[World of Bats] Golden Age SPOTLIGHT!

Hello and welcome to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

This week marks the release of Bat-Man: First Knight, a Black Label miniseries taking place during the earliest era of Batman comics, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at that earliest era of the Bat-Man! These are written by Bill Finger, and art by “Bob Kane.”


Detective Comics #27
Detective Comics #28
Detective Comics #30
Detective Comics #34
Detective Comics #35
Detective Comics #36
Detective Comics #37

And to mix things up a little, we’ll also take a look at another recent usage of the Golden Age Batman in Generations: Shattered and Generations: Forged, written by Dan Jurgens, Robert Venditti, and Andy Schmitt, and drawn by a smorgasbord of artists, including Ivan Reis, Yanick Paquette, Bryan Hitch, John Romita Jr, and more!

Generations: Shattered
Generations: Forged

DIGITAL TRADES (Ultra Exclusive):

Reading will run from 2024-03-02T06:00:00Z2024-03-15T05:00:00Z, but if you’re busy being rich and bored talking to your friend the Commissoner, you can always come back later!

Looking forward to discussing these issues with you all! :batparrot:

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I love these early Shadow stories.

Wait. I’m being told they’re Batman stories.

Side Note: 'Tec 37 says that the next issue will feature “Man-Monsters.” This story, the second Hugo Strange tale, was moved to Batman issue 1 so that 'Tec 38 could instead be used to debut the Boy Blunder. So don’t be disappointed if you jump to the next issue.


@Jay_Kay I would like to point out that with this site you can read more than the above issues. Our digitalization of Detective Comics 28 for some reason also includes issue 29. Likewise our copy of issue 30 also includes 31.

We do not have 32-33, but you can buy both of them here like I did.


I did read these recently.

Several of these were actually written by Garner Fox.

Contrary to what I keep hearing I do not kill with guns. I kill by throwing people off buildings and doing the typical things I still do, except the text now says they are dead. The adaptation this reminds me the most of is Burton’s version.


I like the idea that Batman starts off “as bad as the criminals” (which is a gross exaggeration, but whatever), only to realize that guns and killing are not the answer whenever he gets a twelve-year-old sidekick for whom he must set a good example. And not only does this change allow him to mature as a crimefighter, but it also gives Gordon the freedom to deputize him in 1941, thereby concluding Batman’s journey from “mystery man” vigilante to true superhero.

Granted, this journey doesn’t have to be the canonical one in all continuities, but I do find it compelling in its own right, and I see it as the path he ends up taking in the Burton/Schumacher films, as well. Too bad you have to read between the lines to see it.


Killing yes, but early me basically never used guns, at least for killing. I ended two undead vampires with them, ended a monster who was probably dead, and I used a flair gun.

I did not stop killing until a year after that. In Detective Comics 38 we are throwing people off buildings like crazy.

We need to talk about Gordon in these early days. Does he do anything? All he does is sit around with Bruce Wayne and complain about crime and Batman. Get off those cushions and actually do police work.

Also he looks suspiciously like Hamilton Hill. Hmmm.


I make an awful lot of puns in my early issues.


One thing that’s fascinating about reading these early issues is how much they nailed right out of the gate. The essence of the suit hasn’t changed since the first appearance. Three issues in, we already have batarangs, a batplane, Batman swinging around on a line, and a specially suped up car


Generations was fun. An appearance from “the greatest hero you’ve never heard of” tends to put a smile on my face. I enjoyed seeing the heroes from different time periods working together.

Dominus doesn’t do much for me as a villain. Is he something of a meta take on how fans react to characters doing new things?

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Interesting – I remember hearing that the very first story was basically took the plot of a Shadow story, because Bill Finger thought it was going to just be a proof of concept story and Kane decided to just let DC publish it anyway. Were more of these stories based on Shadow yarns?

Yeah, Kane had basically a small army of ghost writers and artists. As I recall, Joe Robinson wrote the first Joker stories as well.

And a noose! Can’t forget about the noose!

