Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Brother, can you spare a bat-dime?
Being wealthy doesn’t seem to work exactly the way I thought it would, according to this story from Detective Comics vol.1 No.105 (“The Batman Goes Broke” May 1945). After a treasurer with Bruce Wayne’s auto industry endeavor, Wayne Motors Co, disappears with $3,000,000, the subsequent rush to cover his investors’ losses with his own fortune renders Batman’s alter-ego penniless. I'm pretty sure he's neither legally nor ethically obligated to do any such thing, and probably also there was some sort of insurance set up for losses of this nature, but what the hey, the guy likes to give.

Say, what kind of models do you think the Wayne Motor Company produced? The Bat, obviously. The Flying Fox, The four-door fuel-injected Knight, the sleek lines of the Vengeance Forever and the industry-leading fuel economy of the My Parents Were Murdered By Crooks. That’s a minivan.

Oh god, they're gonna rob the place.
Lack of liquidity doesn’t do much to slow down the Dynamic Duo in their pursuit for justice, even if they have to take odd jobs to make ends meet. Alfred mows lawns, Robin sells newspapers, and the pair takes a gig for an afternoon as circus performers, following an accident which blows the front driver’s side tire on the Batmobile. I sort of can’t believe that Batman doesn’t carry a spare tire in the Batmobile trunk. Is it too full of crimefighting?

Whatever their other shortcomings, Batman and Robin remain doggedly on the trail of a crook named Gurlin, despite that they keep racking up expenses along the way and further damaging their precious bat-equipment. Things ultimately get so dire that Batman admits to having pawned the quartet of diamonds which had been set on his official, custom, bat-shaped, all-platinum police badge. He kept the platinum badge though, you know, in case he needed to trade it for a gas station sandwich further down the road. Whatever the case, what we learned from this is that Batman carries around a completely baller badge.

Sadly, the duo never get poor enough for my tastes. I was strongly hoping for the bat-hobos promised on the cover, maybe with a bent stovepipe hate and a dog-end on a toothpick. Robin all wearing overized men’s trousers held up with suspenders. They get a three-legged mutt and name it Hambone or Archimedes or something. Cooking bat-beans over a bat-fire. The possibilities are limitless, I’m sure this is in Multiversity somewhere.

It all resolves to the bat-billionaire’s favor as the thieving treasurer is eventually caught by dedicated detectives, and the 3 million dollars returned. Not the world’s GREATEST detective, mind you, just some unnamed detectives, some 9-to-5 joes in cheap suits. No no, the world’s GREATEST detective was too busy selling all of his personal possessions in a complete panic and then joining the circus.

"You clearly have one of the phony platinum bat-badges so many guys
dressed like Batman have in this town - get outta here before I run you in!"

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