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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Detective Comics Key Issues Part 13

We are in the Bronze Age of Detective Comics key issues, and there are some pretty good comic investments in this age as well. There are two on here that have made it onto my own want list.

Actually, my want list has grown pretty sizable since the beginning of this Detective Comics keys series. Maybe yours has too.

Alrighty, this Part 12 link will bring ya back if need be. Let's get this rollin'.

1st appearance of Francine Langstrom
2nd appearance of Man-Bat

Francine Langstrom, or Francine Lee as she appears in this issue, is the fiance of Kirk Langstrom who later becomes her husband. Francine Lee also becomes She-Bat as well. We shall see that issue shortly, but this character does cross over into the Modern Age, apparently surviving the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Detective Comics #402 also sees the 2nd appearance of Man-Bat, and the rest is comic book history. Like Man-Bat, Francine Langstrom or Lee was created by France Robbins and Neal Adams.

August, 1970 is the publishing date for Detective Comics #402.

Debut League of Assassins 

One key issue that failed to make it on the Batman key issues list done quite a while ago on here is this one, and how could I have missed it. The League of Assassins were shown in the highly popular reboot film Batman Begins as the League of Shadows.

Well, as you can tell, they were called the League of Assassins before the name was changed, but in their 1st appearance in Strange Adventures #215 they were known as the Society of Assassins. They started off as Deadman's villains.

I suppose this is the debut of the League of Assassins in a Batman related comic, but not too sure about that. Perhaps it's because of the name change?

In the beginning, the Sensei was leader of the Society of Assassins, but in this debut, it is headed by a Dr. Darrk. The character of Dr. Darrk is behind the scenes in this issue and not shown, so it shouldn't be considered his 1st appearance like some sources are noting it.

Dr. Darrk would appear, meaning shown, in the next issue of Detective Comics #406. Of course, as the League of Assassins mythology progresses in the Batman mythos, it would be revamped that Ra's al Ghul is the leader of this group of assassins, whom he wanted Batman or Bruce Wayne to take over.

Detective Comics #405 was published November, 1970, and it's no light weight in high grades.

1st appearance of She-Bat
2nd appearance of Francine Lee
3rd appearance of Man-Bat

In this issue, Francine Lee takes the Man-Bat serum to prove her undying love for Kirk Langstrom. This turns her into She-Bat.

Both decide to get married, but when Batman hears of this, he crashes the wedding. Of course, this starts a battle between Man-Bat, She-Bat, and Batman.

Detective Comics #407 has the 2nd appearance of Francine Lee and the first appearance of She-Bat. This issue also holds the 3rd appearance of Man-Bat, so a triple whammy key issue that's pretty much over-looked in the current market for it's key issue goodness.

January, 1971 was when this comic was published.

1st appearance of Talia al Ghul
Rha's al Ghul mentioned

Unlike the Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight movies, the character of Talia al Ghul was introduced before her father in the comics. Created by Dennis O'Neil and Bob Brown, her role in the Batman world was mainly that of a romantic interest for Bruce Wayne. In this key Batman issue, her father Rha's al Ghul is mentioned in passing.

Talia al Ghul appeared on-screen in The Dark Knight Rises. Talia al Ghul's first appearance in Detective Comics #411 has gotten a nice push in demand since the TDKR film. High grade CGC copies around 9.0 to 9.2 are still being sold under $500. Anything within the 9.6 to 9.8 range, expect to shell out some bucks, if you can find them that is.

Detective Comics #411 and the first appearance of Talia al Ghul was published May, 1971. Her 2nd appearance would be in Batman #232 a long with the 1st appearance of her father R'as al Ghul.

1st appearance new Manhunter

Originally created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby during the Golden Age, the character of Manhunter was resurrected by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson during the Bronze Age. The original intent for the revival was not to be the same Golden Age character, but later the creators of the new Manhunter did establish a link.

