Tuesday, April 23, 2024


I’ve been writing about the stories reprinted in Batman: The Silver Age Omnibus Volume One. It’s a massive tome that collects Batman #101-116 and Detective Comics #233-257, spanning mid-1956 through mid-1958. In an effort to cover more of these vintage comic books  faster, I’ll be going lighter on the story summaries. We start with one of the most iconic Batman tales of them all.

Detective Comics #241 [March 1957] features “The Rainbow Batman” by the legendary Edmond Hamilton with art by Sheldon Moldoff and Stan Kaye. Moldoff drew the cover as well.

Criminals steal valuable camera equipment, but Dick Grayson can’t change to Robin. He must save a little girl about to be hit by a car. In doing so, he injures his arm.

Batman knows the stolen cameras must play a part in some upcoming crime, but the crooks aren’t in his photo files. However, Robin can identify them if he sees them. The duo go on patrol hoping to spot the criminals before they can commit their big crime.

On each patrol, Batman wears a different color costume. Red, blue, green, gold, a white one with a target on its chest and the multi-hued title costume. Can you guess why Batman is wearing all these costumes? I bet you can.



The Moldoff cover for Batman #107 [April 1957] features “The Grown-Up Boy Wonder.” But the first story in the issue is “The Boy Who Adopted Batman” by an unknown writer with art by Moldoff and inker Charles Paris. It’s a heart-warming story about a lonely boy whose father died. His mom works a lot and is tired when she gets home, so the kid starts talking to a Batman statue in the park. Batman and Robin hear him and build a Bat-bicycle for him. One good turn deserves and the brave youngster helps the heroes track down a gang of token counterfeiters. The kid’s cleverness leads to a deserved happy ending for him and his mom. I really wish I knew the identity of this story’s writer. It’s a good one.

The second story is “Robin Falls in Love” by Batman co-creator Bill Finger with Moldoff and Paris on the art. Robin falls hard for 14-year-old ice skater Vera Lovely. Her agent prefers she publicity-dates an actor and tries to break them up. Meanwhile, a criminal is posing as a news photographer to steal a pair of skates auctioned off for charity. Just another day in Gotham.

“The Grown-Up Boy Wonder” is by Finger, Moldoff and Kaye. Batman and Robin are examining a lead-lined box Superman brought back from space. When the box is opened, it releases a mysterious gas which ages the Boy Wonder into manhood. Against Batman’s wishes, Robin appropriates Bruce Wayne’s masquerade costume and takes on the new identity of Owlman. But the former kid isn’t used to fighting as a bigger stronger adult and that causes problems as the heroes take on the Daredevils, a team of acrobatic jewel thieves.


Detective Comics #242 [April 1957] cover-features “The Underworld Bat-Cave” by an unknown writer. I seem to recall Leigh Brackett did some writing for DC Comics. Could she be the mysterious wordsmith? The cover was drawn by Moldoff with the interior story bu Moldoff and Paris.

A treasure hunt stunt is part of a plan to discover the location of the Bat-Cave and Batman’s secret identity. The criminals expose a flaw in the Cave’s security protocols, but Batman, Robin and Alfred foil them with an elaborate plan of their own.  


Batman gets large in Detective Comics #243 [May 1957]. “Batman the Giant is by Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Paris. The cover is drawn by Moldoff. A scientist creates two remarkable inventions:

“My maximizer enlarges any object by drawing cosmic electricity to expand its atoms! My minimizer diminishes by the reverse process.”

After seeing a diamond expanded to the size of a basketball, crook Jay Vanney tries to steal the inventions. Batman is struck by the enlarging way and grows to thirty feet. Vanney only gets away with the minimizer. Batman is banned from Gotham, but he has the machine  Vanney wants. Their showdown takes an unexpected turn.


The first two of the three stories in Batman #108 [June 1957] are by an unknown writer or writers. The cover is by Moldoff and Paris.