Hey. Hey! I’ll have you know that he also smokes a pipe while doing all that.

See, Dick wasn’t the one who started it, him in later continuities just woke up what was already inside. :smiley:

That reminds me of one of the things I really liked about how Scott Snyder sort of adapts this period in Zero Year – between those puns while beating people up and Capullo’s modern update of the first costume, it does feel like a modern version of these Golden Age yarns. :slight_smile:

Yep – and all of that comes from Bill Finger.

I could see that – his whole thing is trying to keep the one thing made him happy that’s gone, no matter what damage it would do.

It’s kind of hard for me to give the plot too much grief because from what I understand a lot of it changed in the last minute. From what I understand, Generations was originally going to be a five-part series that was going to help set up Dan Didio’s 5G plans, but when Didio left and those plans stopped, so this was changed to be it’s own side story.

Still, it’s definitely interesting seeing this way more grounded take on Batman dealing with stuff like aliens and multiverses and being like “I don’t know what the hell’s going on,” but he still shows a keen sense of intuition and even some empathy for the villain, which was nice to see. I just wish there was a bit more interaction with him and the other characters, but I can understand why there isn’t more – so much story to cover.


Say what you will about his many flaws. He was a master talent scout.

Jerry Robinson? That is contested. Finger was the writer. Finger, Kane, and Robinson all claim Joker was his own idea. Robinson and Kane have trashed each other in interviews over this (Finger was dead by that time). Sadly Joker’s origin’s primary sources are not in agreement at all. Last I heard most scholars think Robinson was the primary creator.

The batarang is from Gardner Fox.

About the comic I just have to say it. Bob Kane was never going to do it by himself. He very much knew he needed ghosts to help. Without Finger somebody else is the ghostwriter. Maybe Robinson has a bigger role. Knowing Kane he might have found a homeless guy even more brilliant than Finger. I think the most likely answer is Gardner Fox. Finger said he convinced Kane to not give me super powers and Fox did create Hawkman. Thus in this alternate timeline I think the most likely story is that I have superpowers and am the first flying superhero ever.

Just looking at that comic might as well look too much into it.
For one their is no primary source saying I had blonde hair. The only thing about my head in it is no bat ears (check), domino mask (check) and visible pupils (check). Looking at everything else reddish (what does that even mean) clothes (check), no gloves (check), boots (check), swinging from rope (check), and wings (check). Finger and Kane said they dropped the wings since I then could not go through doors, so I think they were bigger.

I was described by Kane as looking an awful lot like Superman, and I do not see it in this image.

Nice reference to Da Vinci, as that was a major influence on Kane. In Finger’s work the commisioner was useless, so that is not from him.

Supposedly Two-Face was all Kane’s idea, but I never see a source and that sounds too cutesy to be trustworthy. Kane said he did Joker and Penguin (Finger credits himself for both and Robinson credited himself for Joker and Finger for Penguin).

Kane was going to give me golden age Superman type powers, so I doubt he would have bothered with a car.

Most of Finger’s ideas are something most ghost writers would likely have come up with except for no powers and the origin story.

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Well, you tell me.


After reading the first two stories in detective and then skimming this wonderful pdf of a story from The Shadow, I would just say that the basic surprise ending about the hidden contracts is the same, and, like many of the characters of this era, the good guy is typically some filthy rich bored person who goes around at night beating up crooks.

But beyond that, there are lots of big differences between the Shadow of the time and the Bat-man. Bat-man in these original first few tales has no special powers, swings around on the cable and beats up people with fists.

The Shadow on the other hand from the start has the ability to blend in with shadows, to be basically invisible due to some sort of mental trick that he does, always uses two handguns blazing and also has a hypnotic ring that he will use to put people in a trance. Like Sherlock Holmes before him, the Shadow has a network of helpers who often dominate parts of the story.

Frankly, I much more enjoy the writings of Maxwell Grant, as shown here, than the initial few Bat-man short comic stories. But reading the Bat-man Initial appearances is great fun and frankly of historic merit.