In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).
Today, we look at an interesting avenue that Batman stories used to take towards kicking off plotlines. As you all well know, Batman uses his Bruce Wayne identity to both finance his unique brand of vigilante justice as well as the occasional need to help someone whose problem could be solved with a job or a quick influx of cash (how often have Batman stories ended with Batman giving a down-on-his-luck guy a job at Wayne Industries as, like, a janitor? It feels like a lot). However, in order to make sure that Bruce Wayne and Batman are not TOO associated with each other, Batman has also made sure that Bruce Wayne is seen as a stereotypical millionaire playboy. Commissioner Gordon is even FRIENDS with Bruce Wayne and he thinks that Bruce is kind of embarrassing in how little he actually does in his day to day life. In the first appearance of Batman, Gordon and Wayne, Gordon specifically says something along the lines of, "Man, Bruce Wayne is a nice guy, but he leads such a boring life, filled with disenchantment."
It's funny, then, to note just how many stories over the years have involved Bruce Wayne being a heavily involved member of the Board of Directors of different companies and institutions! For a disenchanted playboy, Bruce sure has been involved in some stuff over the years!
We begin with Batman #20 and "The Centuries of Crime" (by Don Cameron, Jack Burnley and Ray Burnley), in which Bruce Wayne is asked by another member of the board of directors of the State Bank to fill in for him because he is going off to time travel so that he can make more money.
Bruce quickly deduces that the guy is being preyed upon due to him being so greedy that he would believe any ridiculous story, and so when he and Robin investigate, they learn that the Joker has set it up so that, using a lot of elaborate sets, he will trick the guy into believing that he is actually traveling through time. Batman and Robin get caught up in the plot, as well, and at first, they are convinced that they are traveling through time, as well. This is one of the Joker's more straightforward criminal enterprises, honestly, and at the end of the story he is arrested, convicted and sent to prison for life (Gotham has a super fast judicial system).
Next up is an interesting study in the life of a killer dubbed, appropriately enough, "Killer for Hire" (by Edmond Hamilton and Dick Sprang). We see how a man grew up to become a renowned assassin. He thinks he has succeeded in killing Bruce Wayne, but Batman figures out a way to save himself. Then, Batman uses his media contacts to make it clear that Bruce Wayne is still alive, so that the killer can be drawn into a trap when he insists on killing Wayne again. One of those stories is about Bruce's work as the Chairman of the Board for Ace Industries...
Jim Mooney drew this next one, from Batman #59 (with an unknown writer) called "The Forbidden Cellar," which deals with Bruce's work on the Board of Directors of Gotham College...
As it turns out, a "haunted" cellar seems to drive people insane, but really, a professor put a special mushroom down in the cellar that temporarily drives people mad. The professor had nose plugs, though, so when he went down there and "went mad," he could kill the dean without it looking like he was actually trying to kill the dean. Batman figured it out, though, since, well, you know, he's Batman.