Friday, April 13, 2012
GIGANTIC MEDICAL PERSONNEL!!!
For Batman and Robin in the 1940s, it wasn't all fighting The Joker, fighting The Penguin and appearing at events to sell war bonds. Why, in Detective Comics #77 (July 1943), they had to face ... Dr. Matthew Thorne and the Crime Clinic!
And you can see why Dr. Thorne was so frightening! He was 100 feet tall! And he could drown Robin in a flask full of purple liquid! And he menaced Batman with his horrifying GIANT MICROSCOPE!!!!
OK, so none of that happened. They did that a lot in the 1940s. Covers were often more symbolic than literal. A giant Red Skull would be reaching for Captain America and Bucky, or something like that.
The Crime Clinic was merely a criminal organization that planned heists and robberies. If a gang boss had a thorny problem to work out with a criminal endeavor, he would go to the Crime Clinic and the doctor, Matthew Thorne, would prescribe the best way to pull it off. Thorne was an actual practicing medical doctor, but crime was his obsession. He had an unhealthy compulsion to be a criminal. In his own words:
"I love surgery ... yet crime excites me! It's like a drug inside my body! I can't help it ... but I enjoy acting criminally!"
Somehow, they end up at an atom smasher for the climactic fight and Dr. Thorne falls into the river. (Which is somehow just below the atom smasher.)
But is he really dead?!?! Only the future will tell.
Oh, wait there he is, in the final panel. Batman has HAD IT with these villains coming back from certain doom all the time, so he jumps in after Dr. Thorne and hauls him up on shore.
Robin tells him he should dry off or he'll catch cold. Batman says:
"If I do get sick, I know where I can find a good doctor that's always home! After all ... Doctor Thorne can't do much traveling in prison!"
Oh, burn! Way to rub it in, Caped Crusnarker!
Just one more reason to love Detective Comics!