Pressed for time, this was done to quickly provide a back story to the supposedly new Manhunter. Although the70s Paul Kirk as Manhunter ran briefly in the pages of Detective Comics, it did launch the comic artist career of Walt Simonson and is highly regarded.

The 70s Manhunter dies in issue #443 of Detective Comics. Mark Shaw would be the next character to take up the mantle of Manhunter during the 80s. Detective Comics #437 was published November, 1973.

1st appearance of Black Spider

There was a rumor that Will Smith may be in talks to play the Black Spider, partly because this is one of the few black characters of the Suicide Squad a long with Bronze Tiger. But it seems that Smith will be playing Deadshot, much to the chagrin of some comic fans.

Black Spider was created by Gerry Conway and was a heroin junkie who committed a robbery that involved him killing the store owner. The owner of the store turned out to be his father, and Eric Needham was arrested for his crimes.

In jail, Needham kicked the habit, and when he was released, he set out on a war on the drug trade, donning a costume and becoming the vigilante known as Black Spider. His ruthless war on drugs and those involved in trafficking it put him at odds with Batman quite often.

He would join the volume 4 Suicide Squad team, but resents being forced to work with criminals and not seeing himself as one as well. The first appearance of Black Spider was published September, 1976.

1st appearance of Doctor Phosphorus

Another evil genius scientist gone bad, Doctor Alexander Sartorius got a good dose of radiation sand slivers into his body from a cracked reactor core. He vowed revenge on those he thought responsible for his terrible fate, and this would bring him into conflict with Batman.

Doctor Phosphorus was created by Steve Englehart and has burning skin, toxic emissions, and can manipulate radiation. Not a major Batman or DC Comics villain, but this character has crossed over into the New 52 and is still active currently.

The first appearance of Doctor Phosphorus in Detective Comics #369 was published May, 1977

1st appearance of Silver St. Cloud
2nd appearance Dr. Phosphorous

Man, Bruce Wayne has all the luck when it comes to chicks. Detective Comics #470 marks the 1st appearance of Silver St. Cloud, whom is a recurring love interest for Bruce Wayne.

Silver St. Cloud was created by Steve Englehart and Mike Gold, Silver St. Cloud was a Gotham City socialite who had a romance with billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. When she found out his secret of running around in tights and fighting crime, she called off the relationship and left Gotham but would return years later.

St. Cloud was perhaps the only romantic interest in which Bruce Wayne attempted to giving up his career as Batman for, and on his own accord too. As we know or should be able to assume, this did not work out too well and Silver St. Cloud ended up dying at the hands of the villain Onomatopoeia.

June, 1977 is the publishing date for the 1st appearance of Silver St. Cloud and 2nd appearance of Dr. Phosphorus in Detective Comics #470.

I admit, I am getting burnt out on this Detective Comics key issues list, but there are some keys I didn't know about. The whole League of Assassins deal and how the group started off as the Society of Assassins was an interesting nugget of info to learn for me.

Silver St. Cloud? Had no idea she even existed.

So tired or bored or whatever, there's some pretty interesting nuggets of info here and there still, and that keeps me going. Click the PART 14 link to continue with this Detective Key issues series.

In case you missed Part 12, just hit that PREVIOUS link below to go back. By the way, a New Mutants movie was announced and the Supergirl TV trailer actually looks somewhat interesting.


  1. You never mentioned which two books are now on your want list!��

    1. Hmmm...wonder if you can guess. Gerry told me about your comment earlier today and guessed right on the key issues that are now on my want list from this part. Give ya a hint though. I already have the 1st Black's not She-Bat or anything to do with character and it's not the new Manhunter or Dr. Phosphorous.

  2. Ok, so it has to be first League of Assassins and first Talia Al Ghul. It might be first Silver st. Cloud, but that is a rather dumb name. Isn't there an actress named Silvia st cloud?

    1. You got it, and I have no idea about the actress Silvia st. Cloud. As for Silver St. Cloud, not really interested in the character. Bruce Wayne had a lot of love interests apparently.

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