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.
“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.