History of the Batman #4: Year 1940, Part 2

Fall/Winter of 1940 brought stories of Batman and Robin stopping crimes ranging from altering people’s appearances to literally fighting off controlled giants and dwarfs in a far off land. The tales may be a bit tall for today’s audience, but the year of  1940 ended with a bang, introducing more information about the fantastical Bat cave and the first time Batman’s home is called Gotham.

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #41, July 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – cover, pencils

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks, letters

The Masked Menace of the Boys’ School

Story: While attending Blake’s Boy School, Dick Grayson has to track down and capture an insane asylum murderer who has infiltrated the school, killing the Headmaster.

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #42, August 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – cover, pencils

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks, letters

The Case of the Prophetic Pictures

Story: Pierre Antal’s paintings become killer when his subjects end up dead, their portraits illustrating their timely demise. Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder have to catch the killer before the police arrest the Dark Avenger for the murders.

Batman (Vol 1) #3, September 1940 *Part of Chronology

Cover by:

Bob Kane

Jerry Robinson

Batman and Robin team up

The Strange Case of the Diabolical Puppet Master

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: Using a hypnotic serum, a brilliant scientist named Dimitri uses his formula to fool men into stealing priceless items. Once Batman is accidentally dosed, Robin has to save him from becoming one of Dimitri’s minions.

The Ugliest Man in the World

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: Batman and Robin have to save treasures of Gotham City; When a man named Larry Larrimore becomes ugly due to a bad chemical reaction, he seeks vengeance on everyone, sending out men to deface beautiful works of art and making others as ugly as Larrimore.

The Crime School for Boys

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: A gang in Gotham creates a crime school for young boys, so Grayson becomes a student while him and Batman take down the gang and changes the corrupt ways of the young men.

The Batman Vs the Cat-Woman

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: Batman, Robin and Commissioner Gordon have to stop The Cat-woman who strikes again, stealing jewels for syndicate members.

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #43, September 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane  – cover, pencils, inks

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks, letters

George Roussos – inks, letters

The Case of the City of Terror

Story: Outside of Gotham City, Bruce and Dick exposes and stops a corrupt mayor by using its town’s citizens against him.

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #44, October 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writers

Bob Kane – cover, pencils, inks

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks

George Roussos – cover, inks letters

The Land Behind the Light

Story: The whole issue a dream sequence of Dick Grayson’s, Batman and Robin follow Dr. Marko into the fourth dimension to a land of dwarfs and giants. Once in this strange universe, the Dynamic Duo has to fight the doctor who uses the giants against them.

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #45, November 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – cover art, pencils, inks

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks

George Roussos – cover, inks, letters

The Case of the Laughing Death

Story: The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker, fight again when Joker begins looting stores while double crossing his henchmen. Once again, the villain is lost by an apparent death.

Batman (Vol 1) #4, Winter 1940

Cover art:

Bob Kane

Jerry Robinson

The Case of the Joker’s Crime Circus

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – cover, pencils

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: From Joker’s last appearance, he has survived once again and gathers up a new gang whose crimes and theme is based on the circus. Batman and Robin discover the links between this new chaos in Gotham and current robberies in the city, in the end tracking down Joker and his circus, but Joker deadly escaping once more.

Blackbeard’s Crew and the Yacht Society

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: A man named Thatcher calls himself Blackbeard and him and his pirates take members of a yacht club and their vessel hostage, with the Dynamic Duo swinging into action fighting the gangsters of the sea.

Public Enemy No. 1 Starts Jail Sentence

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: Batman has to stop a new gang war in the city, lead by Jimmy McCoy, whose troubled life molded him into a criminal overlord.

Touchdown for Justice

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – pencils

Jerry Robinson – inks

George Roussos – inks, letters

Story: With a fixed football game and a kidnapped quarterback, Batman and Robin create a play to go under cover and assure the game ends fairly and not by the ways of Stacy, a noted gambler.

Bat Facts: While the plot of this particular tale seemed like fun and games (no pun intended), not only is the famous Bat cave given an entrance through an old barn on the Wayne Manor property, but the city that Batman and Robin protect officially was given the name ‘Gotham City’.

Gotham City Origins!

Detective Comics (Vol 1) #46, December 1940 *Part of Chronology

Created by:

Bill Finger – writer

Bob Kane – cover, pencils, inks

Jerry Robinson – cover, inks

George Roussos – cover, inks, letters

Professor Strange’s Fear Dust

Story: Batman goes up against the infamous rogue Professor Hugo Strange when he creates a fear dust so his thugs can flawlessly commit crimes. But with an inside man, the masked vigilante and the Boy Wonder discover Strange’s devious plans, yet per usual, he escapes.

Next week we will begin Batman adventures in the year 1941, where the Dynamic Duo join in with the Man of Steel, becoming World’s Finest in the DC Universe for the first time.

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