between Flash and Aquaman?  (No, not really....it was Superman and Flash who would race, but not here!).

Wally West (who was Flash at the time), was trying to enjoy a sea cruise with his girlfriend, Linda Park, when the ship was hijacked by whales and taken to an island (where Wally saw Aquaman in the distance).  It wasn't Aquaman controlling the whales, but Marine Marauder, who is using the people on the ship to search for the Lost Crown of Enlil, a Babylonian god of the seas, who had been reported to die in this area, with Marlene looking for his crown, as it would enable her to control the seven seas.  Aquaman and Flash go underwater to retrieve it (to prevent harm to the passengers), finding it, but Aquaman puts it on, as Enlil was manipulating Aquaman at this time....and plans to kill the passengers by flooding the island with a giant wave.  Flash thinks quick, knocking the crown off of Aquaman, and saves everyone...except Marine Marauder, who disappears as the wave crashes as she goes after the crown.  Aquaman helps Flash re-board the passengers, so Wally and Linda can continue their cruise.

Other than appearing in Who's Who Update '87 #4 (November, 1987) and an alternate Earth version cameo in JLA: The Nail #2 (September, 1998) with Ocean Master...
 
... that was it for the Marine Marauder, but she should resurface somewhere!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Have A Super DC Giant Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day with this cover from Super DC Giant #S-17 from September-October, 1970 by artist Nick Cardy.



This issue has reprinted stories from Secret Hearts #38 (February-March, 1957), Girls' Romances #107 (March, 1965), Girls' Love Stories #106 (October, 1964), Secret Hearts #40 (June-July, 1957), Secret Hearts #39 (April-May, 1957), Secret Hearts #45 (February, 1958),  and Secret Hearts #41 (August, 1957)....

...all great little romance reads for lonely hearts!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Abraham Lincoln Life Story

Remembering 16th President Abraham Lincoln on his birthday (February 12, 1809) with the Dell Comic, Abraham Lincoln Life Story from March, 1958, with a cover attributed to either John or Sal Buscema.

The comic by Gaylord DuBois and Alberto Giolotti, covered Lincoln's life, from his boyhood in a log cabin, to his wild life in the backwoods of Kentucky and Indiana, moving up to be a lawyer then elected official in Illinois, becoming President on March 4, 1861, dealing with the Civil War and freeing the slaves, then his untimely assassination by Confederate supporter, John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865.


"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Giant Lois Lane With Lana Lang

Lois Lane was the feature of 80 Page Giant #3 (September, 1964), but the focus was split between Superman's girlfriend, and Superman's ex-girlfriend, Lana Lang....


...who had been the sweetheart of Superboy (Superman, when he was just a boy).  Of course, Superboy grew up and moved to Metropolis to become Superman, and eventually, Lana followed, to strike up a rivalry with Superman's current paramour, Lois Lane.


Here's a few of the tales that show off how these two got along....or didn't!


Adventure Comics #211

Adventure Comics #211 (April, 1955 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye) features "Superboy's Most Amazing Dream"...

....that dream has both Lana and Lois in it.


But, it was a dream of Superboy's future as Superman, and how, if Lana knew Clark's secret identity, Lana would reveal it to reporter, Lois.  So, Superboy decides not to trust Lana Lang with the knowledge of his dual identity.

It wasn't impossible for Clark to dream of Lois, and her career as a reporter, having met Lois before (back in Adventure Comics #128...but Lana wasn't around then...).



Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #7

Lana Lang comes to Metropolis in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #7 (February, 1959 by Jerry Coleman and Kurt Schaffenberger).

Having lived in Smallville, Lana wanted to get out of town, and after a recent encounter with Lana in Smallville (in Superman #116), headed to Superman's new home town.

Problem was, Lana exhausted her funds moving to Metropolis, so she needed help, turning to Lois (who got Lana a job at the Daily Planet as well as letting Lana stay in her apartment).

This begins the modern day rivalry between Lois and Lana, with the two ladies wondering which of them Superman loves more, and leaving them both wondering which would be "The Girl Who Stole Superman".

Superboy #72

Next up is "The Flying Girl of Smallville" from Superboy #72 (April, 1959 by Jerry Coleman and Creig Flessel).

Lana is on her own this time with the Boy of Steel, getting his fingerprints....which leads Superboy to offer Lana a wish to prevent her from learning his secret identity.

Lana wants to learn how to fly, with Superboy figuring out a way to do just that, but almost at a terrible cost.

If Lana wears the flying belt for too long, her flight powers become permanent.

