Tuesday, June 3, 2014


This doesn't seem any more shocking that all those dumb action figures he's had littering the shelves since 1989. 

Batman vol.1 No.191 (May 1967)

You can still find folks who generate for themselves a hearty chuckle at recollecting the “benefit” which radiation has had on comic book superheroes, specifically the Marvel Comics clan – where would the Hulk, Fantastic Four or Spider-Man be without radiation, after all? Well, probably riddled with cancers, if given a dosage in the real world, but in comics it just means "Super-powers". It's a fanciful invention, but let me tell you - compared to what Sixties-era DC thought about how radiation works, Sixties-era Marvel was the Manhattan Project.

Well, you SAY you're an expert ...
In “The Day Batman Sold Out!”, from 1967, the Caped Crusader goes on an auctioning spree after encountering a scientist whose area of expertise is “radioactive criminality”. Seriously? Oh my god, me too, did he go to the University of Arizona’s College of Radioactive Criminality too? GO CATS!

The crook/scientist (a.k.a. crookentist) Ira Radon (of the New Hampshire Radons) has been stealing radioactive isotopes so as to further his career exploring what-the-fuck-ever "radioactive criminality" is supposed to be, but all it gets him is hucked around by Batman and thrown into a radioactive test chamber. The mummified malingerer has been hoist by his own petard, because the near-fatal dose of radioactivity he received will destroy him completely if he ever steals anything ever again – and he LIKED stealing! It's a genuine tragedy. He had a lot of great steals left in his future.

We also go on to learn that excited glandular reactions turn non-fatal radiation into deadly radiation, so I guess we can repopulate Chernobyl providing we just don’t get excited about it.

The nefarious ne’er-do-well proceeds to discreetly infect all of Batman’s gimmicks with radiation, until the Dark Knight Detective has absorbed an equally-near-fatal dosage of the stuff and will also die from it if he continues doing what he loves most – terrifying bums down at the wharf. Also, “fighting crime”.

By way of a fifteen-thousand word manifesto which his opponent etched in invisible radioactive ink across the length and breadth of the Batmobile when Batman was distracted for like a four-month stretch or something, the Caped Crusader receives his instructions to auction off all his belongings and give up crimefighting altogether. Following directions, he does auction off the lot, only he does so in a special fake way so that he gets it all back, but gets to keep one lone Batarang as a lure to bring his opponent out into the open.

"To be continued on Bat-Plane." Hilariously, he didn't have enough room to sign it.

This leads to a battle where Batman faces the alleged scientific expert while wearing a clay gimp suit. His reasoning? “Clay, when heated to 2372 degrees Fahrenheit – locks in radioactivity … the clay acted as a shield against Radon’s lethal blast” So Batman was in a clay suit that was heated to more than 2300 degrees? I’m sure he’ll be fine.

As an aside, when the city of Gotham is fooled by Batman’s impromptu garage sale, even his crooks are taken in and allow themselves a moment’s delight, speculating that crime will be easier than ever without Batman on the scene! But wait, they reckon, it’ll also be no fun without Batman, so Penguin and the Joker basically resolve to give up crime once Batman’s retired. Um. Ball’s in your court, Caped Crusader, I guess.

Alarming evidence which suggests an immediate retirement is in order.


BillyWitchDoctor said...

Can't help but be reminded of I.C. "Icy" Harris, an, uh, "isotope thief" who ran about opening containers to check the contents--only to be transfored into The Pernicious Parasite by the "Galaxy 4" isotope in that hilarious episode of The New Adventures of Superman.

Notable dialog: "Ow! This one isn't empty!"

cup king said...

Would he also be selling the 'Bat Auction! Everything must go!' banner?

I could really do with one of those for my auction of bats.

Popular Posts