Comic Legends: Did an Airport Comic Purchase Change Batman History?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-second week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As we've been doing it for some time now, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let's begin!


William Dozier bought a bunch of comic books at an aiprort newsstand and that influenced the creation of the Batman TV series.


I'm Going With False

Last week, we lost one of the all-time comic book icons, as Adam West, Batman from the 1966-68 Batman TV series, passed away at the age of 88.

We've dealt with legends about the creation of the Batman TV series before, but for some reason, I've never actually dealt with one of the more popular ones, so I figured that hey, if you're ever going to do one about the Batman TV series, now is the time while we're paying tribute to the great Adam West.

So, in 1965, ABC decides to make a Batman TV series and contracts with 20th Century Fox's Television branch to produce it. They, in turn, tapped producer William Dozier and his Greenway Production company to be in charge of the project. Now, here's where the story kicks in.

As the story goes, William Dozier is on his way to meet with either Fox or ABC about the project and he stops by the airport newsstand to pick up as many comics as he could with Batman in them and he brings them on the plane, reads them and it inspires his particular take on Batman (namely "do everything over the top and campy).

In fact, one of those comics, Batman #171....

was the direct inspiration for the Batman pilot, "Hi Diddle Riddle"...

And in fact, if it were not for that comic book, Riddler likely never makes it into the show (as he wasn't a major character at the time) and likely never becomes such a classic Batman villain.

So Dozier definitely DID use 1965 comics to inspire the creation of the TV series, but what about the airport story? It seems unlikely. Dozier has specifically addressed the issue in the past (he passed away in 1991), stating that he bought “seven or eight different vintage copies of the Batman comic books" for research for Batman. He also mentioned in the past getting some modern ones, as well. I've seen people doubt Dozier's take on vintage, that he just meant vintage in retrospect, as after all, there were not a whole lot of places selling old comic books at the time. However, in another old interview Dozier specifically said “it took a bit of doing to get some of the older ones. They cost three or four dollars apiece." That's a very specific answer if the guy is just mistaken and only got new comics, right?

So I believe Dozier when he said he bought the comics around New York City. As for the airplane story, it likely has to do with another version of the story where Dozier was, indeed, spotted on an airplane with a stack of Batman comics by another television executive. That's almost certainly where the story originated.

Still, whether he bought them at the airport or not, it is awesome that we DO know that just a bunch of Batman comic books influenced the creation of the world-famous Batman TV series, which affected comic book history likely more than any other comic book adaptation in history (part of that, of course, was due to how great Adam West was).

Thanks to Michael Eury's Batcave Companion for the Dozier quotes!

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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