Friday, March 29, 2013
The first issue you ever bought
For me, the first issue of Detective Comics that I picked up at the newsstand was #473.
It was a great place to start! This was the era when Steve Englehart was the writer and Marshall Rogers was the artist. (We mustn't forget the magical inking of Terry Austin.) To some, this era is not just among the best Batman comics, this handful of issues is among the best comics ever! (Count me in!)
I had been buying comics for a few years at this point, and I picked up Batman's own comic book every once in a while, but I had never read an issue of Detective Comics. I'm trying to even remember why I didn't like Detective. Partly it was because I didn't read very much DC, but it was also probably because I just couldn't really get into anthology comics. You know, like Action and Adventure and House of Secrets and stuff like that. I was more used to the Marvel way, and the anthology comic at Marvel (for super-heroes anyway) was long over by the end of 1977, when this issue was published.
I had to get it because it had The Penguin! (You can see his shadow on the warehouse in the cover above.)
Even though I didn't buy Batman on a regular basis back then, I would pick it up if it had one of the great villains on the cover. (And I knew which ones were the great villains because I had seen them on the Adam West TV show when I was a little kid. The Joker! Yay! The Penguin! Yay! The Riddler! Yay! Catwoman! Yay! Egg-Head! Yay! Two-Face! Who's that?)
There's this statue of a penguin. And the Penguin plans to steal it. And there's a bunch of dumb clues. And Robin shows up! (He was busy with the Teen Titans at this point abd hadn't been Batman's regular partner for years.) And the body of Professor Hugo Strange! And Rupert Thorne! And Silver St. Cloud. And the Joker ... well, you don't see him, you just hear him laughing. But just wait until the next issue!
Comics don't get much better than this.