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The Great Comic Book Detectives – Hidden Profanity in Batman #1?

by  in Comic News Comment

Typically, this column is for people to send in old comics that they only vaguely remember and we’ll hunt down the comic that they’re talking about, but we’ve decided to mix it up a bit this week.

Today, we are looking at a suggestion a reader made over what might be a hidden piece of profanity in Batman #1. We’ll present what we have and leave it to you folks to weigh in one what you think the deal is (and perhaps some of you have more information that you could lend).

Read on to see what we’re talking about!

The idea came from Cosmic Comics in Las Vegas.

We’re dealing with reprints for the two issues at question here, but I believe both reprints are faithful to the originals. If I’m wrong, please let me know.

Batman #1 opened with a quick refresher on who Batman is and how he came to be…


This, of course, was an edited reprint of the opening pages of Detective Comics #33…


Okay, check out the following panel from Detective Comics #33…


Now look at the version in Batman #1…


Someone has added a building and very slightly re-arranged the dots on the buildings. The question is, why? Was this an attempt to slyly sneak in profanity into the comic? It sure looks like you could see the dots spelling out F, U, C and then not really a K, but who knows what was originally there? In addition, reader kdu2814 rightly notes that it looks like perhaps the original panel was just cropped out for Detective Comics #33 and then re-inserted for Batman #1. So perhaps any hidden words were originally in the panel for Detective #33.

The original piece had Sheldon Moldoff on backgrounds. The rest of Batman #1 had Jerry Robinson on backgrounds, but who knows if he was the one who worked on editing Moldoff’s piece. It could have been anyone in National Comics’ offices. So we can’t even say whether it was Jerry Robinson who added the extra building and re-arranged the dots or not.

It is worth noting, by the way, that later reprints eliminate the dots entirely.

In any event, since I am unsure about the whole thing myself, I decided that I couldn’t run this in Comic Book Legends Revealed as I don’t think I can honestly say that there WAS the intent to sneak profanity into the background and I can’t say that there WASN’T the intent. So instead, we thought it would be interesting to open it up to you folks.

What do YOU think happened with this panel in Detective Comics #33/Batman #1?