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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Detective Comics Key Issues Part 8

We got some definite good keys in this Part 7 to the Detective Comics key issues series. In fact, this part will be kicking off with a personal favorite Batman key issue of mine.

However, it will end with an important DC Comics first appearance outside of the Batman mythos, which is also a tough find in the current market. So, click this Part 7 link in case you missed it, but if not, enjoy this next batch of Detective Comics key comics.

Detective Comics #168 Origin of The Joker comic coverDETECTIVE COMICS #168
1st appearance of Red Hood
Origin of Joker

Want to talk about a monster of a key Batman issue that's often overlooked? Well this is it - finally the very first origin of how the Joker came to be all sorts of crazy.

So who is this Red Hood character? For those of you who don't know, the Red Hood was The Joker before going undeniably coo-coo and rocking that trademark chalk-white skin and green hair.

Update: Since I copied this from the Batman key issues list done a while back, this key issue is no longer over-looked since Jason Todd has made the character of the Red Hood quite popular.  

Detective Comics #168 was published February, 1951.

1st appearance of Firefly

There are two versions of this character, and the one that first appeared in these pages is the original Garfield Lynns. Garfiled Lynns was a down and out visual effects expert who decides to rob a theater by faking a fire.

The character of Firefly would carry over into the Modern Age of comics, but the original version was created by Dick Sprang and France Herron. Another character named Ted Carson would also take up the mantle during the Golden Age as well. Ted Carson was created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.

June, 1952 is the publishing date of Detective Comics #184.

Secret of Batman's utility belt

Most of us grew up watching the 1960s Batman show and geeking out on his utility belt. He seemed to have every neat solution around his waist. In it's first appearance in Detective Comics #29, the utility belt contained chocking gas capsules.

Of course, the utility belt would evolve over time and hold other items used in solving and fighting crime for the Dark Knight. Batarangs were contained in one of the compartments, a camera, and a tape recorder were later introduced as well.

Detective Comics #185 was published July, 1952.

Origin of Batcave

In the early years, the Bat Cave appeared in the comics sporadically. First mention or appearance of  a secret underground lair was contained the pages of Batman #12.

This origin actually contradicts later origins concerning the Bat Cave. In this origin, Bruce Wayne discovers the Bat Cave as an adult instead of falling into it as a child like later versions. 

On Earth Two, Batman had no idea the cave existed when he first purchased the house, which completely confuses the fact that Bruce Wayne inherited the house from his deceased parents. Ah, the convolution and distortion of DC Comics continuity.

Supposedly he discovered the cave when testing the floor of an old barn on the property. The floor gave way and wah-la - Bat Cave. In later versions, the Bat Cave was discovered by young Bruce Wayne after falling into it by accident.

His ancestors used the cave as a storehouse and a way of transporting escaped slaves during the Civil War era. The first origin of the Bat Cave during the Golden Age of comics was entirely different as to modern re-tellings and this comic was published March, 1954.

1st Mirror Man
Origin of Mirror Man

I debated about whether or not to put this one on here as Mirror Man is an extremely minor villain and only made one appearance during the Golden Age. His real name is Floyd Ventris and he uses special mirrors and stuff.

Not a great villain at all. His 2nd appearance was in the Silver Age in Batman #157, and his primary villainy is to expose Batman as Bruce Wayne.

In modern comics, the Mirror Man is a patient at Arkham Asylum who is obsessed with his own reflection. It turns out that he is but a figment of Dr. Jeremiah Arkham's imagination. A coo-coo runs the coo-coo's nest. Detective Comics #213 was published November, 1954.

1st appearance of Batmen of All Nations

Debated about whether to include this key issue also. It is a minor one, and the Batmen of All Nations was barely used in the DCU.

However, the group was led by Batman and even included Robin and Superman as members at one time.

The group or original lineup consisted of the Legionary, whom makes his first appearance in this issue, the Squire, the Knight, Gaucho, the Musketeer, and the Ranger who also makes his first appearance in Detective Comics #215. Gaucho and the Musketeer also debut in this issue.

All the men in this tacky group were inspired by the exploits of Batman to become masked crime fighters, probably except for the Knight and the Squire. Percival Sheldrake, known as the Knight, a first appeared a long with his side kick the Squire in Batman #62.

The Squire is Percival's son Cyril Sheldrake, and in later continuity, Cyril would take up the mantle of the Knight after his father is killed. The Knight sometimes works with Nightwing.

This club definitely was a diverse lot. Legionary is Italian, Gaucho is from Argentina, the Knight and Squire from the UK, and the Ranger an Australian. Well, I should say diverse for the time.

January, 1955 is the publishing date for this comic.

1st appearance of Martian Manhunter
Origin of Martian Manhunter begins

Stepping out of the Batman keys within Detective Comics, this one right here is a major one and holds the first appearance of Martian Manhunter. As we all know, the character became a popular member of the Justice League of America, but in the beginning, he was a feature in the pages of Detective Comics.

In the story, The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel, we see the beginning of the Martian Manhunter origin as well. Dr. Erdel pulls a green-skinned alien from Mars to Earth with a teleportation beam, and the shock kills Erdel.

However, later stories would reveal that Erdel is alive...of course. Anyways, the alien named J'onn J'onzz is stranded on Earth, so he adopts the name John Jones and decides to be a crime fighter. Gotta start somewhere.

November, 1955 is the publishing date for the first appearance of Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics #225.

Two important key issues contained in this part here. The origin of the Joker and the first appearance of the Red Hood is definitely one to consider. 

Also, there's no doubt that the first appearance of Martian Manhunter is and has been a highly sought out first appearance as well.

More to come in the next part of this series coming soon, so just click that PART 9 link below to carry onward. If you missed Part 7, click the PREVIOUS link below.

1 comment:

  1. Gee whiz mister, I'd sure like to see a Martian Manhunter Key Issues on TCM.