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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tales from... A Newspaper? - Batman: The Dailies 1943-1944 - "What a Sweet Racket"

As you can tell by the title, this is a bit different. I wanted to look at a story from this era, so I looked around for something from that time. I knew that Superman had stories in newspapers, but I didn’t know Batman had any done on him. I should have known that since he was pretty popular at the time too. This story comes from Batman: The Dailies 1943-1944. The writing and pencils are done respectively by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the creators of Batman. So, let’s see what happens when Batman and Robin face the notorious gangster known as Blackie! The 1940’s were weird, man.

Batman: The Dailies 1943-1944 – “What a Sweet Racket” 
Writer: Bill Finger 
Pencils: Bob Kane 

We start out with our Dynamic Duo bored… well, Dick is anyway. When the Bat-Signal shines, they suit up and head out. They find out that Commissioner Gordon has disappeared and it's revealed that he’s been taken hostage by the criminal known as Spike Durphy! If only it was Spike from Buffy. Anyway, they find them at the docks and Batman is able to disarm Spike when Blackie shows up on a boat armed. If Batman doesn’t let Spike go, Blackie will kill Gordon. Batman lets him go and the boat heads off.

During all of the action, Robin sneaks on the boat. Because of a cat, Robin gets his 10 to 12 year old butt taken hostage without Batman knowing. As Batman gets more info at Gotham PD, he runs into a PI named Dan Tack who says he can catch Spike before him. After that meeting, Batman is able find Robin via his radio belt. He tells Batman where he's at and Batman finds the hideout. The criminals are ready for him and have traps set. Batman’s able to get in and kick most of them out when Blackie does something weird to knock out Batman.
Wow, it's not everyday where we see Batman get beaten by a man named "Blackie."

While the Duo is captured, Blackie leaves. Dan Tack comes to rescue them while the Duo’s captors are distracted (or are they?). A gunfight ensues and Blackie’s dudes escape. Tack also captures Spike. Since Batman and Robin aren’t into making money (they got it all anyway), the reward money will go to Tack. We also find out that Blackie and the gang, which sounds like a horrible name for a band, also got money out of Spike’s men. After Tack is congratulated, he heads to a hideout where we find out that Dan Tack is Blackie!!!!

At the Batcave, Batman and Robin compare notes and try to figure out what Blackie is up to. First, they realize that Tack is in Blackie’s group. As another jailbreak happens, Batman weirdly pieces together that Tack is Blackie. They come up the plan of Batman impersonating as Blackie. This confuses the gang when Tack actually shows up. Batman and Robin are able to win the in the end with that plan and some horrible puns.
Man, by that logic, any left-handed pitcher could have been Blackie! I could have been Blackie... wait, that doesn't sound right!

....................................................

That was actually a pretty decent read. It’s a simple one, but it is a good one. It was cool that we actually get to see Batman tricked by a simple gangster. I will say that I did see the plot twist coming before it was actually revealed. It was laid out pretty simply, so it was pretty easy to see. The artwork was also good. It looked pretty consistent throughout the strip.

Overall, I say check out the trade if you’re looking for some old-school Batman stories. I’ve read most of the other stories in the trade and they’re pretty decent too. Well, I’m coming back to the present to look at the first few issues of the series, Batman Eternal. Peace, God Bless, and know that the 1940’s were pretty weird too. At least Batman isn't spanking anyone... in this story... Yeesh.

NEXT TIME: GORDON, GANGSTERS, AND PYGS! OH MY!

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