TreasuryCast 90 – Detective Comics 27

Rob welcomes back Dan Greenfield to discuss DC's FAMOUS FIRST EDITION C-28: DETECTIVE COMICS #27!

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19 responses to “TreasuryCast 90 – Detective Comics 27

  1. Always a treat when Dan is a guest on Treasury Cast talking about Batman. And yes, I so remember that story he mentioned from the late 1960s that is an homage to the original Chemical Syndicate story: “The Cry of the Night is Sudden Death” (that last panel he mentioned, with both Robin and the other teenager noting that they have “some heavy thinking to do” is etched into my memory for some reason. It was reprinted in Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #2 (the one with the same cover as Limited Collector’s Edition C-44) and for some reason it’s the story from that book that sticks in my memory the most. Well, that and “The Joker’s 5-Way Revenge.”
    Otherwise, looking over your gallery, I have to say that I really like the art from the Plain Clothes Pete feature.
    And Rob, hate to be that guy, but on the topic of Superman’s dominance of Action Comics covers, besides those early issues, there was also that brief period when it became Action Comics Weekly in the late 1980s and Superman hardly appeared on the covers at all…

  2. Great discussion. Dan is always a very engaging and informative guest. Like Dan, I always find it fascinating at the end when it says that Bruce Wayne went back to his “room.” I guess he wasn’t living in stately Wayne Manor!

    By the way I never had the Detective Comics #27 Treasury, but since Treasury Cast is ending soon, I always wanted to mention that one of my favorite early memories is receiving the Batman #1 Treasury as an Easter present when I was very young. I think it was the first comic book I ever owned. My mom knew that I loved Batman from the Adam West series and Superfriends, so she must have told the Easter Bunny to get that issue for me. Although it was almost 50 years ago I still remember reading that issue for the first time that day and learning about Batman’s origin and seeing the scary looking Joker.

    I didn’t discover Treasury Cast until after you and Dan covered the Batman #1 Treasury, but I have gone back and listened to that episode more than once in the last few years and it’s a very fun listen, as was this week’s coverage of the Detective Comics #27 Treasury.

  3. That bright red light you see is me blushing all the way over here in KY. Thanks so much for the kind words fellas.

    As mentioned in the 13th Dimension article I wrote about First Appearance Batman figures, my first exposure to Detective #27’s Batman intro was in an Oreo giveaway comic that reprinted that story and cover along with the first Robin story from #38, and first Joker tale from Batman #1. Years later I snagged a copy of this comic, and got to read the rest of the contents. Like you guys, none of it completely wowed me beyond historical significance., although I did find it fun to witness early Crimson Avenger and Slam Bradley.

    I think one thing that held back the Crimson Avenger from being a big character like Batman was his nature as essentially a Green Hornet clone. Green Hornet was a huge radio hit, and Jim Chambers and whoever else contributed to the Avenger’s creation didn’t veer away enough from their inspiration. Like the Green Hornet, CA was a crusading newspaper publisher, wore a fedora and a cloak/trenchcoat, used a gas gun, and had an Asian valet/sidekick.

    Now, in fairness Batman wasn’t wholly original either. This first story has now been cited as being HEAVILY based on a previously published Shadow pulp story. But, the mixture of various influences was unique, and the character of course went on to have his own distinct mystique that then influenced OTHER characters.

    I’m so glad Rob FINALLY got a copy of the Ra’s treasury fascimile! It was quite the drama in the FW messenger group, let me tell you. At one point I was about ready to drive a copy to NJ! It’s just nuts that you had such problems getting this comic. It’s essentially a trade paperback in a different format! One of DC’s first story collections. And it’s Batman! How could a comic shop NOT order this? Mind-boggling.

  4. SO Many thougts
    1 The Batman reveal is probly an idea they took from the first SCalert Pimpernal novel.
    2 is it a retcon or is Crimson Avenger A LOT like Green Hornet
    3 Having read every DR occult/Doctor weird story, I can say a LOT of Joe Shuster looks like Superman!
    4 the 80s Secret Origin was SO GOOD i remember thinking “Finally! Everybody will love the CREEPER! Sadly not to be

  5. Rob and Dan, I enjoyed listening to this episode, especially the discussion about modern facsimile editions. I’ve been 100% on board with DC’s facsimiles. Getting fairly regular reprints of single issues, on non-glossy paper, sometimes in a genre other than superheroes, is fun! It satisfies my modest collecting itch. The recent Batman/Ra’s Al Ghul treasury size facsimile was a treat. Rob, your tale of woe trying to acquire a copy was surprising and disappointing. Glad it eventually worked out.

    Regarding Batman’s first story in Detective Comics #27, I was first exposed to it in the oversize Detective Comics #627, within a year of getting into the hobby. I can still remember finding it in a spinner rack in a certain bookstore in my childhood hometown. Can someone clarify if Batman ever missed an issue of Detective Comics from #27 to #626? Detective #627 was intended to celebrate his 600th appearance in the series, but it seems like that already happened in #626.

