Saturday, November 20, 2010

Batman From the 30s to the 70s

by Bob Kane and many others

The purchase of this book was an indulgence--a luxury. I paid twelve times what I would have paid for another book of it's ilk. But then it was the Library Sale, so a more moden tome would have only cost me a buck.

I first encountered this book in my hometown library, when I was a kid. I don't know what prompted me to check out the grown up books, but I do know I was delighted to find comics in the library. (This was the seventies, mind you.) (The nineteen-seventies, you smart alec.) I read it from cover to cover, again and again. Sometimes I'd also check out the companion volume, Superman From the 30s to the 70s, but Batman was the tome I preferred. Time passed and the book eventually vanished from the library shelves. I was buying my own comics then--usually heroes other than Batman--so I wasn't heartbroken. But the book always had a spot in my heart.

Anyway, now it's almost 40 years later and I see this book in the antique and book collections room. I wrestled with my conscience for a minute or two, but I knew I'd regret not snatching it up when I had the chance. So what is this treasure I acquired? Merely a hard-bound collection of reprinted Batman stories from the 30s to the... well, you know. (As it was first published in 1971, most of the 70s stories are actually from the late 60s.) (But hey, the comics in the stores are always dated a couple of months ahead. Maybe comics publishers are calendarly challenged.) They offer the first appearance of Robin, the Joker, the Riddler, Batgirl (both Batgirls, actually) and,of course, Batman himself. Most of the stories are in black and white, but a couple are in full color. In these days of trade paperback reprints, a collection of comics may not seem so special. But back in the day, this book was a real treasure. It still is.
Update: I had to get rid of this book already. Christmas came and I couldn't think of anything better to get my nephew. I ended up ordering a used copy, paying more money for a book with far more wear and tear. Nice fellow that I am, I sent him the copy I got at the Library Sale and kept the worn copy for myself.

On my shelf. I'd put it on the bat-shelf if I had more Batman books.
LibraryThing link

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