Friday, June 15, 2012
It was 1970, and DC must have thought they had the great comic-book find of the decade!
Watch out, world! Here comes Man-Bat!
Stan Lee, eat your heart out! We got Man-Bat! Ha!
Spider-Man? What a SQUARE! We got Man-Bat!
The Silver Surfer? The Hulk? The Fantastic Four? Bunch of has-beens! We got Man-Bat!
DC introduced Man-Bat in Detective Comics #400 in 1970 and he became a semi-regular supporting character for the next few years.
I got Detective Comics #407 (January 1971) right here, and it's Man-Bat's third appearance. It looks like this:
Let's see. Kirk Langstrom was a scientist who studied bats and somehow he injected himself with a serum of some kind that turned him into a flying bat-dude, for some reason. And he would fight Batman until the Caped Crusader figured out how to get him to take the anti-bat-dude serum and he would change back to human form ... until next time! (And in this period, "next time" was seldom more than a few months away.)
In this issue, Man-Bat persuades his girlfriend Francine to marry him. Batman tries to put a stop to it, for some reason, but Francine knows all about Langstrom's other identity, and she's perfectly willing to be Mrs. Man-Bat. She even takes the serum and becomes Woman-Bat for a few pages. For some reason. But Batman somehow saves the day and turns them back to regular people. (Really nice-looking regular people, as drawn by Neal Adams. I don't know why they would want to be bats. Those Gothamites are a bunch of FREAKS!)
So, yeah, that's Man-Bat. He had his own series for two issues in 1975. The first issue is drawn by Steve Ditko, and Batman guest-stars. So Man-Bat #1 is one of the few times where Ditko drew Batman. That's gotta be super-cool!