Sunday, April 06, 2014

Honourable mention: The Batman Chronicles Volume 1

The Batman Chronicles Volume 1 is the first volume of a series that contains the very first adventures of Batman. Contained within the volume are the first appearances of Hugo Strange, Robin, the Joker and the Cat (a precursor to Cat Woman).

Generally I was taken by the fact that batman was more than happy to kill the criminals – indeed in the first few stories he kills someone in virtually each one.

Our attention, however, has to be directed to a two part story dated from September and October 1939 in which Batman faces against an enemy called the Monk. It starts off with Batman interrupting a murder, about to be committed by Bruce Wayne’s fiancée Julie Madison. Julie has been hypnotised and so, when Bruce takes her to the doctor, she is advised to go on holiday (the hypnotised doctor suggesting an ocean voyage to Paris and then on to “Hungary – the land of history and werewolves.”) Despite the odd suggestion they go along with it, Bruce packing the little lady off and then following as Batman.

The monk then accosts her on the voyage and in Paris, with Batman fighting for her (and against a gorilla at one point). This seems to be a convoluted plot in order to feed Julie to his werewolves (although at another point the Monk suggests she will become a werewolf). Batman uses knockout gas and captures a woman named Dala who turns out to be a vampire (and bites Julie) and a double-crossing accomplice of the Monk. We see the Monk turn into a wolf to call his werewolves but he too is a vampire and Batman kills them by shooting them, whilst they sleep in their open coffins, with silver bullets as “Only a silver bullet may kill a vampire!

So we have a cross-over of werewolf and vampire mythology within the story but it is interesting to note that Batman faced off against vampires so early in his career (the first Batman story in Detective Comics appeared in May 1939 and the stories were monthly), but of course the Comic Code Authority, which effectively banned vampires (amongst many other things) in comics, wasn’t introduced until the 1954.


Kuudere-Kun said...

Interestingly this story came before any of the Recurring Bat-Villains we're used to.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Indeed... the story was reimagined and I'll be covering that soon

Kuudere-Kun said...

I've linked to this post in my latest post on my Blog. Where I talk about things I'd like to see on the new Gotham TV show. I include The Monk.

Did you review the reimagining yet? I'm afraid I might have missed some posts of yours in the last years?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Jared - I reviewed )one of) the reimagining(s) here: