Vicki Vale: A Fun Comprehensive History

I recently had fun doing a 5 day lookback on Catwoman’s history (from 1940-2020) for the news page. Those type of things are fun, and I wanted to do another one. I’m choosing Vicki Vale, because she’s a side character that has been in and out of the Batbooks for years. People like Julie Madison or Vesper Fairchild were very much of their eras, and even if they had appearances in other eras, they were very much relics of whatever time the were prominent in. Vicki has a heavy presence in the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Modern Age, and became a household name thanks to the 1989 movie. She even has a Prince song (“Vicki Waiting”) named after her.

Since Vicki isn’t topical enough to get a multi-part series greenlit on the news section, I thought it would be fun to do here.
The benefit here is I could be more informal, and basically react to old Vicki stories like a book club or the comic book version of a “react video” or “let’s play”.

I’ll be starting in the next post with her first three stories… (Batman #49, Batman #50, Star Spangled Comics #91, and Batman #52)

This is just for fun, so feel free to read and react along.

Vicki Vale Appearance List (so far)
Batman #49 (Aug 1948)
Batman #50 (Oct 1948)
Star Spangled Comics #91 (Feb 1949)
Batman #52 (Feb 1949)
Detective Comics #152 (Aug 1949)
Batman #56 (Oct 1949)
Detective Comics #155 (Nov 1949)
Detective Comics #157 (Jan 1950)
Batman #61 (Aug 1950)
Detective Comics #164 (Aug 1950)
Detective Comics #167 (Nov 1950)
Batman #64 (Feb 1951)
World’s Finest #57 (Feb 1952)
Batman #73 (Aug 1952)
Batman #75 (Dec 1952)
World’s Finest #65 (May 1953)
Batman #79 (Aug 1953)
Batman #81 (Dec 1953)
Batman #85 (June 1954)
Batman #87 (Aug 1954)
Detective Comics #216 (Dec 1954)


Looking forward to it, Josh!

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I’m particularly fond of angry gym rat Vicki from the first Doug Moench run.


I LOVE the Doug Moench run.


Let’s start with Vicki’s debut in Batman #49. Estimated on sale date was August 1948.
Although Julie Madison was Bruce’s most famous love interest in the Golden Age, she had only had 5 appearances from her debut in 1939, to her calling off her engagement to Bruce in 1941.
Bruce’s girlfriend for most of the Golden Age was Linda Page, who first appeared in 1941, and had sporadic appearances through 1943. Although she was absent for a few years, she was still being mentioned as of Batman #32 in 1945. Linda also appeared in the first Batman serials.
But as of 1948 Linda was forgotten, paving the way for Vicki Vale.

I love Vicki Vale, but the Mad Hatter was robbed. This is his first appearance as well, but the splash page says Vicki is the true menace of the story, with not one mention of poor Jervis.
Get used to things like “Girl Photographer” because that’s not going away.

Bruce Wayne is begging to be “me too’d” in this page.
I’m going to try to keep track of Vicki’s place of employment because it does change. Right now it’s still Picture Magazine.

Batman fights the Hatter and gets cut on his chin. Vicki puts some iodine on it. Her picture of the fight is a hit and her editor assigns her to get more pictures of Batman (oh hi JK Simmons).

One of the fun things about Golden Age stories is scenes like this. No way would Gordon allow someone to use the bat-signal to call the Caped Crusader for a non-emergency. And Batman having an official photographer?

Vicki figures out a clue to the Mad Hatter’s next crime, something Batman couldn’t do. In the Golden Age, having someone solve a mystery Batman couldn’t was rare, and having that person be a woman was unheard of.
They realize Hatter will rob a horse show, and Vicki decides the best way to get in will be as Bruce Wayne’s date…leading Batman to race home so he’ll be by the phone when she calls.

The sense of urgency is hilarious. Couldn’t Alfred have taken a message? The stakes aren’t that high. It’s also funny because if this story was told a few years later, the Batmobile would’ve had it’s own phone.

And that’s Bruce Wayne’s first date with Vicki! The Mad Hatter robs it as expected, and while Bruce is pondering how to get away, Vicki runs into action.

Batman 49 - 4-5

“Female camera fiend”…come on Bruce.

I love Vicki racing towards danger instead of being a victim. Yes, she’s an obvious Lois Lane copy, but she’s more dynamic Julie Madison and Linda Page.

After the fight with Hatter, things take a turn…

Like Lois Lane, Vicki spent years trying to unmask her superhero boyfriend.

As per of her assignment covering Batman, Vicki is taken to the Batcave (blindfolded of course). Her trip there is much more mundane then the awesome sequence from the Batman 1989 movie. She puts a chemical in one of Batman’s gloves, that will cause Bruce Wayne’s hand to glow in the dark.

Vicki tags along for the Mad Hatter fight and takes pictures. It’s so weird seeing Batman allow this.

Afterwards Bruce Wayne picks Vicki up for a date.

I love Bruce’s reaction when Vicki turns off the lights. Mr. Wayne thinks something’s about to happen. Sorry buddy, this is the Golden Age. And stop acting like a creep.

This is a temporary solution. Vicki still has the photographs lining Batman and Bruce’s chins up. She still remembers the cut on the chin. I’m surprised this is enough to “throw her off” since it addresses none of that.

Of course, Vicki wouldn’t dismiss the idea entirely either. This set the tone for their Golden Age relationship. Vicki suspects Bruce is Batman, Vicki sets a trap, Bruce throws her off by being smart. It was the same thing would Clark and Lois.

I’ll end this post here, since I used a lot of images, and cover Batman #50, Star Spangled #91 and Batman #52 later tonight.


This is a really fun idea @JoshuaLapinBertone and I love the panels with extra commentary! Please hold the “me too” notes, since this was an old fashioned complimenting a woman, asking for a date, and politely being rejected - not a sexual advance in a mutual place of employment. I felt that it took away from the lighthearted banter you had started with initially. Anyway, awesome thread - thank you for putting it together!


Thanks! I can’t promise the “me too” notes will be heavy or light, but in light of your request I can promise not to be so quick about them.
I feel Bruce was a bit skeevy in that first meeting through. Vicki was there to work, and she was a stranger, and Bruce says “You make quite a nice picture yourself.” When she rebuffs him he responds by asking her out.

“Me Too” is a charged statement though, so I’ll keep that in mind. Golden Age sensibilities aren’t always the best. I’m glad we’ve learned and grown as a society. For what it’s worth, Vicki was written quite well here…it’s the later stories (peaking in the Silver Age) that do her the biggest disservice.


Ok! Now let’s dive into Vicki’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th appearences…

In Batman #50 Vicki is still with Picture Magazine, and is assigned to shadow famous lawmen.

That Joker scene is part of a larger montage, so we don’t get to see how the rest of that moment plays out. I love the Joker’s WTF reaction. This scene is also funny with the hindsight of the Joker and Vicki’s “relationship” in the Tim Burton film.

Anyway, her assignment leads her to Batman once again…

Remember Batman Forever when Val Kilmer said the Bat-Signal is no beeper? I love Gordon’s reaction here. He knows he screwed up, but he couldn’t say no to Vicki.

Batman’s attitude here makes me smile. I love Golden Age Batman being all about rehabilitating criminals, something that needs to be emphasized more.

Vicki is allowed to tag-along as Batman and Robin fight mobsters. I’ll probably be saying this a lot, but that’s so weird for me because of my modern day Gotham sensibilities.

Nice Vicki! She didn’t do too bad for herself…and this is the same story where she starred down the Joker!

Vicki next appears in Star Spangled Comics #91. At the time the series had a Robin solo feature. She only appears at the end, to attend a birthday party for Bruce Wayne.

A few notes

  • Vicki is blonde…setting the precedent for Kim Basinger.
  • Bruce’s only friends are Gordon and Vicki. Ouch.
  • At the time writers would have Alfred say “Mawster” instead of “Master” and his relationship with the Dynamic Duo was a bit less intimate.

Speaking of Alfred…let’s turn the page to Vicki’s next appearance in Batman #52.

Remember when I said Alfred’s relationship with the Dynamic Duo was less intimate? Notice how he calls Bruce “Mister Wayne” here instead of “Master Bruce” or just “Bruce.”

Vicki is absent from the rest of the story, but her photograph helps get Alfred arrested for the murder of Bruce Wayne. The arresting officer reasons that in the movies it’s always the butler, therefore Alfred did it. I’m not kidding.

It turns out to be some goofy plot Bruce and Alfred cooked up to catch a crook. How very Homer Simpson of them.

Vicki is still working for Picture Magazine, but her photograph is published in Gotham Gazette when they run the story on Bruce’s “murder.”

