Batman - Issue 1 Edit
Year: 1940 (Spring)
Stories:The Legend of the Batman, The Sign of the Joker
The Legend of Batman Edit
Author: Bob Kane
This story tells the history of Batman.
Approximately fifteen years ago, Thomas Wayne and his wife and son are walking home from a movie. They are robbed by a man who wants Martha Wayne's necklace. Thomas Wayne lunges at the robber and is shot. When Martha cries out for help the robber shoots her as well.
Later, their young son swears that he will avenge their deaths by dedicating his life to "warring" with all criminals.
Bruce studies and becomes a master scientist while at the same time training his body to perform amazing athletic feats. One night, while wondering what disguise to use to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, a bat flies into the room. Bruce decides to use the bat as his symbol, becoming "The Batman".
The Sign of the Joker Edit
Author: Bob Kane
One night an elderly couple listens to the radio. Suddenly a voice breaks into the regular broadcast. It's a man named, the Joker, who declares that at midnight he will kill the millionaire Henry Claridge and steal the Claridge diamond. Mr. Claridge is shaken up by the threat but the police assure him that the diamond is safe and so is he. Midnight strikes and suddenly Claridge drop deads, a ghastly smile on his face. The police check the diamond and find a fake in its place, along with a joker card.
Elsewhere Joker gloats over his success. He injected Claridge with a poison that takes 24 hours to take hold, thus Clardige was already going to die by the time he announced his threat on the radio.
In Wayne manor, Dick Grayson mentions the case to Bruce, who doesn't want to take on the Joker just yet.
On another night Joker again breaks over the radio waves declaring he will kill Jay Wilde and steal the Ronkers Ruby. Again the police go to Wilde's estate but Wilde is killed by the Joker, this time with a blow dart. Joker subdues the police with a paralysis gas and grabs the ruby.
This latest caper annoys other criminals in Gotham, who were planning to steal those jewels as well. Brute Nelson tells everyone to pass word that he's coming for the Joker. Batman hears some news that the Joker is going to go after Brute so he goes to meet him.
Sure enough, the Joker sneaks into Brute's home. Brute has been expecting him and calls in some bodyguards to help him take care of Joker. Batman breaks into the house as well and Brute sends his guards to kill Batman. This gives Joker an opening to shoot Brute Nelson and flee.
Batman chases after Joker, causing him to crash his car off a bridge. Batman saves the Joker from the falling car and they continue their fight from the safety of the bridge. The Joker manages to stun Batman with a punch and throws him off the bridge before escaping.
A few days later Joker again announces that he will kill Judge Drake over the radio. At the judge's house he plays cards with the Police Chief. When the announced hour of his death comes, he looks up to see that it's not really the Police Chief but rather the Joker in disguise. Joker kills him for sending him to prison once.
Shortly after, Batman and Robin inspect the Judge's house for clues. Robin is attacked by a man in police disguise.
Discovering Robin missing, Batman uses an infra-red lamp to follow Robin's footprints. Batman had treated both his and Robin's boots so that they left an invisible trail that can be seen with the lamp. He follows the trail back to Joker's hideout, where Joker is about to kill Robin with his Joker venom. Batman and Joker fight and Joker is thrown into the chemicals he uses for the venom, causing a fire. Joker paralyzes Batman with his gas and then flees, leaving Batman to die in the fire. Fortunately, Batman has trained his body and is able to overcome the gas and get Robin to safety.
Robin informs Batman that Joker mentioned going after the Cleopatra necklace next. Batman knows that necklace is owned by Otto Drexel. They hurry to Drexel's penthouse and find the Joker. During the fight, Robin kicks Joker off a high platform but Batman catches him before he can fall to his death. The Joker is then turned over to the police.
Hugo Strange and the Monsters Edit
Author: Bob Kane
- Hugo Strange (villain)
Hugo Strange, who had been captured by Batman previously, manages to escape prison. He breaks into an insane asylum and kidnaps 5 patients. One night a monstrously large man stalks through the Gotham streets wreaking havoc. The police attempt to shoot him but he appears impervious to their bullets.
Bruce hears reports of the man-monster and figures it for the work of Professor Strange.
The next night the man-monster tears down the railroad tracks. Batman follows the monster back to Strange's hideout but is quickly captured by more of the giant monsters. Strange tells Batman of an extract he's discovered that speeds up growth. He's given it to the 5 patients and will use them to rob banks for him. Strange then injects Batman with the serum, informing him it will take 18 hours for it to take effect and turn him into a monster as well. They then knock Batman out and imprison him.
When Batman wakes, he uses chemicals he's hidden in his boots to cause an explosion, freeing him from Strange's prison. He punches Strange, knocking him into the dark waters below his cliff-side hideout. He then rushes to create an antidote for the serum Strange has given him.
Once cured, he hurries out to stop the remaining monsters. He hangs one monster from beneath the batplane, killing it. The final monster he blinds with gas, causing him to topple off a large tower to his death.
The Cat Edit
Author: Bob Kane
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson see a story in the paper that Martha Travers will be hosting a party aboard her yacht to show off her famous emerald necklace. Suspecting that it may be in danger, Dick joins the crew of the yacht as a steward, with Bruce promising to join him after he finishes his current job.
On the yacht, Dick finds Martha being introduced to an old woman named Miss Peggs by her nephew Denny. There's also Wallace, her doctor, and her brother Roger. Another steward tells Dick that everyone is always asking Martha for money.
Later Dick sees Denny drop a note from the thief known as "The Cat". The Cat tells him to keep his aunt away from the room so she can steal the necklace. Sure enough, Martha comes running out shouting that her necklace has been stolen. A boat approached the yacht and identifies itself as the coastguard. They welcome the men on board but discover that they're really mobsters who also want to steal the necklace.
Frustrated that the necklace is already stolen, one tries to rob another woman but Dick stops him. He jumps overboard to avoid gunfire and changes into Robin. The mobsters try to flee in their boat but Batman rams them with his own boat, stopping them. Then, Batman breaks the 4th wall to show the "kids of America" that they shouldn't admire crooks because without their guns they're "yellow". Robin beats up the unarmed mobsters as "proof".
Back on the yacht they're having a masquerade party. Batman wins first prize for his costume. He pours Martha Traver's missing jewelry into it, having already found them hidden on the boat. Before he can explain an announcement comes in that the boat is on fire and everyone should hurry to the lifeboats. Batman observes Miss Peggs suddenly running without a limp.
On the deck the captain tells everyone it must have been a prank, there was no fire. Batman apprehends Miss Peggs and pulls off her hair, revealing it's a wig. Underneath all the makeup is "The Cat". He finds the missing necklace hidden under the bandage wrapped about her leg. Denny bursts in with a gun but Batman easily subdues him.
The Cat admits that she was going to give half the profit to Denny. As they head back to Gotham where she is to be imprisoned she suddenly leaps overboard. When Robin goes to stop her Batman "accidentally" bumps into him, allowing her to escape.