Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Forgotten Batman: "Into the Den of the Death-Dealers!" by O'Neil, Brown, and Giordano

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! Yesterday was actually "Batman Day", the official 75th anniversary of our fave Caped Crusader, but since it was Black and White Wednesday, we put our part of the Bat-celebration off 'til today. (Think Alfred will notice?) 

Yeah, it's no secret around here how much Ol' Groove loves The Batman (he's the reason I got into comics, don'tcha know), so the fact that The Darknight Detective is celebrating seventy-five years is mucho important to moi! I've picked an important episode of The Batman's life, his first meeting with Talia, daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, mother of Damien Wayne! Naturally this classic is written by Denny O'Neil and inked by Dick Giordano--two of the most important post-Batman TV show creators--but instead of being penciled by Neal Adams (who did contribute the cover) or Irv Novick, it's penciled by the ever-underrated Bob Brown, who does a fabamundo job! So happy anniversary, Batman! From Detective Comics #411 (March 1971),lets  follow The Batman..."Into the Den of the Death-Dealers!"


  1. Nice choice to mark the big anniversary. I have this in the Tales of the Demon tpb. It's a very good story, like you said, and an important chapter in the Ra's al Ghul saga - but not as well remembered because it lacks the Adams art.

  2. One of my earliest comics! The scene that struck my young mind the most was when Bats is disguised as the old lady. This cinched the whole Bats-as-a-detective aspect of the character for me. And some years later when I read the R'as Al Ghul saga I already knew Talia! Great celebratory choice.

  3. My favorite era on Batman was from about 1970-1983. On DETECTIVE COMICS from about 395-450, and again with Grell on 455, Rogers on 466-481, and Newton from about 480-515. With a lot of nice work in between by Goodwin/Simonson, Robbins, Golden, Starlin, Buckler, Aparo, Grell and many others.
    Likewise on BATMAN, my favorite run was from roughly issues 216-266, when O'Neil, Novick and Giordano left the series. Novick came back a few years later on BATMAN 310-342 (with a few fill-in issues by others). I still miss having covers every month drawn by the likes of Neal Adams, Berni Wrightson, Michael Kaluta, Aparo, Kubert, Kirby, Cardy, Aparo and others.

    Giordano provided a lot of consistency in the art across BATMAN and DETECTIVE, whether the penciller was Neal Adams, Irv Novick, or Bob Brown. I recall Brown art on a lot of issues between DETECTIVE 401-436.
    As I remember, this first R'as Al Ghul story by Bob Brown in DETECTIVE 411, where Talia first appears, where R'as is mentioned but not seen, came out a month before O'Neil/Adams did the first full R'as appearance in the celebrated BATMAN 232.

    I never loved reading comics more than in this era. O'Neil/Adams/Novick/Aparo/Rogers Batman. Kirby's Fourth World books of JIMMY OLSEN, NEW GODS, FOREVER PEOPLE and MISTER MIRACLE, then replaced by THE DEMON, KAMANDI, and OMAC, Kubert's Enemy Ace, then TARZAN, KORAK and WEIRD WORLDS. Orlando-edited HOUSE OF MYSTERY, HOUSE OF SECRETS and other mystery anthology titles. Wein/Wrightson SWAMP THING, Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter and other great stories in DETECTIVE 437-443, O'Neil/Kaluta THE SHADOW 1-12, with great work after by Robbins and E.R.Cruz, Grell's SUPERBOY/LEGION 202-224, Grell's THE WARLORD 1-50, Fleisher/Dezuniga Jonah Hex in WEIRD WESTERN, Fleisher/Aparo Spectre in ADVENTURE COMICS 431-440, slightly preceded by "Captain Fear" by Nino in some of the same issues in ADVENTURE 425-427, 429, and 432-433. Englehart/Rogers DETECTIVE 471-481, Golden stories in BATMAN FAMILY 15-20, BATMAN 295 and other titles... all the way around, it was just a fantastic time to be reading comics, particularly at DC.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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