Next time (whenever I do this again):
Bruce uses counterfeit money on a date with Vicki in Detective Comics #152!
Batman and Robin forget that Vicki is actually helpful in Batman #56!
Vicki makes Bruce open a detective agency because he said something mean about Batman in Detective Comics #155!
Vicki sees Batman and Robin flaunt their secret identities during a horse-riding session in Detective Comics #157!

Don’t miss it!


Well, as long as she doesn’t try to ride a horse herself. That wouldn’t go well for Vicki…right, Sean Young?


She does…and her hair is colored blonde in the story too! The Batman 1989 jokes will be hard to resist but I’m going to try.

I feel bad for Sean. They cut the scene out of the movie anyway, so it was all for naught.


I’ve long suspected that the following anecdote from Alfred was inspired by that incident: “There was young Master Bruce, leading his grey pony with me on its back like a sack of old potatoes, covered in mud and nursing a sprained ankle! That was the first and last time I gave him a riding lesson.”

Here’s the scene that would have been in the film otherwise (October '88 draft):


Bruce and Vicki GALLOP UP on horseback. They dismount;
Bruce grooms his horse. Vicki watches.


You’re not bad on a horse.


Horses love me. I keep falling
OFF. Maybe that’s why they love
me. You should see me, I’m one
big mass of bruises.


Maybe we can arrange a little

Bruce, without missing a beat, puts the curry comb up on
a rail and turns to her.


Yeah, how about right now?

Vicki is caught in her own sexual trap.


Just kidding.


You thought you had me, didn’t

Bruce smiles and walks past her up to the main house.
Vicki smiles.

Speaking of Bruce “me too’ing” Vicki, can we all take a moment to cringe at the description, “Vicki is caught in her own sexual trap”?

Anyway, I’m 40 years ahead of you on the timeline. Sorry. :stuck_out_tongue:


LOL all Vicki talk is welcome here, regardless of where it is in the timeline. I’m skipping other media anyway, because the serials are long and it will disrupt my flow. So any 89, Doug Moench or whatever else is welcome, regardless of where I am.

At least they’re on a date during the “sexual trap”…that yacht club meeting was bizarre.


Alright, it’s time to continue our journey with Vicki!

We begin with Detective Comics #152, and a really weird date.

Since I’m still keeping track, I’ll note that Vicki still works for Picture Magazine.

I have so many problems with Bruce’s plan. People are actively getting shot, and this whole counterfeit money, “talk to the manager” thing wastes so much and could potentially cause more lives to be lost.

What if the waitress took the money and didn’t check it? Then Bruce would’ve had to come up with a different explanation, and he would’ve committed a crime!

Batman goes after a criminal called the Goblin, and gets bonked on the head.

This amuses me. I love how Vicki calls Batman a “wonderful man” and Bruce a “poor boy.”

In Batman #56 Gotham was going gaga for crime reporter named Jack Starr, making Batman feel forgotten.

Vicki is blonde again, and Batman has forgotten all the times she’s proven useful. “She’s going to gum things up for us again.” Rude. She’s the only one supporting you right now.
After Vicki photographs a battle later on, Robin continues the “Vicki pile on” by calling her a pest.

Later on, she tags along by hopping in the Batmobile.

No security…not even a locked door?

As you can see, the attitude towards Vicki is beginning to shift.

Vicki shows up next in Detective Comics #155, which has her first cover appearance.

Way to be subtle Dynamic Duo.

Vicki and Bruce have another date that ends bizarrely…

Boy that escalated quickly…

Nobody ever joke around Vicki…“I bet I can play basketball better than that guy…”…she’ll have you in the NBA minutes later.

It’s also weird that this guy was willing to risk his reputation by giving his detective agency to Bruce Wayne.

This such a long way to go to win an argument Vicki…

I also feel bad for Bruce because it seemed like she was just spending the dinner bashing him.

Anyway, Bruce does the detective thing and has fun with it.

It’s a cute moment. I like it. Even after Bruce stops the criminals and proves he’s a good detective, Vicki still ends the issue telling him that he sucks compared to Batman. Oh well.

Vicki’s next appearance is Detective Comics #157. Robin has been given a horse, and the Dynamic Duo come up with a cover story that Robin will “rent” a space in Bruce Wayne’s stables. Vicki, who is now blonde again, doesn’t buy this for a minute.

Bruce only half-heartily tries to throw off. It doesn’t even seem like they’re trying here. Bruce Wayne out of costume is hanging out with Robin in costume…with no Batman or Dick Grayson in sight. Vicki would have to be dense not to suspect something.

