Batman Knightcast 11: DETECTIVE COMICS #572

Chris Franklin and Ryan Daly celebrate the 50th anniversary of Detective Comics on its 80th anniversary by reviewing DETECTIVE COMICS #572, which sees Batman and Robin team up with other super sleuths like Slam Bradley, the Elongated Man, and even the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Plus, more than an hour of listener feedback, and it's like 60% sex worker talk.

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Music from the Batman and Batman Returns original motion picture soundtracks by Danny Elfman. Additional music: “Private Eyes" by Daryl Hall & John Oates.

Thanks for listening!

37 responses to “Batman Knightcast 11: DETECTIVE COMICS #572

  1. I remember distinctly being super excited to get this issue, then happy to let it go in the great collection purge of ’99. The purge criteria was ‘do I want to re-read this?’ and it was a solid ‘No’.

    All the feedback makes me think you should re-focus the podcast to only be about DC comics that are controversial. The DC DivisiveCast. Get on it.

  2. This was a pleasure to listen to. Thanks especially for the Slam Bradley discussion. I am going to present an academic paper on Slam at the Pop Culture Assn. conference late this year. Since he debuted in Detective #1 I’m going to read the original 50 or so stories that were produced by Siegel & Shuster before Superman took off. I plan on looking at how Slam’s heroism may have been developed for the Man of Steel.

    FYI: The Browne Pop Culture Library at BGSU has all the complete issues of Detective Comics on microfilm. It’s a chore to read them in this format but very interesting. They were definitely influenced by Captain Easy & Wash Tubbs. Actually, in the 1940s Slam’s sidekick Shorty basically became the star of the feature.

    Slam Bradley Jr had a one night stand with Catwoman shortly before he was killed off a few years back. He was the father of her daughter (who got retconned away with the New 52). There was even a Biff Bradley (a brother) who popped up somewhere when Slam could not be used for some reason.

    1. Good luck with the paper. Maybe after all that reading you be able to explain that quote about the richest man in the world.

  3. Oh man I cannot wait for “Sex Talk with Ryan and Chris”, coming soon to the Fire and Water Podcast Network!

    Yeah, this issue was always my least favorite of the Barr-Davis run. MW Kaluta is a master illustrator, but as Chris said this is one dull cover. And while it’s understandable that DC couldn’t re-use the cover to ‘Tec #1, using issue #27 just really doesn’t make any sense.

    My favorite part is that Holmes is still alive in the DCU. I wish we had seen a one-off team-up between Bats and Holmes down the line (drawn by Davis of course). Maybe they could have fought the Immortal Man.

    Lots of very interesting discussion from the feedback. I totally see Ward Hill Terry’s problems with YO, but nevertheless all the stuff he points out just doesn’t bother me. Unless I’m wrong, I never got the sense that Bruce was always from Gotham 20 years straight. Maybe I’m back-filling, but I figured that he made regular trips back home to do recon like you would expect, but the official story was he was in Europe or whatever.

    One last thing about YO, the lack of continuity with the regular Bat books never bothered me either. In other Batman comics there are Detective Chimp, Plastic Man, Dr. Fate, the Guardians of the Universe, etc. Can you picture ANY of these concepts fitting in the world established in YO? Of course not, so it’s best not to try and merge them. I’ve always of YO as a sort of Elseworlds story, a “This is kinda how it got started” and not meant to be stitched, Frankenstein-like, to the messier, crazier DCU.

    Great show fellas. Hall and Oates for the end–Philly represent!

  4. Confession time: Yes, Sherlock Holmes fans, I misspoke when I read Holmes’ famous address as 2218 Baker Street. I know better, but I simply read it wrong. I need new glasses, for realz.

    My apologies to all you Baker Street Irregulars, and the spirit of my hero Peter Cushing.


    1. Apology accepted.

      In another “Baker Street Irregulars” vein (but nowhere near so obvious, perhaps), I was a little surprised no one commented on the name of “Nigel Brewster” as homaging longtime Watson actor Nigel Bruce (who most famously played opposite Basil Rathbone’s Holmes).

          1. No problem, sorry, I considered that you just meant the guys, but it was a ‘no one’ vs ‘neither of you’ thing. So we agree, I was surprised too! I wonder if they were leaving a bit of glory for listeners to grab, Mark!

  5. My guess on this cover is that Sherlock is a recent arrival in Batman’s era and Batman’s educating Sherlock on interim history. “Catch-up learning” as Jillian Taylor called it.

  6. I think I forgave this one a bit more than Franklin and Ryan. Not a terrific outing, sure, but this has one of my favorite moments in Jason Todd’s history – the “didja see, Mr Bradley” moment. Todd wasn’t allowed enough time as the wide-eyed boy wonder, so this is a nice slice of his brief career.