“The Big Batman Quiz” plays off live quiz and other TV shows. Bats and Robin are on the set of “The Big Quiz” to confirm answers about their crime-fighting careers. The contestant, a Batman expert, is two answers away from winning $125,000. In 2024, the amount would be $1,364,528.47. Following the quiz show, the next live program would be “Interview with Crime” featuring the convict Garth.

The Batman expert is asked to reveal Batman’s secret identity and, seen only by Batman, he answers correctly. But then the contestant is poisoned in the question booth and the paper with the identity goes missing. An escaped Garth appears to be the killer, but there are some nice twists in this eight-page tale.

The six-page “Prisoners of the Bat-Cave” is also drawn by Moldoff and Paris. This short-but-frantic tale finds our heroes trying to prove a man is innocent mere hours before the man is set to die in the electric chair. Making their job all the more difficult is that a mechanical failure and a fire bomb have them trapped in the Bat-Cave with no means of communicating information to the authorities. I think this unknown writer is the same as the unknown writers in some of the other scripts we’ve discussed. There is a cleverness to his or her work.

“The Career of Batman Jones” is by Finger, Moldoff and Paris. When the title character’s parents take their newborn child home from the hospital, they are rescued from a failed brakes situation by Batman. In gratitude, they name the kid “Batman.” As the lad grows up, he becomes obsessed with being a detective like Batman. Despite his age, he’s good. But how can our heroes keep the youngster safe from the dangers that come with his obsession?


Detective Comics #244 [June 1957] featured “The 100 Batarangs of Batman” by Finger, Moldoff and Paris with Moldoff going solo on the cover. Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman (1988) was on point when he remarked Batman had the best toys. That was one of the many things my younger self found so fascinating about the Batman comic books of my youth. Though many of the batarangs in this story were wildly aerodynamically unsound, I still got a kick out of them.

This 12-pager is a favorite of mine. Crooks steal films of Batman using various batarangs so they can create their own and use them against our hero. We get to see how Batman learned about batarangs from Austrian Lee Collins. We get flashbacks of Batman and Robin using the Magnetic Batarang, the Seeing-Eye Batarang and more. We are teased with a mystery batarang and see Batman use it as he goes up against the villains’ Bomb-Batarangs. I was so thrilled I never  noticed the cover wrongly included a Bomb-Batarang among those in the Bat-Cave.

That’s it for this part of my Silver Age Batman musings. I’ll have more for you in the near future.

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Monday, April 15, 2024




One of the truly frustrating things about my life in recent months is that I haven’t posted anywhere near as many bloggy things as I’d like. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it still frustrates me. I’m hoping to get back on track soon.

March 1: The dedicated and determined doctors, psychiatrists and therapists working to provide quality gender-affirming care despite the monstrous cruelty, hatred and misinformation directed at their patients by Republicans and “Christians.”

March 2: The Food That Built America on the History Channel fills two needs for me: fun food and fascinating trivia about food. This new season kicked off with episodes on Italian-American cuisine and ice cream. Feed my brain!

March 3: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s reelection ads are all about the great things he’s accomplished. His vile opponents’ ads are all baseless attacks, disinformation, empty promises and sucking up to the worst elements in the GOP. Easy choice for me.


March 4: I’ve the strangest feeling I’ve been turned into a Funko! Courtesy of my fan and friend Mike Maloy, there is now a miniature Tony Isabella adorning my office. The series will continue with the Rainbow Tony, the Zebra Tony and more!

March 5: Barb, Kelly and our neighbor Shari were making cookies. Shari made one just for me. I’m thinking I should add communion to our First Church of Godzilla services. After I post this, there’ll be a little Godzilla in me.

March 6: Painkiller Jane: Beautiful Killers by Jimmy Palmiotti and Juan Santacruz. Two issues. Solid story and writing. Beautiful art. Beautiful violence. Satisfying ending. I wish more comic books were this good.


March 7: The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 13 2008-2010 by Tom Batiuk includes some of the material I wrote for him. Our writing styles were somewhat different, so I’m curious to see if the fans can figure who did what.