That’s it for now!
Next time…

Vicki continues her secret identity hunt in Batman #61!
Vicki uses the Bat-Signal as a clothes dryer in Detective Comics #164!
Egyptian intrigue in Detective Comics #167!
Vicki gets a house-guest in Batman #64!

Don’t miss it!


Is everyone having a good quarantine?
Let’s travel back to simple times by continuing our journey thought the life of Vicki Vale.
Our next book is Batman #61. The Caped Crusader is swinging after crooks and one of them shoots the batrope, causing the Dark Knight to make a three story fall. A crowd gathers around the injured Batman, and he’s taken to a doctor. His broken leg becomes a big news topic.
Vicki visits Wayne Manor, hoping to catch Bruce with a broken leg.

Vicki doesn’t buy this for a minute, and tells Bruce to prove her wrong by taking her out dancing later that night.
The rest of the story involves Batman fighting crime in a wheelchair. Not even a futuristic wheelchair like Professor X has….just a normal standard wheelchair.
It turns out that Batman’s legs aren’t broken, it was just a wacky misunderstanding. Out of hot water, Bruce picks Vicki up for their date.

I dig that final panel of them dancing.

Vicki appears next in Detective Comics #164. A journalist is doing an expose on the Bat-Signal, and he interviews Vicki Vale.

I love this version of Vicki. She’s not afraid to jump into a crime scene. As you’ve gathered, Vicki is using the Bat-Signal and her clothes to send an SOS. Batman and Robin answer it, saving her, but the Bat-Signal gets the credit.

So now Batman and Robin want the kiss from her? Sometimes Batman digs her affections, or other times he’s uncomfortable by it. Just for fun, let’s note Vicki’s apartment number here…23…in case it comes up later. I have no idea, and I’m assuming it won’t.

Vicki makes a brief appearance at the beginning of Detective Comics #167.

I don’t have much to say about Vicki’s presence, but can we talk about the fact that hypnosis sends you back in time?!
Vicki appears next in Batman #64.

Now Bruce wants to be rid of her, but a few issues ago he was jealous that the Bat-Signal got a kiss when he didn’t.

They’re not even trying to hide their secret identities. Vicki notes the Bat-Signal, and he immediately says he has to go home. Dick talks about answering the Bat-Signal before Vicki has even finished walking away from them. I don’t know who is putting in less effort, Bruce or Vicki.
A criminal fugitive, who kind of looks like Lex Luthor from the 1990’s, hides out at Vicki’s place.

Vicki has a “kid sister” named Anne who is in college. She’s probably never mentioned again, but a cool bit of trivia.

I remember Gotham Heights being Tim Drake’s neighborhood in the 1990’s. I didn’t realize it was established this early.

The one time Vicki doesn’t suspect Bruce is Batman and it has to be now…

The Bruce Wayne clumsy act is funny, and the sight of Batman changing into his costume in broad daylight behind a picket fence is equally amusing. Batman and Robin trick the Lex Luthor knockoff into lifting the threat from Anne Vale, and then they capture him.

That’s it for now!
Vicki and Gordon throw Bruce under the bus in World’s Finest #57!
Vicki gets CRAZY EVIL in Batman #73!
Vicki gets a new magazine and a new admirer in Batman #75!
Vicki witnesses the death of Batman in World’s Finest #65!


It’s fun and incredibly interesting to read through Vicki’s other life in the comics, especially when I contrast her in story exploits with Kim Basinger’s memorable big screen performance as the intrepid photojournalist in 1989’s Batman. Such striking differences and similarities in both iterations of the character. Really wish Basinger had contracted for further cameo appearances in the Burton/Schumacher films as seeing Vale continue her quest to chronicle Gotham’s Dark Knight would’ve been an engaging facet of continuity much in the same way the late Pat Hingle’s (Commissioner Gordon) and the late Michael Gough’s (Alfred) character reprisals in the sequels kept the familiarity of the first film fresh for fans.


Thanks @DC89, and It’s hard to see any comic with Vicki and not think of Batman 89 or Kim Basinger. The movie made her a household name, and it’s how lots of young Batfans were first introduced to her.


Random Batdance as we wait for the next installment.



I’ve actually been listening to “Vicki Waiting” as I draft these.


Sooo good! That track’s been on my playlist ever since I bought Prince’s fantastic soundtrack CD back in 1989. Love. that. song.