Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Just when you thought Robin couldn't dress any more like a total clown. 

... / Doo-dah, doo-dah / Batman battles big ol’ bees / All the doo-dah day

Batman hallucinates, like, non-stop. Over the course of a seventy-five year-long career, the Caped Crusader has been knocked daffy, poisoned, drugged, hypnotized, nearly asphyxiated, infected with viruses, bugs, venom, toxins and poisons so often that I can’t accept that he hasn’t been walking around in a fever dream since ’52. Anything that’s happened since, say, the start of the Comics Code? That’s been Bruce Wayne babbling from his hospital bed in one of Gotham’s less-notorious nuthouses (Like “Arkham Pines” or “Blackgate Acres” or something, somewhere where the rooms have no more than five gargoyles per inmate, so it doesn’t seem as intimidating).

That’s why you can’t trust any of the truly fantastic adventures Batman experiences, such as “The Valley of Giant Bees!” from Batman vol.1 No.84 (June, 1954). Batman and Robin are investigating a series of sugar robberies across Gotham, which you’d have to assume is the work of one of about a half-dozen sugar-themed costumed villains, even if Batman and Robin don’t specifically mention any of them. “Is this the work of racketeer ‘Sugar’ Caine, the Sugar Cube Mob or the deadly King Caramel?” None, Batman, it was the Cavity Creeps. Crossover time!

Gotham City seems like a fun place.

Pursuing the sugar snatchers (Russ Meyers’ greatest film) into the mountains outside of Gotham City, Batman and Robin are blown off a cliff like the expert acrobats they are. Coming to at the bottom of a gulley, the Caped Crusader looks up and sees – BEES! “That’s what blew us off the cliff into this valley,” he shrieks at the top of his terrified bat-lungs, “The wind created by the beating wings of those mammoth bees!”

While searching for his lost partner, Batman discovers that the sugar thieves are human beings trapped in the hypnotic thrall of the mammoth bees (why not “bee-hemoths”, you might wonder). Encased in honeycomb prisons overnight, the humans are released by day to steal and store sugar, which is pretty much how modern Capitalism is gonna end up, if I've read my Marx correctly.

Using the batplane to make a strafing run on the hive, all Batman actually does is enrage the bees and send them swarming into the city, which they proceed to wreck like a bunch of dicks. Batman uses the power of dumb luck and Gotham’s endless supply of dopey but enormous props to drive the crusading bees away, courtesy of a “lifelike” giant spider parade balloon which I’m sure is the highlight of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of Phobias Celebration. Also included but not pictured, balloons depicting cancer, snakes and syringes.

You know, a terrible fall is how my father died. Now I have
to wonder if he hallucinated giant bees at the end, too.
ANYWAY, the highlight of the story is when Batman makes it to the inner chamber of the beehive, only to finally discover Robin – unfortunately NOT dressed like a court jester, despite what the splash page promised us – acting as the queen bee’s personal slave. I’m assuming there’s a sexual component to his slavery, lucky Robin. As Batman rushes to his young aide’s side, he starts to wake up from his brief coma – yup, Batman imagined the whole thing after falling from a great height and scrambling his brains on the sharp rocks of the valley floor. It turns out there weren’t any giant bees after all – as plausible as that sounds. Yup, it was only bootleggers running an illegal still. I guess Batman and Robin are revenoo men, they fit t’get a backside full’a buckshot they ain’t keerful.

As a confusing story beat, upon returning to the Batcave, Batman and Robin discover a giant stinger-like protuberance emerging from the Batplane’s fuselage … could it be that there really WERE giant bees? No, it was a hallucination, we just settled this, Batman. Unless the bees are pulling an inception, I guess.


cup king said...

“Between them and success stands only the daring duo of Batman and Robin” Where are the national guard in all this!!???

I expect more for my tax dollars which, admittedly, I don't even pay in this world, let alone in Imaginary Giant Bee Earth.

Michael Hoskin said...

"Not the bees! Get off the stage quickly, Robin! You aren't even in the Theatre Guild!"

cup king said...

"Yes Robin, I dreamt that you were on stage singing to me in front of a giant queen."

"No, I've not heard of a guy called Freud.?"

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