Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Batman #199

Batman #199 (On Sale: December 5, 1967) has a nifty Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson cover adorning what was the first issue of Batman that I purchased 40 years ago. The cover is a cool idea and puts into the reader's mind that Batman is a best seller and scarce and you better get your copy while you can. Great marketing idea by Schwartz.

"Peril of the Poison Rings" is by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. The batman and Robin stop a robbery at the Norwood Estate, but while most of the gang are sent to prison, gang-leader Rembrandt Dickens escapes capture, Dickens then begins a career as a comic artist, writing true crime tales involving jobs that he planned.

When his gang is eventually released from prison, Dickens gives them poison rings. When they encounter Batman and Robin again, the Caped Crusader is scratched by one of the rings. Batman is then forced to track down the latest Batman comic book which contains a clue to Dickens's identity and location.

Next is "Seven Steps to Save Face" also by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. When Batman and Robin stop a robbery in progress, the crooks capture Robin and substitute a midget in his place. Batman then sees the midget in a Robin costume knocked out, so he lets the crooks go to save his partner. He brings the impostor back to the Batcave before realizing his mistake. The midget then learns his secret identity and uses a belt radio to pass the information to his gang.

Finally there is also a solo Robin story this issue, "Operation 'Escape," drawn by Jim Mooney and reprinted from Star Spangled Comics #124.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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