Fri 21 Sep 2007
In his search for completeness in compiling his bibliography of the field, Crime Fiction IV, Al Hubin has cast a wider net than you might have imagined. In this particular blog entry, I offer two cases in point to illustrate this.
Most observers, for example might not consider Batman as a character whose exploits would be included in CFIV, but indeed they are, and quite extensively too, as long as they appeared in book form, including (more recently) graphic novels. Batman has gone several phases in his nearly 70-year-long career in fighting crime, and you could do no worse than to check out his Wikipedia entry for more information.
The current incarnation is an crime-obsessed, near-crazed madman with few friends, even among his fellow superheroes. More likeable was the Batman of the early 1950s, which is when he was one of my favorites, my old Golden Age. He never had superpowers, but besides being agile and athletic, neither of which I was, he also solved crimes by the use of his brains, an ability which I could much more easily identify with.
And of course his never-leave-home-without-it utility belt, one of which I always wished I had. For some reason, though, it never showed up in the yearly Sears Christmas catalog, no matter how hard I looked.
The entries for Batman in Part 19 of the Addenda are for a series of paperback originals from the 1960s, reprinting some of his adventures from my “Golden Age” of the 1950s.
KANE, BOB. 1916-1998. Noted comic book artist and writer. Add: Born Robert Kahn, he is said to have legally changed his name to Bob Kane at age 18. Note: In at least the three books indicated with a (*) below, Bob Kane is credited only as the creator of Batman as a character. Different writers and artists were in fact largely responsible for the original comic book stories.
* Batman. Signet, pb, 1966. Add: Collects the following Batman comic book stories, plus introduction:
The Crazy Crime Clown! (Batman #74, December 1952-January 1953)
The Crime Predictor (Batman #77, June-July 1953)
Fan-Mail of Danger (Batman #92, June 1955)
The Man Who Could Change Fingerprints! (Batman #82, March 1954)
The Testing of Batman! (Batman #83, April 1954)
The Web of Doom! (Batman #90, March 1955)
* Batman vs. The Joker. Signet, pb, 1966. SC: Batman. Collects the following Batman comic book stories. Correction: There are only five, not six stories in this collection.
The Challenge of the Joker (Batman #136, December 1960)
The Joker’s Journal (Detective Comics #193, March 1953)
The Joker’s Millions (Detective Comics #180, February 1952)
The Joker’s Winning Team (Batman #86, September 1954)
* Batman vs. the Penguin. Signet, pb, 1966. Add: Collects the following Batman comic book stories:
The Parasols of Plunder (Batman #70, April-May 1952)
The Penguin’s Fabulous Fowls! (Batman #76, April-May 1953)
The Return of the Penguin (Batman #155, May 1963)
The Sleeping Beauties of Gotham City (Batman #84, June 1954)
This next character with a mention in Part 19 of the Addenda is more immediately recognizable as a detective, of course, that being Dick Tracy, star of comic strip, radio, TV, and more recently, the big screen. I grew up in a town where Tracy was the front page attraction on the Sunday comics section, but strangely enough, I never followed his adventures. I’m not sure why, but I think I always thought the artwork was a little too crude, the villains too outrageously unbelievable, or a combination of both.
No matter. Dick Tracy was, and probably still is, the epitome of a good guy, big city cop.
GOULD, CHESTER. 1900-1985. Cartoonist and creator of the long-running Dick Tracy newspaper comic strip. While his entry in the (Revised) Crime Fiction IV includes several other books based on the character, the three paperback originals listed below constitute three books in the “Dick Tracy: His Greatest Cases” series, one requiring a correction and one newly added.
Add: Mrs. Pruneface plus Crime, Inc. Gold Medal, pb, 1976. SC: Dick Tracy. Two stories in comic strip form.
Pruneface. Gold Medal, pb, 1975. SC: Dick Tracy. Comic strip reprints.
Snowflake and Shaky plus The Black Pearl. Gold Medal, pb, 1975. SC: Dick Tracy. Correction of title; two stories in comic strip form.