March 8: Ghosts: “Halloween 3: The Guest Who Wouldn't Leave” was an exceptional episode. Funny script. Hilarious acting. An intriguing possible addition to the cast. A surprising final scene that did not see coming. I love this show.

March 9: Saturday Night Live. Scarlett Johansson’s brilliant parody  of crazed Sen. Katie Britt’s GOP State of the Union response made me laugh out loud. Plus: Josh “Thanos” Brolin was a terrific host. One of the best episodes this season.


March 10: Godzilla Minus One won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It’s a historic moment for the franchise made sweeter by the team carrying Godzilla figures to the stage. But I still think the Big G deserved a best actor nomination as well.

March 11: The 96th Academy Awards. For the first time in decades, I watched them from start to finish. Host Jimmy Kimmel did a great job, there were many memorable moments and they actually ended on time. Well done all around.

March 12: Batman: Harley and Ivy by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Shane Glines and more is a fun collection of stories culled from various comics. The stories are self-contained and can be enjoyed without knowing what the heck is going on in the DCU.

March 13: Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story by Sarah Myer is a brilliant tale of the creator growing up as a South Korean child adopted by American parents and using her art to fight back against racism and homophobia. Highly recommended.

March 14: Marvel-Verse: Monica Rambeau Photon collects key stories featuring the character. Marketed as suitable for readers 10-14 and approximately 6" by 9" format, it’s a great way to catch up on some classic comics. I’m going to pay more attention to these books in the future.

March 15: Godzilla The Official Coloring Book (Titan Books) would make a wonderful gift for any budding artist with a passion for The Big G. Artists include Arthur Adams and Matt Frank. For this, you will need Crayola’s biggest box.

March 16: Published in 2021, Box of Bones: Book One by Ayize Jama-Everett and John Jennings tells stories of an African artifact and the Hell it visits on oppressor and oppressed alike. Honestly scare stuff and well worth reading.

March 17: So Help Me Todd: “Dial Margaret for Murder” was a zany murder mystery that delighted me from start to finish. Especially Jacqueline and Joyce Robbins as the Lee sisters. I want to see more of them, maybe even in their own series.



March 18: Godzilla Zipper Mouth plush. I have a new office buddy. He seems nice.

March 19: Wheel of Fortune. It’s Marvel Super Heroes week and the prizes include a Disney/Marvel cruise and Marvel swag. Appearing on the show so far: Spider-Man, Captain America and the Black Panther.I’m loving this!

March 20: A Man & His Cat by Umi Sakura remains one of my favorite manga series. Volume 8 caught me by surprise as it introduced the adult children of Fuyuki Kanda. His daughter loves insects and his son hates cats. Highly recommended.

March 21: X-Men ‘97. I watched the first two episodes with my son Ed and we were both impressed. Terrific writing. Solid story flow. Surprises. Even LeBron James was excited to see it. If you’ve got the GOAT vote, you’re good. Highly recommended.

March 22: Don’t Call It Mystery Vol. 1-2 by Yumi Tamura features a fairly unemotional college student whose observation and deduction skills are uncanny. Action takes a back seat to sometimes tedious dialogue, but the protagonist is fascinating.

March 23: Anyone Comics in Brooklyn is my new comics store. Their packaging and service is first-rate and, occasionally, artist and employee Chad Hellman adds his own touch to outgoing packages. May the blessings of Lord and Savior be on him.

March 24: The Legends of the Monsterverse boxed set. It’s gorgeous. This omnibus contains  every comic Legendary Comics has published on the Monsterverse and an exclusive new story only found in this hardcover treasure! All praise the great scaly one!


March 25: Superman: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1. From the 1950s and 1960s, this collects stories from Action Comics #241-265 and Superman #122-137. I enjoy all kinds of comics, but these blasts from my past hold a special place in my heart.

