Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Batman Chronology: The Batman Meets Doctor Death!

Detective Comics, #29 (July, 1939)

Detective Comics, #29 (July, 1939)

*This story can be found, again, in The Batman Chronicles, Vol. 1.

*So, this begins a brief and strange run by Gardner Fox.  He’s responsible for what I think is probably the weirdest scene in the entire Batman universe, but we’ll get to that later.  This story also begins a new format for the stories: ten pages instead of six.

*This one opens with a scroll card: “The Bat Man, eerie figure of the night, has become a legendary figure in the life of the teeming metropolis . . .”


*So, is Doctor Death the first truly great Batman villain?  Allow me to quote:  “I have at last completed all my laboratory experiments.  My death by pollen extract is definite.” 

*Yeah, that’s going to be a no then.

*Okay, Doctor Death has a devious plan:  “This man they call the Bat Man . . . He must be done away with!  If I knew who he is – but no one does.  I must trap him.  Perhaps we can contact him through the personal notice column in the daily newspaper.”

*Fiendishly clever plan, Doctor!  Tell me, how long did it take you to come up with this plan?  Three minutes? 

*Even more absurd, the plan actually works and Bruce reads the personal notice and is lured to a trap in a penthouse apartment. 

*Batman actually takes a bullet to the shoulder here, but he’s able to escape using his gas pellet. 

* “Guess I’d better see the family doctor at once.  This shoulder is beginning to ache.”  “It’s all right now, Bruce.  But how did you shoot yourself when there are no powder marks on your flesh?”  “I do funny things sometimes, Doc.” 

*Oh, for cryin’ out loud.

*Anyway, Batman trails one of Dr. Death’s henchmen to his lair.  He strangles the henchman with a lasso and then he batters Doctor Death with a fire extinguisher, causing Dr. Death to drop some sort of chemical that starts a massive fire. 

*The final image of the story is of Batman standing outside the burning laboratory musing, “Death . . . to Doctor Death.” 

*Okay, all you people who bashed Tim Burton’s movie because Batman killed people in it?  You can all shut up now.

*Body Count: 5 (except Doctor Death isn’t really dead, so it’s actually only 4, but we’re not supposed to know that yet, I don’t suppose)

*Well, better a guy who tries to murder people with pollen after luring them out via the personal column than some guy who wants to own a chemical company. 

Gardner Fox, Bob Kane

*Next time . . . oh, wow, it's time to start this story already: Introducing Robin the Boy Wonder! 

Batman Chronology!