Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Batman No.158 September 1963
Ace the Super-Bat-Hound

I have to hand it to the editorial and writing staff over at the Batman titles, when they were given a relative non-starter like a German Shepherd rescue dog decked out in a bat-mask who’d eventually go running into battle against crime like his superhero masters, they didn’t back away from it. “Bat-Hound?” they asked, laughing over blowjobs and martinis, “I can write a Bat-Hound story. Give me an Bat-Hound annual, just watch me! The Many Costumes of Ace The Bat-Hound, the Ace The Bat-Hound Mer-Hound, fourteen different stories where Ace the Bat-Hound gets superpowers, bring it on!” I imagine them saying, Mad Mennily.

That last possibility is what happens in Batman No.158 in September of 1963, as a bunch of spilled chemicals in the Dynamic Duo’s clearly improperly ventilated Batcave crime lab fall over and apparently give Ace a wide array of supercanine abilities. He comes flying out of nowhere just as the Caped Crusader and his young chum are facing disassembling at the spinning blades of a machine which carve ice using a giant buzzsaw, and which for all I know if how they did it back in the Sixties. Chewing the blade to pieces, Ace saves the day, and upends the criminals by using his super-strength to tear up the track of a minecart they’re using the escape. Yep, they used a minecart.

Weirdly, a chemical gas found in the mine seems to weaken the Bat-Hound and, worse yet, turn him on his owners, which is used by the crooks to get Batman and Robin almost dog-breath-burned-to-death. All of this is the clue Batman needs to deduce that chemical shmemicals, it was BAT-MITE who empowered the beast.

Through a series of cameos throughout the story, the otherwise invisible imp from the Bat-Fifth-Dimension hovers over our heroes and enjoys Ace’s super-dog antics, but reasons out the following as to why the mine gas seems to have a negative effect on him:

Also, this is the first time I realized how much Bat-Mite resembles Patton Oswalt. Is he doing a bit?

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