Friday, March 30, 2007

Detective Comics #363

Detective Comics #363 (On Sale: March 30, 1967) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. Anderson's inks are very nice here in another take on the "Batman reveals his secret identity" plot.

Inside we have "The True-False Face of Batman" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene. I always liked Greene's inks, particularly on Green Lantern where he blended so well with Gil Kane's dynamic pencils. Greene is one of those guys who did a lot of work for DC and then just disappeared. I don't know if he died or was just put out to pasture as so many of DC's personnel was around 1970.

Anyway, in this story Batgirl interrupts a robbery in progress after her job at the Gotham Library provides clues to the criminal activity. Batman arrives on the scene during the fight to help Batgirl defeat the crooks, but one of them escapes.

Batman then blindfolds Batgirl and takes her to the Batcave where he unmasks in front of her. Though he shows his true face of Bruce Wayne, traces of wax and hair dye cause Batgirl to believe that Batman is actually disguised. After Batman returns Batgirl to Gotham, he explains to Robin that the escaped crook had left a bug on Batgirl, so he set up the identity reveal to convince the crook that Batgirl had learned Batman's secret. Reprinted in Batman #255.

The backup Elongated Man strip "Way-Out Day in Wishbone City" is also by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene. Ralph and Sue Dibny visit Wishbone City. After a day of shopping, they witness the residents acting strangely. The people lose their inhibitions and begin carrying out their secret impulses. Ralph and Sue are also affected.

I enjoyed the Elongated Man. His name may have been stupid (Plastic Man was already taken), but his stories had a certain tongue-in-cheek style that I loved. He was married, his identity was known and his wife was a part of most of his adventures. The Dibny's were sort of the Nick and Nora of DC super-heroes, and that was enough to overcome the dumb name and the butt-ugly costume.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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