March 26: IDW’s Godzilla Library Collection Vol. 1. A lovely book containing Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths, Godzilla Legends and Godzilla: The Half-Century War. The individual issues will show up in my garage sales in the fullness of time.

March 27: Delta Airways did a fine job on our trip to Anaheim via Detroit. Special kudos to the young lady who wheeled me across the mammoth Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to our connecting flight. I wouldn’t have made it without her.

March 28: CastaƱeda's Mexican Food. Our first meal on this trip was at this amazing 24-hour restaurant at 432 S Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Freshly-cooked and delicious food. One of the best meals of our WonderCon journey.   

March 29: Greatest Hits by Harlan Ellison. Edited by J. Michael Straczynski and with a foreword by Neil Gaiman, this book collects 19 stories by one of my favorite authors (and friends). Ellison was and remains an inspiration to writers everywhere.

March 30: Joshua Tree National Park. On our way to WonderCon, the Isabella family visited this eerily beautiful park filled with the trees of its name and breathtaking rock formations. It would make the perfect setting for a monster movie.

March 31: Jennifer Blood: Battle Diary by Fred Van Lente and Robert Carey. A solid start to a new thriller wherein the daughter of the original JB goes after white supremacist. The first issue is very new-reader friendly.

And now...Tony’s Best of the Bloggy Thing Month. Three categories. Three winners.

BEST COMIC OF THE MONTH: A Man & His Cat Vol. 8 by Umi Sakura


BEST PERSON OF THE MONTH: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more cool stuff for you. Hugs.

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Thursday, April 11, 2024



If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might recall I have been frequently pilloried as some one who hates Batman or who is jealous of the character’s success or any number of other crimes against the Darknight Detective. All of the above by low lives who fancy themselves comics journalists incapable of informed nuance in reporting the “news.”

Batman was my favorite comic-book character as a kid and remained so until I met Spider-Man and, later, created Black Lightning. What I hate is that DC Comics has turned the Caped Crusader into the Psycho Putz. While there have been definite moments of lightness since a Batman writer stumbled his way into a psychology book, the current Batman is more often framed by cruelty and unresolved trauma than heroism. He is manipulative and untrustworthy. Contrast this with “my” Batman who, after seeing justice done to the murdered of his parents, chose to continue being Batman to protect others from that kind of loss.  

I’m not so much jealous of Batman’s success as I am saddened that other terrific DC characters are ignored as DC pumps out almost as many Batman titles as Richie Rich had back in his glory years. It will take someone better at comics history and math to determine if Bats has surpassed Richie’s numbers.

The one thing the “journalists” sometime get right is that I hate Black Lightning being subservient to Batman. My Jefferson Pierce’s priorities are his family, his students and his community. He does not leave them all behind to be Batman’s sidekick.


I’ve been slowly working my way through Batman: The Silver Age Omnibus. This first volume collects Batman #101-116 and Detective Comics #233-257, spanning mid-1956 through mid-1958. Let’s get back into it.


Batman #105 (February 1957) has a cover drawn by Sheldon Moldoff and three stories by three different writers, all drawn by the team of Moldoff (pencils) and Charles Paris (inker). In Bill Finger’s “The Challenge of Batwoman,” a bored Kathy Kane wears her retired Batwoman outfit to a costume party. She stumbles into a caper by a gang of art thieves and their masked leader, a caper being foiled by Batman and Robin. Batman sprains his ankle, the crime boss gets amnesia, Batwoman thinks he’s Batman and decides she and Robin must train “Batman” so he can continue to function as a crime-fighter until his memory returns. The real Batman and Robin play along with this because they don’t want Batwoman to know about his injury for fear she would learn he’s Bruce Wayne. The criminal’s memory does return and he sets a trap for Batwoman and Robin. The real Bats disguising his injury and saves them. The 10-page story includes an end scene where Kathy berates Bruce for spraining his ankle while out “dancing.”

