In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Here is an archive of all the patterns we’ve spotlighted so far.
This week, with Commissioner James Gordon taking over as Batman, following in the footsteps of characters like Dick Grayson, Jean-Paul Valley, Tim Drake and Jason Todd, we’re taking a look at five much lesser-known characters who have temporarily been Batman over the years (presumably much more temporary than Gordon’s tenure, of course).
Hawke and Wrenn (1945’s Batman #29, by Don Cameron and Dick Sprang)
Hawke and Wrenn were two down-on-their-luck private eyes who couldn’t seem to catch a break, despite actually being pretty darn good private dicks. Hawke, though, comes up with a plan…
Amusingly enough, some crooks broke into Wayne Manor while Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were away. Suddenly, “Batman and Robin” show up to help!
Like I said, though, they ARE pretty good detectives, so they actually succeed in tracking down the bad guys, but get themselves captured…
Cute story. Anyone know if Hawke and Wrenn were based on some comedy duo of the era?
Harry Larson (1954’s Batman #83, by David Vern, Sheldon Moldoff and an unknown inker)
So Batman crashes his Batplane in the mountains on the way home. He is trapped in a cave and tries to get a signal out, but only some bad guys hear it. They decide to create their own Batman while Batman is out of commission…
No, Harry, don’t learn Batman’s secret identity!! As we have long established, that can be lethal!
Eventually, the real Batman returns, but the bad guys think he is just Harry double-crossing them. Robin, meanwhile, also finds out that Harry is pretending to be Batman. The bad guys plan to kill Batman (thinking he is a double-crossing Harry) and Robin’s all, “Eh, whatever.” But luckily, Harry is there to save Batman’s bacon!
And yes, Harry became one of the many people who learned Batman’s identity and then died. I think I’ll do a piece in the future detailing more than just the initial five I shared in that early Drawing Crazy Patterns.
Ed Wilson (1954’s Batman #88 by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris)
Just five months later, ex-con Ed Wilson pretended to be Batman to impress his son, but it did not go so well…
So instead, Batman impersonated Ed!
Eventually, bad guys find out that Batman has a son and the kid is now placed into danger, leading Ed to make a miraculous recovery…
It is a good thing Ed didn’t remember Batman’s identity, or else, like, a tree branch would have flown through the window to kill him or something like that.
Go to the next page for our last two temporary Batmen!
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