Monday, October 27, 2008

Whatever Happened to Heroes Who Look Like Heroes? Man-Bat Meets the Demon

It's the final week of......and Ol' Groove is gonna be bringing out the best of the best! First up, two of DC's weirdest heroes ever--Man-Bat and the Demon!

Man-Bat debuted in Detective Comics #400 (March, 1970) under the combined talents of writer Frank Robbins and artist Neal Adams. Kirk Langstrom's furry alter-ego was an immediate hit, coming back quite frequently (Detective Comics #s 402, 407, 416, 429, and Batman #254) to plague the Caped Crusader. Part of what made Man-Bat so popular was the Marvel-esque take on the character; he wasn't really a villain, he was a victim of science-gone-wild a la the Incredible Hulk. In late 1975, Man-Bat was given his own title which sadly lasted only two issues (it didn't help that a different creative team handled each issue). He quickly rebounded, though, appearing as a back-up feature in Detective Comics (issues 458-459, January-February, 1976), and then gaining a regular berth in Batman Family the following month for the remainder of that books publication (issues 11-20). In September, 1978, Batman Family was absorbed into Detective Comics, taking Man-Bat "back home" so to speak for the remainder of his Groovy Age appearances (Detective Comics issues 481, 483, 485, and 492). During the Groovy Age, Man-Bat attracted some of the most stellar artists of the day, from co-creator Adams to Marshall Rogers to Michael Golden to Don Newton.

The Demon was created by the King of Comics, Jack Kirby as his legendary Fourth World series were winding down. The demon known as Etrigan enjoyed sixteen issues of his own mag, which ran from July, 1972 to October, 1974. Kirby combined the Arthurian legend with his own far-out imagination, creating a fun, creepy, and satisfying series that stands up very well next to his most well known work. Ironically, it was the Demon who pretty much squeezed Man-Bat out of several issues of Detective Comics as a Len Wein written strip starring Etrigan ran in that venerable mag from issues 482-485 (November, 1978-May, 1979). The art was by Michael Golden for the first issue, and handled by Steve Ditko for the rest of that far-too-short run.

Why did I say the Demon's upsetting Man-Bat's status in 'Tec was ironic? Simply because the "Demon revival" that led to his strip in that mag started when Etrigan guest-starred in Man-Bat's Batman Family strip in Bat-Fam #17. Ain't that a kick in the head? With that in mind, Ol' Groove figured you'd get a dig reading that little-seen story as we truck on down the home stretch of this year's Halloween Countdown. Was I right? Yeah, I knew I was. So, from Batman Family #17, here's "There's a Demon Born Every Minute" by Bob Rozakis and Michael Golden.


  1. Great early Golden art. Never have seen his take on the Demon. Good stuff.

  2. Thank you,Mr Groove!
    Marvelous Amazing Nocturnal Beautiful Alpha Terrific
    work by Mr Golden (and Mr Rozakis).
    /Mr Anonymous



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