TreasuryCast #21 – Famous First Edition: Batman #1


Holy Perfect Reproduction!’s Dan Greenfield returns to look back at DC’s FAMOUS FIRST EDITION treasury-sized reprint of BATMAN #1!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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Opening theme by Luke Daab:

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10 responses to “TreasuryCast #21 – Famous First Edition: Batman #1

  1. Great guest, excellent comic, fabulous episode all round. I never realised this contained, basically, Dick’s first adventure as Robin. I was looking at that cover with Robin on the flagpole and Dan’s theory that the Joker was repurposed makes perfect sense. Smart fella.

    And you were great, too, Rob!

    1. Why does it say ‘Thanks for listening and Merry Christmas!‘ on the gallery post?

      [Edits page]

      I don’t know what you’re talking about Martin!

  2. This was a great and fun conversation. I loved following the meandering Bat-conversation! Thanks for including the letter on the inside cover. I agree with you, Rob, that doesn’t “sound” like Infantino, at least compared to the note with his name on it in Superman Vs. Spiderman. Could it have been Bridwell? He wrote the introduction to “Batman: From the 1930s to the 1970s.” It was there that I learned of Bill Finger, and so much more of the Batman story. I had read and re-read that book many times before I started buying Batman and Detective regularly. In fact, my first purchase of Detective was Steve Englehart’s first issue! Once Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin, joined him on the title, they quickly made it look like the earliest issues of Batman, like this one. Right down to the caption boxes with the circled initial letter. To my eyes, those issues of Detective looked like what Batman comics were supposed to look like! Back to the men behind the Bat. In that Bridwell-penned intro he also noted the contributions of Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang, so it was no secret that Kane was not a one-man operation. As I understand it, Kane’s father was very shrewd, and was able to persuade the men at National Comics that unless they gave young Bob full credit, he would sue them for signing a contract with a minor. Whatever the threat or coercion, it worked. Poor Siegel and Shuster had no one in their corner when they were signing contracts.
    I was intrigued by the publishing history you alluded to about Batman #1. I presume it was a bi-monthly title, the adjective titles were monthlies, and if they shifted a story from Detective to this, do you think that there might have been a rush to get it to the stands? They would have been preparing it before Batman had been a year old!
    I also agree with Dan. They got so much “right” about these characters right away!

  3. Great show, as usual – esp. with Mr. Greenfield as the guest.
    Interesting, I suppose somewhere in the back of my head I knew Cat(woman) debuted in Batman #1, but usually I never think of her as showing up at the same time as the Joker – it always seems like she came in a bit later. Also interesting that the flirtation between the two was established right from the start. That only seems fitting, because as much as I liked the romances with Silver St. Cloud and even Talia, to me Selina will always be the true one and only for Bruce.

  4. Well, that was a fantastic episode! I could listen to you two talk about Batman ad infinitum, but then Rob is one of my favorite people, and I think Dan is the Earth-One version of me (or vice-versa).

    I own a copy of this treasury thanks to my pal, Mr. Kelly, although I had read the reprinted stories in numerous places before. I think fans of Nolan’s Dark Knight who don’t know comics would find this Joker story very interesting. You can definitely see the influence of the story on that film, and of course the mood of these early Batman stories is very apparent in Burton’s first Batman film as well. And of course the Golden Age-influenced Englehart/Rogers/Austin run helped inspire the earliest drafts of the Batman movie that evolved into Burton’s first film…so it’s all cyclical.

    I love the early Joker, who seems to be drawn straight from photos of Conrad Veidt from The Man Who Laughs, which of course was the Joker’s visual inspiration.

    I would love to see Batman vs. the Monster Men expanded into a full animated feature. The wonderful black and white short Bruce Timm did for Batman’s 75th anniversary made me hungry for more.

    As for Bob Kane, I think the guy is getting the lumps he deserved now, but I think we do have to remember that Kane wanted to be like the great comic strip artists he admired. So his position on “ghosts” is like that of his idols. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, especially him lying for the better part of 20 years when the truth began to come out in the 60s, but it does make it at least understandable as Dan pointed out. Also, Kane did draw the strip at this point. His work was crude compared to Robinson’s and Sprang’s later solo efforts, but it did have that “mysterioso” quality that helped make the strip. It’s just that without Finger, the strip wouldn’t have been anything we know and love today.


  5. Great episode and great issue.

    As you guys say, so much of the Englehart/Rogers stuff was a love letter to these issues. The opening chapter of the Joker Fish pulls lines and panels directly from here.

    Loved there looks backwards at a time when I was interested in learning about comic history in any way. Things like these treasuries, digests, and the “30s to 70s”hard covers were so helpful in the pre-Internet days!

  6. I forgot to include something! One of my favorite-est comics stories is Englehart’s run in Detective. Many of those panels are etched in my memory. One of my favorites is the footnote after Batman says, “You’ve turned men into monsters before!” The footnote caption reads, “Batman (believe it or not) number 1!

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