Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Detective Comics #384

Detective Comics #384 (On Sale: December 31, 1968) has a cover by Irv Novick. The logo is slightly altered this month as Batgirl takes over the back-up slot.

We begin with "Whatever Will Happen to Heiress Heloise?" by Gardner Fox, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. This is the last Batman story Gardner Fox will ever write; he wrote his first Batman story, "The Batman Meets Doctor Death," for Detective #29, July 1939. Batman rescues heiress Heloise Madigan from thugs trying to kill her. When he takes her back home, the family lawyer explains that she is not the real Heloise. Her real identity is Colleen Kiernan, the former secretary for John Madigan.

Batman then prevents the murder of the real Heloise before realizing that Colleen is the actual target. He follows Colleen to the office of Kenneth Rogers and stops the real estate tycoon from killing her. Colleen had been blackmailing Rogers with information she learned as Madigan's secretary. Batman then delivers Rogers and Kiernan to the police.

Batgirl begins her run as the Detective Comics back-up feature this issue with "Tall, Dark, Handsome -- and Missing" by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. After jumping around and doing fill-in scripts in Spectre, Batman, Green Lantern, Teen Titans and Challengers of the Unknown, Friedrich is given his first series. This is a generational shift at DC, axing the older Gardner Fox and amping up the work for the young Mike Friedrich. DC was definitely going after a different audience, Marvel's audience. When Barbara Gordon notices that library regular Mark Hanner is missing, she goes to his apartment to find him. Mark is not there, but she sees a woman leaving his building. Batgirl follows the woman and is attacked by crooks. after fighting off her attackers, Batgirl finds Mark unconscious in the next room. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I was so glad when Batgirl got her own series- -even if she alternated the back-up space with Robin. This is the story in which Barbara ditches the "plain Jane" librarian look (she had the original Princess Leia hairdo, before Star Wars!)and becomes more of a generic looking comic book female, gorgeously drawn by Gil Kane. I always felt that Marvel looked to Barbara for visual inspiration when they revamped the Black Widow in 1970.