    Bradley Glynn

  6. Another great episode! When Dan mentioned the original concept that Roy Thomas had for SECRET ORIGINS, of featuring each hero in the order they were first presented starting back in 1938, it reminded me of something I read many years ago: apparently, when Marv Wolfman pitched his idea for the post-CRISIS reboot of DC, he also wanted to present each character in chronological order. His suggestion was that in the week after the last issue of CoIE, ACTION COMICS #1 should come out with the revamped Superman; DETECTIVE #1 would follow the next week with Batman, WONDER WOMAN #1 the week after that, and on and on until all of the core books were out. Then, about six months after this all began. there would be JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. I’m told that Jenette Kahn and Dick Giordano really liked this idea, but that higher-ups at Warner Communications nixed it on the grounds that they would lose valuable rack space to Marvel by not publishing a full compliment of books every months. I can understand that argument, but man, it would have been so great to see DC with a cohesive plan to reboot all of their characters on a steady schedule, rather than the piecemeal doling out we got instead.

  7. Great episode!

    I love seeing these odd strips and always intrigued to see which ones have stuck. I can remember first hearing about Slam Bradley in Detective Comics #500 but I think he was shelved for a long time before getting a resurgence.

    I heard ‘Bruce Nelson’ and thought dentist … but insurance salesman also works.

    As for the Ra’s trade. That was one I got as a kid and I absolutely loved it. Alas, it was lost somewhere along the way. So I definitely have it on my list of treasuries to buy. There is a reason that that story is still selling today. It is great. And even blown up to Treasury size, Adams’ stuff is glorious.

  8. 100% with Dan re: Facsimile Editions. I had no interest in The Doom Patrol or picking up an expensive Trade of their earlier adventures. However, their first appearance? At cover price? (well, not 10c but you know what I mean) With old ads and on newsprint? Take My Money!

    And I loved it. A great story. Having read it, I may drop money on a trade.

    And then, a chance to own Amazing Spider-Man #1? Or Incredible Hulk #1? Or Batman …

    You get the idea.

    But don’t get me started on the people who slab Facsimile’s and charge a premium for them!

  9. Great episode. I was one of the people who “received” the ongoing frustration in finding a New Jersey copy of that Treasury facsimile, and that was REALLY abridged. Listeners dodged a bullet, but an entertaining one.

  10. Great show, Rob and Dan. Always nice to hear Dan on the show, 13th Dimension is a great site.

    Finally, Speed Saunders gets a treasury. He’s an ace investigator after all. I mean, who else would’ve put together that the dead guy on the dock was strangled, with no clues other than the wire wrapped around his neck? That’s a fair play mystery.

    The other stories were a bit of a slog. And holy crap, that Fu Manchu story is racist! I mean, like, run for Florida school board racist. I know it was 85 years ago, but that’s really rough.

    Overall, a great episode. I enjoyed the conversation format. I like the idea of facsimile editions of old treasuries. I have not gotten the Ra’s Al Ghul one yet, as It was sold out at my LCS, so that’s probably a good sign for more. Now, if they do Spider-Man vs. Hulk at the Winter Olympics, I’ll be first in line. I hope these treasury facsimiles start showing up in regular book stores too.

    I especially enjoyed Rob airing his grievances against his Jersey comic shops on his way out of town. Way to burn those bridges on your way down I-95, Rob!

  11. My comic store had 12 of the Ra’s treasury on the shelves.
    But they are the biggest franchise store in Massachusetts.

  12. Loved the discussion of this landmark issue.

    In the early eighties I owned a copy of Detective 27 and Batman 1. They were beautiful but restored. Several years later I was hard up for cash and needed money to train for the CPA exam so I sold both books. I’m glad I got my CPA but wish I still had those magazines.

    A couple of comments about “Chemical Syndicate” —
     Gordon allows a layman to go with him on a crime detail. Not very good policing there.
     Did you notice that the cover calls the character “Batman” but the text calls him “Bat-Man”
     You mentioned the excessive word balloons in another story and the fact that Batman doesn’t talk in this story until the end. But when he does, boy, does he talk. That last panel on the next to last page contains a work balloon that is at least twice the size of Batman’s head.

    And you mentioned the stereotyped depiction of Asians in other stories in this magazine. Similar to today’s political fear mongering about Mexican immigrants, America experienced the same type of irrational fear concerning Asians in the late 1880s through the mid 20th century. Chinese immigration skyrocketed during this period and much like the current environment, many Americans feared them because of the way the Chinese looked and the types of jobs they accepted. This unfounded hatred led to racist stereotypes of this group of people.

  13. My first comics purchases were in September/October 1976, so the Famous First Edition pre-dated when I began collecting. My first exposure to “Case of the Chemical Syndicate” was in the Oreo reprint that Chris Franklin mentioned. I still remember pestering everyone I knew to get their Oreo proofs of purchase.

    I think we’re spoiled now because we have access to reprints of so many comics from the past, not to mention being able to look up our favorite characters’ histories online. As a lifelong Batman fan, I was so thrilled to FINALLY be able to read his first story back when I got the Oreo reprint…and was shocked that Batman killed back then. I had never seen that. At first, I thought maybe I misread it when Batman tossed that dude off the roof…but, nope, there was his dead body on the ground.

