BATMAN “The Jungle Cat-Queen.” Story: Edmond Hamilton (uncredited). Artwork: Dick Sprang & Charles Paris. First published in Detective Comics #211, 1954. [Also in this issue: Roy Raymond: “Menace from Outer Space!” // Captain Compass: “The World’s Deadliest Cargo!” // Mysto: “The Forbidden Trick!”] Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, edited by Mike Gold (uncredited), DC Comics, trade paperback, 1988.

   Batman and Robin’s adversary in this story is Catwoman, a/k/a Selina Kyle, a costumed burglar who has had a special quasi-romantic relationship with Batman for many years over many different identities, first appearing in Batman #1. As the “Jungle Cat-Queen,” she and her cat plane are followed soon after her latest robbery by Batman and Robin in their Batplane to her hideaway on an almost isolated jungle island somewhere in the tropics.

   The island is not quite abandoned, however. A pair of thuggish men are operating what they call a jewel mine there, and they may (or may not) somehow be in cahoots with Catwoman.

   In 1954 comic books were far more talkier than they are now, as I hope one of the images added to this review will show. You could, in fact, learn to read from comic books, and I speak from experience.

   The ambivalent relationship between Batman and Catwoman is fully demonstrated in this story. When Batman is sent over a waterfall and presumably to his death, it is Catwoman who makes sure he has on him a silken cord and his emergency knife blade.

   Unfortunately this was the final appearance of Catwoman for many years. Apparently the Comic Code came into effect soon after this issue came out, and portrayals of female criminals were somehow prohibited. Her next appearance didn’t happen until some twelve years later.

   The story itself is kind of silly, but back in 1954, I wouldn’t have minded a bit. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t mind earlier today, either.