Thursday, April 11, 2019

Detective Comics Stars Besides Batman Robin Batgirl and Man-Bat

Batman was the main feature in Detective Comics for so long, but every once and a while, the rest of some of Batman's family of crime fighters got to be a feature there as well.

Here, we look at the three main members of the "Batman family"; Robin, Batgirl and Man-Bat, and their runs as individual characters as back-ups in Detective Comics.


Young Dick Grayson premiered as Batman's Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940), but Batman really wasn't letting him stretch his legs on his own for a long time (at least in Detective, Robin did have a back-up in Star-Spangled Comics)...

....not until Detective Comics #386 (April, 1969)!  It must have worked, as the high school aged Robin returned again in Detective Comics #390 and #391, then moved to Hudson University as a freshman college student for #394, #395, #398-#403, then was a back-up in Batman for a bit, before returning for Detective Comics #445, #447, #450 and #451, then a brief stint with 20 issues of Batman Family, before that title merged with Detective Comics, picking up the Robin stories again with Detective Comics #481 to #495.


....more than a few of those tales of Robin were shared with the Batman family member who had the most back-up appearances in Detective Comics....



Barbara Gordon made her debut in Detective Comics #359 (January, 1967), facing off against Killer Moth (with the daughter of Com. James Gordon deciding to keep at the hero business after that tale with her successes therein after accidentally becoming a heroine).

Batgirl's first solo tale premiered in Detective Comics #384 (February, 1969), with Barbara alternating the back-up spot with Robin, having issues #385, #388, #389, #392, #393, #396 and  #397, then sharing #400 and #401 with Robin, and back on her own continuous run with #404 to #424

Batgirl disappeared for a bit, but after two guest appearances in the Superman title and a tale with Supergirl in Superman Family, returned for 20 issues of Batman Family (mostly teaming up with Robin, but a few solo tales), then back to Detective Comics with #481 to #499, then #501, #502, a full length tale with Batman and Robin in #503, then back to back-up for #505, #506, #508 to #510, #512 to #519, the end of her solo run before the Crisis On Infinite Earths and the Killing Joke, other than one Batgirl Special.

While Robin had also spent his time working with various incarnations of the Teen Titans, Batgirl really just worked with Robin, private investigator Jason Bard, Commissioner Gordon and the last of the features to be mentioned here....



Kirk Langstrom first appeared in Detective Comics #400 (June, 1970), as a scientist who was looking to develop a formula to allow one to see in the dark (but instead unleashed a transformation in himself into the half-man, half-bat creature).

After assorted tales where Batman helped cure Kirk, and even his wife, Francine (who became the She-Bat), and two issues of his own title, Man-Bat had a couple of issues of being a Detective Comics back-up in #458 and #459 in 1976.  

Returning for the last 10 issues of Batman Family as a solo feature (though adding Jason Bard to the mix in the last issue), Man-Bat moved over to Detective Comics with the rest, but only for issues #481, #485 and #492 (and much more on Man-Bat is available here!).

Still, these three filled up pages, having interesting stories, but also keeping alive the feeling of Batman in Detective Comics!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this! Just found your site, I grew up reading DC books (and a few Gold Key) from the late 60s-early 80s. Sure do dig these early covers and info, they really take me back! Looking forward to getting into your older stuff!