The Brave & The Bold Index Part 9
Team-ups: The World’s Greatest Super Heroes Part 2
November 1963 – November 1967
#63: Supergirl & Wonder Woman, “Revolt of the Super Chicks”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: John Rosenberg. George Kashdan is back as editor. By this time the once proud Brave & Bold banner has been shrunk down to two inches.
A huge step back for the suffragette movement: Supergirl renounces her heroic lifestyle to live with the jet set in Paris. Wonder Woman, sent to convince Supergirl of the error of her ways, also falls into the sway of the jet set, and renounces her super-do-good lifestyle. With their new boyfriends they head to the Ile D’Amour, not knowing the island is also the hide-out of the evil Multi-Face! Will our girls go back to their super life or remain “frail and feminine” and keep their boyfriends happy?
A small tag line on the last panel warns us that “the Spectre is coming!” Cool!
#64: Batman vs. Eclipso, which was also the story title. March 1966.
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Dick Giordano and Sal Trapani. Hey, where’s the Spectre? This issue (March 1965) begins National’s checkerboard design (“Go-Go Checks”) along the top of all their comic covers.
They get an “A” for a great idea: the first villain as a co-star! Batman’s greatest love and one-time crime-fighting companion, Marcia Monroe returns (Who!? You probably won’t find her listed in any Batman sourcebook)! But she frames Batman for the theft of the cat emerald. While he sits in stir, Marcia, as the Queen Bee (not the JLA foe) and Eclipso take over Gotham’s crime cartel.
Saints preserve us! Chief O’Hara debuts in B&B, having been broadcasting his befuddlement of the most dastardly assortment of criminal minds the likes of which Gotham City has ever produced lo these past ninety days (translation: he had already been on the Batman TV show for three months).
#65: Flash & Doom Patrol, “Alias Negative Man”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Bruno Premanini. An ingenious idea: team up a new, lesser-known DC character with an established one – introducing fans to the Doom Patrol who might otherwise not buy their comic. This was also done the previous issue, but more was made about the fact that is starred a villain rather than a newer more obscure DC character.
Negative Man is kidnapped by the Brotherhood of Evil (no, not Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, just Brotherhood of Evil. Hey, give the Doom Patrol a break; they predated that other superhero group led by a man in a wheelchair by three months – June 1963 as opposed to September 1963)! The Flash disguises himself as Neg Man and fills in, fooling the Brotherhood into thinking, “If that’s Negative Man, who’s in this lead-lined coffin?” Creek! Whoosh! “Aargh!”
Flash and Doom Patrol were a featured team-up in the revived B&B in 2007 as an obvious (and admitted) homage.
#66: Metamorpho & Metal Men, “Wreck the Renegade Robot”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Mike Sekowsky, legendary JLA artist, who last appeared in these pages six years ago in issue #30 and does an excellent job in this story! His artwork looks almost Kirby-esque.
Doc Magnus cures Metamorpho and turns him back into Rex Mason! What a bad time for someone to take over the minds of the Metal Men and order them to destroy Simon Stagg!
#67: Batman & Flash, “Death of the Flash”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Carmine Infantino, who last appeared in these pages three years earlier with his masterly work on Strange Sports Stories. Here he does a very good job on the two superheroes for which he is best known.
The Flash discovers that his super speed skill is slowly killing him – he must stop running or he will die! Bad time for the Speed Boys to start a super-speed crime spree in Gotham!
In January of 1966 the TV show “Batman” debuted on ABC. By this issue (September 1966), the show is a runaway smash and anything with Batman’s image on the cover would become a huge seller! Flash has starred in more issues of B&B than any other character (during the team-up or even try-out years). Batman has starred in only three issues. Flash’s reign as most popular B&B character will end shortly.
#68: Batman & Metamorpho, “Alias the Bat-Hulk”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Mike Sekowsky, in another excellent job! Why didn’t he do this well in Justice League of America?
The Joker, Penguin and Riddler all make their B&B debut. Metamorpho appears for the second time in three issues. Batman is the first character to star in two consecutive issues with different stars. Ads in the comic explain why: the Batman TV show, the Batman movie, the Batman syndicated newspaper strip, Batman Aurora models and, oh yes, Batman comic books are advertised in this issue. Metamorpho tells Batman in the final panel that he’ll see Batman “on the TV”. Subtle, isn’t it?