Superboy has to play a trick on Lana to get the belt off of her....



Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #17 

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #17 (May, 1960) features "Lana Lang, Superwoman" by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.  

Superman offers Lana a blood transfusion to giver her super powers.  Lois is outraged by this, until Superman makes the same offer to her, having both women have powers while Superman has to leave the planet for a while.  The two women go to an abandoned mine, and would have died there, had not Superman given them powers.  

Superman returns, and explains Brainiac set him up, blackmailing the Man of Steel with the potential destruction of Earth unless he left for a time, so the women would face the explosion without him around.  

Thus, Superman came up with the power transfer to the ladies (which ended up being temporary), with Brainiac leaving Earth alone since Superman followed his instructions.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #21

A supernatural lake provides Lois and Lana powers again, leading to "The Battle Between Super-Lois and Super-Lana" in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #21 (November, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger.


While super-powered, the ladies end up in a fight....each figuring if they could win, the winner would also win the affections of Superman.


Problem is, the powers wore off before a victor could be decided, and the lake was destroyed, so they couldn't get the powers back, allowing Superman not to have to make a choice between Lois and Lana, yet again.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #19

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #19 (August, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger features the story of "Mr. and Mrs. Clark (Superman) Kent".

This is an imaginary tale (but aren't they all?), featuring a story out of the regular continuity of the Superman titles of the time, where Clark reveals his secret to Lois, then marries her as Clark Kent.  This creates problems for Lois, especially when she sees other women interact with Superman (as well as having to deal with gossipy neighbors, who feel Lois could do better than Clark). 

This disheartens Lois, who knows how super Clark is, but cannot tell anyone, for fear of revealing his secret.


Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #26

Not to be outdone, Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #26 (July, 1961) by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger features the other end of the imaginary story idea, with "The Day Superman Married Lana Lang".

Lana finds out that Clark is Superman, but instead of publishing his identity as a scoop, asks him to wipe her memory of this knowledge, to keep Clark safe, which so impresses Superman, that he marries her.

Superman then develops a formula to give Lana powers, which leads to trouble for the couple, as Lana does not have Superman's vulnerability to Kryptonite, thus leading to her constantly saving him, stressing their marriage until the Man of Steel leaves Lana to regain his own pride.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #5

"Superman's Greatest Sacrifice" happened in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #5 (November-December, 1958) by Robert Bernstein and Kurt Schaffenberger (not pictured on the cover), where Lois Lane goes to get a picture of Dolores Drake, a reclusive millionaire (that Lois happens to discover is a look-a-like for herself).

Superman sees the two together at the Daily Planet, and proclaims his love for Delores...with Superman even going so far to offer to remove his powers to marry Delores!

Lois uncovers a plot of local criminals to rob Drake's mansion, rushing there to save the now powerless Superman....finding out Superman still had his powers, and this was all a trap to expose an imposter Delores Drake.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #10

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #10 (July, 1959) by Robert Bernstein and Kurt Schaffenberger shows how fickle Lois can be at times, as it features "Lois Lane's Romeo" (not the story featured on the cover...). 


While covering a film festival in Italy with Clark Kent, Lois becomes jealous of Superman, who appears at movie premieres with a local actress, Gina Loretti. 


Lois pursues her own fling, with Dino Del Monaco, but that ends when Superman reveals he's a crook to Lois (with Gina's help). 



Lois Lane had two Annuals before her 80 Page Giant, with the first coming out in the Summer of 1962, featuring a heap of great Lois Lane stories, and the second Annual coming out in the Summer of 1963, showcasing some of Lois' odder transformations...

....but neither of these show the green-eyed monster that Lois turns into when Lana's around, thanks to jealousy. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gotham Guide: 13 Obscure Batman Villains

Sure, everyone knows the Batman villains like Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler....

....even Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Ra's Al Ghul, Two-Face, Man-Bat, Bane, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Deadshot, Killer Moth, Firefly and Scarecrow have gotten fans over the last decade or so...

....but, there are villains even more obscure to learn about!


Crazy Quilt

He was just an artist named Quilt, until crossing some criminals (by trying his own criminal enterprise) and blinded, which made him crazy...Crazy Quilt, that is, in Boy Commandos #15 (May-June, 1946, by Jack Kirby and Steve Brodie).  Only being able to see in bright colors, that changed over repeated encounters with the Boy Commandos, in #18, #22, #24, #28, #29, and #33...before moving over to face Robin in Star-Spangled Comics #123 (December, 1951).

