Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Yeah well, Batman's been supported by advertising for decades now.

Batman vol.1 No.147 (May 1962)

There’s nothing in the otherwise carefree, happy-go-lucky, twenty-four hour rave scene of the Batcave that brings down the party atmosphere quite like its collection of teen-sized playclothes left to hang miserably in bare glass cases. Worst of them all – and, I mean, what, at this point there’s like a half-dozen Kevlar playsuits formerly attached to hyperactive adolescents with hard-ons for justice all stuck in there, plus Tim Drake’s dad’s bloodsoaked “Big Dog” shirt, right? – is probably, however, the tiny black shoes and pitch black romper in the case marked enigmatically “Bat Baby”. OH GOD HE HAD A BABY SIDEKICK? DID THE JOKER MURDER HIM?

Oh god, that is so cute.
Well, no, Bat-Baby was the star of the story with the giveaway title “Batman Becomes Bat-Baby”, which I choose to read in the same tone as “Mourning Becomes Elektra.” When the Caped Crusader stumbles in the path of an eerie green ray machine set up by the renegade scientist “Garth” (Party on, renegade scientist), he finds himself reduced in stature, bulk and maturity – yes, he’s reduced to baby size!

When the news breaks, the Dark Knight Diaper Despoiler is struck with the sudden reality that his crimefighting days might be over. Damn straight they are, who wants to read a comic about a baby fighting wave after wave of gun-toting crooks, except me and everyone else in the world?

Donning a – dammit, I’ll say it – utterly adorable set of playclothes, complete with tiny cowl and cape, Batman rebrands himself as Bat-Baby. Encouragingly, the Short-Pants Paladin (y’gotta rebrand all the way up, folks) has retained his full adult strength and, arguably, his full adult intelligence, although he did embark on this “crimefighting baby” plan so I’m not convinced.

It turns out the Bat-Baby is exceptionally gifted as a costumed crimefighter, so much so that he’s able to pursue, apprehend and wring a cure from the crooks who pint-sized in the first place. Even maintaining his secret identity turns out to be a cinch, since the only person they have to flummox is Kathy Kane and I think the Batman comics have done a pretty good job of establishing that girls are dumb and too emotional to make for good crimefighters. They scare Kathy off with cardboard silhouettes, one of which she fears has stolen Bruce Wayne’s heart. Goddamnit Kathy.

Disappointingly, Bat-Baby doesn’t follow the Batwoman/Man-Of-Bats/International Batmen model of having crimefighting equipment which is specific to his non-standard white maleness, so while he does use roller skates and ride a hobby horse down some stairs at criminals, it’s not like he has a bag of bat-marbles, a bat-slingshot or like a bat-beanie propeller because that would also have been amazing.

"Put it next to that dead Robin's outfit."


Casanova Frankenstein said...

I wholeheartedly agree. The idea of a BatBaby series sticks in my head like the panels from the Kurtzman/Wood Batboy and Rubin!

Wooly Rupert said...

Obviously, the thought balloons in Robin's head were so profanity-laden, they had to be removed for decency's sake.

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