Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mike DeNero's Comic of the Month - May 2010

Batman – Volume 1, Issue #27 – (February/March 1945)

I absolutely love this one! It has everything you could possibly want in a Golden Age cover: Batman & Robin, Santa Claus (a fat, jolly, old one at that!), a patriotic call to “Back the 6th War Loan,” and a bundle of toys for all the good little girls and boys at Christmas. A little Internet research about the 6th War Loan reveals that while the cover is Feb./March, the issue likely hit magazine stands in December (in time for Christmas), as the 6th War Loan drive commenced on November 20, 1944 and ended December 16, 1944, during which $11 million of advertising, such as the banner on top of this comic, was donated for the cause.

Back to the cover – enough of the history lesson! Human-sized Santa is depicted carrying a sack of toys that would be a real stretch to fit in his sleigh (especially considering that ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas mentions a “miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer” and that St. Nicholas was “a little old driver”). While Robin is barely assisting Santa with the sack of toys, Batman is no help at all; rather, he’s just pointing in the direction to which Santa’s sleigh is presumably parked so that he can unload the hefty toy sack. And why is Santa carrying a green sack? Who ever heard of a green sack?

This issue - #27 of Volume 1 - was released toward the end of World War II (February/March of 1945, to be exact) and features a classic Golden Age cover by Jack Burnley. This particular copy is graded a conservative 4.0 by CGC and looks great. In addition to a Christmas cover, it has off-white to white pages, a Penguin appearance, an Alfred story, stories written by Don Cameron and Joe Samachson, and art by Jerry Robinson and Jack Burnley.

Originally dubbed "the Bat-Man" by creator Bob Kane, and appearing sans Robin (the "Boy Wonder") in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939 (he didn't get his own comic until 1940), Batman is one of the most enduring comic book characters of all-time. And, like every super hero, Batman is known by a variety of other creative monikers (e.g., "The Dark Knight," "The Caped Crusader," and "The Bat"), but none more so than that of his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, a multimillionaire society playboy. Robin, "the Boy Wonder," did not join Batman until April 1940 in Detective Comics #38. Together, they have been keeping the streets of Gotham City safe for more than seventy years.

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