Of course, those are all technically appearances of the Earth-2 Crazy Quilt (with a Robin who grew up to join the Justice Society).  The Robin (Dick Grayson) who joined the Teen Titans first, first faced Crazy Quilt in Batman #316 (October, 1979 by Len Wein, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin), with a similar origin and having been put in jail by Robin before, and that Crazy Quilt returned a few times, in Batman #368 (February, 1984) and Detective Comics #535 (February, 1984) to face Robin (Jason Todd), part of a mass escape in Batman #400 (October, 1986), and popping up in crowd scenes (like in Underworld Unleashed #1 and JLA #34) before a new, female Crazy Quilt took over in during the Villains United mini-series.

Kite-Man

Chuck Brown had a childhood fascination with kites, and used gimmicked kites (as well as a hanglider like device) to face Batman and Robin as Kite-Man, starting with Batman #133 (August, 1960 by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris).  Kite-Man returned to face Batman in Batman #315 (September, 1979 by Len Wein, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin), then faced Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Zatanna (revealing his real name, then crashing into a tree, in Hawkman #4 of November, 1986 by Tony Isabella, Richard Howell and Don Heck).  Kite-Man joins a group of super-villains in the Olympics representing the nation of Zandia in Young Justice #23 (September, 2000), remaining in Zandia for an attack by young super-heroes from events starting in Young Justice #48 (October, 2002, and lasting through #51), is thought to have been killed by Joker during the Infinite Crisis, and was killed (and eaten) by Intergang leader Bruno Mannheim in 52 #25 (December, 2006).  Good grief!

Mr. Polka Dot

Batman and Robin first face Mr. Polka Dot in "The Bizarre Polka-Dot Man" in Detective Comics #300 (February, 1962 by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris), where the villain uses a polka dot motif to steal in Gotham.  Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) take him down during a night on Gotham in the flashback tale of Nightwing #104 (Late April, 2004), is beaten by Harvey Bullock in Batman: G.C.P.D. #1 (August, 1996), before being a part of the Army of the Endangered during the Final Crisis Aftermath: Run mini-series of 2009, where he meets his death.

Zodiac Master

Zodiac Master first appeared in Detective Comics #323 (January, 1964 by Dave Wood, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris), facing off against Batman and Robin using foretelling the future and Zodiac based weapons against the Dynamic Duo.



This was it for the Zodiac Master....


....having no known relation to other Zodiac based villains, such as Doctor Zodiac or Madame Zodiac (who faced Superman, Batman and Batgirl over their careers.....).





Eraser

Another villain with a short run career was the Eraser, who premiered in Batman #188 (December, 1966 by John Broome, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella).  Commissioner Gordon calls in Batman to solve a crime where all the clues have been erased, and that leads Batman to the Eraser, who works for criminals to erase clues to their crimes.


Batman disguises himself as a criminal to hire the Eraser, who recognizes Bruce Wayne, and captures him (as the Eraser is Bruce's old school chum of Lenny Fiasco).  This forces Robin into action to distract the Eraser, as Bruce escapes the Eraser's trap, changes into Batman, and rubs out the Eraser's freedom.




Dr. Phosphorus


Alex Sartorius was a scientist, working at a nuclear facility when it all when wrong, changing him into a man whose skin would combust in the air, unhinging the doctor, who planned to take revenge on Gotham City as Dr. Phosphorus (starting with Detective Comics #469 of May, 1977 by Steve Englehart, Walt Simonson and Al Milgrom), being stopped by Batman in Detective Comics #470 (June, 1977), returning to face Batman and Batgirl in Batman #311 (May, 1979), wounding the original Hawkman in the Crisis On Infinite Earths, popping up in Black Orchid #2 in 1989, becoming a foe for the original Starman, Ted Knight, after giving his soul to Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1 (November, 1995), and sparring with Ted Knight in Starman #13 (November, 1995), being their for Ted's final battle in Starman #63 to #71 in 2000, returning to face Batman again (starting with Detective Comics #825), as well as Batgirl, Stephanie Brown (in Batgirl #6 and #7 of 2010).

Magpie

Margaret Pye was a jewel thief, fascinated by shiny things, so going by the name Magpie, as she faced off against Superman and Batman in one of their first meetings in Man of Steel #3 (November, 1986 by John Byrne and Dick Giordano).

Magpie returned to face Batman and Robin (Jason Todd) as unrest grew towards super-heroes (even the ones in Gotham) in Batman #401 (November, 1986).  Magpie didn't take advantage of Neron's offer in Underworld Unleashed #1, ending up in Arkham Asylum, and dying in Batman #651 (May, 2006).

