VICTOR ROUSSEAU “Bat Man.” First published in Spicy Mystery Stories, February 1936, as by Lew Merrill. Reprinted in Pulp Review #5, July 1992. edited by John Gunnison, and in The Best of Spicy Mystery, Volume 1, edited by Alfred Jan (Altus Press, trade paperback, 2012).

   In spite of what you might have thought when you first saw the title of this story, it has nothing to do with character who came along later for DC Comics. No, the narrator of this creepy little story is a fellow named John Charters who wakes up from an operation to find himself with his mind intact but he himself trapped inside the body of a bat.

   The way he works it out is that the doctor who did he deed is also in love with Alice, the love of Charters’ life, and this is he doctor’s cruel way of eliminating the competition.

   What makes this such a creepy story is when Charters manages to escape the hospital his mate (a female bat) finds him, leads him back the cave where other bats are staying during the day, he finds a space waiting for him, squeezed among the others, furry bodies all around, and hanging from the ceiling head downward. As he has a damaged wing, his mate also brings him insects to feed him at night.

   Reading this story is like having a very very bad dream, and it does not get a lot easier to read as Charters soon finds what other instinctive thirsts he has. Since this story was published in one of the Spicy stable of pulp magazines, it should not surprise you if I were to say it involves flying into bedrooms of well-endowed young ladies as they sleep at night.

   Should I tell you it all comes out? No, I don’t believe I will. What I will do is point out that not only did I find this a cut above your average spooky pulp story, but I’m not the only one. As you’ll see from the notes at the top of this review, it’s been reprinted at least two times by others.