Saturday, September 18, 2021

Batman's Strangest Cases

What better way to celebrate Batman Day than by looking at some of Batman's Strangest Cases, which happens to be the title of the Limited Collectors' Edition #C-59 of July, 1978....with this stunning cover by Neal Adams and Bernie Wrightson!

The stories reprinted inside this oversized issue from the past, feature art by both those gentlemen, and a few more!

Red Water Crimson Death

First up, Brave and the Bold #93 (December-January, 1970/1971) by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, a team-up (of sorts), as House of Mystery horror host, Cain, narrates this tale.

Here, an overtired Batman nearly is shot by a criminal, but the gun misfires.  Commissioner Gordon suggests Batman take a vacation.  Bruce Wayne heads out to Ireland via ship.  During the voyage, Bruce saves a young boy who fell overboard.  In Ireland, the boy's uncle gives him a place to stay.  Bruce learns the boys parents were killed during a red tide which also killed the fish in the area.  Investigating as Batman, he finds the culprit behind the poisoned water to be Aloysius Cabot, a local fishery owner, using a haunted castle to scare away locals.  Cabot is able to poison Batman, but is aided by the spirit of King Hugh, who also prevents Cabot from getting away with it by causing King Hugh's portrait to fall off the wall, killing Cabot.

Night of the Bat

Next up, a rate appearance (at the time) of Batman outside his titles, with the first meeting of Batman and Swamp Thing from Swamp Thing #7 (November-December, 1973) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.  

Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) follows Abigail Arcane and Matt Cable to Gotham, where he is spotted by the police,  Gordon calls on Batman, who goes searching for Swamp Thing.  Abby and Matt are found by Swamp Thing, who is then found by Batman.  Batman starts a fight, but, Swamp Thing flees, as he is unable to communicate to Batman his good intentions.  Swamp Thing is able to track down Nathan Ellery, the head of the Conclave (who murdered Alec's wife, Linda), but stops short of killing him.  Ellery falls, with Batman arriving too late to save him, with Swamp Thing taking the time to get away.

The Batman Nobody Knows!

Batman #250 (July, 1973) gives an odd little tale around the campfire by Frank Robbins and Dick Giordano.

Bruce Wayne takes a group of kids out camping, who regale each other with fantastic (if incredible and untrue) tales of the Batman.  Bruce decides to give the kids a thrill, showing up as Batman, but the kids are unimpressed, as they don't think Batman can just be a guy in a suit, proving that while Batman might strike fear in the hearts of criminals...

...the innocent have nothing to fear from the Darknight Detective.

The Demon Of Gothos Mansion!

Neal Adams is echoing a cover from Batman's golden age, Batman #227 (December, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano.

Here, Alfred's niece, Daphne, writes to Alfred about two children she has the job of teaching. Trouble is a foot, so Batman goes to investigate, finding Daphne's boss, Clifton Heathrow, is a warlock, planning to sacrifice her to raise a demon.  In trying to rescue, Batman is captured, but he is rescued by the ghost of a girl who was previously sacrificed.  This allows Batman to save Daphne, foiling the resurrection ritual.

A Vow From The Grave!

Last but not least, a little tale from Detective Comics #410 (April, 1971) by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

Here, Batman chases Kano Wiggins, an escaped convict.  Along the way, Batman encounters four ex-sideshow workers, one of whom is later killed.  The remaining members think Wiggins did it, but Batman investigates and finds it was Goliath, the strongman who did it, because he wanted to eliminate Charley Bones (the thin man) because Maud, the fat lady, loved Bones and not Goliath.  

Just an incredible collection!

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