Zebra Man

The first Zebra Man (Jake Baker) appeared in Detective Comics #275 (January, 1960 by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris)...



...and was defeated by Batman when the Caped Crusader stole the villain's powers magnetic powers, and used them against the villain!



The 1960s were a weird time for the Batman....





Inspired by this villain (and others Batman faced around this time like Clayface and Planet-Master), Kobra created Strike Force Kobra, with his own Zebra Man (with a mohawk, as it was the 1980s) to use his magnetic powers against Batman and his team of super-heroes, the Outsiders, starting in Outsiders #21 (July, 1987 by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo), being defeated in Outsiders #22 (August, 1987), and waiting all the way until Infinite Crisis #7 (June, 2006) to appear again!


Mime

Camilla Cameo was the daughter of mob boss Oscar Ortin, also known as the Fireworks King, who made a lot of noise when he committed crimes.


The lady who would become Mime took to a more artistic life, first ballet, then mime, all while trying to live a quiet life.  That life wasn't too successful, so, the Mime took to crime, using a gun (with a silencer), to commit crimes (and keep the noise down).  This caught the attention of Batman and Robin (Jason Todd), who stopped her while she was attempting to silence a rock and roll concert (with the feedback of sound deafening the girl), all in Batman #412 (October, 1987, by Max Allan Collins, Dave Cockrum and Don Heck).



Orca

Grace Balin was a marine biologist at Gotham Aquarium, turned into a whale like creature called Orca in Batman #579 (July, 2000 by Larry Hama, Scott McDaniel and Karl Story), trying to steal a diamond, but being defeated by Batman over the next few issues in Batman #581 (September, 2000).  Orca returned, being infected with the Joker virus in Joker: Last Laugh #2 (December, 2001), in a flashback in Batman #652 (June, 2006), before going belly up in Detective Comics #819 (July, 2006), being killed by the Tally Man.

Condiment King

Relishing his condiments, Mitchell Mayo turned to crime, but really wasn't all that good at it as the Condiment King.  Premiering on the Batman: Animated Series, the Condiment King first appeared in the comics in Birds Of Prey #37 (January, 2002 by Chuck Dixon, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez), being captured by Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Robin (Tim Drake) and Black Canary, who prevent him from setting off a mustard gas bomb (being a little more dangerous than when he faced the original Batgirl and Robin, in a tale told in Batgirl: Year One #8 of September, 2003).  CK returned in Robin #171 (April, 2008), then was rubbed out as a part of the Army of the Endangered in Final Crisis Aftermath: Run #4 (October, 2009).

Tarantula

Catalina Flores was an FBI agent living in Bludhaven, near Dick Grayson's (as well as the All-Star Squadron's Tarantula, Jonathan Law), with her first appearance in Nightwing #71 (September, 2002, by Devin Grayson, Rick Leonardi and Jesse Delperdang).  Catalina admired Tarantula, taking on the identity to fight the crooked cops of the city in Nightwing #75 (January, 2003).  Tarantula is a bit brutal in her enforcement of the law, but she has reason to be, as John Law (along with many other residents of Dick Grayson's apartment building) are killed by Blockbuster in Nightwing #89 (March, 2004), leading Tarantula to kill Blockbuster in Nightwing #93 (July, 2004), with Nightwing failing to act to stop her.  Nightwing goes on the run with Blockbuster for a time, turning her in in Nightwing #100 (February, 2005).  Appearing next defending Bludhaven from OMACs in Robin #143 (December, 2005), she becomes one of many villains looking for redemption in Secret Six #1 to #6 (2008/2009), stealing a "get out of hell free" card from Neron, but sacrificing herself to stop Junior (the sister of the Secret Six's Rag Doll).

March Harriet

Harriet Pratt was an escort and a grifter who was recruited by the Mad Hatter to be a part of his Wonderland gang, as March Harriet, in Detective Comics #841 (April, 2008 by Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs)...





....along with Tweedledee and Tweedledum (who had been Batman villains prior to this as well, as had the Mad Hatter), and newer villains like the Lion, the Unicorn, the Walrus and the Carpenter.





All these villains were lucky enough to have faced Batman or members of his family, so have the likelihood of a longer life in medium outside of comics, but one would hope other heroes' villains can get some love as well (as have villains who have faced Batman, like Flash's Captain Boomerang and Hawkman's Gentleman Ghost, or Green Arrow villains like the Clock King).  After all, at one point, even Deadshot, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy were barely used villains.