Friday, March 15, 2013


Why We Love Detective Comics

Stories that make no sense!

It's true! Sometimes Detective Comics presents stories that don't make any sense.

Like the one in #355.

(It has a black and white checkerboard across the top. These are called go-go checks. DC ran these across the tops of their comics for a time in the 1960s. These go-go checks are usually a pretty good sign that you're about to see a story that makes no sense. (And go here for more info on go-go checks.))

So let's see. What's going on in this one.

Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Dick Grayson (Robin) are at a wrestling match in Gotham City. There's this big masked wrestler called the Hangman, and his gimmick is that nobody knows who he is and nobody will ever know until he is defeated and unmasked for the whole city to see. He faces the Arizona Apache and everybody boos the Hangman when the Apache is defeated because the Hangman has became a bad-guy wrestler that everybody wants to see defeated.

After the match, Dick suggests to Bruce that maybe the city's most famous detectives (Batman and Robin, natch) should investigate and find out who the Hangman is!

Bruce responds:

But if we did it, it would have to be in our spare time - and for our own private satisfaction! We couldn't tell anyone about it - that would be unethical!

Batman goes on patrol by himself - because Dick has to do homework - and he comes across the Hangman running away from the scene of a crime! The Hangman says he's innocent but Batman doesn't believe him, so they fight and the Hangman cleans Batman's clock! He rams him into a fence, swings him around over his head and tosses him headfirst into a lamppost with a loud



The Hangman is about to unmask the stunned Batman, but he loses his nerve and runs off when he hears a police siren. And that's the end of Part 1.

Part 2 opens with Bruce and Dick having breakfast and Bruce has little Band-Aids on his face that look almost like little pieces of toilet paper, as if he cut himself shaving. (Alfred is not present as this is that weird period of time in the 1960s when Alfred was dead. But was he really dead?) The newspaper shows that the Hangman really was innocent. But why was he running? Hmm ...

Batman is on his own again later that night because Robin has exams. And he comes across the Hangman again and they fight, but this time Batman really beats him up and the Hangman just barely manages to escape. Batman thinks his voice is familiar but he just can't quite place it ...

But the next day, Bruce is watching a local news report and he notices that the newscaster has a mark on his cheel where Batman punched the Hangman the night before and then he realizes why the voice is familiar ... the Hangman is the newscaster!


says Robin. For some reason.

Well, Batman and the Hangman meet on a rooftop for a big showdown and the Hangman beats Batman and unmasks him and sees his own face! (Because Batman was wearing makeup under the mask for just such an occasion.) Seeing his own face shocks the Hangman enough that Batman manages to recover and takes him out with one last punch.

And the Hangman's motive? I'll let Batman explain it and then we will move on without comment:

The Hangman resolved to beome the most famous secret-identity personality in Gotham City! But in order to achieve that aim he had to eliminate me - his chief masked rival!

The Elongated Man story is pretty dumb as well, but it can't even begin to compete with the lead story. But at least Sue gets a string of pearls!


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