Ed Herron’s “The Second Boy Wonder” is one of those “teach someone a lesson” tales so prevalent in both Batman and Superman comics of the era. A “new” Boy Wonder takes Robin’s place, “fooling” Batman.When the duo returns to the Batcave, the kid reveals he is not the real Robin but someone who took an injured Robin’s place when the real Robin showed up at his door. He threatens to expose Batman’s secret identity if he’s not allowed to work with him. Of course, the new kid is the old kid. Robin is trying to prove he’s as much a master of disguise as Batman. Of course, from the moment the new Robin reveals his identity, both Batman and butler Alfred knew who it was. “Robin” walked through the Batcave in the dark to turn on the lights. Holy rookie mistake!

Arnold Drake’s “The Mysterious Bat-Missile” is the issue’s finale. In the Batcave, our heroes watch as the title vehicle comes through the floor of their secret lair. Operated by their thoughts, their new ride can pass through anything. Whoever sent it to them knows their identities. They put aside their concern to use the vehicle to track down a criminal on the run. The criminal lays low because of the Bat-Missile, but makes a break for it when he learns Batman is again using the much-slower Batmobile. Surprise. The heroes have disguised the Missile as their traditional vehicle. Next surprise? The Bat-Missile was sent to them for this one case by the Batman of the Future. He wanted to thank them for inspiring his career. They don’t get to keep it because this trip to their time was strictly a one-shot.


Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris pencilled and inked the cover of Detective Comics #240 [February 1947], The author of “The Outlaw Batman” is unknown. The story itself is penciled by Dick Sprang with inks by Paris.

In a complicated scheme, Batman is framed for a series of crimes by a detailed-oriented adversary. There are a great many twists in the 12-page story. Fortunately, the authorities never really believed Batman was guilty and rigged the trial to allow the Caped Crusader to draw out the real villain. The tale plays fair with the readers by showing us the key clue that allows Batman to figure out who had been framing him. I wish I knew who wrote this one, which I’d never read before, because it’s a good one.


Batman #106 [March 1957] has a cover by Sheldon Moldoff. That’s not unusual for the era, but what is unusual is that no writer has been identified for any of the three tales in the issue. I wonder if any or all of them were written by the same mysterious unknown author who penned “The Outlaw Batman” in Detective Comics #240.

Drawn by Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye, “Batman’s Secret Helper” has a clever concept. An escaped convict has vowed vengeance on the man who helped Batman and Robin capture him, but not even our heroes know the identity of their helper. Bats launches a TV show to honor those who have helped them, figuring it will draw the convict out into the open. Which is does. The twist? It was the convict’s own brother who saved the Dynamic Duo because he wanted to prevent the convict from murdering them. The convict sees the error of his ways and is now determined to finish his sentence and rejoin society as a law-abiding citizen.  

“Storm Over Gotham City” is another cool story. Gotham City is in the path of a hurricane. A mobster and his men are planning to loot the city dressed as disaster-fighters. Trying to stop them, Batman and Robin are distracted by hurricane-related emergencies. Our guys catch the crooks by using the hurricane against them. In this time of extreme climate disasters, this tale could be modernized into an exciting cautionary thriller. It was pencilled by Sprang with inks by Paris.

“The Puppet Batman” is the cover and final story in the issue. An outside force is controlling Batman into doing dangerous stunts and reveal his true identity. The connection between the two is shaky, as is the “mind-ray” the criminal is using. Each attempt involves a different criminal - an ex-lion tamer, an ex-artist and others - projecting their skills onto Batman. The ex-artist attempts to get Batman to paint a portrait of his real face, but Robin destroys the canvas in the nick of time. An art expert identifies the artist’s style, which allows Batman to catch the criminals and recover their ill-gotten loot. The mind-ray is destroyed. This story is the weak link of the issue, but had the kind of “oh, gosh” cover scene that
comics publishers presumed their readers loved. The tale was drawn by Moldoff and Paris.

Watch for more Silver Age Batman in future blogs.

© 2024 Tony Isabella