    But I do agree with you guys, a John Jones appearance would have been nice.

  7. Also, lots of sex-worker talk. Let’s move on — but this first. In the Catwoman mini-series that followed Year One, it’s made very clear she has a pimp. Very clear.

  8. I’ve still got an hour worth of the feedback section to listen to, but you guys brought up J’Onn J’Onzz, so I’m contractually obligated to address that discussion. I’m not sorry he wasn’t in this issue, because it sounds like a dog and I’m glad I don’t have to read it. When Detective Comics #500 came out in 1981, J’Onn was still off trying to make Mars II happen. “The Strange Death of Doctor Erdel” was a sly way to acknowledge both Manhunter’s and the (much more recent vintage) Hawks’ time in a series where their science fantasy was never the best fit. By 1987, even the vastly more grounded, “street-level” Elongated Man was a bit of a str— ange inclusion*. If you look at Mike W. Barr’s career, he never really gravitated toward the more fantastic areas of comics. His Batman work suggests a much greater affinity for New Look and Bronze Age Batman than the BEMs and mad science of the Jack Schiff wilderness years. It is highly possible Barr had little exposure to nor interest in the Alien Atlas, which is perhaps a shame. While I find his supposedly “straight” super-hero work to be so rank that I suspect he couldn’t take it seriously, his time on sci-fi and mystery titles leads me to believe getting assigned a Manhunter from Mars strip might have married two of his favorite genres.

    *No apologies to Martin or Anj.

  9. Not the best issue, but it was fun.

    I can’t tell you how much I hate it when they put the IRA in US comics. Did Denny O’Neil edit this issue, cos he romanticised these terrorists something awful in Daredevil not long afterwards, with Glorianna O’Brean or something, and the Gael. Just butt out, already.

    Here’s a mystery. Why did a couple of minutes of the podcast repeat?

    Nigel Brewster has to be a play on actor Nigel Bruce, Watson to Rathbone’s Holmes. That’s likely why the great ER Cruz had them looking so similar.

    Chris is spot on, if you look at Ms Tree you will see that Terry Beatty’s regular style was very straightforward – pedestrian even. But likeable, and fine for Slam Bradley.

    That mask Ralph wore was weird, but such fun, the colours adding a harlequin quality to his overall look. And even late period Infantino is a joy.*

    Oh that Dick Sprang poster. I do hope he’s drawing murals in the afterlife.

    One million points for playing Private Eyes, that never fails to get me singing and grinning.

    * Hi Frank!

  10. Holy Double Jeopardy! You read TWO if my letters! I may be making a Dent in the F&W frequent commenters sphere! I stand by my critique, and I have been thinking about it very frequently. As I said, Year One is not what I think is a great Batman story, but it is a great story and stirs up the critical thinking faculties! (I am mentally composing Tales of Uncle Phillip stories.)
    As to this issue, I just checked. I own it. I bought it new. The only thing that struck my memory cords was the Dick Sprang illustration. I cannot think of any Mike W. Barr stories that I can recall fondly. I didn’t care much for The Outsiders. I know he was the go-to guy to write mysteries, but nothing really resonated with me. Barr’s contributions to Batman are about the same as David V. Reed’s, IMHO. The mysteries seem forced, with coincidence and happenstance having as much, if not more, weight than deduction.
    Chuck, you intrigue me! Good call on the Captain Easy comparison!

    1. No,wait! I take it back! I fondly remember Mike W. Barr’s Green Arrow stories! The four issue mini and especially the stories in World’s Finest and Detective! Barr had a great ear for Ollie’s speech, and he did a great job filling in his neighborhood with friends, allies, and acquaintances. This was when Olive was living in a crummy part of Star City and not mooching off of Dinah.

  11. I don’t think it was mentioned in this discussion, but the pre-Crisis Batman did meet Sherlock Holmes (and Deadman and Sgt. Rock) in DC Special Series #8.

      1. You bet.

        Other DCU appearances by Holmes:
        Detective #444
        Action #283
        Lobo #17
        Eclipso #8
        Flash Comics #69
        Hellblazer #23
        Hit Comics #29
        Kid Eternity #8, 10 and 14
        JLE Annual #2

        Someone ought to do a podcast.

  12. Hey guys!
    I haven’t read it but there was a Slam Bradly story called “the Richest man in the world” i’ll see what I can find for you.
    I THINK IT may be decetive 1
    PS i like a lot of Batman year 1but I I dont like the idea thAT Batman was ALWAYS SO MUCH LIKE the one in Darkkight returns.
    year one was litterally hard to read between the lettering and everything being so damn brown.

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