    Glad you mentioned how well Bill Finger was able to work his story into six pages, even if he did rip the story off from a Shadow story. One thing I’ve noticed now that I have read every Batman story from the 1940s is how well paced Finger’s stories are. As much as I love the Bronze Age, many stories sometimes end abruptly because the writer seemed to run out of room.

    On the replica of the Ra’s Al Ghul treasury…Rob, I’m sorry to hear you had such a hard time getting one. Mine was delayed because the comic shop I ordered from didn’t have a box big enough to ship them. Maybe the staff was so young they didn’t know what a treasury was. I have them in hand now, so no harm, no foul. The original treasury is such a childhood favorite of mine that I bought the replica for myself and several more copies to give to friends as gifts.

    I do have the Famous First Edition Detective 27 treasury now. Hey, I’m a 70s baby that loves his treasuries and I’m not going to pass up ANY Batman treasury, even if I did already have the six pages of Batman.

  14. I really enjoyed this episode. It’s always nice when you have Dan Greenfield on as a guest. I’m missing his Super Friends podcast!! And I cosign your thoughts on Chris Franklin starting a podcast about toys. He’s my second favorite Fire and Water network All-Star.

    I’ve been doing a read through of golden age comics in one of my four reading streams. (It’s a whole thing, with spreadsheets too!). Anyway, I’m familiar with Movie Comics. At the moment, I’ve been through five of the six comics published. They are strange. Are you familiar with fumetti? That’s essentially what they are, with pictures of the movie stars in action in the panels. Only… the artists have drawn outlines around the forms. And occasionally you’ll get a hand drawn panel mixed in for fun. There are some completely illustrated features, but the movie segments are all done with photos of the actors. Like the recent John Byrne Star Trek book, only not nearly done as well.

    I’m not surprised that Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster had a feature in Detective Comics #27. If you look at DC’s output up to that point, every creator team they had appeared in each of their four magazines. More Fun, Adventure, Detective and Action all had Siegel and Shuster features. They were doing Radio Squad, Federal Men, Spy, and Slam Bradley. Heck, even Bob Kane was in Action Comics with Clip Carson, Adventure Comics with Rusty and his Pals, and various single-page humor strips in all the books.

  15. Cheers for another enjoyable Treasurycast, I just wish you had discussed the non-Batman strips – not in huge detail, but at least a bit, as that’s the stuff most of us know least about.

    Good on Dan for pointing out how great the current The Bat-Man mini-series is, I’ve especially enjoyed the characterisation of Julie Madison in the first two issues. And using that famous silhouette you mentioned on the cover of #1 is a great idea.

    So Rob, if DC put out new editions of more of these you say you would buy anything… even Superman Salutes the Bicentennial?

    1. Hmm, reading the other comments, maybe there was discussion of each strip, but my podcast jumped forward at some point. I shall have to check again!

  16. Sorry for lateness of this comment, as I am a bit behind in my podcast listening, even with TreasuryCast, which is in my top three of current FW shows. I have a habit of subscribing to way more shows than I can keep up with, plus I try to read the books that are featured in a podcast that I plan to listen to (which contributes to my lateness). That leads to me being a pretty infrequent commenter.

    I have a pretty good size collection of treasuries, and since this show began, I have been filling in the gaps furiously. All that being said, I just listened to TreasuryCast 90, spotlighting Detective Comics 27.

    Thank you for playing my podcast promo in this episode (Mike’s Comic Shop Roadshow). I really appreciate it! And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if you’ve even knew about it.

    I hate to hear that this show is ending in the near future. Maybe you said on one of the episodes, but were you able to review all of the treasure additions that you wanted to?

    Dan Greenfield is one heckuva good cohost, and between the two of you I am always well informed and entertained by the end of the episode. I was particularly fascinated by the discussion about comic shops, especially since that’s the central point of my podcast where I interview shop owners wherever I travel to for work or for vacation. There have been some instances where I’ve run into the same issues as you described, but for the most part, the owners/managers/employees have been pretty darn congenial and wanted to help. That may be partly due to the reason I’m there…to buy a book they recommend and give them some free publicity. I have been to over 40 shops in the last 2 years with the purpose of conducting an interviewing. I’ve been successful 39 times, but there were 2 or 3 that were downright rude either after I asked about interviewing them or even before, so I didn’t even bother asking.

    The situation you described about the treatment you got when you tried to order the Limited Collector’s Edition C-51 facsimile sounds familiar to me, too. I have experienced that at my previous hometown shop. It got to the point where couldn’t count on anything I asked for to be ordered, so I just quit going there and found a different shop even though it’s quite a bit farther away. In your case, if it was a one off occurrence it could maybe be chalked up to the unreliability of the distributor, but it’s certainly no reason for the brusqueness.

    Regarding Dan’s mention of the reimagining of the Detective Comics 27 story in Detective Comics 387 and 627, there is also a retelling of it in the Detective Comics 27 – Batman 85th Edition (2024) by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch. I think it is only on the DC Infinite app, but it was excellent.

    If TreasuryCast has to end, then I will anxiously look forward to your next project.

    Mike Atchison

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