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Batman In All Of His Neck-Breaking Glory

This is a feature called "Live By No Man's Code." As you presumably know, in the mid-1950s, most of the major comic book companies (including DC Comics and what would eventually be known as Marvel Comics) agreed to form a Comics Code Authority that would dramatically reduce the amount of violence and gore that could be shown in a Code-approved comic book. It effectively put EC Comics comic book line out of business, as they relied so much on horror and crime comics. Of course, since the "Golden Age" of comic books began in the 1940s, then that means we had over a decade of Pre-Code comic books. So, in this feature, we examine Pre-Code superhero comic books to see the amusing levels of gore and violence that they let them get away with at the time.

Right off the bat, it is also worth noting that while the Comics Code came about in the mid-1950s, the major companies realized pretty quickly that there were so many eyes on their products that they had to cool it with the violence. National Comics, in particular, introduced their own version of the Comics Code in house. By, like, 1941, Batman comic books were already dramatically different than they were when they began. Those early issues, though, boy, they were something.

As I've written elsewhere recently, as soon as it was clear that Batman was going to be a hit, Bob Kane quickly dropped Bill Finger to go to the more experienced Gardner Fox (by "more experienced," I, of course, mean that Fox was writing comics for, like, a year longer than Finger).

Right away, Fox introduced Batman's first sort of super villain. The villainous Doctor Death shows up in Detective Comics #29 (by Kane and Fox) and tells Batman that he is going to commit a murder and Batman can't stop him...

It's all a trap, of course, and Batman walks right into it and gets shot. Bruce Wayne goes to his family doctor, who apparently is not big on the ol' ethics of being a doctor deal...

Batman then saves Doctor Death's next victim...

He follows the Doctor's servant back to the Doctor's headquarters and then Batman seemingly strangles the servant while Doctor Death seemingly explodes...

I love the shot of the servant there on the floor, strangling, while the fire is all around him. Damn, Batman is messed up, right?

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