The three dastardly bad guys spray Batman with a chemical that changes him into Bat-Hulk: a huge lumbering bad guy whose hands destroy everything they touch! He can even throw chemical fireballs. In a moment of lucidity, Batman goes to Simon Stagg and Metamorpho to try to find a cure. Before they do, Metamorpho must stop Bat-Hulk and his three allies during their criminal rampage on Gotham.
Unabashed plug department: This is Batman’s fourth starring appearance in B&B, and in the last three he mentions Robin being away at a Teen Titans meeting to explain his absence.
#69: Batman & Green Lantern, “War of the Cosmic Avenger”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Win Mortimer.
The Time Commander (from issue #54) returns and again tricks Green Lantern and Batman into giving him some of GL’s power. Time Commander then uses the power to summon Cosmo: “A humanoid recalled from the limbo of the past …” but now imbued with cosmic “star power”.
#70: Batman & Hawkman, “Cancelled: Two Super-Heroes”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Johnny Craig.
The Collector decides to start collecting super-hero secret identities. When Batman realizes what is going on, he tricks the Collector into thinking Batman is Carter Hall and Hawkman is Bruce Wayne!
#71: Batman & Green Arrow, “Wrath of the Thunderbird”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: George Pepp. This is Green Arrow’s second appearance in B&B and his first team-up with Batman (of nine – the most frequent guest star in the series).
Batman and Green Arrow help train a friend to win the chiefdom of his Native American Kijawa tribe. His opponent cheats to win and releases the Thunderbird, who attacks everyone in sight! Native American slurs abound in this pre-politically correct story!
#72: Spectre & Flash, “Phantom Flash, Cosmic Traitor”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Carmine Infantino, who we saw last in issue #67 also featuring the Scarlet Speedster. This is the last issue starring the Flash without Batman. Issue #63 told us that “The Spectre is coming!” It’s about time! Actually, they were talking about his silver age debut in Showcase. This issue of B&B is the Spectre’s 4thsilver age appearance.
The ghost of a World War One squadron fighter wreaks vengeance on his surviving comrades (he was the only fatality); and he’s brainwashed the Flash into aiding him!
This issue mentions Earth Two, the alternative world in which the golden age heroes live, for the first time. It sets up some strange scenes – One, the Flash from Earth One is there to visit the Spectre (who visits the Spectre?); and two, when crooks spot a crimson blur racing toward them they shout out, “It’s the Flash!” What they don’t shout out is, “Wait, what’s with the different costume?”
#73: Aquaman & Atom, “Galg the Destroyer”, Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Sal Trapani.
Galg the Destroyer is out to conquer the universe. The catch? He lives in a microscopic world in a drop of ocean water!
The Go-Go Checks are gone in this issue. So is Batman. As far as Brave & Bold is concerned, the Go-Go Checks will never return, and Batman will never leave. Next issue, Batman will begin his 127-issue run as the star.
These last two issues of Brave & Bold (#72 and #73) were the lowest-selling in some time. The reason was obvious – they were the first issues in a nearly a year that did not feature Batman on the cover. Issues before the Batman TV show were selling from 249,000 to 279,000. Issue #69 (for example) sold 398,000 copies. As the TV show would say, “Zap! Pow! Ka-Ching!!” Seeing the dollar signs in front of their eyes (and the many zeroes before the period in their sales reports), the editors of Brave & Bold vowed never to make that mistake again! World’s Finest aside (that was always considered a Superman book at worst and a comic co-starring Superman and Batman at best); from here on, Brave & Bold becomes the third Batman book.
When did National finally decide this? The comic itself doesn’t say. Despite Batmania being in full bloom, #68 tells us that “we’ll be seeing more team-ups of DC’s fabulous heroes in the very next issue of The Brave and The Bold!” But not Batman specifically! Besides, limiting B&B to one star and a guest would limit its scope, wouldn’t it? Hardly, the best was yet to come!
Next: Lo, There Shall Come a Dark Knight!
Copyright (c) 2012 Michael G. Curry