Batman Issue 1: The Strange Case of Dr Strange

Batman got introduced to his arch enemy Joker in the very first issue of the comic book, and the second story puts Dr. Strange in the mix.


Plotline

The issue starts with Dr. Hugo Strange, who is put in prison by Batman himself, escaping from his current scenario in life with a couple of other prisoners. He also goes to the insane asylum and breaks out a couple of more asylum inmates. Batman gets a wind of this, and even before he begins to investigate, the town is attacked by giant monsters.

Much to their dismay, the police officers find out that these monsters aren’t hurt by bullets too. What kind of insane danger is facing the city now? Well, Batman decides to find out the answer to the question that must have surely cropped in every reader’s mind.

Batman witnesses the giants laying the town waste and then follows them to their lair, only to be captured by giants, who are none other than Dr. Hugo Strange’s creation. Dr. Strange reveals that he has created a concoction that allows men to grow high and mighty. And as they unleash havoc on the city, his other minions plan to rob banks. Make hay while the sun shines, as they say.

Batman is knocked down, and Dr. Strange injects Batman with the same serum and locks him up. But the Caped Crusader comes to his senses just in time – a few hours before the serum would work on him – and gets to work. Because the baddies took away his utility belt from him, Bat has to rely on the chemicals he has in his boot heel to blast through his makeshift prison. He then clobbers Hugo, and intelligently defeats all the monsters that are in Hugo’s lair.

Bat then takes his batplane and does away with the truck that was carrying the monsters, as well as those who were planning to break the bank. While nothing is told about the serum working on Batman,we are assuming Bat went to his cave and solved the issue for himself.


Discussion:

The second story in the Batverse introduces us to Hugo Strange, who makes his appearance in the DC Comics Game, Injustice: Gods Among Us too. Hugo is also a central character in the Batman: Arkham Origins game.

Again, this story takes he typical ‘mad scientist’ route, and is proof of how medical science was still a great mystery, and therefore a fear to the general public.

In this issue, Batman professes to killing at least three people, which is a far cry from the ‘oath of not killing’. This just goes to say how comics have evolved through time.

Remembering Strange and Unique Comic Book Ads From When I Was a Kid

Do you remember sitting in the drug store and reading comic books when you were a kid? Do you remember becoming totally absorbed as you read an adventure that found Uncle Scrooge fighting off his arch-enemies the Beagle Boys in some remote jungle of South America?

Or did you prefer reading Superman or Batman? Maybe your favorite stories were about the caped crusader rushing out of the bat cave (accompanied by Robin, Boy Wonder) to save Gotham City from some wicked and nefarious plan conjured up by the Joker or the Penguin?

Man I loved reading comic books.

Not only did the comic book publishers back then try to entertain us, many of them also tried to sell us things. Most of the comic books in the ’50s and early ’60s were filled with advertisements — ads aimed at kids.

I remember one particular ad for a product called White Cloverine Salve. Rather than trying to sell skin ointment to a bunch of 10 year olds kids, however, the ad was designed to solicit kids to sell the salve from door-to-door. And instead of paying kids money to do this, they rewarded kids with points that were redeemable for prizes.

Oh, how they made those prizes appealing! The ads displayed eye-catching photos of baseballs, bats and gloves, yo-yos, games, dolls and a wide assortment of toys.

Naturally, the more you sold the greater the rewards. For those who did as well as Tommy B in Buffalo, Cindy R in Phoenix, or Billy S in Peoria, the sky was the limit! The testimonials from kids around the country proclaimed that hundreds of kids had won the really big prizes like Daisy air rifles, Radio Flyer wagons and every kid’s ultimate prize — new Schwinn bicycles!

Boy those prizes used to dance in my head! Kids in school would talk incessantly about all of the cool prizes! The fact is, though, that I knew a number of kids who signed up to try their hand at hawking salve — but I never saw one of them riding a new Schwinn.

For some reason I was never tempted to sell that salve. Even then I used to wonder who in the world was going to buy salve from some kid knocking on their door. Heck, truth be told, I didn’t even know what salve was.

Even so, it’s a nice memory.

Comic books, as we knew them, died out sometime in the ’70s or ’80s — long after I had quit reading them. I think that’s kind of sad. I loved reading comic books.

I used to have a huge cardboard box filled with comic books that I kept in my bedroom back when I was a kid. I often wonder what that box would be worth today.

There are no longer very many mom ‘n pop drug stores around. Most were replaced by big chain stores that sell everything from pharmaceuticals to crankcase oil. And, truth be told, most of them have huge racks filled with literally 60 or 70 different magazine titles — even more titles than when we were kids.

Sadly, though, none of them are comic books.